She managed to stay away from him for ten minutes. In those ten minutes, she’d found nothing. No Reapers that she could negotiate with or plants that could help Elon.
With each step, her heart felt heavier until she feared it would rip through her chest. She finally turned back and sprinted to Elon, branches and leaves whipping at her face.
Elon was where she’d left him, his eyes closed.
He blinked and glanced up at her.
She fell to her knees beside him. “Oh, lands. I thought you were—that you might’ve—” Grief unspooled within her, and she pressed her fist to her mouth to trap the sobs there.
Elon’s expression softened with compassion—compassion for her when he was dying. Though she’d loved him more than anyone, she couldn’t help thinking she hadn’t loved him as much as she should’ve. And now she was too late.
As her cries spiraled out of control, Elon murmured, “Lay beside me, Carissa. Let me hold you.”
With nothing else she could do for him, she did so. His arms held her close, though she felt him tense in pain when she came in contact with his chest.
She lifted her head, strands of hair plastered to her wet cheeks. “I’m sorry I can’t do more. I’m so sorry.”
Pain thinned his smile, but it was genuine nonetheless. “Don’t be. Right now, there’s nothing more I’d like to do than hold you.”