20. I Guess This Is Goodbye
"No," I whisper. His words send a chill through me, and I suddenly wish I wouldn't have blown Niall off. "Yes," he replies quietly. "I have to leave, go somewhere else for treatment. There's not much more the doctors here can do for me. I'm going to Florida. My doctors think that they might be able to help me down there," The realization that Niall could die sweeps over me and leaves me dizzy. I take off my sling and throw it aside. "Ally, maybe.." Niall starts to say, but I cut him off. "I'm coming down." I swing my leg over the windowsill and grab onto the tree that's right outside my window. "I'll help you," Niall offers, taking a step forward. "No, no," I shoo him away. "I can do it." My shoulder throbs and the rough bark of the tree digs into my palms, but I ignore it all. When I jump to the ground and land on my knees, Niall helps me up. We're both quiet for a minute before I say, "I still love you. You know that, right? I just don't know if we're necessarily right for each other anymore." Niall nods, the hurt visible in his eyes. "I still love you too," he replies. "And maybe we do need a break. Would you be willing to get back together, if we feel it's right?" I wait a second before nodding. "Yeah, but only if we both agree it's right. I don't want to rush things, and I certainly don't want to make another mistake." Niall takes my hands in his. "I'm leaving tomorrow," he says softly, gazing into my eyes with a passion I've never seen before. "I'm going to miss you," I say, leaning my head on his chest and heaving a sigh. He strokes my hair and holds me close, and for a second I feel okay, I feel whole again. But then we pull away and he turns to go. He's almost out of my backyard when I suddenly call, "Niall, wait!" He turns around and looks at me expectantly. I run toward him and when I reach him, I stand on my tiptoes and kiss him. Niall and I have shared a lot of kisses, but this one feels more urgent. It reminds me of a farewell kiss that you see in old black and white movies that they sometimes play on TV. It's definitely the most romantic kiss I've ever had with Niall, and possibly with anyone. It seems like the world stops spinning for a split second, like the universe is accommodating us. I block out any sounds other than Niall saying, "I love you, Ally, I do," and focus instead on the fact that I won't see him for a long time. When he finally pulls away, there are tears in his eyes. "Should I call you?" he asks, taking a slight step away from me, almost like he thinks that if he stands too close he won't be able to leave. I nod, the words lodged behind a lump in my throat. "Please," I manage to choke out. He nods stiffly, and turns to leave once more. This time, I don't stop him.