As he was saying the words out loud, really hearing them, it didn’t feel like his own life anymore. Finn’s life had spiraled so far out of control and off course that he hardly recognized it anymore. In no version of things he’d ever imagined did it ever go like this, and yet here he was. His girlfriend would never wake up again. He’d been sitting at her beside wishing, hoping, praying, and it was all left unanswered. Michelle was never going to open her eyes, never going to speak to him again, never going to take a breath on her own. Her life was over, and with it she was taking the future he thought he was going to have. Nothing made sense, and the one person who was holding him together from being lost in the never ending confusion of his life was Rachel Berry.
"You won’t lose me." Holding onto her hand like it was a life line to his sanity, Finn wanted to believe her. He needed to. All the hope and meaning was gone from his life and nothing made sense. He could see no reason for any of this to happen. Michelle’s accident, the doctor’s news, Rachel having to walk away from her love of Broadway, life was cruel and pointless, and so painful that he could hardly stand it. "Not again." Finn clung to those words to keep himself from drowning in the despair and chaos that his life had become. It was all so much that he had to lean on someone, and as his eye stayed on Rachel’s he could see her offering to be that person for him, and he was letting her. Despite everything they’d been through and the time spent apart, he trusted her and needed her there more than ever. Laying it all out and holding nothing back, he was more honest than he’d been in weeks. The lie of “I’m fine” had left his lips more times than he could could, but not tonight. He wasn’t going to hide form her.
"I know you would," he said softly, letting his eyes close for a brief moment to soak in the small comfort he could find in the touch of her hand against his cheek. When he opened them again, he saw hers looking back at him, and how deeply she’d meant every word she’d said to him. "But no one can." The reality of it was as harsh as the simple words themselves sounded. "I don’t know what to do anymore, or where i’m supposed to go. What happens next? One minute things are going along great, and the next it’s all taken away again. And for what? What good did it do?" He was rambling, and he knew there was no answers for it. He expected her to have none, but he couldn’t bottle it up any longer. Looking down again at their hands clasped together still, he wondered where he’d be without her. Without her to talk to and confide in like he had now, without her to offer him support and understanding, he couldn’t bare to think about it. Thinking about how much more bleak his life would be without her now, led him to wonder what his life would have been if she’d never left. The what if’s in his life would always haunt him, and now he had more to add to the list. "Tell me what I’m supposed to do, Rach. How do I say goodbye? I’ve never known how." He forced himself to look up and catch her eyes again. "I never got over you leaving, and I still had the chance of seeing you again. I missed you so much that it hurt to talk about it, or to even hear your name. Now everyone is expecting me to know how to deal with this. The look at me like I knew it was coming for weeks, so I should have prepared, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to do this."
Finn had been holding it together by a thread all week. The bad news kept piling up until the last bit of hope was finally squashed. Michelle wouldn’t be waking up. It was an idea he never wanted to have to think about, and now it was here. It was unavoidable now and demanding to be dealt with. He didn’t know how to do this. Saying goodbye in such a permanent way. Goodbye to the life they’d planned, to all the dreams they’d shared, goodbye to the person she was and who she would never get to be. And still when faced with all of that, he hadn’t let himself fall apart. He was nothing if not stubborn, but everyone had their breaking point, and that night in Rachel’s hospital bed, Finn had reached his. The tears flowed freely as he held onto her hand in his. He’d never left more vulnerable then he had right then, but he knew he was safe with her. Years had passed between them, and even with so many things left unsaid between them the other day, he trusted her with everything. Hearing her say it was going to be fine, he shook his head wishing that he could believe her. He wanted that. He wanted for her words to be right, but he could feel that it wouldn’t be. Everything in his life would be different from now on, and it was terrifying.
As she continued to talk and try and reassure him, promising that she’d be there, he squeezed her hand tighter, not wanting to let her go. He felt her move to sit up, and her other hand soon joining his. “But you’re in here, Rach,” his voice was scratchy from crying. Finally lifting his head up, he met her eyes wanting to believe her promise to him, but he’d been burned by having that hope. Rachel had a whole other life that she’d made for herself. While he’d built one here in Lima with Michelle, Rachel had New York and Broadway, and then there was the thing that scared him most of all. “You’re here in the hospital, and I…I couldn’t take it if I lost you too.”
Taking one hand off of hers, he reached it up to brush against her cheek as he kept his eyes on hers. He was no longer trying to hide how scared he was and how alone he felt from her. It was out there in the open now, and he couldn’t take it back. All of the worries and doubts he’d been struggling with, the guilt and self pity, the heartbreak and despair, it as all there and no longer hiding behind the lie of being ‘fine.’ Finn had thought a lot about the talk they’d had over coffee and what Rachel had admitted to him. He felt so guilty thinking about it, but it wouldn’t leave his mind. He kept replaying it over and over again, and he could never figure out what to do with it. He still wasn’t sure, but he knew that he felt drawn to her, and when he was around her, he felt like himself again. “I don’t know what to do.” The statement pertained to so much in his life right now. He wanted someone to be able to put all the pieces together somehow for him, but it was an impossible task. “They want me to take her off life support.” Finn swallowed hard as admitting it out loud added a level of realness to it. Letting his hand fall from her cheek, he wiped the back of it across his eyes to clean away the tears. “She’s not coming back.”
Standing in Rachel’s hospital room, Finn knew he didn’t have a right to be here looking for comfort, but that’s exactly where he was. She had so much going on, and he was in no position to ask for anything when he could give nothing in return, but when he needed someone the most, she was still the one that he wanted to turn to. He’d spent the day telling people he didn’t want to talk, and he just wanted to be alone. None of it was true, they just weren’t the person that he wanted to open up to. He hadn’t realized it at the time. Each family member or friend that approached him was sent away with the same reassurances. He was fine. He didn’t need to talk. They were both lies.
The only light in the room came from the soft glow of a streetlight outside of her window streaming in through the partially open blinds, but it was enough to see the flutter of her eyes lashes as she began to open her eyes and squeeze his hand back. She could make him feel less alone in all of this with only a sleepy smile and a couple hoarse words. The eyes looking up at him weren’t the same eyes that he’d been waiting on for weeks to open, but right then he was so relieved to see them that he didn’t focus on it. Finn didn’t attempt to open his mouth and try to speak right away as he knew his voice would betray him under the emotional weight of it all. Instead he shook his head and squeezed her hand softly in his. Somewhere in his mind, he knew he shouldn’t be here, but he was so exhausted with trying to do what he thought was right and was needed, that he couldn’t take it anymore. He needed a moment to just be himself, and it had led him to her. “I just wanted to see you,” he admitted when he trusted his voice not to crack even as the tears welled in his eyes again.
Finn sat down in a chair by her bed, it had no doubt been abandoned by one of her fathers earlier, without letting go of her hand for a second. He didn’t want to tower over her, even though he was sure it would have been nothing new with their height difference having always left them mismatched in that department. Grasping her hand in both of his, he leaned his forearms against the side of her bed so she wouldn’t have to reach at all for him to hold on. He couldn’t help but notice the differences in the hand that he’d been holding. Rachel’s was smaller, warmer, and most importantly held his back when he held hers. He didn’t want to think that way. He didn’t want to compare them, or even ask himself why this was where he came. He couldn’t deal with any of that tonight.
There was so much left unsaid between the last time they spoke. All of it was still so complicated and unsolved, but for right now, he wasn’t thinking of any of it. Right now all that he knew was he needed her. “I didn’t want to be alone.” It was an honest admission about not only that moment, but also the rest of his life as the reality of Michelle’s situation sunk in. “I know I shouldn’t be here, but I just…I need you.” Finn leaned his forehead against he hand he was still clinging to, as he lost control of his tears.
Hearing Rachel start and stop again, never fully committing to one thought for long enough to finish it, Finn wanted to tell her it was okay. He wanted to reach out to her as he saw her sliding her chair back and stop her. He wanted to lay out everything he was feeling like an open book and let her know it all no matter how bad the final picture it painted was. Finn wanted to trust her like he used to. He wanted her to be able to look at him and see exactly who he was buried beneath everything, and he wanted to be able to do the same to her. What he wanted, and what he did were two different things. The person he was fell short of the person he wanted to be as he watched her get up from her seat as he stayed frozen in his. It was the second time she’d walked away from him, but this time he couldn’t make himself watch. Just like the time before, he was sure he didn’t have enough to offer her to ask her to stay. That right wasn’t his anymore. Finn sat in his chair at the back table of the cafeteria staring at Rachel’s abandoned coffee cup for close to an hour. It wasn’t until one of the workers came to tell him they needed to clean for the dinner crowd that he finally made himself get up.
Feeling guilty for how much he wanted to reach out to Rachel, Finn stayed by Michelle’s bedside non-stop, not that it mattered much to his girlfriend. There was no change in her condition, and for the first time since the accident, a doctor sat him down and started talking about the options available. Apparently wait and see was no longer one of them. He’d known this time was coming, he’d sensed it was, and yet it managed to still feel like he was blindsided by it. Looking away from the doctor and over and Michelle, he kept his eyes focused on her like she would give him some sort of sign to prove that they were all wrong. “She could still wake up,” he kept his voice low, just above a whisper like she would be able to hear him and his lack of confidence if he didn’t. 'Mr. Hudson, The chances of that are extremely unlikely, as I've said …' His voice continued on, but Finn wasn’t listening to it. He’d heard the facts and figured before, and didn’t need to hear them again. 'Have a nurse page me if you have anything further you wish to discuss.' Finn didn’t bother to look over to know the way the doctor was looking at him as he made his exit. The day he’d been afraid to even mention as a possibility was here now whether he liked it or not.
Long after visiting hours were over, Finn still sat by Michelle’s bed trying to figure out where he was supposed to go from here. He sat alone in the hospital room, the lights dim and the only sounds coming from the machines that she was hooked up to. All evening long he’d been turning people away when they’d reached out to him. He’d told them he just wanted to be alone, but that was the last thing he wanted. He was terrified of being alone, and as he looked into the future, now that was all he could see. Pushing himself up from his chair, he walked out of her room, wiping the tears from his eyes. Hospitals in the middle of the night were even creepier than they were during the day, but somehow it was fitting. He hadn’t known where he was even going until he’d gotten there.
Standing outside of Rachel’s room, he hesitated as he reached for the door knob. They hadn’t spoken since that afternoon in the cafeteria. The daily coffee trips to the cafeteria to try and see her had stopped, and yet here he was. He needed someone to talk to, someone who could actually talk back. Fair or not, he needed her. Pushing open the heavy door, he was well aware that this was the first time he’d seen her in her hospital bed. She looked small and so still…too still. He was overwhelmed by the quiet of the room and how it matched the one he’d just left. “Rachel…” he said softly to wake her without startling her too much as he reached out for her hand. He needed to feel someone who could squeeze his hand back, and remind him that even for a moment, he wasn’t alone.
Looking up from the cup of coffee that he was using as a distraction more than an actual beverage, Finn watched the changing emotions on Rachel’s face as she seemed to fully process his words. She never landed on one looking for long as a number of things flashed in those rich, dark eyes of hers. Searching for any hint as to what was going on in her mind, he couldn’t figure it out. They’d been apart for years, so he shouldn’t have been hard on himself for not knowing her as well as he once did, but he knew that wasn’t what was keeping him in the dark here. With everything that was going on around them and the situation they now found themselves in, he wasn’t the only one feeling a million things all at once. Finn had a girlfriend laying comatose in a hospital room, and he didn’t know if she was ever going to wake up again. His emotions had been running on fumes for days, but he still didn’t excuse himself for it. Finn was tired of not being able to do anything. The sitting and waiting wasn’t helping him in any way. While he could do nothing to change her condition, he had a shot at attempting to deal with everything he’d told himself was long over with Rachel.
Maybe he’d always been fooling himself into thinking he completely understood, just like he’d fooled himself that he’d been preparing for her to leave since junior year. It wasn’t supposed to have been a surprise when he was forced to say his goodbyes to Rachel and watch her walk away. He’d known of her plans, and she’d never been sneaky about it. They’d both known what was coming, but somewhere along the way he’d convinced himself that it wouldn’t go that way. Without knowing he was thinking about it, his mind had decided she would see what they had was important and stick around. It wasn’t fair to her to ask her to choose her dreams over him, and yet somewhere along the way without actually asking it out loud, it was exactly what he’d wanted. Finn had known it was coming, and managed to be completely surprised by it all at the same time. It was the same feeling he was experiencing again as Rachel was sitting in front of him again. He had thought all these emotions were dealt with and long since filed away, and yet here he was being confronted with them all over again.
Listening as she began to speak, Finn kept his eyes on hers even as she looked anywhere but at him. He could hear the confusion and frustration in every raspy word that she spoke to him. "You can’t make me feel bad for that." The words rattled in his head and his immediate response was to get defensive. How could she think that? I would never. That’s not what I’m trying to do. But after thinking about it for a second, maybe that was exactly what he wanted. He needed someone to blame for all of this. His life was a disaster at the moment, and he needed a reason why this had all happened. He needed something he could hold onto as why this was all happening. If Rachel hadn’t walked away those years ago, if the stars had aligned and her dreams had fallen in place with his, if she’d never left, none of this would be happening right now. The thought sickened him as soon as it crossed his mind. That feeling only got worse as he listened to her continue on. He couldn’t pin this all on her, no matter how desperate he was for someone to fill that role.
It couldn’t be Rachel. He listened intently as she poured her thoughts into words, their eyes finally meeting again as it continued until she reached those three little words. They’d said them countless times to one another years ago, but their weight never got any lighter. "I love you. I think a part of me always will." There was many days when he imagined those words being said to him again, but it was never like this. “Rach…” He knew he needed to break the silence, but somewhere between his mind and his lips, all words were getting lost. What could he say to that? That he loved her too, and that he always would? It was certainly an option, and a true one at that, but she was right. He’d moved on. He’d forced himself to stop waiting around and living in a dream world where she’d return to him to pick their life up again. It was never supposed to have happened, and yet here they were. Here they were sitting across from one another, and just like all those years ago when he’d said goodbye to her, a part of him was desperate to reach out to her and ask her to stay in his life forever. Also just like that day, he couldn’t. The reasons were different, but the results were the same.
"I can’t," he finally as his eyes fell back to the table in front of him again. The guilt over all the emotions that were so easily pulled to the surface again was overwhelming. Michelle was laying in a hospital bed surrounding by beeping machines. He couldn’t abandon her now, not any part of it. The fact that his emotions were betraying his sense of loyalty made him feel like an absolute terrible person. He’d loved the life he’d created with Michelle and the future they were supposed to have. It was the simple like that he was supposed to have always wanted for himself, but as he sat across from Rachel, he was no longer sure about anything. He’d been looking for answers, but they’d only brought about more questions. "I have…I should go. I can’t do this. I can’t talk about this now, not with everything the way that it is. I can’t."
Sitting in the hospital cafeteria, the bright florescent lights were in complete contrast to the somber mood at the table. With everything that happened to bring them both inside the stark white walls, there was no avoiding the emotional subjects. One painful memory would wordlessly flow into the next. Finn was carrying around so much that memories he’d thought he’d dealt with and put away years ago were floating to the surface. He couldn’t keep them all locked away no matter how much he tried to. There was just too many of them that the vault he’d had them locked away inside himself was bursting at the seems. As he sat with Rachel, their hands intertwined Finn knew something had to give. She was right, he couldn’t do it all alone. It was too much for him to handle, so he found himself sharing things with her when he had no intention to. Their past, and the hurt he felt when she’d walked away, was supposed to have been ancient history. He was supposed to have been over it completely, and no longer holding onto the confusion and pain from it. Years had passed, and they’d both created lives for themselves, and yet here they were. The universe’s cruel idea of a joke, or a twisted sense of fate, had them sitting across from one another and back in each other’s lives. Needing to free up space, to lighten his metaphorical load, he found himself talking before he could stop himself, and explaining how he understood her choice.
Leaving Lima and the small town lifestyle behind was something Finn could never do, but now he felt like he could finally see why Rachel would. Leaving all of this behind suddenly made perfect sense, and in his own way it was almost like he was forgiving her for that choice. Even being years too late to make any difference, it was all he could offer now. If the endless hours left alone with nothing but his thoughts and the beeping machines by Michelle’s bed had taught him anything, it was that life had a way of changing, and second chances weren’t guaranteed. He had to get it off of his chest.
As the words left his lips, he forced his eyes from their hands up to meet hers as he heard her disagree. It was the last thing he was expecting in that moment. In his mind she’d left and never looked back. She’d escaped and moved on to bigger and better things. Hearing anything different was reserved for the moments before he fell asleep after having too much to drink, even his sober subconscious had trouble trying to imagine it any other way on most occasions. "Leaving Lima was a mistake." Finn’s eyes searched hers and for a split second he considered the possibility that he was actually asleep and about to be woken up by falling out of his chair, but the expression on her face was too real, as was the touch of her hand in his. “You don’t mean that.” While the look in her eyes was nothing but sincere, his mind couldn’t accept it. It was too far out of the reality he’d crafted for himself.
"You don’t. Why would you say that?" Finn’s eyes stayed locked on her face, searching for any twitch or facial tick so that he could write the whole thing off as a lie. Finn shook his head as he replayed it in his mind, concentrating on each word she’d said like he was defining it for the very first time. "You left, Rachel. You left and you never looked back. You went and got everything you ever wanted. Just because you were forced to come back doesn’t mean you can say….You can’t just say things like that. You didn’t choose to come back here. You wouldn’t have. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have to be."
Reminding himself that she was forced back, and the reasons for it, his mood softened again. What little control Finn had on his emotions was loosening further as he couldn’t seem to land on one for long. Swinging from being thankful to have her back in his life, to anger for her leaving in the first place, Finn’s grip on her hand never wavered as the emotions competed with each other in an imaginary battle for control. “You come back here, and you say all these things. You’re here for me when I need someone the most, saying all this stuff that I wouldn’t even admit to wanting to hear. Why?” Why? He’d asked that question countless times recently, and each time he was desperate to get answers. This time he could. This time he had her here in front of him, and he was determined to understand it. “You were free. Even being forced back to Lima, you didn’t have to stop that day when you saw me. You could have walked by.”
As Finn sat at the table in the mostly empty hospital cafeteria with Rachel, he found himself opening up in ways he had trouble doing with anyone else. Closing himself off and existing somewhere between a living zombie and a puppet was how he’d spend the past few days. He was polite when the nurses would speak to him or when people would stop by Michelle’s room to ask. He always put on a brave face and promised them that he hadn’t lost hope. It was becoming increasingly difficult, and less honest with each passing day. But with Rachel he couldn’t be that way. There was something about the look she’d give him that had him spilling it all before he could help himself. The concern in her eyes for him despite everything she was going through, was a giant reminder of the kind of warm person she’d always had been. Time apart hadn’t changed that.
Feeling her hand as it enveloped his, Finn took comfort in the warmth of her touch. It was nothing like holding onto Michelle’s hand like he so often did as he sat by her beside. Her hand was eerily still and unresponsive, a reminder as to how wrong things were even as it looked like her eyes could open any second. Rachel’s was comforting and strong like she was convincing him she could taking any problems he had to talk about. With one touch of her hand, she conveyed that this wasn’t something he had to do alone, and in that moment, he let her. Turning his hand, he held her hand back, using it as a lifeline to the hope he felt slipping away.
Listening to Rachel’s words, the experience that they came from shown through. He could tell they weren’t empty or meaningless, but rather the same lessons she was trying to teach herself after endless days in the hospital. “It’s out of your hands now.” The truth to that statement was the hardest part to take. The waiting to see if she’d wake up, if her condition would improve, if the latest round of tests would bring with it more answers, it was all frustrating. “It’s so hard. All the waiting. It feels like my life is stuck on pause while everything keeps going all around me, and then I feel like a jerk for even thinking that way. Michelle is the one laying in there, and I can‘t even keep it together for her. But then it‘s like…she‘s laying there sleeping, and left me here to deal with all of this, and it pisses me off. What kind of guy get‘s pissed off at his girlfriend for being in a coma.”
As Finn’s eyes fell to their hands that were together, he tried to get a grip on his emotions that were so scattered, he never knew where they’d land once he started expressing them. “And you’re here, be so great to me when I don’t deserve any of it. I know how much you love the stage and wanted Broadway, but now you’re here and being so great to me. I can see why you wanted to leave now. I couldn’t then, but I just wanted you to know that I get it now.”
“How are you?” It should have been an easy enough question to answer. Most of the time people throw out a quick, “I’m fine, and you,” and they’re off again before the answer was even given. It had become almost another way of saying ‘hello,’ but as he looked up from his coffee and in to Rachel’s eye, he could tell she really meant it. She was genuinely curious despite everything that she had going on in her own life at the moment, and how much distance had been put between them over the years; the concern was genuine. Knowing that somehow made it a harder question to answer. He could lie and say he was ‘doing good, considering’ or maybe tossing out one of those general sayings like ‘I’m hanging in there,’ would be a better way to go. Then again there was always the truth…that is if he could even figure out what that was.
“Some moments are better than others,” he finally settled on. Generic, but not a lie. Despite everything, he felt like he owed Rachel that much. “None of it all that good, but I’m trying.” Picking up his cup of coffee, he took a slow slip as he heard her ask about Michelle. He expected it to come, and after she’d seen him break down the other day, she’d already seen him at his most vulnerable. As he sat the cup back down on the table, holding it in both his hands like he needed the warmth, he couldn’t take his eyes off the dark liquid. Another look in Rachel’s deep and caring eyes would crumble the resolve he was working so hard to keep in place. “No change.” Finn cleared his throat to get better control over his voice that threatened to crack. “They don’t even tell me that there’s good signs anymore. Some of the nurses can’t even look me in the eye when they’re in her room.”
Finally looking up from his coffee, he chanced a look over at the brunette sitting with him again. “I don’t think…I’m really scared that she’s not going to get better.” Admitting it out loud was hard, but keeping that fear to himself and carrying it around was becoming impossible. It was too much and even though it made him feel week, he had to share it with someone. “Are you ever scared….being in here.” Finn glanced around at the glaring white walls of the hospital cafeteria and back to Rachel again. “Do you ever wonder what’ll happen if…” He let his voice trail off as no matter how much he wondered it in his mind, saying the worst case scenario, actually putting it in words, wasn’t something he could do yet.
Learning the hospital staff by name, both morning and night shift, wasn’t something Finn had wanted to do. He’d wanted Michelle to back home in her own bed, recovering and putting all this behind her like it was nothing. He wanted to return to his life and everything that had been put on hold. What he wanted and what he got were two very different things. Michelle was closing in on a week of being in a coma. Five days, thirteen hours, and twenty seven minutes to be exact. Almost a week since his life and been turned upside down. As he sat at the side of Michelle’s bed, he squeezed her hand in his hoping that this time she’d squeeze it back. He needed anything to know she was still in there and she was still fighting. The looks of pity had gotten worse, and the talk about having hope and not giving up were becoming less frequent. Instead now he was told that Michelle was special, and things happen every day. It sounded more like he needed a miracle and less like he needed to give it time.
Looking up at the clock on the wall and watching as the seconds ticked their way around the circle, Finn carefully set Michelle’s hand back down on the bed as he stood up from his chair. He’d gotten a little better about taking a few moments to himself a day. He knew he had to after he was positive he’d seen Michelle’s finger twitch one day. He’d called the doctor’s to rush in thinking it was only a matter of moments now, only to be told there was no change and pestered about how little he’d slept. Not being able to take another disappointment like that, Finn tried to sleep a couple hours a night, and reply on more coffee to get him through the rest.
Walking down the long hall way towards the cafeteria, he avoided eye contact with most of the nurses he passed. He wasn’t up for the forced pleasantries. It was exhausting enough to try and hold it together, he wasn’t capable of much else these days. Outside of his talk with Rachel a few days ago, Finn hadn’t shared much about how he was feeling. Since that day, he hadn’t shed another tear as he’d kept them locked away somehow in a vault sealed with denial and a shred of hope. Rachel had been the one that was able to break through his act just by being there. Despite the years that had passed and the heartbreak that she’d left him with when she’d gone, a part of him knew he could still rely on her. As he passed a couple rooms their doors slightly ajar, he caught himself wondering if it was hers, or if she was still here.
Hands buried in his pockets, Finn walked into the cafeteria to grab himself a fresh cup of coffee and to enjoy a change of scenery. A new set of white walls was hardly a beautiful sunset or a breathtaking landscape, but it was all he had. As he turned around, cup of coffee in hand, he spotted Rachel sitting at a small table by herself. He’d have been lying if he said he wasn’t happy to see the friendly face, but even feeling that way for a second brought on guilt to follow it. He didn’t’ want to feel happy, not when Michelle was laying in her bed completely cut off from everything. Even so, he found himself walking towards her anyway. He needed something familiar among the chaos. “Couldn’t stay away from the coffee either?” The corner of his lip turned up slightly as he pulled out a chair at her table and sat down at the table beside her. He could see now the signs that she wasn’t feeling herself. He assumed they were there the other day and he was too exhausted and wrapped up in himself to see it, but despite it all, she was still…Rachel.