“Ronald,” Scarlet softly said, stunned. Without even thinking about what she was doing, she reached across the table and took his hand, wrapping her fingers firmly around his cool, plump flesh. “H-how long?”
He laughed, but it was mirthless and there was a sheen of tears in his faded blue eyes.
“I didn’t ask,” he said, his voice low. And still he wouldn’t meet her gaze, as if his sickness shamed him. “I didn’t really want to know. It could be weeks, it could be years, I only know that there’s no fixing it.”
“Oh, Ron,” Scarlet sighed, and smiled at him. “You moron, wanting to talk when you’re dying. Shame on you for waiting so long!”
He smiled a little again, and this time his eyes lifted, his round cheeks crinkling the corners into fine lines.
“Well, there’s no help for it,” Scarlet sighed, taking charge of the situation. “I guess I’ll have to swallow my pride.”
“What do you mean?” Ronald asked, and his thumb hesitantly brushed over the top of her hand.
“Why, I’m coming back to you, of course,” Scarlet told him, matter-of-fact. “You need some kind of care as things progress and I wouldn’t put it past that little hussy to stuff you into a wood-chipper somewhere. I’ll move back into my old suite immediately.”
She trailed off, her confident assurance hitching in a moment of uncertainty.
“I mean, if that’s alright with you,” she amended, and smiled.
“Scarlet,” he sighed, a bright tear welling over his plump cheek as he squeezed her hand. “You have made me a very happy man just now. I would be honored to have you come home.”
“Then it’s settled,” Scarlet said, a note of finality in her voice. She gave his hand another gentle squeeze and shook her head slightly, sighing in a whisper, “Oh, Ron, I’ve missed you.”
His hand trembled in hers but he managed to say, “I’ve missed you, too, Scarlet. More than you can ever know.” Continue reading