Theory walked swiftly along the cold, empty street.
The darkness pressed in on all sides, but he didn't mind. Darkness would make this easier. He didn't want to see her face as he told her the words that would kill her.
His steps slowed as he thought of what he was about to do, of the words that he was about to say. There would be no going back after he told her, and now his subconscious was holding him back, dragging against each swing of his legs and filling his feet with lead. Delaying the moment of truth when he would say the words and everything would change for ever.
His stomach was full of uncomfortably squirming snakes of indecision, and apprehension. He had no idea how she would take the news. She might cry. Oh god. What if she cried? That would ruin everything. He couldn't stand to see her cry.
He realised that he had stopped walking altogether. He was standing alone in the cold empty darkness. How easy it would be to just stay here. Lost in the darkness with nothing and no one. He could be himself in the darkness.
But he knew that the sun would rise eventually. It would break through the dark and reality would find him again. There was nothing for it. He would have to carry on, go to her and say the words that would kill her.
Stepping forward into the night once more, he tried to silence the voice in his head, tried to still the slithering creatures in his stomach.
In the pool of light cast by a lone street light he saw her at last. Her auburn hair shone brightly in the dim light. She was leaning back against the wall of a building, fearfully trying not to look out into the endless black of the night. She looked so small, so fragile. He felt the familiar need to protect her from the world, that had drawn him to her from the start. How could he protect her now that he was the one she needed protection from?
He stepped into her little circle of light in a movement so abrupt that it made her jump. She stood to face him, fear and surprise radiating from her body. Recognising his face she relaxed instantly and a brilliant smile spread across her face, like the sun breaking out from behind a bank of clouds. That smile said it all. It spoke of friendship, love, trust and the purest kind of happiness. It was a smile that broke his heart.
Without further hesitation she threw her arms around him and he knew that he could never say the words that would kill her. He would let them rot away inside his mind and fill his heart with darkness.
He kissed her mouth gently, apologising for all the things that he had been about to say.
He took her hand in his and together they walked out into the night, the diamond on her finger glittering softly in the intermittent street lights.