Chapter 50

880 82 2

Andrew threw the apartment door open with gusto. An infection had kept him in the hospital a few weeks longer than expected, but David had visited him every day. Finally, after a few weeks of intense physical therapy, he had all the energy in the world. A crisp morning breeze swept in and Andrew slammed the door behind him, shivering as he took off his jacket.

"Hey Heather," said Andrew. "How are you today?"

Heather looked up from watering the plants. Her smile was as vibrant and warm as the plants she was caring for.

"Good, you? How's your chest?"

"Good. Wanna see the hole?"

Andrew started pulling down his T-shirt to show Heather, but she turned away. He walked over to David, who was standing over the kitchen counter making a pour over.

"Check it out. Jeni thinks this is the hottest bullet hole she has ever seen."

"How many bullet holes has she seen, exactly?" asked David.

"Enough. Hey, you know they give you free coffee at work, right?"

"I like the ritual. Want a cup?"

"Does a bear shit in the woods?"

"Didn't anyone teach you two manners?" said Heather. "Must I remind you that you are in the presence of a lady?"

"Come on, we're going to be late," said Andrew.

David and Andrew chugged their coffees. David was able to finish slightly before Andrew and slammed his mug on the table.

"Hold on a sec," said David. "I have something for you, Heather."

"For me?"

David rummaged through his backpack.

"It took some sleuthing, but I was finally able to track it down."

He tossed her a paper bag. She reached in and pulled out a small red box.

"Mom would come back to life and murder me if I didn't keep it in the family."

"Thanks," said Heather with glassy eyes. David walked up and kissed her on the forehead. The friends raced out of the apartment and jumped on their bikes. The early spring felt like summer. David knew the showers would return soon, but he loved the rare respite where people could leave their jackets and sweaters behind and throw caution to the wind. Even the plants and trees forgot what came next. The cherry blossoms burst with white snow and the daphnes bloomed in fragrant bushes. It seemed as if only the wise rose knew better.

The Term Sheet | Wattys 2016 WinnerRead this story for FREE!