She's sitting by him now, face buried in her hands—all tense lines and taut muscles—and if Livvy were here, she’d have taken that shot.
"I'll be fine," he says. It's a grunt, a groan, and Daniella's head shoots up.
"I'll be fine."
"Nothing I haven't broken before."
"Not all at the same time!"
Sunny closes his eyes. She's right.
Back then, he'd held the slicker over their heads as they dashed back to the house—what for? They were both already soaking wet, but it was The Thing To Do—and Livvy had caught that too, Daniella's boisterous grin and his shyly smitten smile a study in contrasts. It's like something for an advert, except neither of their clothes are Insta-worthy. He's still astounded at how good they looked together, and if it weren't for his tattered shirt and ragged jeans, maybe it would be perfect.
Daniella shifts. "Livvy's on her way."
"No. She's not to come."
"She can't just give up that photography project—"
"You're her only brother! You can't expect—"
"—do you know how hard it is to get an—"
"—her to stay away when you might—"
The silence is too awful, too empty, between them.
It isn't supposed to be warm today. It's supposed to be cold, dreary. There are rain clouds in the sky. They've been there all morning, but now it's noon and the sun has broken through. It strikes his face and she looks down.
How can the sun shine when it's dead?
Livvy's hands clench around her camera. Daniella's head is bowed over the coffin, her fingers splayed on the space over his chest. She's spent years documenting her brother's life in snapshots and this—an utter invasion of privacy, of grief, of pain—would be the crowning glory of her collection. But she can't. She drops her hands and steps into the room. Daniella turns and the look on her face makes Livvy's fingers itch. She won't.
Daniella flings her arms around her, the awkward bulk of the camera pressing between their ribs like the invasion it has always been. Neither had complained, yet Livvy carries her own guilt.
"I'm sorry," she whispers.
Daniella stares at her.
"What can I do to help?"
"You're his sister—"
"You're his widow." She can't stand around and accept condolences. She'd go crazy.
Her sister-in-law hesitates, her eyes flicking to the camera. "I don't want to—"
"I don't mind taking photos," Livvy interrupts, "if you don't mind the intrusion."
Daniella is standing again by his coffin and Livvy is backing away, fingers tense. There is light and symmetry and grief and beauty, so much beauty—a life made up of snapshots; moments in time preserved. Daniella's tears are the pain Livvy cannot express, so she takes another photograph in her endless quest to document what it means to live, love, and now, grieve.
Something from the recent-rejection pile.
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