Here it comes: the last chapter. I am actually posting this with one smiling and one crying eye, if you know what I mean. I feel free to write a new story now, but I also will miss this one.
Guys I have to tell you I was blown away by all the nice reviews and I want to thank you all SO much for that. I was actually thinking that there werent so many people reading anymore but wow was I happy to read your reviews and be pr
oven wrong! So I want to thank you also for staying with me and the story for such a long time and please reading all the chapters! you guys are the best!
I won't give away anything at this point about the last chapter and just wish you fun with the Epilog andlet me know what you think;)
Disclaimer: I don't own the show or the characters and don't make any money with the story. Just wanna have some fun :)
Red was standing on a hill, looking down at a meadow, where a small cemetery was situated. He sighed heavily, rubbing his neck. The black sunglasses were reflecting the sun and he only hoped that none of the people down at the opened grave would notice it. He felt Dembe moving to his right and with him Hudson, who wanted to see what had Red so mesmerized.
Red's eyes followed the white coffin being lowered slowly into the hole in the ground. Once it was fully inside, the few people attending started throwing fists of dirt inside and finally three men started their work with shovels to cover the hole.
Red turned around and put his black fedora onto his head. His hands smoothed down over his shining black suit and ended up patting Hudson.
"Let's go, Hudson. It's time for a little visit, don't you think?"
While Red rode in the back, Hudson was allowed to sit next to Dembe. Red chuckled to himself. Dembe finally had found another really good friend for himself. He talked to the dog as if it was a human being and sometimes Hudson interacted with him like a real human being. A shame Lizzie couldn't be here to see this friendship blossom so beautifully.
They drove for a while until they reached a white building, with glass doors.
"I'll go in alone. You two wait here. Don't move."
Red chuckled, slamming the door shut. In the last two weeks he had noticed that his humor had gotten lighter and actually funnier. At least from his point of view.
Holding his head high he walked through the doors and went straight to the stairs on his right hand side. Why use the elevator when you could exercise without having to actually workout? Not only did his jokes change, but after the fight with Rex, Red had admitted to himself that he was getting out of shape. More walking, more stairs and even jogging once for a while were now firmly planned into his weeks. He went up to the third floor, breathing a little bit heavier than he should, and turned left. The long corridor ended with a large window, through which the sun was shining brightly.
Finally, he reached the last door on the left side and without hesitation turned the doorknob, opening the door and sticking his head through it first.
His gaze wandered through the white painted room and he was satisfied to see the steadily growing mountain of flowers and cards next to the bed that was standing at the left wall. He smiled and entered the room.
"Good morning, sweetheart."
"Hey, Red." Liz' sweet voice filtered through the room to him and he automatically smiled even brighter.
"How is my girl feeling today?"
He watched her shift into a semi sitting position and smile back at him.
"I know that you are here to take me FINALLY home, so I am perfect."
Red sat down in the chair next to the bed and grasped her hand, squeezing it affectionately.
"I am so glad you are going to be out of here, Lizzie. You have missed a lot of things while lazing out here in this bed. Can you imagine Dembe having conversations with a dog?"
"Hey…" she protested. "I wanted to go home last week but you insisted on me staying here and resting."
They grinned at each other but the mood turned somber after a minute.
"Were you there?" Liz asked quietly, not looking at Red.
"I didn't attend the funeral in the truest sense of the word. I didn't think it would be a good idea to pretend at someone's grave that I am mourning them when I really am not. The only thing I am sad about is that you had to go through this nightmare." Red remembered the day when he fought for Lizzie's life. When he held her limp body in his arms and felt the desperation crash over him like an ocean wave. The blood that was flowing through his hand and the hours of waiting in the emergency room while Liz was fighting for her life in the operating room. He shook his head to clear his mind. This was all in the past. The gunshot wound had healed in the two weeks of hospitalization beautifully and her leg was also at a stadium that she could start physiotherapy soon. When the first shock had settled, Liz had hesitantly asked him to organize a funeral for her father. He hadn't answered, but a few days later informed her about the date of the funeral.
Red looked back to her and answered her question more clearly.
"Yes…I was near and watched. It was a nice funeral. As nice as a funeral can be when a criminal is the corps in the casket." With this the conversation was over and he didn't want to hear about Rex again. The man was buried and done with. Finally.
There was one thing that he had to address though. It would open up wounds for both of them but he had to clear the air around this subject.
"Darling, before the doctor barges in here and starts to prattle about medical stuff we know already, we have to talk about a serious topic."
Liz frowned and withdrew her hand from Red's, which made him frown in return.
"I know I shouldn't have asked you to arrange my father's funeral, I should have thought about it more carefully…I mean, all the pain he inflicted on you and your family…I shouldn't have…"
Before she could say anything else, a hand clamped over her still moving mouth.
"Hush, sweetheart. Your request only showed how big your heart is and that's what I admire so much about you. Among other thing but now let me say what I ACTUALLY want to say."
He felt her close her mouth under his hand and decided it would be safe to release her.
"Before you…well…before you passed out you said I could have my peace now. Please tell me you didn't meant what I assume you did." He looked at her sternly and Liz wasn't sure how truthful she should answer. But being honest to herself, she had to admit that she didn't want to lie. She wanted Red to know that she would always feel responsible for the death of his family. No more lies. No more secrets. After Tom she didn't want a relationship, no matter what kind of relationship, based on lies.
"Your family died because of me." She saw Red already shaking his head vehemently.
"No, Red. It's a fact. You have to acknowledge that. If you haven't saved me, your family would still be happily alive for all we know. I can't just ignore this."
Red sighed, his head lowering.
"Listen, I can accept the fact that it is my fault because I didn't find another way. They died because of my actions." He paused, searching for her eyes with his and when he finally found them, he continued. "But I cannot and will not accept that you are blaming yourself for this. You couldn't have changed my mind. You couldn't have stopped me. Even if you would have wanted to, if you'd have been old enough to understand what was going on. But FACT is you weren't and it was MY decision to make and I made it. It may have been the wrong one for my family but it was the right one regarding your life and my wife stood behind me on this. She wanted you to be safe as much as I wanted it."
He watched silent tears glide over Liz' cheeks and it broke his heart.
"Please believe me when I tell you that neither I nor my family would ever lay any blame on you for this. The best you can do is to honor my families memory by not blemishing the gift of life with misplaced guilt and heartache. Please, Elizabeth."
"You never call me that." She mumbled under her breath.
Red tried to smile through his frown at her.
"I am serious. Tell me you won't blame yourself."
"I can promise to try."
Red nodded. That's the best she could do for now and he knew and understood it.
"I like your name, it's just a mouthful."
They grinned once again at each other, but this time and heavy atmosphere lifted for good and they talked for a while about their future plans, until Red remembered another little something he forgot to tell her.
"By the way, I wanted to thank you."
"Me? What for?"
"For being more paranoid than I thought you were and hiding the knife in your cleavage."
P.S. Any wishes for the next story? Aynthing I can do better next time? I am open for all your tips and tricks and ideas;)