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Arranging for a New Leaf

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She sat up in a panic, almost flying out of her bed. “What is it? Is it Bonnie? Is she—?”

“No,” Rhett said, trying to ease her back down into the bed. Last thing she needed was to put her own recovery at risk again. He wouldn't have that. He'd almost lost her, he'd almost lost Bonnie, and he was not letting anything happen to either of them again.

She laid back on the pillows, letting out a breath and closing her eyes. “I keep seeing it, Rhett. I can't stop seeing that moment where she falls, but when I see it, she's dead. Every time. My baby girl is dead.”

“She's not dead,” Rhett insisted, taking her hand and squeezing it. “Our little girl is still alive, and we are going to keep her that way.”

Scarlett kept her eyes closed. “We can? Don't you mean that as soon as you get well you're going to take her away from here, away from me? That's the way you want to keep her safe, isn't it?”

“No, not this time,” he disagreed. He wrapped his other hand around hers. “Listen to me, Scarlett. I believe we've suffered enough already. All of our stubbornness, our fights, that has never helped our little girl, and we need to do right by her. It's my hope that by doing right by her we can finally do right by ourselves.”

“Oh? And how exactly is that gonna happen?”

“I think we should turn over a new leaf,” Rhett said. “When Bonnie is better, we'll go away from here, from all of this. We'll take a trip around the world. I told you I thought it was the mill that was taking you away from me and from Bonnie. I won't ask you to sell it this time or to give it away, but I will ask you to let your business partner run it for a while. I remember how our trip to New Orleans was, how good that time was, and I remember taking you to Tara. You liked traveling. So did I. We were closer then, and I want us to have that again. I want Bonnie to have that.”

“You know you'll have to ask Mammy. She won't stand for us leaving her behind again.”

“Is that a yes, Scarlett?”

“Lord, you're conceited. Listen to your voice now. You sound so smug. Like some cat that got a damned canary. I haven't said any such thing,” she said, and Rhett grinned despite her words. He knew that tone of hers just as well as she knew his.

“To our life together,” he told her, leaning forward to kiss her forehead. “I'll speak to Mammy and make the arrangements.”