21 Days

What if you had the option to know how many days you have left to live? Would you take it?

How would you spend those days and how would you say goodbye when they're over? Would it make things easier for you and the people around you to assure you spend your final days actually living?

My name is Niall Horan and for my girlfriend Madison, knowing how long she had left wasn't an option.


2. Day 2


Day 2


Dear Madison,

This one may be a little short because you're showering now, so I thought I'd use this time wisely.

This morning when you woke up, you cried again.

We both did.

It breaks my heart each time I see a single tear stream down your beautiful face, or each time I see a look of pain or sadness in your eyes.

We didn't talk much about the situation at hand today. I figured you might need some time to process it.

Or, maybe I do.

Either way, I know that neither of us are ready to talk about nor accept it.

I don't think I'll ever accept it.

I don't want to.

From the time we woke up until the time we finished breakfast, I think I told you that I love you about twenty times.

You laughed me off, giggling each time. You told me I didn't need to keep reminding you because you knew.

I know that you know I love you, but I'll still remind you.

I'll remind you every single day.

I love you.

After breakfast, I asked you to get a shower and get dressed because we're going somewhere special.

I know that a million places are probably going through your head right now and because it's you, I know that you're in the shower going through every place in your mind that may seem special to both of us.

I'm sure you have, but just in case you haven't guessed it yet, I'm taking you to the beach.

Although you can't get in the water, I'm bringing a picnic blanket, some food and other little bits for us to just sit there and take in the beauty and meaning of the place to us.

I remember laying eyes on you for the very first time at this same beach. That day will always be the best and most memorable day of my life.

The day I met you.

It's so hard to believe that it's been almost seven years since that day and I can honestly say that I wouldn't take a second of that time back.

It's been the best (almost) seven years of my life.

With you.

I remember standing there, at the beach and thinking to myself 'Wow, she's beautiful.'

And you were.

You still are.

You will always be the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, inside and out. That's something that your illness can never take from you.

I had to talk to you that day. I needed an excuse, but I had to avoid being caught or seen.

I walked up to you and asked to borrow your sun cream. Seems stupid now, I know, but I just needed to talk to you. I thought you'd laugh and shut me off straight away.

But you didn't.

You gave me the sun cream, wearing that same beautiful smile that I've been so privileged to see every day since then.

I really thought I was pushing it when I asked you to put the cream on my back. I said I couldn't reach, but really, it was just an excuse to get closer to you.

I thought you'd think I was crazy, yell at me and possibly throw the bottle at my face.

But you didn't.

I knew from that moment that you were special,

I knew from that moment that we would be together,

and I knew from that moment that I would do anything to make you happy.

And I hope I have, Madison, because you've made me the happiest person on earth and I'll forever be grateful for that.

For you.

And if I haven't made you happy every day of your life since then, I'm sorry. I'm truly sorry, but I promise you that these next 21 days will be nothing but me making you happy and filling your days with happiness and more importantly, love.

Okay, I can hear the shower turning off now, so I guess that's my cue.

I can't wait to spend the day with you at the beach and I hope you have the time of your life.

Today is a new day, and I still have you.

I love you, Madison. Always.
Yours forever,



As I close the journal, I hear the sound of the bathroom door opening.

My fingertips lightly trace over the design on the journal that I bought Madison last year for her birthday. I knew she never believed in writing things down in a diary or keeping a journal, but I always knew it would come to great use.

And now it will.

I quickly place the journal into the drawer and stand up from the chair, making my way to the sitting room to find Madison standing there, dressed and ready to go.

"Hey, babe." Her smile lights up her whole face and I can't help but return it.

"Hey." I whisper, walking towards her. My arms lightly wrap around her waist, pulling her a few inches towards me to close the distance between us. "Ready to go?"

I feel her head nod a little against my chest and my eyes close, treasuring the feeling of having her this close to me.

"Let's go then." I take her hand in mine, intertwining our fingers as my thumb gently caresses the dorsum of her hand.

As we reach the car, I open the passenger door for her.

I know it might sound a little crazy, but it seems as though every little gesture that I do or make has more of an impact than it ever has before.
Everything needs to be perfect. For Madison.

I can't slip up or mess something up. Every moment needs to be worth living for her, and I'm going to make sure that it is.

The beach is quiet and there aren't many people here, which is good. I really want this time to just be special. I want Madison to be able to cherish this day, because I know I will.

I'll cherish every day with her.

Every moment with her.

After laying out the picnic blanket and some food, I sit down and bring Madison to sit between my legs.

I can tell that she can feel my breath against her skin as I feel her back shiver against me and the goosebumps that are beginning to show on her arms are a huge giveaway.

"I love you." I whisper against her shoulder and place a light kiss to her skin.

I can see her smile out of the corner of my eye and I can't help but copy it.

Her smile could light up the darkest room, it really could.

"I love you too, Niall. So much." Her voice is soft and I can hear the pain behind her words.

You never really know how much the words 'I love you' really mean until you're placed in a situation like this and I'm going to take every opportunity I get to tell her just how much she means to me.

Because she means everything to me.

She leans her head back a little, resting it on my shoulder as my hands wrap around her stomach, meeting her hands and holding them tight. We both sit in silence for a while, just embracing the moment.


She speaks and the sound of her voice sends chills through my body. Just like it always does.

"I knew you were going to bring me here." I can tell she's grinning, proud of herself for figuring it out.

"Did you now?" I tilt her head so she's looking at me. Her bright blue eyes have never fail to amaze me. "And how is that?"

The grin disappears from her face and is replaced with a soft smile. "Because it's the place that we met. The place that's most special to us both. Without this place, there would have been no us."

To know that this place is as special to her as it is to me makes my heart race. She is the single most greatest thing that's ever happened to me.

"That's not true." I admit, gently squeezing her hand. "I would have met you another way. There is no way that we were both put on this earth to not find each other. You and I were meant to be together, Madison."

Without another word, her lips are on mine in a soft kiss. A warm tear trickles down her cheek to our lips and without breaking the kiss, my thumb reaches up to her cheek to wipe it away.

"Shh, don't cry." I whisper against her lips as my hands move to her face, cupping her cheeks.

She smiles as another tear threatens to fall from her eyes. "They're happy tears." Her hand moves to my face and her fingers lightly trace the outline and features of it.

I know what she's doing. She's memorising me.

I don't say anything. I just watch her as I fight back my own tears that threaten to fall.

I need to allow her to do anything to make sure she never forgets me, even though deep down I know that she never will.

And I know she knows that too.

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