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Steady as the Snow Falls(51)

By:Lindy Zart

Her mouth trembled. "You know I will. Of course I will."

He nodded, relief leveling shadows from his face.

"But that will be years and years from now. Even decades." Whether it would be or not, that's what Beth chose to believe.

A smile tipped his mouth, grew to his tired eyes. "Wouldn't that be nice?"

"You're sick, Harrison, but you're not dying. You know that."

"I know that," he quietly agreed, but the way he avoided her eyes told her his conviction of that wasn't as strong as hers.

"Beth Caldwell," she whispered to buffer the sadness leaking into the  happy moment, and Harrison's eyes lit up like he'd just been told he was  cured.

He stroked a hand across her hair. "I like the sound of that."

When Beth sat up, putting space between them, Harrison settled his tall,  lean frame on the bed, pulling up the blanket as a shiver went through  him. Her stomach twisted, nausea threatening to overtake her resolve.  Beth shoved it aside; refused to think of anything other than Harrison's  heartbeat. Beating. Always beating. She focused on the beat of his  heart.

Only the glow of the lamp on the nightstand offered light, and it  silhouetted the man she loved. Made him faint, obscure. Dim. Beth looked  at him, blinking against the image of his weakening body, denying the  frailty her eyes saw, that which her mind refused to compute.

Her heart only saw Harrison. And he was bright, and mighty, and so, so strong.

"Will you read some of it to me?"

Beth crawled up the bed to him and brushed hair from his forehead. She  nestled under the covers beside Harrison, careful to keep one hand  always touching him. Reminding herself he was here, with her. Warm.  Breathing. Alive. Hers. With his heart beating.

His sweet, clean scent calmed her, brought her peace. He rested his head  against her cheek, his eyes closed, breathing softly. She lifted her  left hand and studied the silver band with the dainty infinity symbol in  diamonds, and tears dripped down her face as she silently cried. She  loved him so much. Forever. Your forever. My forever. Forever is  forever. Beth breathed along with Harrison, pacing hers to his, even as  she held back a sob.

"Of course. I'll read it every night. I promise," Beth whispered  brokenly, turning her face to press a lingering kiss to the smooth skin  of his forehead. "Our story, our world, remember?"

Harrison smiled faintly, his eyes still closed. "I want to live in our world for a little bit longer."

"You will," Beth promised. "Always."

She wiped an arm across her damp face and took the first sheet of paper  from the pile, cleared her throat against the catch in it, and read out  loud. Her voice wavered at first, but as she spoke, the strength of it  grew. It was their story, after all, and she knew it well.         


"I met Harrison Caldwell on the first snowfall of the season, and like  the fall of the snow, steady and sure, I fell in love with him."