“Where were you?”

“At a doctor’s appointment.”

Brianna mellowed slightly. “Oh. I could have gone with you.”

“You didn’t need to. I just wanted a second opinion.”

“Why?” Brianna asked demandingly, folding her arms.

“I just wanted one.”

“So what did they say?”

“I’m in afib.”

Brianna dropped her stance. “Haven’t you been taking your medication?”

Olivia nodded. “Every day. I started twice a day two days ago.”

“So, what? It’s not working?”

“I don’t think so. I’m still having all of the symptoms. I’m still short of breath and though it’s not as strong, I’m still having palpitations.”

“So what’s the next option? Dr Baker said there were more options.”

“I don’t know.

Truthfully, Olivia realized, she was tired. Wouldn’t anyone be after two hundred and eighty-five years? What if she was finally going to be allowed to die for real? Maybe Ailsa’s curse didn’t plan on this happening. Maybe she’d finally be free. How wonderful would that be?

“You don’t know? How could you not know? If it will keep you alive, do it.”

“Afib isn’t a lethal condition.”

“I looked it up. That’s only if you treat it. If you don’t do the things to fix it, it can kill you.”

“Maybe I’m okay with that.”

Olivia realized her mistake as she watched Brianna’s eyes widen in horror. “How could you say that?”

She tried to backpedal. “It’s not like I want to die, but I’m actually okay with not doing anything and just seeing what happens. Maybe the medication takes some time to work.”

“No. That’s not what you said. You said you’re okay with dying.”

“Calm down Bri. I’m going to be fine.”

Brianna was shaking. “I can’t believe you said that! I can’t. I can’t be here.”

Olivia watched as her roommate and only friend she had rushed out of the apartment. She tried to feel bad, she knew what had happened to Bri’s cousin. No one should have to go through that. But as soon as the room was empty, she leaned her head back and sighed. A smile slowly formed across her face as she realized that she was finally going to get her wish. She would finally be able to move on. Not even Brianna’s foul mood could stop the joy that spread through her

She was finally being allowed to die.

“And I’ve already told you Brianna, that I’ve made my decision to not do any invasive procedures and just let it be. I’m taking the medication. I will be fine.”

“It’s not working. You’re still having symptoms. I’ve been doing research, the next step isn’t even invasive, it’s just a cardioversion.”

“I know, but I don’t want to.”

“You could die!” Brianna shouted, drawing stares from several people.

“Any of us could die at any moment, Brianna!”

“Brianna?” Jake said.

“What?” She snapped.

“Um . . . Look this probably isn’t any of my business, but you are shouting, right here, next to my desk so,” he shrugged and both women seemed to remember their surroundings. “As medical professionals our job is to diagnose and treat, but patients have the right to refuse treatment. We can’t force treatments on people.”

“She’s not a patient, she’s my friend!”

“I get that, but judging by both of your reactions, I think whatever this is might be more about you than her.”

Brianna’s blue eyes grew shiny with tears. “I . . .”  and she shook her head and ran from the classroom.

Jake turned awkwardly toward Olivia. 

“I didn’t mean to make her cry.”

“I don’t think it was just you.”

“And I’m sorry for butting in.”

“You said it yourself, we were arguing quite loudly next to your desk.”

He nodded. Then waited. Then said, “you’re not going to go after her?”

“No,” she said firmly.

“Oh. That bad, huh?”

“Yeah,” she snapped.

“Okaaaaay,” he nodded again. Then sat in silence.

“My heart is in afib. That whole thing was about me.”

“Oh. Wow.”

“Yeah. Apparently I could have a stroke at any moment.”

That awful tension was back.

“I mean . . . Technically anyone could.”

Olivia looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

“Stroke: the silent killer.”

Her lips curved slightly and she shook her head.

“So, I assume you have a bucket list?” He asked.


“A bucket list.”

She shook her head.

“Things to do before you kick the bucket.”

She chuckled. “No. I don’t have a bucket list.”

“Aww, come on! You’ve got to have a bucket list. You put things like ‘visit the eiffel tower’ on it.”

“Honestly it wasn’t that great. Just tall.”


She shrugged. “Paris was kind of stinky too.”

He reached into his backpack, grabbed his notebook and tore out two pieces of paper. He slapped one down on her desk.

“Humor me. Write down some things you’ve never done, but always wanted to do.”

She sighed and pulled a pen from her bag. “Fine.”

Jake smiled and started on his own. He was only on number 12 when Olivia declared she was done.


She nodded and reached for her list, probably to throw it away, so without thinking Jake shoved his toward her.

“Here” he said, offering his list to her. “Let me see yours.”

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