Chapter 1

Jana came in and sat down at the table across from me. I was nursing my first coffee of the day. It had been a sleepless night for me. Again, last night was a night without sex. Was I going to get an apology this time or a defiant explanation?

Jana and I had been married three years, come this Saturday. The first two years had been wonderful. It was all that a happy married life could be. That ceased when I suggested that we should start having a family. No way was that going to happen according to her. Jana Burns had come from a large family--seven siblings to be exact, of which she was the youngest. It was a very poor family and Jana had been the one on the end of the line that wore the worn out hand-me-downs. Not only that, but by this time her mother was worn out too. Her older sisters and brothers left the nest as soon as possible, leaving her to take care of the house, two older brothers, a sick mother and a father that had decided to drown his troubles in beer and wine.

At sixteen she ran away but was returned by social services. In a way that was the saving of her, for she realized that if she was ever going to escape, she was going to need an education. So she worked and studied hard and graduated from high school near the top of her class. She had never been on a date. First of all because there was never the time and second because she didn't have the clothes. All of her schoolmates considered her an angry loner and not worth the effort to get to know the true person within.

She found work in the local grocery chain and applied herself. Most of her money went for food for her family. Relief came when her mother died of pneumonia and her father was killed in a bar fight a month later. The two brothers wanted her to continue to care for them. Neither one was ambitious and never contributed to the household. The evening that they approached her, she agreed to think it over. The answer of course was to pack what few personal items she could lay claim to and walk out the door while they were sleeping.

Me, well in some ways my life paralleled hers, but only in the fact that I came from a large family. My family was a loving one and everyone worked. Even though funds were always short, we made do and saw that what little we had was shared. Jana and I met when I sat down beside her on a bus we were riding. Both of us were shy at first, but as the miles piled up behind us we started to talk. "My name is Jana Burns."

"Mine is Rick Brooks. Where are you headed?"

"I don't know, really. I handed the agent $95 and asked for a ticket to as far as that would take me. He said it was a little town in Idaho. If I wanted a bigger place, I should get off in Boise."

"I'm heading to Boise to live with my sister and her family. You and I will be together that far. I have a job there in my brother-in-law Sam's construction company." Slowly Jana's life story came out. It was sad for me to listen to it. Mine had been so happy, and hers was filled with heartbreak. I was almost twenty and Jana was about the same age. She stepped down with me at the bus station for a minute. I was waiting for my sister Ann, who was meeting me.

We were talking with our heads close together and I didn't see my sister as she came up to me. She overheard me say to Jana that I hoped her life would be better in the future than it had been in the past. Ann poked me in the ribs to get my attention.

I turned and she was in my arms. We kissed and hugged for it had been two years since I had seen her. I think Jana was shocked for my sister and I kissed on the lips. Our family had always been demonstrative and this was the way we were raised. Ann stood back so I could look at her. I walked around her. "Well, your butt has gotten bigger since I saw you last and the way your tummy sticks out, it looks like you and Sam have been having fun again. You keep filling those jugs with milk every other year and they will be hanging down to your knees. God Sis, it's good to see you." I reached over and rubbed her tummy. "About four more months, right? Have you told Mom yet?"

"No, I wanted to surprise you so I haven't. I'm going to call her tonight and tell her about it and that you got here all right. Who's your friend?"

"This is Jana. We were seatmates most of the way here. She's looking for work here in the city or in the next town. Jana, this is my favorite sister, Ann."

"Hi Ann."

"Do you have a place to stay tonight?" Jana shook her head. "Why don't you come and have supper with us? You can even stay the night if you want. That is if Rick doesn't mind sleeping on the couch."

"Oh I couldn't."

I spoke. "Sure you can. You can see just what kind of crazy family I have. It'll be fun." Filled with uncertainty, Jana acquiesced and retrieved her bag from the bus just as it was getting ready to leave.

It was a couple of miles before we reached Sam's construction office. "This is where I will be working," I explained to Jana. He was off at a job site somewhere, so we continued on to the Becket home.

We met the neighbor lady who had been watching my niece and two nephews while Ann picked me up. "Ann, you got some crazy kids there." She was smiling when she said this. "They were all good, though. I wish mine minded like yours do. Lucky you." When I went in the three little ones landed on me. The youngest boy at two and a half, Tim, had been suckling at Ann's breast when I had last seen him. Didn't matter for he piled on me with Tom, four, and Phyllis, aged eight.

They wrestled me to the floor and I tickled them while they screamed. When it got too loud Ann said, "Stop." The kids immediately got up and sat on the couch. Jana was introduced. The boys were quiet, but Philly went and spoke very formally about how pleased she was to meet a friend of Uncle Rick's.


Jana was there for the night and then for the week and then for the month. Six months later I made her my wife. We started married life in a construction trailer parked behind Sam and Ann's house, spending much of our time with them at the house. When we had been married for a year, we purchased a small house in one of the developments that was springing up. Sam Becket had the contract for building all of them at this particular location.

I started thinking family now that we were finally living away from my sister. I was lonely and missed the camaraderie that I had with Sam, four kids and Ann. Jana didn't overtly put it off, just asking to wait for awhile. Loving Jana as I did, I agreed to accept it for a time, but made sure that we talked about having a family every month or so. To stop my insistence she said okay and said she had stopped taking precautions. This made almost every night a happy night for me. It seemed to be for Jana also, for our times in bed were sweet, although she was somewhat reserved.

Months went by and Jana never became pregnant. One morning early, I needed to use her car, so went to her handbag for keys. As I was short of time I felt around in it and couldn't feel keys so I dumped it on the kitchen table. Out tumbled two prescriptions for birth control pills. I stared at them. They were filled recently and overlapped so she would be sure not to run out. I took the keys and went to work, leaving the jumble of contents from her bag just as I had dumped it.

I walked in the house that evening and Jana was at the table with the contents of her bag just as I had left it. "You know now why I'm not pregnant, don't you? I'm sorry Rick."

"Just tell me why you are so dead set against starting a family."

"I have bad genes. Look at where I come from. I love you and we have a good sex life."

"I wish we had this conversation before I asked you to marry me. I feel as if I have been had. Sex is good, but I must confess it takes a lot to get you to relax and enjoy it."

"I know Rick, and I'm sorry. I just love you so much. You have a large family, why can't that be enough? You have dozens of nieces and nephews."

"Would you consider adoption?"

"No, that would be worse. Who knows what genes they would have? They might even have some of my own and I wouldn't know it. Maybe we should divorce."

"You know my thoughts about divorce and you knew them before we married. No!"

"So what can we do? Can't we just go on like we have been?"

"I don't know. I'll try. We have both lost the trust and honesty I thought we had." Jana put her head down and tears puddled on the table. I had never been more disappointed than I was right now.

Ann immediately knew that something was wrong when we went for our weekly get-together. After supper that night, I took Jana home and returned and discussed it with my sister. Ann partially took Jana's side, which surprised me. "Rick, giving birth is a fearful thing, if that is her problem. I don't believe in her fear of bad genes. Your kids are what you make of them. Maybe that is her problem."

"What should I do then? I wanted a family much like you have."

"Well don't do anything drastic without thinking it through. I have never seen a person love another like she does you."

"I'm terribly disappointed, but I will see if I can get over it."

"That would be best."

When I got home to Jana she asked, "Did your family trash me?"

"No, in fact Ann can see your side of some of it. Your excuse about genes she doesn't believe, for she says your kids are what you make them. Are you that afraid of having a baby?"

"I can't answer that. Just the thought of it and I'm petrified. You want me to get pregnant just to see what it is going to do to me?"

Jana was staring at me with a fearful look, waiting for my answer. "No I won't do that to you." I pulled her to her feet and hugged her. Our tears mingled and we shortly made our way to bed. Tonight I didn't attempt to make love.

A week went by. "Jana, would you do one thing for me?"

"Anything, you know that. Well, except, you know. What is it?"

"Would you go with me to a doctor and find out if you are unable to have a child? If he tells me there might be any danger to you, I can accept that. I mean you are tall and very slim, so it is a possibility. Most people think the ideal woman has a fat ass and big boobs." This brought the first smile from my wife since last week. Thin shanks and pancakes were a more apt description of my wife.

My suggestion only made our problem worse. The doctor's report said that Jana had an ideal wide pelvic childbearing region and her breasts would fill adequately with milk, although they would shrink down again.

A week later I was sitting down nursing my first coffee of the morning when Jana came in and sat across from me. No sex last night as was usual now. She appeared ready to say something. I wondered if it would be another apology or some defiant words about it. I had to face the fact it was her body and she should not have to have a baby if she didn't want one.

"Rick, I've decided that you and I should separate if you don't want to consider a divorce. My beliefs are as strong as ever and I'm sure yours are too. We are tearing each other up. I think you love me as much as I love you. You feel I put one over on you about my not wanting children. I honestly thought I would get over my fears, but as you know, they have grown stronger.

"With my problem, you know I am always going to be faithful to you. I will not hold you to the same standard. It wouldn't be fair. If you find someone you can have sex or love without being married to, I give you my permission. This way you may be able to have a somewhat normal life. I have the separation papers all made out. You only have to sign them."

"Is this what you honestly want?"

"No, of course not. I want things back the way they were before you found my birth control pills. I can see you feel there is no use to make love to me if there is no possible way I can get pregnant. I guess we can't go back. You have been cheated long enough." It was a long frustrating month before I gave up and signed the separation papers.


Jana was prepared to move out, but I convinced her that it should be me. I could find a place to settle into much easier than her. Finances weren't much of a stumbling block as we were only separating. Both of us were working, she in a large convenience store and if I left working for Sam, I could find another position easily enough. I promised I would send half the mortgage to Jana. I left her our car and bought a fifty-dollar-junker-pickup from Sam's construction.

I turned east with a few hundred bucks in my pocket and no destination. I thought back. This was the same position as Jana was in when I first met her. I ended up the first day in a coal mining town in Wyoming. A new strip mine had just been opened and workers were pouring in. I knew there would be jobs everywhere, some in my line of work. It might not pay as well as working in the mine, but would be a lot more comfortable. I had a job with a construction company and was working before noon the next day. Quarters were at a premium, but I managed to find a room five miles out of town. The house was owned by a widow of forty and money was very tight. She had two young daughters, thirteen and fifteen.

I was soon taking my meals and spending evenings helping with homework, etc. The mother, Velma, had been beautiful at one time, but widowhood and the cares of raising two children had beat her down. I had been there about a year when one evening after the girls had gone to bed she knocked on my door. "Rick, would you come out and let me ask you something?"

"Sure, I'll be right out." I went out and followed Velma into the living room.

"Rick, I have a problem. I've known you for a year and there isn't anyone I trust more than you with my daughters. Sandy has just turned sixteen and is beginning to be a handful with boys and all. Katie is fourteen and is growing up almost as fast as Sandy. They listen to you more than to me sometimes." She paused before continuing, "There is no easy way to tell you my problem. I only have a few months to live. The girls don't know it yet and I haven't figured out how to tell them. If you would become their guardian, it would give them something to hang onto instead of feeling they were all alone in the world.

"I don't have any close relatives and all of my husband's family are dead as far as I know. I need a guardian for the girls. I've talked to an attorney and he says this can be done without too much trouble. You talk a lot about your wife and I know you are not together. Is there any reason why a court would stop your guardianship from being put in place? I mean what is the difficulty between you and your wife?" I knew she wasn't prying for herself, but for her daughters. "If this is too personal or painful, I'm sorry."

"No, under the circumstances, I'll explain. My wife and I still love each other very much. She has a phobia about being pregnant and having a baby. She is wonderful with my sister's bunch of four. I don't believe in divorce, so that is why we are apart. I can't sleep with her every night, have sex with her and know it won't produce any children. It is a catch twenty-two."

Velma looked at me as if I was crazy. "And I suppose after she is beyond childbearing age, you won't sleep with her for the same reason? You're a fool Rick unless you really don't love her?" Again this was a question.

I bowed my head. This is something I hadn't thought about. It came to me with a rush what a damned conceited fool I was. Jana had an honest problem that terrified her and I was thinking only of myself. "Velma, as far as being a guardian to Sandy and Katie are concerned, it will be an honor to look after them. Also you have opened my eyes to what an ass I have been to my wife. It is late, but I think I will call her right now."

"Hello. It's late."

"Jana, it's me. I'm calling to tell you I love you. Do you still love me?"

"Yes Rick, I still love you. Why are you calling tonight? Are you in trouble?"

"No, but a friend of mine is. I'd like to help her out, but I would need your cooperation."

Jana didn't say anything for a minute. "I suspect it is something to do with a child, knowing your fixation about having kids." This crushed me. Jana hadn't got beyond our original problem at all.

"Would you let me tell you about the problem before you put up objections?"

"I guess. Go ahead."

"Okay, but first let me tell you how much I have missed you. There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought about you. I've puzzled every day how we could resolve our differences. That said, I moved into an extra room that a widow had for rent. She needed the money and I needed a place to live. She informed me tonight that she has absolutely no family except her two daughters, whom I have become almost a father figure to. She found out today that she has inoperable cancer. She has asked me to be their guardian until they become of age."

"And of course you have said yes, haven't you? You know my feelings on the subject. Why did you call me? You just want to upset me again?"

"No, I didn't. This friend of mine asked me a question that has made me think. She asked me if when you were beyond childbearing age, was I going to stop loving you because you couldn't have a baby. I didn't get to it before this other, but I was going to tell you I could consider you were beyond childbearing age right now. I find I still love you and don't care that you won't or can't have a baby. I love you. Those are my feelings, changed as they are."

I kept talking. "Now as far as my friend's children. They need someone to watch over them. This lady is going to have a rough time before she goes to heaven and her girls are going to have a bad time with it, for they love their mother very much and are going to miss her. It is going to be a bad few months for me as well. A person always has too few friends and I'm going to miss this one greatly when she leaves.

"I'm sorry to have upset you. It is late and I have to work tomorrow. I have a lot to think about concerning how I'm going to handle this. I love you." I hung up the phone and turned. Velma had been in the room all the time and heard everything.

"You were a bit hard on your wife. I'm sorry for that. Does this make things worse for you?"

"Not really. Jana has always been paranoid about this. We should never have been married and wouldn't have been if I had known. I think I made a big concession tonight."

"How come you haven't divorced and each moved on?"

"I don't believe in divorce and that is something Jana knew when we married. That is why I feel I have been cheated when she says no babies and no adoption. Being a guardian to Sandy and Katie will be almost the same as having children and I will care for them as I would as if they were my own. Jana would make them a wonderful sister, but I don't suppose that will ever happen."

"Keep the faith and maybe you can find some common ground. Maybe I should look for a different solution."

"No, please don't do that. If Jana and I can't work this out, I'll need Sandy and Katie as much as they need me."

There was a flurry of activity between Velma and I. We met twice with Velma's attorney and twice with social services. Finally I signed the papers that made me officially a guardian of Sandy and Katie with the ability to act on their behalf in all matters. That Sunday after dinner Velma broke the sad news to them. The only bright spot for them was when she announced that I was their guardian and would act much like a father would, if they wished. They did. There were more than enough tears and I don't suppose those would dry up until afterVelma was laid to rest.

Ann called later one evening looking for information about my guardianship to a couple of kids. Jana had been over several times to see if she could find out if Ann knew any details. At first it was "What was I thinking?" and then when I was able to explain fully, she congratulated me on doing the only thing possible. My sister was really excited when I declared that the papers had already been signed.

I promised to send a lot of pictures and I said just as soon as school was out all of us would come and visit if Velma was still able to travel. Before she hung up Jana took the phone. "Rick, I gather you've already done this thing?"

"Yes. Their mother and I told them this afternoon. It is pretty sad around here."

"Does this mean I have to care for them if you and I get back to living together?"

"Not if you don't want them. They are old enough to live close by where I can be with them and hire a nanny part of the time."

"That's going to cost money isn't it?"

"Yes, but there will be some insurance money. Enough maybe to keep them until they reach eighteen."

"How old are they anyway? You have never said."

"You haven't asked. Sandy is sixteen and Katie is fourteen."

"I didn't realize they were that old. Are they pretty?"

"Very pretty. Sandy looks much like Ann did at that age. Ask her to dig out her school picture and it is almost a perfect image of Sandy. Katie is going to be truly beautiful. Not only that, their mother has done a fine job of giving them some manners and morals. I just hope I can keep them going in the right direction."

"You sound excited about them. Rick, I've been thinking about what you said when you called last time. I've missed you much more this week than I ever have before. I'd like to make love the way we used to." There was a catch in her voice.

"I'd like that. It will be a little while though. There is going to be a lot of pain and sadness here before we can come together. I know you should be my first duty, but I have to do this."

"There is a better future for us then?"

"For sure." Velma looked to me when I hung up. I answered the question by hugging her and saying, "She was much more understanding tonight."

Velma's health deteriorated very swiftly. If it hadn't been for my calls to Ann and occasionally to my wife, I couldn't have kept the girls spirits up, for mine were so low. The day the doctor told me it would be only a couple of weeks before Velma slipped from us, I called my sister. "Ann would you ask Jana to come to me? I really need her. I'd like her to at least meet the mother of the girls before I have total control over their lives. I'm still hoping Jana will give me some help with them. If she doesn't then I will have to ask you to guide me."

"I'll convince her, if I have to scream at her. Expect her the day after tomorrow. If she doesn't come, I'll send Sam. I promise. Someone from the family also will be there by your side when she is laid to rest. I can't for Sam has been busy again and number five is due shortly. I was going to surprise you. You take care and tell Velma and the two girls I'm thinking of them."

Jana was sitting holding Velma's hand as she lay on the couch covered with a heavy blanket when I got home from my last day of work. I had accrued enough time so I thought it would last until Velma was gone. I had made no plans for either the children or myself beyond what was happening now. The nurse had been in and administered the painkiller that she received every three hours. The next four shots would be given by me at the correct intervals as I had been shown how to by the nurse. This kept Velma at home where her daughters could be with her.

Jana got up and faced me, unsure how she would be received. I took her in my arms and kissed her, not letting her go when the kiss ended. "You are as beautiful as ever. I missed you. Thank you for coming. I needed you." I didn't know what more to say to make my wife more welcome. It was enough as a smile burst from Jana's face. I went to Velma and asked how she was, kissing her on the forehead.

"I'm fine. The nurse was here and your lovely wife has been here for the last hour. I could use some ice water. My mouth is so dry all the time now." I went into the kitchen with Jana following me.

"That woman tells me you are such a great friend. All she has talked about since I arrived is how good you have been to her and the girls."

"Yes, well they have needed some help and I was here, so why not? The girls will be home in a few minutes. Sandy will get us some supper. It's Katie's turn to clean up, so we can have some time to talk while Sandy is in with her mother. I'll go in and give Velma her medicine at nine. I have to do it again at midnight and again at three. Actually I have been sleeping in her room the last couple of days, so I don't have to set the clock. When the pain gets too bad, she speaks to me and I just give her the shot. We talk a few minutes and then we both sleep until she wakes me for the next one." Jana looked at me strangely, but didn't say anything.

Katie was the first home from the dollar store where she had a job stocking shelves. Katie was tall and slim with newly budding breasts. She had beautiful dark hair and a white near perfect complexion for a teenager. She handed me her pay envelope and I counted out her allowance, putting the balance in a coffee can in the cupboard. "Mr. B, how is Mom tonight?"

"About the same as yesterday. Katie, this is my wife Jana. I'd like you to become friends. She will be here for awhile."

As I said this Sandy came in, not seeing Jana. She stepped to me and kissed me as she asked how her Mom was. Sandy was stocky, with a little excess baby fat. She was buxom for her age and you could tell by the way she moved that under ordinary circumstances she was a happy person. As I was detailing her mother's health, I took her pay envelope and counted out her allowance, putting the remainder up in the cupboard. "Can I have an extra dollar this week?"

"If you want, but how many zits did you get the last time you had an extra dollar for candy?"

She flashed me a smile. "Too many."

"Sandy, stay still for a minute. I want you to meet my wife, Jana. She is staying for a few days." The two people, one a woman and the other almost one, surveyed each other. Jana came through.

"Sandy, I'm terribly sorry about your mother." Tears were in her eyes so Sandy knew how serious she was. Sandy went to her and started sobbing. This was the first real tears I had seen since the night when Velma broke the news. I think crying was necessary for both girls, although Katie had not shown the depth of sorrow that Sandy had. I knew she would feel the loss of her mother much deeper than her out-going sister.

Supper was a simple soup and sandwich. I sat a minute with Katie while she picked up. Katie informed me that I was to sleep with my wife and she would wake me when it was time for me to go to her mother. No one was near and she said this in such a way, I intently peered at her. For just a minute her feelings were laid bare by looking directly into my eyes. She was jealous of Jana. Katie broke her gaze and turned away. "Katie." She turned back. "Katie, I'm way too old."

"I know. Our lives are just out of sync. No one would believe a fourteen-year-old could have these feelings, but I do. I just wanted you to know. I was afraid you might laugh at me."

"I couldn't do that. I'll keep your feelings in a little box in my heart and sometimes I will open it up and see the treasure that lies within."

"You do understand. Who knows, someday the time will be right for you to open the box and we will look at it together. Now go to mother. I'll be in after a few minutes alone."

Jana watched me give Velma her scheduled shot at nine to relieve her pain. I usually laid down with Velma for a few minutes at this time. Sometimes I got up again if she was able to get to sleep and I always returned so I would be there for her at midnight.

Jana had not changed much in the year since I had seen her. I doubt that I had either. Being in the same room with her was like being in a room with a stranger--that is until we slipped into bed and laid next to each other. Then the love came pouring forth. We snuggled together for a time, just holding each other. Then we talked, not about ourselves, but about this family that was shortly going to be burying their principal member.

Jana knew that I had signed the guardianship papers for the two girls. She had to accept it. "I don't know about Sandy living with us. Her figure is too outstanding compared to mine. The last thing Ann said to me was that her family is getting so big she needs help. One of the girls could go live with her."

"I haven't thought about what I'm going to do yet. The girls may not want to be split up, even if they are in the same city. I'd like them to have some say in the matter. I want them to be as happy as we can make them. You know with the addition of one room, they both could stay with us. You do want me to come home don't you?"

"Yes. I've decided to compromise and really work out our problem. I just didn't expect to have two other people involved."

"Look at the girls' situation. It must be similar to when you lost your mother."

"Nowhere near the same. I hated all of my family. At least in this one there is love and of course you are here to carry on for them. If you had been near me where I could reach out to you back then and love you, I might feel different. Did you know that my oldest sister died in childbirth? Mom died the next year, which was a blessing. If she hadn't, I'd still be stuck there. I couldn't stand my drunken father and my two lazy brothers were just around to make me do for them."

"You had a sister die in childbirth? You never told me that."

"Yes and she didn't even have a husband. I can see that if you have someone to love you, it might be easier to have a baby. The horror of having to give birth when there is no one there with you petrifies me."

"Jana, I would always be there for you."

"I know. I'm trying to get over my fear and I'll try harder. Maybe it will help with the girls around. I hope so, then, maybe not."

"We don't have to settle it tonight. We are at least talking. Tonight you are here in my arms and I can do more than just think about you." We snuggled closer and Jana went to sleep. I lay there waiting for Katie to come and announce it was time for Velma's medication. Then my thoughts turned to Katie herself. I was going to be the best guardian for her there ever could be.

There was no chance for us to be intimate. Even when both girls were out of the house, it didn't seem right for us to join in lovemaking while a woman lay dying in the next room. It was a good time for us in another way. Velma helped too when she was able. Jana told her of the phobia that had caused us to separate.

Velma gave her a different slant on the situation. "Dear Jana, women have borne children since time began. Many women have had the same fear that you have. But even with that they have gone ahead and given their husband the chance to carry on his line even though they might die trying. It has to be freely given though. I can't believe that Rick would be one to demand it of you. From what little he has told me, your separation came about because he wanted to remove the temptation of making demands on you. I think he loves you very much to be away from you as long as he has."

This was applying our separation to our past actions. "No I think you are wrong Velma. I think we were both pigheaded, drew a line in the sand and refused to step across it. The only ones we have hurt are ourselves.

"Velma, you have solved my problem. I'm going to try and mother your daughters the best I can. Maybe I can have the courage to have a daughter of my own someday. Would you allow me to say I love you and thank you?"

Velma was alone when we had our next conversation. "Rick you can't know the joy it has been to have you with me this past year. I'm glad I was able to meet Jana and I just know you two will be happy. Bring the girls in to me just as soon as they come home. Rick, about my girls. I don't worry about Sandy. She is just like any other teenager of this time. She goes along day-to-day happy with enough to eat and a place to live and makes friends easily. Katie is different as you've noticed. She is fourteen going on twenty-five. Her fourteen-year-old mind has done something that I'm afraid she won't be able to let go of. I worry that it will screw up her life, forever, especially if she is taken advantage of."

"You mean like falling in love with an older man who is married?"

"Yes, exactly that. You know how she feels then?"

"I have discovered what she feels. We have discussed it just a little. Both of us realize the situation is hopeless at the present time. Years down the road, if we are both free, we will talk. Other than that, there is nothing for us."

"I knew I was right to trust you. Now let me rest until Sandy and Katie come. I'm still able to plan how I want my funeral to be. I will leave it to them to carry my wishes out and afterward they are in your hands." A day later, Velma slipped into a coma and three days after that she passed away.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Romantic / Slow /