Gabriel's Hope (Chapter One, page 2 of 9)

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She swallowed hard and gazed at the charts on the wall. She already knew, but it seemed worse when a doctor said it.

"There really is nothing I can do this time," he said. "We've been through every option."

"How long?" she whispered.

"Three months at most."

Deidre nodded, not sure how to respond. He'd told her the chances were slim long ago, but she wasn't ready for him to admit defeat quite yet. She'd been anticipating this moment for awhile. Sitting through it, she didn't think it was ever possible to be prepared for the news.

"I am very sorry, Deidre. You are a sweet girl," he said.

"No worries," she said, forcing a smile. "We all have to go at some point. At least I know how and when, right? You've …done so …" She couldn't finish it through the sudden tears.

Dr. Wynn hesitated then hugged her. Deidre closed her eyes and rested against him, trying to imagine what the last days of her life would be like. She'd let herself grieve for a day - maybe two - and then fill her world with as much sunshine as possible. She'd been on the verge of death for years. She could handle this turn of events.

"Logan won't take this well," he said, referring to her boyfriend of almost two years. "I will always meet you both for dinner again to explain, if it helps you."

Deidre drew a shuddering breath then groaned.

"If there is a Logan still?"

"More or less," she said. "He seems to be waiting for the inevitable while I try to check off my bucket list. He doesn't get that I'm not going to waste my time mourning when I can live."

"It's a difficult time for both of you."

"Yeah." She moved away from him, wiping her face. "I think he feels guilty for wanting to leave his dying girlfriend. Most days, I just want to tell him to get it over with and move on." She rolled her eyes.

"You've lived on your terms the past few years. No one will fault you for taking that one step further and cleaning house," Dr. Wynn said with a faint smile.

"Are you saying he's the dead weight and not me?"

"Your humor is morbid, darling," he said, though he chuckled. "I was thinking more along the lines that he can have no objection when I ask you to dinner, if he's out of the picture."

A laugh bubbled up. "You're insane, Doc. You've always been a little sweet on me, haven't you?"

"I've yet to meet someone as brave in the face of death as you are. I admire your joie de vivre and am always fascinated by your perspective on life."

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