I told Annie I would fit as many experiences into three months as I could. That's exactly what I did. There isn't a road we didn't travel, no stones left unturned. Those three months meant everything to us. And when the deadline drew near, it felt like we were only just getting started. Our lives had more to see, more to experience.

I've kept my promise and have completed the soccer year. There were scouts at the final game, and most of them were there because Coach Taylor told them about me. One of the scouts was the coach of the United States Men's soccer team. He was looking to recruit both my brother and me. We both accepted the spot. It felt right, even after I thought I might want to do something other than soccer. I still love it.

Karissa finally got herself together a year after everything happened. She told her parents everything, even the secrets she had back in high school. Some of which I still cannot believe existed. Her and Jacks are back together. They have a clean slate and things have been really good between them. They have a toddler now. A little girl they named Becky. She's the darnedest cutest thing on this planet.

Every day, I look at the tattoo on my wrist. And my heart swells with the love I'll always have for Annie. It's a bittersweet feeling, but I never feel sad about it. Because three months was not the deadline. Two years later, Annie and I are stronger than we were at the start.

I come home after a long day on the field. The one bedroom apartment has never felt more like home than when I can smell something cooking in the kitchen and can hear Annie singing with the radio. I drop my gear bag on the couch and sneak up behind her. I wrap my arms around her waist and kiss that one spot on her neck I know is her favorite. She gasps and sighs softly before turning around kiss me on the lips.

"Welcome home," she says, smiling as she pulls away. "I missed you."

"I missed you too," I reply, rubbing my hands up and down her back. "Everything go okay today?"

"Doctor said I'm stronger than ever and there isn't a trace left."

I close my eyes and sigh. "That's the best news I've heard all day."

When the three months were coming to an end, Annie didn't understand why she wasn't getting worse. So we went to the doctor, and by some miracle, the cancer had stopped spreading. They quickly moved her into a new treatment and the existing cancer died out.

I pull my wife into a tight hug, letting her hair cover my face. She smells of cherry shampoo. Still my favorite scent in the world.

"We also talked about other stuff," Annie goes on, hugging tight to my neck. "And I'm actually surprised she even brought this up, since she completely discouraged it when treatment ended."

I pull away with both eyebrows raised. I have a feeling about what the topic might be, but I won't throw guesses in the air.

"What did she say?" I ask, trying to keep my voice neutral.

"She said we can start thinking about having a family," Annie replies slowly. "She said our best bet would be to look into having a surrogate, but the choice is up to us."

I don't speak. These subjects have been touch and go from the start. For the last year or so, the doctor has discouraged anything that could result into Annie being pregnant during treatment. And I understand that, I really do. But it didn't stop us from discussing it. Every possible option was on the table. We even consulted with someone about an adoption agency.

"I talked to someone at the church," she goes on, pulling me towards the table. "I asked her to keep this in her prayers for us. And she told me something I did not expect to hear."

"And what was that?" I clear my throat as she motions for me to sit in one of the chairs.

"Cara Landers has been praying for us since we met her two years ago. And she said God told her to tell me, us, that our patience is being rewarded. And that we should expect another mouth to feed this year."

Annie is barely in her own chair before I rush to her side and squeeze her tight. She laughs softly, but she can't see my face right now. The last time I cried for this much joy was when the doctor gave us the news that Annie would definitely see age thirty.

"Eric," Annie says, running her fingers through my hair, which definitely needs a trim.

"That's even better than what the doctor said," I whisper, looking up at her with tear-filled eyes. "I don't think I've ever been this happy."

"Not even when you were saying your vows?" she asks with a hint of joking.

"Hmm . . . It's up there. But this being happy about marrying you and being happy about this are two different kinds of happy."

"I know what you mean. So . . .?"


"You have two siblings and a brother in-law who would be really happy to hear this news."

"They'd kill me if we decided not to tell them until it's already happening," I chuckle, thinking of the possible horrified look on Sabrina's face.

"Well, they have an excuse," Annie laughs, cupping my face in her hands. "We didn't tell anyone I was still living until Christmas that year. It's just not like you to avoid your family for that long."

"You're right. We can go over there tomorrow and share the news. Invite your parents, too."


I stand, pulling Annie to her feet with me. I then lift her into my arms and spin her in a quick circle. She clings to my neck and squeals. I stop spinning and smile, staring into those eyes I grow more in love with every day. My wife looks back at me with the brightest smile she's ever had.

"That's the only experience I couldn't fit into three months," I say, shaking my head. "I'm sorry that we couldn't sooner."

"It doesn't matter that you couldn't fit everything into three months," Annie says, touching my cheek. "What matters is that you were willing to give me everything you could, even with the thought of time running out. That's what I love most about you. You give willingly. And you protect those whom you love most."

"I must love you the most of everyone then."

"You'd better! You wouldn't want me using my powers on you."

"No, I wouldn't want that. I'd never see you again, Farrah."

She smiles and kisses my cheek tenderly.

"You'd still see me," she whispers, "I can never hide my blues from you."

"I'm glad you don't," I whisper back. "I never want you suffering alone."

I turn so that our lips meet. There are mumbles of "I love you" and wheezing as breath leaves us. That's been the extent of passion in our life. With the knowledge of restraint no longer an issue, I start for the bedroom. And like that first time, it feels new and exciting. I place Annie on the bed and sit above her. She tugs at the hem of my shirt. In a swift movement, it's on the floor and forgotten.

"You know," she says, trailing a finger over the abs I worked hard getting. "You're hot, for a soccer player."

"Hey!" I feign offence and crush her lips with anearth-shattering kiss. Because we're both thinking it. Might as well getstarted.    

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