Chapter 19

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The days to come had the essence of a cold breeze to Rose, capturing her throat and stealing her breath.
She felt trembling hands upon her shoulder and turned to see a wet-eyed Adam. At the sight of him, Rosemary let out a large wheeze she had concealed for the past while. They found themselves in a long embrace filled with sniffles and tears without a second thought. Adam's robust arms held the two together. "I-" Rose could barely begin without letting out a whimper. A rub of assurance from him to her back allowed her to continue. "I can't believe he's gone." She sniveled into his chest.

Rose could hear sobbing from Adam above her, and did not even flinch when a series of tears dripped atop her head. Instead, she found herself joining his cry of misery. Adam laid his chin on her head as she buried herself in his chest in an attempt to cover the tears.

Once they had released from one another, they joined the gathering with the other twenty-some of Tyler's close friends and family. She took notice of one woman in particular, whom she recognized as Tyler's mother. Her eyes shared the deep blue he had been gifted with, and were even more exaggerated by the liquid hanging on them. The chestnut locks resting on her cheeks, however, did not represent his as much as she'd assumed. A beautiful black dress framed her curves, along with a crystal necklace off her neck. A bouquet of ruby red roses were gripped in her hands. By her side stood another man, also sniffling his heart out; Rose decided this must've been Tyler's father. Although his eyes were not as deep as his wife or son's, his hair was a beautiful golden shade that matched quite well to what she had remembered of Tyler's. Rosemary took notice of a book clutched in his arms, and held to his heart. Before she could identify what it had been, the ceremony began.

The preacher man began with the regular openings of a funeral, until Tyler's parents had begun to walk up. With a closer glance at the coffin, the woman stuck a hand over her mouth in attempt to seize the pain. Rose couldn't help but release some agony over this motion. The man had begun to do the same, yet held strong in fear for his wife, laying a consoling hand onto her back. As tears built up in her sockets, Rose felt a gentle hand as Adam wiped the tears off of her cheeks. She locked smiles with him for a split second before inhaling a deep breath and regaining focus. Adam remained with a wrapped arm on her shoulder throughout the speech and service.

Before all else, Tyler's mother trudged through all the crowd members, allowing each of them to grasp a rose from her bouquet. When she had reached Adam and Rosemary, Rose froze in place. Adam released his arm from her to hold the flower, and glinted an attempt of a smile towards the lady. As for Rose, she had been much more hesitant. How could she take a rose from the mother of the man she had caused death to? At a loss for words, she was about to simply gesture a hand to pass by her, when Adam took one in her place. He nodded and mouthed, "Thank you," to Tyler's mother, whom he had quite obviously known previously.

Once all the pedals had been in new hands, the preacher spoke once again. "Now everyone will have the choice to either keep the rose you just received or lay yours on Tyler as we lower him." Just beyond that, his father began to recite Tyler's favorite bible passages; at once, Rose determined that it had been a bible he was holding at the beginning of the service. As he read off the verses, loved ones laid roses upon Tyler's corpse one after the other; from left to right. When it had come time, Adam fought tears while placing the flower in the casket, but had no reluctance to do so.

On the other hand, Rose had been fighting an inner battle. "If this is all I have left of him," she thought to herself with tears dribbling, "how could I let him go?" Rose couldn't understand how she had managed, but found herself dragging one foot after another until she had been by his side once again.

***

The moment broke up with a loud shriek of the monitor. He was coughing repetitively just before everything broke down. "Tyler! Help!" She screamed as a flood of nurses entered the room, eagerly trying to resolve the conflict. Rose placed her hands on his face. "Please don't leave me. I can't let you go." Placing his hands in hers, she gently landed a kiss goodbye on the cheek of his lifeless body.

***

Rose shook herself back into the present, hardly able to contain herself as she imagined his aqua-tinted irises staring back into hers. At this moment, she recognized that many people had been staring at her, but the look they gave was one with sympathy. Even though her heart had not been at a consensus, she neared her arm to his chest with the rose. Her hands shook vigorously, as if guarding this rose for their lives. Out of nowhere, Tyler's words replayed in her head, "And my heart will be with you always, too. No matter what happens." Shutting her eyes, Rose used every ounce of her strength to release her grip-to let go of what she had thought was the only part of Tyler she had left, and repeated, "with you always," as the rose fell into the pile.

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