Mack stood at the window and gazed across the field. The sun had broken through the clouds and cast an almost angelic glow upon the waving grass. He wished he had his camera with him so he could capture the moment forever, but it had been broken three weeks ago when—
He turned and his heart skipped a beat as Aaron walked into the room. Even after all this time the mere sight of him still made Mack’s pulse quicken and his breath hitch in his throat.
“Hey yourself,” Mack replied softly, watching as Aaron lowered his muscled frame into the chair, his gaze downcast, avoiding looking directly at Mack.
He knew this was hard for Aaron. How could it not be? It wasn’t exactly easy for him either. But there was no other choice. The decision had already been made—this was the only way it could end.
“I'm sorry about last night,” Aaron's mumbled, lips curved in a rueful smile. “You always said I was the mature one—not. I guess I’ve proved you right in more ways than one over the last few weeks.”
“This is so hard, man.” Aaron cut him off. “I wish you’d just tell me what I'm supposed to say.” He ran a hand through his hair, which looked as though it could do with a wash and Mack frowned as he noted Aaron still wore yesterday's clothes. Not that he would say anything. After all, wasn’t he the cause of Aaron’s pain?
“We both know this is the right thing, the only thing to do,” Mack murmured. He wanted to kiss him so badly but knew he couldn't, not now.
Aaron clasped his hands together between his knees and his hazel eyes filled with tears. His voice cracked when he began to speak and the sound of it broke Mack’s heart.
“I know this is the right thing, I do,” Aaron said, throat thick with emotion he could no longer hold back. “But I thought we were gonna make it, you know? We were supposed to be together forever.”
“Me too,” Mack whispered. “But we can't… not now.” Mack laid his cheek against the top of Aaron's head and his heart swelled as Aaron leaned into his touch. They stayed like that for a few minutes then Mack took a deep breath and moved away, back to the window.
“Come on, Al,” Mack urged. “It’s all on you now. You can do this.”
The tears ran freely down Aaron’s face but Mack felt a surge of pride as Aaron stood up and squared his shoulders before he closed the distance between them.
Oh God. This is it. We're really gonna do this. It was hard to swallow past the lump in his own throat at Aaron’s approach.
“I will always love you.”Aaron took his hand and bent to press a tender kiss to Mack’s lips.
“And I you,” Mack whispered, blinking back the tears.
He watched the scene from the window as Aaron sank back onto the plastic hospital chair, his shoulders shaking with the force of his grief. Mack watched as his and Aaron's families filed slowly into the room, the doctor close behind them.
Mack stared at himself in the bed—wishing he could feel Aaron's fingers on his as the doctor turned off the machine that had kept his heart pumping since the accident three weeks ago. When it was done the doctor silenced the continuous beep and Mack’s stomach tightened at the weight of the hand on his shoulder. But his fear was short-lived when he was soothed by the gentle voice and soft smile of the elderly woman beside him as she took his hand. He cast one more glance at Aaron and felt their love wash through him.
One day they’d meet again, but now it was his time to say goodbye.