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Once she was certain that her husband was asleep Gabrielle slipped from their bed, grabbed her phone and went to the spare bedroom. “Phone Bill Finger, on cell,” she said crisply.

The answering, “Hello?” was groggy.

“Bruce? It’s Julia. Did I wake you?”

“Oh. Hey! No, Arachne not really. Just resting my eyes. It’s late. How you doing?”

“Okay. Not really. I don’t know how much longer he’s going to make it. God it’s hard.”

Gabrielle finally broke the pause that followed with, “Bill? Are you there?”

“Yeah, sweetie. I’m here. I never know what to say. I’m sorry? Is there anything I can do for you? I’d come to you right now if you said the word.”

“I know you would. I just needed to talk to somebody.”

“I’m here for you. You know I am.”

“Yes. Yes I do.”

“What do his doctors say?”

“That it’s great he’s lasted this long. Five years is a long time with ALS and we’re coming up on that. I hate seeing him waste away. I just hate it.”

“I know, Gabrielle. I know. Hey, where’s Julia? Where’s my strong little spider woman? You can do this. You can,” he whispered.

“Not much choice, is there?”

“No, I guess not. When do you go to the doctors again?”

“His or mine?”

“Well I meant his, but either.”

“I’m tomorrow. I might be eligible for stem cell therapy with another Ocata Trial. Adriel’s not till next month.”

“Stem cells seem promising, right?”

“We can hope. Didn’t do anything for Adriel except get his hopes up.”

“Well, we all need hope.”

“You got that right,” she said with a sigh. “Hey, Bruce?”

“Yes, Julia?”

“Thanks for being there.”

“You got it kid. Call me anytime.”

“Goodnight.”

“G’night.”

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