“Don’t walk into the hospice crying, Bella,” I admonished. “Be strong. Be strong for Jake. He needs you.” I turned over the truck and drove the forty-five minutes to the facility where my husband was staying until he died. I parked the car in one of the nearby spots. I checked in with the nurse and walked to Jake’s room. One of my favorite nurses was standing outside, writing down information on his chart. “Morning, Pam. How is he today?”
“It’s a good day so far, Bella,” she smiled as she hugged me. “He seems pretty with it.”
“Awesome,” I replied, slipping into his room. Jake was laying on his side with pillows surrounding him. “Hey, baby,” I cooed, sitting down next to him. “Pam says you’re doing good today.”
He just hummed and nodded, looking at me. His black eyes were sunken into his head. They no longer held the sparkle of my husband. He was wasting away. “When was the last time you slept, Bella?” he asked, his voice weak and raspy.
“I sleep,” I argued, arching a brow. No, I don’t. I can’t sleep in my king-sized bed without you. “Are you saying I look awful?”
“No, Bells. You look beautiful. You always do,” he murmured, reaching weakly for my face. I grabbed his hand, pressing it to my cheek. His hand was cold against my skin. “Bells, I want you to promise me something.”
“What, Jake?” I asked, my brows furrowing.
“When I’m gone, keep living your life,” he whispered. “Don’t give up because I’m gone.”
“Jake, stop it. You’re …” I muttered, trailing off.
“I’m dying, Bells. I know I won’t see tomorrow,” he said, smiling wistfully. “God has granted me today, to be lucid, so I can tell you to keep living. I love you, Isabella Black and I will always be with you. I’ll always be with Gracie and Johnny. But, you have to stay alive and happy for me. Promise me, Bells!”
“How can I promise that? The man who gave me all of my happiness is leaving me,” I sobbed, looking at him.
“You’ll find another who will give you happiness,” he said. “I know you’ll grieve for me, but know I am always going to be watching over you. Hell, I may help your new man find you.”
“Jacob William Black! That is not funny,” I snarled, shooting up from my seat.
“It wasn’t meant to be,” Jake said weakly. “Tell the kids I love them and that I’ll always love them, even from heaven. Apologize to Gracie for me. I was supposed to have high tea with her on her birthday. She had a special hat for me. Also, make sure Johnny looks out for his sister. He’s got to be the overbearing man of the house once she starts dating.”
“Jake, stop. You’re scaring me,” I said, racing back to the chair. I took his face in my hands. “Don’t say goodbye. Not yet.”
“Tell Bella to be happy,” he choked out, tears falling onto his cheeks. “I love you, Bella. You were my first love. My only love. I’ll never forget you.”
“JAKE! NO!” I hissed.
“Kiss me, Bella,” he begged. His voice was getting weaker and his skin was getting colder. “I want to remember what your lips felt like one last time.” I choked back a sob, leaning forward to kiss his chapped lips. He sighed contentedly and then …
“NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I screamed, falling against him. “You can’t go. NO!” Pam ran in and pulled me away, hugging me tightly. “Why? Why did you tease me? Come back, Jake! Please!! Come back!”
And just like that … my world changed.
Banner by Mina Rivera! Thank you!
I know I posted this already, but I want to post it again so you all know about this story AND the cause I'm writing it for. We are all friends in this fandom and we have one who needs our help. The prologue and first two chapters for my new story, Picking up the Pieces, is my submission for Fandom for Friends...http://friends.fandomcause.info/. Please donate so you can help out one of our own and read a sneak preview of my new story, plus several other awesome submissions. (I'm really looking forward to this compilation!) Thank you to Bridgette for betaing and Mina for the beautiful banner...it's exactly what I picturing.