Seven

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"Mom, why would you keep this from me?" He sits at her side and grabs her hand.

"I didn't want you to worry baby." She coughs and sighs.

"I deserved to know, I could've been there for you more. I— Sam and I could've helped you out."

"Liam you've been the best son I could've asked for. I wouldn't change a thing about the last few years."

"Don't talk like that. You're gonna be okay mom." He swipes at his tears and lays his head on her lap.

"I want you to go to college Liam. Be kind to people and learn all you can. Meet a nice girl, be good to her. And don't do anything I wouldn't do."

He chuckles bitterly despite himself. "Mama, I don't want you to go."

"I'm not going just yet. I have life in me still. But I won't always be here. I want you to promise me you'll be good baby."

"I promise, I promise. Please don't go."

She starts coughing more and nurses come in to help adjust her. He's pulled from the sterile room and pushed into the hall. She wouldn't die today, but one day soon, she would.

"We'll be okay." His friend comforts.

"I won't be okay Sam. I need my mom." He sobs into his hands.

"People leave sometimes, all the more reason to hold on to everyone we can."

***

[Liam]

How long is it been since I stood outside her house? It's late, and the lights are out, but I know she's awake. Evie always has trouble sleeping, I just didn't know why before.

The faint glow of her lamp assures me she's up. I quietly push through the trees to the escape ladder. Gently I pull myself up the creaky rungs and slump on the roof.

I remember laying out here with her. She cuddled into my arm and pointed out the brightest stars, connecting them to make her own shapes.

I take a deep breath and tap on the window. I don't hear footsteps, so I tap a little louder. Sure enough I hear her.

"Hang on!" She calls.

I smile a bit. Her friends use the window so often she answers like it's the front door. I sit and try to relax my nerves.

Her fingers come into view as she unlatches the window. It slides up and she peeks her head out looking around.

"Hey," I say softly.

"Liam!" She jumps. Then I hear her fall down.

"Evie?" I swing in to see her laying a bit crumpled in the window seat. So this is her life. It can't be easy.

I sit beside her and hold her hand. Maybe it's more for me than her. I haven't actually touched her in a month. I just want to feel close to her again.

Her slow breathing brings my eyes to her face. I brush her hair away. I have no idea how long this lasts.

Pushing off the floor I search for a blanket in her closet. Flicking the light on, I head for the little pile of afghans. I flash of black leather catches my eye though.

My jacket.

I'd been looking for it. She had it all along? I guess it makes sense. I gave it to her to wear that day. I move to take it off the hanger, but a little bundle falls out. I bend to grab it and inhale sharply.

Her letters.

I sit and untie them. Tears prick my eyes and I swipe at them. How could I have forgotten about these? I thumb through them and settle on this.

Read when you know:

Liam,

I can only hope that you know because I told you myself. If not, I'm truly sorry. For so long I've held this secret in, my narcolepsy. It's so important to me that you know now, because I want you to be a part of my life. The thing is, I fall asleep whenever I'm scared or surprised. Pretty much any spike in my adrenaline. I hope you can understand. I hope you stay.

Since having you, it became painfully obvious that I didn't want to lose you. So I kept it from you. You deserve a normal girl. So if you stayed long enough to read this, thank you.

Love,
Evie

I sit back and lean my head against the wall. Bringing a hand to my mouth I curse myself. How could I have made her feel like she couldn't tell me. Why did I shame her for something she can't control?

I rip open the next letter with desperate fingers.

Read if something happens to us:

Liam,

I can't even imagine what could've happened to make me walk away from you. It must've been bad. But I know myself, I'm probably just being stubborn. Whatever's going on, we can fix it, together. If you bring me this letter, it's good for one honest conversation to talk about whatever happened.

If it's something we can't fix, just know that I do love you. The timing may just be wrong for us. I'm so glad I got even a piece of you for a little bit. You we're the brightest time in my life. Thank you for that. I hope this isn't goodbye.

Love,
Evie

"You found them." She stands in the doorway.

"Yeah, I guess I did." I sit for a moment.

"And?"

This is a turning point. Whatever I do next could make or break this fragile moment. I stand and set the letters down, walking to her.

"Can I please just hold you again. Just for a moment." I ask softly.

She nods and I pull her into my arms. I hold onto her tightly, resting my chin on her head. For a quiet moment we cling to each other, making up for the last month.

Evie squeezes me, burying her head in my chest. A rebellious tear slips from my eye.

"I miss you." I mumble.

"So do I." She pulls away and looks at me. "But Liam, we have a lot to talk about."

"Does that mean I can stay the night?" I smirk.

"Some things never change."

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