I started to play with my fingers, picking at the skin around my fingernails. Who knew this was going to be so hard?
I glanced over at him, my eyes focusing on his lips. As I watched his tongue dart between his lips, moistening them, I didn't want to talk anymore. I wanted him to kiss me until neither of us could breathe. I looked up into his eyes, noticing that he was staring back at me.
"Stop," I said, looking away from him.
"Stop what?" He asked.
"Stop...staring at me."
"I can't help it," he said, smirking, his hand snaking around my waist. "You're impossible not to stare at." He slid me closer to him until there was no space between us.
"I'm serious, Josh." His nose began to nuzzle my neck. "If you don't stop…"
"If I don't stop…what?"
I sighed, out of ecstasy or frustration, I wasn't sure. It took all of my effort not to give in to him.
"Josh…" I said in barely a whisper. He was seducing me and he was succeeding.
"That has got to be the sexiest sound I have ever heard," he said, looking at me like I had just told him I was from outer space.
"What was?" I asked, confused.
"You, whispering my name." As he bent his head to kiss me, I hopped off the hood of the car and walked over to the edge of the overhang.
"Something wrong?" He asked, gathering his legs up to his chest.
I could feel tears welling in my eyes. Why was I crying now? Now when I had the perfect guy sitting on the hood of a car waiting for me to come back and kiss him silly? Why was I crying now? Because there were still so many things that were unresolved. Because I knew how he felt about me and I still couldn't come out and say how I felt. Because he didn't know that I knew how he felt about me. The reasons kept floating around in my head.
"Andy?" I heard him slide off the hood and walk over to me. I wiped my eyes with my hands. "You okay?" I didn't answer. I didn't want him to know that I was crying. How could I explain that, on the happiest day of my life, I was shedding tears? "Is it your head? Do you want me to take you home?" I could feel the urgency in his voice. He was worried about me.
I turned to face him.
"I'm fine," I assured him. "But I have to tell you something."
I could see the confusion in his eyes. "Okay," he said.
"I heard you," I confessed.
"Heard me? Heard me what?"
"I heard you in the woods when you were talking to Lori."
He shook his head like he couldn't understand what I was saying.
"After we…fought, I came back looking for you and I saw you sitting in the park. I should have…talked to you right then and there, but I hid. And then Lori came and I just…"
I looked into his eyes, but couldn't read him. Was he hurt? Was he angry? Did he still love me?
"Josh…I'm sorry. I was just so confused about everything. About the stupid car and the stupid fundraiser that I kept telling myself I didn't want to go to even though I really did. About my cancer and how unfair it is. About how I felt about you and how you felt about me."
"Are you still confused?"
He reached for my hand and brought it to his lips, kissing it lightly.
"No," I whispered. "I'm not confused anymore."
He put his hands on my waist.
"Tell me what you want."
"You. I want you. Josh, I lov…"
His lips were on mine before I could finish my sentence. I made a mental note to teach him that it was impolite to cut someone off when they were speaking, but as his hands circled around my back, the thought disappeared.
"You're not mad?" I asked when we parted, our foreheads leaning against each other.
"Well, next time I would appreciate you telling me that you're listening to me pouring my heart out to my sister, but no, I'm not mad. Nothing matters except that we're finally together."
"Took us long enough, didn't it?"
He laughed. "Yeah, it did."
He kissed me again, this time with less urgency. Like we had all the time in the world.
"When did you know?" I asked him, looking him straight in the eye. God, I loved his eyes. I could get lost in them.
"When did I know what?"
"That…you…" I couldn't say the words. I wanted to hear them from his lips, not mine.
"That I loved you?"
His words brought unexpected tears from my eyes. After all, I had heard him confess to Lori that he loved me and yet, it was different as he said them to me.
"That you loved me," I repeated quietly.
"I think I've known it for a while, but when you walked away from me at the fundraiser…when I watched you walk away and I thought I had lost you…I knew. I knew that I didn't want to go on without you, pretending that we were just friends when there were so many more emotions in my heart. What about you? When did you know that you lov…"
It hit me. For all the talking we had been doing and feelings we had been revealing, I hadn't yet told him I loved him.
"I do love you, Josh," I said quietly, squeezing his hand. His lips formed a smile. They made me want to kiss them. "I knew I loved you the moment I saw you cry. That's when I knew that this was all real. That, no matter what, I knew that you would be in this and that I wanted you. I want to be your girl. Your cancer girl."
"You are," he whispered in my ear. "And after we fight this cancer together and win, you won't be my cancer girl any more. You'll just be my girl."
"I like the sound of that," I said against his lips.
We kissed again. I wondered if anyone had ever felt as remarkable as I did at that very moment.
"I love you," he said without fear, without holding back, without any hesitation. I knew that I could get very used to hearing those words come out of his mouth. As soon as he said them, I already wanted to hear them again. But I knew it was my turn because, as much as I wanted to hear them, he did, too.
"And I love you," I returned, throwing my arms around his neck and kissing him like he had never been kissed before.
Author's Note: Wow – that was a totally different ending than I had anticipated, but I just went with it. Thank you again to everyone who has read this story - I know it took me a long time to finish and I really appreciate all the patience and feedback. I probably won't work in first person again any time in the near future, but it was a fun experiment to try and I hope everyone enjoyed it. Be on the lookout for more Jandy stories coming soon!