Raven ran all the way to the hospital’s front door. He stopped and took a moment to compose himself.
He checked the buttons at the base of his gloves.
He smoothed down his tuxedo jacket.
He readjusted his bow tie.
All the while, his body was going berserk with the need to run to her.
Raven took a deep breath and exhaled. He stepped forward and the doors slid open.
Do not make a spectacle of yourself.
Hold yourself with pride and dignity.
Do not let anyone see.
Do not let anyone know.
Raven strode past the registration desk.
Past the waiting room.
Past people who were sick.
Past people who were sad.
Past people who were happy.
Past people who were anxious.
Past people who were alone.
All the way to the elevators.
He pressed the call button and waited.
People collected behind him as he waited.
They all waited.
Raven shook his head.
I cannot do this.
I will not do this.
I will not wait one more second.
He left the group and marched to the door marked STAIRS.
He opened the door.
He ran up the stairs.
All the way up to the eighth floor.
Raven resisted his mind’s inclination to remember the last time he ran up the stairs so hard, so fast.
He refused to remember the flames.
I am coming to you.
I will be there shortly.
I will be with you.
How difficult it was to breathe.
My pretty shirtless Raven.
Raven reached the eighth floor.
He didn’t stop.
He ran all the way to her room.
He didn’t knock on the door.
He burst into the room. “Missy!”
LM and Jeff stood on one side of her bed. The doctor and the nurse stood on the other side.
Raven didn’t notice them any more beyond that. He ran to her bed and vaulted on the foot of the bed. He crawled up to her. “Missy. Missy.”
Someone had moved up the head of her bed so she was no longer lying flat. Missy held her hands out to him. “Raven.” Her voice sounded dusty from lack of use.
Raven didn’t care. He took her hands and kissed them over and over.
“Forgive me. Please forgive me please forgive me. Missy. My Missy. My Missy.” He pressed his forehead against her knuckles. “Forgive me. I love you. I love just you. There is no one else in my heart. Please believe me. It is just you.”
“I know. I love you.”
He broke down into tears.
“I love you, my Raven.”