I should object.
I should tell him to get off the bed before I punch him off.
I could threaten to stake him.
Missy laughed at something Raven had said. Her laugh sounded a little off, as if it were off pitch.
It sounded wonderful to her father’s ears.
I guess I can’t blame him for losing his sense of decorum. I would have been the same way if Laura had come back to life. Maybe I would have done the same exact thing. Who knows?
Raven and Missy looked into each other’s eyes and folded their hands together.
Bare skin on bare skin.
Fingers lying close to fingers.
Palm touching palm.
Light skin and dark skin.
Jeff stuffed his hands into his jacket’s pockets and shivered. “Hey, Laura. I’m wearing that coat I swore I’d never wear. Do you remember it? The one with all the toggle buttons? I can’t remember why I hated it so much.”
He shivered again. “Maybe because it just isn’t warm enough. I need to get new gloves. I.” He looked up at the sky. The sky was cloudy. It looked like it wanted to snow. “I lost. I lost one of my gloves. I’m not really sure what happened to it. It’s just—”
His voice wobbled. “It’s just gone. Laura, this is going to sound weird and…and I don’t know. Superficial? I miss your color. I miss the contrast of your skin against my skin. I love the fact that we didn’t match. I didn’t look like you and you didn’t look like me.” He attempted a laugh. “I always looked so pasty compared to your rich brown. Darn, you’re beautiful. I mean. I mean, you were. You were so beautiful. Our little girl looks like you. More like you than me.”
Jeff lowered his gaze to the tombstone standing before him. “Laura. I don’t know how to say this. I don’t know how to tell you.” He sucked in a sharp breath. “Laura, I lost her. Our baby girl. Our Tessa. Our little Tessie. Someone stole her away.”
No, I can’t blame him at all. I’ll give him a few more minutes before I physically kick him off the bed.
It took Raven a lot longer than usual to recognize the inappropriateness of the situation.
I am sitting on top of Missy on a bed while she is wearing nothing but a hospital gown. I cannot say for certain if she is wearing anything on her lower half. I sincerely doubt that she is wearing any undergarments.
His ears turned red.
“I beg your pardon, miss. I.”
She shook her head. “Don’t leave me. Not yet.”
“Missy, I am not…This is not…”
“Please, Raven. Stay here. Stay here with me.”
He looked into her brown eyes and his resistance slipped away. “Just a while longer.”
“My pretty shirtless Raven.” Her gaze tracked up and down his tuxedo. “But you aren’t shirtless right now. You’re dressed up to the nine and tens and elevens and twelves. You look like you cost four hundred million dollars and eighty-four cents.”
“I just returned from Ambrose’s wedding.”
Her smile fell. “Oh, I missed it?”
“I regret to say it, but yes.”
“Oh. I wish I was there.”
He pulled out his phone. “I was a member of the wedding party. So, I was unable to take pictures of the actual wedding. Yet, Barbara’s father took pictures with Robin’s phone.” He turned it on. “Let us see if we can convince Robin to send the pictures to us.”
“The doctor sighed. “This is a heartwarming scene that’s just pulling all of my heartstrings and such. But she needs to take a shower.”
Raven stared at him as if the doctor’s existence in this moment was something unfathomable.
“So, you need to get off her bed.”
“In a moment, sir.”
“No. Now. Off.”
Raven glared at him. Then, he remembered Missy’s current hospital couture. “Very well, sir.” His expression softened as he looked back at her. “I am here.” He kissed her hands. “I am here.”
She smiled at him and whispered back, “I’m here.”
He reluctantly got off the bed and stood beside Jeff.
The doctor came over to the two men. “We should step out into the hall to give them some privacy.”
Raven imagined her getting out of bed in just her hospital gown. His ears turned even redder as he realized that he had no idea how long or short the gown actually was.
And there was a strong possibility she wasn’t wearing underwear.
“Indeed.” Raven said. “We ought to go into the hallway right now.” He strode towards the door.
The nurse lowered the bedrail. “Okay. This won’t be easy, but I’m here. I’ll help you.”
Raven resisted the urge to look back.
He left the room.