United States


September 26, 2020


    Cody was laid on his bed, listening to the call.

    “—And so I don’t know, Cody.” The woman on the other side sighed. “That’s pretty much it. That’s why I’m calling, because I honestly don’t know what to do. What do you think? You’ve always been there for me.” His throat felt dry, and his first response cracked and ended. The clock in his room ticked, and all was silent.

    “Cody?” the woman asked quietly. He snapped out of it.

    “Bianca!” he started, wincing at the intensity of his voice. “I think…” he said quietly, swallowing lightly. “I think you should do it,” he whispered. “Give him a chance.” The woman stayed silent. She sighed breathily. Cody waited. Then she laughed.

    “You’re right,” she exhaled happily. Cody’s heart dropped to his stomach. “I’ve been thinking way too much.” He clenched a fist in his blanket. “Thank you Cody, you’re my best friend, you know that?” He nodded drearily, looking straight up. 

    “Yeah,” he said. “I do.”

    Cody left the bar smelling of cheap alcohol and tobacco. He entered a taxi and went home, coming to a quaint little apartment a bit out of the way that he’d signed up on for cheap two months ago. He plopped down on his single, living-room couch and looked up, fingers twitching for the need of a drink. He sighed, sitting up. He looked at his cracked tv, at his hands, and then held his head with them.

    “What,” he whispered, “The hell am I going to do?” The phone rang. Cody didn’t pick up. It rang again. He ignored it, staring at the floor through a crevice in his boney fingers. It rang again. He snarled, picking it up.
    “What the fuck do you want?” he hissed. A shaky voice answered him.

    “Cody!” The voice was filled with relief. “Oh, thank God.” The voice was full with a type of urgency that he’d never heard before. His brow drew down, adrenaline coursing through his veins, a familiar feeling. 

    “Bianca? What’s wrong?” Silence. The clock ticked on. He could hear cars driving through outside. His lips pursed in worry as he stared at the wall.

    “Bianca?” he tried.

    “He’s coming,” she curtly responded. There was something off about her though. Bianca didn’t talk like that. She never sounded so…scared?

    “Bianca,” he spoke, shooting up from his couch, “Do you need help? I can call 911—“
    “NO!” she interrupted, causing him to freeze. “No,” she said in a sedate tone. “I just need you to come pick me up. I’ve been…” she paused, “having relationship issues.” Cody’s breath caught in his throat. He wasn’t stupid. 

    “Bi,” he started calmly, “I’m coming to pick you up.” The trees rustled outside his window. His phone buzzed, notifying him of a low battery. 

    “Okay,” she whispered, as calm as he. “Come quick, please.”

    Cody’s car pulled into Bianca’s driveway, and he strode straight to the door with a courage he wasn’t aware he had. He heard the shouting before turning the corner around the house’s entrance, witnessing something he wasn’t quite sure how to make out. Until he saw Bianca laid next to the door, head slumped and blood pooling out her forehead. He looked up at the assailant, the genial man he’d met once and had known as Erik. Erik snarled at him.

    “You," Erik hissed. "You’re that bitch she keeps fucking with! Always Cody this, Cody that.” He spat at the floor next to her. “Had to teach her a fucking lesson.” He pinned Cody with his glare. “And you better get the fuck out of here. And don’t say shit, because I’ll fucking kill you,” he threatened, walking dangerously towards Cody.

    Cody saw red, and it wasn’t the color of blood this time.

    He held Bianca’s hand in the hospital, staring down at her raven tresses curling down her frail shoulders, intertwining with the IV’s she was hooked into. He rubbed circles into the back of her hand with his thumb, sweeping her hair away from her face. Her eyes cracked open. He froze. She kept staring at him, until a gentle smile graced the edge of her lips, and she relaxed to slumber again.

    He sat in the front rows at the wedding ceremony, watching as Bianca’s husband leaned in to kiss the bride. He wiped a small tear from his face.

    Cody looked up at the constellations in the night sky outside the wedding venue, drinks exhausted and guests ready to leave. A few clicks sounded behind him.  Two small hands covered his eyes. He sighed.

    “Bianca,” he greeted. The hands stayed on and a chill breeze passed through. He heard a shriek.

    “Ah! It’s so cold!” Damn this dress…” Bianca glared down at herself, head shooting up to glare at the only potential source of ongoing chuckling.

    He ignored her indignant ‘hey!’ and pressed on, smiling at her. “Your big night, huh?” Her face grew into a radiant smile, and he felt the light stirring of an indescribable emotion.

    “Yeah,” she quietly responded. “Big night…” He looked at her, raising an eyebrow. “What’s wrong?” he asked. She pouted.

    “How do you always know?” He crossed his arms. 

    “Same way you always do when I feel like shit.” She rolled her eyes.

    “…Fair point,” she conceded. “I’m just…” she ran a hand through her hair, “It’s just that marriage isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean, I know I just got married, but I don’t know. I’m not regretting it,” she put her arms around herself, ”But it’s just like…is this all?” Bianca shook her head, muttering something he couldn’t make out to herself. “Whatever,” she went on. “It’s probably nothing.”

    He stared at her, and Bianca took great interest with the floor. He nodded slowly, looking back up at the stars. 

    “Yeah, it’s probably not.”


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