Daimhin and Taylor both slept through sunrise, but they woke up soon after.
Taylor lifted her head from his chest and quickly stood up from the sofa, she felt embarrassed for falling asleep on him.
When she moved, Daimhin opened his eyes and looked up at her unsure.
She did not know what to say to him and she felt awkward, but she was ravenous and soon they were sitting at the small kitchen table, each with a bowl of cereal, only saying the necessary things like – Are you hungry? Do you want some cereal? Yes. No. Sugar? Milk?
While Taylor finished her breakfast, Daimhin stared at her obsessed, rapt at every detail of her face, her every movement.
She turned toward him, and her gaze met his. Her lips parted as if he had surprised her and her breath caught in her throat. Daimhin’s presence turned up the volume in her head until she could barely think of anything else. She wondered if after last night he had decided she really was not his type after all. He had kept his distance all morning. When their fingers brushed accidentally when he passed her the milk, it did not seem to affect him as much as it affected her. She seemed to be the only one who sensed the electricity that crackled between them.
His chest ached as he watched her, and he realized that no matter how selfish it might be, he could never let her go. As if the stress of having to take her soul was not enough, an air of sensory tension overlaid their every word, every look, and every interaction between then.
They heard Michelle move around upstairs in her room.
He pushed away from the table. “I better get going.” He started for the door.
Taylor walked him to the front door and then she stood there uneasily until he put his finger under her chin and lifted her face up to him.
“I’ll see you for lunch?” His voice sounded pleading.
She nodded, her eyes unable to look away from his brilliant green eyes holding hers captive.
He leaned down and once again Taylor felt the eager expectation rise up in her body. Softly he touched his lips to her forehead. Then he turned away from her and walked out through the open front door.
He put his preoccupation with Taylor aside and focused on his morning meeting.
When Violet walked toward him, he turned around and walked in the opposite direction. His frame of mind was all over the place, and if he had to speak to her now, he would let it all spill out. He would make a mess of all his well-reasoned motives.
He sat in the meeting room, going over his list and listening to his Manager going over important details for the day and changes in the system. Daimhin had an ominous feeling that something was wrong. He could not pinpoint anything specific. It was in the way the other Guardian Angels looked his way. It was in the way the system was discussed, and he felt as if parts were left out of the conversation.
A sudden urgency flooded Daimhin. He had to check on Taylor, to assure himself she was safe.
He knocked at her door in a frenzied panic. For a crazy moment, he wondered if another guardian had come to escort her across The Valley. Then he wondered if she was ignoring his urgent knocks. Maybe she did not want to see him.
He saw a shadow shift across the narrow red frosted glass panel next the front door and then Taylor appeared into view.
His knees went weak at the first sight of her. Her cheeks were flushed and she had that just woken from a long sleep look on her face. Her pyjamas consisted of a pair of soft flannel pants and a fitted t-shirt. Her feet were bare. The way the shirt clung to her frame sent emotions he did not want to acknowledge through his body.
Her gaze fixed for several long moments with his. The flush of colour on her cheeks made him realize that she must have seen the fire in his eyes. She said nothing, but the pale rose blush, the way her lips parted, and her breath caught in her throat, spoke volumes. She opened the door wider, and he saw her hand tremble as she drew in a deep breath.
After he stepped into the hall, he set his hand on her shoulders.
She smiled up at him, the gentle curve of her lips clutching at his heart. Her hands settled on his waist as he lowered his mouth to hers, watching her eyes drift shut. He pressed his lips against hers, butterfly soft at first. Nervous. Tentative. Then more firmly.
How long they stood like that, he did not know. He drew back to see the colour on her cheeks deepen. She looked down at the floor and laughed nervously.
He pressed a kiss on her forehead. “Good morning. Again,” he murmured, then with his arm across her shoulders, he closed the front door and walked with her to the kitchen.
He sat down at the little kitchen table while Taylor made them each a mug of coffee. Every movement she made, every glance his way, mesmerized him.
Michelle walked into the room, but Daimhin was only dimly aware of her.
He heard Michelle say, “Good morning, Daimhin,” and he acknowledged her friendly. He was grateful she could not read his explicit thoughts, which were vividly displayed in his mind. All the ways he wanted to touch Taylor played in an endless loop.
After Taylor placed three mugs of coffee on the table, she excused herself, “I need to use the bathroom quickly.” He had woken her up so abruptly. When she heard the loud knocking on the door, she was rudely pulled from her unremembered dream. At first she thought her mother would answer the persistent knocking, but then she heard the water running in the shower.
He caught her eye, and she looked down shyly. Her gaze burned him clear to his depraved soul, set every nerve ending ablaze.
Michelle sat down at the table with a bowl of cereal.
As Taylor left the room, Michelle surprised Daimhin when she said softly, “In a way I am glad you two found each other.”
Daimhin felt a twinge of guilt, knowing that this was not the love match her mother assumed it was. He searched his mind for an appropriate answer.
Michelle regarded him as she took a bite of cereal.
He had to look away, his internal uproar no doubt visible on his face.
Michelle added pensively, “You love each other. It’s easy to see. Make her happy.”
Taylor walked back into the kitchen, as Daimhin lifted his mug to his mouth. He looked at her across the rim of the mug.
Michelle pushed her chair back and as she placed her dishes in the basin, she said, “I won’t be gone long. I have a four-hour shift at the shop.” She turned to face Taylor. “I’ll see you for lunch?”
“You want me to start making anything?” Taylor asked.
“No. I’ll make something when I get home. I think while I’m in town I might stop at that nice bakery and get some of those muffins you like so much.”
“Yes. I haven’t had those in like forever.” Taylor smiled happily.
After her mother left to go to her part-time job at the local supermarket, Taylor sat down at the table again. She was feeling nervous.
Taylor remained on edge waiting for Daimhin to talk first. She wanted to know what was going on between them. She did not want to go into the hospital on Monday and wonder if he ever loved her. If she had been sure of what her response would be to any of her questions, she might have brought it up by herself just to clear the air. She became more and more confused.
Daimhin sat across from her, saying nothing.
As a girl, she had dreamt of her wedding, as most little girls do. She had imagined a white dress with a train so long, a few of her cousins would have had to carry it. All her family would be there. Her mother would be standing in the front pew with proud tears shimmering down her cheeks. The groom had been changeable. Whomever she had a crush on at the time, and they all loved her passionately, forever and ever. Then reality arrived in the form of cancer. She would never get married
He reached across the table to take her hand when he saw sadness fill her face. “Are you okay?”
“I’ll be fine.”
She could see the seriousness of his expression, the worry in his brilliant green eyes, when he asked, “Will you?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
His thumb traced across the backs of her fingers. “You seem sad today?”
She was not hiding her feelings as well as she thought she was. “I am not really sad. I just feel a little emotional.”
His gaze remained steady on her face. “Tell me,” he pleaded.
She exhaled loudly. “Sometimes people think they can fix other people who are feeling sad and upset, but sometimes the person feeling that way can only fix themselves.”
His focus dropped to the table. He remembered the weeks and months before he died. He had a lonely sad hollow space in his chest, which nobody or anybody could fix. Now he realized he was the only one who would have been able to lift himself from that dark place where he had found himself, but he did not know how. His father had made him so mad that morning, and the gaping black hole of his existence swallowed him whole. He dropped her hand. “What would you like to do today?”
“We could watch that movie we planned on watching last night.” He looked disappointed. “My mum expects me to be here when she gets home, so I’ll have to stay. You don’t have to be here though.”
He stood up and walked around the table determinedly. He pulled her up from the chair.
“What are you doing?” She asked unsure.
He did not answer as he fitted her against him. Pressing his mouth against hers, he cupped the back of her head with his hand, and she slipped her arms around him. She wanted to think that they were suspended in time, touched by magic. She wanted to pretend there were no consequences.
She knew better. Knew she had to stop now before he totally overwhelmed her. Did she not deserve this moment? Despite the consequences. Despite the certainty that she would die.
His hand moved in under her shirt, resting lightly on her skin at her waist, moving slowly up her side.
She struggled for breath. “We shouldn’t.” As drugging as his kisses were, as welcome as his touch was, she needed to pull away from him. He would let her go. She could make it stop now, but she relaxed further into his arms.
His thumb stroked her ribs under her breast, the slowness of the movement making her legs quiver. He trailed his mouth along her jaw, her throat, her collarbone. His mouth blazed a path across her skin. Her fingers curled into his hair.
An overpowering realization terrified Taylor. She tried to blank her mind, to deny the emotion which filled her heart. It burst into awareness regardless. She loved him. Such a short time together, but somehow their talks, the glimpses, and also the weirdness of recognizing him from somewhere, made her move from a tentative friendship to full blown love.
“Daimhin.” This could not happen. She must not love him. On Monday, their paths must go in two totally different directions. How could she have allowed herself to fall in love with him?
In one motion, she pushed away from him, but he held her back by holding onto her forearms. She watched him warily.
He looked at her pointedly for a moment, and then said, “While you make something to drink, I’ll choose a movie.” He turned away from her and walked into the lounge.
He chose a horror movie, for which Taylor was grateful. She was uncertain whether she would have enjoyed watching a romantic comedy or anything with romance in it.
Taylor put his mug of coffee on the coffee table, and then she sat down on a single chair. She could not bring herself to sit down next to him on the sofa. Not because she did not want to, but because she did not want him to get the wrong impression. When she opened the door for him when he came back this morning, she wanted him in all ways possible. She still wanted him, but she did not want to, and now she had realized that she loved him, which made it a hundred times worse.
He stood up and walked across the room to her. She looked up at him unsure as he took her hand in his and pulled her up from the chair. “Stop being so stubborn, Taylor. The only reason I am here is to spend time with you, and I won’t do it with you sitting across the room.”
She pulled back.
He looked down at her. “This is the last time I am asking you this. Do you want me to go?”
She dropped her eyes to the floor. “No,” she said softly. Taylor felt tired and cranky. The ache in her neck was exacerbated from sleeping awkwardly on Daimhin’s shoulder the whole night.
He pulled her down next to him on the sofa and then he folded her hand into his. In comfortable silence, they sat next to each other watching the movie. Taylor could not concentrate on the plot, because her mind was filled with a million small thoughts. How could she love him? Why did she allow it to happen? She would not know how to say goodbye. Must she just enjoy what she had? Pretend everything was normal?
Just as the credits of the movie they were watching started scrolling across the television screen, Michelle opened the door noisily. “I’m home.”
Daimhin and Taylor stood up from the sofa and followed Michelle to the kitchen. As Michelle prepared lunch and while they were eating, Daimhin spoke to Michelle as if he had known her for years. They spoke about the weather, the flowers in the very tiny garden outside the kitchen window and the plot of her favourite television show, Coronation Street, then he asked, glancing at Taylor, “Is it okay if I take Taylor out today? We might drive down to Donegal and go for a little tour.”
Michelle looked at Taylor enquiringly, and Taylor shrugged while taking a sip of coffee. Her body was demanding to stir up the heat Daimhin ignited in her earlier on, although her mind protested wildly.
Michelle asked, “You have never seen the tourist attractions of Donegal. You would enjoy it, won’t you?”
Taylor tried to smile. She was not sure she wanted to be alone with Daimhin. She was not sure she could handle the emotions. Yet, inexplicably, she wanted to spend the day with him, she wanted to spend her every living second with him. “It was never on my bucket list, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.”
Michelle pushed her chair back from the table. “Go put on something warmer, before you go.”
Taylor could not help glancing at Daimhin as she rushed out of the kitchen. In her room, she pulled on a navy tracksuit pants and a clean pink t-shirt. She pulled a navy scarf around her shoulders and pulled a matching beanie over her head. She quickly slipped her feet into a pair of trainers.
When they walked out of the house, she saw the car standing in front of her house and she whispered, “Wow.” In front of their little council house, looking out of place in their narrow road, stood a red two-door Porsche. “Is that yours?” She asked as she looked back at him across her shoulder.
“Just borrowing it for a while,” he replied dismissively.
He stood by the car door and held it open for her. Close enough so that she had to brush against him to get into the car. She waited a moment, waiting for him to move, but he did not move a muscle, so she squeezed past him, glancing at her mum nervously. She wished her mum was not standing there, waiting to see them off. But why? To have him kiss her again? She had to stop these silly feelings, they had no purpose. He was only being nice to her because he had that special talent and he could sense her loneliness.
He stepped back and shut her door. “Thank you, Michelle, and I’ll have Taylor back early enough for dinner tonight.”
“Bye, Daimhin. Bye Taylor, have fun. If you get too tired, remember to rest.”
Exasperated Taylor replied, “Don’t worry, Nag-Bear, I’ll be fine.” She smiled up at her mother. “See you later.”
He slid into the seat next to her, and then after he started the car, he drove away slowly.
Glancing at her, he asked playfully. “Ready for an adventure?”
“Anything is better than being holed up in my room.”
Every time he had to shift gears, his knuckles brushed against her thigh.
They hardly spoke and for most of the drive from Londonderry to Donegal Town, he was tapping the beat of the Irish boy bands playing on the radio, on the steering wheel. Taylor looked out the window ahead of her.
He pointed out the passing scenery, and she looked at it sadly. Not long from now, all of this will continue without her. “What’s wrong Taylor?”
She shook her head, unwilling to answer.
Her confession spilled out. “You cannot imagine how many pain pills I have to drink just so that I can sit here with you. On Monday, I am being booked into the hospital, so they can put me on pain management – to ease my last days. The dinner last night was like a goodbye dinner.”
“A goodbye dinner?”
“My mum did not exactly call it that, but my aunts and uncles were there, so what else can it be. I can see my mum does not even want to contemplate the thought, but I have this feeling inside of me that I only have until Monday. Once I go back to the hospital, I won’t be coming out again.”
He reached his hand across to her and touched her leg above her knee. The sensation rushed up her leg and pierced her heart.
“Why not forget about Monday. Let’s pretend that today is both of our last days. We cannot anticipate and forget to enjoy ourselves, or waste what time we have by worrying about what is going to happen two days from now.”
“Why are you being so nice to me? You hardly know me?”
“I want to know you. Is that wrong?”
She felt tears burn behind her eyeballs, so she turned her head away from him and looked out of the window to her side. Suddenly she shook her head stubbornly and pushed his hand from her knee. “I can handle this on my own.”
“That makes absolutely no sense.”
She tilted her chin up, but the tears glinting in her eyes told him that despite her stubborn attitude, she was groping for a lifeline. She held herself stiffly, tension clear on her face. “I need to handle this on my own. It is the only thing I still have that gives me a sense of control.”
“What is so wrong with sharing a few days with me? We are going to have fun, I promise you. We are going to see things most people who have an entire lifetime only wish they could see.”
She fixed her gaze on him and for a moment he wondered if she could read his mind.
Taylor clamped down her sorrow with an effort, the surging emotions made her stomach tie knots upon knots. She took a breath. “You cannot touch me anymore. You can’t … kiss me.”
His eyes left the road ahead briefly, and he glanced at her lips unintentionally. He went back to staring out of the windscreen and then he nodded. “Agreed.”
“Tomorrow night we part ways and we won’t have any further contact with each other. I do not want to see you near my hospital bed or even my hospital ward. Foolishly I want to pretend I have forever but come Sunday night, it is over. I do not want any lovey-dovey stuff.” His bland expression gave nothing away of how he felt about her outburst. She doubted it mattered to him one way or the other.
She leaned her head against the backrest of the chair. She was tired and on edge because of her persistent and unwelcome, and hopelessly going nowhere attraction to Daimhin.
When they reached Donegal Town, Daimhin stopped in the parking area of the tour company and held her door open for her. He held out his hand to her, but she ignored it.
Taylor stepped onto and walked to the back row of the twenty-seat tour bus. The bus was almost full. She sat down in the window seat and settled herself into the chair.
Daimhin sat down on the seat beside her. “How are you? You look tired.”
“I am tired but also excited. I’ve never been on a tour before.”
He shifted in his seat, bringing his knee within millimetres of her thigh. It was an innocent move, he only needed to stretch his legs, she tried to convince herself, but she felt as if he had somehow claimed her by intruding into her space. She could have asked him to move his leg, but even though after the things she said in the car while they were driving here, she wanted to be close to him. She wanted to touch him. She even wanted him to kiss her again.
The bus pulled away from the Tour Offices.
His knees were skimming the seat in front of him, his shoulder was brushing against hers. Taylor gazed out the window, watching the landscape stretching away into the distance.
They had just left Donegal Town when tiredness weighed down on her. “I am just going to close my eyes for a little bit. Wake me when we stop.”
Without warning, he put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her into him. She wanted to fight, but then submitted, because she argued with herself that it would be more comfortable leaning against him, instead of having her head lolling around on the headrest. He stretched out his long legs and she rested her head on his chest. She felt self-conscious until she closed her eyes.
When he nudged her softly, she opened her eyes bewildered. In horror, she realized she had fallen asleep with her lips apart and she had drooled on him. A tell-tale wet patch on his chest!
She looked up at him mortified.
The intensity of his green gaze as he met hers stole her breath. The air between them seemed charged with some kind of electricity, it was intense. Every resolution she had sworn to herself earlier today evaporated in that blazing visual connection between them.
She moved away from him, shaking her head slowly to warn him off, even though it was the very last thing she wanted him to do.
Then the tour guide’s loud voice crackled on the overhead speakers. Taylor had no idea how far things would have gone if the tour guide did not ask them all to disembark the bus. They had arrived at their first destination.
Daimhin pulled away from her, his eyes were smouldering as he gave her a quick once over, setting off even more heat in her already scorching body. “Are you okay?”
His gaze narrowed on her hair. “It’s sticking up.”
Before she could move out of his reach, he was stroking the side of her head. The real touch tangling with her thoughts. “That’s better.” He smiled.
She told herself she imagined the huskiness of his voice, the way he seemed to linger over smoothing her wayward hair. When he dropped his hand, she felt a puzzling mix of relief and regret wash through her. Mortified her eyes dropped to the damp spot she left on his t-shirt while she was drooling in her sleep.
He stood up and stood aside so that she could walk along the narrow aisle ahead of him. He knew he needed to keep his hands off her, although knowing that did not change the urgency he felt to pull her into his arms again.
He stepped off the bus behind her and then he curled his fingers around her fingers lightly.
They were at the village Inver, which sat at the mouth of the river Eany, overlooking a sandy beach at the head of Inver Bay.
Daimhin and Taylor walked through the grass up the slight incline to the graveyard of St. Naul’s Early Christian church. The tour guide informed them that it was the final resting place of Thomas Nesbitt, who was famous for inventing the harpoon gun used for catching whales. When Taylor turned she looked out across the valley and the sight took her breath away. She turned to smile up at Daimhin, but he was already looking back at her. There was a strange look in his eyes.
The other tourists on the bus walked around, taking photos, but Taylor and Daimhin remained standing hand in hand, looking out across the valley. Purple Heather flowers were growing wild in the grass beneath their feet.
Twenty minutes later, they were back on the bus. Taylor turned in her seat and faced Daimhin. He stretched his legs in front of him.
“So tell me, where did you come from?”
“I’ve always been around. You?”
“No. I mean—why did you come back and start talking to me at the wall on Thursday?”
He smiled faintly. “You looked interesting.” He glanced at her amused. “Are you sorry I did?”
She could feel the heat wave push up past her ears. Stubbornly she asked, “Were you feeling sorry for me?”
“A pretty girl like you?” He flirted. “There is nothing about you to make me feel sorry for you.”
A sadness shadowed her eyes.
He reached for her hand. “Did we not agree to forget all the sadness and enjoy ourselves?”
“I am just trying to understand.” She cleared her throat embarrassed. “I am trying to understand what this is between us?” She lifted their entwined hands.
He leaned closer to her. His shoulder pressing against hers. His lips close to her ear. “Is it so wrong for two people to be attracted to each other?”
“Did one of my old friends tell you about me? Sad, pathetic Taylor who has never had a boyfriend before, and you are here to show me a good time if you know what I mean?”
He looked at her confused. When his gaze met hers, she dropped her eyes embarrassed. Maybe allowing herself to love him would make the world spin the other way on its axis, but then again nobody could perform such miracles.
Taylor turned her gaze out the window to her side. She stared at the beautiful seascapes and views of the mountains surrounding Donegal bay on all sides of them.
She looked back at him when he said, “I have not spoken to any of your old friends. I do not even know who they are. I only want to spend some time with you.”
“I only wanted to know, why. Why me?”
“Why not you?”
“Did you look at me and see an easy target?”
He laughed. “What?”
“Like you did in the restaurant that day when you looked at people and you said you knew who they really were under all the pretence?”
“No, I just wanted to get to know you.” Softly he increased the pressure of his fingers twirled in hers. “I felt as if our destinies were tangled.”
“You are pulling my leg, right?”
“Not really, no.”
The bus drove along a lane only wide enough for one vehicle toward a beautiful white lighthouse and when it stopped, they stepped out of the bus again. They walked up the slight hill and around the lighthouse, to a small sandy beach.
Daimhin put his arm across her shoulders. Gazing out toward the ocean, he said softly, “I would rather be here with you, than anywhere else in the entire world.”
She laughed nervously. “If you got to know me, you might think otherwise.”
“No. I know it’s true. This is where I want to be right now.”
Taylor wondered if this was the beginning of a beautiful unfolding of a love that could never be.
He continued pensively, “When I saw you, I could see what a beautiful person you were on the inside. I am a good judge of character.” He smiled down at her and then he brushed his lips lightly across her forehead. He pulled her beanie down over her ears. “There is a chill blowing in from the sea. Stay warm.”
Was this a natural feeling, to feel so close to somebody she hardly knew? Imagine if she could be everything he ever wanted. This was a moment to remember, so she filed it away so that she could take it out on Monday and every day thereafter when she was lying in her hospital bed, surrounded by immaculate white walls.
He kept his arm draped across her shoulders as they walked back to the bus.
In the bus, Daimhin turned in his seat, pulling his one leg in under him. He turned Taylor so that she was facing the window, and then he pulled her back against his chest and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. She could feel his soft in and out breathing on her cheek. It made her feel the strangest, newest sensations.
They drove along the coast. The view was beautiful and awe-inspiring, but Taylor was only aware of the strength and warmth radiating from Daimhin throughout her entire body. She had illicit thoughts and wondered what would happen if they did more than kiss. Would Daimhin think badly of her? Did it matter when she basically only had days, possibly weeks, left to live? Maybe this was all he wanted from her – a one-night stand. Did it really matter, if she could pretend that he wanted her, or that he even loved her enough to want to have a relationship with her?
She jumped in her skin, when he asked softly, “So what did you have on your bucket list?” He felt her body tense against his.
“No. It’s embarrassing.”
“As embarrassing as me wanting to make all your dreams come true, in as little time as possible.”
How could she tell him that she wanted to feel loved in the deepest sense of being loved? She had never gone all the way. She had never even had a boyfriend. Cancer took over her life before she noticed that boys were interesting. She watched from the side-lines as her girlfriends fell in love and giggled about kissing and touching forbidden places, experimenting with love. She missed out on all of it. Up until now, it had never bothered her, because she never thought there could even be a remote possibility, but now she wanted Daimhin to have his way with her and she wanted to experience making love just once, the way they described it in the romance books she read.
“Hey,” he whispered. “You have gone very quiet.” He did not insist on knowing what she was thinking.
She leaned back into him and sighed softly.
When the tour bus stopped again, her back felt cold when he pulled away from her and she shivered.
He smiled impishly. “We can always stay on the bus if you’re cold.”
She avoided looking at him as she inched past him. “I’m not that cold.”
They rambled around, talking about and looking at the amazing views of the Slieve League peninsula.
Later they stopped at the sea cliffs called Bun Glas. The bus stopped in the car park, and Taylor and Daimhin ambled along the top of the cliffs with the other tourists. They sat and looked out across the ocean and they could see the coast of Ireland across the water.
On the tour, they saw the Stone-Age Tombs which were about six thousand years old.
They also stopped at a lovely sandy beach called the Silver Strand. They walked down the one hundred and sixty-seven steps from the car park to the beach, and Daimhin piggy-backed her back up to the top. His hands gripped around her thighs tightly while she had her arms wrapped around his shoulders.
When he let her slip down his back at the top, she brushed her lips against his ear. Daimhin had to use everything within him not to hold onto her and kiss her in every way he wanted to. He wanted to give her his love and his heart. His judgement was getting clouded, and he tried hard for it not to be.
On their way back to Donegal city, they stopped at the spectacular Assnaranka Waterfall. The route was dotted with early Christian cross slabs and prehistoric tombs. The scenery was rugged and tranquil all at the same time.
It was late afternoon when they climbed back into Daimhin’s borrowed Porsche.
Taylor shut her eyes, leaning back against the headrest tiredly, willing the last morsels of tension to leave her body. He was right, she should enjoy everything and every day.
“Taylor.” She opened her eyes and looked at him. The empathy in her eyes pulled at the words in him. He closed his eyes for a brief moment, gathering all the strength he could possibly muster. “You are the one. I want to do everything with you.”
Shock rippled across her face for a moment, before she suppressed it. He could see her struggling to find a reply.
“Never mind,” he rasped as he twisted the key in the ignition.
Backing away from the parking space, he navigated the other cars a little too fast. The entire way back to Londonderry he refused to look at Taylor, he did not want to see the pity, or worse, in her eyes.
What did he mean, she was the one? Did he not understand that there could never be more between them? He should not tell her things which would make her want to wish things were different. As it was, she had accepted her fate, and she believed, with all her heart, that if she let go of that acceptance she would crumple into a heap of despair. She had to hold onto her resolve, she had no choice.
Taylor gripped the edge of her seat when it looked as if he was not going to be able to stop in time behind the car in front of them. She gasped loudly and it pulled his attention back to her. Taylor was pale with fear.
“I am a good driver; I wouldn’t have hit him.” Daimhin resisted the urge to reach for her hand.
Taylor glanced at him, taking a big gulp of air. “It’s okay.”
Daimhin had the feeling she had more to say. Maybe she did not want to see him anymore after his idiotic admission. If that was the case, he would rather not know anyway.
When he stopped in front of her home, he stepped out of the car with her and walked her to the door.
“I am sorry about earlier. I don’t know what came over me.”
Sadness flickered in her eyes.
He should just stop talking. He was messing everything up. “I’ll see you later. I have a few things to do for work.”
“You work? How old are you, then?” He looked as old as her.
He smiled amusedly. “Eighteen. How old do I look?”
She grinned. “You look eighteen.”
“Damn, and here I thought I looked older and wiser.”
She laughed. “Sorry, but you don’t.”
He looked down at her. His look taking in every aspect of her. Her golden hair peeking out from the dark blue beanie on her head. Her eyes did not look as hollow as they were yesterday. With an effort, Daimhin turned away from her. “See you later, Taylor.” He flexed his hands to relax them.
Everything about her made him feel different. He wanted to pull her into his arms, to hold her, to contemplate the life inside of her, which he had to steal from her soon enough. Breathing her scent on the bus, feeling her against him, he did not want to be reminded that time was escaping them.
She stared at his back. With fear filling her every cell, she realized that suddenly, quickly, and without any warning, he seemed to permeate every corner of her existence. She felt as if he owned each breath she drew and exhaled.