posted on 25-Mar-2002 11:15:41 PM
Here we go! K *happy*

Part 44C

“Thank you so much for having us today,” Melanie says as we embrace.

It’s almost 7:00 and after a day of splashing around in the pool and stuffing ourselves silly with barbecue, hamburgers, and hot dogs (courtesy of Michael, of course), the day is almost officially over.

“It was no problem. We should do this again. Soon,” I add with a smile on my face.
“Yes, we should. Kelly, where is your brother at?” Melanie asks her daughter.
“I don’t know. He was with— oh there he is,” Kelly answers.

The three of us turn our heads and sure enough, we see Zan, Jonah and Blue approaching us. Only Jonah is not alive to the conscious world. Zan has Jonah wrapped in a towel and is carrying him, with his head carefully propped on Zan’s left shoulder. Zan’s arms are carefully wrapped around his body as to not let him slip or fall, and Blue is trotting after them slowly. I guess Blue is tired, too. Just before they reach us, Zan places a small kiss on Jonah’s forehead and at this point, my heart literally almost stops. I shoot a look across the way to Maria, who shoots me a knowing look back.

“Looks like somebody is worn out,” Zan smiles at Melanie.
“I’ll say.” Melanie gently shakes Jonah’s arm and strokes his face in an effort to wake her son, but to no avail. Jonah is officially down for the count.
“Does he usually sleep this hard?” I ask her, and she shakes her head.
“Not at all. If I sneeze or cough in a different room, he’s up trying to check on me. He used to sleep hard like this when his father was alive, but ever since he died…” Melanie trails off as she absently begins to stroke Kelly’s hair.

“Well, I just wanted to say thank you guys for coming today. It really means a lot to me,” Zan says softly while rubbing Jonah’s back.
“It was no problem, really. If you couldn’t already tell, my son adores you.”
“That’s good to know since I’m pretty fond of your son,” Zan whispers and we all giggle. “Come on, I’ll help you put Mr. Sleepy and the rest of your stuff in the car.”
“Bye, Jonah,” I whisper in his ear and then kiss his little cheek. “I’ll see you guys later,” I direct to Melanie and Kelly and then wave goodbye. They wave back and then start in the direction of their car.

*******

“So what are we doing now? It’s only…” Maria glances at her watch. “A quarter until 8.”
“I don’t know, what do you guys feel like doing?” I ask.

Zan and I are lying on together on opposite ends of the couch while Maria is sitting on Michael’s lap on the floor. Alex and Lisa…well let’s just say that they are otherwise occupied. Alex is sitting with his back propped up against the wall. He has Lisa securely tucked in between his legs with his arms wrapped loosely around her middle. Lisa has long since let her hair down, and it is currently hanging in such a way that no one can see her face. Maybe that’s a good thing since Alex keeps whispering in her ear, and instead of responding with intelligible words, she profusely giggles. I smile at Maria, and a devilish grin stretches across her face.

“So Lisa, what do you feel like doing?” Maria asks.
“Alex. Huh, what?” She looks up at the four of us, and immediately begins to blush.
“Now that we have your attention,” I giggle, ”what do you guys want to do? The night is still young.”

Lisa looks at Alex, and Alex looks at Lisa. As if by some mystical form of telekinesis, they both stand up, grab their stuff, and head to the front door.

“See you guys later,” Alex calls as he pulls Lisa out the door.
“Bye,” Lisa whispers shyly. She’s almost out the door when Maria calls her name. She turns to face us with expectant eyes.
“Soooommme Daaaayyyy, my prince will come,” Maria sings and smiles at her. Lisa begins to giggle wildly and all but runs out of Zan’s apartment.

“Okay, what the hell was that about?” Michael asks while Maria and I laugh hysterically.
“I don’t know, but if Alex screws over my secretary, his ass is mine,” Zan answers.
“And aren’t you cute when you’re being protective,” I tease.
“I’ll have you know I’m cute when I do a lot of things,” he replies as he crawls to down to my end of the couch.
“Oh yeah? Like what?”
“Well, when I do this.” He tickles the underside of my foot briefly. “And when I do this.” He lifts my right foot and kisses my toes. “I’m cute when I do this, too.” He lets his tongue dip into my navel, to which I squeal in delight, and kisses my tummy. “And I’m really cute when I do this.” He lays his body prostrate on top of mine and begins to nip and suck at the side of my neck and my collarbone. Of their own volition, my arms and legs snake around his neck and waist, respectively. If I could just pull him a little closer…

“Whoa! What the hell is going on here!” Maria exclaims. Zan and I glance at each other sheepishly, then chance a look at Maria and Michael. Maria’s mouth is hanging open slightly in the shape of an “O”, and her eyes are bucking out her head as if she honestly can’t believe what she’s seeing. Michael, on the other hand, is wearing that patented smirk that only Michael could wear.

“God Zan, if you wanted us to leave, all you had to do is say so,” he laughs.
“Man, it’s not even like that,” Zan begins.
“Oh, but I think it is,” he continues to laugh. “And Liz, I’m shocked at you.”
“Shut up, Michael,” I blush.
“So this is how you treat your guests, Zan. Invite them over for a day of fun in the sun, and then treat them to a free show of hot monkey love,” Maria giggles.
“Maria.”
“No, no. It’s okay, Michael and I can take a hint, can’t we, Michael?” She winks at her boyfriend.
“Yeah, we can,” he smiles and they both get up to leave.
“But you guys, we can still—“ I begin but Maria cuts me off.
“Bye Liz! Bye Zan!” She ushers Michael out of the apartment and slams the door.

Silence.

“So what do you want to do now?” I inquire of Zan as I gaze up into his eyes. He’s still lying on top of me, and I have yet to unwrap my legs from around his waist.
“Since it looks like we’re all alone, I was hoping that I could finish showing you how cute I can be,” he winks at me and smiles.
“By all means, continue.”

This is all the encouragement Zan needs, because faster than I can say “the unicorns are afoot” his lips have descended upon mine and the passion that our previous actions had ignited are back in full force. That is until the telephone rings.

“Sweets?”
“Go ahead, but make it quick,” I warn. With a final peck to my lips, Zan rolls off me, and picks up the phone.

“Hello? Oh, hi. Yeah. No. Um, not sure. Hold on a second.” He pushes the hold button on the cordless and then looks at me. “I’mma take this in the other room. I’ll be back, sweets.”
“Okay,” I answer somewhat confused. He kisses my forehead and evacuates the premises, rather quickly I might add.

Okay, now what the hell was that about? One minute we’re hot and heavy on the couch, the next he’s playing secret agent man. I sit on the couch for a minute longer, and then I begin my own secret agent mission.

“No, I couldn’t do it today, too many people around.” Pause. “I don’t know what to do or say. I don’t know how she’s going to take it.”

She? Take what? Is he talking about me and who the hell is he talking to?

“You know I love Liz with all my heart, but I just don’t know.” Pause. “She has no idea…no. I’m so confused.” Pause and a laugh. “Yeah…yeah. Well I need to do this soon, because I can’t live like this anymore.”

Live like what? Is Zan unhappy with us and just doesn’t want to tell me? Moisture has spilled over from my eyes and is slowly making its way down my cheeks.

“Okay, well I gotta go, don’t want her to walk in and find out about this.” He laughs.

Too late, Zan.

“I love you, too. Bye.”

I scurry down the hall as quickly and quietly as possible, and then fling myself face down on the couch. As much as I want to cry, I don’t because if I do he’ll know I heard his conversation. Right now, that’s something I really don’t want to deal with. I don’t have all the facts, but one thing does seem obvious: Zan has another woman on the side.

“Hope I wasn’t gone too long,” Zan suddenly whispers in my ear. I don’t even jump at his presence, I just continue to lay face down on the couch.

“Liz? You alright, babe?”
“Not really, Zan. Suddenly, I don’t feel so hot,” I tell him. At least I’m being honest. Zan pulls me into his lap and peers into my face.
“You want me to make you some soup or tea? You need some Pepto Bismol?” I shake my head.
“I think I just want to lay down and go to sleep,” I answer. “I think the day finally caught up with me.”

I stand up and make my way to the bathroom. Once there, I turn on the shower and strip off my jean shorts and bikini. It’s not until I’m in the shower that the tears begin to fall. I can’t believe that after everything Zan and I went through, he would step out on me. What’s worse, he acts as if nothing is even wrong. The bastard.

‘Sweets, you alright in there?’
‘Uh, yeah. I just dropped the shower gel bottle on my foot.’
‘You sure?’
‘Yeah.’

I step out the shower, dry off, and throw on an oversized T-shirt. When I get to the bedroom, I see that Zan has already stripped down and is in the bed.

“Come ‘ere, sweets,” he says softly. I walk to his side of the bed and sit on top of the comforter.
“Yes, Zan?”
“Are you sure everything is okay?”
“Yes.”
“How are you feeling? Any better?”
“The shower helped a little, I guess…”
“But you’re not 100% are you?” When I shake my head, he makes me stand and raises the covers so I can slide in next to him. My body gravitates towards his and before I can fully assess what’s going on, I am laying flush on top of him. He strokes my hair as he speaks.

“You know I love you, right?”
“Uh huh.” Do you really, Zan?”
“And that I would never hurt you?”
“Yes.” No.
“Okay.” He continues to stroke my hair. “Just rest, baby. Everything will be better in the morning.”

I wish I could believe that.


[ edited 3 time(s), last at 8-Apr-2002 3:14:47 AM ]
posted on 27-Mar-2002 1:58:30 AM
bump so can find it later on tonight
posted on 27-Mar-2002 3:10:31 AM
It's late so if there are any grammatical errors, I apologize. Kim

Part 45
September 17, 2005

For the past two weeks I’ve been walking around with a ball of anxiety the size of a watermelon pitted in my stomach. It’s like any second now, the worst is going to happen and my world is going o crumble right in front of me. I think I’m still in shock that Zan is cheating on me, to tell the truth. There’s a part of me that wants to believe that Zan would never, ever in life do anything to hurt me and that my imagination is just working overtime. But the phone call was real. Zan saying he couldn’t live this way anymore is real. Zan expressing his love for me as well as uncertainty about us is real as well.

“Fuck this,” I mumble and begin to gather my books from the library table. For the past 45 minutes I haven’t been studying; I’ve been sitting here obsessing over Zan’s infidelity. After gathering my things, I exit the library and begin the short walk to my dorm room.

I think what boggles my mind the most is the way Zan’s been acting for the past two weeks. It’s almost as if nothing has changed for him. He’s still loving, attentive, caring, and passionate, which for the life of me I can not understand. What’s worse is our lovemaking. In the past two weeks, I’d say we’ve made love about 30 times, and every time we do, it gets more spectacular than the time before. I want to be upset and at least deny him entrance to my body, but all he has to do is whisper my name, or let his fingers dance lightly over my stomach, or just smile at me, and all my defenses are down. See, this is what I don’t understand: how is it that Zan can love me as thoroughly and completely as he does if he’s cheating on me?

I’m so wrapped up in my thoughts that I barely notice the people I run into on the walkway. Or should I say the chest I run into.

“Excuse me, I’m sorry,” I apologize and look into my victim’s face. Well, I’ll be damned. “Hey, Max,” I giggle.
“Hey to you, too,” he smiles. “How have you been?”
“Good, good. Just trying to graduate,” I say and he nods in understanding. “How’s everything going for you?”
“Great. Things are really looking up for me,” he replies with a smile on his face. I look to the left and that’s when I see her. “Liz, I want you to meet my girlfriend, Veronica.”

Veronica is about two or three inches taller than me, and has the most flawless skin I’ve ever seen. Her grayish blue eyes are sparkling as she looks at Max, and the smile on her lips is beautifully genuine. Veronica’s wavy, sandy brown hair nicely compliments her tan skin as well as her statuesque body.

“Oh my God, where are my manners! My name is Liz, it’s nice to meet you,” I introduce and hold my hand out to her.
“It’s nice to meet you, too, Liz. I’ve heard a lot about you,” she replies as she shakes my hand.
“All good, I hope.”
“But of course.” We share a smile.
“So how is Zan?” Max asks. A thin veil of concern slides over his eyes.
“Really good,” I answer. ‘Except I think he may be cheating on me.’
“That’s great,” he says sincerely, and for the first time in years peace exudes from his entire being.
“Yeah.” We’re all silent for a moment. “Well, I have to run. Turner’s homework is calling me.”
“Ouch. That man is a tyrant,” Veronica sympathizes.
“Tell me about it. Hey, maybe one day we can get together and all go to lunch,” I suggest.
“I’d like that,” Max states and Veronica nods. “I’ll call you.”
“Okay, see you guys later. Nice to meet you, Veronica,” I call as I wave and begin once again in the direction of my dorm room.

********

“Thank you for calling Alexander Evans’ office,” Lisa politely answers the phone.
“Lisa, it’s Liz. What’s up?”
“Hey! How are things? Boss Man isn’t here right now, he’s at lunch.”

With who, I wonder.

“I actually called to speak to you.” Silence. “Lisa?”
“I’m here, what’s up?”
“I need to ask you something. About Zan.”
“Okay, shoot.” I take a deep breath and clutch the phone a little tighter before I begin.
“Has Zan…do you know if Zan might be involved with someone at the office?” I whisper fearfully.
“What?!?”
“Do you think it’s possible that maybe…”
“Liz, what kind of crack have you been smoking? It must be really good if you think Zan would cheat on you.”
“I wish I could believe that,” I sniffle.
“What happened to make you think this? What’s wrong?”

After many sighs, pauses and tears, I am finally able to tell Lisa about the conversation I “overheard” two weeks ago. When I finish, both Lisa and I sit in silence on the phone.

“He’s not cheating on you, Liz,” she finally states. “I don’t know what’s in his mind, but I don’t think that there’s another woman involved.”
“How can you be so sure when I’m not?”
“How’s the sex?” she suddenly asks.
“What?”
“I assume that you guys have been having sex these past two weeks.” When I’m silent she continues. “Has he been holding back from you when you guys make love?”
“Not at all.”
“Has he been acting any different, other than leaving the room to have that one conversation?”
“No.”
“Okay then. I suggest that you calm down, and clear your mind of these silly thoughts. Zan loves you in such a way that other women would kill for just a teaspoon of the love he feels for you. Don’t you know that?”
“Well yeah, but—“
“Okay, case is closed. He loves you, you love him. It’s settled, you are the only one for him.”
“Lisa, how do you know all this?”
“The man was kissing the pictures again before he went to lunch today,” she giggles and after a moment I burst out laughing with her.
“So I have nothing to worry about?” I inquire after my laughter settles.
“Liz.”
“Okay, okay. Sorry for bugging you with my bout of insecurity. I’ll let you go back to work now.”
“Hey, what are friends for?” I can’t help but smile at her comment.
“Thanks, Lisa. Bye.”
“Later, Liz.”

I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep assuming the worst about Zan and our relationship every time something happens that I don’t quite understand. My insecurities are just that, mine. I have to stop reflecting my issues on Zan, and everyone else for that matter, if we are going to work out. This may be the third time I’ve had this talk with myself, but hey, the third time is the charm.

A knock on the door shakes me from my mental ramblings. I get up and fling the door open without looking through the peephole since I already know who’s on the other side.

“Hey you,” I smile at Zan as he walks through the door.
“Hey.” He walks in and flops down on the couch.
“What is this? No hug, no kiss? Where’s my sugar?” I joke as I throw my hands in the air.
“Come ‘ere.” I walk over to him and as soon as I get within three feet of him, he grabs me and pulls me into his lap. My legs wrap around his waist and my arms encircle his neck. Zan lets his head fall into my chest as he wraps his arms around my waist and just holds me.

“Rough day at work?” I ask and then deposit a kiss on the top of his head.
“Kinda,” he mumbles into my neck. After a moment of silence, Zan looks into my eyes and draws my face closer to his for a tender kiss. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, Zan.”

Silence.

“We need to talk. Here, sit with me,” he says as he pats the couch cushion next to him. I rise off his lap and sit down on the couch with my body turned towards him. Zan is holding my hands and about to speak, but my paranoia surfaces and I cut him off before he even opens his mouth.

“Are you seeing someone else? Are you going to leave me for another woman? Is that what this is about?” I blurt out, and regret fills me the moment the words leave my mouth. A look of pure shock settles across Zan’s face.
“What? No, Liz! I’m not trying to break up with you, where’d you get that from?” he asks confused.
“Labor Day night when you were on the phone, I heard you telling some woman that you couldn’t live like this with me anymore and that you loved her.” Why am I queasy suddenly?

Zan lowers his head to the floor and begins to chuckle. Soon his chuckles turn to laughter, and shortly after that his laughter becomes loud, uncontrollable guffaws. When he lifts his head, tears are streaming down his face and his cheeks are rosy.

“Liz,” he starts slowly, “the other woman on the phone that you’re worried about…it was my mother,” he states and begins to laugh again.
“Your— oh,” I finish weakly. It is now official, I am the weakest link.

“So you mean to tell me that for the past two weeks you’ve been spazzing, because you thought I was seeing someone else behind your back?”
“Um, yeah,” I whisper sheepishly. If there was an award for the dumbest person alive…
“Sweets, come here,” he commands and pulls me into his lap once again. “We’re going to try this one more time okay? I love you, and I am not going anywhere. I belong to you and no one else, there is nowhere else that I’d rather be than with you. You’re it for me, sweets. My one and only. Okay?” His amber eyes probe mine and I nod affirmatively. “Now that we’ve got that out the way, there’s still something I need to talk to you about.”
“Okay.”
“Three weeks ago, I got promoted to Vice President of the company,” he practically whispers.

“Oh my God, Zan! Why are you just now telling me? This is so wonderful! Baby, I am so proud of you!” I exclaim as I hug him close to my body and attack him with kisses. It’s not until I calm down that I notice Zan is sitting completely still. “Zan? What’s wrong?”
“If I take the promotion, they are going to transfer me…to the office I helped set up in California.”

I stand up and begin to pace around my living room. Just stay clam, Liz. Keep it together.

“So what exactly does this promotion entail?” I ask in an eerily calm voice.
“I’d be making about five times what I make now, more stock options, more benefits, company car, a house, and about two or three more months of vacation time. I’d also get my own pick of staff, which means I’d be able to take whoever I wanted with me from the New York office to California.” He’s hunched over his knees, staring intently at his hands.

“So Lisa would be going with you?”
“If she wanted to come, yeah. Hadn’t really thought about it, though.”
“Okay.” I resume my pacing across the floor and begin to crack my knuckles. “When would you have to leave if you took the promotion?”

Zan continues to stare at his hands.

“Zan?”
“At the beginning of next month.” My pacing ceases and I all but fall to the floor.

“That’s less than a month from now,” I gasp.
“I know,” he says and finally looks at me. Tears have spilled from his eyes and are coursing down his cheeks. I quickly walk over to him and settle on my knees.
“Baby, talk to me please. What’s going on in here?” I ask as I gently touch his head.

“This is what I want. I have worked for this so long, and now it’s finally here. But I don’t want to leave you, I can’t leave you. I need you too much in my life,” he sighs.
“No matter what happens you’ll always have me, we’ll always be together,” I say with my own tears in my eyes. “I could always come with you.”
“No, you can’t. You have to go to school and graduate. I won’t let you quit school just to follow me.” He pauses for a second. “I just won’t go.”
“Zan, you can’t do that! If you won’t let me give up on my dreams then I’m not going to let you give up on yours. We just need to take some time and think about this.” Running my hands through my hair, I lower my head and begin to sob. “What are we gonna do, Zan?”
“I don’t know, sweets. I don’t know.”

posted on 29-Mar-2002 2:33:35 AM
Let's continue, shall we? K *happy*

Part 45B
October 4, 2005

“You feel up to going out tonight?” Zan asks. He’s at work, and I’m sitting in my dorm room, sulking.
“I guess, anything is better than packing. What did you have in mind?”
“Dinner and then some.”
“And what is this ‘and then some’?”
“I guess you’ll just have to come out with me and find out, won’t you?” he gently teases.
“Zan.”
“Please, sweets? Do it for me,” he coaxes and I swear I can almost see him making puppy dog eyes through the phone lines.
“Okay, Zan,” I sigh. “Anything in particular that I should wear?”
“The leather pants and that top with the stringy thingies.”
“Stringy thingies? Oh, you mean the halter top,” I giggle.
“Yes, the halter top.”

Silence.

“Babe, you okay?”
“I have no other choice, but to be okay, Zan.”
“Sweets, what do you want me to do? How can I make the situation better? Do you want me to give up the promotion, because for you I would.”
“No, Zan, you can’t do that. Look, don’t worry about me, I’ll be okay. Let’s just go out tonight, and have a good time, okay?”
“Are you sure? We can stay in if you want, and just—“
“No, I want to go out. It’ll be fun,” I say trying to convince him and myself.
“I you say so.”
“I do. I’ll see you later, okay?”
“Okay. I love you, Liz.”
“Love you, too.”

I hang up the phone and sigh for the millionth time today, as I look around my dorm at all the boxes and crates that litter my floor. Though my move will not be as drastic as Zan’s, it’s been quite worrisome nonetheless. I swear, the past few weeks have been a blur. After many days and nights of arduous decision making, we finally decided that the best thing to do in this situation was for Zan to accept the promotion, even though it’s carrying him all the way across the damn country. Since the lease on Zan’s apartment is paid up until June of next year, I’m moving in over there, and he’s leaving me the Honda as well. The refund I’m getting from the school’s housing department is going to come in handy since I have every intention of flying out to see Zan whenever possible.

Not that I begrudge her happiness, but I think that Lisa benefited from this whole transfer situation more than anyone else. She had already been planning to move to southern California since she’s been accepted into the Spring of 2006 class for USC Film School. The fact that Alex is about to graduate from Berkeley in two months and was offered the job at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter on sweetened the deal. I know that her heart’s desire is to be with Alex, and it looks like all her dreams are starting to come true.

It’s not that I’m not happy for Lisa, because from the bottom of my heart I really am. It’s just that…I’m the one that’s losing here. Zan and I have faced so many obstacles and we’ve overcome them, but still they’re obstacles nonetheless. If this were only my sophomore or junior year of college, I would try to transfer to UCLA or USC or some other school, but since this is my senior year and I’m about to graduate, I have no choice but to stay here and stick it out. Alone. For seven months.

“It won’t be that bad, sweets,” Zan told me the night we made the decision. “With all this extra money and vacation time they’re giving me, I’ll be able to fly out all the time.”
“It’s not going to be the same,” I sobbed in his arms. “Who’s going to keep me warm at night if you’re gone?”
“We won’t be apart for that long. These next few months are gonna fly by, just wait and see.”
“But Zan—“
“We are gonna make it, okay? We’ve been through so much worse than this, and we’ll be just fine. I love you too much for things to just fall apart and not be okay,” he whispered in my ear as he held me. We sat in silence for a moment before I spoke again.
“Zan, will you be at my graduation?” I asked quietly.
“I’ll be there with bells on.”
“What kind of bells?”
“Any kind of bells you want.”
“Jingle bells?” I smiled at him.
“Consider it done,” he smiled back…

“Zan, where are we going?” I inquire as he maneuvers the Honda through traffic. We just finished stuffing ourselves on Indian food, and now we’re on our way to this “mystery” location. The truth is, I’m so sleepy that all I want to do is climb into my box covered bed and pass out.

“We’ll be there soon enough,” is all he says.

Twenty minutes later we pull up in front of a building that I know I’ve seen before. There’s a gigantic line wrapped around the building, but as usual Zan leads me to the front and after talking to the bouncer for a couple of moments, we walk in. It’s not until we’re inside that I finally recognize where I am. Club Indigo.

“In a couple of days, it will be a year since the first time I ever laid eyes on you. I won’t be here when the actual day rolls around, but I wanted you to know I hadn’t forgotten and that I thank God for that day every night before I fall asleep, because it brought me you. It’s a little early, but happy anniversary, sweets,” he whispers in my ear and then pulls back to look into my eyes.

“I love you so much,” I say as tears run down my face. Zan brushes them away with the pads of his thumbs and gently kisses me.
“Not half as much as I adore you.” He kisses me again and pulls me into his arms. “Tonight is all about us. Anything you want, I’ll make it happen, sweets.”
“Make me forget that you’re leaving in two days, then. I don’t want to think about two days from now, or even seven months from now. I don’t even want to think about tomorrow. I want to be here with you, right now, in this very moment for the rest of the night,” I reply seriously.

“Done.” Zan pulls me to the dance floor, and that’s where we stay until the dawn of the morning.

posted on 8-Apr-2002 3:13:13 AM
Here's the next part. It's going to start moving fast after this. Love ya, Kim *happy*

Part 45C
October 6, 2005

“What time is it?”
“7:15.”
“What time do we have to get up and start getting ready?”
“7:45.”
“Okay.”

Zan and I are lying in the bed, our limbs tangled together. Today is the day we’ve been dreading, Zan is going to California in just a few short hours. I don’t know how I’m going to live without him, but I’m damn sure going to try. This job is Zan’s dream and as much as I want to be selfish and make him stay with me, I’ve got to let him go so he can fulfill his destiny. I know that if the shoe were on the other foot, he would do the same for me. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I’m going to at least try to be supportive in this situation.

“Penny for your thought.”
“That’s an insult, I want at least a quarter,” he teases and I smile into his chest.
“Deal. Now what are you thinking about?”
“Honestly?”
“Yes.”
“The first time we made love.” His right hand is threaded in my hair and his left is wrapped loosely around my waist.
“Really. And exactly what is it about our first time hat you were thinking about?”
“All those damn scratches on my arms and back,” he smiles down at me and I have to laugh. “Swear, it was like having sex with a cougar or wild bear.”
“Hey! If I remember correctly, I woke up with a couple of scratches and bite marks of my own,” I giggle. “God, I think about that night sometimes, and it’s enough to give me chills. That night was just so…”
“Perfect.” We lay in silence and just let our thoughts consume us.

“Don’t worry, sweets. We’ll have nights like that again. Sooner than you think,” he quickly adds.
“I know. It’s just I’m going to miss you while you’re gone.”
“You got any idea how much I’m going to miss you?”
“Well, if last night was any indication…” I smile up at him.
“Last night wasn’t even a fifth of how much I’mma miss you.”

Silence.

“Did you call Jonah?”
“Yeah.”
“How’d he take the news?”
“Pretty good, actually. I told him the next time I came back I would bring him something, and he was okay after that.”
“You should be ashamed of yourself, bribing him like that,” I kid.
“I wouldn’t call it a bribe exactly, sweets.”
“What would you call it, then?”
“An incentive to be good until I get back.”
“Is that right, Zan?” I giggle.
“Yep,” he sighs.

Silence.

“What time is it now?”
“7:36.”
“Okay.” His hold on me becomes a little tighter, and he begins to gently place chaste kisses on my forehead. “I love you.”
“I know.”
“I may be moving across the country, but I belong to you. Heart, spirit, and mind.” At his words, I snuggle closer into his chest and just allow myself to be overcome by his scent, his touch. I won’t cry, I want to, but I won’t do it.

“We can’t lay here forever, Zan.”
I wish we could, though.”
“We can’t fight the inevitable. We’ll have to get up soon enough.”
“I know, babe.”
“We’re doing the right thing, you know that don’t you?”
“I know.” He sighs and buries his head into my hair. “What time is it now?”
“7:43.”
“Come on, let’s go take a shower.”

My body feels like lead as I roll over and let my legs hang off the side of the bed. My spirit, heart, and soul all share in the heaviness that my body is going through. Zan must understand what is going on inside me, because once he has vacated the bed he walks over to my side, picks me up, and carries me into the bathroom. My legs involuntarily wrap themselves around his waist and I bury my face in the side of his neck. He deposits me on the floor and begins to undress us, all the while in silence.

It’s not that I didn’t know this day was coming, it’s the fact that this day came so quickly that’s flooring me. My man isn’t leaving me, but he is going away. Even as Zan is scrubbing my body and washing my hair, my mind is wandering farther and farther away. I should be in the here and now enjoying the last few moments that we have together, but my ever-pondering mind is working overtime. How am I going to get through a single day, let alone a multitude of days, without his smile, his touch, the sound of his voice? Zan is my sun, moon, and stars; he’s the perfect drug, the many nights I have spent high off the ecstasy he provides me is proof of that. I don’t want to be pathetic, but I need Zan in my life, tangible and present. I love him, what else can I say?

‘You’ll get through this, because you are strong. You’re the strongest person I know.’ Zan has removed us from the shower, and is now gazing intensely at me as he dries me off. I bow my head into his chest and wrap my arms around his towel-clad waist.
‘We’ll be okay. We’re going to get through this.’ I kiss his chest and smile up at him.

*******

“So I guess this is it,” I whisper into Zan’s chest. We’re standing in the middle of JFK International wrapped in each other’s arms. It’s time.
“This isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning,” he whispers back. “This is for us, Liz. You and me. I’ll get everything established in California, you’ll graduate, and then I’ll come back and get you. My word is my bond, babe.”
“I love you, Zan.”

I’ve said this phrase about 300 times over the last two days, but…I just don’t know what else to say to let him know the true depth of my emotions. The pain of the realization of Zan’s departure has fully hit me, and now it feels like I’m unraveling at the seams.

“This isn’t goodbye, sweets. No by a long shot,” he continues as he wipes the tears from my eyes with the pads of his thumbs. “It’s only see you later.”
“Did you really mean what you said? About me being the strongest person you know?”
“Yes.”

“Last call for flight 240 on Delta Air from New York to Los Angeles,” a voice calls over the loud speaker.

Not another word is spoken between Zan and I. Instead, he steps forward, grabs my face in both his hands, and kisses me, so intensely to the point that our connection flares and comes alive.

*FLASH*
Zan and I dancing at Club Indigo the first night we met.

*FLASH*
Zan and I dancing in the snow the first time I told him I loved him.

*FLASH*
Zan stroking my hair as we lay by the lake on our trip to Roswell.

*FLASH*
The lovemaking that occurred after Zan and I finally made up.

*FLASH*
Zan and I lounging in the bathtub, laughing.

*FLASH*
Zan gazing lovingly at me while I sleep.

As our connection fades, Zan and I stand together and gaze into each other’s eyes. No words need to be spoken, everything that needs to be expressed has been. I run my hands along his face, willing myself to memorize every line, every piece of facial hair, every part of him that is so uniquely Zan. His eyes close, and he exhales deeply. Smiling slightly, I let my fingers linger over his eyebrow ring and then stroke his cheeks with my thumbs.

“Come on, you’ve got a plane to catch.”

Placing my hand in his, I take the lead and we begin the long walk towards Zan’s destination. When we finally get there, Zan hands the attendant his boarding pass, and then turns to face me for the last time.

“I love you, so very much.”
“I love you, too.”

Zan sighs and kisses my fingers.

“See you later, alligator,” he smiles.
“After while, crocodile,” I reply and kiss him one last time.

Zan picks up his carry on bag, and begins to walk down the runway. I watch until he disappears into the tunnel, and just as I think I’m about to come undone, something surprising happens: I don’t. After standing by the window and watching Zan’s plane safely take off, I sit down in a nearby chair and close my eyes. Zan may be gone, but he’s coming back for me.

Everything is going to be just fine.