The monitor’s blare filled the room, devouring any other sound.
Raven stiffened his posture.
I will leave Pinkerlee. For how could I stay here?
Where will I go?
What does it matter?
But no. I cannot leave Ambrose and Robin. They need me. I cannot.
He raised his head.
Do not let them see your hurt.
Do not let them see your tears. Even when it is they you weep for.
Absorb the pain and let it live deep inside where none can see it. Absorb the pain and breathe as if there is not a thing the matter.
The monitor stopped blaring and returned to its normal beeping.
Raven stopped breathing. He was too afraid to hope.
Jeff stepped forward. “Is she alive?” His voice sounded as loud as the blaring had been.
The group of nurses broke up and left the room. The head nurse turned to the two men. “Yes.”
Raven exhaled. His legs shook from the relief. “She is alive. Missy is…Missy is…”
“What happened?” Jeff asked. “Why?”
“I don’t know, Mr. Farsigh. I will talk to her doctor and see what tests he wants to order.”
“Is that going to happen again? Am I going to lose my little girl?”
The nurse hesitated. “It’s hard to say, sir. Like I said, the doctor will order certain tests to find out what’s going on. And then we’ll take it from there.”
“What does that even mean? That doesn’t answer my question. I want to know. Is she going to be okay?”
Raven touched his shoulder. “Sir.”
“I’m sorry, but I really can’t answer your question until we know more about what caused her to crash like that. Is there anything I can get for you, Mr. Farsigh?”
“I just want her to be well. I want her to wake up. I want—-”
“I understand, sir.” She smiled sympathetically. “We all want that. I’m going to talk to the doctor now. Okay?”
She left the room.
Jeff walked over to the side of the bed and grabbed the bed rail. “Tessie. My Tessa.” He bowed his head. His body trembled as he broke down.
Raven came to Jeff’s side. He looked down at Missy.
Her curly hair.
Her brown skin.
He watched the rise and fall of her chest. And he felt the familiar tug of desire versus duty.
I could stay with her. I want to stay with her.
Yet, I cannot disappoint Ambrose. It would not be right. After seeing him struggle through this waiting period, how could I not stand by his side and see him marry the one he loves?
Yet, if she stops breathing again, I want to be here. I want to be at her side. I need to be at her side. I do not want her to die alone. I want to be at her side to tell her good-bye. So, I may let her go.
Ambrose will not mind. He will understand. I am sure of it.
If he were a member of the Farlington family…
I was not there to see May Rose marry Charles Vansing. I do not regret it. Yet, I do. I slighted her to protect myself. Perhaps if I had witnessed her wedding, I would have found it easier to let her go. Perhaps not.
If I do not witness Ambrose’s wedding, I will regret it.
If Missy dies while I’m at the wedding, I will hate myself. I will be unable to come to terms with it.
“Sir. I will stay with her tonight.”
Jeff frowned at him. “You aren’t going to Ambrose’s wedding?”
“No, sir. I will stay.”