pg | major character death

Eventually, she stops coming.

She spends her Thursday evenings at work, filling out paperwork and stirring too much sugar into her coffee. Sometimes, she forgets what day it is, and her twinge of guilt arrives late, when she rolls out of bed Friday morning to hear DJs announcing the fact that it's the weekend.

Sometimes, she doesn't feel guilty at all.

And sometimes, like today, she can't stop thinking about it. She breaks the bad news to a family, watches as they cling to each other for comfort, and she's glad that she didn't marry him, because surely, it would have been worse if she had. She has to slam on the brakes to avoid a lunatic driver, and she has to pull to the side of the road to catch her breath and quell the memories.

She's in the hospital, showing pictures to a witness, acutely aware of the fact he's two floors up. She makes excuses to her new partner (except not so new anymore), and gets on the elevator. The nurse recognizes her, and no, he's not better, he's actually worse. They had hoped that he'd be in a long-term facility by now, and she cringes at the term.

He'll be dead soon, and she tentatively offers that maybe it's for the best, to which the nurse nods, a somewhat inappropriate smile on her face.

The chair she used to sit in is gone. There aren't any chairs at all, actually. They seem to have been snatched up by the family of the woman next door. Her room is overflowing with people, and the woman's face is too clean, too pretty, her hair too shiny; this must have just happened. She's struck with a mean urge, to go in and whisper in her ear, "Don't worry, in a month, they'll all have moved on. You'll be alone."

She unabashedly stares as an older man, her father, maybe, brushes away a strand of pale hair. It takes her only a moment to realize that the young blonde sitting next to the bed is the girl's identical twin. In a month, or two, Alex doubts it'll be as easy to tell. Someone who is probably the mother is crying in the corner. Someone who is probably a cousin or nephew or maybe a friend of the family is leaning against the wall, obviously bored.

She turns around, meaning to ask the nurse for a chair, but there's no one at the station.

She leaves without even going in his room.