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Sierra Winchester Sierra Winchester
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Isn't it Marvelous?


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She had a friend.

Red and blue umbrellas aren't such a likely combination.


Red and blue are classically paired together. Not usually for design choices, but in poems and certainly on flags. Maybe that's why they looked so at home next to one another. Two umbrellas, one red and one blue, sat side by side just a few inches from the front door.


  At one point, the sight would make him smile. His lips would pull up into a lopsided grin and the chuckle would escape his lips before he had time to rein it back in. They had an umbrella holder, but it never seemed fit to put them there. Anyway, she never was the type of girl for organization.


  When they'd first met, she had proven that spontaneity was practically her full personality. Things weren't planned. Life was a game of chance, and she planned to keep it that way. They'd met only a few years before, standing outside an abandoned movie theatre to use the overhang as a shield from the torrent of rain.


  "So, you wanna break in?" The first thing she ever said to him, and it was about committing a crime.


  Aghast, he had just stared at her with wide eyes and the gaping mouth of a codfish. Eventually, she laughed and shrugged, already slipping around the back of the building for some fun. Conscience be damned, he followed. How could he not? Barely five words and she already had him hooked.


  They broke in, and it wasn't as hard as it seemed with the dilapidated lock, but he was amazed. Soaked to the bone from the monsoon outside, she grinned and began to spin around as if she was in an elaborate ballroom.


  "Isn't it marvelous?" She asked, shooting him a grin as she swept her damp fingers over the dust coated top of the counter.


  He could see the sparkle in her eyes, and even if he had wanted to, he didn't have the heart to disagree.


  Their first date was even more out of the blue. Sure, they had called and texted, but nothing was set. Then, suddenly, his door was flung open at four in the afternoon and there she stood. Jeans, a Ramones t-shirt and a smirk. "Come on. We're going on a date."


  Date hadn't been the term he would use. He would use adventure, because it fit better. She dragged him from the house, even though he was only wearing a t-shirt and some very worn shorts, and straight down a hiking trail in the woods out back. Two hours of getting lost with her and he had a new prospective on nature. And on sneakers.


  Dates were a little less ludicrous from then on. Some were even planned. The best one, though, was by the lake. Yet again, she had shown up completely randomly and almost forced him from the house. By then, he had grown used to it, and was almost always prepared for an excursion.


  She had taken him to a picnic dinner in the park, the blanket she brought so red it made the rosiness of her cheeks pale in comparison. Still, it made her blue eyes seem more endless than before. Not long later, they had ended up by the lake.


  Tossing a rock in, she leaned her head against his shoulder, "It's marvelous, isn't it?"


  Her voice was quiet, and his eyes drifted down to look at her. Her gaze was set intently on the color of the sky, the horizon melting with the water as the sun dove down below it. Whispering back, he pressed a soft kiss to the top of her head, "It sure is."


  The umbrellas were another twist in the story that began to unfold. A fight had caused her to storm out, the anger flushing her cheeks a red that he was sure burned. Following, he grabbed at her wrist, about to beg her to stay. The two froze, just staring at each other.


  After a moment, she laughed, "I hate you, jerk."


  Confusion swirled in his stomach, but he didn't question; he knew better than that. Instead, he yanked her close and pressed his lips to hers forcefully. After a minute, he pulled away and muttered, "I hate you, too, babe."


  She didn't want to go home yet, the thought of cleaning the strewn pictures deterring her, so they walked down the streets. Lined with shops, it was usually busy, but it was growing late. Ducking into a small store, she pulled him along.


  For a bit, she ogled the many knickknacks, sounding more like a child than a full grown adult. Without warning, she swiveled around and grinned, racing towards something in the corner.


  By the time he caught up, she was grinning like a madwoman and held two umbrellas in her hand, one red and one blue. "In case we ever get caught in the rain again," She stated obviously.


  On and on it continued. Until he asked her to marry him. Quite a few jokes passed between the two, the banter only helping to steep the worry in his chest, before she finally agreed. Three weeks later, the wedding plans were dashed.


  Dressed in only a blue flowing skirt and an unmatching red flannel, she walked up to the judge and stated, "We're here to be married."


  He didn't have much of say, but he never did. Though he'd never admit it, he liked it that way. Within the next ten minutes, they were married and she was kissing him like it was the last thing she would ever do. Pulling away, the taste of her pomegranate lipstick still clinging to his lips, she grinned and asked, "Isn't it marvelous?"


  Red and blue always were the colors he thought of when he envisioned her. The ruddy color of her cheeks as she bellowed out a laugh. Blue eyes, so bright and deep he swore they were the ocean. But now, now the colors held malice.


Swimming with tears, the blue eyes stared up at him pleadingly, "I promise it'll be okay. Just remember, planning doesn't always work."


  Normally, he'd laugh. Maybe he would have scoffed at her statement. Then, then was different. Tears welled up in his own eyes and he shook his head, "You didn't plan this... But...this isn't spontaneous."


  Always joking, she gave a weak smile, "Sure it was. Someday I knew my time would end. I just didn't chose the date."


  Desperately, he wished his pain would turn to anger and he could curse her and her damn jokes, but he couldn't. He wasn't even given the chance to properly reply to her humor, because she was coughing violently into her hand. As he rubbed her back, spasms shot through her body.


  Eventually, she lay back, looking weaker than before. It was the shock of red on her hand that drew his attention and suddenly his eyes flew to her face, wide and panic-stricken.


  "No...." He whispered out, seeing how dull her blue eyes were.


  Still, she smiled, looking around the room and letting out a wheeze that sufficed as a chuckle. "Isn't it marvelous? The life we lived...isn't it marvelous?"


  He shook his head, words clogged by the lump in his throat. Unable to speak, he just let his cries out, staring as her eyes slipped shut and the remaining bit of color that stained her cheeks faded away.


  Blue and red always were paired together. They worked well in poems and flags. Red and blue didn't mix with love, though. And umbrellas in those colors could do more than just protect you from rain-they could shatter your willpower completely.


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