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Installment 1

 

Andrea stood silently at the window, gazing out over the hospital's courtyard. The green grass was dotted with a few of the mobile patients while others milled about on the paths with their attendants. The sun was still low in the sky and the air was fresh and spring-scented. Pink and white flowers stretched their faces toward the sky, brightening the sea of green with their color. Closing her eyes, she rolled her head to work out the tense muscles. The day promised to be sunny and pleasant but still, she and Lee were stuck inside.

Turning quietly, Andi studied the man sleeping peacefully in the hospital bed. Lee Holivan, one of the brightest and most handsome men she had ever met, lay prone on the starched white sheets. His once thick blond hair had thinned and his face was now gaunt from his illness. Once a wealthy and powerful man, Lee had been forced to give up his life as he had known it, because of an inoperable cancer. She could remember the day he found out. He barely blinked, saying he would hire the best to treat him. His deterioration was slow but almost five months after the first diagnosis, Lee resigned himself to the fact that there was no cure for his cancer.

"Andi?"

She quickly plastered on a bright smile and approached his bed. "Good morning, sleepyhead."

He answered her smile with one of his own. "Good morning." Slowly he pushed himself up to a sitting position before continuing. "How are you?"

"Disappointed." Dropping into the chair next to his bed, she sighed. "Dr. Hayes said no to our outing today."

Lee rolled his eyes then grinned. "You should've brought me one of your dresses and then we could have snuck out."

Laughing, she grabbed his hand. "You'd have to shave your legs and grow boobs, sweetie."

He eyed her non-existent bustline and cocked his head to one side.

"All right, but you still would have to shave your legs." she repeated, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Good morning! Glad you're finally up." a nurse bustled into the room. "How do you feel?"

"I'm just fine." he answered shortly as she went about her job, checking his vitals and writing on his chart.

"Good, good." she clucked before disappearing.

"Lee, I brought another poem for you to read." Andi told him.

His blue eyes smiled up at her. "Really? Well, hand it over."

She went to retrieve her purse from the dresser. "I know it's in here somewhere."

He smiled fondly as she pawed through her oversize purse. Andi was his calm in the storm and yet she was terribly disorganized. Her deep auburn hair and green eyes seemed to belong to a pixie or a leprechaun but her 5'7" frame immediately dispelled that picture. She was blessed with milky white, freckle-free skin and a round but pleasant form. Like any red-head, her temper was quick to flare, but usually, the anger would fade just as quickly. For six years she had been his best friend, his confidant. And for the past year she had become his comfort, his companion, and his wife.

"Aha! Here it is." she drew him out of his thoughts.

"Go on." he urged.

"Lee..." she moaned.

"Please, I love when you read them to me. You say them with such feeling."

Blushing, she braced her knees against the side of his bed. "All right, you smooth-talker, you."

He closed his eyes, letting the words wash over him. As she concluded, he decided that her work got better and better. "That was, wonderful."

"I'm so glad you like it. I'll put it in your night stand with the rest of them." She slipped the paper into the top drawer and closed it carefully. Sinking back into the chair, she grasped his hand. "Now that I have you in a good mood..."

"No." The word came out softly but firmly.