Morning came. A grand glorious morning shrouded by grey. I turned on the computer, hoping for something from Rael. I needed him more now than ever. ‘David made it through surgery,’ he wrote. ‘Be on at 9 am with everyone. We’ll broadcast from the hospital room. Can’t wait to see you.’
I ran down to breakfast with the news. Perhaps it was time to cheer everyone up. Edward was in the foyer pacing. “Ah Lanie, do you think you and I could talk?” He turned and walked towards his office without waiting for my response.
I closed the door behind me as Edward stopped to look out the window. “I have been a foolish man. I thought, perhaps, I could save this life. I wanted to stop time but I know that is not possible. The more I fight, the worse things get.” He turned to face me. I remained standing by the door. “I have decided to send everyone home. You said you would help me.”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Good,” he motioned to the chair in front of his desk. I sat down. “I have realized that, perhaps, the best thing to do is sell the island. Do you think you could do that for me?”
My body tingled with shock. I closed my eyes to calm my nerves, this could be the solution to everything. I opened them. “I don’t know what fair market value is but I could get you $1.75 million without complication by tomorrow. Depending on the kind of life you want on the mainland, that could be enough to take care of you and Thomas for some time. Of course, if you accept this offer, I can also guarantee that you would be allowed to stay or change your mind at any time. You would have to return the money if you change your mind but it’s the simplest sale I could put together. If you want more money, it might take awhile.”
He nodded. “I have no idea what that much money would buy on the mainland or what we would do but if you think it is fair, then I will accept.”
My heart pounded in my chest. “I will have the necessary paperwork drawn up. If we take everyone back to the mainland tomorrow, I can have everything at that time.”
“Good. Now let’s go to breakfast. I think it is best we not share this conversation with anyone, well anyone here.”
I nodded in agreement and followed him into the dining room.
At 9 am, everyone gathered around my laptop in my bedroom. As promised, Rael appeared on the satellite feed. I had missed his face. I resented the fact that I had to share this moment. “Okay, we are good to go,” he said, his voice cheerful. He stepped out of the way and David appeared. The screen shook as the laptop was placed on a table across the hospital bed. David was pale but his eyes were bright. “Hey guys. Don’t look so gloom, I’ve never felt so good as I do right now. They say these are great drugs.”
I shifted to the back of the group so everyone could talk. David had no memory of the incident but given the trauma that was to be expected. He wouldn’t have been able to identify who attacked him anyway. It’s not like they could have found evidence after all the washing and saliva we left. After about ten minutes, David’s eyes began to droop. Rael returned to the screen. “That’s all folks. Um, Lanie – in five.”
“Sure,” I replied before closing the laptop and severing the connection. The group was in a better mood which had been improving since Edward announced at breakfast that everyone would be returning home in the morning.
Rael was waiting for me when I finally reconnected in my room. “Hey beautiful.”
“Hey,” I replied with far less enthusiasm.
“I know it’s tough but it’s nearly over, right.”
I nodded. I told him about everyone going home and Edward’s decision to sell the island. “I need you to make all the arrangements and meet us at the dock tomorrow. I’ll be staying to finalize everything. I don’t know how I’m going to keep this from completely blowing up. I wonder if Edward will still pay for the girls to go to school this fall. If not, is there enough in the budget left to cover their expenses?”
Rael sighed. “Baby girl, you can’t save everyone. That’s not why you are there. But I will see what I can do. Knowing you, you are already writing checks.”
I smiled before kissing my fingers and pressing them to the screen. “I want you to know, it has always been you Rael. And it always will be.” I closed the laptop before he could respond.
The day drug on painfully. I remained restless. Several times I picked up the journals to finish my reading but the words refused to stay on the pages. The air was oppressive. Normally a summer storm would excited me. All I could think about was if it hit before we got to the mainland tomorrow.
I slept but my dreams kept waking me. I sat up after each episode shaking but without memory of why. I relented when the clock said it was after four. I wanted to be excited for the day. The humans will return to the mainland. Rael will be there. I wanted Rael to be my reward for suffering through this whole ghastly experiment. I was fooling myself. I had been living a dream for far too long. We would never find happiness. I was not destined for that but I could have contentment. I could find peace. I could make this life work. I would not have the worries that my ancestors had. I would have no children so it would not matter what the world looked like. It will not matter what strides anyone makes to those who come after me because there will be no others.
I looked out the window at the brightening sky. I was okay with it all. I took a deep breath. I really was okay. I stopped fighting my destiny.