Previous chapter: Love Always Wins
It was a hot morning in Buenos Aires. If Katherine closed her eyes and let her mind wander a little bit, she could see herself battling the New York summer, which she hated. Her phone’s weather app showed 84°F. She sighed and picked up a light dress from her suitcase and went to the bathroom for a cold shower.
This was her third month in Argentina, where she arrived to take care of Nick. He had been in a car crash, a bad one: multiple broken bones, an almost deadly infection, and then, a long coma. His business partner had been driving the car, and had died instantly. Her boyfriend was estranged from his family, so Katherine was all he had.
Christmas was coming, but Katherine refused to travel back home and leave Nick alone. She had aged quite a bit in these last 90 days, and she cringed when she looked at herself in the mirror. How would Nick recognize her when he woke up from the coma? Would he still find her beautiful? Would he even remember loving her?
Those thoughts clouded her mind constantly, but they were especially strong during her daily walk to the hospital. But the moment she arrived on Nick’s floor, she swallowed her sadness and focused on being by his side, talking to him, remembering their months together, giving him all of her love.
She met with Nick’s doctors and they explained the various scenarios that could happen in the next few days if he didn’t wake up. It was devastating, but she listened calmly. While they spoke, she clutched a necklace Dr. Alma had given her when Katherine had first arrived at the hospital. Nick had begged Dr. Alma to give Katherine the necklace in case he didn’t make it through the emergency surgery. It had miraculously survived the crash.
When she returned to Nick’s room, she sobbed for the first time in months. Folding her arms next to Nick and listening to the beeps of the many machines around him was all she could do. After years of praying for her true love to come back, he was gone again, and this time, it might be for good. Katherine knew that she would break if he died.
Somehow, she fell asleep crying.
They were in Greece, at the beach where they found the ring. Nick was healthy, showing off his bare torso. Katherine was young and happy, wearing the necklace he had given her over her bathing suit. He carried her easily, running towards the water as she joked with him to put her down. He lowered her gently to her feet when they reached the waves, wet sand on their feet. Nick wrapped his arms around her and they kissed.
“Will we have this moment again?” Katherine asked, longingly.
“Why wouldn’t we?” He replied with a puzzled look.
“Well, you’re at the hospital and you’re not doing well, for starters.” She looked down, sad. “Doctors are considering pulling the plug if you don’t wake up soon. What if you die? I’ll never love again. I just can’t.”
Tears flowed down her face. They tasted like salt and sunscreen. Nick raised her chin.
“Don’t worry, sweetie. It’s going to be okay. Our love can’t die, it’s eternal,” he soothed her. “I’ll always be here, in our favorite place in the world.”
“I don’t want to wake up if you won’t be there,” she whispered.
“I’ll never leave you, no matter what happens.” He kissed her again, sending electricity down her spine. “Plus, the necklace looks amazing on you.”
Suddenly, she felt a warm hand running through her hair, gently waking her up. For a moment, Katherine thought it was her mother, but then she realized that her mom’s flight wasn’t arriving until the next day.
“Kath…” a muffled, weak voice called for her.
She was in shock, and slowly raised her head. He was finally awake. They hugged and cried together in happiness. Nick was vaguely aware of what had happened to him, but he was overjoyed from seeing the love of his life… and the necklace.
“You look more beautiful than ever,” he beamed.
“Well, I’ve had better days, but I’m just glad that you woke up!” she answered, excited.
After the doctors examined Nick, they deemed it was a miraculous recovery from the coma. He still had some tests ahead of him, and a long rehabilitation process, but with Katherine by his side, Nick knew it would be alright.
Christmas came early for both of them this year.