Countdown: 24 Hours, 4 minutes, 37 seconds.
Finn took Elizabeth’s hand in his own as the doctor looked down. “What is it?” Finn asked, worried.
Elizabeth laid under the white hospital sheets in her gown. Finn and Elizabeth were only 26 years old, too young to die, and especially not at Doctor Hare’s office.
Doctor Hare, also known as “Doctor Time” because of his alarmingly accurate ability to predict the exact time of someone’s death. The most he’s been wrong is only by five minutes off the exact time of death.
Knowing this, Elizabeth and Finn were worried about what they were about to hear.
See, poor Elizabeth Quivers was sick. Very sick. She had an unknown blood-borne disease that had been passed down through her mother’s genes. Finn Pendant was Elizabeth’s boyfriend- and one of the best boyfriends she has ever had… and by the looks of it, the last one she will ever have.
“I’m sorry…” Doctor Hare began. Those are words you never want to hear out of a doctor’s mouth. “You are going to pass away in twenty-four hours, Miss Quivers.”
“What?” Elizabeth choked.
“Only twenty-four hours…?” Finn croaked.
“I’m afraid so. Without a blood transfusion-” Doctor Hare said.
“I’ll give! I’ll give my blood, please.” Finn cried. “I’ll do anything.”
“Finn-” Elizabeth said, squeezing Finn’s arm.
“We cannot give a blood transfusion in time. Unfortunately, it just won’t work out.” Doctor Hare sighed, having experienced family members reacting badly before.
Elizabeth looked at Finn, who had tears coming out of his eyes. “Finn, it’s okay.”
“No, it’s not Eliza.” Finn silently sobbed.
“Spend your twenty-four hours as you please.” Doctor Hare said. “You’re free to go.”
Countdown: 23 Hours, 57 Minutes, 49 Seconds
Finn and Elizabeth slide into their Honda, but instead of Finn complaining how hot the steering wheel gets in California, he holds his head in his hands.
“Finn, it’s fine. Let’s just make the most of it.” Elizabeth says with a small smile.
Finn shook his head, still covering his face with his hands. “Only twenty-four hours…” He mumbles.
Elizabeth looks down at her hands, wringing them, a nervous habit. Since she had been diagnosed, she had thought about her own death quite a bit… how could she not? She has come to accept the fact that death was unavoidable. Finn and Elizabeth couldn’t afford for a blood transfusion- the only way to save her. Elizabeth came to the conclusion that instead of just moping around, she should live life normally and enjoy the little things that came her way.
Finn looked up from the steering wheel and pushed his black hair out of his face. “Eliza…?”
She looked up at her boyfriend, having not realized that tears were welling up in her eyes. It had just hit her- she was going to die. “Finn… I need you to do something for me.”
“Sure, of course, anything Elizabeth.” Finn answered quickly.
Elizabeth shuddered at Finn saying her full name. “I need you to give me the best twenty-four hours of my life.”
“W-what?” Finn stuttered. “What do you mean?”
“Just, everything that I’ve wanted to do. Like, if I had a bucket list, what I would write on it.” Elizabeth explained.
“Oh… okay… what should we start with then?” Finn asked.
“How about… that super fancy restaurant on Corner Street?” Elizabeth smirked.
“Eliza… I don’t know if we can afford that…” Finn hesitated.
“Why not? In…” Elizabeth checked her watch. “23 hours and 34 minutes you’ll have one less mouth to feed.”
“Elizabeth! Don’t say stuff like that… I can’t take it.” Finn turned away from her, wiping his face.
“Listen, I’m sorry.” Elizabeth said. “I don’t mean to be insensitive, but we have to face the facts eventually.”
Finn sighed. “I guess. It’s just hard to know… to know… that…”
“That I’m going to die?” Elizabeth said, leaning back into her seat.
“Yeah.” Finn said, looking down.
Elizabeth looked down at her watch. “23 hours and 17 minutes. We’re wasting time. Let’s do something.”
“Fine.” Finn said, starting the car. “Let’s go.”
Countdown: 22 Hours, 54 Minutes, 28 Seconds
Finn pulled up next to their apartment building. “I’ll be right back, Eliza.”
“Alright.” She smiled.
He ran in and got the black little box. He opened it a little. The ring wasn’t much, and it wasn’t the biggest or the prettiest, but it was bought with his own money. Finn took a lot of overtime shifts and worked for hours on end to save up to buy a decent ring. Finn was planning on popping the question in two weeks or so, but it appeared that it wasn’t possible. Although Elizabeth might pass, he just wanted her to be his fiancé, because he loved her, and he just wanted to know if she would say yes.
Finn slipped the box into his pocket and jogged outside.
Elizabeth smiled at her boyfriend as he opened the door and got into the car. He turned the key and the engine roared. “Where to?” Finn asked.
Elizabeth thought for a minute. “How about… the beach? Just for like an hour or so.”
“Sounds good.” Finn said, smiling at Elizabeth.
“The beach is free. That’s good.” Finn thought. He hated himself for thinking about money at a time like this, but if Elizabeth ended up living past twenty-four hours, Finn was going to get Elizabeth that blood transfusion.
Countdown: 21 Hours, 59 Minutes, 54 Seconds
It had taken the pair an hour to drive- everything is an hour away in California… or at least that’s what it seemed like.
Elizabeth hopped out of the car and began running to their side of the beach.
Monterey Beach was a beach that Elizabeth and Finn always went to. They had found a small part of the beach that wasn’t very crowded, and that’s where they laid together now.
They laid on the sand, staring at the sky.
Elizabeth laughed. “Whenever we do this I feel like I’m in some romantic movie or novel.”
“Who says life can’t be that way?” Finn asked, looking at his girlfriend with a goofy smile on his face.
Elizabeth laughed, her laugh blending in with the sounds of the foamy waves crashing against the beach.
Countdown: 20 Hours, 17 Minutes, 43 Seconds
Finn drove the car along Highway 1.
Elizabeth laughed. “Where are you taking me?”
“Nowhere.” Finn said with a smirk, pulling over right before the bridge.
Elizabeth sighed in awe at the view.
Elizabeth remembered this spot. The spot where Finn had first asked her on a date. She remembered the sky that looked as if someone had taken red and orange paint and spread it across an expensive canvas, mixing the two paints together. She remembered looking at the sky and being interrupted by a nervous ‘Eliza…?’. Elizabeth remembered looking over at Finn, who had his hands in the pockets of his favorite blue jean jacket. He was blushing. It was cute. He said the words that she had been waiting so long to hear from out of his mouth. ‘Will you go on a date with me?’.
They stepped out of the car and walked to that spot. Their spot.
Elizabeth smiled to herself at the memory. “I’ve lead a good life.” She thought to herself. “Maybe I wasn’t the richest, the prettiest, or the smartest… but I had people who love me… have people that love me.”
Elizabeth had been waiting for other words to come out of Finn’s mouth for a long time… and she had even thought of saying them herself… but she refrained. She realized that they didn’t have the money, or time, or-
“Eliza?” Finn asked.
Elizabeth snapped out of her thought process. A million different things swirled throughout her head. She was nervous. Was he breaking up with her? She was happy. Was he finally-
Finn got down on one knee.
Elizabeth let out an audible gasp, stumbling backwards.
“W-Will you marry me, Elizabeth Aubrey Quivers?” Finn stuttered.
Elizabeth covered her mouth with her hands and cried tears of joy- just like in the movies. Then, just to make the scene even more cliche, Elizabeth cried out “Of course!” and hugged her new fiancee.
Countdown: 19 Hours, 17 Minutes, 28 Minutes
Elizabeth and Finn had just driven around, talking for some time, almost forgetting that Elizabeth was supposedly going to die in just over nineteen hours.
“I want to look at wedding dresses.” Elizabeth smiled at Finn.
Finn shook his head. “Don’t you think we should do something other than talk about our wedding? That’s what we have been talking about for almost an hour.”
Elizabeth grinned at Finn, but he kept his eyes on the road. “Please?” Elizabeth begged, holding out the “e” in the middle.
Finn groaned. “Fine.”
“Yay!” Elizabeth cheered, leaning back into the leather seats.
“What bridal shop?” Finn asked.
“Hmm.” Elizabeth thought for a moment. “Jefferey’s Blushing Brides.”
“Eliza.” Finn frowned.
“What? I promised him I’d buy my dress from his shop.” Elizabeth explained.
“It’s almost an hour away!” Finn exclaimed.
“Finn.” Elizabeth sighed. “Time doesn’t matter.”
Finn sighed, not wanting to accept Elizabeth’s answer. “Yes, it does.”
“Take me to Jefferey’s.” Elizabeth looked out the car window.
Finn looked at Elizabeth, and then started driving to the bridal shop.
Countdown: 18 Hours, 6 Minutes, 49 Seconds
“I want them all Jeffery!” Elizabeth exclaimed, breathless.
Finn groaned, not wanting anything to do with dress shopping.
“Well, you can’t have them all, darling, you have to pick one!” Jefferey laughed.
Countdown: 16 Hours, 34 Minutes, 11 Seconds
The red plastic spoon slid into Finn’s mouth, the sugary cold substance craving his sudden want for ice cream.
“I can’t believe we spent almost two hours, just looking at dresses.” Finn sighed.
“I know, wasn’t it great?” Elizabeth smiled, licking her own ice cream.
“Not exactly my idea of fun, but whatever you say, Eliza.” Finn laughed.
Countdown: 15 Hours, 38 Minutes, 58 Seconds
BEEP… BEEP… BEEP
Finn pulled his phone out of his pocket.
He and Elizabeth were wandering the aisles of a bookstore- one of Elizabeth’s favorite places to shop.
Text Message From: Doctor Hare ?
Finn and Elizabeth had once laughed at the fact that Finn had placed a small icon of an hourglass next to the doctor’s name, but now it seemed all too real for Finn to grasp.
Finn opened the message hesitantly, his hand shaking.
Hello Mr. Pendant. It’s Doctor Hare. I ask that Miss Elizabeth Quivers be brought to the facility in about 5-7 hours or so. When she passes, we would really like her to be in the hospital, just in case we notice anything that can be used for research. Thank you, see you then. - Doctor Hare
“So that’s what Elizabeth’s death is being seen as? A research project? Are you kidding me?” Finn thought to himself angrily.
“Finn! I found that book I was looking for! Remember? The one I’ve wanted for a while?” Elizabeth yelled at him.
Finn looked up, realizing how much he really loved Elizabeth. He couldn’t stand to see her sick… he couldn’t stand the fact she was dying… the fact that she won’t have time to read that book she’s been wanting.
They purchased the book. It made Finn sad knowing that she was never going to be able to read that book, but Elizabeth seemed happy, and that made him happier.
Countdown: 11 Hours, 10 Minutes, 14 Seconds
Elizabeth and Finn had just spent the last few hours they had alone together talking on a bench in the park. It was late at night and nobody was out.
Elizabeth’s legs drooped over the side of the wooden park bench while Finn’s feet drew circles in the dirt.
“I don’t want to die.” Elizabeth admitted.
“I don’t want you to die either, Eliza.” Finn said sadly.
“I thought I was okay with it… but I’m not. I can’t understand. Why me? Why did this have to happen to me?” Elizabeth sighed.
Tears began welling up in Finn’s eyes. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth.”
“About what?” Elizabeth asked, turning towards Finn.
“Everything. I can’t help but feel as if it’s my fault. Maybe I did something to trigger this illness or-” Finn began to panic.
“You didn’t. Do anything wrong, I mean. You did everything right. You were a great boyfriend, a great best friend, an overall amazing person, and I love you.” Elizabeth said, grabbing Finn’s hand.
“I love you too.”
Countdown: 10 Hours, 47 Minutes, 20 Seconds
Elizabeth was doing the most morbid thing she possibly could… trying to look good for her own death.
She did her hair, applied her nicest makeup, and put on her nicest clothes. She was ready.
But, just as she was about to leave for the hospital, she noticed. The ring.
It had been left on the bathroom sink counter.
She ran back and got it.
It was gorgeous. It fit perfectly. Everything about this day had just been… perfect.
Except, you know, the obvious.
But Elizabeth knew it was unavoidable. She knew that she had to accept it now or never, because it wasn’t going to stop.
Countdown: 1 Hour, 14 Minutes, 12 Seconds
Elizabeth laid under the hospital sheets, Finn at her side.
Time was running out. And she knew it.
She became nervous.
Was she ready?
Was she a good person throughout her life?
Was she going to be proud of the life she had lead?
“Finn.” Elizabeth sobbed.
She hadn’t realized she had been crying.
Tears slipped down his cheeks too, but he was silent.
“Miss Quivers, it’s all going to be alright.” Doctor Hare sighed.
“Please…” Finn mumbled. “We will splurge on the transfusion. Please.”
“It’s too late.” Doctor Hare said, writing something down. “It’s all too late.”
Countdown: 3 Minutes, 17 Seconds
Elizabeth and Finn just sat there, holding each other.
They were silent, but saying a million words to each other at the same time.
The panic was over, the hoping was over, and soon… it would all be over.
Countdown: 54 Seconds
Then… It was over. Elizabeth Aubrey Quivers died 54 seconds before her predicted time of death.
Finn was with her, and he didn’t cry, he didn’t react, he just… broke.
Elizabeth died happy. She died having lived a life she loved living.
Elizabeth Quivers and Finn Pendant would always love each other.
“And that’s who I was going to marry. Then… about four years later I met your mother. I didn’t want to fall in love. I was too afraid. Too scared that I would lose them too. I thought I couldn’t love anyone as much as I loved Elizabeth.”
“Then, what made you allow yourself to fall in love again?” The teenage boy asked.
“Well… I was cleaning out Elizabeth’s stuff from the apartment… I was too scared to before. I was cleaning it out when I found a letter. I still have it.” Finn got up from the cushiony chair he was sitting in and got the slightly worn paper.
If you are reading this, then that means I died. I just want you to know that… I love you, and I always will. You made me so, so, happy, and you deserve to be happy too. Find love again, I won’t hold you back anymore. Chase your dreams, have those kids you’ve always wanted. I know that we had a lot of good times together, and you are the light of my life, but once I die, if I was the light of yours, the light has died out. Find a new light. Find a new happiness, because I will always, always love you. I love you, Finn Pendant.
XOXO, Elizabeth “Eliza” Quivers”