Week 274 – Miracles do happen

“Miracles do happen.”

Those were the first words Tillie heard when she fought through the fog and blinked open heavy eyes.

Tank sat beside her bed, one of her hands cradled in his much larger one. There were bags under his eyes, he had a scruffy beard that said he hadn’t shaved in days, and he looked exhausted.

“You should be dead,” he told her, his hand tightening around hers. “Doctors don’t know why you’re not, said it was a miracle. Or a wish.”

She vaguely remembered saying she wished they’d had more time right before she took what she had been sure was going to be her very last breath. When she opened her mouth to ask how long she’d been here all that came out was a croak.

Immediately Tank reached for a glass of water on the table beside her bed and held the straw to her lips. “Drink.”

The water was cool and refreshing as it slid down her throat. “How long?”

“Have you been here?” When she nodded he said, “Eight days. Eight very long days.” The toll those days had taken were etched into his face, his eyes, his tone.

“O’Riley?” She was almost afraid to ask but she had to know.

“You killed him.” There was a note of pride in Tank’s voice and it made her smile.

“So it’s over.” With O’Riley dead she no longer needed to stay in witness protection, not that it had done her any good anyway, but where did that leave things between her and Tank? He’d explained about the drugs, and she got it, he and his team had made a strategic decision for their case, but she couldn’t deny it hurt. Her fear had been real when she’d wondered if Tank was going to betray her, and it was still there, lodged in her damaged heart.

“Its over,” Tank echoed.

Everything that had happened over the last few weeks, ever since she’d witnessed the O’Riley hit, had shaken her, drained her, left her with nothing left. Nothing to offer Tank right now. What if what she thought she felt for him faded now the danger had passed? What if what he felt for her faded now the danger had passed? What if there never really had been anything real between them?

“Tillie-“

“I need some time,” she blurted out, cutting off whatever he’d been about to say. She was terrified to hear him say he didn’t want to see her again, and terrified to hear him say that he did. “I’m sorry, its just everything in my head is all messed up, and …”

“And my lie hurt you,” he finished what she was unable to say.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered again.

Tank nodded, squeezed her hand, then leaned over to touch a kiss to her forehead. At the door to her room he paused. “I’m the one who’s sorry,” he said, and then he was gone.

She wanted to call him back, ached to do so, but she also knew she needed time. Time to figure out the mess in her head, she’d almost died, killed several people, and fallen in love.

Tears streamed down her cheeks, a sob tore through her aching chest, and when unconsciousness came calling she answered and slipped away into the darkness.

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