Tom held his fiancé's hand as the heart rate monitor beeped. He carefully raised the hand to his lips, and softly whispered into his boyfriend's knuckle, "Just keep going, love. You'll be better soon. Stay strong for me, please?"
James' eyes opened and he squeezed Tom's hand gently, letting him know he was awake. They were both in excruciating pain, one physically, one mentally. James exhaled slowly, and that breath caused a coughing fit. He felt Tom press a cloth to his mouth, and when the coughing stopped, the cloth was wet and stained red. "Your hand is warm." James whispered. He felt so tired...
Tom felt a tear slip out of his eye. He remembered it all. The time they were baking cookies during Christmas and it ended in a flour fight, how James cried when he first saw Sadie, the golden retriever Tom got him for his 23rd birthday, when James proposed to him when they were visiting his family in Japan. How long ago had that been? A year? It felt like an eternity.
James grunted as he reached towards the envelope on the table. Tom sat up in alarm and quickly insisted he grab it, but James was never one to listen. He slowly handed the envelope to his fiancé, and a tear fell from his eye. He wanted to stay alive, to keep fighting, to continue... but he felt so tired.
Tom read the back of the envelope. In James' messy handwriting, it was clear what it was. It read, "To Tom. Don't open until I'm gone." Tom burst into tears. "James, you're going to be fine! You aren't going to..." The word just couldn't leave his mouth. "James, please! Don't leave me. Please don't leave me. Don't leave me alone again. Please, don't leave. Don't leave, don't leave, don't leave..." Tom continued to repeat the words until his voice was hoarse.
James felt exhausted. He knew he couldn't keep fighting. "It'll be ok, honey. I'm just... I'm so tired. You've made my life wonderful for all these years, when we met in high school, when we were in college, when we moved in together, when we got Sadie... You're the best boyfriend I could have ever asked for." His voice was slowly grew more quiet, until Tom had to lean in so close to hear him, he was practically on top of him. "I'll be fine. I love y-" And with that, James' heart stopped, and the loud beep rang through Tom's ears.
I love you so much.
Please don't linger in the past.
I will see you soon.
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