David encouraged his best girl to follow him up the narrow staircase. “Diane, you’ll love the view.”
She shook her head. How many times must she wear herself out following him up creaking staircases to capture yet another view of their home town? “Who’s going to look at all your pictures?”
David sat down on the top step, realizing he had a problem. “Maybe I’ll publish a book someday.”
She smiled at him. “That will be the day.”
“Don’t you want to see our town become famous?”
“I’m more interested in our future than this damn town’s.”
“You don’t want to live here after we marry?” David’s mind spun out of control. He thought she loved him, wanted to have his babies, see them grow up here, where they both had been raised. Instead, she wanted to leave? “Wouldn’t you miss your parents and your sisters?”
“We could visit, you know.”
Their life wouldn’t be the same. “We’d be strangers to everyone—even our folks if we stayed away too long.”
“You are a stick in the mud.” Diane turned her back on him.
He listened as she slammed the side door to the tower. He climbed up to the landing under the bell. Hanging over the side nearest the front door, he called to her. “Come back. I don’t want to lose you.”
Diane stopped her retreat down St. Mary’s front walk. She stood with her back to him. Then shaded her eyes as she looked up. “I’m not ready to say goodbye either.”
“Wait for me.” He wanted to ring the bell for the celebration in his heart. Instead he took several hurried photographs in each direction. He’d need to come back to get more shots.
Once he reached her, she apologized, offering her hand. “I’m sorry. I know you love to take pictures. Don’t you want to photograph the whole world?”
“It’s been done.” David dropped her hand. “I want the world to love our town as much as we do.”
“What makes you think I’d be happy in this dinky berg?”
“Small. I said dinky. I want to stretch my wings. Be someone important before I die.”
That’s when David got the idea he couldn’t share. “Okay,” he lied. “I promise this will be the last time you ever have to climb a flight of stairs for me to click the camera in all four directions.”
Diane smiled. “I knew I could convince you.”
David followed her up the stairs again. However as soon as they had both reached the landing, David lunged at her. He knocked her down against the west ledge, away from the view of any onlookers in town. For a second he wanted to turn her around to get a good image of her fear, but he decided she might have a chance of surviving to ruin his life. “Let me see how far you can fly with those important wings of yours.” David watched her all the way down. In the struggling four-story fall, her body flipped over and she stared right into his eyes until she hit the very hard pavement in the parking lot.