Fault

“It’s your fault.” The voice cut through the crisp autumn air as a surgeon’s scalpel.

Grace wondered if she could just pretend that she hadn’t heard anything and leave. But people were swarming around the little church, now that the deceased had been driven away, and the last thing that Grace wanted was a scene.

“Nicole,” she said before turning around and facing her accuser.

“If it hadn’t been for you he’d still be alive.”

Grace noticed that despite her friend’s seemingly heart-broken state, she still kept her voice too low for anyone else to hear. Guess even the loss of Gary wasn’t enough to make Nicole appear anything but perfect.

“It wasn’t my fault,” she told her. “He killed himself. I didn’t put the rope around his neck.”

“He killed himself because of you.”

“He killed himself because he was depressed.”

A single tear trickled down Nicole’s cheek. A tear which wouldn’t have been out of place in a movie starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Grace wondered if her friend knew how tragically beautiful that single tear made her. If they were even still friends that was.

“He was only sad because of you.” Nicole’s voice was husky with held-back tears, and Grace felt a sting of guilt that she could even consider that her friend was faking her sorrow.

What was I supposed to do?”

“Stay with him! He loved you. You broke his heart when you left. You were his entire world. He even told you he’d die if you left him! And still you just left.”

“Do you really think I should have stayed? Forever tied to someone I didn’t love because of a threat?” She lowered her voice even more. “Gary was dramatic,” she said. “How was I supposed to know he meant it this time?”

“You should at least have done something. Anything. How could you leave a person with his… with his sensibilities?”

“You mean with his depression. Don’t you think I feel guilty about it? But it was like he was slowly sucking me dry of life. Like he was dragging me down with him. I was never allowed to laugh; never allowed to smile. Do you know what that does to a person?”

“I wouldn’t have left.”

“Something very easy to say now that he’s gone.”

Nicole took a a step forward as if she wished to slap her, before she thought better of it.

“You never loved him. Not really.”

“You mean that I never loved him like you did.”

“He should have been with me! Then nothing of this would have happened! If you would have just let me have him.”

“He wasn’t a puppy up for adoption!” It was getting hard keeping her voice low. “And I didn’t steal him. We had been dating for weeks before you decided that you wanted him. The only change was that he didn’t want you back. That’s the only reason you loved him.”

“I’ve loved him for years.”

“You’ve been crying for the moon because you couldn’t have it! If he’d had been the slightest bit interested, you wouldn’t have spared him a second glance.”

Nicole reached out and grasped her around the arm. Her eyes were burning with fury. “I loved him. I loved him, but he loved you, and yet you just abandoned him.”

“He’d been depressed for months before I left him. I was nothing but the excuse.”

“Is that what you’re telling yourself?”

Grace tore herself loose. “I didn’t kill him,” she said slowly and turned around; leaving Nicole standing alone in the quickly emptying courtyard.

“Yes, you did,” a soft voice followed her.

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