He pulls out slowly before gliding into me again. A marriage of emotions rips through my body as we move together. I feel like Asher is burning a never-ending scar inside of me, and my heart is spiraling into a deep, dark abyss. This is the single most beautiful, painful experience I’ve ever had.
Our bodies connect while he kisses along my jawline and runs his hands along the back of my thighs. He’s the only lover I’ve ever had and each one after will only be compared to him.
My fingers touch every part of him that can be reached. I memorize all of the ridges of his spine, the muscle definition in his arms, the stubble along his jaw, but they always end up tangled in his hair.
Whenever you lose someone you love, you have those lingering regrets. You wish you could hug them or kiss them or talk to them . . . I don’t want those regrets. I want to do everything with him tonight, no matter how much it hurts me inside because this may be my last chance.
The idea of no tomorrow only makes me grip his hair tighter, never wanting to let go.
“I love it when you do that.” His voice shakes, giving me a small window into what he’s feeling. He rests his hands along the top of my head and grazes my lips with his before raining kisses along my cheeks and nose. He doesn’t say much about what he’s going through, but it’s got to be tearing him into pieces. How could it not?
His motions slow as his forehead rests on mine. When his chest suddenly vibrates against my chest, and his warm tears fall on my face, it literally hurts to breathe. Maybe this is too much.
“Please don’t cry,” I beg, cradling his head in my hands. I feel like such a hypocrite because my own tears are now mixing with his.
“This just feels like goodbye, and I’m not ready. I’m not f**king ready,” he says, pinching his eyes closed. He’s still buried deep inside of me, but our bodies remain still.
I want to help him but I don’t know how.
I want to take his pain away, but I can’t.
“It’s not goodbye. This is what matters. Right here. Right now,” I reply, brushing my thumbs across the tears.
“I love you . . . I’m not ready . . . I’m not ready to be without you.”
His words are choking me so tight that it’s impossible to get oxygen into my lungs. Cancer is holding us both hostages.
“You’ll never be without me because you’ll always be right here,” I say, clutching my chest. “Always,” I say softly, pressing against his chest to roll him onto his back. I straddle his hips, slowly taking all of him inside me again.
“You’re here with me. Always. Whenever I close my eyes, all I see is you,” I whisper, pressing a light kiss to his eyelids.
“When my heart beats, it’s beating because of you. Even if you’re not touching me, I’ll feel you,” I cry, trailing kisses across his chest.
“But right now, we’re both here, in this bed,” I whisper. We’re touching, breathing and feeling. I want to stay here, in this moment, and pretend that nothing else matters because right now, when I feel him inside of me, nothing else does.
He nods, eyeing me carefully as I lift myself up slowly then slide back down, not taking a single second of this experience for granted. I repeat the motion several times as his hands circle my breasts. My eyes stare into his blues, neither of us blinking as the pressure builds in my core, lighting a smoldering fire inside of me.
I leave everything else behind, and focus solely on the life that’s in front of me. From the soft expression on his face, and the affectionate feel of his fingers along my stomach and thighs, I know he’s doing the same.
When my body reaches its peak right as Asher’s does, and it’s like I’m floating on the highest cloud. Nothing can reach me . . . nothing can reach us. But then the full impact of this moment hits me, my warm tears now dampening his chest.
“I’m so sorry.” He sits up, wrapping his arms around my waist.
“For letting you fall in love with me when I knew this would happen,” he mumbles, kissing the spot between my breasts.
I use my hands to pull his face up to mine. “I’ll never regret you.”
He kisses me gently, softly, sweetly . . . whispering my name over and over.
“You’re everything to me,” he whispers against my lips.
I wrap my arms around his neck, holding him like I’ll never have to let him go.
WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL and college, I thought I had all the time in the world. I didn’t care too much about what I did or who it would affect. I was being reckless until one bad decision changed everything.
After Megan died, I tried to move on, but I always felt like what happened to her was somehow my fault. And when the doctor announced that I had cancer, I tuned out everything he said after that. I was in shock.
Then it hit me.
Maybe I deserved this.
This was my punishment for not being there when my friend needed me. I’m the reason she’s not here anymore. And I had accepted that until I fell hard for Kate. I questioned myself every single time I walked into that diner, but something was pulling me toward her and I couldn’t fight it.
Now as I lie here holding her in my arms, I’m glad she’s with me, but pissed off she’s going to have to spend any part of her life without me . . . and soon. This isn’t going to be fair to her, but cancer is the one thing in my life I have no f**king control over.
“Are you awake?” Kate asks, resting her chin on my chest.
I run my hand up her back until I feel her soft hair between my fingers. “I’ve been up for a while. I was just about to take my meds.”
“Are you feeling okay? Do you need me to call the doctor?” she asks, shooting up to a sitting position.
“I’m okay,” I lie, carefully moving to sit up next to her.
“Are you sure? Do you want some water or anything?”
I nuzzle my nose against her cheek, moving down to kiss the delicate spot below her ear. “No, just stay here with me,” I whisper against her neck.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she says, leaning into me so that her hair falls against my shoulder. Continuing to kiss down her neck, I breathe in the sweet smell of her skin. I’d give anything to remember that smell . . . I never realized how much there is to love about a person until I met Kate.
I slowly brush the hair away from her shoulder to give myself access to her collarbone and shower her soft skin with more affection. The first time I saw her, I was drawn to the unique color of her hair and the way it contrasted with her eyes. Then after staring into those gorgeous emerald green eyes, I realized that there was something different about this girl. I had to know her, whether I was here for two more weeks or two years . . . somehow I knew it would be worth it.
I lightly run my tongue along the center of her neck, stopping to kiss her chin and each corner of her lips. “I love you,” I whisper, finally capturing her lips.
A sharp pain suddenly rips through my body, causing me to lean forward and bury my head between my knees.
“Asher! Are you okay? Should I call someone?” Kate asks in a panic, putting her hand on my shoulder.
I shake my head, trying my best to speak through the overwhelmingly excruciating pain. “Just water . . . and a pain pill.”
“I’ll be right back,” she says, hurrying out of the room. The time I have left shouldn’t have to be overshadowed with all of this misery. I should be able to sit in bed with my girl and do the things that normal couples do.
But I can’t.
Cancer is a motherfucking bitch . . . and there’s no cure for the kind that’s growing inside me every day.
Why has my life finally become so perfect when all I have left is a date with my maker? Kate will be the last person I’ll ever kiss. She’ll be the last woman I’ll ever make love to . . . the only woman I’ll make love to. She gives me purpose in a world that I didn’t think had one for me. She gives me the chance at a life I never thought I would have, even if it has to end way before it should.
“Here you go,” she says softly as she enters the room again.
“Thanks.” I take two pills from her hands and pop them in my mouth. I follow it with a few sips of water and lay my head back on the pillow.
“Better?” she asks, lying beside me.
“It will be,” I reply honestly, splaying my hand on her stomach.
Sometimes my body hurts so bad that I just want to get all of this over with, but then I take one look into Kate’s eyes and I regain my will to live. I’d give anything to have forever with her.
Her forever . . . not mine.
“Do you need me to get you anything else?” she asks, placing her hesitant hand on my chest.
“I’m okay; let’s just stay right where we are.” Lying here with her feels good. Besides, I don’t have the energy to do anything else.
Last night I wanted to make love to her. It’s hard to look at her every day and feel this connection but not be as close to her as I can be. I’ve had sex with lots of girls, but she’s different. She’s the one.
Today, I’m paying for it. I knew I didn’t have the physical or emotional strength to be with her last night, but I did it anyway. She’s my addiction. I can’t give her up.
“Do you want me to put a movie in?”
“Let’s stay like this a little while longer,” I whisper.
“Okay, let’s talk then. Who was your first girlfriend?” she asks, moving her head closer to mine.
I laugh just thinking about it. “Her name was Lana Richards. I was fourteen, and she was fifteen.”
“How long did it last?”
“Maybe two weeks.” I smile, thinking about the day she threw her French fries at my head in the cafeteria.
“It must’ve been pretty serious,” Kate laughs, tracing small circles on my bare chest.
“All the names she called me that day were definitely serious. What about you? Who was your first boyfriend?”