He slid the car door shut behind her, taking a moment to lean his frame against the polished black of his sports car. Far off in the distance, the lights of the city blinked weak beneath the gathering clouds. “Good riddance.” With those last words, Colton flicked his spent cigarette to the drive and bid goodbye to the city that had given as much as it had taken away.
The engine roared to life, the first droplets of rain casting jewels across the windshield as if the very sky wished to wash them clean. “We haven’t thought of a name yet, love.” Colt looked over to his bride with a sly grin, reaching fingers to lay over hers. “Coltina?” Her laughter filled the warm enclosure, head shaking, “That is truly hideous. I was thinking, Saoirse Vond. It means freedom, in Gaelic.” Truthfully, she’d not considered a name until that point. When every morning was a new hill to climb, often the things one finds the most important can slip by without passing thought. Wasn’t it just yesterday they were standing on the balcony, overlooking the fireworks show Colton had arranged for her? Had it been that long ago? The patriarch’s smile softened, “I think Saoirse is perfect.” An inside moment they shared, when she had told him of the impending birth.
Sixty, seventy, eighty miles an hour. The hard sole of Colton’s boot pressed the pedal down with the desire held to put as much road between them and Hathian as possible before having to bed down for the night. They were heading to the coast, to salt air and lush greenery; a world away from what they knew. They’d put everything in order, calling in funds that had been sitting in offshore accounts, rewriting wills to include Sadie’s first family as well. Caspian had been retrieved and brought home safe. In securing the new baby’s future, they had decided to give the same chance to Cas. Just that morning, Colton had signed over parental rights to Lia, the therapist that had given the child safety, and convinced his father she would give them the autonomy they could not. A Vond will always have a target looming over their head. In this act, Colton was giving the boy the best path he knew. Rachell had been handed over the managing rights to Lou’s. Also, in a moment of “What if?” Rachell had been made executor to the remaining family holdings, should anything happen while they were in a new city. If anything, Hathian had taught the couple to always think ahead.
The spatter had turned to sheets of rain; Vond drove on with determination. “I’m going to give you the life I promised you, Sadie. Everything we’ve wished for, and been denied. No more fights, no more hurt. Just you and I. Nothing will ever pull us away from each other again.” The Lioness dipped her head, letting the toil of the past year melt away with the knowledge they were on a new path. When she looked upward once more, his eyes were still on her, viewing her as if she were the first sight a blind man had pleasure of looking upon after a life of darkness. “I love you.” His gentle baritone whispered. “I love you too, my Lion.” She always had, no matter what.
Neither of them saw the bend in the road. The dark of night and evergreen lined street obscured the view. Colton’s hands gripped the wheel, turning sharply as the brake was engaged…just a moment too late. Rubber screamed protest, Sadie reaching to brace for impact as Colton wrestled the careening vehicle. His teeth gritting in concentration, “Hold on!” growled in warning. As the car broke the guardrail, a shriek tore from Sadie’s throat. Moments before, she had felt ease as she’d never known. After thirty-six years, the Lioness had finally relaxed. Now terror was all she knew. End over end, again and again, the vehicle tossed them without mercy. With the first punishing slam to the rocky cliff, a branch shattered the windshield. Blood and bone sprayed the interior as a muscled arm severed from Colton’s shoulder, torn away by thick glass. His cry was primal, deafening even over the roar of the world spinning outside the steel coffin. A split second passed before the nose of the Lamborghini crushed against the rocks, shoving the engine block back. The redhead had scrambled to retrieve Colton’s severed limb, a macabre reaction to such obscene sights. Her scream was silent as her pelvis was crushed under the impact, lids flying open to reveal eyes already gone into shock. Each hit, a new gash, another broken bone. Arteries flooded the shrinking cabin with crimson, coating the pair to horrific models of what they once were.
Colton and Sadie were meant to die in a hail of gunfire; back to back and raging against the world in honor of the name they held so high. To them, it wasn’t the name that was important. It was the bond that connective thread held. It was loyalty. Dignity. Love. Above all, love. The inhabitants of the city could think what they wanted of the clan; all that mattered to them was what they considered their most precious possession: The family they had forged from the ashes.
When the Earth stopped spinning around them, the car creaked to a slow stop. A final, sickening flip that left them dangling from seatbelts. Painfully heads turned to face each other, hardly recognizable from torn flesh and swollen features. The silence was overwhelming; nature returned almost immediately to her subtle music. As the world began to swim with inky blackness, a final flash of blinding light overtook them. The Vonds perished in a ball of flame, disintegrated by the force of the explosion.
Death does not listen to plans. It cares not for who you think you are. When death calls, there is no high held name to cling to. Death is simply, death.
It was hours before the ambulance came. A passing car had seen the broken rail and called out of concern. Yet more time passed before the crew could work their way down the mountainside to survey the wreckage. There was no chance to save them. The Vonds had passed quickly. The family would be contacted, informed of the tragedy. After some days, the will would be read naming each and all what they had been left. As death was always a looming option, this letter would be shown at the reading of the will.
“Our family. When we think of leaving you, it is hard to find words that would begin to tell you how precious every single one of you are. Each of you have brought such joy into our lives. And yes, a little bit of frustration, but isn’t that what family is? The same people that can hold your heart in their hand can also crush it. Such is the beauty of what we all created together.
OOC: This is never an easy choice. As time has passed, our lives have gotten busier and we simply do not have enough time to maintain Colton & Sadie’s storylines. Instead of watching them fizzle out, we made the mutual decision to let them go. We apologize to those we did not get to finish storylines with, but we hope that in this, there is undertones of closure that can be found for all. We cannot thank you enough for the stories, the memories and the absolute buckets of laughter. When we started, we never imagined how many would fill our halls, how endearing the characters would become and ultimately, how we would come to appreciate and cherish the time we’ve spent with you. Your writing has not only influenced us ICly, but it’s given us new perspectives even in our own day to day lives. From family to friends to enemies, each one of you have left an indelible mark on our hearts. We wish you nothing but the very best and our unending gratitude for the time you’ve spent with us.
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