Delilah's Point of View
The light in the hallway was dim. As I pushed opened the two huge double doors, I blinked away tears that had threatened to fall so the kids wouldn't see that I was about to cry. I'll never let them see me cry, not now, not ever. I had to hold myself together, but I knew the second I saw Jacob, I'd lose it. I felt as if some unknown presence was supporting all my weight and walking me to Jake's room. It was almost as if I were walking on air, and not in a good way. My head kept replaying the little moments that we'd shared together over the years, good times and the bad times alike. My lips trembled in the pout that had been in place for hours. Looking back I see that he put everything into our marriage and life together, and I couldn't count the number of times that I had been angry or frustrated at him when he never deserved it. A teardrop escaped down the corner of my eye. He completed me in every way possible and most of the time all I did was yell at him for stupid reasons. I walked faster as I thought of last Tuesday when I had flipped out at him for not hearing the correct phone number of a car insurance lady that was helping me, and jotting down her office hours instead, mistakenly thinking it was her cell phone number.
The knots in my stomach tightened painfully as I thought of the month Jake put our electric bill in the 'out of town' mailbox instead of the 'out of state' mailbox at the post office. I became nauseas as I saw in my mind's eye how embarrassed he looked as I was screeching at him for it. I was running down the hall now, passing bewildered looking nurses in different colored scrubs. I barely heard everyone behind me, struggling to keep up. I stopped abruptly and turned back to look at my children. Jesse, who looked some much like Jake already, seemed to adopt all of his facial expressions as I looked him in the eye. Lynette was a few centimeters behind my first son, Lynette had Jake's big bright eyes, eyes that she had passed on to her own children. Just behind Lynette stood Jack, who, out of all my children, had the most resemblance to me. Next to Jack was Indigo, who looked so much like Bella right now it was as if she were Bella. I had to lean slightly to the side to see Piper, who had Lucy attached to her hip like a leech sucking blood. The funny thing about both Piper and Lucy was that they had the perfect amount of both me and Jake in them, though, they both had a better connection to Jake than they ever had to me. I took in each of my children's faces, who were symbolically lined in order from oldest to youngest.
"It's going to be okay." I said, my voice horse, though, it was always horse. Jake thinks that I have bronchitis from all the years of smoking. As he told me this, I remembered that he had this look on his face that looked like he wished he were the one that had it rather than me. He was sacrificial like that.
"We have to be strong, you know? Nothing is ever okay if everyone falls apart." I stood straighter, feeling myself take control again. I knew that if I believed Jake would be okay, he would, he just had to be. When I see him, I wouldn't cry because there was no need to. This was just a minor speed bump in our lives, after this, it'll be okay. It has to be. Jesse caught up to me, along with my other children. Jess put his arm around my shoulders, I had to crane my neck to look into his face because he was at least two heads taller than me. Lynette and Indi both put their arms around each other while they walked. Piper and Lucy did the same and we all proceeded to Jake's room.
"I should go in first," I said quietly, looking around at the framed pictures of strangers with empty eyes. I guessed that they were rich people that had donated money to the hospital or something. I looked meaningfully into every set of eyes with me and as I walked passed, I squeezed Lucy's arm twice. I took a much needed breath as I placed my clammy hand on the metal doorknob. I didn't know what I'd see when I opened the door, I felt as if I'd throw up. I opened the heavy door and peered in. It was dim and cool, all the lights were turned off except for one pinkish looking ceiling light. The room wasn't very large, but was the perfect size for three beds. The only bed with somebody in it was the last one near the window. As I approached, I saw that Jacob was sleeping on his back, his mouth open just a little bit. I almost smiled at this but I didn't. My stomach was still uneasy as I looked him over hungrily. He looked so much older than usual and it scared me to no end. Just to have him here in front of my eyes calmed me down better than a cigarette ever could, though. I sat down in the chair next to his bed and pulled myself as close to him as possible. I grabbed his limp hand and held it close to my face, feeling the warmth of him and closing my eyes wearily. Jacob's hand twitched a little and slowly caressed my face, I opened my eyes to find my husband staring at me. His black eyes weren't empty like the pictures on the walls outside, though, they were bottomless. His eyes were a black ocean and right then, I seemed to be swimming in that ocean. His lips tugged on the edges but only a little.
"You look horrible." He croaked. I leaned my face into his hand. My eyes felt uncomfortably hot, I felt a blush rise up into my neck and my face hurt from trying to restrain myself from crying uncontrollably like I told myself not to. I did anyway, of coarse.
"I…You!" I sobbed harder and harder. I couldn't see Jacob's face and that scared me for a minute. I wiped away the tears with my free hand furiously. I couldn't breathe.
"Jake…Oh, my god." Jacob pulled me to him, he looked so frail to me, almost breakable. That made me cry harder, everything was changing.
"It's okay, Delilah, honey, I'm not dead yet." He deserved a slap upside the head for that one. I cried into his chest, my sobs muffled by the scratchy blanket. As I tried to calm myself down, I listened to his heart beat in his chest, it was unbearably slow. He stroked my hair as my breathing became controlled again. We were silent for a moment.
"What the hell was that?" he asked incredulously as I pulled away to look into his face once more. He looked tired, he should be resting. But I had to tell him something vitally important.
"I've never seen you cry like that! That was ridiculous." His teasing seemed off to me. He was putting on his 'everything is okay' voice and I saw right through it. I wiped my tears and snot on my coat sleeve and sniffed, studying him once more. As I looked him over for the second time, I noticed that his face was emptied of something essential, something that has been apart of him for the whole time I've known him, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Energy maybe? No, that wasn't it at all.
"Jake…Jacob, I'm going first, don't you dare go before me!" That was a little more cryptic than I'd originally planned, I'll just go with it for effect. Jake trailed off, a confused look passing over his face like unexpected thunderstorm clouds. I must sound like a babbling fool, I couldn't blame him.
"What?" He asked sharply.
"I meant, that I demand that I die first! You're not allowed to die before me." I crossed my arms and looked away, I couldn't bare it if he died. It was only fitting that I died before him, but that wouldn't be for a very long time, preferably another 100 years.
"Well, that's stupid. I'm older than you, look at me! I'm clearly going to be the one to die first." He wave an unsteady hand in the air. He looked angry.
"I don't care," I set my jaw, this was going to be the stupidest argument we've ever had.
Jacob huffed and crossed his arms across his chest too. We didn't say anything to each other for another minute.
"I insist that I die first," He whispered in a thin voice, always a gentlemen.
"Don't 'Delilah, honey' me, Jacob Black! I couldn't bare it if you died before me so I'm going to die first and that's final!" He shut his mouth, out of the corner of my eye, I saw his hand drop from the air and his expression soften.
"Do you realize how completely insane you are?" He asked softly, reaching over to stroke my hair, I leaned my face into his hand and sighed heavily.
"Yeah, I've been told." He chuckled, I could see his eyes dropping. I kissed his hand and sighed once more.
"Get some sleep, you've had a pretty intense day." I whispered, stroking his arm. He closed his eyes, but a small smile lingered on his face.
"I'm going to die first!" He said quickly, but before I could reply, he was out for the rest of the night.
5 Months Later
Delilah's Point of View
"Maybe we can not go, stay here for the day, have me and you time." I said desperately. I winked my right eye sexily, stealthily slipping into the bathroom behind him to sit on the toilet while Jacob shaved in front of the bathroom mirror. Jacob chuckled, shaking his head as he ran the black razor he was holding over his left cheek.
"As much as I would love that, I'm afraid that I have to decline on that very tempting offer. Unfortunately, as the sister of the groom, you have the responsibility to attend the wedding." I looked down at my dark red nails, trying to think of another excuse to make Jake stay home. I looked up at him. Jacob looked completely absorbed in what he was doing, but I could see that he was gazing at me from the corner of his eye.
"How about I go to Todd's wedding and you stay here and watch Peanutbutter, she misses you." Jake shook his head, grinning at me.
"Peanutbutter has done nothing but lay in bed with me for the passed five months, I'm sure she'll be happy for the vacation away from me." I raised my eyebrows. He was really one for the good comebacks this morning, wasn't he?
"Peanutbutter is a dog, you've been leading her on this whole time. She's probably expecting you to watch a rerun of Murder She Wrote again." I mocked. Ha! Take that, Jake. A guilt trip and a Murder She Wrote reference in the same sentence. Hello comeback fairy, welcome back to my team.
"Peanutbutter would understand if I have something more important to do this morning than recover from my poor health and watch Jessica Fletcher solve other people's crimes, plus, I only watch Murder She Wrote because you recorded the series on TiVo and there is nothing else to watch in the morning." Damn him, I bit my lip. This was the first big outing since his birthday, I couldn't risk him getting hurt.
"Please stay home!" I said softly, now my desperation was shining through, I wanted to kick myself. Jacob washed his clean shaved face with his big hands before he replied. He finally shut the water off when I could see the steam from the water being too hot. He then grabbed the suit jacket the hung over the shower rod and slipped his long arms into the sleeves, I rose my perch on the toilet seat an helped him place the rest of the suit over his shoulders. When he turned to face me, I adjusted his black tie. Jake's warm fingers caught my pale hands and held then to his chest so I could feel his heart beating in his chest. When I wake up in the mornings, I always make sure to listen to his heart before making coffee. This morning, I had been so stressed about the wedding outing that I had forgotten this ritual. The pressure in his chest made my stomach untwist from it's knots, but only slightly.
"You see?" He whispered softly, "still beating. Just like it was yesterday and the day before that, and last Thursday." I closed my eyes and rested my ear on the spot where I could hear it's beating with almost perfect clarity, I thought I had vampire hearing for a moment.
"I'm so worried."
"I know you are, you have no reason to be. I'll be around for a hundred more years." He assured me, tucking my long hair behind my ear.
"Promise me." I whispered, my voice cracked. He let out a low chuckle and planted soft kisses on my hair and forehead.
6 Months Later
Delilah's Point of View
The bright sunshine shone through the tiny house as I stomped around the kitchen looking for the spatula I just had in my hand. Red hot annoyance bubbled within me and I slammed down my reading glasses on the kitchen table where Jake was reading the paper and stormed out of the room to where Piper was sitting on the couch watching a stupid reality show. My husband sat still on his chair, his eyes staring blankly at the sport's page. He was trying to listen to my irrational huffing and puffing over nothing with wary ears. My youngest daughter looked up at the sound of my entrance with a smirk on her face.
"Quit smoking again?" she asked as I walked briskly past her into the bedroom, I could've left it there when Bella had called right?
"I thought that's what you wanted me to do." I said to her from my bedroom, where I looked around, no kitchen utensil in sight.
"Yeah, when I was thirteen years old, you're a little late to jump on the bandwagon." she retorted, I leaned out the doorframe to have a good stern look at her, she was focused on the show, but I could tell she knew I was there.
"Don't you have somewhere to be?" I asked skeptically, raising my eyebrows at her. She laughed and shook her head.
"Anthony is picking me up for work in ten minutes, I'm just killing time." I continued to stare at her. Who was Anthony? What about Steven? Who she was so in love with she just had to marry him right away, and in Vegas of all places. I guess he was last month's obsession, I shutter to think what would've happened if she actually married the bastard.
"Whose Anthony?" I asked nonchalantly as I flitted back into the room, still searching for the lot spatula. Why didn't she tell me these things? Lynette and Indi always did. My heart panged for a moment.
"Didn't I tell you?" Now she was playing dumb. I heard Jake get up from the table in the kitchen, his cane made loud whacks against the bright tile under his feet. I saw him limp into the doorframe out of the corner of my eye.
"No, you didn't tell me." I grimaced and looked over at Jake, who looked worn and tired as he glanced about the room, not really focusing on me or Piper. I knew he was listening all the same.
"He's my new friend! We met at that new club that just opened in Seattle. It turns out that he works in the same building as me! Isn't that a coincidence?" I folded my arms across my chest, Jacob was still and silent which was weird because he usually didn't shut up. He was probably waiting for the actual words to come out of his youngest daughter's mouth. That Anthony was her new boyfriend and that she insisted that this relationship was different from the previous train wreaks she'd been involved in. Given Piper's history with men, we both had good reason to worry.
"Isn't that funny!" I said a little too enthusiastically. Piper nodded and twisted a lock of hair around her finger.
"Yeah, him and his boyfriend work at the reception desk in the lobby, that's how they met, you know, through work. I always thought it sounded like fate." I sighed with relief, Jacob smiled broadly. He was gay! Thank the lord in Heaven.
"Invite him in!" Jake's thin tenor voice called from the kitchen as he hobbled back to the table, "I'm sure your mother could make a quick breakfast." I laughed airily, embarrassment hitting me hard.
"Just as long as I find that damned spatula." I muttered as I followed Jake back into the kitchen. As I passed him, his reached his hand out to me and I squeezed it gently, kissing his hollow cheek. I noted to myself that Jake looked skinnier as I rushed to look in the one of the drawers to see if I had simply put the spatula away and told myself to give him bigger portions for now on.
1 Month and 3 Days Later
Delilah's Point of View
I decided to lie to myself as I fixed Jake the tea he suggested, it was simply a cold and that was all. I looked over my shoulder and into the living room where I could see the TV's light shining through from our dark bedroom. I walked quickly back into my bedroom, the teacup balanced carefully in my steady hands. My bare legs had Goosebumps running all up and down. It almost hurt, I was so cold. I stopped in the doorway and I watched Jacob in the bed, he pat Peanutbutter gently on the head every so often. Peanutbutter's tail thumbed against the bed as she saw me enter the room. I smiled at her as I climbed back into the cozy bed next to Jake.
It had been a tiring day, Jacob called the family over for dinner tonight. Everyone came and the house has been noisy with our children and grandchildren from morning till night. It took me by surprise to see everyone at the house all at once, Jake hadn't even told me his plan. I had only crackers and left over pot roast to offer them, I could've made a better dinner. I could see Jake smiling from ear to ear, not a single pained look on his face like usual. Now, however, as best as he tried to hide it, the day's event's were getting to him.
"Thanks," Jake said as I handed him the hot tea. He shivered as the hot cup hit his unusually cold hands. The spoon rattled as he held the cup up to his lips, his hand trembled. I tore my eyes away, my mind filled with unwanted thoughts, my own hands started to shake. I swallowed and steadied myself, moving closer to him. Jake let out a surprised grunt as I rested my head on his chest, after half a second of shock he chuckled, placing the rattling cup on the bedside table.
"What brought this on?" He asked softly, rubbing smooth circles in my back. I was listening to his thumping heart, it seemed to be the loudest sound in the room. It reminded me of the Tell Tale Heart, though, I wasn't guilty for murdering an old man with cataracts in his eyes. I took a deep breath before I answered him.
"I just love you, that's all." Jacob chuckled again,
"I love you too." I wouldn't make this conversation depressing, I half listened to his heart.
"What's this one about?" I asked, he knew I meant the Law and Order he was watching, I squinted to see the little people on the screen.
"I don't know, I just turned it on."
2 days later…
Delilah's Point of View
I don't remember the exact moment I went insane because I always thought that insanity was something that happened over time. I was wrong. God, was I wrong. I held Jacob's cold hand to my face, closing my eyes and taking in his familiar scent. The bedroom didn't feel like it was apart of the cozy home we've kept together for more than 30 years. I was seeing it with new eyes, eyes that felt like they've seen everything they were meant to see in life, even more than they were supposed to. Piper let out a whimper behind me, Lynette sat on the bed next to Jacob staring at the opposite wall. My boys and Indi were in the living room, I supposed that the kids were all at home but I didn't ask. I drowned out the quiet sounds of the TV in the other room, Jessie was on the phone with a doctor, I couldn't bring myself to feel hope. I held my breath as Jacob let out a cough that shook his whole body. My eyes shoot open to inspect him, I found that he was looking back at me with the most curious expression on his face.
"Hey," I whispered quietly, pulling his hair back from his forehead with my hand, Jacob looked around the room confused.
"Jake, are you awake? Can you hear me?" I rested my hand on his face gently, fear surging through my body. It's been a long, hard night. His teeth chattered, I pulled his blanket up over his arms.
"What the hell?" He whispered. I raised my eyebrows, delirium was common with Pneumonia in older adults, I wondered if he recognized me. I hoped to God that he did.
"Jake, honey, do you know where you are?" I whispered, Jake's eyes were wild, confused, a tear escaped from my eyes.
"My bedroom." he answered quietly, still looking around as if he were amazed by where he was. I let out a shuttering sigh of relief.
"I, I've been looking for you for so long." He stuttered, holding desperately to my arm as if he could hold me there, his grip felt like a spider's web, fragile and weak.
"I'm right here." I said, he still look disturbed about something, I leaned forward in the chair next to his side of the bed.
"I could hear you, it was so dark. I couldn't find you, I couldn't find you." His voice was louder this time, as if I didn't hear him the first time. It was almost scary, the fear in his voice.
"I'm here now, Honey, sit back." I gently pushed his chest back.
"Stay with me this time." I leaned forward and kissed his cheek, whispering in his ear.
"I never left." Jake coughed again, this time, it left him struggling for air. He wheezed as he grabbed a tissue from bedside table where the tea cup from the other night was still sitting. Jacob muffled his coughs with the tissue. I saw traces of blood on the tissue as he threw it into the waste basket next to the bed. Piper had to leave the room, Lynette silently took her spot.
"Delilah," Jake took my hand again after one last wheezing breath, I looked into his eyes, I smiled, I had to hide my panic from him.
"Yeah?" With his free hand, he traced the bags under my eyes and wiped the old tears away from my face.
"I'm dying, Honey." There was no fear in his eyes as he said this, I admired him for that. My brave man. Lynette let out a muffled sob, she cried into my favorite blue sweater .
"Jake, no, don't say that. It's just pneumonia!" I shook my head in denial. He couldn't die, he always pulled through. I tried to swallow through the painful lump in my throat.
"I won't live through this one, Delilah." he said gently, wiping away the new tear that formed a blurring veil over my vision, his fingers trembled, I could see the fever in his eyes and at that moment, part of me knew he was right. Lynette finally had to leave the room, I could hear someone else crying too, but I didn't know who it was.
"I don't regret anything, I lived my life to the fullest. You gave that to me." His smile was tremulous. I cried harder into his hand, he continued to wipe the tears away.
"I don't either, Jake, you saved me." I said quickly, clutching at his hand as if I could only hold him, he wouldn't leave me.
"Don't cry, sweetheart." He whispered, he let out a fit of coughing again. More blood, so much blood.
"You promised me you'd live for a hundred more years, Jacob! You promised me!" I sobbed loudly, regardless of how immature I sounded, I couldn't think of anything else that would make more sense. I could hear Edward and Bella's voices from in the kitchen, talking quietly to Jack. I vaguely remembered calling my sister, it seemed like centuries ago. Jake's eyes started to droop, he's been falling asleep on and off these past couple of days, the illness making him exhausted.
"I love you so much, Delilah." He said quietly, I stroked his face as his eyes fluttered closed, fighting to get them open.
"I love you more than anything else in this world." I replied. Another tremulous smile appeared on his gaunt face.
"That's all I needed in my life, your love, s'all I ask for." he spoke more for a while with his eyes closed, not really aware that I was there right next to him anymore. After a minute, I guessed he was just speaking his delirious, scattered thoughts allowed to himself. I tried to figure out what he was talking about when he started to make better sense, I guessed he was remembering little forgotten moments of his life. After that, though, his thoughts returned back to a chaos mess, back into the haze of his illness. When his rambling was replaced by silence about a half hour later, I slipped into the bed next to my husband and rested my head on his silent heart.
Two Days Later
Delilah's Point of View
One, two, three, four, five….I clutched Jacob's favorite shirt to my chest and stared up at the blank white ceiling. I didn't think in coherent sentences anymore, just bright flashes of memory. I counted like I had obsessive compulsive disorder, like my life depended on it. My arms and legs were stiff from the mourning clothes I wore, I could feel the cracked mascara on my face as I lay on Jacob's pillow. All the warmth from his body disappeared, I turned on my side and buried my head into his pillow. One, two, three, four, five,…I was reminded then of the Exorcism of Emily Rose.
I cried into Jacob's vacated pillow, I hadn't really stopped crying since Bella pulled me away from Jacob's body two days ago. I hadn't slept since the night I made Jake tea, the cup still sat on the bedside table, alone now, just like me. He had been fine then, death stole him away from me fast. I wished it would do me the same service. I wished to die, too. I had no more feeling, no wish to have feeling. I thought of Jacob's final coherent moments and wondered what he was thinking. Was he scared? He didn't look it. Did his whole life flash before his eyes? From his rambling, it sounded like it. I've never needed to hold him in my arms more than now, and the realization that I couldn't anymore hit my hard. I thought of my life, not just my life with him, but my life before him too.
I knew then what he was thinking, why he'd said that he hadn't regret anything. I felt the very same way. I thought of my parents, and my brother and sister. I had loved them all equally, and I realized that without them, I wouldn't have had the wonderful life that I had these past years. I thought of my children and grandchildren, whom I loved unconditionally and knew that they would all do good things with their lives as well. I felt at peace for a moment, thinking of my family. One, two, three, four, five… I closed my eyes, hoping desperately that it was for the last time. My last memory of life would be a dream.
--I would like to thank everyone who had inspired me these passed months, and the people who stuck with the story this whole time. Thank you so, so much!
--I can never end a story without an inspiring play list to go along with it so enjoy this as well
1. People C'mon by Delta Spirit
2. Intro by The Hush Sound
3. We Were Made For Each Other by Jack's Mannequin
4. Weekend Wars by MGMT
5. Just Like the Movies by Regina Spektor
6. He's Not It by The Late Greats
7. Shot of Tuaca by Peggy Sue and the Pirates
8. Secret by The Pierces
9. Quiet, Please! By Cold War Kids
10. Ghosts by Laura Marling
11. Take Ecstasy with Me by The Magnetic Fields
12. My Year in Lists by Los Campesinos!
13. Toothpaste Kisses by The Maccabess
14. Listen Up! By The Gossip
15. Heartstopper by Emiliana Torrini
16. Better than Love by Griffin House
17. You Are My Sunshine by Johnny Cash
18. LDN by Lily Allen
19. Even While You're Sleeping by The Acorn
20. Family Tree by TV On the Radio
21. Folding Chair by Regina Spektor
22. Fernando Pando by The Virgins
23. I'm a Cuckoo by Belle and Sebastian
24. Moon River by Andy Williams
25. Part One by Band of Horses
26. My Manic and I by Laura Marling
Enjoy! Thank you all, again!