Those words are not in this section of my work in progress, but it’s what it’s about.
From Burton Mayoria (work in progress, working title):
“I would like to know how Thomas died, but I didn’t want to bring it up. I’m sure it was painful to lose him.”
“It was harder the second time.” Ray stated softly.
Burton looked sharply at Ray. “What?”
Ray looked at Burton as sadness filled his gaze. “Thomas Lancaster died in his sleep at the ripe old age of 73. I was there when he died.”
“Seventy-three. That’s a long time.”
Ray nodded. “I’ve been following the Lancaster family for a while. Thomas died a year before Beth’s great-grandmother was born.”
Burton grew quiet. After a moment Ray continued.
“He made me promise, as a joke at first, then in seriousness on his deathbed. ‘Don’t bring me back, Ray. I’ve lived a long time. Let me go.’”
“You didn’t listen, did you?”
“I was devastated when he died. We met when I was barely nineteen. I’d spent most of my life with him. I loved him – still do. When he died, I contemplated joining him. Then I decided to raise him. It took me a year to go through with it. I think I knew I was going to do it the moment he died. When I raised him, he looked like he did a few days before his death, energetic and full of life. Then I looked in his eyes and saw anger, hate and disappointment. It crushed me.”
Burton covered his mouth with his hand. There was so much pain in Ray’s eyes.
“I thought he would yell at me. I reached out to stop his words, but he took my hands, and his eyes cleared. Love and understanding blossomed and he placed his hand on my chest. ‘Ray, I know why you did this, but you can’t hold on to me forever. I know the rules. Even if I accept the boon, whatever it may be, it won’t last forever. Eventually, you will have to let me go.’ I was speechless. Tears ran down my cheeks as I looked away from him. He moved toward me and wiped the tears from my cheeks. I turned back. He caressed my lips with his thumb. ‘Let me go my love. Remember me for as long as you live. That is how I stay alive. But not like this. Let me go.’”
Ray cleared his throat. “I had no words. I simply nodded, then held him close. I kissed him one final time and uttered the phrase that would release him. I collapsed on the ground and cried. That was when I started to grieve.”
Burton reached out and placed a comforting hand on Ray’s shoulder. Tears ran down their faces. “I’m sorry, Ray.”
“What boon were you going to ask?” Burton asked softly.
“I was going to try and cheat. My boon was, ‘spend the rest of my life with me.’”