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Despite the pictures that were now decorating the walls of David's house and the sunlight pouring through the windows, there was an air of dullness and lifelessness. I immediately noticed there was no sign of Sofie, and it added to the weight on my heart.

"I hope you don't hate me for keeping it from you," David apologized to me.

I looked at him, wiping my tears but it was no use. They just came back and kept falling. "I could never hate you. And this isn't your fault, David; don't apologize for any of this." I slowly sat down on the couch, clasping my hands together. "Have you told your family?"

He appeared very conflicted when I posed my question then he joined me on the couch. "How do I tell my own parents about this?"

"You have to." I grabbed his hand, rubbing it gently. "You can't do this alone. You said you've known for months now? And you've kept it to yourself... you need support." I looked away, shaking my head. "Why is this happening?"

A day's worth of silence passed between us before he released a quiet, humorless laugh.

"What's so funny?" I asked him, facing him again.

"Not funny. Just ironic. You wanna be a neurosurgeon while I have a brain tumor. It really was meant to be."

"Leave it to you to find some kind of humor in this."

"What else can I count on? There's no point feeling sorry for myself."

"David... what's your prognosis?"

He averted his eyes, and I bit my lip in an attempt to hold it together. "Tell me," I firmly urged.

"Four to five months. Six if I'm lucky."

I cupped my hand over my mouth, refusing to believe that I only had as little as four months to be with him. I stood up, rushing past him and toward his back door. I shoved it open and stepped outside, dropping my hand and proceeding to let out my cries. I truly believed that we'd be together for a long time. But leave it to the universe to strip him away, taking my happiness along with him.

I heard the door open, and unsure steps behind me. I captured my lip once again, but it didn't help much. "You know, I can't even imagine living without you. Isn't that the strangest thing--one minute you're here and the next, you're gone. And life, in all its selfish glory, refuses to pause time for the ones you leave behind." I shook my head, shrugging helplessly. "You mean to tell me that's it? I won't ever see you again?"

He sighed, holding my arms gently. "I didn't want this for you. At the library, when I told you we couldn't be together... this was part of the reason why. I didn't want you to experience loss by becoming attached to me. I wanted you to stay as far away as possible so you'd never have to go through all of this."

"I don't regret knowing you, David. I certainly don't regret my feelings for you. I'm glad you let me push you into a relationship with me."

He smiled at me and I managed to smile back, but only for a second. "I would understand if... maybe you want to be with that crush of yours you used to talk about. You don't have to stick around if you don't want to."

My eyebrows furrowed and I stepped closer, fitting into his arms. "Bullshit. I'm not going anywhere, especially not now. Besides, I like you, remember?"

He held me close and we stood out on his back patio, silently looking toward the sky.

"I thought it would rain today," he mentioned.

"The weather is the furthest thing from my mind. Hey, where's Sofie?"

"My neighbors are gonna be taking care of her for a while at a time. They have a couple of kids and she's known them since she was a little puppy. They'd be happy to be her family when I..."

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