“You can’t tell me anything, Aden.” I brushed a piece of his bangs away from his forehead, “I know I’m going to be curious, and I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions, and get really annoyed when you don’t answer me—but you can’t tell me. You have to be the Aden I knew, okay?”
Even as Aden smiled at me, he started to cry. “I’m not sure I know how to do that, Bren. Everything that’s happening, I can’t be that same man anymore.”
“Well, you’ll have been gone a couple years—you can use that. I’ll forgive you a lot for that. Stress from the missing months, or whatever.” I told myself I couldn’t cry. If I started to cry, it was a slippery slope to sobbing. I knew he wouldn’t go through with it if I started to sob, and he had to go through with it.
“Okay,” Aden gave me a smile that I knew was braver than he was feeling, “Okay. I can do anything for you.”
“When the world changes–Demi and I will be stuck here, but–I need you to promise me you won’t worry about that, okay? Demi and I can take care of ourselves, and you’ll have the changed Brennan and the changed Demi to worry about. So, focus on them. We’ll keep your connection until we’re sure the changes have finally gone through, and then we’ll break the connection.”
Aden nodded, turning to lay back on the table. Demi slipped a pillow under his head, even though we both knew he wouldn’t know the difference once we started the connection. It’d make us feel better to think he looked comfortable. Demi kissed him on the forehead, and then got to work putting together all the different little things she’d need. I slipped my fingers into his, and brought the back of his hand up to my lips. “I love you, Aden.”
“I love you, Brennan.” He winced as Demi put an IV in his empty hand. I tried not to think about needles. “I’m going to miss you so much.”
“You’ll see me soon,” I assured him, “Sooner than you think. Remember–keep the secret. Go to sleep now.”
Aden fought it for a while, determined not to look away from my eyes, but the Drugs Demi gave him were stronger. I watched him sleep and held his hand while Demi messed with her machines and her needles, until she finally turned to me and smiled. “He’s there. He’ll do it. He has to.” I put his hand down on the table, and leaned in to kiss him once more. “Do you think he’ll be able to keep it a secret from you?” Demi asked skeptically, “I mean really?”
I laughed, and it felt strange. “No. No of course not. Even if he could keep it a secret from me–you know him too well. He’ll tell us both within the year.”
Demi laughed too, and from the look on her face, it seemed just as strange to her as it did to me. We’d have to learn how to do everything again without Aden. I looked to his side, where Demi had thankfully covered the tubes and needles going into Aden’s side with some kind of gauze. “Do you think we should have warned him?” Demi asked, pulling me out of my reprieve.
“What? About the Baby?” I asked, looking at her. She nodded, a cheeky grin on her face. “Nah. I’d never deny the other me the chance to see that look on his face. It was a good one.”