Golden Box Book Publishing GBBPub February Magazine - Page 7

“I’m okay.” She smiled at him with dry, cracked lips, but it was impossible for her to hide how sick she was. “You shouldn’t spend so much of your time here.” “Of course, I should.” He smiled back, hoping she didn’t see how much he was hurting, and yet he knew she could tell. The way her smile faded was a telltale sign. “Spending as much time as I can with you is the most important thing.” He ran his tongue over his own dry lips. “I know what the prognosis is. I was there when you were told, and your parents understand me wanting to be here.” “Don’t put your life on hold for me, Cal.” She reached out to take his hand. “You’re the one who’ll have to keep going when I’m gone.” He swallowed, feeling the knot of emotion in his throat, and he squeezed her hand. “I hate the thought of you not being here, but I hate this more. I hate you being stuck in this hospital, fighting a battle we both know you aren’t going to win, and I… I don’t even know if I should be saying this, but I don’t want you to be fighting for me. If you’re too tired…” One of the tears he’d been trying desperately to hold back trickled down his cheek. “I love you, no matter what. Nothing’s going to change that.” “Nothing’s going to change how I feel about you either. I love you, more than I can put into words, and I’m so sorry.” *** Caleb opened his eyes, thinking about how quickly her death had come. It was as though him telling her she didn’t need to fight for him had been what she needed. “Val,” he spoke to the cold headstone. “I know what you’d want, and I’m trying. I’m trying harder than I think I’ve ever tried before, but I don’t know how I’m supposed to do this without you. I still love you, and that just makes this all that much harder.”