There was nothing. No pulse. No heartbeat. No movement. Just the cold, motionless form of Laura.
He had only been gone a couple hours, just long enough to catch their breakfast of fish and have a nice swim in the lake. Laura had been planning to go with him but when they had woken up she had said something about doing some gardening instead while it was still a nice temperature outside. It had been getting hot in the afternoon lately so they had been doing most of their outside chores in the morning while it was still cool.
He had said that he would be back soon.
She had said that she would be fine.
He returned a couple hours later with a couple fish in his hand. Not having seen Laura in the garden when he walked up, he went into their bedroom after he placed the fish in the kitchen. That is when he saw her. She was lying on their bed, still as a rock. He called her name but she did not answer. As he rushed over towards her, his shaking fingers fumbled around her wrist, hoping for some small sign that she was still there, still holding on to life. But there was nothing, no pulse. Nothing except the cold, motionless form of his Laura. She was gone. And he was alone.
He wakes up sweating with tears running down his face. Sitting up, he looks around and notices the bed beside him is empty. Laura must have gotten up earlier and decided not to wake him. Rubbing his hand across his face, he wipes the tears from his eyes. Thank the gods Laura woke up earlier than him today so she didn’t see this. Bill takes a few deep breaths, having been shaken from his dream, and then climbs out of bed. Once he makes the bed, he goes out to the bathroom and then gets dressed. Making his way out to the kitchen, he starts the coffee and just as he is sitting down on the couch to drink a mug of it, Laura comes in through the front door.
Laura notices that something is off right as she walks in. Looking at Bill, she sees that he is slightly slumped over, thinking. Hoping he is just tired, she says cheerfully, “Good morning, Bill.”
His eyes fly open, away from his thoughts, and he turns to look at her. “Morning,” he says. He tries to smile but he knows it is an utter failure.
Laura notes his barely-there smile, the corners of his lips just slightly turning up. This is when she knows that something is wrong; he has been so happy ever since she was cured. Moving over towards the couch, she sits down next to Bill. He wraps his arm around her and tightly holds her against his side, turning his head so he can place a kiss on her cheek.
“Is everything okay?” she murmurs against his shoulder, concerned as to what could cause him to start acting so unlike himself.
He sighs. He wouldn’t tell her, he couldn’t. Why upset the both of them when it means nothing? But what if it does mean something? But it doesn’t, because it was only a bad dream. So instead, he plasters a smile on his face and turns to look at her. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just saying good morning the way a good husband should. So, where have you been this morning?”
Laura notices the change of subject but decides not to push. If he doesn’t tell her right now, she has all day to try to figure it out. “Well, it’s definitely a nice way to receive a good morning. I got up early and went out to do some gardening. You know how it gets kind of hot outside in the afternoon, so I decided to do it in the morning while it was still cool.”
Laura’s words bring back the burning images of his dream which causes him to gasp in horrid remembrance. After a moment, he says, “Well, why don’t you get me up with you the next time and I’ll come out and help you?”
“Bill, you don’t like gardening, remember? I can distinctly remember you complaining to me when I made you pull out those weeds the other day.”
“Well, it’s about time I got over it,” he replies with almost a pleading note in his voice.
Looking up at her husband, she is shocked to see the frightened, scared look in his eyes. “Bill, what’s going on? I know something’s not right, just tell me.”
“It’s nothing,” Bill dismisses with a shake of his head.
Laura lifts one of her eyebrows, knowing that she is going to get the truth out of him eventually. Bill isn’t the first person in her life to try and sidestep a conversation; she was a schoolteacher once. She knows how this game is played. “Bill, it’s not nothing, not when you’re looking at me with a devastated look on your face. I haven’t seen that look many times on you recently, but I definitely have seen it. Just tell me.”
He looks away from her and mutters, “It was just a dream. Just a stupid dream. It doesn’t mean anything.”
Laura lifts her hand and places it underneath Bill’s chin, guiding it so his eyes are now on hers. She sees the tears barely hidden in the depths of his eyes and she knows what kind of dream it was. They had been living on Earth for a little over two weeks and once in a while she noticed that Bill didn’t always come out of the bedroom - or the tent when they were in it - right away after waking. And when he did finally come out his eyes would be red and he would seem a little shaken. But then he would have his coffee and he would be fine for the rest of the day; he would be his usual self. She would assume it was due to the fight for their survival that just ended and eventually the dreams would stop. But now she realizes they didn’t have anything to do with the war, at least not the war with the cylons. Her eyes soften and she says, “How did I die this time?”
“Laura, that’s not-”
“Bill, I’m your wife. Allow me to take some of your burdens.” She places her hand on his knee and gently rubs through the fabric of his pants.
After a moment, Bill looks down at her hand and then back up at her. “I had gone out to catch our breakfast and you stayed behind so you could do some early morning gardening. When I came back, you were lying on our bed and you were-you were gone. And I was alone. I didn’t even get a chance to say good-bye.” Once he finishes, he looks back down at Laura’s hand that is now covering his own.
“Bill, I’m right here. Right here. And I’m not going anywhere. I promise.” Leaning forward, she presses her lips against his and he can feel the weight of his dream lifting.
She whispers against his lips, “I know I’m not in perfect health yet, but I’m slowly getting a little bit better and stronger each day. I promise that you are never going to be alone, and that you will never have to say good-bye until we are ready to go together.” She then seals the promise with another kiss.
After a few moments of silence, Bill softly says, “Tell me about your life, the life you had on Caprica I mean, back before the war. It’s odd to think that nobody spoke about their lives before the war, especially people that loved each other. I never even thought about it, probably because I was so caught up in everything, in fighting. I should have though, I should have asked.”
“It’s understandable, Bill. We all had other things on our minds, including me.” Taking a deep breath, she stretches out her legs and rests them on the coffee table in front of her. She then starts to speak about her life before the war, something that she has rarely ever thought about in the past five years. “My life wasn’t all that interesting actually. My family was gone. When I was in my early thirties, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went on Diloxan, but she didn’t make it. She was a teacher, just like I was. I remember being at her funeral and seeing so many of her former students. They all loved her. She was the reason I became a teacher. My father was a university professor, so you can see where I got my teaching genes from. My father and my two younger sisters, Sandra and Cheryl, were killed by a drunk driver several years later in a car accident. I was about to be an aunt. My middle sister was expecting a little boy. After that, well, I quit teaching and joined politics. I don’t know why I would give up something I love for something that I completely hate, but at least it brought me here. I didn’t really have a man in my life, at least not a serious one; most of my life was spent working. It’s funny though because at the end of the worlds I got a job that I had never planned for and that I really shouldn’t have gotten. Decommissioning Galactica was supposed to be my last act as Secretary of Education. I hadn’t been fired, but Adar was going to force me to resign as soon as I got back from the decommissioning. I did something that he didn’t like because of his image, and so he was going to force me to resign because of it. There were some good memories mixed in but that’s pretty much a summary of the most recent years of my life before the war. What about you?” Laura looks up at Bill as she finishes reliving all of her memories. She wipes the tears from her eyes that she hadn’t realized had started to fall and then catches Bill’s eyes with her own.
Bill’s voice is thick when he starts to speak. “I would have loved to have been able to know your family. I had no idea that your father and sisters were killed by a drunk driver. I’m sorry if my drinking made you think of that each time you saw me with a glass.”
Laura gasps because this is the first time he has truly acknowledged his drinking when she was dying. “The past is the past. So, what about your life?”
“My life was definitely less interesting than yours. I’ve pretty much spent my entire life on a battleship. Carolanne and I got married when we were both pretty young, and it was not one of my best decisions. We were both pretty immature at the time. She gave me two sons but our marriage wasn’t a good one. She wanted me to get out of the military even though she knew that was my life. She hated that I wasn’t around enough when the boys were growing up and she hated even more that I wasn’t around for her. We had already separated before Zak died, but we were still trying to fix things. When Zak died, that was the final straw. We ended up getting a divorce and she was about to get remarried when the cylons attacked. Zak died a few years before the attack in a viper training accident. He and Kara were engaged to be married. Kara is like the daughter I never had. She and I have been through a lot together. Lee blamed me for Zak’s death and that’s the reason why we weren’t on very good terms when Galactica was about to be decommissioned. That was the first time we had talked in years. I tried to be in my boys’ lives as much as possible, but it was hard while being in the military. When I was growing up, my father was a lawyer and my mother and sister both died in an accident when I was really young. I barely even remember them. My father was an interesting man now that I look back on it, but I didn’t appreciate him enough when I was young. He wasn’t around a lot because he worked. He was a lot like me, dedicated to his job.”
“I wish I could have met Zak, he sounds like his father’s son. I never knew that Kara was going to marry him. She didn’t seem like the type to settle down when I first met her. It makes sense though, shows why you are so close to her. Thank you for telling me.”
Bill nods his head in acknowledgement and then says, “I’m glad that I get to spend the last chapter of my life with you. Thank you for making it the best chapter.”
Here's the next chapter. Hope you all enjoy it!
Hope you enjoyed it. As always, reviews and suggestions are greatly appreciated.