FRANCESCA LOOKED AT HER friend and shivered. This was ridiculous and she should have put an end to this nonsense, but it was too late. She knew it was better not to argue with Eliza. She was in a fury as she rapidly turned the pages in an old book. For a minute, Francesca was sure that the book would tear. It was so old and the pages had become yellow and brittle.
"Eliza…" she started but Eliza pointed a finger at her. She was too busy to take notice of her as she read something in the book. Francesca waited patiently. This was wrong. Whatever was going on in Eliza's head was wrong. She shouldn't be doing this but she also knew what Eliza was going through. All she had in her mind was vendetta.
After what seemed like hours, Eliza finally got up and walked over to the very edge of the terrace.
"Eliza, please!" Francesca pleaded. "Have you thought of it? What if it doesn't go as planned?"
Eliza turned to glare at her. "I would do this if it works or not. You… just do as I told you. Promise?"
"Promise me Francesca!" Eliza screamed.
"I promise!" Francesca cried. "But won't you please reconsider? This is insane!"
"My mind is made up!" Eliza said and got up on the ledge.
Francesca's heart missed a beat and she felt her spine freeze up. If she were braver she would have pulled Eliza off the ledge and slapped her until she started to see some common sense. But Eliza was always the one who had the upper hand in the friendship. Francesca didn't know how this came about, but she always did whatever Eliza asked of her.
"Please!" she said, but it was only a whisper. Eliza was already reading something from the book. She wished now that she had never taught Eliza that language. She wished she had never become friends with her in the first place.
After reading the passage, Eliza turned to look at her. "I have done it. Now it's your turn. Keep your promise no matter what and wait for me."
Francesca started to feel tears stream down her face. "Please don't make me do this." She blubbered.
"Keep your promise." Eliza said sternly and looked away.
Francesca started to cry harder. She couldn't stop herself from crying no matter how hard she tried. Her vision was blurring but she could still make out Eliza preparing to jump. Francesca let out a loud sob. She wiped her eyes with her sleeve and stared at Eliza.
Eliza was nervous and she could tell from the way her hands clenched into tight fists and from the way that she could hear her breathing even from where she was standing.
And then it happened. One second, Eliza was standing on the ledge and staring down, the next there was nothing but an empty space.
Francesca's mouth opened in horror. It had happened and she couldn't stop it. The book, from which Eliza had read, lay open on the ledge with its pages fluttering wildly in the cold wind.
Francesca fell down on her knees. She was gone! She waited for a few minutes as it finally struck her. Her best friend was no more. She started to get up and realized that her calves had numbed. She had to get the book, but how could she do so without peering down and seeing Eliza's lifeless body.
But a promise was a promise. She always kept her promises no matter how peculiar they had been. Francesca forced herself up and almost yelped when she felt a cramp shoot up her calf. But she walked towards the ledge anyway. She reached out a hand so that she could grab the book quickly and get away from this place as soon as possible. As her fingers touched the pages of the book, she gasped.
The pages were old, but somehow she had still managed to cut herself on them. She sucked on her finger and with her other hand she reached out and grabbed the book. She closed it quickly and heard a loud bang. She almost jumped and then realized that it was so quiet up here that even her breathing seemed so loud. As she turned to go away, she suddenly stopped.
She closed her eyes and realized that she had to see. She just had to! Even if it was just for closure or to pay her last respects or whatever it was--she just had to see.
She walked over to the ledge and heard her heart beating loudly. She swallowed as her hands touched the smooth and cold ledge. She pulled herself towards the ledge and slowly peered down.
She expected to see her best friend sprawled on the ground in a pool of blood, but what she saw was astounding.
Eliza wasn't there--she had disappeared! She had seen her jump, and she had heard a thud as she had dropped below. Even if someone had taken her to the hospital, there would have been at least some commotion. Someone would have probably screamed or called a crowd of people.
Francesca turned away. It had worked! Whatever Eliza was up to, had worked. Now she would wait. She would wait and keep her promise.