27 - Friendship Or Love
James clicked the replay button as soon as the next video ended. He has been playing it over and over for the past thirty minutes. He usually did that with this particular clip whenever he watched it.
It was undoubtedly his favorite. It was raw. There were no effects, no music and most of all, it was private. Sunshine gave it to him personally and never uploaded it to her video blog site.
It has been a while but James could still clearly remember when Sunshine handed it to him.
It was exactly a month after their wedding. After they celebrated with a simple dinner, James took Sunshine out to the porch where he carried her to lounge with him on the daybed.
As they cuddled while they watched the stars in the clear evening sky, she took out a small piece of paper and a USB flash drive from the pocket of her cardigan.
"For you, my dear. Happy 1st Month." She smiled.
"Happy 1st Month, Mrs. Faulkner. Should we have prepared gifts? I don't have one for you, my love." He grinned coyly and scratched the back of his head.
"Don't worry about it. Monthsaries don't need to be celebrated after the wedding. I just made that up so I can give this to you." She laughed.
With her back and head leaned against his chest, he circled his arms around her waist and kissed her temple before he unfolded the piece of paper.
It was her boyfriend bucket list with all the things they have done together already ticked but there was one item more at the end.
Say "I love you" while you sleep.
There was also a check mark beside it.
"What's this? Why is there one more?" He asked.
"Because it's a secret." She giggled. "I should do it alone. I didn't mean to but I realized I did it anyway without planning to."
"How did you do it? When?"
"Watch this. You'll know." She smiled as she got her phone from her side and played the video. "That's what's in the flash drive."
The video started with a few thuds and clicks as she set up the camera. Sunshine focused and zoomed in on James's sleeping face as he napped in his room in the Malden mansion one afternoon. He recognized from the shirt and shorts he was wearing that it was from when they got back after a random trip to visit his family for the first time.
She snickered as she zoomed in and out of his face, intending to make a little prank video while he dozed off.
Sunshine then appeared on screen and sat on the floor beside his bed with baby powder, eyeliner and lipstick on hand. By the mischievous look on her face, she had every intention of turning his handsome face into a mural.
She was about to draw on his cheek with the lipstick but stopped when she heard him whisper.
"Shine..." She carefully drew her hand back and listened. "Come here. Let me wipe your back. It's sweaty. It will be bad for you if the sweat dries up on your back. Have you eaten? Are you hungry?", he mumbled in his sleep.
She quietly smiled as she watched him sleep then with her forefinger, very close to but not touching his skin, started to slowly trace a line from his forehead down the bridge of his nose to his lips. She sighed as tears began to trickle down the side of her face.
"Oh, James, what am I to do with you?" She whispered. "Why do you have to be so nice and sweet and kind and thoughtful and chivalrous and caring and so god damned handsome all the time?"
Sunshine bit her lip and placed the items in her hands on the carpeted floor.
"Why did you have to make it hard for me? This was supposed to be just fun. Something fun to do with my life before I left. It wasn't supposed to be this way. I shouldn't be feeling things like this. I shouldn't be afraid to leave you. I shouldn't... I should not have fallen in love with you." She sobbed.
"This is your fault. It's all your fault, James. You're too nice. It's annoying. I hate you! I hate you..."
She paused and sighed as she closed her eyes. She took a slow deep breath then quietly stared at him again. Before she knew it, she slowly leaned towards him and gently kissed his forehead then touched her forehead on it.
"I love you, James," she whispered in a voice as soft as feathers.
She bit her lip to stifle her sobs as silent tears fell from her eyes. Moments later. She got up, walked to the camera and stopped recording.
"My love..." He sobbed and pulled her closer as he nuzzled in her hair and cried quietly.
She let him. He needed it. He has always been strong for her because of his promise to be her beacon of hope even though she saw the fear in his eyes everyday as they were faced with the reality of the inevitable. She was slowly wilting away as her pregnancy progressed.
"I guess during our dance in the rain, I realized I will eventually have to choose if our relationship would be, friendship or love because I had developed feelings for you then. It's a waste of a perfectly handsome guy I danced with if I don't make him my boyfriend." She chuckled to lighten up his mood.
He laughed as he wiped his tears away. "It's a relief that you thought that way because it was torture to keep hiding my feelings for you," he said.
"Damn feelings! They're the worst, right?", she giggled. "Tell me, my darling. When did you have hidden desires towards me?" She smirked at him and wiggled her eyebrows.
He chuckled as he helped her roll to her side so they laid down facing each other.
"Hmmm... I never thought that we could be just friends. I went from "looking forward to meet my first patient" to "She's the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. I want to be with her, love her and take care of her for the rest of my life" in a second but you laid out that deal so I had to hold back." He grinned and they both laughed.
As the cool ocean breeze blew and the stars shone brightly above them, James and Sunshine spent the rest of the evening chatting and laughing and looking back on their happy memories while hoping for many more years to create new ones.