Only when she was sure that the world wasn’t going to collapse, she released him slightly, still holding the hug, making sure that he could hold her as long as he felt it was necessary, but giving him permission to let go if he wanted to. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed since they’d first embraced. She wasn’t even sure what the other mourners were doing. Where they even still there? Did they think that she and Dean were being weird? Inappropriate?
She was asking these questions just to give her something to think about that wasn’t heartbreaking. She couldn’t really give a flying crap what anyone else though. She and Dean were grieving and if this was how they wanted to deal with it, they weren’t hurting anyone. She was mostly just thinking it to try to stop thinking about Tay.
Finally, she felt Dean give a little sigh and shake, then release his tight grip. His hand slid down the length of her arm interlacing his fingers in hers. “I’m sorry.” He said softly, “Did I hurt you? Mess up your stitches or something?”
The only stitches she had left were in her leg, and Dean knew that. Bess figured he just needed something to say. “No, I’m okay. Should we—do you think—should we go look?” She asked timidly. She didn’t really want to yet, but she knew she would never want to. If this was going to happen, she just had to get it over with.
“Yeah, we should. Let’s get this over with.” Dean replied quietly. They walked together, hand still clasped together. Bess was grateful for that, she didn’t want to let him go completely just yet. Together, they crossed to the plaque, beautiful in its simplicity, just decorated with a few small roses. They knew his ashes sat behind it.
Andrew Taylor Carlton, Jr.
March 27, 1987 – January 14, 2014
Forever in Our Hearts
Bess squeezed Dean’s hand so hard that she was probably hurting him, but she couldn’t help herself. He squeezed her hand back with thankfully less intensity; she knew that Dean could break her hand if he squeezed at full force. That’s when Bess started to cry properly, tears rolling down her cheeks so fast that she had to bring up her free hand to wipe them away. Dean was crying too, as he kissed the fingertips of his free hand and placed it gently against the ‘Taylor’ carved into the stone. He whispered something, and Bess tried not to listen as best as she could, giving Dean as much privacy with his friend as she could while Dean still gripped her hand desperately.
In her own head, Bes offered up a silent prayer to her friend as well. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we met there. I’m sorry I didn’t call to cancel. I’m sorry that I survived. I’m so, so sorry that you’re dead, Taylor. I’d change places with you in a heartbeat.
Bess hadn’t realized that Dean was watching her, but when she looked up from her little prayer, he was giving her a sad little smile. “Ready?” he asked. She nodded, and they moved away, letting a few other people step in close to examine Taylor’s resting place, and came to a stop near a wall, just standing. “Hey, Bess?” She looked up at Dean and tried to give him a smile, although she wasn’t completely sure she succeeded. “I want to ask you for a favor—but I don’t want you to read too much into it or think the wrong thing or feel like I’m taking advantage or imposing—“
“Dean,” Bess cut him off quickly before he could get any more momentum in his nervous rambling. “Just ask. I’ll assume your intentions are good.”
Dean gave Bess a grateful little smile, and that lifted her spirits a bit. It was good to see Dean smile. “I just—I don’t want to go home and be alone,” Dean confessed.
Bess considered him for a moment. Only Dean would worry that Bess would think he was trying to take advantage. It never would have crossed her mind that Dean would sink so low. It was so endearing that it bordered on attractive.
“Do you want to come spend the night at my place?” Bess offered. She’d make up the couch if he insisted. It might be nice to have someone nearby as she slept, someone to be there if the nightmares woke her up again. She could trust Dean to steer clear of any funny business.
“If it’s not too much trouble. If I’m not stepping on your toes.” Dean insisted quickly.
“Not at all. Let’s just try to stay out of sight, yeah? I don’t want tomorrow’s gossip headline to be Heartless Slut moves on to Dead Lover’s best friend.”
It was half a joke, half the truth, and he completely understood. “Let’s make a plan.”