Epilogue: In the Spring

The tombstone didn't tell everything, but the few lines were true. Richard was a beloved husband, father and ruler. There was no need to mention that he gave up his life so that his wife and children wouldn't have to suffer. It was just unfortunate that his sister-in-law pulled the plug and Mel was later blamed for it.

Rick squeezed his wife's hand. Mel smiled back at him. He sucked in a deep breath. Her beauty amazed him and her strength matched its intensity. Just that morning, the Cedars medical review board exonerated her, but through it all, her dignity never wavered. He'd never been so proud.

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea," she said. "It's too soon. We shouldn't have told you."

He placed his hand over his chest. Just beneath the skin, Richard's heart beat inside Rick's chest. "I needed to know. I needed to thank him."

She dipped her head in a single nod. They left the cemetery and headed to their car. Mel slid behind the wheel. Rick claimed the passenger seat.

"Well, Dr. Bauer," Rick said, "it's time."

"Time for what?"

"For us to get back to our family and maybe start our own."

She gave him another one of her killer smiles. "I like the sound of that."


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