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Jessica laid the knife aside on the nightstand, surprised at the slight trembling of her hand. She'd done this plenty of times before. Her throat felt tight, like a knot had formed in it.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. She cleaned the blood from his lip, and he closed his eyes, allowing it. "Are you all right?"
His breathing became steadier. "Finish it, Jessica. Don't wanna think about it." His dark hair fanned across his forehead, his swollen eyes shuttered, closed against her worry. His split cheek had reopened, and had begun to bleed again.
He looked like a fallen angel, Jessica thought. A once-beautiful, perfect angel who now lay before her, beaten and bruised. But not broken. He was too tough, too proud.
And still beautiful.
Through all the blood and bruises, Jessica could still see the dark planes and lines of his features, the tenacious set of his jaw. He opened his eyes slowly once more, and Jessica's breath caught at what she saw there. The pain in his ebony gaze was obvious, but beyond that, there was a concern she had never expected to see. He was worried for her, rather than himself. He was wondering if she could handle what she had to do for him.
She nodded. "All right, Marshal." She turned and walked to the fireplace, thrusting the knife into the fire.