Tristan de-activated his tray. His appetite had chosen this moment to abandon him. The band continued playing, to the pleasure of the other passengers. The cellist faltered, and Tristan averted his gaze. He'd been staring enough to intimidate the poor girl. He looked at the window instead. Neither her nor her cello had done anything to him. Was he going to nurse a grudge against all musical instruments? No. He reserved the right to nurse a grudge against theremins, but that was his business.
Ziobe had always hated trains. She preferred slower modes of transportation for the scenery. Sitting on a train was a way of closing yourself off from reality. Boaz loved them. He admired the engineering and the infrastructure it took to keep them running.
She stood unsteadily from the seat, hand gripping the headrest tightly. Ziobe smiled back at him weakly.
"I'm stronger than I look, you know. It's just a bit of motion sickness."
She walked through the hallway, through the door in the back. Tristan put in his headphones and started his usual playlist for long rides.
The sudden crashing sound from the next car burst his bubble. He looked over his shoulder, wondering if Ziobe had seen what had happened. There was a figure leaning against the door to business class, the windowobscured by red. He rushed towards the door, along with the other passengers, now shrieking in fear. When one of the gawkers couldn't resist opening the door, Ziobe's corpse fell to the floor, theremin lodged in her skull. Tristan only smelled honeysuckle.
"I've really enjoyed this, you know. It's not that I want you out of my life. I just think a clean break is best for the both of us."
Boaz looked down at him with half a smile, like this was an awkward moment they could retell at a dinner party and not the worst moment of his life.
"I like you, Tristan, but you're always so protective. Nothing is going to happen to me when I go to work, and with you hovering like you do…"
The refreshment cart paused next to Tristan, humming. It wouldn't be able to pass while he was kneeling in the aisle. Not only had he completely miscalculated his proposal, he was holding up happy hour.
"I tried therapy, you know. Like Dr. Nussbaum said, gotta surrender yourself to the process…"
Boaz trailed off. One couple was not-so-discreetly recording them. It was exactly what he needed. His rejection would probably make the news.
"Tristan, I'm sorry."
Tristan closed his eyes, and focused on the fresh coffee sitting on the cart. This was, all told, one of the better ways to lose a loved one, no matter how much mocking would come out of it.