Kate deteriorated fast. Six months into her pregnancy and the doctors prescribed bed rest. She kicked me out of the room, said she didn’t want me to see her like that — all the time. It was hard to watch. The perfect child growing insider her womb made her glow with happiness. Her hands resting on her growing belly as she watched me from across the room.
“Oh honey, please don’t be upset with me.”
“I’m not upset with you.” I growled, “I hate this. Why won’t you let me take care of you.”
“You are young, my dearest. You don’t need to deal with this. I got it.”
I spent more and more time in the dream world searching for ways to break my Pretty Boy free of his dreams. It was so hard to watch her dying because she was protecting the unborn child inside of her. Our child… I still couldn’t wrap my head around it.
In the darkness of Erebus, I stared at the shimmering orb. His orb. It glowed with ephemeral light and was laced with black tendrils that pulsed and devoured the glow. It was like a parasite sucking him dry.
I’d spoken to Kish of the vision, but she knew nothing more of it either. The connections to his friends and family pulled tight and thin because of the drain on his system. The only strong cords lead me to his friends — a hacker with haphephobia — a hacker I used. And a Venatori girl. I should have avoided him when I discovered that fact. I don’t know why I had never followed his paths before. Maybe I could have escaped the drama of falling in love with him. But every night he still called to me. He was the only distraction that pulled me from the thoughts of Kate dying.
How could I love two people and never have either of them?
A tinkling bell sounded in the emptiness of Erebus, and I opened my eyes to attend to Kate’s wants. I was nothing but a glorified servant now. I resented this predicament I was in. “How can I help you, mistress?” I gave Kate a flourished bow with all seriousness in my face.
She smirked, but it quickly faded into a frown when I didn’t return the emotion. “I was hoping you could order some food, I’m starving.”
“Of course.” I said and turned to leave her.
I turned to see what she wanted. “Are you angry with me?”
“Never with you, Katie. Never with you.” I didn’t wait for her response as I left her room. I ordered food and when it arrived, I brought it to her room. Her eyes were red and puffy and tears streaked her makeup. “Katie, why are you crying?” I sat down on the bed placing her tray of food across her lap, but I leaned into her and kissed the tears that slide down her cheeks.
“I don’t want you to live like this, honey,” she cried.
“You aren’t fine. You are angry all the time.”
“Of course I’m angry, Katie. You are dying. You are leaving me — just like my mother. Everyone leaves.” I growled. “I hate seeing you like this. I wish you’d get treatment. There has to be something you can do that won’t harm the baby.”
Kate sighed, “There isn’t. I’ve looked. You’ve looked.”
I hung my head, “Then promise me, soon as the baby is born you will do something.”
Kate pulled me against her chest — her entire body was weakening, she was nothing but skin and bones. The cancer was eating at her. There would be nothing left of her soon. “I promise,” Katie replied in my ear, “I promise I’ll do something after she’s born.”
“She?” I asked, “You know?”
“A feeling,” she said, running her fingers through my hair the way I liked. I growled, we’d not had sex in a month, her body too fragile now — I was afraid I’d break her. “I love you, baby.”
“I love you too, Katie.” It was the truth — the whole truth. I loved her, and I loved him. But to him I was just a dream — this was real, and she was leaving me.
I pulled away and pressed a kiss to Katie’s cheek, “Don’t worry about me, Katie, I’m fine. Eat, then take a nap.” I moved around to the other side of the bed and I laid down next to her. I watched Katie eat meticulously. What little she got down, she was puking into the bucket next to her. Nothing was working.
She curled down under the covers and when the rise and fall of her chest told me she was a sleep; I slipped into her dream.
Kate dreamed of her late husband — a handsome man who was nearly 10 years her senior. He had married a young Kate. Fell in love with her when he met her as his secretary — now Kate was heir to his throne. The whole reason I had met her in the first place. Now, like her, I had fallen in love. I let her inside.
She dreamed of his funeral. Of her children crying for their father. I stepped into her dreams then; I wrapped my arm around her shoulders and comforted her. Took the pain away as she wept for the man who she had loved.
“I’m so glad I met you, my love,” she said. Her lips touched my cheeks, “You make me so happy.” I turned to look at her, her eyes still wet with sadness. We were in a hospital room, no longer by her husband’s grave. “Thank you, my love.”
I grinned at her, “Anytime, Katie. I love you.”
“I love you.” She kissed me like the woman she used to. Her body pressed against mine. I don’t know if she knew I was here, or if she was just this happy to see me. We made love under the stars in her favorite spot by the tree where she carved her name into with her highschool crush. It wasn’t New York City. It wasn’t home — it was Kate’s memory of her first time. I evoked strange things sometimes.
We lay naked in the grass on a red checkered blanket. My hands straying across the beauty that was the woman I loved. “I wish we could live like this forever.”
Katie smiled, “Wouldn’t that be nice.” She rolled over on top of me, her naked flesh pressing into mine. “To make love over and over again.” Katie’s appetite for sex had been one thing I loved most. She was always ready to go — she only had to wait on me. But in the dream it wasn’t a problem.
I woke to a smile on my lips, Katie was still asleep when I crawled out of her bed. At least I could give her that. Sleep, my love, you need it.