It could have been different.
Theyd met when she was five and he was seven, and shed just started school. It had taken Jesse until second term to finally face her and when he did she was sitting in the tanbark, skin off her knees and giant blue eyes bubbling with unshed tears. When he held out his hand she took it, ignoring the bruised bullies scampering away and simply smiling her thanks, a sad yet welcoming smile that seemed to sum her up with no words being said: Tracita.
Most people didnt like it but at that age you dont care. She followed him around when he was running his jobs, errands for teachers and selling homework to the other students. Not a word of condemnation passed her eyes as she watched, a silent shadow. He let her put ribbons in his hair (though stubbornly refused the dresses), and sat down to tea among teddy-bears and fancy dolls. He never said no, simply mimed his sipping as she fed Mr Pantaloons a cookie shed baked herself.
After ten he changed and she was gone. If she hadnt have gone he might not have changed. The ribbons and bows would have been politely declined but Jesse would never have said no to her homemade cookies. She might not have followed him as devoutly, but Tracita would have always been close at hand whenever he needed her. They would have gone from casual clothes to school uniforms and he would have felt guilty for noticing her new curves and wishing her skirt was just a little shorter. Perhaps he would have broken her heart in a moment of teenage stupidity and insensitivity because shed never say anything no matter how she felt. Of course theyd make it up later because he could read her like a book and she could never stay away from him for long. She was a terrible actress. His apologies would be broken and unfinished but shed forgive him anyway. Tracita always knew.
Hed swallow his pride and follow her after school, because you could study business anywhere and she had dreams of a city yet couldnt bare to leave him. Holding her back was a punishable offence in his eyes and he wouldnt be guilty again. Theyd move in together as if he could deal with another roommate and would move on from University into stable jobs and earn a stable income. When she was twenty-five and he twenty-seven, hed ask her to marry him. No words would have to be said.
Theyd lost each other when she was eight and he was ten. Twelve years later he found her across the battlefield, friends with his next victim and unable to recognise him. It was so fucked up that he should have laughed, but he wasnt the type anymore and she looked so beautifully confused that the urge to cradle her to his breast was almost overwhelming when he ignored it. He was worse than ever and could feel the blood of every man hed killed beneath his nails while shed slipped into the maternal role that came with growing up too quickly. She was twenty-one and he was twenty-three and he had changed for the worse, but when hed talked his way into their group and she finally, finally relaxed into his arms, he found that it didnt matter. They were still Tracita and Jesse.