“But you know he wasn’t the love of your life.” Andrew stopped and waited as the pause lengthened with no answer. “Right?”
Rachel said nothing, but looked at him without lifting her face. The silence grew between them.
“Rachel!” He took her by the wrist, the softness of his grip belying the strength in his voice. “Look at me. You know–” A fit of coughing cut him off.
She waited until he quieted, her upper lip pushing forward as it always did when she was frustrated. “I don’t know how to answer that,” she replied in a small voice. His fingers tightened against her arm and her voice rose in response. “I don’t know, Andy, I don’t know! What kind of question is that? What am I supposed to say?”
He shut his eyes and took a careful breath, releasing her hand. “It’s okay, Rache. I…I think I understand.”
The pain his voice sliced through her soul. “Andy, I’m sorry.” She touched his forehead, felt the flush of another round of fever. “I’m so sorry.” Her eyes stung with tears, and she realized her hands around his thin face were wet now too. “I know I love you. I know I want to be your wife. I know we might not…no, we don’t have much time. I know…a lot of things.” She stopped, and folded her hands in her lap like a chastised schoolgirl. Every word seemed to be a struggle. “But I don’t know how to answer that question.”
To his credit, he could see the torment she was in, and did not ask her again. “That’s good enough for me,” and he leaned forward and took her in his arms as she began to sob.