I jerked up in bed. It was real. But the girl? I need to see her. Fin whimpered but his eyes were still closed as I sat up. I looked around before looking at the clock. It was 7 even. 7 o’clock in the morning. Taylor was fast asleep on the couch snoring lightly with Conrad curled up on his chest as suckled away on his pacifier. Fin held onto me as I moved, groaning again. I looked around nervously feeling something in the air. My eyes shot over to the far wall. The one Uncle Wyatt went through last time. Avery smiled at me. “Good Morning Sweetheart.” He smiled at me. He didn’t look as bad as he did yesterday. “No worries Bailey. They can’t hear me. Only you can.” He walked over and sat down on edge of the bed.
“But why are you here?” I asked him quietly hold onto Fin stroking his hair. He smiled.
“You need help. I know you do.” He put his hand into his pocket. I watched him as he pulled out a coin. He laid a note in my hand before putting the coin on top of it.
“What’s this?” I asked turning the coin over in my hand.
“She gave it to me on my first deployment. So I always knew she loved me.” He smiled sadly. “The note, from me. She will know.” He looked at the machine hooked to my heart. “I will make it quiet. So you may go without waking anyone up.” I nodded as he put his hand on the machine as I pulled off the stickers from my chest.
“Mommy?” Fin said opening his tired eyes. “Where are you going?” He rubbed his eyes.
“Mommy has to go visit someone here.” He looked at me.
“Can I come? Please?” I nodded putting out my hand, which I took the IV out of, to take his small one. He got off the bed carefully and helped me walk. Avery walked to at my other side looking ahead of himself. Fin held onto me, just walking, smiling happily. I smiled down at him.
“We are here.” Avery said. We were so close to my room, I didn’t even know. He looked at me. “It’s the coma ward. You will be taken out of it today. I nodded at him as Fin looked into the dim lit room. I leaned down to kiss Fin’s forehead.
“Why don’t you wait out here?” I asked him. He shook his head violently.
“No Mommy! I come too! I help too!” He whimpered.
“Shhh okay baby you can come too.” Fin held onto my hand tighter sticking his thumb in his mouth as we walked into the room. Shannon was in the same stop she had been in when I was here with Uncle Wyatt. Shannon looked over at me. “Hello.” I said swallowing nervously.
“You look familiar."Fin tugged at my hand. I looked down as he lifted his hands up. I picked him up as he lay on my shoulder looking at Shannon. She wiped her eyes.
“I’m Bailey, Shannon.”
“Bailey Williams.” She said her eyes widening. I smiled.
“Well Bailey Andrews now but yes.” She looked back at Avery silently. “You think you’re crazy don’t you?” She nodded silently as tears rolled down her face.
“I think-” she stopped looked at Fin quickly before looking at me. “I think I’m insane.” I sat on the seat next to her.
“You’re not crazy.” I put my hand over her open hand. She looked down picking up the small pendent coin before covering her mouth. She ran her fingers over the surface before letting out a sob.
“They said it was lost. That the IED blew the pocket off his body and the coin was destroyed. How did you get it?” The tears were rolling down her face like waterfalls. No longer slowing, just faster as if they needed to get somewhere.
“Avery gave it to me.” I kissed Fin’s head as he held me. She put the coin tightly in her hand and opened the letter, rubbing her fingers over the letters, over the name. I read over the letter, over her shoulder.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything. You need to understand it wasn't my choosing to lose my life that day. But I had to. For my men. Please my love. Forgive me. You must move on Baby. Don't hang on to me. You must move on Cookie. You need to remember me, never forget, but just remember.
I will love you forever,
She looked at me. “He had to have written this?” She wiped her eyes. “Only he and my father ever called me Cookie.” She laughed. “I used to love to eat cookies. I would steal them out of the cookie jar right after my mom would put them in.” She smiled at me as I smiled back.
“My dad still calls me Mulan sometimes when he wanted to make me happy or when I was sick. I love Disney so much. It always made me feel better.” She smiled nodding. Her eyes scanned over every word on the folded piece of paper again.
“I miss him.” She said looking at me again her eyes closing as she cried. Fin put his arms around her hand hugged me. She held on to him crying harder.I looked at her not sure what to do. She looked at me.
“You’re really sick.” She said looking at me. Fin looked at me sadly pouting as I nodded.
“I need a new liver.” I sighed as Fin threw his arms around me. “It’s the cancer.” Fin sighed sticking his thumb back into his mouth. He was always a good one at knowing what was going on around him, even if he didn’t understand it.
“Are you going to go away again Mommy?” He said sadly looking up at me. “I don’t want you to go away again. I want my Mommy.” He started to cry as my stomach knotted up painfully. I kissed his head rocking him gently. “Don’t go away again.” He cried clutching onto me as tightly as he could. “Mommy.”
“Shhh baby.” I stroked his hair as he cried. Shannon stared at him in horror. “I’m sorry.” I muttered to her. She shook her head clearing it.
“He came to me in a dream you know.” She said as Fin’s cried got lower as he sniffled burying his face in my gown. “He wanted me to let him go.” She looked over to the bed where Avery lay. “I always knew he wanted it. I always knew he didn’t want to be trapped. But I couldn’t let him go. We had so much. But now he can’t be with me anymore. He can’t make sure I’m okay. He can’t call me. I will never hear his voice again.” She shook her head clutching the coin. “But I see it now. That I can’t move on with him here. Knowing this causing him pain. I can’t be selfish anymore. He’s right. I need to move on. I will never forget him, I will always remember him.” She closed her eyes. “I always thought I would run out of tears by now. But they just keep coming.” I put my hand over hers. She looked at me.
“I know how that feels.” I smiled weakly at her. “The pain lessens over time. It never goes away but you can deal with it better.” She looked back at Avery.
“I’m going to let go.” She smiled tears rolling down her face.
“I’ll be here for you. I promise. You won’t go through this alone.” She nodded.
“And you can’t go through this alone. I’m letting go. I am going to pull the plug. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. But now, now I know I have to.” I looked at her.
“You don’t have to for me.” She shook her head.
“I do have to. I know I have to. Because I know you’ll help me.” There was a knock on the door way. Uncle Rodger walked in with the Doctor. I looked at them as Uncle Rodger Crossed his arms.
“What are you doing in here Missy?” He asked raising an eyebrow at me. I shrugged.
“Why are you here?” He looked at the doctor before shrugging.
“We were trying to get you a liver….” Shannon smiled weakly.
“No more looking.” They looked at her as she clutched the coin in her hands. “She can have Avery’s.”
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