I wanted to close my eyes and sleep through the pain I was left with after today, but I couldn't bring myself to sleep. I was too worried I would miss a phone call from her.
The apartment seemed empty now. We didn't live together but this was her place as much as it was mine. She has a spare toothbrush in the bathroom, a small array of clothes for any occasion and some take out in the fridge. Everywhere I looked I could see her, where she had been.
I dragged my feet into the shower, hoping to wash away some of the sorrow, even though I knew it was impossible. I had realized all I felt for her in a moment and I had it ripped away just a fast.
Maybe if I told her she was enough instead of rambling about all the ways we could have a family…
I thought of every scenario, hoping the outcome would be different. I could not go back and fix my foolish words or her stubborn manner. What was supposed to happen, happened. I pray that this is not the end for us. I know she needs to heal, and as much as I want to be the one to help her, I must accept she needs to find what she needs.
I bring my phone into the bathroom, setting it on the counter. Turning on the water, I let the steam engulf the space before entering. I let the water wash over me, taking none of my pain with it. Lathering the soap in a sponge, I close my eyes, embracing the fragrance.
"Stop!" Fiona yelps as I attempt to lather her with soap.
"Why, don't you want to be clean?" I tease, laughing as I kiss her wet hair.
She laughs as she squeals, again. Accepting defeat, she wraps her arms around my neck, closing her eyes as the water pours over her. I lean in to kiss her soft lips.
I feel her passion pour into me as she deepens the kiss. My hands travel down her curves and I grab her legs, encouraging her to wrap her legs around me. She moans during our kiss as she feels my excitement against her center. I push her against the wall, she aches her back against the cold tile. I feel her smile.
I break away from the kiss, looking her the eyes.
"I love you," I say, simple as fact.
"I love you," she returns, running her fingers through my hair.
"If you really love me though, you need to get a soap that doesn't smell like man," she gestures toward the bottle of axe.
"Okay, I'll get you something nice," I kiss her cheek.
"You can get something that smells nice for the both of us," she smiles, kissing my neck, causing me to moan.
I let the steam intensify the scent of the soap. Eucalyptus and spearmint: the soap we agreed on. It was her favorite scent. The soap was perfect to her and masculine enough for me to not raise suspicion with my coworkers.
My eyes began to well with tears, catching my throat, as the memories came flooding in. Fiona was in every part of my life, large and small. From what I envisioned for my future to the soap in my shower.
Before I could burrow myself too far down the rabbit hole, a ringing filled my bathroom. My eyes shot open as I quickly jumped from the shower, soaking the floor. My heart was lifted when I saw the picture on the caller ID.
I quickly answer before I miss the call, "Are you okay?"
Please, God, don't let this be a goodbye forever call. She has to be okay.
"I-I'm okay," she stammers, nervously.
"Good," I let out a sigh of relief.
There is a long pause before she speaks again, "I'm sorry," she begins to cry and my heart breaks to the sound.
"Hey, everything is okay. You have nothing to be sorry for," I hear her breath catch.
"I do. I was being selfish, I was frustrated with myself and I forced it on you."
I admit my heart is lifted by the prospect she could want me by her side again.
"I understand, I shouldn't have forced you to do anything," I try to ease her tears. It would be easier if I could go to her and sooth her.
"I shouldn't have made you leave," she sniffles.
I hope she isn't alone. No, Lena wouldn't have left her.
"You needed space. I could have said some things differently," I admit.
"You didn't say anything wrong," her voice breaks.
"Yes, I should have just told you that you are enough," there is a silence. "You are enough Fiona, I love you and you are all I need to be genuinely happy. I don't need anything else but you," I confess, it was now or never. There is nothing left to lose.
"I love you," she says softly, unsure if she is still allowed to tell me.
"I know," I smile, my heart beginning to repair itself. The memories of sorrow reverting into memories to cherish fondly.
"I know after what I did I don't have a right to ask you," she pauses as she stumbles over her words. Uncertain how to ask me something.
"Fiona," I interrupt her, "What do you need?"
Please need me.
"You," she says breathless.
"I will be there soon," I reply with conviction.
"Thank you," I can hear her smile as her voice becomes clear.
We hang on the line for a few minutes, not wanting to let go. I want to stay and hear her sweet voice, but I need to wash the soap off myself and head back to her.
"I will see you soon, Fi. Don't go anywhere, love,"
She lightly chuckles, "I'll be here, handsome."
As much as it pains me, I end the call. I look at my lock screen, a picture of Fiona sleeping on my shoulder, with hope.
I hope back into the shower, where the water turned cold, and hastily rinse the soap off my body. After, the shower I walk into the bedroom, leaving a trail of water behind me as I haphazardly dry off. I throw on some clothes and pack a gym bag with spare clothes in case I need to stay longer, this way I don't have to leave Fiona.
I head out the door about fifteen minutes after Fiona called. I take out my phone to let her know I am on my way.
I get into the car and drive back toward the hospital. The traffic was a little heavy as the afternoon was coming to an end. I was stopped at a light a few blocks from the hospital, I could see the parking lot in front of the cars stacked in front of me. I glanced to my left, a couple was enjoying an early dinner on the patio as the sun was beginning to set. The man took the woman's hand and looked at her deeply in the eyes. He looked nervous yet like he was about to go on some life-changing adventure. Without letting go of her hand, he stood form his chair to kneel in front of her.
I had gotten so distracted watching the proposal that I didn't notice the light turn green. I quickly focused my attention and continued my way.
I began to ponder. There was nothing stopping me from proposing to her. I loved her and knew I wanted a future with her. I know she loves me just as much. I never want to be without her and I never want her to be alone. My feelings go beyond her cancer, this disease just helped me see the one thing I was no willing to lose.
I turn, taking a small detour. Once I come to a stop I text Fiona and let her know I need to run a quick errand, but I shouldn't be longer than fifteen minutes.
Walking through the mahogany door, a bell rings behind me as I enter.
"How can I help you, sir?" a kind, elderly man welcomes.
"I need an engagement ring," I smile, adrenaline racing through me.
The man smiles, leading me to the section I need. I scan the cases, looking for a ring that speaks to me. I need something simple and elegant, nothing too flashy. Just before I think I need to postpone this errand to find another vender, I find the perfect ring.
I point to the ring; the elderly man confirms my choice by taking it out of the case so that I can inspect its details.
"I'll take it."