I couldn't say anything as I sat on the edge of Lucas's bed gently stroking his hand. Everything had been so perfect. It seemed nothing in my life could ever go right and it made me feel so frustrated.
'Ai,' I heard Lucas murmur as he stirred in his sleep, his eyes opening and looking straight at me. 'What happened Aislinn? Why am I in bed?'
'Lucas you're sick,' I said, trying to fight back the tears that were now threatening to spill over. 'You're very sick.' I was struggling to get the words out and was beginning to wish I hadn't sent the others away so I could tell Lucas on my own.
'Why are you crying?' He said, wiping the tears from my face. 'I feel fine now. If I'm sick then the doctors can make me better. It's not the end of the world.'
'You're not going to get better,' I sniffed. 'Your wine was poisoned.'
'It can't have been,' Lucas said, the reassuring smile falling from his face. 'But there's an antidote. There's always an antidote.'
'It takes months to prepare the antidote,' I sobbed, 'and the doctor said you only have a few days left. I'm so sorry.'
'No,' Lucas said, shaking his head, tears filling his eyes too. 'I won't believe it. I promised I wouldn't let them separate us and I will keep that promise. I'm not going to leave you Aislinn.'
Somehow Lucas's lips found mine and he began kissing me again and again. I didn't have the strength to fight him so kissed him back with the same urgency, allowing him to pull me down so I was lying, fully clothed, on top of him.
Every kiss was now precious, every caress could be our last and deep down we both knew that, which only intensified our passion.
'Lucas,' I breathed, knowing there were still things I needed to say. 'Lucas we can still get married.'
'How? You said I only have a few days left.'
'A deathbed wedding,' I said, hating the words I had to say. 'It wouldn't be what we had wanted, but at least I can say I am your wife. That would be enough for me.'
'Then let's do it,' he said.
'But is it what you want?'
'Of course it is. I want you to be my wife.' He kissed me again, this time gently, his hand caressing my tousled hair. 'How soon?' He asked.
'Alex says she can have everything organised for tonight if that's what we want.'
'Then I suggest she starts getting things ready.' He brushed another tear off my cheek. 'Don't cry. Everything is going to work out, I promise. Now go and get ready, you're about to get married.'
Nothing was as I had expected. I went and prepared myself to get married, wiping the tear stains from my face and covering up my blotchy complexion. I had no wedding dress so had to make do with my best baby blue gown. It wouldn't have been right to wear white anyway. White implies purity and if anyone knew how far my relationship with Lucas had really gone I would not be seen as pure.
'Are you ready?' Courtney asked as she finished arranging my hair on top of my head. I could tell she had been crying too but I appreciated that she had tried to hide it from me.
I nodded and allowed myself to be led back to Lucas's room. The doctor said he wasn't to be allowed out of bed but Aiden and Nathaniel had smartened him up, combing his hair and straightening the bedclothes.
There were only the six of us there, Aiden, Nathaniel, Courtney, Alexandria, Lucas and me. In a way it was perfect. I had all the people I loved dearest with me.
The ceremony passed like a dream, I hardly knew what was happening as I slipped the gold wedding ring onto Lucas's finger and he put an identical one on mine. The only words I registered were 'I now pronounce you husband and wife'. It was strange how happy that one phrase made me feel, knowing that even though death was about to part us, Lucas and I were now united.
The others left, Courtney kissing me on the cheek before taking Nathaniel's arm and walking away.
'Alex,' I said, calling my friend over to my side. 'Thank you for this.'
'It's the least I could do.'
'Don't lose your chance at happiness,' I said. 'Aiden loves you with all his heart, don't throw that away or you'll discover it's too late to get it back.'
'Thank you,' Alex said, hugging me tightly. 'I wish I could give you and Lucas more time.'
'Don't say that. The time we have left is so precious, it means the world to me that we can spend it together as husband and wife.'
I kissed Alex's cheek before she left the room, leaving me and Lucas alone together.
'Hello wife,' he said, a sad smile on his face.
'Hello husband,' I replied.
'Come to bed.'
I slowly undressed, leaving my dress on the stool by the dressing table and unpinning my hair so it flowed down my back. I slipped in between the sheets and cuddled as close to Lucas as I could, enjoying the warmth of his body against mine.
'So this is it,' I said, still not quite believing what had just happened.
'This is it.'
'I suppose we should enjoy the time we have left,' I said, my hand sliding up his bare chest until I was caressing his face.
'I think that's a good idea,' he replied, pulling me close and kissing me.