More Than Words

Her smile is false and she knows it. She watches her best friend wed her first love with the knowledge that Emily loves another. Her closest friend is making the mistake Elizabeth has almost made before. Thinking that first love meant only love.

She brushes a tear from her cheek and wishes her friend happiness in the short time she has left. She clenches the white lily in her hands—she feels the stem snap with the force of her hold.

After a moment, she leaves the small hospital room, feeling out of place. She adores Emily and considers Zander a close friend, but they are newlyweds and she really just wants to be alone.

She wanders the hospital for a little while, stopping in front of the nursery for a moment. She touches the window with her fingers, her touch lingering for a few seconds. She closes her eyes and imagines her child—a daughter. With her father’s curling brown hair and maybe her mother’s blue eyes. She would have named her Audrey.

After another moment of wallowing, she opens her eyes and walks briskly away from the nursery, wiping her tears away. She has a destination in mind—a quiet place just to gather her thoughts and regain her composure before she returns to celebrate the wedding with Emily and her family.

She pushes the door to the hospital chapel open. It slides open with a heavy creak and she pauses for a moment, seeing the figure seated in the front pew. He’d ducked out after the ceremony as well but she’d assumed he’d gone home. To his newly returned fiancée and best friends.

He hears her come in and he turns to look at her. She folds her arms uncomfortably and briefly considers turning and leaving. But she had a right to be here, too. And…for the first time in so long, she doesn’t feel anything when she looks at him. No anger, no hurt, no bitterness.

She steps inside, letting the heavy door close behind her. He’s still looking at her even as she steps forward and sits next to him. The remains of her crushed lily are in her hands and she stares at it for a moment.

“Emily looked beautiful, didn’t she?” Elizabeth finds herself saying.

Jason nods. “She did.”

Elizabeth shifts and looks away. “I was surprised Courtney didn’t come with you.”

“She doesn’t know that Emily was getting married,” Jason tells her. “I…we haven’t spoken for a few days.”

Elizabeth frowns and before she can stop herself, she asks, “Why?”

Jason takes a deep breath and looks away, his eyes sad and distant. “Because she lied to me. She was pregnant, didn’t tell me. She came to South America, knowing she wasn’t supposed to. She was kidnapped and before I got to her, she miscarried and she never told me. She was never going to tell me at all.” He breaks off after the explanation and looks at his hands.

She sets her broken flower at her side and covers his hands with one of her own. She doesn’t say anything and after a moment, he looks up at her. He doesn’t speak either. She doesn’t need to say I’m sorry and he doesn’t need to accept it. They’ve never really needed words and it was nice to pretend for just one moment—on Emily’s wedding day and maybe in honor of the sister they shared—it was nice to pretend that they still didn’t.

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