toucanJonathan didn’t want to leave. Even after spending a week with his wife and son, he couldn’t bring himself to leave them. He couldn’t pull his feet that were glued to the cement floor in front of the airport. Staring forlornly at his wife who stood facing him, Jonathan had to do all he could to hold himself from embracing her and never letting go. It was time to go. Again, without Hannah and their son.

Marcus watched the conflicted emotions displayed plainly on his brother-in-law’s face as he stared at Hannah standing just a few feet away and shook his head piteously. If only they had more time to convince Hannah to come with them but it was clear that Hannah was not ready to leave this place, this life.

Tampa held back a sob as she drew Hannah into a warm embrace, pressing her cheek against her sister’s. “I don’t want to leave you here.”

Hannah smiled gently, closing her eyes against Jonathan’s solemn face and tightened her arms around Tampa as much as the baby between them would allow. “I’ll miss you,” she said truthfully, having grown accustomed to her audacious twin sister even after only a couple of days.

Tampa drew back reluctantly although she braced Hannah’s shoulders with her hands, searching her sister’s face. “If you dare forget to call or email me, I’ll pack my bags and come back here to get you myself.”

Hannah laughed softly. “I promise…” Her eyes dared to drift over Tampa’s head to Jonathan and her smile waned.

“I wish summer was next week,” Tampa bemoaned, pulling Hannah back into another embrace. The promise of Hannah and Tomas visiting Houston for the summer was an attempt to appease Tampa but also Jonathan and Marcus supported the plan quietly. “I’m sure Jon feels the same.” Lifting her hands to frame Hannah’s face, Tampa’s gaze searched hers. “Whenever you feel ready to come home, don’t hesitate to let us know.”

Biting her trembling lip, Hannah managed to nod.

Tampa pulled her lips in as her eyes glittered with tears and she dropped her hands, quickly stepping away from her sister. “Alright then…” she shuffled toward her husband and leaned against him.

Surprised momentarily, Marcus recovered quickly wrapped his arms around her shoulders, smiling over at his sister-in-law. “Don’t be a stranger, Hannah. Promise?”

Hannah managed a smile. “I promise…” she sniffed back tears and watched as Marcus quietly led Tampa into the airport building toward the terminal gate entrance. She blinked at Jonathan still standing there, watching her. The tears slid quietly down her cheeks as she stared back at him.

Slowly, Jonathan stepped forward and Hannah held her breath, her eyes tracing his to remember him when he was gone. Even though she still couldn’t remember their lives together, something warm had settled in her heart over the past few days when she thought of him. Her heart knew him and missed him even if her mind couldn’t. Hannah swallowed against her dry throat as he stopped in front of her, his warm gray eyes settling on her face.

For a few moments, they remained quiet and Hannah drew in her lips, her brow furrowed up at him. She wished he would say something, anything to calm her worried heart that warned her of an uncertainty she didn’t want to consider. Even though there was the promise of seeing him during the summer or whenever he decided to drop by Vieux Forte to visit her and Tomas, something in her heart didn’t feel settled or satisfied.

“I meant to tell you something…” Jonathan finally spoke, his voice hoarse as if he hadn’t spoken in days.

Hannah blinked, knowing her voice would betray her conflicted feelings.

“In Martinique, you weren’t just a missionary worker…”

Her brow furrowed.

“You were a doctor. A licensed doctor in both the United States and the Caribbean Islands.”

Hannah’s eyes widened as her heart picked up speed, the wind knocked out of her.

Jonathan smiled wryly. “When Marcus and I came here, we were surprised that you weren’t practicing… though I noticed that you’re still working with herbs. You had—have a knack for that, finding natural alternatives in medicine. You have a gift for it.”

The tears welled up in her eyes and Hannah bit back a sob as she stared at this man that had unknowingly given her a gift she never expected to receive. “Thank… you.”

He merely gave her a sad smile and nodded, moving his hands into his pockets. “I just thought you should know that.” His Adam’s apple bobbed visibly and a crease appeared between his brows as if he was fighting himself to walk away from here and from her.

“Have a safe trip back home, Jonathan…” Hannah said hesitantly, her brown eyes tracing his face.

He swallowed hard, knowing that his home was where she was. Then he pictured the other three children waiting for him and nodded, a wave of guilt sweeping over him. He’d been away from them too long and it was time to go. “Take care of yourself and Tomas,” his voice cracked.

“You too,” she said above a whisper.

With another nod to assure himself that he was making the right decision, Jonathan reluctantly took a step toward her. “Could I…”

Hannah’s eyes widened slightly but she covered it with a nod and opened her arms. Holding her breath as Jonathan leaned in, Hannah’s eyes closed and she bit back a soft sigh as his arms curled around her, his hands splayed on her back. This warm feeling was familiar and secure, as if she belonged there. Even as he reluctantly pulled back, Hannah bit back a soft protest at the fleeting feeling of his warmth leaving her. Her eyes moved back to his gray ones and she gave him a gentle smile. “See you soon, Jonathan…”

His smile mirrored hers, although his gray eyes betrayed a hint of sadness that made her falter. “Soon, Hannah.” Then in a slow and quiet movement, Jonathan turned toward the terminal gate.

At the sight of his back facing her, Hannah’s smile dropped and the tears welled up in her eyes again. Dread settled in as she watched the blurry image of Jonathan moving toward the gate where Tampa and Marcus waited. Her heart skipped several beats and she had to grip the side of her skirt as the distance between them stretched until she couldn’t see him.

Blinking rapidly to clear her eyes, Hannah shuffled toward the entrance, her heart squeezing in her chest. Everything in her strained in protest at the thought of Jonathan leaving again and she shook her head, opening her mouth to call out to him. Her throat was tight, unyielding to the cry stuck in her chest. Frustrated, she wiped at the tears and paused at the gate. It was no use. He was gone. Maybe it was better this way. It wasn’t fair to him that she couldn’t remember the memories he held dear. He deserved a second chance with someone else… someone who would cherish him for life.

Pushing away the feeling of being abandoned again for the second time, Hannah forced herself to turn around. The tears fell silently against her cheeks as she trudged with heavy feet to the parking lot. Broken trees sprawled all over the parking lot were left untouched, reminding of her the haunting she’d survived when Jonathan and the others were with her.

For the first time since the storm, Ameya realized that things in her life had changed forever. She couldn’t just return to the life before Jonathan had arrived on the island to look for her and Tomas. She groaned deep in her throat and pressed her hands to her face, regretting not speaking up for him to stay a little longer. If only they’d had more time, maybe she could reconcile every part of her, not just her body and her heart, to the man who was her husband.

A firm jerk at her right arm halted the sobs caught in her throat and Hannah barely had time to wipe her face when she was pulled against a strong, warm chest. A relieved smile tugged at her lips even before the hand pulled her to face him and her teary eyes lifted up to the blurry image of Jonathan.

“You…” the rest of her words trailed off as Jonathan’s mouth pressed against hers in an ardent kiss. She sighed wistfully against his lips, her hands sliding around his waist and she burrowed into the warmth of his arms where she belonged. Memories restored or not, only time would tell.

<<Part 35 || Epilogue>>