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The exuberant optimism Gabrielle felt upon hearing that she was being considered as a subject for a clinical trial had been greatly damped when her discussion with her husband had turned to Adriel’s worsening condition. They continued to stroll along in the noon day sun but her exaltation had changed to moroseness.

“You know,” she said, “if this Stargardt’s treatment works I’ll be able to care for you till the end, right?”

“Maybe. I guess the other thing we have to consider is hospice care.”

Unable to stifle her tears she answered, “Jesus Jenny, Adriel! I don’t want you… I don’t want you dying with strangers! You’re my husband and I promised to love, honor and cherish you till death do us part and that’s by God what I’m going to do!”

“There is no doubt in my mind that you will continue to do so after I’m gone but we have to be reasonable. I want to be with you but I don’t want to suck you down into my black hole. We just need to see what our options are, okay?”

Gabrielle strolled along by her husband’s wheelchair but did not immediately respond to his statement. After a full two minutes of silence she said, “Yeah. Okay. We’ll look into it. After we get back from Philadelphia. Who knows? Maybe the treatment can be done right here by Doctor Theia, right?”

“That’s not what she-”

“I said after. Okay? Just let it drop. We’ll know something soon enough.”

“Okay. I love you more than life itself you know.”

“Yeah. Yes I do. And I know exactly how you feel, Professor.”

She reached over and stroked his head as they walked and as she did so her phone started playing Tommy Tutone’s hit song, “867-5309.”

“Ah. There’s Jenny now,” she said, taking her phone out of her pocket. “Hang on while I catch this, okay?” she asked as she put her phone on speaker.

“Jenn-Jenn! About time. Adriel and I are just out enjoying the sunshine. Did you get my voice mail or email?”

“Hi, Adriel! How’s my stud-muffin? Both actually. I was in court so I couldn’t respond. We recessed for lunch. I could probably be at your place in ten if you want a lunch guest. I’ll even bring lunch! So you’re in?”

“Not quite, but close. Come on over and we’ll tell you all about it.”

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