Wait for Me - By Elisabeth Naughton Page 0,1

was talking to her. Couldn’t focus. The purse slipped off her shoulder, landed at her feet with a clank. She dropped to her knees, frantically pawing through the contents, looking for his note. It wasn’t the same flight. It couldn’t be. He was probably landing right this minute. He’d laugh when she told him she’d dumped her entire purse on the floor at the clinic.

“Kate? What is it? What do you need?”

Vaguely, she realized Gina, the nurse, was helping her. Tears blurred her eyes. She shook her head. “A note. Jake’s note. I have to find it. I have to—”

“We’ll find it. Relax. Just breathe. I’m sure everything’s okay.”

She drew a deep breath, let it out. Gina was right. She was overreacting. Jake was fine. Blinking back tears, she scanned the floor and finally spotted Jake’s slanted handwriting on a slip of paper just to the right of her hand. Her fingers shook as she drew it close so she could read the words.

My flight info:

Outgoing: Houston to San Francisco, Flight # 1498

Return: San Francisco to Houston, Flight # 524

The paper slipped out of her fingers. The room spun. Blackness circled in.

The CT scan, the anniversary dinner she’d shopped for earlier, the last eighteen months of her life swirled behind her eyes and mingled with Gina’s voice, muffled now, calling to her from what seemed like a great distance. Only one thing made sense. Only one thought remained.

Her life had just shifted direction all over again. And this time, death had won.


“You really need to eat something.” Mindy, Kate’s next-door neighbor, set the steaming mug of tea on the kitchen table in front of Kate and sat in the chair to her right.

Without looking, Kate knew Mindy’s freckled features were drawn and somber. The woman had adored Jake. Everyone had. None of their friends had known about his mood swings. Or the fact he purposely stayed away from home. Or that he and Kate fought about his work. But they didn’t need to know those things now. No one did.

“Thanks.” With shaky fingers, Kate wrapped her hands around the mug, holding on to the warmth. “I think I might just be ill if I smell one more cup of coffee.”

There’d been a steady stream of friends through the house all afternoon and into the early evening. This was the first quiet moment Kate had found. And now…now she wondered why she’d wanted it.

“The tea should help you relax,” Mindy said, pushing her red hair over her shoulder. “It’s been a long day. How about a little soup?”

Kate shook her head. Food was the last thing on her mind. Her stomach would revolt if she tried to eat. Waving a hand, she blinked back tears that wanted to fall. She wasn’t going to give in again. Not now. She’d save the waterfall for when she was alone. In that big bedroom she was too used to sleeping in all by herself.

“I’m not hungry.” Silence enveloped the room. She knew Mindy disapproved, but she had a thousand other things on her mind besides food. “God, Mindy. I have so much to do.”

Mindy’s hand clamped over hers on the table. “There’s plenty of time for all that.”

“No. If I don’t get it all taken care of, I’ll go nuts.” She leaned back in her chair. “I can’t stay here.”

“You have to give it time. You can’t make rash decisions right now.”

“No. This house was his idea. Living here…” Her eyes slid shut. “He made every major decision in our lives.”

“He was your husband. And you’ve been through so much this last year and a half with the accident. Of course he made all the decisions. It’s logical given your medical history.”

Her medical history. The memory loss. It had been Jake’s excuse for everything. Why he ran their finances, why he arranged it so she was never alone, why he’d chosen which publisher she freelanced for.

She should have insisted he include her in decisions. She should have played a bigger role in planning for a day like this. She didn’t even know where to look for his life insurance policy.

Her stomach rolled, and she swallowed back the bile. Leaning forward to rest her elbows on the table and her head in her hands, she knew she needed to get as far from this house as possible. She’d felt the pull to leave months ago, but she’d fought it because of Jake. Because her life was here. Now…now she didn’t know what to think anymore.