Finding out my husband, my best friend, only had months to live was devastating.
Sitting out under the star-filled sky, listening to him wish on star after star, night after night, almost killed me.
He never wished to get better.
He wished for me to be happy.
He wished for me to find the strength to move on.
I told him his wishes were pointless, because happiness wouldn"t exist without him.
I found out soon after he passed away that I was pregnant.
But I had no idea his final wish would bring me something I never thought I"d find again.Books in Series:Shooting Stars Series by Aurora Rose ReynoldsBooks by Author:Aurora Rose Reynolds Books
I PEEK THROUGH MY LASHES to look across the table. My stomach dips and my heart beats funny, like it always does when a pair of golden hazel eyes meet mine. Since I can remember, Denver Clayton has had the same effect on me. He makes me nervous, so nervous it feels like I might come out of my skin when I"m around him. And I"m around him a lot, because his family and mine are close and we go to school together.
"You don"t have to sit here with us, honey," Shelby says, and I look across the table to her. "If you"re done, you can go hang with the boys." Shelby is my dad"s wife, my stepmom, who"s actually more of a mom to me than my mom has ever been. I love her; we"re close"really close.
"I"" I start. I don"t really want to go hang with my brothers, meaning my twin brother Steven and my stepbrother Hunter. Don"t get me wrong, I like them most of the time, but they are still annoying.
"We can go hang outside," Denver says, and my hands start to become damp as he pushes back from the table and stands to wait for me.
Oh, God. What do I do" I look around at everyone. My dad looks annoyed, Shelby and Joe"Denver"s mom"are both smiling, and Paul"Denver"s dad"is looking at the ceiling with his lips twitching like he finds something funny.
"Uh" okay." I slide out of my seat then look at Joe. "Thank you for dinner."
"You"re welcome, sweetheart." She winks.
I bite my lip, nod once, and then tuck my hands into the front pocket of my overlarge hoodie. I keep my head ducked and follow Denver outside, and he leads us across the lawn to an old tire swing. I take a seat on the rubber tire, watching him lean back against the tree and cross his arms over his chest. I push off the ground with the tips of my toes and study his handsome face, remembering what Shelby said a year ago when he turned seventeen. "Aubrey, that boy seems to only get better looking with age."
She was right. When I was thirteen and Denver fourteen, he was a cute boy. But Denver at eighteen is handsome. His jaw no longer has a softness to it. It"s now strong with sharp angles that give a glimpse of what he might look like in a few years when he fully settles into adulthood. His eyes haven"t changed, though the hazel color still reminds me of the aurora borealis you can sometimes catch a glimpse of on a clear night in Alaska where we live. The greens and yellows mix together perfectly and stand out spectacularly against his dark hair and lashes.
My eyes land on his full lips, I quickly look away when I feel my cheeks warm. I think I"ve imagined kissing him a million times, what his lips would feel like against mine, how he"d taste, how it would feel. A part of me knows that one touch would send me floating away. One kiss would change everything, my whole world.
"So what"s going on with you and Gabe"" he asks suddenly, and my head flies up meeting his intense gaze.
"Gabe"" I touch my toes to the ground to stop swinging.
"Yeah, you two are together all the time. Is he your boyfriend""
My cheeks heat further and I drop my eyes to the ground. "He"s my friend," I reply quietly. Gabe moved to town a few years ago, and since then we"ve become good friends. He"s sweet. I like being around him, because he makes it easy. I don"t feel any pressure to talk or fit in, and being around him, I can just be me.
"Just friends"" he questions, and I focus on him once more, wondering why he"s asking.
"Yeah, we"re just friends." I push off and start swinging once more.
"Bre, we"re heading home," Dad calls, and I turn to find him and Shel saying goodbye to Paul and Joe on the front porch.
"Coming!" I yell back, and then I look toward Denver"s shoulder, mumbling, "See you at school Monday."
I don"t see him take a step toward me, but I feel his fingers wrap around mine to stop me before I can walk away. My breath catches as I look up into his eyes"way up, because he"s already at least a foot taller than me.
"Are you going to the party tonight""
"What"" I ask in a daze, my focus on the feel of his warm, slightly rough fingers wrapped around mine.
"Party" at Lincoln"s house tonight. Are you going""
Lincoln is Denver"s best friend; they"ve been best friends forever. I know Lincoln"s parents are cool with him throwing parties at their house, since everyone talks about it"including my dad, who"s the sheriff. Lincoln"s parents say they"d rather have their son under their roof drunk than wasted somewhere unknown. I can understand their logic, since a bunch of teenagers hanging out drunk out on the road where kids like to party or in the woods could end up in disaster. Has ended up in disaster in the past.