So this is my first Bonnie and Clyde story . . . I figured the best way to cope with the fact that we'll never see the musical live was to write about it. :) I'm not 100% sure of the characterization, but I did my best, so let me know what you think!
Standard disclaimers apply. I own only my computer, and even that is conditional.
The stars in the sky are shining brightly enough to cast light on the leaves of the few trees nearby, making them shimmer in the night as they blow back and forth in the light breeze. It's cooler than usual, too, and the air feels less hot and dusty than she's used to. The effect is picturesque, like a scene that might be seen in a movie. Like the kind Bonnie once dreamed she'd be framed by as she smiled before the camera.
She leans against the porch railing, the wind blowing her curls around her shoulders. It's easy to pretend she's someone else in the near darkness, a Hollywood star whose biggest concern is her next role rather than her next robbery and subsequent escape. There is nothing around to pass judgement on her now, just those trees rustling gently.
She sighs. For this moment, far from the police and with her wild partner-in-crime fast asleep, she's at peace.
Only he's not asleep anymore. The door bangs open and Clyde barrels out, eyes wide. He comes to a stop before her, hands gripping at her arms a little rougher than she's used to.
"Something the matter, baby?" Her voice cracks a little, rusty from disuse. They didn't really talked much the previous evening, and his dramatic shift in attitude from then to now has scared her a little.
Clyde shakes himself visibly, blinking at something behind her. He doesn't make eye contact, as if afraid looking at her will make her disappear. "You weren't in bed."
She shrugs. "Couldn't sleep, I guess." Her eyebrow raises as she studies him curiously. "What's wrong? Clyde? You're scaring me."
He's shuddering now, his breathing heavy. She's never seen him like this, not even after he killed the man who pulled the gun on him. She'd take that shaken silence and anger over this raw fear any day. When he finally speaks, his voice is a hoarse whisper. "I thought you left me."
"Oh, baby." She cups his face with her hand, forcing him to meet her eyes. His are shining in the same starlight she had been admiring minutes before, and she thinks maybe there are tears gathering on his lashes. She grips his hand tightly. "I'm still here."
His hands still in hers, he lowers himself to sit at the edge of the porch, pulling her down onto him. He holds her close, his hands running over her back before settling around her waist. She can feel his heartbeat through his shirt, and it's racing. Maybe she should be worried, but she can't help but feel flattered he cares this much. That he loves her so much the idea of her leaving leaves him coming undone.
"Bonnie." There's still a note of panic in his voice that her quiet assurances haven't been able to erase. She snuggles deeper into his arms.
"I mean it, Clyde. I ain't leaving you. Not ever."
Only then does he relax, and only slightly.
"The thing is, Bonnie," he mumbles, still not content, "what if you ain't got no choice?"
"What do you mean?" There's always a choice, even if she doesn't always choose the right one. But when it comes to Clyde, she would. Always. "Even if they catch us, if they take you back to jail, I'll be there waiting. They can't keep me from visiting, can they?"
She smiles at him sweetly, confidently, letting her hands come up to twist into his hair. Yet he still doesn't smile back, turning his face away and shifting her so she's sitting beside him rather than on his lap.
"Bonnie," he says seriously. "I ain't been sleeping too good lately."
She frowns. "Is this because of that man? I already forgave you. I'd rather you lived than him." She doesn't like the idea of him being a murderer, but she likes the idea of him being dead even less. It's not like he had a choice in the end. By pulling a gun, that man effectively sealed his own fate.
"I don't see him when I close my eyes, Bonnie," Clyde admits with the air of someone revealing something very unpleasant. She frowns at him, both in suspicion (she thinks he's at least half-lying) and in confusion. He thinks he's hidden it, but she knows the murder of that man tore him up. If he isn't haunted by that, what could be worse that's taken over his dreams?
"Then why are you having nightmares?" she asks gently. "Are they about what happened in the jail? We can talk about it . . ."
He shakes his head violently. "They're about you."
She laughs delightedly, then claps a hand over her mouth because she doesn't want him to get offended. She's still smiling underneath, though. He is so in love. "I ain't leaving you, Clyde. I promised, and I won't break a promise. You're stuck with me."
"The nightmares ain't about you leaving. He grips her tighter and stares at her with an intensity that unnerves her. "Well, some of them are. But the ones that keep me up – the worst ones – are when you stay."
"But you want me to stay," she points out, confused. He loves her. He wrote a song about her, for God's sake. If he doesn't want her, why would he do that?
Clyde lets go, crossing his arms defensively across his chest. "I do, sugar. Of course I do. But I'm selfish."
"Me, too." She tries to pull him in for a kiss. But he doesn't oblige, and she pouts. "We can be selfish together"
"Listen, Bonnie," he says, then pauses, wetting his lips with his tongue. Lord, she wants that kiss. "If they catch us–"
"When they catch us." She thought she's made it perfectly clear that their end is inevitable and undebatable. Better to die now together than any other time alone. She's not even scared. "Everything'll work out, baby. When we die, we die. No use worrying about that."
Clyde jumps to his feet, yanking her up with him, and not very gently. She swats at his hands, but he ignores her. "I do worry about it, babe. I dream about you dying. And I don't want it to happen."
She's still rather flattered, but a touch of annoyance colors her mood now. What a fine time for him to develop a hint of a conscience. He couldn't have decided life as a fugitive wasn't worth nice clothes and notoriety before their reputations ruined their chances of jobs and real lives? Of any life at all once the law finally catches up to them?
"Ain't much you can do about that now, baby." Her tone is slightly cold.
He looks away. "I know that." Maybe it's the lighting, or some sort of strange nighttime mood that's an effect of the nightmare and the late hour, but he really does look troubled. His usually carefree attitude is gone. "I pretend I don't, but I do."
Softening, she brushes his hair off his forehead and smiles. "Death ain't nothing to be afraid of, Clyde."
"I know." His voice is hard. "I've already lived through worse. Hell can't compare to that goddamn prison. But seeing you dead – I don't think I could live through that."
"You won't have to," she assures him. "Not for long, anyway."
He sighs. "Maybe I won't have to at all. Maybe I'll go first."
Now she's mad, and she twists away from him to achieve a more dramatic distance to shout at him from. "Don't say that, Clyde Barrow. Don't you even say that."
He raises his hands in surrender. She wonders distantly if it should make her so proud that she terrifies him. "Bonnie–"
"You will not make me live without you, even for a second. Promise me that." Just because she pretends everything is fine doesn't mean she doesn't have fears too, and this is the worst of all. "After all I've done for you – hell, baby, I'm gonna die for you in the end – you owe me that much."
"Okay, sugar," he says. "Okay."
Her glare is icy, in stark contrast to her fiery hair. "Promise."
He chuckles weakly. "Okay, Bonnie. I promise."
"You mean it?"
"I mean it."
"Good." He's already forgiven, and she approaches him once more, still bent on getting a kiss. She stands up on tiptoes, stretching towards him desperately. And this time, he leans down to meet her, pressing his lips against hers. She smiles against him. She is content again.
When it's just the two of them, it's easy to forget that they're fugitives running from the law, who rob banks and end lives in their spare time. Right now they're just Bonnie and Clyde, the public image stripped away to leave behind only the lovestruck, innocent, desperate kids who had to change to face what they couldn't change about the world. They're the couple she always dreamed she would be one half of, when she wasn't dreaming about Hollywood and becoming the new "it" girl.
But this life isn't so bad either, when it comes down to it. She's still famous in a way, she's got her poems printed in the papers, and she's in the arms of her love. No, this isn't so bad at all.
"I mean it, baby," she says between kisses when she gets her breath back. Clyde should be as happy as she is. "Don't worry about me."
"Okay," he sighs, his hands dropping lower.
"You think you could sleep now?" she whispers breathlessly. He laughs against her neck, where he's pressing more gentle kisses.
"Maybe in a bit," he says, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
She agrees, and holding hands, they slowly make their way back inside.
Like I said, let me know what you think! Reviews are confidence-boosters, even if it's constructive criticism . . . I won't be offended if you let me know how to make this better! I'll reply to any reviews I get, and I appreciate even the smallest comment. If you have anything else you'd like to see, just let me know and I'll make it happen. :)
Thanks for reading!