"Vanessa!" said Sam, in that way that only Sam could say it - that is, from Sam to Vanessa. "Vanessa!"
"Yes, dear?" The tears welled up in her eyes. Her eyes felt like gigantic wells, wells from which Sam had freed the trapped child of her childhood. "Yes?"
"Vanessa," Sam said again, though not as loudly, since he already had her attention. "Vanessa." Vanessa couldn't help but laugh at how Sam was prone to repeating things. Even at times like these, he had those little idiosyncracies. The kind of idiosyncracies that just made you react in some manner. "Vanessa." He did it again.
"Oh, Sam," said Vanessa, "You didn't have to say it. I'm the one that's Vanessa."
Sam curled the right side of his mouth up in a vain attempt to smile. Vanessa smiled along with him. Perhaps the stroke wasn't as bad as the doctor had said it was. Perhaps they had a fighting chance.