YOU BROUGHT IT BACK
A sequel to Wishing For The Sun.
The sun finally comes back into Tommy's life.
A first time story.
Written: December 2007. Word count: 900.
He sits by her hospital bed, in the room that he pays for, holding her hand. Staring down at her. Watching her. Counting her breaths. Watching the machinery that is keeping her alive.
The afternoon sun streams in through the window, lighting up the room, the bed, making her glow.
But he doesn't see the sun.
For him it doesn't exist.
For him the clouds are ever heavier now. So heavy and so dark he can barely see through them.
Why did he wait?
Why didn't he tell her?
Why didn't he tell her he loved her?
Why didn't he kiss her?
He'll never get the chance now.
The doctors have said there's no hope.
Miracles don't happen.
There are some things money cannot buy.
It's his fault she's there. Lifeless. As good as dead.
He'd been flirting with a woman he no longer even remembers, flirting with her in a foolish attempt to make her jealous.
He hadn't seen the man, the young man, no more than a child really. The child for whom guns were mere toys.
He hadn't seen him being chased from the jewellers shop.
Hadn't seen him panic.
Hadn't seen him raise the gun and . . .
But she had.
Barbara had seen it all.
It should have been him in the bed; dying; dead. Not her.
The irony is he can kiss her now.
And he has done so, many times, many, many times.
He kisses her each day when he arrives and again when he leaves. A chaste kiss, on her forehead. And sometimes, during the day, he'll lift her hand to his mouth and kiss that.
But she doesn't feel it.
She doesn't feel anything.
She'll never feel anything again.
She'll never bring the sun back into his life.
She'll never lift the clouds.
She'll never see the sun or the clouds again.
She'll never see anything again.
They tell him there is no point him going there each day.
No point going there just to sit in her room, holding her hand, watching her, listening to the machines. No point at all.
Nonetheless, he goes every day. After all, he had nothing else to do. He no longer works for the Met. They weren't prepared to give him any more leave.
Why should they?
Barbara isn't his wife. His fiancÚ. His girl friend even. She is, was, just his working partner.
So he left. Walked out.
Suddenly the sun goes away.
Funny, he didn't notice is whilst it was there. But once it goes he does.
The dark clouds eat it up, take it away and suddenly he knows.
He knows this is it.
The sun has gone.
And now his sun is going to go.
He squeezes her hand even more tightly and brings it to his lips to kiss it.
He wants to do something, but he doesn't know what.
There is nothing he can do.
Nothing anyone can do.
She is going to go.
She is going to leave him.
"Oh, God. Barbara," he murmurs, as the tears begin to fall. "Oh, Barbara. Barbara."
He shuts his eyes; he cannot bear to see her leave him. Hearing it will be bad enough.
And then he hears something.
But it isn't the sound of the machines telling him she is dead.
It's a whisper. Nothing more. So soft he isn't even sure he hears it.
And then he feels something.
He feels fingers move under his. Only a little, flexing as if they don't quite know what to do. Don't quite have the strength to move.
And he hears it again.
This time he forces himself to open his eyes and look at her.
He blinks again.
He shakes his head.
It can't be.
He must be asleep.
Asleep and dreaming.
She's looking at him.
And a faint smile lifts the corners of her mouth.
She seems both puzzled by and accepting of his presence.
And he hears it again. But this time he knows it isn't a dream, because this time he sees her lips move. "Tommy," she says. "Oh, Tommy."
With those three words the sun races back into his life. Lighting him up. Lighting the room up. Snatching away the clouds, burying them, consigning them, smothering them.
She has done it.
She has returned to him.
She has done what he hoped for: she has brought the sun back into his life.
"I love you, Barbara," he says. "I love you." He has to tell her. He has to.
"Tommy," she says again. It's all she can manage; he can see that. But he knows what his given name on her lips means.
He bends his head and kisses her lightly, on her forehead, on the tip of her nose, on each cheek and finally, with a gentleness he has never shown to anyone before, on her lips.
And for a moment, a brief, fleeting, wondrous moment she returns the pressure.
Then her eyes close again.
But this time she is asleep. Merely asleep. Nothing more. Just sleeping.
And for the first time in over eight months, Tommy knows.
Knows the sun will never again leave him.
"You brought it back, Barbara," he whispers, bending to kiss her forehead again. "You brought it back. To me. To us."
He swears that in her sleep, she smiles.
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