In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. — Robert Frost
He was in the Quartermaine gardens when she found him at the reception afterwards. He was in the middle of Lila’s rose gardens, his hands in his pockets and his head bowed.
“I’ve never seen roses anywhere else that were this beautiful,” Elizabeth said softly. She touched one of them, breathing in the soft scent.
Jason turned to her and her heart broke at the bloodshot red eyes. “She spent a lot of time out here.”
“She was proud of this garden and I can see why.” Elizabeth shrugged and smiled sheepishly. “I’ve been trying to get a rose bush to bloom like this at Gram’s since the first time I came here but well, I’ve never had much of a green thumb.” She shifted her weight from one foot to another. “It never blooms much but I do get some flowers every year so I guess it’s been worth the effort.”
“It means a lot to Emily that you’re here.” Jason cleared his throat. “And to me.”
“She’s my best friend in the world. There’s no where else I could think of being today.” Elizabeth hesitated. “I know how much you loved her, Jason. I wish that I had the words to tell you how sorry I am but I don’t—I know there aren’t any.”
He exhaled slowly. “This is the first time someone so close to me has died. I didn’t—I thought it would hurt like losing Michael did. But…it’s different. I’m never going to see her again. Never going to see her smile or hear her voice. At least with Michael—I knew he was okay. That he would be okay.” He looked at her. “Do you remember that day in the park when we were talking about him and you said…that one day, you never know?”
“I remember,” Elizabeth said softly.
“I didn’t think I’d have him in my life again but he’s there. A daily part of my life and I’m just so grateful for that.” Jason sighed heavily. “But she’s not. She won’t ever be again.”
“That’s not true,” Elizabeth protested. “She’s in your heart, in your head. You have memories. You have her words, her presence in your life. You don’t have see a person to feel their love, Jason. That person doesn’t have to be in your life to love you.”
She stepped towards him and put a hand on his cheek. “Bodies die. But who that person was—they’re always inside you. I realized that when I thought Lucky was gone. Remembering him tore me up inside because I wanted him with me and if you think about never seeing her again, it’s just going to do the same to you.”
She pulled him to one of the stone benches and made him sit down. “Almost five years ago, we sat at a table and you let me talk until my face turned blue about Lucky. You didn’t know me as anymore than Emily’s friend.”
Elizabeth took Jason’s hand in hers. “You gave me back my memories, Jason, when you hardly knew me at all. Since then, you’ve become so much more to me than Emily’s brother or Lucky’s employer. You’ve been a friend…you’ve been more.” She smiled faintly. “I want to do the same for you. Let me do the same for you.”
“I don’t—” Jason exhaled slowly and closed his eyes. “I don’t know what you want me to do.”
“We can talk. We can just sit here. We can go take a ride on your bike and go around the turns so fast that we almost touch the ground. I just want the chance to help you the way you helped me.”
He nodded and managed a weak smile. “The last one sounds like a good idea but I’m not surprised you suggested it.”
“Yeah?” Elizabeth asked, smiling in return.
“You always did like my bike better than me.”
She laughed then, and her smile was bit brighter and was more genuine. “Well, who can resist it?”
He stood and held a hand out. “Come on. We’ll take the cliff road.”