Josh raced into the building. A teacher yelled at him down the hallway, telling him to slow down, but he didn't. He took a set of stairs two at a time and bolted through a set of swinging doors. As he reached the familiar boy's bathroom that he had spent so much time in over the last weeks just checking if she were there, he stopped. What if she really were there this time? What if she weren't?
He took a deep breath in and put his hand on the knob.
Melissa could have been talking about anyone, he tried to tell himself. After all, Andy wasn't the only girl in school who wore skirts and T-shirts.
He turned the knob and opened the door slowly. He took a few hesitant steps and stared at the only stall where the door was closed. His heart ached as he thought about her being behind the door. He pushed it open with his fingertips.
There she was, sitting on the toilet as if nothing had happened. She looked exactly the same as she always had in her long, tan skirt and T-Shirt with a knit cap covering her thinning hair. Her bracelets jangled against each other as she skillfully maneuvered the mouse on her laptop.
"Andy," he whispered.
Startled, she looked up at him. She could see that his skin was pale and his eyes were watering.
"Goodness, Josh, you look like you've seen a ghost," she commented, looking back down at her game.
He was speechless. He had just started getting used to the fact that she was gone and there was nothing he could do about it and there she was, sitting in the boy's bathroom as if nothing had happened. He wanted to reach out and touch her just to prove to himself that she was real, but he didn't move. He was frozen, his feet plastered to the floor.
"Andy…you…you were gone."
She continued to play her game.
"And now I'm back."
He slammed the laptop screen down.
"Hey!" She yelled. "I was just about to beat…"
"Don't you get it?!" He yelled. She wouldn't meet his eyes. "One minute you were there and the next minute you were gone! I thought you were dead!"
"I told you…" she began, trying to keep the tears from welling in her eyes. She told herself that she wouldn't cry when she saw him. She told herself that she could let go and that she would be okay as long as he was happy, but she wasn't okay.
"Told me what?"
He could feel the anger bubbling inside of him and yet, he just wanted to forget the whole thing ever happened. He just wanted to be thankful that she was alive and he wanted to tell her everything he felt in his heart.
"I told you that I was going to Boston to see a specialist."
"What? You never told me that!"
"I…I left you a note. I gave it to my mom and…"
She gasped and stood up. She brushed past him and walked over to the sinks.
"My mom," she replied, with her back towards him. She began to bite her fingernails. Suddenly, everything was making sense.
"What about her?"
"She isn't…she isn't exactly your biggest fan."
"Andy, you're not making any sense."
She sighed and turned back to face him.
"When I told you that I had to go for more X-Rays because they thought the cancer had spread…I was wrong. They were taking X-Rays because the cancer was…going away."
"They were afraid to tell me because they didn't want to get my hopes up, but the doctor started to notice that the cancer was disappearing. But it was disappearing so fast that he wanted me to see a specialist to make sure that they weren't missing something. So I had to go to Boston."
"You went all the way to Boston?"
"I wanted to tell you, but it all happened so fast and you were in school and I…I left you a note, but I gave it to my mother. I told her to make sure she gave it to you, but she…she doesn't really like you."
"Your mother doesn't even know me."
"I know, but she didn't exactly like the fact that we were spending so much time together. She wanted me to focus on getting better."
"I thought I was helping you get better!"
"I know, but my mom didn't exactly see it the same way."
He sighed, trying to gather his thoughts.
"Okay, so your mother didn't give me the note, but you could have called! You were gone for days! You didn't even think to pick up the phone?"
She turned back around so she couldn't see him. She couldn't stand the thought of looking into his eyes.
"I thought you didn't want to be with me," she said meekly.
"What?" He tried to get in front of her so that he could really look at her, but she moved away from him.
The bell rang loudly, but neither of the moved.
"I thought that it was too much for you. That because the cancer was spreading, it was too hard for you and…I thought you wanted out. I thought you didn't want to be with me anymore."
"And I wasn't going to hold it against you. If it had spread, it would have been unfair for me to expect you to stay with me and I understood that and…"
He reached for her arm. As his fingers made contact with his skin, he could feel his heart lurch. He knew at that moment that he never wanted to let her go again.
She turned around slowly to face him, tears staining her cheeks. He wiped her tears away with his thumb and tipped her chin so that she was looking at him.
"I would never leave you," he said, staring directly into her eyes. "I don't care what happens. I don't care how hard it gets…I will always be there for you."
Her lip quivered as more tears began to spill. She wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly. She let herself cry against him as she had done when she was sick, but this time, she was crying from relief and happiness.
"So, what happened with the specialist from Boston?" He asked.
"They did all these tests and…they confirmed what my doctor said. The chemo therapy I had worked better than they could have even hoped. The cancer's almost gone."
"I mean, there are still some traces left and I still have to undergo some more treatment, but they think they can get it all. I'll have to constantly go back for tests to make sure, but they think I'm going to be fine."
"Fine as in cancer free?"
With their arms still wrapped around each other, she looked up at him and smiled.
Without hesitating, he put his hand to the back of her head and kissed her, not just a light kiss that they had grown accustomed to, but a long, hungry kiss that left them both wanting more.
"Wow," she said when their lips parted. "I should be dead more often." He glared at her. "Just kidding." She kissed him on the nose. "Besides, you can't get rid of me that easy. You're going to be dealing with me for a long time, Mr. Tregar."
"Good," he replied, kissing her again.
"We're both late for class, you know," she stated.
"If there was ever a time that warranted skipping class, this would be it."
She nuzzled her face against his neck and simply held on to him.
"Hey Josh?" She asked after a few moments of silence.
"Who's that girl who sits behind you in math?"
"The girl who sits behind you in math class. Who is she?"
"Oh…Melissa. She just moved here."
"She kept staring at me all period and every once in a while she'd stare at your empty seat." He chuckled and she raised an eyebrow. "Should I be worried about her?"
"You mean you're not having a secret affair with her on the side?" She asked flirtatiously, pulling at his shirt collar.
"Believe me, no one could come between us," he said.
She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him deeply.
"Come on," she said, "let's get out of here."
She let go of him and went to gather her things.
"Yeah?" She said as she slid her laptop into its case.
"I…I have to say something."
She slung the case over her shoulder and turned to face him.
He took a deep breath. "I've been thinking about this a lot lately and when I thought you were gone…I…I hated myself for not telling you. And I promised myself that if I ever did see you again, I wouldn't hesitate to tell you…" he rambled.
"No, let me say this. I didn't know it then…I mean, it took me a long time to figure it out and…"
"Josh, you're not making any sense."
"When my dad met my mom, his foot tapped. And that first night…the night you came on my first date with me…"
She put her finger to his lips.
"Josh, I'm in love with you," she said.
He stared at her in awe.
"You just had to say it first, didn't you?"
"Well, that's sort of our thing, right?" She asked flirtatiously. "I have to have the last word."
"Oh no. This time, you're not getting the last word," he said, "because I love you."
She crushed her mouth against his, letting herself melt into him. She had never before been kissed like that and she knew she never would be again.
As she felt his hands grazing her cheek, she began to laugh.
"What could possibly be so funny?" He asked, pressing his forehead against hers.
"We just admitted we loved each other in the boy's bathroom," she stated, laughing.
He looked around and shrugged.
"It's just our thing."
He pulled her close to him and kissed her passionately.
Phew…it's finally finished! I loved writing this fic so much because it was the first story I've written in a long time where it made me really love writing again. This story made me want to sit and write until it was finished. Unfortunately, real life got in the way, but I did complete it and I'm quite proud of it! Thanks to all who read and reviewed! And I'm already planning my next Jandy story so stay tuned!