Horse hoofs clicked on pavement as Rob sat next to his wife, Josephine. Her face brightened as the carriage turned the corner and entered a beautiful field of magnificent gardens. His love for her grew every second, but sadness had enveloped their lives the last few months. Even now, during one of their most romantic moments, he wanted to cry.
Her light blue eyes set deep in black circles and her face was ashen, but nothing could cover her beauty. Especially as the lowering sun bounced off her soft blonde curls, and a seductive smile was plastered on her face. Rob scooted closer and wrapped his arms around her.
She ran a hand through his short brown hair and kissed his lips. The softness of her touches subduing the sadness for only a moment. It was hard to live with the knowledge that she was dying, and he hadn’t left her side since she had been diagnosed with cancer. Filling her days with spontaneous adventures like this ride on a horse carriage around England, he would do anything to make the rest of her life special.
When she patted his knee and put her attention back on the peaceful surroundings, he could feel the excitement roll off her. Anticipation caused knots to form in his stomach as they got closer to their destination. This moment had to be perfect for his sweet angel. He reached up and covered her eyes before they rounded the last corner.
She tried to wiggle out of his hands, but Rob inched closer to her ear and whispered, “My love. We’re almost there, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Keep your eyes closed.”
Slowly lifting his hands to make sure she had complied, he halted the carriage and rushed to the back. He rummaged around and a glance back at Josephine made him smile.
She stood on the carriage with her eyes held shut and a wide grin on her face. The joyous chirps of birds suited his agenda well. The scenery was phenomenal. Two trees with dark pink blooms sat in the center of a meadow. These blooms also covered the ground, and in the middle, Rob had laid out a picnic.
Enveloping his wife with his massive arms, he savored every second of this time with her. “Keep your eyes shut.” He led her close to a blanket.
“One more second.” Rob stripped and laid down in the center of the two cherry blossoms.
“I don’t think I can wait any longer.” She started shifting on her feet.
“Okay, I’m ready. You can open them now.”
She stifled a giggle and hurried to his side. “It’s absolutely beautiful, but I don’t understand why you would lay in the middle of such a wonderful view naked. It ruined the whole thing.”
“Hey.” Rob pinned her under him. “At least I don’t have a huge, ugly freckle on my boob.”
They laughed then Rob kissed Josephine deeply. She moved into the kiss and struggled to remove her clothes. Soon, they enjoyed the dance that only lovers can make while the sun moved slowly over the horizon.
When finished, they both lay naked and watched the stars come out one by one. Josephine lay in the crook of Rob’s arm twiddling with a branch of cherry blossoms while Rob ran a finger down her arm.
She turned to face him. “This is so wonderful. Thanks for bringing me here.”
“I found this place a few years ago on that business trip I took. All I could think about was how the beauty reminded me of you. I knew I would bring you here one day, but I didn’t know it would be under these circumstances.” His mood sobered.
Silence surrounded them and Rob laid his head on hers. Tears threatened. He had to be strong for Josephine. How could he accept this tragedy that had befallen them?
“I’m going to miss the hell out of you.” Rob’s voice broke and wet drops fell onto his wife’s rosy cheeks. “I’ll be okay. I promise.” It was a lie. A heck of a lie. He doubted he’d ever be okay, but he had to make Josephine believe it so she could be happy in her final days.
She faced him and wiped away his tears. “I’ll still be with you Rob. Forever and always here.” She pointed to his heart.
“I know, but I don’t understand why nature chose to take you away from me. Of all the people in the world you are the one that gets this horrible disease.”
“I don’t know either.” She paused then gave him a long kiss. “I love you, and I wouldn’t have spent such a special moment with anyone else. You’ve made my last days here worth living.”
Looking down at the blooms in her hand, she slowly slid them into Rob’s hand. “Here take these and keep them to always remember the time we‘ve had here. The peacefulness of it, and the happiness. This is how I want you to always remember me.”
Rob took the small flowers in his hand and felt a thick wave of serenity come over him. Lying back, he finally was able to accept the fact of Josephine’s death and would make sure that every second he had with her would be just as special as today. He grasped her fragile fingers and looked out at the darkening sky.
This was entered into a writing contest on the Harlequin Forums. I didn’t place in the top, but it still was fun. You can find the entry, along with other great ones, at the link below