Day Twelve: Lords A-Leaping
"You've been telling me for the past eleven days not to forget you, though."
Jeremy smiled, withdrawing a gloved hand from behind his blanket and gently touching Rachel's knee.
"We can't deny it, Rach. I'm not going to be around." Rachel frowned and stared at the ground, feeling her chest tighten. "But I want you to be happy. I want you to remember all the things we've shared, but I also want you to get out there, you know? Get a bunch of rugrats to keep you busy. Write that book you've been talking about. Do something crazy."
Rachel looked up and stared at her husband. She frowned and sighed, feeling congested from the tears beginning to clog her sinuses. She squeezed his hand, convincing herself to commit to memory exactly how his hand felt pressed firmly against hers. Closing her eyes, she felt tears begin to stream down her face.
"I'm going to miss you so much," she whispered.
Opening her eyes, she was taken aback by her husband's equally somber face. Bracing himself against his wheelchair, he maneuvered himself up and situated himself next to her on the ledge of the roof. Their eyes locked, sending a jolt to Rachel's heart, and they kissed. Jeremy's arms fell around her shoulders, but the embrace felt heart-achingly weak. Rachel inhaled, finally able to catch one whiff of Jeremy.
"I have to go."
The words were barely able to escape Rachel's throat, and they stung as they passed her tongue. She didn't want to leave him, especially not being able to know whether she would ever feel his arms around her again. But she knew it was inevitable. Looking into Jeremy's eyes, he seemed to look pleased, and he nodded when she rose to her feet. When she offered him a hand to help him back into his wheelchair, he shook his head.
"I'm going to stay here for a little while," he said.
Rachel nodded without wanting to nod and found herself walking back towards the staircase. Jeremy remained by the ledge and watched her go, and felt his muscles twitch when she stole one last look over her shoulder before she disappeared behind the door. His fingers squirmed inside his gloves as he tried figuring out whether she knew. He bowed his head and forced the idea out of his mind. Grunting, he swung his legs over the other side of the ledge. One of his slippers flew off in the process and cascaded down five stories, landing with a faint thud on the frozen lawn.
Jeremy found himself smiling as he rubbed his fingers across the cold concrete. It was the last he would ever feel of St. Christopher's Hospice, and he found himself perfectly okay with all of this. He nudged himself closer and closer to the edge.