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Without You

Without You

By

Lily G Blunt

Previously published and newly revised by author.

 

“I miss you so much, Nathan.” Jasper’s voice echoes across the sparsely furnished living room.

Yet another afternoon had been spent slumped in their favorite two-seater sofa with no one to hear his cries of pain and anguish, or to console him in his grief. Without Nathan beside him, he is desperately cold and lonely. The house they once shared seems to reflect his sorrow, and doesn’t offer him any comfort in return.

Jasper knows he should move on, but he can’t, not just yet. This is the home where he spent many years living happily with Nathan.

In his usual dream-like state, Jasper’s fingers trace the patterns on the arm of their comfy sofa. If he closes his eyes, he knows he could imagine the arms of his loving partner wrapped around him, his lips brushing against his own, his body pressed close to his, full of need and desire. His life has been a blur for so long now, with too many lost hours spent recalling romantic moments they’d shared together.

Letting himself recall the past—how Nathan would caress him, and the numerous times he’d come undone under Nathan’s touch on this very sofa—was one indulgence Jasper allowed himself in the hope he’d feel close to his soul mate again. Obviously, it is nowhere like the real thing had ever been, but Jasper has no other choice now. Death cruelly separated the two friends… lovers… partners five long years ago. All he has left now are a few mementos scattered around their house, and memories of the times spent together.

Jasper’s misty eyes roam around the empty shell of a room. Large cardboard cartons are stacked in the corner, half-heartedly packed with his belongings. Numerous framed photographs are still in their designated places, waiting to join the rest of his possessions, but this final step is just too unbearable. The memories these pictures contain narrate their happy life together; each one telling a story, a captured moment in time, once experienced, but never to be repeated nor forgotten. Holidays, parties, days out, the two of them gazing at each other with looks of love and longing.

His life has become meaningless and empty without that one special person with which to share his life. No more conversations or laughs. No more kisses or gentle touches. No more intimate, sensual contact with Nathan ever to be experienced again. Jasper has indeed lost contact with everyone, for his family and friends have deserted him, too. He is completely alone in this Godforsaken world.

The sight of a half-full bottle of malt whiskey, Nathan’s favorite tipple, along with his cut-glass tumbler resting on the mantelpiece, lures Jasper out of his seat. He reaches out to touch them, but his hand falters. If only alcohol could numb his pain.

Next to it, Jasper glances at another framed photograph. Perhaps, his most favorite one of all, relaxed and not posed for the camera. He traces the outline of the two of them on a sun-kissed beach just before they went snorkeling with some friends. He recalls Nathan’s quip about going down, and the grins and knowing looks they have on their faces bring a faint smile to his pale lips. These distant figures look happy, who never once dreamed that separation was just around the corner for them.

His eyes drift to the solitary gold ring nestling in its box next to the photograph. This would have been a physical sign of their commitment to each other and their longing to be together forever. A sob makes its way to Jasper’s throat. He chokes out an anguished cry into the silent room. “Why?”

As usual, Jasper loses track of the hours that pass him by. He is vaguely aware each day as the sun rises and sets again. But at least he knows today is special; he clearly remembers that. The lovingly arranged bouquet of white lilies and carnations, Nathan’s favorite, reminds Jasper that it would have been the anniversary of when they first started dating today. Not that he could ever forget. Nathan is constantly in his thoughts and always will be.

Next to the vase, a canister of sleeping tablets rests, waiting.

“Life has no meaning or purpose without you,” Jasper cries for the hundredth time since they were tragically parted. If only he could sleep for a few hours, perhaps he could erase some of his pain, or better still, if he could somehow end this lonely existence.

Without any strong religious convictions or a belief in the existence of heaven, Jasper hopes that Nathan’s beliefs are true. He recalls the time when Nathan expressed his desire for them to spend eternity together. Their time together on this planet had been so short, he could only hope for something more lasting and permanent in the life beyond. Nathan promised he’d never leave him and that he’d always be with him. Jasper is positive he meant in life as well as in death.

Jasper sighs loudly with regret for the years they could have shared together if they had not been so brutally separated. He wanted to be by Nathan’s side forever. They both thought a lifetime would not be long enough, but they didn’t even get that. Fate can be so cruel at times.

Perhaps tomorrow will be the day when he will finally move on, but Jasper holds little hope of that. He knows he will keenly cling to any remaining connection with Nathan for as long as he possibly can. For it is in this very room that Jasper still senses Nathan’s presence.

Occasionally, he catches his scent drifting in the air at night. Jasper likes to believe Nathan is here with him, even though he can no longer see him.

“Nathan, I know you’re still here,” he whispers into the cool air. “Let me see you one more time, please. I’d give anything to be able to touch you again. Then perhaps I can let you go.”

Not only this, but on many mornings as Jasper lies in their bed, he thinks he can make out the imprint left by Nathan’s form, and hopes his lover has spent the night snuggled alongside him, providing him with much needed comfort. Nathan’s pillows are often left in disarray, just as they had been when they used to sleep together.

After living with someone and then losing them, it is the little things that remind you of that person. Each evening, Nathan would pull the curtains closed. Ever since, they are drawn, as if to remind Jasper that Nathan is still present.

As if on cue, the wind breezes through the open window and ruffles the lightweight curtains that frame the window. As twilight approaches, the moving drapes offer Jasper one more connection to his beloved Nathan.

Over the past five years, Jasper has spent hours each night looking into this darkened room, hoping for a glimpse of Nathan moving in the shadows. All he wishes for is just a few moments to gaze upon his handsome face. One final glimpse—that is all he desires now.

Jasper wraps his arms across his heaving chest, seeking comfort. He longs for the warmth of Nathan’s touch, but all he feels is the chilled evening air as he reaches out into the space around him in search of his lost lover.

“I can’t go on without you,” Jasper cries in desperation. “I need to see you again.”

The curtains move in the icy breeze. The faint scent of Nathan’s essence suddenly startles him as much as the sight of the now closed curtains.

“It can’t be,” Jasper whispers. His eyes cast a look at the now drained whiskey glass. “Nathan, are you really here?” he asks with uncertain hope in his voice.

The sound of the whiskey bottle crashing onto the wooden flooring confirms he is not alone.

“Oh, Jasper, my love.” Nathan’s soft, velvety voice floats hauntingly towards him. “I miss you so much, even after all this time.”

With his eyes darting around the room, Jasper finally focuses on a tall figure as he steps forward. This is no ghostly apparition—Nathan is here. Indeed, he appears to have substance.

Gasping in delight, Jasper takes a step closer to him. “Nathan, I can see you,” he exclaims, almost in disbelief.

“Jasper, I know you’re here with me. I can sense you.” Nathan expresses his elation with equal fervor as he too scans the room.

It has been five agonizing years since Jasper has seen his handsome face. The Nathan standing before him appears pale and drawn, thinner than he remembers, but still so breathtakingly beautiful and dressed in Jasper’s favorite dark blue shirt. Hardly daring to move in case he disappears, Jasper commits every aspect of Nathan’s appearance to his memory. He knows he’ll need to recall them on the lonely nights that undoubtedly lay ahead of him. He doesn’t want to forget any part of this magical encounter.

Reaching out his arms to his long-lost lover, Jasper gasps, “Baby, can I touch you?” His mind is a whir with thoughts of being in Nathan’s arms again.

Nathan steps closer until there is the tiniest gap between them. Looking into his misty green eyes shimmering with moisture, Jasper feels he is home at last. Emanating the same relief, Nathan exhales, appearing to drink in his missing lover’s features. His heavy breath, infused with whiskey, washes over Jasper, making him shiver uncontrollably.

“Just let me hold you once more,” Nathan requests in a whisper against his ear. Collapsing into each other’s arms, Nathan feels warm and hard, and oh so real to Jasper as he clasps him closely against his body.

Their very first kiss all those years ago had been tentative, and tonight it is like their first time all over again. Not sure if this is a vision or ghostly dream, Jasper brushes his mouth against Nathan’s, tasting and relishing him at once. The resulting moan echoing through the room encourages him to continue. Their lips move more possessively in a devouring kiss, causing a rapid stirring in Jasper’s groin—something he has not felt for so long.

With his mouth tracing over Nathan’s delicious skin, Jasper watches Nathan’s head tilt back, his eyes closed, letting himself absorb the wondrous sensations running through his body.

Their need for each other takes over, as if it is controlling itself. They both succumb to this pleasure willingly.

Not certain how long this encounter will last, Jasper intends to make the most of the time they have been given. “Let me make love to you to remind you how much I love you,” Jasper purrs into Nathan’s mouth.

Without hesitation, Nathan leads his soul mate upstairs. Just as he led him on the very first night they made love.

With the same words of comfort and reassurance, Jasper speaks of love and desire to his partner as they nestle on their bed.

Jasper tries not to consider whether this is a dream or a hallucination. He doesn’t care, for he hasn’t felt this wonderful in such a long time. At this moment, it definitely feels real and tangible to him. Inhaling Nathan’s scent deeply, Jasper knows that Nathan is here by his side.

“I always feel so cold without you, Jasper,” Nathan says, moving off the bed and walking over to close the window. He swiftly strips out of his clothes before getting back into bed alongside Jasper.

Resuming their familiar intimacy, Jasper hovers over Nathan’s firm body. “Can you feel my touch, Nathan?” This is a plea as much as a question.

Nathan’s head falls back with a soft moan of desire and need. “My darling, I want to feel you again.”

Jasper takes his time savoring the moment of surreal pleasure. Not wanting to take his eyes from his lover, Jasper’s lips, tongue and even his teeth skim over Nathan’s smooth skin. He feels so, so warm, and for the first time since their separation, Jasper feels whole again, here in bed with his beloved.

He moves to scrape a fingernail against a nipple and Nathan arches his back in response. His fingers trail over skin, relishing the sight as Nathan’s muscles contract and tense under his soft touch. His tongue follows his hand, leaving a ripple of gooseflesh in their wake. Stroking and caressing his erection with love, Jasper’s tongue swirls around the head as Nathan writhes beneath him. He works up and down his length, enjoying the feel of his hardness and the soft silk of his skin in his mouth.

As lovers, they had varied who topped depending on the other’s need. Jasper knows precisely what Nathan needs right now and is determined to make this feel wonderful for him. Jasper finally closes his eyes, surrendering to the joy of imparting pleasure to his partner. All Jasper wants is to make love to Nathan and see him surrendering to pleasure again.

After spending time laving his cock, Jasper slides back up to Nathan’s face and traces his nose along his throat, taking in his familiar scent, until he reaches his jaw and nips lightly at it, teasing him just as he used to. Reaching down between them, Nathan takes their cocks and strokes them slowly in unison. Jasper continues to lick and suck over Nathan’s delicious skin until it is almost too much. Neither of them wishes to come like this. They desperately want to be joined as one.

“Do you remember the first time we made love on our first anniversary?” Jasper whispers.

Nathan nods. “You entered me from behind on our first time. I want to see your face as you make love to me tonight.”

Nathan splays his legs, an open invitation for Jasper to taste him and touch him lovingly. He kisses and worships him until Nathan is begging for more. Finally settling between his thighs, Jasper eases himself into Nathan, pausing to look into his soul mate’s eyes. Still seeing love and longing, he glides effortlessly inside until they are completely joined.

They are one again.

Maintaining a slow sensual rhythm, Jasper gazes down on Nathan’s beautiful face.

“You are still the love of my life,” Nathan purrs into the space between them. He reaches down to stroke himself languidly in time with Jasper’s deep thrusts.

“Is this how it used to feel when I made love to you?” Jasper asks with hope in his voice. To Jasper, everything seems so real. Just like it used to feel.

“It feels so good, so real. As if you are actually here with me, Jasper.” Nathan’s bottom lip quivers as he speaks. Jasper responds by taking Nathan’s moist lips into his mouth, his body continuing to move over his lover.

As Jasper fears, the moment of their reunion draws rapidly to a close. Both succumb to the intensity of the connection. He could only wish this experience would last all night long. Instead, he watches his partner’s face as Nathan’s body clenches and his hips roll, telling Jasper he is close.

As Nathan erupts, releasing a stream of warm come over his own stomach, Jasper feels himself empty along with a cry of sadness. He has missed this intimacy, this connection, more than anything else, and he’s frightened he will never feel it again.

Despite the extreme pleasure they have just experienced, as Jasper stills, Nathan is weeping.

“I miss being with you so much, Jasper. I can’t go on without you.” Nathan rolls onto his side, facing away from Jasper. His shoulders shudder and tears stream down his forlorn face. “I wish you were still here with me. Our bed is so empty without you. I wish I could die, so I can be with you.”

Nathan faces downward to sob into his pillow. “Why did you have to leave me?”

His muffled cries break Jasper’s heart. If only he could go back in time to undo the night they were tragically parted.

Jasper tries to offer him comfort, but it’s as if Nathan cannot see him or feel him anymore. Waiting for him to cry himself out, Jasper gazes over his lover’s body. He strokes his warm skin with his own icy hand, watching the gooseflesh rise, this time not from passion, but a response to the chilling effect of his unearthly touch.

When the tears finally stop, Nathan rests his arms on the pillow by his head. Jasper’s eyes drift to his left hand. The glint of the gold ring on Nathan’s fourth finger catches his eye and makes him gasp in astonishment.

Jasper reaches to touch the ring he bought for Nathan five years ago, but never had the chance to slide onto his finger.

Jasper’s ring is downstairs on the mantle-piece, and Jasper knows he’ll never get to wear it. If only he’d been given the opportunity to propose to Nathan on that fateful evening, they could have spent all these years together living in happiness.

Nathan turns his head to face Jasper, resting on the damp pillow. “What words would you have used when you offered me this ring?” he asks, with more tears sliding down his still wet cheeks. “You don’t know how many times I’ve tried to imagine what you would have said to me. I knew you were going to propose to me that night. Why did that bus have to take you from me? As I sat alone in the restaurant this evening, I hoped it had all been a bad dream, and that you would walk through the door to celebrate our anniversary, Jasper. We should have been there celebrating our tenth anniversary tonight.”

If Jasper could produce tears, even ghostly ones, he would have done so at this very moment. Instead, he kneels on the bed beside Nathan and proposes to him, just as he’d intended on the very night his life was tragically cut short.

He doesn’t know if Nathan can hear his words of love and adoration, nor the profound commitment he makes to his soul mate. What he does know is that he cannot let Nathan suffer anymore because of him. He knows now it is time to move on. He knows Nathan still loves him and always will. He can only hope that one day they will be reunited. For now, Nathan has his life to live, and he won’t do that if he is pining for Jasper.

Jasper doesn’t want to let Nathan go. Not now. Not ever. He yearns to take Nathan with him, but he knows this is not possible yet. Nathan has the rest of his life in front of him.

Nathan rises half-heartedly from the bed and slips on a pair of jeans. As he leaves the room, Jasper hears him muttering to himself. “I don’t want to live without you.”

Jasper remembers the whiskey and the sleeping tablets downstairs and panic immediately sets in. “Nathan, it’s not your time yet—don’t do anything foolish!” Jasper follows him swiftly down the stairs.

As Jasper enters the living room, Nathan is sobbing by the fireplace, rotating the canister of pills in his hand.

“Nathan, no! You have so many other lives to touch. Please don’t do this!” Jasper implores him selflessly, trying in vain to knock the container from his hand.

“Life is so meaningless without you, Jasper.” Nathan marches to the kitchen with Jasper trailing close behind.

After filling a glass with water, Nathan opens the canister hurriedly, the pills scattering onto the floor.

Leaning against the sink, his head drooping, Nathan sighs loudly. “I’m sorry. I can’t do this.” He looks up, only to catch a glimpse of his own reflection in the kitchen window.

Jasper steps up closely behind him. With all of his might he wraps his arms around his lover, willing for him to feel his touch again.

Nathan’s gasp surprises Jasper, their eyes meeting in the reflection.

“Jasper,” he whispers, “I can see you.”

Smiling at each other, they spend time absorbing the sight before them. Lovers embracing, just how it should have been and should always be.

“You kept your promise to me, Nathan. You have been here all the time. I just didn’t see you until this evening.” Jasper finally comprehends the truth.

“You’ve been here with me all this time, too?” Nathan says in amazement. “You never left me.”

“I’ll never leave you,” Jasper promises. “But your time on Earth is short, so please don’t waste it pining after me.” Jasper realizes now what he has to do. “I don’t want to hold you back anymore. I’ve got to go for now, Nathan, so you can move on.”

“You know I’d do anything to bring you back to me.”

Jasper’s heart is aching, but he knows what he has to say to put Nathan’s heart and soul at rest. “You can’t go on with your life if I am still here. I promise I’ll be waiting for you. One day we’ll be together again and for all eternity.”

“I knew there had to be more than this earthly existence for us,” Nathan says, searching his soul mate’s eyes.

At that moment, Jasper knows for certain he will see Nathan again in the future, and at last, he feels peace within.

Nathan weeps as he gazes into Jasper’s diminishing eyes. He accepts that it’s time for both of them to move on.

“I’ll still think of you every day, I promise. But I’ll see you later, sweetheart.”

“Much later, Nathan. Remember I will always love you,” Jasper calls, hoping he can still be heard as his image fades on the darkened glass.

He tries to focus on the tears gliding down Nathan’s face, and the last thing Jasper hears are Nathan’s love-filled words.

“Happy anniversary, Jasper.

 

~O~

Although this story stands alone, there is a companion story.

HAJfinal-for-kindle

 Buy links:

Amazon UK / Amazon.com

As Nathan waits for Jasper in a restaurant to celebrate their tenth anniversary, he recollects their past and some of the passionate moments he has experienced with the love of his life.

A heartbreaking yet erotic tale of love, romance and destiny.

~O~

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