I slide my hand across the grass, reaching for hers, interlacing our fingers. The tears I’ve been holding back trails down my cheeks as I turn my head to look at her. She looks peaceful where she lies in the meadow beside me, her eyes closed and her chest rising and falling calmly.
“Stop looking at me like that. It’s creepy as hell”
She turns to her head to face me, her eyes gliding open slowly. I reach for her when another coughing fit wracks her body, but she slaps my hand away before I can so much as touch her. “Just give me a second” She grinds out through clenched teeth before another cough presses itself up her throat.
“Can we please go back now? Your mother will kill me if she found out”
“No. I want to see the stars” She whisper with a hoarse voice, turning her gaze up towards the starry sky again. “It’s just a cough, I get them all the time. No biggie”
I give her hand a small squeeze, more for my own comfort than hers, before I turn back to look at the sky with her. It takes a while, but eventually her breathing settles again, coming out in slow puffs of air, making my body relax into the tall grass.
“I always liked it here. So peaceful and quiet, so many memories. Do you remember how we found this place, Lily?”
“Of course I do” I chuckle. “My mother grounded me for a week for wandering off with you. Said you were a bad influence for dragging me off to god knows where” I laugh, picturing my moms face when my excuse for leaving without telling her was because we were on an adventure to discover a new land.
“I know. I was so sure she was going to forbid you to play with me” Louise starts laughing too, but the laughter soon turns into another coughing fit.
“We really should go back, Lou. That cough doesn’t sound good” I worry my lip with my teeth, turning my head to look at her again.
“Just one more minute, okay? I just want to look at the stars for a little while” She gives me her own special look, the one I’ve never been able to say no too. “Please?” She adds, sounding like a small child begging for ice-cream.
“Fine” I relent with a sigh, tearing my eyes away from her pleading face. “One more minute and I’m wheeling your scrawny ass home”
I don’t even need to look at her to know she’s grinning like a fool when she whispers thank you to me.
A week later I spread her ashes there in the meadow beneath the billion stars she loved so much.