(Ime's given me the thumbs up here.)
In the time between Regina stomping her boot and the club hitting her in the head, Paisley felt... calm. Strangely calm. Was she about to die? Probably. It was appropriate, really. Screwing up and getting killed. Everything slowed to a crawl and suddenly Paisley thought about Genevieve. Really thought about Genevieve. About how she shot her and how easy it was.
Gameplay; strategy; accident; common sense; none of those had anything to do with it. She shot Gene because Pia hesitated. She shot two people for no discernible reason and yet when faced with someone with a grudge, she froze. Paisley genuinely thought Genevieve was going to do something. Maybe not kill Pia. Gene was probably planning to just yell at her. Maybe slap Pia, then walk off. That never occurred to Paisley. She wondered if Genevieve was a good person. Could they have been friends? That was hindsight though; at the time, friendship was off the table. Genevieve was a threat and Paisley was afraid. All Paisley could think of was Pia, Tucker, Marcus, anyone other than herself.
Did Paisley mean to kill her? Because she did kill her, technically speaking. Christ, she can't even remember. It felt so long ago! Paisley didn't want to kill anyone! She was more sure of that than Maybe that made it all the more easier to brush under the rug. Genevieve was buried under a thousand different thoughts and Paisley did not want to even think about her. But what she did know, what crushed her and turned her to shreds, was how she felt after she shot Genevieve. She did not feel remorse. She felt pity but not regret or guilt. Because she did it. She saved Pia; for a brief millisecond, Paisley honestly believed that she saved her best friend.
"We're a team," she told herself. "We'll work together and find a way to go back home."
Then Pia turned to her and looked her dead in the eye and lecture her about the "mess" she made. Paisley proceeded to shove the guilt onto her best friend. Why was that?
Because she was right. Pia, Pia was right. Paisley did not help. She made things more complicated than they needed to be. Pia was carrying all of the weight.
But it wasn't just that, was it? No, story of her fucking life. Just hang back, Paisley. Do you think you can look after Ivy, Paisley? Can you help me with my homework, Paisley? Did you really skip class to go to the library, Paisley? That doesn't sound like the Paisley I know, Paisley! You're a good girl, Paisley! Just a cute, innocent kid, Paisley! That's why you You can't do it alone Paisley! You certainly can't kill anyone on your own Paisley! Even the girl with the limp has more fight than you Paisley! This is why Eli abandoned you Paisley! You had Regina in the palm of her hand Paisley! She served herself to you like a T-Bone Steak and you still couldn't seal the fucking deal Paisley!
This is why Pia abandoned you, Paisley. This is why Eli abandoned you, Paisley.
You pathetic waste.
So, so stupid.
Stupid, but lucky.
The club clipped her chin, more graze than clunk. Even so, the force from the blow alone made her head spin. It made her gasp, it burned with a fire Paisley could not adequately describe but she knew it would leave a horrendous bruise. But Paisley didn't think of that, no, all logic and rationality shut off and all that was left was fear and anger and confusion over why she wasn't dead. She knew warning Regina was a big mistake. But Paisley had to apologize, she just had to, she did not want to kill Regina, she just needed Regina, no, she didn't need Regina, she just needed to kill her, she just had to, she had to kill her, she had to, she just had to.
Regina's arm was still outstretched, stretched above Paisley's right shoulder. The club was still in her fingers. Paisley grabbed her arm, squeezed, then turned, all at once. She put all of her weight into her front foot then pushed the rest of her body back. Her butt bumped Regina's hip, and Regina's arm was in a death vice; like a bloodthirsty Chinese finger trap and twice as painful. There was no time to think, no time to second guess. She bent forward. Squatting, ankles dipping, body screaming, Paisley went in for the take down. With ever ounce of strength in her entire body, Paisley jerked forward and threw Regina over her shoulder.
She knew everything like the back of her hand. She knew she needed pull Regina forward and lift herself from the squat at the exact same time. She knew she had to put her hip into it, to roll Regina off of that instead of her back because there was no chance Regina could recover. Paisley also knew to put her weight into her back foot so Regina would fall straight down, from arm height instead of hip height. And she knew not to let go of Regina's arm until she hit the ground.
It went smoothly. Textbook. Perfect. But there was no grace. Mindless. Punctuated only by a guttural, inhuman scream, like some barbarian. Like a monster.
Paisley did not consider any of this. Neither did she give Regina a second to recover. The girl pounced, one hand clutching Regina's club, the other covering her mouth. Her knee pressed into Regina's stomach, because with her bad leg she knew she would not be able to weasel out. But she still struggled. Something about that made her snap.
"Regina!" Paisley snarled, "Don't make this harder than it needs to be!"
Paisley wasn't sure if Regina knew who she was. She may have been friends with Pia, sure, but the same could not be said about Paisley. She didn't exactly have the inclination to ask, either.
Regardless, Regina would be hard pressed to recognize the girl on top of her. Her attacker did not look like Paisley. They did not sound like Paisley. The voice was hers, the face was hers, sure. But her tone, her expression, it was all wrong, it wasn't Paisley Hopkins, Paisley Hopkins did not look like that, Paisley Hopkins was a nice girl, she couldn't kill anyone! This couldn't be Paisley Hopkins. No way. Who is this impostor?
Then again, how could Regina possibly understand? The why's and how's? She did not have the luxury of playing twenty questions with Paisley Hopkins. All she could gather was the look on her face. Her intentions, her context, her story, none of it was obvious from her expression.
But what Regina could gather though, what she could read plainly on Paisley's face?
That there would be no compromises and she would not be finding sanctuary in Paisley Hopkins's eyes.
She lost the knife in the time it took to take Regina down. It was lost somewhere in the snow - Jesus, nothing was ever simple, was it? Life just seemed to relish in giving Paisley headaches! So the glass shard was out. The club would have to do. Ignoring the nails digging into her arm, she brought the heel of her other leg down on Regina's bad leg. In the split second of shock, Paisley wrenched the Nulla Nulla from Regina, hand still covering her mouth.
That was the end. Paisley was finished. No more talk, no more plans, no more apologies. She'd pray when she got home. Just plop down at the foot of her bed and pray and pray and pray. God would forgive her. He'd have to, surely he understood. She tried to be good, she really did. Until then, she would pray to no one and think of no one but her family.
Paisley lifted the club, thought about ice cream and brought it down on Regina's face. She threw her arm up again, thought about Ivy sharing Neapolitan, then hit Regina again.
She didn't care how many she needed. She just had to.