Disclaimer: The story told within is for entertainment purposes only. The characters from the series "Hart to Hart" belong solely to their original owners. They are used with respect and affection and no copyright infringement is intended.
Jonathan had been having trouble sleeping. Propped up against his pillows he was lost in thought. The lights were off so he wouldn't disturb his wife. Seemed he didn't need so much sleep these days and when he did fall asleep it wasn't for long. Just recently lying down made his chest feel tight and it was a little hard to breathe. He supposed he ought to talk to the doctor about it but doctors made him uncomfortable. Every time he went to see one they told him to stop doing something he loved. Getting old was hell. He thought sometimes now about what would happen when he died. Not about religion, he was secure in his beliefs there, but what would happen to Jennifer when he went. He hoped he went first anyway. He didn't think he would survive losing her. Still, at 100, he wasn't doing all that bad. Sure, he had a little trouble getting around and yes, he did need those reading glasses. If he forgot them Jennifer had to hold the paper across the table for him to be able to read it. He laughed to himself. She so loved teasing him about that.
They'd had a lot to laugh about over the years. Theirs was as about a perfect marriage as was possible, even still. They fit together as if they had been made for each other. She was his greatest treasure and he loved her with all his heart and soul and being. She was what kept him going. He suspected that taking care of him kept her going too. She was even more beautiful now than she had been 65 years ago. Age complimented her. Their wild life full of adventures had calmed as they grew older. They still traveled and tried to live life to the fullest but time was taking a toll on them. Now they took cruises instead of climbing mountains and they didn't ride out to the Rim Rock quite so often. They still loved to dance but now it was the slow songs that had them out on the floor instead of the Jitterbug. Oh well, he'd rather hold her in his arms anyway. At least none of those impertinent doctors had dared to suggest limiting that sort of activity. "Young upstarts anyway," he snorted quietly.
"Jonathan? What's up?"
"Damn! I'm sorry darling. I didn't want to wake you. Guess I forgot that you don't sleep so soundly these days either."
"Are you OK?"
"Yeah, I was just thinking. Remembering some great times we've had. I wasn't sleepy anymore but I wanted to stay here next to you. It's my favorite place to be. I love you, you know."
"Yes, I do know. I hope you know how much I love you back, Mr. Hart." Jennifer reached up and pulled him to her lips. She cuddled up next to him and luxuriated in safety of his arms, still strong and comforting after all these years, listening to the beat of his heart and the sound of his breathing as he nuzzled her neck and shoulders. All these years. Lord, had they really been married for 65 years? When she was young she'd often wondered how people managed to stay married for as long as twenty years! Why, that was longer than she had been alive! Then came that fateful night in London when she first laid eyes on Jonathan Hart. From that moment on twenty years had seemed like barely enough time to get to know him. Now, three times that many years later, she still regard each day with him as a gift, a precious gem stolen from fate to be savored and appreciated at length.
His attentions were beginning to distract her solemn thoughts and she turned to return the favor and steal a few more gems from fate. He could still make her tremble with a look and a touch and what he was doing right now was more than simple touching. She laughed in delight as his teasing fingers found one of her most sensitive places. Breaking stereotypes was such fun. They may be "little old people" these days but they sure weren't ready for any rocking chairs! Unless, of course, they were in an adventurous mood
Later, the sun came up while they both slept. When she finally awoke Jennifer found herself still lovingly wrapped him Jonathan's arms.
"Sweetheart? Jonathan love, its well past time for us to be up and annoying Mrs. Fields." Mrs. Fields was their current skilled nursing assistant. The doctor insisted they have help and as independent minded as they were it was sometimes hard to find a good match to spend so much time with them. This one was just a bit too authoritarian and condescending for both the Harts and Kathleen, their housekeeper. They hadn't officially decided what to do about Mrs. Fields but Jonathan had already started playing practical jokes on her in hopes she would go away on her own. They would have to let her go soon anyway. Neither of them had gotten to this point in their lives by putting up with mistreatment and neither was helpless enough to allow it to happen now. Meanwhile Jonathan was having a great time. "Do you think she's recovered yet from what you did yesterday?"
Yesterday had been a hot day in LA. Jonathan had made "ice tea" for the two of them and had offered Mrs Fields some as well, all innocent with boyish charm as he fed her a story about "strictly secret family recipes" when she commented on the strength of the concoction, all the while keeping her tall glass well filled. What the poor woman didn't realize was that the "tea" was of the infamous Long Island variety. She had snored on the couch all afternoon and well into the evening. Normally Jonathan wouldn't have been so mean to a woman but she had been especially vicious to Jennifer that morning and Jonathan was offended.
Jennifer smiled and said, "Hey, Sir Jonathan! Aren't you going to get up and protect me from the fire breathing dragon today?" She turned in the embrace of his arms and looked at him. She knew almost at once that fate had at last defeated her, gathered all the precious gems and gone home, leaving her alone. All the signs were there but her mind wasn't accepting them. His eyes were closed and if he hadn't been so still he could have been asleep but there was no movement in his chest. There was no warmth there or in the beloved arms that held her close. There was no soft whispery sound. The sound of his breathing that had been the background music of her nights for more than half a century was gone. That was the first bit of the horrible litany to really penetrate through the fog that had taken over her brain. Jonathan was gone. The other half of her soul and the anchor of her life was gone. "Oh Jonathan," she whispered, "you were supposed to wait for me." They had known that it was more than likely that she would outlive him but he had always promised not to leave her.
They had long ago laughingly decided that the only possible way for their marriage to end was for them to die together, preferably in bed and at climax. Tears of unbearable pain began to fall and wet his chest as she clung to him like a lifeline and her mind confronted the reality of this separation. Never again. "Oh God!" Never again to see that smile or the sparkle in his blue eyes. Never again to tease him about his bad Cary Grant impression. Never again to wake up beside him in the warmth of his love or to hear the slightly off key crooning coming out of his morning shower. No more soft kisses and gentle caresses. No more "ice tea" and sly grins. "No more JONATHAN," her mind screamed. How was she going to survive without him? She could not bear to even think about that. She stretched up to kiss his lips one last time and hugged his body close to her. Her heartbroken sobs wracked her thin, fragile body as the magnitude of her loss overtook her and the shock of it possessed her.
Kathleen had grown concerned when the Harts hadn't come downstairs by late morning, or at least called down for something to eat. That Mrs. Fields was sulking in the living room and had dismissed her concern, muttering something about whatever the problem it only served them right. Kathleen sniffed about that and took herself upstairs to check on her folks. She hesitated when she didn't get an answer to her knock but decided that this was important enough to risk embarrassing all of them. Even at their age she had learned quickly to respect their privacy. It was either that or to learn not to blush. When she opened the door she saw them cuddled on the bed and was about to back out when something stopped her. A feeling of unease in the room made her call "Mrs. Hart? Mr. Hart? Excuse me, Mr. H, but are you going to be wanting breakfast? Mr. H? Mrs. H? Hello?" She had been moving closer to the bed as she called to them and then she realized what she was seeing. "Oh no!" She ran to the door and called down to Mrs. Fields, all anger temporarily forgotten. "Mrs. Fields! Come quick! It's the Harts. There's something terribly wrong! Help!"
That call to action had removed all the resentment Mrs. Fields was feeling towards her patients and she came running up the stairs. Kathleen had already called 911 but it was pretty obvious that her beloved Harts were gone. Once the paramedics arrived it became official. Mrs. Fields muttered, "They shouldn't have been trying "that sort of thing" at their age anyway." Both Kathleen and the police and ambulance people let her know that she had crossed the line of good taste and she left the room.
One of the policemen quietly commented, "That may well be but I can certainly think of worse ways to go, at any age."
Kathleen smiled through her tears. "That's the Harts for you, together to the end. You'll notice, they're both still smiling."
The Harts of Bel Air. They had long been famous for their eternal romance and unlikely adventures. Their magical marriage was mentioned with awe, admiration and sometimes disbelief and envy in the wild and free world of Hollywood mix and match marriages. Now it became the stuff of legend. They had gone out they way they had lived, together and in love.
Jennifer found herself surrounded by fog and light. She followed the light and found herself on a road in what looked like a forest. Up ahead she could see a familiar tall figure striding away from her. She tried to call out but could not so she ran, faster than she had been able to for some time. As she got nearer the figure turned and with a start ran back toward her. Jonathan and Jennifer embraced once more, this time positive that it wouldn't end. Eventually they continued the walk down the road. As they turned the corner they recognized their place, the home on Willow Pond. Looking at each other in confusion, for this was not what they had expected the afterlife to be like, they went up to the door. As they approached, the heavy front door opened to reveal Max smiling his biggest smile, wearing a silly apron and holding a tray of brandies. Behind him they could see Stephen and Suzanne and many other dear friends they had lost over the years. There was also another couple that they didn't know but by looking at them they could be no other than Jonathan's parents.
"Welcome Home Mr. and Mrs. H! We've been waiting for ya!"
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