Andy put his hands on my shoulders and pulled me gently to my feet. “Do you remember the night we met? Do you remember what I asked you?”
I nodded, thinking of why I’d gone down to the emergency room that night, how I’d meant to collect a story for Alice, and how, if it was a good one, she’d answer my question and tell me what I needed to know. Will it hurt?
“You asked me, ‘Does it hurt?’ ” I told him, crying harder. I’d lived long enough now to know the answer. It hurts more than you think you can stand, I would tell our little-girl and little-boy selves, two children lost in different dark woods, and no one escapes it . . . but it’s going to be better than you can believe.
“I love you,” I said, not caring that my face was wet and that I couldn’t stop crying, not caring that I’d said it first. “You always had my heart.”
“Rachel,” said Andy, “I will love you forever.” Then he wrapped me in his arms, and I buried my face in the soft spot just beneath his shoulder, until he put his fingers under my chin and tilted my face up to his and kissed me.