You were on the bridge again. Three months after your first attempt and you were right back where you started. If you weren’t so determined, you would have felt sad, guilty even, for thinking about leaving your new life behind.
Ludwig had set you up with an apartment and work as his secretary, and you loved it. The feeling of being able to earn your own money, of being able to come home to a warm bed, and having people who cared about you, it was pure bliss.
Feliciano would stop by with homemade pasta from his restaurant some nights, just to surprise you, and he had quickly become the best friend you had ever had. He explained one night, after a few glasses of cheap wine, that his twin brother had committed suicide a year ago because he felt overshadowed by Feliciano, and as the Italian sobbed into your shoulder, he swore that he would never forgive himself, because Lovino meant more to people then he could have ever known. After that night, the two of you had an understanding: if there were problems, that you would trust each other with them.
The guilt in your stomach worsened, twisting into a tight knot, at the thought of forcing Feliciano to believe that he had driven another person to suicide, but in the note you carefully placed next to you, secured by a large rock, it would explain. Sure, he would be sad, but you only knew him for a few months. He would move on.
You cast a glance at the note, eyes skimming the words and mind supplying the ones hidden by the stone.
To whom it may concern,
I’m sorry. There’s really nothing else that can be said. I just…I just can’t go on. It hurts. Not nearly as much as it did before, but enough.
My family is gone. My beautiful mother, my strong-willed father, my baby brother…all gone. I’m all alone. I miss them, more than I ever let on. But that’s not the only reason I’m gone.
I fell in love. I fell for the one person I knew could never return those feelings. One Mr. Ludwig Beilschmidt, the man who stopped me the first time I was going to jump off this blasted bridge, and the man who helped me get my life back together. I fell in love with him, and he would never feel the same way.
So I’m sorry. I’m sorry Feliciano, for leaving you behind. None of this is your fault, and I will haunt you if you say it is. Ludwig…I loved you.
With a long-suffering sigh, you loosened your grip on the railing and took that fateful step forward, gravity taking over and pulling you towards the churning sea beneath you. The wind tore through your hair as you slowly toppled forward, arms spread, completely at ease. You would finally have your peace.
Until something grabbed your wrist and nearly dislocated your arm in order to stop you from falling. You looked up, ready to break that hand, but instead you found yourself looking up at Ludwig. Cold, stoic Ludwig, who looked like he had gone through Hell and back, eyes wide and glistening with fear. That was the most emotion you had ever seen from him…until he started yelling.
“Vhat the hell is wrong vith you?!” he roared over the wind threatening to blow your hand from his grasp. “Vhat are you doing up here anyvays? Feli is going insane with worry!”
Somewhere in the back of your mind the words registered, but all you could think of was the fact that Ludwig was here. “What are you doing here…?” you called up, still confused.
“Vhat am I…?” he repeated, obviously angered, but before any more yelling could occur, you were being hauled up by several paramedics, who dragged you away from the ledge and from Ludwig, who had also been pulled up. He just watched you with a heartbreakingly hurt expression on his face. As they loaded you into an ambulance, you watched him reach over and pick up the note.
You sat in a hospital bed a few hours later after barely passing the state-ordered psychological evaluation, and after the doctors were certain that you would be okay, they said that you could have some visitor. So here you were, waiting for someone to come and visit.
Feliciano was the first one in the room. You could hear his frantic Italian babbling from a mile away, and the moment he saw you, he launched himself into one of his famous hugs.
“Why would you try this again, bella?” he wailed. “I thought that we had a deal, trust each other with everything, no?”
The guilt was worse than ever before as you embraced the sobbing man. “I’m sorry Feli-“ you tried to say, but he cut you off.
“No, no! Do you know how worried Luddy was? I have never seen him so worked up before!” You froze at his words, not daring to make any assumptions, Feliciano’s words going in one ear and out the other. You looked over Feliciano’s shoulder as Ludwig carefully entered the room, looking as calm and collected as usual. Foregoing the hug idea that Feli favored, he took a seat in the chair next to you and gently took your hand.
“Vhy?” was all he said, and it was all he needed to, and the tears began to drip down your face. “Vhy vould you do that, after everything that happened? Vhy would you vant to leave?”
“I-I-I-“ you stammered, trying to find the right words to justify what you were going to do, but there were none.
Ludwig continued. “My biggest question of all vould be: vhy did you think that I did not feel the same way?” Before letting you respond, he leaned over and pressed his lips to yours, and all thought left your mind.
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life