Jack had already lost too much. He wouldn’t lose her, too.
Lisa closed the box and tried to give him back the ring. He wouldn’t take it.
“I can’t,” she said. “Don’t ask me. Please.”
“I love you.”
Her reply was silence. She had never said it. He knew why. He didn’t care. She didn’t have to.
“It wouldn’t be fair. Not to either of us.”
It was because of his soul. The damn thing was often more trouble than it was worth, but, despite it all, he was glad he had it implanted. Even the pain. Without it, he would never have tried to have his removed. Without it, he would have never met her outside that extraction center.
He hadn’t gone through with it, but there were times he wished he had. His soul had always been an obstacle between them.
“I’ll get it removed,” Jack said.
“Don’t. I couldn’t live with that.”
He took her hand. “It doesn’t matter.”
“How can it not?” she asked.
He kissed her in the forehead and wiped a tear from her cheek.
She took the ring out of the box. She didn’t put it on. But she would. When she was ready. He could wait.
“I love you,” she said, softly. full of fear and hope.
She was wrong. She had a soul.
She had his.