Dark Days

By Yuki Wildstar

Part Three

15th of January, 2208

Weeks later . . . . .


Nova made it a point for Alex to see his father as much as possible. Derek found a small one bedroom apartment 5 minutes from the house so he wouldn’t have to travel far to see their son. She was finishing up putting a bag together for Alex night with his father when she heard the door bell ring. As always Derek was prompt to pick up his son.

“Hi Nova, is he ready?”

“Yes, he is he’s so excited to go.” She smiled. “Oh, Derek could you bring him back a little later. It’s my last appointment with Doctor Rosen.”

ya-10[1].jpg“Sure Nov, you know I don’t mind having time with him.” He always made it easy for her to be there for them. He wanted so much to be living in the same house but she made it clear that she wasn’t ready for that step. He watched as she smiled at their son playing on the floor with some toys. “You look great Nov. I think you seeing Doctor Rosen is helping you. I’ve missed that smile.”

“Thanks, it has helped. So you can drop him around dinner time.” She said with a flat tone. She always made sure that she was polite in front of their son.

“Sure, oh yeah I have to ask for a favor too. Can I get Alex this weekend?”

“Sure anything special?”

“Well considering that it’s close to his birthday, I wanted to take him up to Heroes’ Hill and have a picnic.  Hey why don’t you join us?” He asked quickly.

“I don’t know” she said warily.

“Oh come on I promise this is not a date. Plus I think Alex would like spending time with the both of us instead of being ship back and forth. Come on what do you say. I promise I’ll behave, we can call this a family date.” He grinned

For the first time in weeks she couldn’t help but laugh at him. ‘He looks like a child asking for a piece of candy before dinner.’ She thought to herself. “Fine, I’ll meet you there.”

“Great, you hear that Alex? Mom is coming to our party.” He said as he scooped up his son. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He said and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.


18th of January, 2208


gundam27-04[1].jpgNova got out of the car and walked towards the restaurant, she looked at her image in the window and thought she looked fine. A little nervous she walked into the restaurant and looked around. Michael Spada stood up and waved her over.

“Our table is almost ready, wow, Nova you look stunning.” He said as he looked her over. She wore a pair of black slacks with a printed black and white blouse that showed her shoulders. Her shoes were Roman platform sandals that gave her just enough height.

“Thank you Michael, you don’t look so bad yourself.”

The hostess came over and informed him that their table was ready. Michael pulled out the chair for her and she sat down. “So how did you find this place?”

“I drive by it every day and figure that I should try it sometime. It’s always busy so I assumed that the food is good.”

“It’s a lovely place.”

“I’m glad you like it. So how goes with Doctor Rosen? He tells me that you’re doing well enough to come back to work.”

“Well I was hoping that I will be soon, any chance of that happening? I need to keep busy.”

“’I’ll look into it. They are waiting for Rosen’s report and I’m sure Doctor Sane will have input in it too. They want to make sure that you don’t have another accident as they would call it.”

“I figure that much with the board.” She said. They continued to talk through dinner about patients with her and asked her opinions. Then he brought up the subject of her and Derek.

“How are things with you and Derek?”

“We’re civil. I don’t want Alex to be raised with fighting and yelling. He’s taking him this weekend.”

“That’s good, and what are you planning on doing?” he asked her as they finished desert.

“Actually Derek asked me on a family date.” She smiled, “He wants to take Alex to Heroes’ Hill and have a small picnic.”

“That’s great it’s good to know that Alex is first priority for you both, and the rest of the weekend?” He hoped that she would see him again.

“Hmm, what do you have in mind?”  She looked at him intrigued.

“I was hoping Sunday brunch?”

“I think I can manage that, Derek will have Alex back after 4 so it fits right in. Well I should be going, thank you Michael for dinner. I had a lovely time.”  She said as they waited for her car to come around. She threw her arms around him and gave him a kiss on the lip. Michael grabbed hold of her waist and pulled her closer to him. Her lips on his felt good to him and he didn’t want this day to end.  They finally pulled away then she jumped in her car and drove off.



23rd of January, 2208

Heroes’ Hill

They sat in front of Captain Avatar’s statue as Derek pointed to each head stone. “See this one here Alex, this is Mark Venture, my best friend and a hell of a Helmsman. You would’ve liked him a lot. See this one. That’s your Uncle Alex, your mom name you after him. He was a great big brother. I was hoping that one day you would be one too, but I guess that’s not going to happen now.”

“What might not happen?” He heard someone say and turn to see Nova walking their way.

L5a.jpg“Hey, it’s Mom!” Derek cheered.

“What might not happen, Derek?” Nova picked up her son and then sat next to Derek.

“Oh nothing, we’re glad that you could make it. I was just telling Alex who was who. I was ready to tell him about our missions on the Argo and all the fun we had.”

“I hope you don’t tell him everything.” Nova blushed

“Shh, it’s our secret.” He said placing his finger in front of his mouth that made her laugh.

Their day was full of laughter. Derek chased her around while Alex follow suit, laughing loudly. She ran around the bushes and then fell on the cool grass. Still laughing, Alex jumped on top of his mother and tried to tickle her back. Derek joined in laughing with them and helping Alex tickle her. Trying to stop him from tickling her anymore she wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled at him. How he smelled good to her. Looking into her eyes and without thinking he kissed her. They embrace in a passionate kiss leaving them breathless when they pulled away.

“I think I should go.” She said as she pushed him away. Derek stood up and then helped her to her feet. “Alex I’ll see you tomorrow night, you take care of your father.”

“We’ll walk you to your car. Come on Alex let’s take mommy to her car.” He said as he pickup his son.

He helped her into her car and leaned over her and asked. “May I?” Nova nodded her head and he gently kissed her on the cheek. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Sunday, 24th of January, 2008


“Derek hello, Nova’s in the kitchen.” 

Derek stared at Michael that stood before him wearing a t-shirt, jeans and wearing no shoes. “Michael, I wasn’t expecting you here.”

lockon[1].jpg“Uh yeah, I just stop by to tell Nova that the hospital board is considering her return to the hospital.” He didn’t want to mention that they had brunch earlier and she asked him back to the house. They sat on the patio, walked on the beach talking about her returning to work at the hospital. He knew all too well how Derek could be about his wife and the mother of his child and Michael didn’t want to make a scene in front of her or Alex.

“And that requires you to take off your shoes.” Derek sneered at him.

Michael looked down at his feet and said. “Oh just a habit I have.”

“Hmm” he walked in as he carried his sleeping son in his arms. “I should go put him down.”

“Derek, you’re early.” Nova said as she entered the room. She stood in front of him and brushed Alex’s hair to the side.

“Not soon enough I see.” He said as he gave Michael slit eyes.

Michael looked at the two and started to put on his shoes. “I better go, Nova I’ll let you know what they say. We should be hearing from them in a few days. Looks like you’re in. So don’t worry.” He walked over to her and kissed her quickly partially on the lips and cheek. Derek stared at him with hatred in his eyes. ‘Does he think that he is going to move in with her? Over my dead body!’ 

“Good night Derek, nice to see you again.”

“Yeah same here.” ‘If you come near my family I’ll make sure they never find your body in deep space.’ He thought to himself.

“Michael … please stay for dinner, I made enough.”

“Thanks, Nova but I should be going.” He said and watched as Nova and Derek fussed over their son. ‘I would love to stay and make love to you but he’s here.’ he thought and then left.

“I’ll put him down.”Derek said and walked into the hallway that led to his room. A minute later he returned to where she was. “He’s been napping for a while. He should be getting up soon.”

“Derek would you like to stay for dinner?” Nova put her hand on his chest and rubbed it. “I made enough.”

“Are you sure?” noticing that she no longer was wearing her wedding ring. His heart broke to think that she was moving on without him.

“Yes I am, anyway it would do Alex good to see us together for once in the house.”

“Um, sure . . . okay.”

“Good, let me set the table. Why don’t you relax in your chair?”

Derek took off his jacket and sat down in front of the fireplace. He looked up at the mantel where their wedding picture hung. ‘Well that’s good news she hasn’t taken it down.’  He thought then looked more around ‘Nothings changed? I wonder if my office is still my office.’

“Hey you look a million miles away.” Nova stood over him.

IMG_0591.JPG“I was just looking at our wedding portrait, whatever happened to those two?” He stared up to the pictures, his eyes glazed from the pain of seeing her without her ring.

Nova looked up at the picture and said “I ask myself that every day. They used to be happy or at least I thought they were. I’m still wondering what happened?” She frowned.

“Ouch. . . . Touché. I deserve that.” He grabbed his heart.

“I better wake up Alex or else he’ll be up all night.” She said then went into the room. She opened her son’s door and found him sitting up rubbing his eyes. “Hey Alex, mommy missed you so much today. I hope you had a great time with your father.” She picked him up and brought him out to his father.

005 - Copy.jpgThey talked through dinner about some of the missions that they went on. Nova talked about going back to work at the hospital and the possibility of taking her old job working part time at EDF headquarters. Derek encouraged her to go back hoping that they would be able to work together.  After dinner he helped her clear the table and wash the dishes.  They all went into the living room and while Nova looked through some medical journals Derek played with Alex on the floor. She watched as he made his son laughed out loud by tickling him on his stomach. They played star fighter making noises as if they were shooting each other.  Hours later, Alex yawned giving them a sheer warning that it was time for bed. He crawled up onto Nova’s lap and she rocked him to sleep. Derek sat in his chair as he watched her put their son to sleep like he did back when they were still living together. She looked up at him and put her finger in front of her mouth. Derek took him from her lap and carried him to his room putting him in his crib.

“I guess I better get going. Thank you Nova, for dinner.”

She walked him to the door and said. “Thanks for staying awhile. Alex had a great time with you here.”

topnewdark[1].jpgHe lean forward and kissed her on the cheek “Good night Nova,” then gave her another kiss on the lips. Feeling his lips on hers she felt the passion that they always had, quickly she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him back. Closing the front door he wrapped his arms around his wife’s waist, with one scoop he picked her up and carried her into the room.  Slowly he caressed her body as she brought him closer to her. “Nova, are you sure?”  He whispered in her ear.

“No I’m not, but it feels right.”

With disappointment he got up and looked at his wife “Nova I can’t, I don’t want a fix. I want us to be whole. I love you too much to take advantage of you. It would be easy to make love to you and pretend nothing happened. But I want you to come back to me without regret. I respect you too much.”

“Are you kidding me?! I’m willing to make love to you and you turn me down! Are you still hung up on her?!” she yelled. “Are you still seeing her? Well are you!?”

Derek rolled his eyes and thought ‘I knew she would throw this in my face.’  “Nova I’d better go.” He grabbed his shirt and started to walk out the room.

Quickly she jumped off the bed and began to yell at him as she hit him on the chest. “I hate you! I hate you Derek Wildstar I wish I never met you. Get out!” Derek stood there stunned at her actions. He grabbed hold of her arms preventing her from hitting him anymore. “You’re the one that did this to us. I’m the one that has to pick up the pieces. I’m the one that has to hear the snickering. I’m the one that’s hurting and you’re the one that created this mess. I don’t ever want to see you again.” She cried as she dropped to the floor.  With tears in his eyes he bent down and picked her up and put her on the bed. He stroked her hair and held her as she cried in his arms.

“Oh God…Nova I’m so sorry.” He said as he continued to stroke her hair rocking her back and forth trying to calm her down. Gently he maneuvered her to lie down and cover her with the blanket. He sat in the chair that they had in the room and watched as she cried herself to sleep. When she finally fell asleep he took an extra blanket and pillow and fell asleep in the chair.



25th of January, 2208


ya-5[1].jpgNova opened her eyes and tried to focus. She looked around the room and then walked over to the bathroom. Looking into the mirror she noticed the circles under her eyes from crying “Not good Nova, you look horrible.” She said. Quickly she splashed water on her face and brushed her teeth.  She walked into her son’s room and peeked in to see him still sleeping. With a smile on her face she walked into the kitchen and found the coffee already made. She glanced outside and noticed Derek sitting on the patio drinking a cup.

“I thought you left.” She quickly said before he could ask her anything.

Derek stayed in the chair all night waking up every few hours to check on her. After the last incident he didn’t want to take chances with her again. “How do you feel?”

She just stared at him with flat eyes and said. “You don’t have to worry about me, I’m fine. I have Alex.”

“O…Kay. I just wanted to make sure you were alright. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He got up and gave her a gentle kiss on the cheek. “Give Alex a kiss for me.”


29th of March, 2208

Weeks later . . .


After that one night Wildstar walked on egg shells around her. He made it a point to be there more for Alex and well as Nova. They never talked about that night again. Nova finally went back to work at the hospital as well as EDF headquarters. She made it clear to her husband that she was there to work and nothing more. He kept his distance and if he needed anything he was sure to send his aide to retrieve anything from her. He would only speak with her when she called him on the phone for some budgets. He was in the middle of work when his aide called him on the intercom.

“Sir a Mr. Heerio Sakomoto is here. He has no appointment.”

“Heerio, my god… I haven’t seen him in years. Send him in please.”

“Wildstar! It’s been a long time. I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.” Heerio said patting his old academy frat brother on the back.

“Shame I haven’t heard anything about you. I thought you died.” Wildstar laughed.

“Ha, actually I have been in the trenches of building on Omega 13. I’m the head honcho since the battle with the first Bolar war was over. We’re almost done and should be ready to open up the area for living.”

“Omega 13, I heard it’s for future colonization. I’ll have to see it sometime. So what brings you here to EDF headquarters?” Wildstar asked.

“Well, I was hoping that you could help me with presenting EDF on opening the next base station in that area.”

“A base station? But I assumed that was one of the reasons to colonize that planet.”

“Initially it was but after General Stone was removed the funding was pulled and I had to get individual companies to invest in the building with the promise that there would be a base within the planet.”

Wildstar leaned back in his chair folding his arms across his chest, “Heerio, I’m sorry that you came down here in hopes that I can help you. But I have no say in where they put their next base.”

“I know that but you know most of the council members and if you can just see if you can set up a meeting for me I would really appreciate it.”

“I’ll see what I can do, but I can’t guarantee anything.” Wildstar stood up ready to escort him out. “I’ll give Gibbs a call in the morning. He and I work together at one time when we went to Iscandar. So, how about some lunch so we can discuss what you’ve been up to?”

“Are you paying?” Heerio laughed

“No you are. If I recalled the last time we went out I picked up the check.” Wildstar laughed at him when Heerio stop in his tracks.

“Who in God’s universe is that?” Heerio asked as he watched Nova walk by.

Wildstar face crossed as he watched his friend drool over his wife. “Yeah, shall we?” he tried to steer him to the elevators.

“Hold on a minute,” he said waving his hand at his friend. “Do you know her?” still intrigued at Nova.

“Yeah, I know her.”

“What’s her name? Is she married and can you introduce us?” He said quickly before she left the area.

“Her name is Nova Forrester, yes she’s married and no, I can’t introduce you.” Wildstar felt a wave of jealousy come over him.

“Why not?”

“Because she’s going through a hard time right now and she doesn’t need a drooling moron giving her one of his cheap one liners.”

“I detect a wave of jealously…since your Tolbert days.  Is something going on between you two? I mean if you and she have something going on . . . .”

“It’s nothing, let’s just go.” Wildstar said as he started to walk towards the elevators.

“Come on Wildstar if you and she have nothing going on and she’s having a difficult time then maybe I can distract her.” He grinned.

Wildstar snapped back around and grabbed him by the arm. “I said to leave her alone.”

Heerio stood stunned at his friend. “What is wrong with you? You act like she’s your wife.”

“That’s because she is.” He snapped at him.

“Oh gosh Wildstar I didn’t know.” Heerio was stunned at his answer. “I wouldn’t have, well you know if I knew that you and she were married.  What do you mean she’s having a hard time?”

“Why don’t we just go?” Wildstar said avoiding the questions.

“Fine, but aren’t you going to introduce me to your wife. Or do you think that I will hit on her.” He joked. “You know that it was a long time ago, and Julie was the one that came on to me.”

“I think I’m over that Heerio. Like you said it was a long time ago. I’ve moved on since.”

“What gives Wildstar? I would think that you would be bragging about being married to a hot tamale like that.”

Wildstar looked over to where Nova was. “Fine”

“Thank you Suki, I wasn’t sure where I put them” she said as she turned to head back into her office. “Damn it” she said frustrated that she dropped the file and it spilled all over the floor. Quickly she bent down to picked them up when she saw a hand reach for them as well. Looking up she saw the smile that always melted her heart.

“Let me help you.” Derek said.

“Thank you.”

“Nova, I would like you to meet an old academy friend of mine. Heerio this is my wife Nova, Nova this is Heerio.” Derek said as he introduced them.

“It’s nice to meet the woman that Wildstar has managed to snag. I thought his ugly mug would never find someone. And I have to say he’s out done himself. You are just drop dead gorgeous.” He said as he kissed her hand.

“That’s enough” Wildstar slapped his hand off his wife’s hand. “Still trying to hit on every woman I dated. Now you’re trying to sway my wife. Back off Heerio or this time I’ll take you down.”

Heerio laughed at his old friend. “Ha-ha still the jealous type I see.”

“There’s nothing to be jealous about Derek, you know I love you and there’s no one in the world that can steal me away from you. Hmm, there might be one man though, our son.” Nova grinned at her husband.

Wildstar let out a laugh and reached out his hands to hers squeezing it. “Well I can’t compete with that can I?”

“Wildstar you have a son. Well I’ll be damned. A beautiful wife and a child, I guess you got the package now don’t you?” Heerio said.

Nova leaned over to Derek and ran her hand down his chest. “He sure does, well Heerio it was nice to meet you. I would love to stay here and chat but I have to go to work. Captain Wildstar you should invite him over sometime for dinner.” She winked at him.

“Ah yeah, sure, come on Heerio we can go over our old frat days.” Wildstar waved him over to the elevators. He turned to see Nova go into her office and said to his friend, “I’ll be right there, just give me a minute.” He walked to Nova office and knocked on the door. “Enter” he heard her say. “Nova?”

Nova looked up and smiled. “Yes Derek”

He walked over to where she sat and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For not making me look like a fool, you could have walked away. You’re something else, how did I ever screw things up with us? I love you very much Mrs. Wildstar,” Then gave her another kiss on the cheek. 

“You’re not so bad yourself skipper.  You’re a great dad I can never deny that.” She smiled at him still sitting in her chair. “I meant it when I said to invite him to dinner sometime, Derek. I know that you would like to show off your son and you know me well enough that I would never make you look like a bad father.”

“Thank you Nova, how am I ever going to make it right with you? You’re the best.” He said as he walked out the door to meet up with his friend.



17th of April, 2208

Great Island Central Hospital

1638 hours

“Nova, can you hand me some 2x2 please?”

“Yes Doctor.”

“Now make sure that you keep this clean and I’ll see you in a week.”

“Thank you Doctor Spada.”

“You’re quite welcome Mrs.  Nakamori and remember to keep it clean.”

Nova helped her off the table and started to put things away then prepared the room for the next day. Spada watched as she walked from the room to the front desk. “You have one more patient Doctor and then you’re done for the day.”

“Nova can you come into my office for a minute, please?” he said softly. She followed him into the office and he motioned her to sit. “Nova, how are things with you and Derek?”

“I guess alright.”

“Nova I hope I’m not intruding on your private life but I’m worried about you. I thought that you would be ready to come back to work. But I can see that you’re distracted, maybe you should take some more time off. This is a hard time for you and him and you both need to work things out.”

“I’m fine Michael I just need to keep busy.”

“No you’re not, you’re walking around here like IQ-9 and it’s very distracting. Are you and Derek going to get a divorce?” he asked bluntly.

Nova looked at him shocked, “Divorce? I, I, I don’t know. He hasn’t asked me for one. And I’m not sure I’m ready right now.”

“Well don’t you think you should bring it up to him? Or are you going to string him along? Nova I don’t want to get to a sore spot in your life. But you’re happiest when you’re with him. I hate to see you miserable and the only time you have a smile on your face is when you’re talking about Alex and him. You know that I have feelings for you. I always have, but I also know that the only men in your life are Alex and Derek. He loves you Nova, and if you’re blind enough not to see that then…you’re not as smart as I thought you were.  I see the way you look at him. You may try to put a front but I see it deep in your eyes. Now go home and figure out what it is you want.”

“Michael I appreciate your concern but I truly think that working would be best.”

“Go home Nova, we can handle things here fine without you. And if you don’t I will bring you up to the board.”

“What! You wouldn’t!”

“Try me, now go home. Get your son and go work things out with Derek.”

With a huff Nova got up and walked out of the office slamming the door behind her. ‘How dare he threaten me with something like that?’ She thought. ‘I have worked hard to keep my private life separate. Who the hell does he think he is? Get over it Nova, you know he’s right. If your day is not busy enough you’re always thinking of him. Unfortunate for you, you love the Sap. You’ll always love him till the day you die. There’s no other man in the world that you can see your life with.’ She knew that she had to do what she has been putting off for close to a year. ‘He’s right I have to finally deal with this, even if it means the inevitable.’ She jumped in her car and drove off to his apartment.



“Hey I thought I had him for one more day?” he said as he opened the door and saw his wife standing there.

“Can I come in?”

“Yeah sure, he’s taking his nap in my room. I was just about to do some work on my laptop is everything alright?” She walked into his small apartment and look around. “Sorry it’s the maid’s day off.” He grinned as he took some clothes off the couch. He was never one for neatness.

“That’s alright.”

“So what’s up?”

“Derek, I need to say something so please let me get it off my chest?”

‘Oh god this is it, she’s asking for a divorce. Please god, don’t let it be I’m not ready to let her go yet.’ He thought as he felt his hands shake.

“Derek, do you love me?”

“What? Of course I do, with all my heart and soul. I’d do anything for you.” He said confused to her question.

“Derek, when you told me about her, it felt like my life shattered before my eyes. I wonder what I did wrong. What I did to send you into another woman’s arms. I just don’t know what I did. It drove me to the point that I felt I couldn’t live without you. But then you brought me Alex and I knew then I had to live for him. I still feel like I’m walking in a fog. All I ask is that you give me time.”

He sat there and listen tears running down his face as to what she was saying to him. “Nova I will wait forever for you if I have to. I love you so much and I can’t tell you enough how much I’m sorry that I hurt you.”

“Derek, I need to know. Did you and she . . . . Well you know?”

“No Nova, it was only kissing nothing more.” He said as he looked her straight in the face. “I need to know something too. The night I dropped off Alex and Michael was there. You know the night that you wanted to make love? If Michael had stayed, would it have been him that you asked to your bed.”  He knew that what she would tell him could hurt him deeply but he needed to know.

“I don’t know Derek. I don’t think I could have made love to another man in our house, with Alex in the other room. It wouldn’t have felt right to me to do that.” She said knowing that it would hurt him. “But Michael has been a good friend through all this. We have gone out together and at one time I thought that maybe he and I would well . . . . .  Derek… I still can’t figure out why you wouldn’t, well you know and my confidence escape me. I wanted to feel like a woman once again and Michael was there to make me feel whole. To feel a man’s arms around me again was all I wanted and Michael helped me through it all. I know Michael loves me, but I look at Alex and I see you. I still don’t know about us…so can we just take this slow?” She pleaded with her eyes.

“Anything baby,” He said as he held her hand sitting across from her on his coffee table. “I love you Nova. I should have loved you enough not to hurt you. I will move heaven and earth to make it right with you. Had I been true to you maybe we would be together in our house and you wouldn’t have gone on a date with him.” They sat there trying to figure out what to say next to each other and after a long silence he changed the subject. “Hey how about dinner, I’m cooking.” He grinned.

Nova laughed out loud through her tears. “You cook, I don’t think so.”

“You be surprise what I had to do to survive. Come on stay for dinner.”

“Only if I help.”

toplarge[1].jpg“You're on. Come and step into my chef’s kitchen.” He waved over to his tiny kitchen that made her laugh harder.

She was amazed that he cooked something without burning it. He made pasta with sauce and a salad. “Okay the truth, how did you manage to learn to cook?”

 “Pesh taught me. He explained it to me like if we were in our star fighters. Plus he told me that if I burn spaghetti…I have no reason to ever enter a kitchen.”

Nova laughed from the shock of him learning how to cook. When she finally stopped laughing she looked over to their son and saw that he was wearing all of his food, which made them both laugh as Alex squealed with delight to see his parents together. After dinner they sat and played with their son, Nova finally got up and said. “I better go, it’s getting late.”

“Why don’t you stay?” he pleaded with his eyes.

She grinned at him “I don’t think so. If I stay I know that something will happen and I really don’t trust either you or me. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She said and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Derek took hold of her hand, “I love you very much.”

With a soft smile she said, “I know you do. Good night Derek.”