Steven is crying as I tell him goodbye, because it is the last goodbye. I had asked my parents not to cry, so they don't, but I never for a second thought to ask my brother. Steven never cries. Until now.
He tells me to get to the hospital, that I'm being stupid, but I tell him that I've spent too much time there, even the thought of the white walls makes me feel sick. He cries some more and says that I am sick, that I need to go there because I am sick.
I don't think Steven cried before because he always believed that I'd live, but now that I tell him I'm not going to try anymore, he cries. He cries because I'm going to die, but I wish he wouldn't.
It makes me want to try and fight it again, but the doctors say that its unlikely that the chemotherapy will work a second time. So, they've given me a set of pills and injections, to keep me going. But it will only keep me going for two and a half months. Long enough to finish the list that I now grasp in my hands.
I walk up to Steven and hug him. He gives me the tightest hug he's ever given, and I cry. I cry because it's the last goodbye. I cry until I reach the airport, but when I get on the plane, I stop.
This trip is about happiness. My last happiness. So I stop.
I slowly drifted into consciousness as my recurring dream ended. Ever since that moment when I left, I'd been dreaming about it. I kept my eyes closed, hoping to go back to sleep and actually get some rest. But, then I started thinking about my current situation, and I couldn't.
I felt fingers touch my cheek, as soft as a whisper, followed by a kiss in the same place, just as soft, "Please stop thinking, Av." He must have seen my eyebrows creasing in frustration.
At that moment, my mind should've been filled with thoughts of croissants, Eiffel Towers and why french fries were called 'french' when the weren't even from France.
But, I wasn't thinking about that, I was thinking about the act of extreme selfishness that I committed when I ran through those lobby doors in New Zealand. I'd called Harry's name right as I he was about to get into the taxi, and when he turned to me, I'd kissed him with everything I had, and whispered, "Stay with me."
At that moment, I'd only been thinking about all the emotional pain I was in from having to leave him. I was thinking only of how being with him would make me immeasurably happy for the next month. I was thinking about how I may be in love with him.
But not for a second when I ran towards him, was I thinking about how broken he'd be when it was all over. How I'd have to see the same look that Steven had when I left, reflected in Harry's orbs. I was now though; it was the only thing I could think about. It was the only thought swarming around my head as I sat in that first class seat.
I turned my head and slowly opened my eyes to Harry's beautiful face right next to mine. His face was set in a frown, his eyebrows creased. I reached up and touched his lips, "If you knew what I know, you'd understand."
"So, tell me." He said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
I shook my head, "I can't. You knowing is what scares me. You can't know."
He moved his hand down my back to rest at the lower part and started rubbing circles, "Don't be scared, Av. Don't be scared of anything."
I bit my lip, "I'm trying. I don't want to be scared or sad when I'm with you. Because I need to -"
"Enjoy it while it lasts." He finished off with a smile. He quirked his head to the side, "Do you always put an expiration date on everything, Avia? Or is our relationship just special in that way?"
I sighed deeply and turned so I was facing forward instead of him, "I've found, Harry, that everything had an expiration date. Everything comes to an end. That's why I have this whole 'enjoy it while it lasts' mentality."He shrugged and pulled me close, "Okay, so that means you have to stop sulking, right? Because we're going to France now, and if you're going to enjoy the plane ride, you have to get excited about that."
I smiled softly, "Can we go to the Eiffel Tower first?" I said, as I played with the calloused fingers on his right hand.
"Is that whats on your list?" He asked.
I shook my head, "No, but I really want to go."
"Then why isn't it on the list?" He asked, confused.
I bit my lip, my smile widening, "It's embarrassing."
He chuckled softly, "Tell me."
I sighed with a small laugh mixed in, "Well, when I was writing the list, I felt as if the Eiffel Tower was a place of romance, and I didn't plan on being with someone romantically, so I didn't want to go."
He laughed genuinely, "Oh, so now that you have me, you won't look like a loser on the Eiffel Tower. Does that mean you're using me, Avia Freeman?"
I rolled my eyes with a smile at his absurd accusation, "You have it all wrong, Mr. Styles. I have no care for appearances. With you I wont feel like a loser." I said, putting extra emphasis on 'feel', then continued, "And we can kiss and whatnot, like in a movie."
He wiggled his eyebrows, "Whatnot? What is 'Whatnot' Av?"
I threw my head back and laughed, equally embarrassed and amused by his insinuation,
"Whatnot is holding hands and," I paused and chuckled, "... whatnot!"
He laughed with me, "Now we're definitely going to the Eiffel Tower first, so I can find out what this 'whatnot' really is."
I rolled my eyes with a smile and said, "Don't get your hopes up for anything special."
He just grinned and gave me a soft kiss on the lips.
was looking out of the window about ten minutes before landing, and my body suddenly seized up in agony. It was as if all my muscles were locked into place, and if I tried to move them, I was punished with the sharpest pains in the protesting muscles. I couldn't help but to gasp in pain, and Harry's head snapped to me, his eyebrows creased with worry.
"Avia, whats wrong?" He questioned.
It hurt to smile, but I managed it, "Stiff from sitting down for so long. Don't worry."
"You sure?" He said disbelieving.
I nodded, "Happens to me all the time."
I sat still in pain for around five minutes before it let up. I was completely fine, again. It was the pills; they were just being tested when they gave them to me, so they had a lot of side effects. I had to practically beg the doctor to let me have them.
We landed in France and the entire atmosphere was just completely carefree. I loved it. Security wasn't half as annoying as in America, or New Zealand; they seemed so much more laid back here.
I learned a 'Bonjour' as we went through, because more than ten people had uttered the word to us as we went through the airport.
We jumped in a taxi and the only thing we could give the driver was the name of our hotel. Once we were on our way, Harry laughed, "When you were writing the list, did you ever stop and think that you don't know any french at all?"
I smiled, "I did, a lot, actually. That's the whole reason I'm here."
He raised an eyebrow, "You can't learn an entire language in a month."
I rolled my eyes with a smile, "Not the whole language."
"I'll tell you when I do it." I said. He nodded, not pushing me. He never pushed me.
We got to the hotel and it was nice. It was four stars. The floors were marble and people were clicking around on them in their designer heels in the lobby when we walked in. On the way there I also learned the word, 'Merci'. We went straight up to the front desk. Harry smiled at the man sitting there, "A room for Freeman."
The man's eyebrows immediately creased, showing that he didn't understand a word Harry was saying. I cleared my throat, and spoke slowly, "A room." I pointed up as if to signal to where the rooms should be, "For Freeman." I said, pointing at myself.
The man shrugged, his eyebrows still creased in confusion. Harry sighed, "A room. Where you sleep." He said slowly, putting his hands by his head and snoring.I laughed at his antics, and surprisingly, the man at the desk laughed too. I smiled at him, "Is there anyone who speaks English here?"
He nodded, still laughing, "Yes. I do." He said, in a thick french accent, "That was hilarious."
I chuckle slightly under my breath at the man's obvious humor, "Good one." I said with a smile.
Harry was chuckling right along with me, "You must have fun, doing that to all the American tourists that come in here."
The man laughed again, "Yes, I do. You should see when they try to speak french!" He exclaimed, "Funniest thing I have ever seen in my life!"
I smiled at his carefree attitude, "I'll bet. But, seriously, a room for Freeman."
He smiled right back at me, "Here's your key." He said, bending down to retrieve a little silver key with a green tag attached to it, that read 'Room 124'.
Harry smiled politely at him, "Thank you."
"No problem. If you need anything at all, just come and ask."
When we got up to the room, as soon as Harry set the luggage on the bed, I said, "Eiffel Tower?"
He chuckled and turned to me, "We haven't even been here for an hour yet."
I smiled and sat on the couch, "Yes we have, we've been here for an hour and fifteen minutes, and we're still not at the Eiffel Tower. There's got to be something wrong with that."
He walked over and sat next to me, our shoulders touching, "What if its not as spectacular as you hoped?"
I bit my lip, "That would suck, but I doubt that seeing all of Paris from so high up will be disappointing."
He smiled softly, "You're right, it probably won't. But, seeing as today I feel like I'm the reasonable one, why don't we both have showers, we get something to eat, and then go to the Tower."
I pondered his plan, walking over to the window, and looking out to the sky, and Paris. The sky would start darkening soon, "How about we have showers, and grab something on the way, so we can catch the sunset?"
He laughed and joined me by the window, "You're very into this romance thing all of a sudden."
I shrugged, "We're in the city of romance aren't we?"
He smiled softly, "And you're enjoying it while it lasts, aren't you?" My smile dropped slightly, as I realized that's exactly what I was doing. I nodded. He pushed a strand of hair behind my ear, and whispered, "So is this ending with France, or are we having a repeat of New Zealand?"
I cleared my throat, because I didn't want him to hear the uncertainty in it, "I guess we'll just have to see, won't we?"
After Harry sighed as he went to have a shower, and I felt bad for not having an answer for him. Was this going to end with France? I couldn't decide. It would have to be a snap decision, at the end, if I would let him go, or keep him. If I'd be selfish and take him to Greece with me, or be selfless and let him go back to the UK.
I was almost finished giving myself my injection when Harry called out that the taxi had arrived. I finished off quickly, and rushed out to him, and then we were off to the Tower.
The sun was about ready to set, and we were sitting in the taxi, impatiently. I was really the only impatient one, with my leg bouncing up and down, peering out of the front windshield to see if we were going as fast as possible.
Harry laughed and placed a hand on my bouncing knee to steady it. He gave me a kiss on the cheek, meant to calm me down, "We'll make it for the sunset, Av, chill out."
I bit my lip and turned to him, "What if we don't?"
He chuckled, "Then we'll go tomorrow. We have all the time in the world." I was about to protest when he raised his eyebrows and said, "We have all the time in the world, Avia. We're going to see the sunset from the Eiffel Tower, whether it be today, tomorrow, next week, or years from now. We're going to see it, okay?" He smiled.
I nodded even though I knew how terribly wrong he was. We had around three weeks left. I would have to tell him soon, so he could decide. If it was left up to me, I would have him with me til the moment my soul drifted off, I now realized. There was no choice when it came to me. I had to give him the choice.
But not now. I wouldn't ruin our happiness, now. I would wait, until I was leaving for Greece, and he could decide.
We reached to the Eiffel Tower when the sun was lowering in the sky, and the blue was turning into a blazing orange. I grabbed Harry's hand and he laughed as I dragged him through the people scattered around the base of the Tower.
We slid into the glass elevator and I let out a sigh of relief as the doors quietly closed. Harry turned to me and wrapped his arms around my waist, "The sun is setting, we made it. Happy?"
I nodded and kissed him softly on the lips, "Very."
"Good." He smiled, pulling me closer.
The elevator ride was around two minutes long, and when we reached the high balcony that was as close to the top as we would get, my heart pounded quickly in my chest.
The sun was a blazing orange mixed in with a deep red, and the colors reflected on the city, giving it the most beautiful glow. I looked to Harry, and his eyes were filled with the same amount of wonder that I felt.
We walked hand in hand to the edge, passing other couples as well as families along the way. But, as cheesy as it sounds, I felt as if it were only me and Harry. Especially when I leaned against the railing, and Harry wrapped his arms around my waist, and rested his head on my shoulder.
We were the only ones there, as his lips kissed my ear softly and said, "You're right, this didn't disappoint."
I nodded slowly, still shocked from the beauty of the scene that laid out before me. The sun was setting quickly, and I could see that various lights around the city were turning on. Soon night draped over the city like a blanket, but it was still glowing. I couldn't decide which was more beautiful, the sunset or the night.
I started when the lights of the Eiffel Tower suddenly lit up, and the entire structure was glowing yellow. Harry chuckled slightly at how easily startled I was, and gave me a kiss on the cheek to calm me down.We didn't talk much at all during our time on the tower, because we couldn't. All we could do was stare in bewilderment, together.
Harry's stomach growling was what brought me out of my daze. I laughed, "We forgot to grab something to eat, didn't we?"
He nodded with a chuckle, "Yeah, but it's okay, Av. We can stay up here longer."
I shook my head. At the mention of food, I realized how hungry I actually was. "No, It's okay Harry, we've been up here for over an hour. I'm hungry too. Let's go."
When Harry's arms unwrapped from around my waist, I felt bare, as if part of me was gone because of how long his arms hand lingered there. I grabbed his hand as a replacement.
We went to a little cafe close to the Tower and ordered sandwiches. Harry ordered a two liter bottle of water. He said that he hadn't had anything to drink since we landed and I just shook my head at him with a laugh.
Once we placed our ordered, we took seats at a little table towards the back, "What do you want to do tomorrow?"
I bit my lip, "Ride in a hot air balloon."
Harry laughed for a few seconds before noticing my serious expression. His laughter died down to a disbelieving chuckle, "I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you're not joking, should I?"
I scrunched my nose and shook my head, "I fly around the world at random points in time, and do random things. I rarely kid about strange things."
Harry smiled, "I'm learning that. So where in the world are we going to find a hot air balloon?"
I grinned, "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it." At that moment, the waitress came with our ordered. As soon as I finished saying, 'Merci' my cell phone rang. My eyebrows immediately creased because, no one should have my number, except Harry. I only used it to make calls to book hotels and whatnot. Other than that, I didn't have any reason to be contacted.
Harry was looking at me confused, because he didn't know why I was frozen like this, and not answering my phone, "Are you going to answer that?"
I snapped back into reality and nodded my head, with a sheepish smile then clicked the green answer button on my phone, "Hello?"
"Avia?! Oh my god! It's you! Oh my god. You don't know how good it is to hear your voice."
My heart froze, like ice in my chest, and I felt as if I was going to faint. I said under my breath,
"Yes. Avia, you have to listen to me."
"No." I said. Cutting him off from whatever argument he was going to start with me.
"Avia. You need to go to the hospital, right now. You-"
"Steven." I said, interrupting him. My voice was breathless as I uttered the next words, "Why would you do this?" I felt tears pricking behind my eyes. I looked up at Harry for a split second, and he was chugging his water, while looking at me with a confused expression.
"Avia, no, you have to listen to me."Seven said, trying once again.
"Steven, we said goodbye. You tried already, and we said goodbye. I never wanted this. I wanted it to be the last goodbye. You weren't supposed to call me, nothing. None of you were." I said, urgently, quietly, hoping Harry wouldn't be hearing every single word I said.
"Avia-" He tried again.
"Goodbye, Steven." I said, ending the call. I wanted to cry all over again. I was breathing in shallow breaths, but I quieted myself as not to alarm Harry.
"Ex boyfriend?" He asked, and when I looked up at him, his eyebrow was quirked.
I was about to answer him when my phone rang again. I sighed and pressed ignore before turning my phone off. I would have to get a new number before we left France. I directed my attention to Harry once again and shook my head, "Brother."
Harry didn't push for more information, like I knew he wouldn't, and we basically ate in silence. I didn't speak because I couldn't believe what had happened. My brother had called me, even though he knew very well the circumstances. And Harry didn't say anything because I didn't say anything.
Once we were finished we went outside, intent on walking back to the hotel, but when we were a minute down the street, Harry spoke up, "I would be all up for this walk if I didn't have to pee so bad. Av, can we get a taxi?"
I laughed at his strained expression, "Why didn't you go in the restaurant?"
"I didn't have to go then." He said with a sigh, just like a five year old.
The situation was hilarious to me, and I hailed a taxi, "You shouldn't have had so much water." I said with an amused smile.
He shrugged smiling back at me, "I was thirsty."
On the way back to the hotel, it was Harry's turn to bounce his leg for the entire journey, and I laughed at the irony of the whole situation. As soon as we reached the hotel, Harry ran to the elevator and started pressing the button. I trailed behind him, laughing as I went, and sending a wave to the man at the front desk, whose name I had yet to learn
Harry was bouncing from foot to foot as we waited for the elevator to reach our floor. "Can't boys pee, like, anywhere?" I asked, still amused.
He gave me a disbelieving look, "Its not like I'm going to pull my pants down and pee in the corner of the elevator, Av."
I shook my head, laughing harder now, "No. I meant, on the road or something." I got out between laughs.
He just rolled his eyes with a smile. I threw him the keys to the room as the elevator dinged, and the doors slid open. He took off sprinting to the room, but I just walked casually behind him as he disappeared down the hall.
When I reached the room, he was already in the bathroom. I put my things down and lay back on the bed, waiting for him to finish. All of a sudden, Harry called out, "Avia?" His voice sounded foreign and confused.
I sat up and my eyebrows creased, worried about the tone he was using, "Yeah?"
And, be still my heart, Harry walked out, holding my used injection in his hand, his eyes wide, "Is this yours?"
NotesI'm glad I'm getting the chance to bring Avia's brother into the story!
What do you think about Harry finding Avia's injection? You'll find out everytttthing in the next chapter! x