|The candle light flickered in her dark eyes. Her pale skin took on an almost orange tone. The skin of her face was smooth and soft. There was no outward sign of the torment she faced in her mind on a daily basis. She had become a master of hiding her feelings from everyone.
Everyone but him. He could read her very soul by just looking at her serene face. He knew what she was feeling, even when he wasn't nearby. Knowing how much he knew made her nervous. She knew she could trust him, but somewhere deep inside was a tiny warning. Don't.
She knew why she heard the inner voice. It was as soft as a whisper, yet it seemed to fill her entire soul with dread. She had offered her heart and trust to people before and been burned badly. Jade was a fitting name for her.
"I asked you a question." he said quietly, leaning forward and resting his elbows on the table. "What's wrong?" His voice soft and concerned, but edged with irritation at her evasivness.
"I already told you. Don't worry about it. I can deal." Jade whispered, crossing her legs and lighting her cigarette off of the nearest candle flame. The only betrayal of this calm exterior she showed was the slight quiver of her lip and the tears that threatened to overflow.
"Jay..Don't lie to me." his voice full of compassion that threatened to shatter her composure and hit her very soul. He reached across the table and held out his hand for her to take. "I'm right here. You know I'll always be here. Talk to me. There's nothing you can say that will make me not love you."
She recoiled from his hand and stared at him, not sure what to do. She knew if she touched him that her armor would break and she'd become a puddle of tears and female weakness which she despised. She caught her breath as she realised what he'd just said.
"What did you say?" she muttered. "You love me?" disbelief in her voice and sarcasm edging her words.
"Is that so hard for you to believe?" he asked, pulling his offered hand back. She could see that her nastyness had wounded him deeply.
"I'm sorry." she whispered. The very act of speaking those two simple words were her downfall. Tears began to flow unchecked as she stared at the hot stone of her cigarette. They sat in silence for what seemed an eternity.
She crushed out her cigarette and squeezed her eyes shut tight, trying to stop the unending flow of visable sorrow. He sat in awkward silence, feeling as though he'd caused the practically palpable sorrow she was feeling. She met his eyes and saw sincerity there that frightened her.
"Why?" she asked simply. "Why now?"
"I'm not following." he replied, confusion creasing his delicate features.
"Why did you wait until now of all times to tell me that?" she demanded. Her hands grew cold and shaky as he stared at her, not sure what to say in answer.
"I..I'm not sure." he stammered, searching her blank eyes with questioning ones of his own. "I guess I wasn't sure you'd want to hear it."
"It's all I ever wanted to hear you say. Ever. Too bad you're too late." she snapped, standing up to leave. He caught her arm and gazed up at her.
"What are you talking about?" he asked, the irritation coming back to his voice. "better late then never right? It's never too late until you're dead Jay."
An ironic grin came to her lips as she said simply, "I'm dying."
"What?!" he snapped, all color draining from his face. "What do you mean dying? This isn't one of those 'we're all dying from the moment we're born' things is it? Is this some sick joke? Jay, are you trying to make me feel guilty for waiting so long to tell you?" His eyes wide with terror. "If it is, I'm sorry. This isn't funny Jay."
"I wish it was a joke." she growled, "I saw the doctor today. I have a brain tumor. In-operable. Six months left, and you wait until now to tell me what I always wanted to hear you say. I'm sorry, but it's too late." She pulled free of his grip and headed for the door, leaving him sitting in stunned silence.
As she opened the door to walk out of his life for the last time, she turned. "For what it's worth, I do love you too. More then life. That's why I have to say goodbye."
She stepped out into the cold rain and started walking, not sure where she was going, but just walking. She felt a deep sense of sorrow, but also liberation. She had finally stood her ground and told him how she felt. She was elated yet shattered to know he felt the same way. Especially at this time in her life. Why couldn't things have been different?
He called to her from the house. She could here his tear strained voice echoing through the foggy drizzle. Her heart wanted her to turn around and run back to him. To hold him and cry with him and tell him it would be ok. She hesitated for a moment, but she never stopped walking.
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