James’ arms trembled against the bottle as he held it out towards her.
“Take it,” he whispered softly, voice faltering as he did so, “I love you too much to see you suffer.”
Francesca could do nothing but watch his hand loosely grasp the container; though she wished she could feel his warm body against hers, she knew any movement would have catastrophic results. She noticed the way his fingertips appeared distortedly large through the plastic, as though he had eaten such large portions that fat had even found a way to his extremities.
In her starved state, the extra flesh reminded her of sausages so she turned away quickly, licking her parched lips.
“Francesca.” He had taken her body language as a sign that she was refusing his gift. I wish I could, she thought, but dehydration is my worst fear.
With her eyes still facing the opposite direction, she fumbled around with her right hand until it closed against the cool bottle. She felt those fingers against her skin – far thinner than she had thought – and gave his knuckles a gentle squeeze. James breathed a sigh of relief and traced his thumb against the inside of her palm.
“If you hear anyone, shout. It doesn’t matter who it is, okay? So long as you persevere, you’re bound to attract a kind hearted soul’s attention.”
She could not turn to face him; could not bare to see the look of horror which was surely plastered across his face. Instead, she gave a slight nod as tears cascaded down her cheeks. She felt his fingers unfurl beneath her own and before she could clutch onto him once more, he had tumbled downwards.
Francesca let out a soft cry as loneliness and pain filled her heart. Through her sobs, she whispered “I love you too.”