“Just two more days,” she said, bright blue eyes finding gilded gold. “Can you believe it?”
Katara reached across the center console, dodging the empty Starbucks cups and discarded food wrappers— the sustenance that’d gotten them through the day— and put her hand on his thigh. It was a familiar gesture, a common one, a move she always made when his fingers gripped the steering wheel and she chatted from the passenger seat.
Today, however, it felt… intimate… far more binding and surreal than she ever really expected. It had to be the wedding, Katara told herself, their wedding.
She shot Zuko a shy, happy smile. “I get to marry you,” then, a laugh bubbled up and her excitement burst at the seams. “In two days, Zuko. Two days and I’ll be yours and you’ll be mine. We’ll be—”
Katara nodded, both amused and warmed. A family. He saw a future with her, with their dog Druk, in their little home they’d just closed on an hour ago.
How many kids would they have? How many years would they be at the other’s side? How long would she have the privilege of loving him? Calling him her family?
The questions flicked through her mind, each one making her heart swell and tears rise. Happy tears. She was so excited.
Katara squeezed his leg tight, beaming at him when he glanced her way. A thousand images flashed before her eyes, her future with him, full of love and tenderness and hope.
Blinding headlights pulled her gaze to the road. It’d only been a second. Zuko was still on his side of the dotted yellow lines… but the other driver…
“Zuko, look out!!”
She shrieked and he swerved.
The rest— just a handful of seconds— played out in slow motion. She heard tires screech, heard Zuko grunt as he yanked the wheel to the right and the car jolted towards the shoulder. Maybe they would’ve been fine… if his fist on the horn had alerted the other driver… if the other car hadn’t clipped the tail end of their old Honda.
The car flipped. She heard metal creak and crush, glass shattering. She watched the world turn upside, watched the ground come rushing back.