It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these ’Til Death Do Us Part POV switches for the flashback scenes. So far I’ve posted 16 of them, which can be found here.
This is the 17th flashback scene, found at the beginning of chapter 19. There are three more after this one.
Sam sighed as he stepped out of the bathroom. His cousin Jenna’s unexpected death had hit him hard. He’d had no appetite the last few days since hearing the news, and had functioned on auto-pilot. It had hit Henry hard, too. Henry had sat through the funeral service this morning like a zombie, and later at the luncheon, even considering it was a somber affair, he’d remained uncharacteristically silent.
Now Henry sat in the living room, staring out at the lake, and Sam’s heart ached. It ached for Jenna’s poor husband, Richard. It ached for his aunt and uncle who’d lost their thirty-one-year-old daughter. And it ached for Henry, who was apparently putting himself in Richard’s shoes.
He stepped silently to where Henry sat and placed his hands on his husband’s shoulders and gently massaged. Henry’s head flopped back, and Sam planted a kiss on his forehead.
Patting the seat next to him, Henry said, “Join me.”
Sam sat, and drew Henry into his arms. “You going to be okay?”
Sam rubbed Henry’s back, waiting for him to unburden.
Henry sighed. “I can’t help thinking, what if it was us? How would I cope if it had been you? And how much I would hate to know you were suffering if it was me.”
Sam caressed Henry’s back as he imagined the horror of such a scenario. His stomach clenched at the mere thought of going through life without Henry at his side. He pushed the nightmarish image from his mind and murmured, “I’d never get over it, so I guess you’ll have to stick around.”
Henry pulled back, and his eyes glistened as he looked into Sam’s. “No, this is serious. I can’t stand the idea of you being miserable. I want you to promise that you’ll find a way to be happy again if I die. Promise you’ll move on, find love, remarry, don’t be alone. Promise.”
“How can I promise a mindset? I can’t help how I’d feel.” Besides, he knew how he’d feel. Such a promise wasn’t possible.
But Henry persisted. “Find a way. See a shrink if you need to, but don’t spend your life grieving for me.”
Much as Sam didn’t want to think of such a possibility, he could see Henry’s point. “Can you promise the same? Will you be able to get over me?”
Henry’s head dropped forward. Clearly, he couldn’t glibly make such an agreement either. At length, he nodded. “I love you so much. I’ll promise to do my best. If I’m ever faced with that, I’ll get help and not let myself sink into a depression.”
“I love you, too. With all my heart,” Sam said. He couldn’t guarantee a mindset, but he could agree to an effort. “Okay, I’ll promise the same. But don’t ever die, goddammit.”
A smile quirked at Henry’s lips. “I’ll try not to, you big goof.”
’Til Death Do Us Part is available individually in ebook and print formats, and as part of an ebook box set. Look for the audiobook release (probably) in late September.