Without My Olive

Author's Note: SKOW had a prompt a while back that involved a character giving up something for 40 days and feeling like they'd die without that something. I was intrigued but didn't end up making the deadline or the word count since it was during exam time. Months later, in between assignments and tests, I managed to finish this little piece. I hope you guys enjoy it, sappy as it is.

The smug look oozing all over Xander McCowen's stupid face made me want to punch it times a thousand.

"Fair's fair Saeed," he intoned in that cocky douchebag of a voice. "We played a round and your brown ass lost. You're not gonna start with the tears are you? I thought you Arabs were all into honour and shit."

I ground my teeth together. Xander pronounced Arab 'A-rab' like some dumb fucking American yokel. It drove me batshit crazy, when ignorant whities called us 'A-rabs' from 'I-rak'. I wasn't even from Iraq; I was Canadian-Pakistani for fuck sakes.

"Now you gotta stay away from Olive for forty days." Xander smirked at me, his blinding teeth glaring at me from his smarmy-tanned face. "Once I tap that juicy ass, she won't even remember her name, let alone yours."

"You asshole," I hissed, feeling a scathing flush burst onto my face. I grabbed him by his stupidly pre-wrinkled American Eagle shirt and hauled him up to my level. "She's more than just some cheap fuck. She's way too good for you."

He shoved me aside and made a show of smoothing out his shirt. "Take it easy there A-rab. You go ji-had on me and the cops will be so far up your terrorist ass, you'll be butt-bleeding for weeks. Now get outta my face; I can't stand looking at all that ugly."

I left our campus bar, only because I knew that if I started hitting him, I wouldn't stop until his face resembled Hamburger Helper. I stormed out of the Student Union Building, my vision a blinding sea of red. Xander may have been a gigantic prick but I was just as stupid as his faux tan. I had let him goad me into playing pool for a shot at one of my best friends, Olive Williams. It was stupid and it was sexist – I could only imagine the blistering lecture I'd get from my twin sister Rayla once she caught wind of this – and I had lost.

I had fucking lost and now I was doomed to spend the next forty days without Olive. No sitting with her in class and complaining about our endless barrage of assignments and exams and shitty Profs. No walking her back to her apartment and playing X-Box. No studying with her in the library or eating together in the Caf or going grocery shopping or to the bars together.

I was going to die.

So naturally, as the enormity of what I'd agreed upon sank into my bones, I spotted her striding out of the Fine Arts building. Olive was a tall black girl; a second generation Jamaican with milk chocolate skin, espresso bean eyes and the curvy body of a Goddess. I'd wanted to eat her up the instant I'd met her.

My heart skipped a beat as I saw that she'd ditched the long, wavy weave she'd had in for the past six months and was currently sporting a little ponytail, her natural hair thick and coarse. I loved her hair; I didn't think she had to wear some hack's hair to be beautiful. But as she'd told me on countless occasions, a black woman's hair was 'complicated shit'.

I made a hasty 180° and ducked into the library. I knew Olive had seen me but I figured I could get lost between some dusty shelves and think about what the hell I was going to do.

"Fucking Xander McCowen," I grated out, jogging up the stairs as fast as I could. I made it to the fourth floor without stopping and then hid in a wheelchair accessible washroom.

What the fuck had I got myself into?

Out of options, I dug out my cell and called my sister.


"I'm a dipshit," I moaned. "I'm a dipshit dumbass. I'm a dipshit dumbass in trouble."

Rayla snorted. I could practically hear her rolling her eyes. "It's not like that's new info, Ashir. Tell me something I don't know."

"I lost a bet to this frat boy douche from my Chem. class and now I can't see or talk to Olive for forty days. He's gonna move in on my girl!"

"Allah save us." The heavy disgust in my sister's voice made me cringe. "You're right, you are a dipshit dumbass. First of all, Olive doesn't belong to anyone but herself. She certainly isn't your girl. Second of all, how could you bet on her? Is she some commodity to be bartered? Women aren't objects to be moved around and manipulated by men. We aren't made for your consumption, no matter what society tells us!"

"I know all that but he was being a racist little shit, calling me Saddam's bitch and a terrorist and do I force Mom to wear Ninja gear and-"

"What else did he do, steal your lunch? Hide your favourite Spiderman sharpener?"

"I can't just ignore it and turn the other cheek like you Rayla!"

"So what do you do instead? Perpetuate the myth of the stereotypical Arabic chauvinistic pig by betting on a woman like she was a stack of chips."

"I know! I know I'm idiot and that I let my anger get a hold of me. What do I do about it? I can't stay away from Olive." I slumped against the wall, rapping my head against the automatic hand dryer. "I love her, sis. I've loved her from the moment I saw her."

Rayla's voice softened just a touch. "Didn't I tell you that you should've confessed ages ago?"

"She only dates black guys," I mumbled sulkily. "And that one Latin dude from Montreal but he was a model. How can I compete with that?"

"Well now you can spend the next forty days kicking yourself about it."

"What should I do? You're the only one who can help me!"

Rayla sighed. "You know what you have to do."

"How can I tell her what I did when I'm not allowed to communicate with her in any way, shape or form? I'm not gonna give Xander McCowen the satisfaction of knowing I skipped out on a bet!"

"Xander? That's the idiot you made the bet with? He's totally racist."

"I know!"

"He tried to pull off my scarf once."

That red haze of pure rage sprayed over me. It took a few moments to choke my words out. "He did what?"

"Last semester, after I had that late night Psych course. He was drunk and followed me to my car, talking crap. A few professors came out of the FAS building before he could touch me though."

"Why didn't you tell me this?" I cried, furiously kicking the garbage can. Wads of brown paper towel and a wrapped up maxi-pad came tumbling out. I hastily averted my eyes.

"'Cause I knew you'd kill him."

"Well I AM gonna kill him!" Beyond anger, I smashed my fist into the wall. "No one touches my baby sister and lives to brag about it!"

Rayla's voice was quiet. "He didn't touch me Ashir."

I responded in just as quiet a voice, hatred sizzling through my veins like blood. "You think I'm gonna stand by and let some racist prick degrade my little sister? You have as much right to wear a scarf as he's got to wear all that douchy Ed Hardy crap. I'd smash him for the way he talked about Olive but for you? I'm gonna murder him!"

"Don't you dare go near him," Rayla commanded, as if she was the oldest one. As if scum like Xander was even worthy of her defence. "I'll tell Mom and then you'll never hear the end of it."

"And I'll tell Dad and then you'll get in shit for not letting me do my duty and protect you."

"I don't need you to protect me you sexist freak!"

"And I don't need you to lecture me on the evils of men but there you go. Anyway I gotta go."

"Ashir if you dare-"

"Love you too sis," I interjected and quickly turned my cell off.

Now it was time to kill that asshole.

I flung myself out of the washroom, marched down the hall and smacked straight into Olive as I turned a corner.

"Oww," she gasped, rubbing at her forehead. Tears sparked in her dark eyes like diamonds.

"Shit." I gingerly touched my nose, which was stinging. I was talking to her before I remembered the bet. "You okay?"

"Yeah." She wiped at her eyes and blinked up at me. "You?"

"My sinuses are definitely clear."

She smiled and my heart twisted. I'd always been a sucker for her smile. "So what're doing tonight? The Canadiens are playing the Oilers. We could go down to Peddler's and catch the game."

I sighed. Glancing around and seeing that the coast was clear, I grabbed Olive's hand and steered her into the bathroom I'd vacated minutes earlier. "I can't talk to you or see you for forty days 'cause I'm a dumbass," I blurted out before I could talk myself out of it.

She laughed. "Giving me up for Lent are you?"

I huffed at her. "You know I don't celebrate Lent."

"Then? Is the flood coming or what?"

I took a deep breath and went for it. I'd already broken the bet by expressing concern for her forehead; may as well carry on and explain why I couldn't see her. As her eyes narrowed and flashed and her lips tightened, I took the coward's way out and studied the floor at length. She didn't say a word until I finished and when I finally risked taking a peek at her, she looked livid.

Swallowing audibly, I took a step back.

"You bastard," she whispered in a voice I'd never heard from her in our three years of friendship.


"You great stupid bastard! How dare you bet on me like that! How dare you make a decision about me without my consent! Who the hell do you think you are? You had no right to-"

"He was starting shit with me!" I cried, starting to panic at the sheer fury radiating from her. "Racist shit! Calling me a terrorist and a-"

"Oh well that makes it alright then!" She shoved me hard and I hit that same stupid automatic hand dryer. "You think I'm some fucking stranger to racism? Being called the n-word, white girls talking smack about my hair and black people ragging on me because I sound too 'white' and do 'white' shit like cook healthy and read and study my fucking black ass off so I can make something of my life!"

I scowled. "Who talked shit about you?" I demanded furiously. "I'll kill them!"

"Oh shut up Ashir!" She shook her head, disgust sneering out of her. "I never expected that you'd treat me like this. I thought you were different from all those dicks who just see as a walking set of tits and ass. Like I'm nothing more than a hole to fuck."

"I don't see you like that," I whispered, stung. "How can you ever think that I'd-"

Her dark eyes clashed with mine. "After your forty days are up, make it the rest of your fucking life."

And she stormed away in an incensed swirl of vanilla and loathing, leaving me behind with a stunned mind and a breaking heart.

So what else could I do? I waited until Xander was alone before pounding on him.

Unfortunately, I still felt just as shitty and with a sore fist to boot. This was exacerbated by Rayla's presence awaiting me at my apartment. I was forced to listen to a contemptuous rant on how I was a reckless, stupid chauvinistic moron who didn't have the brains Allah gave a warthog. Then she smacked me upside the head and stormed off just as Olive had.

Forty days passed about as quickly as a turtle wading through molasses. Olive stopped sitting next to me in our shared classes and looked right through me whenever our paths crossed, which admittedly wasn't often. Rayla refused to tell me anything about her other than no, she wasn't dating Xander and that he had a split lip from coming onto her. That was the only consolation that I had; the girl of my dreams may not have wanted me but at least she wasn't oiling around with the biggest asshole on campus.

Every day I felt my heart crack just a little bit further. I didn't give a shit about school. I stopped going out to bars and clubs on the weekend. What was the point? All the guys were idiots and all the girls weren't Olive. I missed her with an ache that was more painful than anything I'd ever experienced, including breaking my foot in grade eight. I was forced to punch my cousin Imran in the guts for suggesting that I get over Olive by checking out some strippers. How the fuck was I supposed to get over Olive when she had my heart? What the hell did Imran know about anything anyway? He drove a Kia for fuck sakes. I stopped calling Rayla. All she did was lecture me in snippy tones. What did I need that for? I was lecturing myself and kicking my own ass enough for a hundred people.

I was the biggest shithead in the world and because of my own stupidity, I had lost both my best friend and the love of my life. I was also a grown man and if I wanted wallow in misery for a month and ten days then that was my prerogative.

And so time passed by at a rate slower than Xander and Imran's combined IQ.

Day forty-five roused me from my sulk with an incessant banging on my door. I knew that annoying pattern of knocks; it was my Mom. Groaning, I buried my head under my pillow.

"Ashir Mohammad Janvir Saeed! I know you are inside so do not try to fool me with your rubbish! Open this door right now or else I shall sing a ghazal!"

Holy hell.

I flung myself from my bed, hastily tripped my way through my apartment and whipped open the front door. "Morning Mom."

"What morning?" Mom demanded, barrelling past me. "It is noontime!" She marched into my living room with all the force of a hurricane and yanked open my curtains. "Why are you not in school?"

"Don't feel good."

Her face softened as she studied me. "You have lost weight. You are sick in the heart."

"No I'm-" My voice cracked in an embarrassing sort of way. I quickly looked away. "Yeah I guess I am."

Mom reached up and smoothed hair away from my eyes. "Tell me."

That soothing touch did me in. After a few moments of internal debate, I did.

Mom, to her credit, didn't lecture me on how I should be looking for a decent Muslim girl or tell me yet again about her Aesthetician's daughter Nazneen who was the same age as me and who had hips sturdy enough to birth ten robust sons. She kept quiet until I'd finished pouring my heart out and then simply patted my cheek. "You tell this Olice. It's simple."

I smiled for the first time in forty-five days. "Olive Mom."

Mom pondered that. "It is a strange thing to have a pizza topping for a name, no? These white people, what to say!"

I hesitated. "Olive is actually black," I confessed. "Her parents are from Jamaica. She was named after her grandmother."

Mom sighed and patted my cheek again. "We had better not tell Daddy about this. He will, as you children say, blow the roof off."

Mom took me out for lunch to my favourite Thai restaurant where I ate my first decent meal in over a month. My mom had always been an optimistic woman and somehow, unloading my burdens onto her slight shoulders made me feel tons better. She passed no judgement on my behaviour, simply maintaining that "what has been done is done." She did insist that I tell Olive how I felt because apparently nothing short of declaring my love would be strong enough to get Olive back to me. Then, over red curry, she went on to tell me about how her cousin Ali had gotten caught stealing the Chief of Police's goat again.

"Why has he to steal this goat all of the time? He does not even like goat milk, it gives him the gas."

Full and feeling equal parts elation and terror, I went to class and deliberately waited until it started before scooting in at the last minute and plunking my sorry ass down right next to Olive. She stiffened as soon as she realized who was sitting next to her, her huge eyes narrowing into glinting slits.

I didn't care. She smelled like vanilla and after all this time, it was the most delicious smell I'd ever smelled. I wanted to lick her but probably I'd end up with a busted up face for my efforts. Instead I contented myself with brushing my knee against her leg.

"Don't fucking touch me," she hissed, angling away from me.

Well at least she was talking to me. Cheered, I got out my binder and a pen. As Mum had so eloquently put it, "You are terribly miserable without your pizza topping. What is the worst that can happen if you have a chat with her? Maybe you shall still be miserable or maybe she shall relent and you both will be happy together, mashallah."

Mom, like always, was right. All I could do was try to talk to Olive. If she rejected me then I'd still be depressed as fuck...which was exactly how I'd spent the past month and a half anyway.

I found an old pop quiz that I'd gotten an unfortunate 5.5/10 on and scribbled on the back of it, 'You smell good. I miss you. I need to talk to you after class.'

Olive read it before making a show of crumpling it up and flinging it onto the floor. Then she glared scornfully at me.

I poked her in the side, where I knew she was highly ticklish. "You shouldn't litter," I admonished in a stage whisper.

"Fuck off!"

By the mighty powers of Allah, didn't I loved her.

I spent the next two hours passing her nonsensical notes that she scrunched up without reading and brushing my leg against hers. Our class was packed and there was nowhere decent for her to move; our Prof had a soft voice so sitting in the back was out but he also liked to chew cardamom pods so sitting at the front was a pungent gamble. Olive was stuck next to me and we both knew it.

The instant class was over, Olive booked it. She was tall and had no qualms about shoving her way through the crowds of people. I was taller though and I was a man in love; I stayed hot on her heels. Once outside, she broke into a full out run, darting across the street and into the shaded, wooded area that wove a path down towards the library.

"Are you really running from me?" I asked, jogging after her.

"I hate you!" Abruptly she came to a halt and whirled around. She was panting, her magnificent rack heaving. I tried not to look at it but her top was tight. "You're a dickless wonder and we're no longer friends so leave me the hell alone!"

I took a step closer to her, savouring the feeling of being so close to her after so long. "You think I'm a wonder?"

"Oh fuck you Ashir!" she exploded and whirled around, ready to hoof it again.

I caught her wrist before I knew what I was doing and pulled her back to me. My heartbeat was roaring in my ears, making it difficult to hear anything else. "I love you," I whispered, the words slipping out easily in the wake of her taut back. I didn't hear myself speak but judging how the flight abruptly left Olive's body, I knew they'd been spoken.

I took a deep breath and forced it from me, as if my confession was something dirty that I needed to purge my body of. "I always thought love at first sight was such a crock of shit until I saw you, that first day when we were getting our IDs. You were wearing that green dress and your hair was all braided and I thought you were the most beautiful girl I ever saw in my whole life. I felt like someone punched me in the face. I couldn't stop staring at you. That's why I could hardly look at you when we became friends; I was so in awe of how perfect you are. I had such a crush on you. You're so beautiful and funny and smart and awesome. You make me laugh and you make me forget that the rest of the world even exists. I'd rather spend five minutes with you than hours with anyone else. I love you with everything that's in me, with everything that I'm made up of. The weight of my feelings for you could crush this earth, I swear it." I swallowed hard and kept going. "I would do anything for you, be anything, go through anything. I'll give up our friendship if that's what you really want, even though it's killing me to be without you." My hands caught her shoulders and I dropped my forehead against her sweet smelling, coarse hair, my body literally shaking with need for her.

"I love you Olive," I croaked hoarsely. "I know I'm not fit to breathe the same air as you, not fit to touch you, I'm such a fucking dick, you don't even date guys who aren't black-"

Olive shrugged me away from her; stepped away from me in the harshest of rejections. "You're right...I don't."

Words failed me. A horrifying stung spilled to my eyes, blurring my vision. My nose burned.

Oh Allah, was I crying like some kind of a fucking pussy?

Sickened and speechless and filled with mountains of self-loathing I did what any self-respecting man would do; I booked it to the nearest liquor store and picked a fight with three Sri Lankan guys on the way there.

I turned off my phone so I wouldn't have to tell Mum how I'd just had my heart crushed and proceeded to get sloshed, all the while bleeding profusely from my nose. (Those Sri Lankan dudes didn't look it but Allah could they ever punch.)

Maybe this was a good thing, I pondered philosophically as I lay on the kitchen floor, the tiles cool against my bruised ribs. Maybe I could move on from Olive to Nazneen and finally check out all the hype regarding her hips.

And then maybe after, I could go boil my own head.

"Blarrrgghhh," I grunted and swigged some more Canadian Club whiskey. It tasted like the ass of the goat Uncle Ali had stolen.

Hours later or maybe it was minutes – it was kind of hard to keep track of time when the very fabric of reality was tilting so heavily – I had manoeuvred enough so that I was no longer laying in the pool of whiskey I'd just spilt...hours or minutes ago. I was contemplating whether I should lick it up or not when from far away I heard my front door open.

"Emshi," I moaned, not bothering to peel my face off the floor. If Rayla had come by to gloat then I was going to kick her right in the patella.

Light footsteps clicked up the hall and then there was silence.

"Emshi," I grunted again, as forcibly as I was able.

"Holy crap, are you bleeding?"

My heart tilted along with the room.

It wasn't Rayla.

I cracked upon an eye as vanilla perfume tickled my nose. Olive was as tall as a skyscraper and a thousand times more beautiful. Her legs were a million miles long in those tight jeans and high blue heels, her hair a burnt sun scorching around her wavering face.

I would have touched her, just once, if I wasn't afraid that she'd shimmer away from me. Again.

"Love you," I mumbled and clenched my eyes shut. It hurt to look at her. I thought I heard her call me a retard but I wasn't sure; it seemed I shimmed away myself.

When I woke up, my tongue was plastered to the roof of my mouth with the glue of the worst odour known to man. The nausea curling in my stomach seemed to travel up to my brain as I tried to move. I was still oozing all over the kitchen floor, only my aching head was slumped against a pillow. My back felt like a pile of matchsticks on the verge of collapsing, my mouth like the Lahore city dump.

"Morning sleeping beauty." Rayla's voice, soft as it was, felt like someone was scraping the inside of my head with a rusty razorblade. She knelt down beside me, her long, curly hair brushing against my throbbing cheek. I flinched.

She sighed, her cool fingers brushing hair from my squinting eyes. "Was it worth it?"

I had to swallow a few times to unglue my tongue from the top of my mouth. "The love of my life hates me," I mumbled, tasting dried blood on my mouth. I remembered my nose bleeding profusely and not giving two shits about it. "This is nothing compared to how that feels."

There was a silence which was absolutely blessed before Rayla ruined it. "What happened to your face?"

"Got in a fight."

"You're such an idiot." She tugged at my shoulder. "Come on, you need to get up and get cleaned up. You still have dried blood all over your face; you freaked out last night when I tried to clean it up. Also, you smell like a frat house."

"Get lost."

"You have a visitor," she cajoled, tugging harder.

I swatted at her with all the energy of an arthritic geriatric. "Tell Imran to fuck off. I don't wanna see no strippers."

She made a sound of disgust. "It's not Imran. Trust me, you bozo. You really reek."

"Don't care."

"Ashir, get the fuck off the floor."

My eyes shot open. My neck creaked as I turned in the direction of that voice. Olive was standing in the doorway, in those same tight jeans, looking as beautiful as she had last night.

"You're real?" I croaked, drinking up the sight of her. "You're not a dream?"

She exchanged a glance with Rayla; I didn't know what it meant and I didn't care. I could've lay at her feet, gazing up at her for forever. "If you aren't up in five minutes I'm kicking your ass straight back to I-rak."

Scowling, I gave her the finger...or an approximation of. I didn't know why she thought that was an effective threat; I'd rather have my ass kicked then have my heart broken. At least my ass could heal.

I painstakingly made it through a shower without drowning myself and felt marginally better for it. Rayla, in an uncharacteristic display of sisterly love, brought me a couple of Advil, which were enough to take the edge off my bruised ribs, throbbing nose and aching head. My nose started to bleed again in the shower but I had other issues to contend with.

Had Olive really spent the night? Why? Was there a chance that she was still willing to still be my friend? And most importantly of all, had she witnessed me acting the fool last night?

I managed to get dressed without vomiting and approached the kitchen feeling more like a human being and less like a stain. Olive was sitting at my kitchen table, eating a bowl of Lucky Charms.

"Where's Rayla?"

"She left." Olive gestured to the steaming mug that sat on the counter. "I made you some coffee."

Well she couldn't be that mad at me if she was making me coffee, could she?

"I'm sorry," I blurted out as I mostly fell into the chair across from her. Coffee sloshed onto my arm. "Oww shit!"

Olive's lips twitched.

I licked at my skin. "I shouldn't have let McCowen rile me up and I really, really shouldn't have bet against you. That was a shitty, dickish thing to do and for that I apologize."

"It was shitty," Olive agreed quietly. "You always let your temper get the better of you."

"I know." I stared into my coffee. It was the same colour as Olive's eyes only it wasn't tinted with the inevitable rejection that I knew was coming. "Do you think-" My voice cracked. I cleared my throat and tried again. "Do you think we could still be friends?"

Silence stretched between us. I couldn't bear to look at her.

"Is that what you want, Ashir?"

The question surprised me. After yesterday's confession, how could she not know what I wanted? "Can't always get what we want," I managed to gasp around the painful burning inside my throat.

Her hand closed over mine, warm and soft. Her skin was so much darker than mine, so much more precious. "Tell me again," she whispered, her words falling like winter crystals.

I knew what she was asking and it wasn't in me to deny her anything...ever. "You're my heartbeat. Without it, without you, I can't live." I clutched her hand in both of mine and kissed those long fingers.

I heard her breath catch. Her voice wasn't quite steady when she confessed to me, haltingly, "No one's ever...no one's ever said anything like that to me before."

I scoffed before I could help myself. "Like that Jamal guy could ever articulate his feelings, he could barely tie his shoe. And that fucking dipshit Otis, what did he know about anything that wasn't football or porn?"

To my immense surprise, Olive giggled. "You're jealous."

"Of course I'm jealous! You've been eating garbage at McDonald's when you could've had a gourmet meal!"

Her eyebrows shot up. "You're a gourmet meal now, are you?"

I flushed but had no choice; I had to roll with it. "I can give you a lot more than those fuckers ever could. I'd never stand you up, I'd never run out of gas and make you pay for it, I'd never forget your birthday 'cause playoff season started, I'd never karaoke 'Baby Got Back' to you, I'd never cheat on you." I forced myself to look into those wide, dark eyes. "I'd love you until the last moment of my life and beyond."

Her eyes were huge. "All these years and you never said anything? Ashir-"

I shrugged, feigning nonchalance. "Didn't wanna be hurt. Didn't think I was good enough for you. Didn't think you'd want me like that."

"You surprised me yesterday. I was so pissed off and hurt and then you told me...that and I didn't know what to think or feel. I just reacted." She laughed, a bit hysterically. "Since then I've been visited by your Mom and your sister and even your dumbass cousin Imran, all of them telling me how bad you have it for me and even though you're an idiot, I should still give you a second chance. And then I find you bleeding on the floor, moaning about how I broke your heart."

"You did," I mumbled petulantly, before I could stop myself. I took a deep breath and forced the hardest words I'd ever had to speak from my body. "Olive, I don't want anything from you except to be friends again, if you can forgive me. This past month sucked without you. I don't care who you date as long as we can still hang out together."


I blinked but didn't deny it. I was a liar and that was the biggest crock of shit I'd ever spouted off.

Olive leaned across the table and cupped my face in her hands. "Look me in the eye and say it."

I clutched her wrists, mortified to feel that I was shaking. But I couldn't let go, not when this might be my only chance to touch her. "I can't."

"You stupid fuck," she whispered, her soft breath caressing my face. Her eyes roamed over my face, taking in my bloodless features, my trembling mouth, my swollen nose. She smiled, just a small one before shifting closer and pressing that smile to my lips.

Fireworks lit up behind my eyes. I felt as though I'd been released from an imprisonment and nothing could ever be so sweet as the freedom of Olive's mouth on mine. I don't recall jumping out of my seat and yanking Olive into my arms, only that suddenly she was there and it felt so friggin' right.

"Is this real?" I panted against the full curve of her lips. She tasted like me and wasn't that a revelation? My hands were on her ass, trying to pull her closer. "Am I really groping your ass?"

She rolled her eyes. "Smooth Ashir."

"You sure about this?" I moved down to her neck, nuzzling and kissing like this was my last act on earth. If she suddenly changed her mind then I had to get as much action as I possibly could. "It's not weird? I'll...I'll stop if you want."

"Double liar." She twined her arms around me, moaning. "If I didn't want this your balls would've been busted a long time ago."

"God I love you." And I kissed her, tongued her, loved with every ounce that I was. "So glad I gave you up for forty-days."

"Don't think I won't make you pay, you asshole." She smirked up at me, her fingers sliding into my hair. "I expect you'll be spending a lot of time on your knees."

I stroked the high curve of her cheek, amazed that I was now allowed. "Anything you want. I would walk through the oceans on my knees for you. I would walk through fire for you. I would walk through deserts for you. I would-"

"Jesus Ashir." She pressed her cool fingers against my babbling mouth. "I was thinking more like you do a few assignments for me and then maybe buy me sushi or something."

"I will," I vowed fervently. "I'll do every single assignment you ever get for the rest of our years in school. I'll do all your tests too. I'll write essays for you. I'll write your thesis for you. I'll buy you enough sushi to feed Newfoundland. I'll take you to Japan for sushi right now. I'll buy you a whale. I'll buy you-"

She burst out laughing. "What the hell will I do with a whale? You dumbass, you need to shut up." Still giggling, she kissed me.

Delirious with happiness, I obeyed.