I’m back at the library for the first time in three months. Ashton and I have been official for almost three months now. The time has flown by, I honestly can’t tell you how it happened so fast. I’m back in school and he’s back to being homeschooled. We have a ritual now, he picks me up after school and go to his favorite coffee shop to work on homework together.
I was shocked when I found out he was in AP everything. He took AP English, AP science, everything. He was basically ahead of me in everything so he could tutor me if I got stuck. The one class he couldn’t master was French. I helped him with it since I’ve taken it for three years now.
“I just don’t get how you can speak this language so fluently.” Ashton sighed throwing his pencil down onto the paper with a loud groan. I laughed kissing his cheek.
“It’s really not that hard.” I say trying to keep him from giving up. He shrugged leaning his lead against my shoulder and pouting.
“Do we have to do this?” He groaned. I entwined our fingers and mentally tried to let myself win in this argument. Sadly I knew I would never win. Ashton smiled kissing my knuckles.
“Fine we can take a short break, want to walk to Starbucks and get a coffee?” I asked, we need a break anyways.
“Sure” He grinned getting out of his chair and helping me up. We walked hand in hand over to the Starbucks that was just across the street from the library. He ordered his drink and insisted on paying for mine ordering it for me. I couldn’t help but stare in awe that he could remember what my favorite drink was. I guess he really does pay attention.
“Spend the night tonight?” He asked suddenly. My eyes widened, its Friday so I could tell my mom I’m staying at a friends she probably wouldn’t care in the first place but if she asks I would lie. I bit my bottom lip thinking, what if he wants something… what if he wants to have sex? Am I ready for something like that? I don’t think I am, we’ve only been dating for a few months, when do couples usually have sex? Am I waiting too long? So many questions buzzed through my head, I was worried I was making a fool out of myself. Ashton came to my rescue pulling me out of my own head.
“Hey, Jess, you don’t have to come I was just wondering if you wanted to. We could watch movies and cuddle, nothing you aren’t ready for.” He smiled staring into my eyes. I let out a breath I didn’t know I was even holding in. Suddenly I realized how much I was in fact overreacting. He would never pressure me into doing something I didn’t want to do, he would wait for me just how I would wait for him if he was ever not comfortable with something.
“Ok, sure. If my mom asks I’ll say I’m staying at my friend’s house but I don’t think she’ll ask anyways.” I shrug, he nods a sad look playing on his lips but he doesn’t comment. He kisses my cheek handing me my drink when his name was called from the barista. She winked at him but he ignored it kissing me softly when he saw she was looking. I had to hold in a giggle.
When we had finished studying I thought we were going to run to my place and go back to his but he didn’t make a move to get out of the car when he pulled up to my house.
“Are you coming inside?” I asked, he shook his head trying to keep his happy look on his face. I looked at him funny but she shrugged it off.
“I have an, um, I have an appointment I have to get to soon. I’ll pick you up after it.” He smiled softly. I nodded waving goodbye to him and walking into my house to pack what I needed for the sleepover I was about to have with my boyfriend. My mind couldn’t stop thinking about the weird look Ashton had on his face.
I spent the next few hours working to pack what I needed, I have a feeling I over packed but I’m nervous, I’m about to have a sleepover with my boyfriend. I haven’t seen or heard from my mother at all today so I don’t think I need to worry about lying to her. She won’t question why I’m not home.
I finished packing and glanced at my phone, I haven’t heard from Ashton at all, I wonder if he’s alright. He seemed weird when we said our goodbyes for now, he looked like he wanted to tell me something but couldn’t. I thought we told each other everything?
I sighed sitting down on my bed and playing on my phone, I don’t want to text him yet. He might still be in that appointment he had. I wouldn’t want to be annoying. I reach over to my nightstand and grab the most current book that I am reading, Looking for Alaska. I feel content as I open up to the page I last left off on. The crisp paper smooth under my fingertips. My eyes soaking in the words of John Green.
I don’t know how long I had been reading but I was startled awake when Ashton walked into my room. I screamed loudly when his shadow filled my room. My heart was racing wanting to pound right out of my chest. He had a smirk on his lips like he was trying not to laugh at my scared state.
“How the hell did you get into my house!?” I gasped placing the book on the night stand once again and looking up at Ashton. He laughed sitting on the edge of my bed.
“You left the front door unlocked babe, you really shouldn’t do that.” He scolded playfully. I rolled my eyes standing up and grabbing my bag only to have it grabbed away from me and thrown over Ashton’s shoulder.
“I can carry that you know.” I sighed picking up my phone and walking out of my room as Ashton followed me with a smile on his lips.
“What movie do you want to watch tonight?” Ashton asked ignoring my remark. I shrugged walking out to his car and getting inside. He didn’t say anything more, he simply placed my stuff in the back of the car and got into the driver’s seat. He looked over at me and smiled brightly before he took my hand and kissed the top of it.
“If you get uncomfortable tell me. I can bring you home whenever alright?” He said softly looking me dead in the eyes. I nodded blushing softly. I was ready for whatever tonight was going to hold.
“Pass the cheese mom” Ashton called from the other side of the table. His mom Anne reached to her left and handed it to him. We were all sitting at the kitchen table eating pasta. I think I’m in love with Anne’s cooking she is truly amazing.
“So how’s school Jess?” Anne asked between bites of pasta. I swallowed the food I had just aggressively shoved in my mouth blushing.
“It’s alright. I have some hard classes this year but I think I’ll make it.” I said honestly. For some reason when I talk to her I always feel like I can tell her the truth. Like I don’t have to fake being happy with my life.
“That’s good dear, I know Ashton is always talking about how you two study together. I think it’s great you can teach him his French since he can’t seem to understand it.” She said looking to Ashton. He rolls his eyes finishing off his plate of food. We all finish dinner, I thank Anne for such a wonderful supper and Ashton drags me to his room.
“So I have a lot of movies so just name one I bet I have it.” He says walking over to a cabinet and opening it up to show his collection of films. And to say he was over exaggerating was a lie. He really did have every movie you could think about. I looked at a few names until I came across one that I really liked, it was one of my favorites.
“Monsters Inc.!!!!” I shrieked grabbing it off of the ledge and throwing it at him. He caught it but he looked shocked that he managed too. He glanced at the movie then back to me before shrugging and going to his TV where he put the movie in. He walked back to me wrapping his arms around my waist and gently leading me backwards to his bed. I felt the back of my knees his the edge of his bed before he lightly pecked my lips and laid us down, he laid beside me and propped up the pillows for us.
The movie started and Ashton wrapped his arms around my waist snuggling close to me. He wasn’t kidding when he said we would cuddle. He’s adorable. My cheek rested against his chest as we watched the movie a soft yawn fell from his lips when we got about halfway through it.
“Aw, is somebody tired?” I teased, he jerked back shaking his head quickly. I laughed at his adorable denial.
“No, of course not.” He lied terribly rubbing his eye slowly. I sighed kissing his chin before settling back in against his chest. The movie was nearly over, I wonder if he can make it through it all without falling asleep.
His chest rose and fell in a steady rhythm, he had fallen asleep. At least that’s what I thought until I got up to turn the movie off and he spoke.
“You don’t have to do that, I can get it.” He mumbled sitting up, his eyes were half closed with sleep. I shrugged going to the TV and trying to figure out how to take the movie out. After a few seconds I found the eject button and got it out. I put it back with the hundreds of other movies and scurried back to Ashton’s awaiting arms. He kissed the top of my head.
“I think I love you.” Ashton sighed against my hair, I stiffened. He just dropped the L-bomb. Was I ready for that? I didn’t feel like I wasn’t ready to say it back, it felt natural. My mouth formed the words and they tumbled out of my lips naturally.
“I think I love you too.” I said looking up into his hazel eyes. And that’s how it was, we both fell asleep with smiles on our faces.
Ashton and I have been dating for seven months, seven months and we haven’t gotten into any major fights. That is until today.
“What appointments are so important that you have to miss the art show? I worked hard on the piece that is in it!” I snarled. Every year my high school puts on an art show, I always submit a piece even though I am not in an art class, the teacher Ms. Azul has never denied my work, she applauds it and wishes that I would pursue a career in art. I don’t want to, I don’t think I am that good.
This year I actually won first prize. Judges from all over come to see our work before the show is available to the public and they even hand out scholarships, tonight is the night when I find out if I got a scholarship. I don’t really want it, I don’t want to go to art school.
“It’s just an appointment Jess.” Ashton sighed running his fingers through his hair and looking down at the floor. He wouldn’t meet my gaze, he would never look me straight in the eye whenever he had an appointment. It angered me that even after seven months he wouldn’t tell me what the appointments were for, why he had them so frequently now and why I couldn’t know about them. He would just shrug it off and kiss my cheek before saying goodbye then maybe talk to me later that night, it’s been getting less and less frequent that he would actually call me later. I just want to know where he goes or why he goes he doesn’t have to give me details I won’t pressure him for them.
“That’s no excuse Ashton. I’m your girlfriend for god sake! You should be able to tell me anything and yet you can’t tell me this? What is it? Are you seeing someone else? Am I not good enough for you!?” I spit, I was angry, my dark hair fell over my shoulder. His eyes widened, they looked utterly shocked at my outburst like he couldn’t understand why I would ever be this mad at him over this.
“No, Jessie that is most definitely not it. I love you and I wish that I could tell you but it’s not time yet. I will eventually but now is not the time for me to tell you. Please just understand.” He said reaching out and trying to grab my hand. I backed up out of his reach. Hurt flashed over his features at my denial of his touch. I shook my head grabbing my purse and walking out of his house. I wasn’t going to let him win this time. He has to tell me eventually and he needs to know how upsetting this is that he can’t just tell me what’s going on in his life.
I got to the art show with a few minutes to spare. I was trying to get Ashton off my mind but it was difficult, he’s changed a little over the past few months. Both physically and emotionally. He seemed to have closed off to me, he isn’t as open and carefree as he had been when I first met him. I still love him and care about him and he’s still my Ashton, but I do miss the days when he would pick me up at random and take me on a surprise picnic at that park. Those days are long over.
He also is losing weight, it’s subtle but I know how he used to feel against my palm when I touched his arms or his stomach pressed to mine. He’s not as toned, you can feel his ribs more and his arms have shrank. I don’t know why he’s losing so much weight.
“Jessie! Thank you for coming! I want you to meet someone.” Ms. Azul called my name. I turned to see her walking over to me with another woman, the second woman had the same color hair as Ms. Azul, dark brown. They both wore it pulled up in a bun tonight. The new woman smiled at me and outstretched her hand to shake mine.
“I’m Miss Smith, I’m one of the judges from the University of Washington. I just wanted to introduce myself. I loved your piece, I would love to talk to you about a scholarship offer but Ms. Azul has told me you aren’t looking for a career in art.” She said. I nodded agreeing with everything she was told.
“That’s correct. I am more into writing and literature. Art is just a side hobby I do.” I say politely. Miss Smith nods but she looks to be confused like she can’t wrap her head around the fact that someone could not want to be an art major.
“Well our university has a wide range of courses, one of wish happens to be literature. If you’re interested I can see if I can get you a full ride on an art scholarship but you would have to take art classes as well as English.” She said, I didn’t know what to say. She was offering to hand me a scholarship for art but have me major in a completely other subject? Is that even possible?
“Uh, can I actually do that?” I asked, I had never heard of such a thing.
“Technically no, but you are very talented and I would hate to see your talent go to waste. We would love you at our school Jessie, please do consider it. Here’s my card. Give me a call if you change your mind.” She smiled handing me a business card and walking off. I was flabbergasted she just handed me my ticket to college.
As I walked around the art covered walls and looked at other people’s paintings I kept thinking of my future and Ashton, was he going to be a part of my future? I hope he is but I don’t know if he will be since he seems to be getting more and more distant.
The art show only lasted a few hours, I stayed until most people had gone home. I honestly didn’t want to be left alone with my thoughts. I always end up thinking the worst about a situation.
When I did manage to find my way home I went to my room and tried to fall asleep. Unfortunately my mind had another plan, Ashton’s face haunted me as I shut my eyes and tried to think of sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about the devastated look he had on his face when I left him.
I picked up my phone, no texts or calls. He hasn’t tried to reach me all night, that’s not unusual when he’s at his appointments. I just hope he calls me tomorrow. I roll over and try to lull myself to sleep but I can’t, I need to hear his voice. I need to know that we’re alright and not still in a fight. I snatched up my phone and quickly found his name hitting call before I could even think it through. He picked up on the fourth ring.
“Hello?” He said in a husky voice. He sounded weak and tired, something I had never heard in his voice before.
“Ash?” I sniffled into the phone. My cheek was pressed against the pillow as I spoke trying not to cry.
“Jessie? What’s wrong baby?” He asked softly. I couldn’t hold them back anymore, I cried into the phone not making any human sounds. He let me cry soothing me through the phone until I had calmed down.
“I’m sorry A-ash. I shouldn’t have gotten so angry. Its n-none of my business.” I sniffled. He sighed taking a moment to think about what he was going to say next.
“I should tell you, you’re right about that but I don’t think now is a good time. I will eventually I promise.” He spoke. I nodded then realized he couldn’t see me. I made a noise of understanding then said the words I missed most.
“I love you.” I whispered, I could hear his smile on the other end. It made me happy to know that those words coming from me could make him smile instantaneously.
“I love you too. Now get some sleep baby, I’ll call you tomorrow.” He said his voice growing more and more hoarse as he spoke. We said our goodbyes before we hung up. I fell asleep soon after thinking about my boyfriend.
Three days later I hear from Ashton. He just shows up at my door on Saturday with his signature smile. I rolled my eyes playfully but grabbed my purse and followed him out to his car. He let me into the vehicle and we were off. I don’t know where we are going but I know it’s going to be special, it always is.
“So I had this thought, well more like a realization. I stopped being instantaneous with you. I haven’t just shown up and kidnapped you in a very long time. So here we are, I wanted to take you here a while ago but unfortunately life got in the way.” He said turning down a dirt road. I had no idea where we were going but I didn’t even care, I was with Ashton and that’s all that mattered.
“So where exactly is this place you want to show me?” I asked flipping my brown eyes to him as he drove down the road. He smirked at me quickly then put his eyes back to the road.
“Well, I went for a drive once when I was uh, feeling weird, and I came across this barn. I made it my goal to do something completely insane in it one day. And who better to fulfill my wishes than with my girlfriend?” He laughed pulling off the road and right smack in front of the barn. To anyone else this would seem insane, because well it is insane. But to me this isn’t that weird. Ashton is instantaneous and this is something he would promise himself. Now what we do that’s insane will be unknown until that time but I can’t wait to find out what the unknown is with him. That’s all I ever wanted to do.
Ashton got out of his car motioning me to follow him. I got out as well and ran to him. He opened up the abandoned barn, it had old hay still sprawled across the ground, the barn smell still holding strong inside. We walked further inside, Ashton’s hand tightly held mine. In the corner there was an old red blanket and a flashlight.
“I brought this up here just in case I ever needed to stay here, I have never used it.” He said walking over to pick it up and lay it on the ground. He sat down on the blanket and smiled up at me.
“You think of everything don’t you?” I laughed plopping down beside him. He shrugged laying back and looking up to the ceiling of the crumbling barn. You could see through a few holes in the roof, the blue sky brightening up the barn.
“Do you ever wonder what sex is like?” Ashton asked still looking up through the holes. That caught me off guard, we have never really discussed our sex lives. I think he figured out I have none whatsoever. Him on the other hand I can see having sex.
“Uh, I guess. What does it feel like?” I asked he laughed turning to look at me, he looked amused.
“You think I’ve done it before?” He grinned shaking his head. I nodded growing confused, of course he has. He’s hot, who wouldn’t want sex with him.
“Yes” I squeaked. He shook his head sitting up and resting on his arms.
“How come?” He asked looking down at me, I shrugged trying not look him in the eyes. He was making me uncomfortable for some reason.
“Well I haven’t, I’m not really one to meet women on a regular basis and before you I never really had a long term girlfriend. I had one or two girls that I went on A date with but not one like you. You’re special” He beamed leaning down and kissing my forehead. I blushed.
“Oh” That was all I could say, something told me that was all I needed to say. It made me happy to know that no one has ever made him this happy that no one has touched him yet. Part of me thought about the fact that I could possibly be the one to touch him in that way for the first time. It made me excited, it made me want to touch him like that.
“Ash…” I said softly, he hummed looking down at me slowly. My eyes met his and he seemed to know exactly what I was thinking.
“Are you sure?” He asked. I licked my lips. I don’t know if this is going to be a mistake but right now in this moment yes I am sure.
“Yes.” I said sitting up and scooting closer to him. He pursed his lips but nodded leaning down and connecting our lips. It was soft and delicate at first then he deepened it, nipping at my bottom lip to get me to let him in. I didn’t deny him, his tongue plunged into my mouth swirling around with mine, before I knew it he was hovering over me and his shirt was flying somewhere else.
“If you want to stop tell me okay? I don’t want to hurt you or pressure you.” He said looking me in the eyes. I nodded pulling his face back down to meet mine. I kissed him hard, clothes were shed and we were both left in our underwear. Only two layers preventing us from taking each other’s innocence.
He slowly unclasped my bra, my breasts falling out in front of him, I went to move my arms over my chest but he stopped me kissing in-between them.
“Beautiful” He murmured against my skin. I blushed watching as his lips trailed down my stomach, softly sucking as he made his way to the elastic of my panties. He gave me one last look before he stripped them off of me. I could see his straining erection in his own boxers, I reached out and tugged them down. He helped me get them off of him nibbling my ear as we both got naked. He reached somewhere next to me where his jeans had been thrown. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. He quickly took out a foil package and ripped it open rolling the condom down himself. Of course he kept a condom in his wallet, what guy doesn’t?
“I love you Jessie” He said hovering over me, his stiffness at my entrance.
“I love you too.” I gasped right as he entered me. He was soft and gentle, he didn’t rush it he waited for me to adjust. He wanted me to feel good too, not just him. We rocked back and forth our moans getting swallowed by one another’s kisses.
We didn’t last long, both unused to the intense feeling of pleasure. He was coming into the condom quickly with myself following him. We were a panting mess of pleasure laying on the barn floor. He grinned kissing me once again.
“Well I guess this was my insane adventure in the barn. Losing my virginity in it.” He laughed. I chuckled snuggling against him. I guess it was his adventure and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Four days later and Ashton is only texting me. He says he doesn’t feel good and doesn’t want to hangout. He’s never like that. I tried to get him to let me come over and baby him but he said no, he wouldn’t want me to get sick. We had hung out the day before, he seemed distant.
“Want to watch a movie?” I had asked, it was getting late and we usually watched movies at this time. We were both at my house, my brown hair pulled up in a messy bun. I was wearing one of Ashton’s sweaters that I had stolen from him.
“No, I need to be getting home.” He said softly looking at me somberly. That was a shock, he usually didn’t care what time he got home, often he would stay with me until I fell asleep or take me back to his place for a sleep over.
“Oh, alright. Well let me walk you to your car.” I said trying not to show that I was upset he wouldn’t stay. He nodded not saying anything else. His cheeks were a pale color when he stepped out on my front porch with the yellow porch light on.
“Bye Jessie, I love you so much.” He said pulling me into a tight hug and kissing me. This was weird, he was acting like I wasn’t going to see him tomorrow we have a study date tomorrow.
“I love you too Ash. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I said. He only nodded getting into his car and driving off.
I got a text early this morning canceling the study date. He said he didn’t feel well. Now I’m at home reading, wishing I was with Ashton. I passed the time texting him throughout the day. He seemed alright over text. Maybe I’ll call him later.
I called him, he ignored my call.
The next day was the same, except he would text me less and less. I called him at lunch, no answer. I couldn’t believe he would ignore me, he’s canceled all our study plans leaving me to study on my own at the library. That is what I used to do but now it feels lonely without his voice and presence.
I came home and tried calling him again. Still no answer, he texted me and said he fell asleep. I just said okay and got ready for bed. I didn’t know what else to do or what else to say. I fell asleep worried about Ashton for the third time this week.
The next morning I had no texts from Ashton and when I texted him he didn’t respond. I waited all day for a simple ‘Hey’ but nothing came. I went through my first three classes of the day checking my phone frequently. Nothing.
I called at lunch, it went straight to voicemail. I wanted to know what was going on. I decided I would go to his house after school and just confront him. But that was a mistake, he wasn’t home and neither was Anne. I went home without an answer to anything once again.
I tried to read but I couldn’t focus. I did my homework quickly and went to sleep dreaming about how things were when I actually saw Ashton.
On the final day, the day before everything changed and my entire being was ruined I woke up to the Saturday morning sun. My mom was out doing whatever she usually did on Saturdays to avoid me. I got out of bed checking my phone, still nothing. I went to the living room and sat down on the couch. I looked at the coffee table. There was a letter. A letter with my name on it in Ashton’s hand writing. I snatched it up ripping it open to find a very long hand written note.
Dear my beautiful Jessie,
Hello love, if you’re reading this I have something you need to know. I am no longer a presence on this earth. I passed along like all the other souls in the world, it was just my time I guess. I am sorry I never told you some things about myself. This letter is Everything I Didn’t Say.
Where do I begin, when I was 8 I was diagnosed with terminal Leukemia? I went through chemo and was deemed healthy 5 years later. Only to find out 3 months ago that it had all come back. I went in for one of my appointments, yes that’s what my appointments were Jess, I was seeing my oncologist. I didn’t know how to tell you, I didn’t want you to look at me any differently. I know this is a shitty way of me to tell you everything but I didn’t know how else to tell you.
When I was told it came back I was given the statistics on how likely I would live. They weren’t good. So I planned to tell you, I tried to get the courage to tell you but it didn’t work. I grew sicker from the chemo they were giving me, it was hard to hide it honestly. I’m surprised you never asked me why I looked so terrible half the time. But that is beside the point.
I want you to know that I do love you, I will always love you. I may not be with you physically but I will always be with you when you think of me. Please don’t think I did this to hurt you or anything, I just wanted to be a normal boyfriend not your boyfriend with cancer.
My mom has probably already planned the funeral, please don’t attend. I want you to remember me how I was before. Not now. I want you to remember our first time speaking. Hoe you wouldn’t stop staring at me in the library. I want you to remember our first date, the first time I snuck over to your house, that time you won me my banana (I totally could have done that myself you just had a lucky shot) I want you to remember the first time you spent the night at my house how nervous you were. And I know I will never forget our time in the barn, you were my first and I couldn’t be happier to call you my first everything. You are my everything and I love you Jess.
I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you all of this before, but I hope you forgive me.