“Of all the people to have my last moments with, it had to be you.” Wincing in agony, Layla shifted her weight against the rebar which now pierced her lower back. She had lost so much blood already that her hands and feet were beginning to go cold. The crimson liquid poured down her thighs, soaking through her skirt and her tattered nylons. Somehow her blouse had remained intact, and she found herself chuckling a bit despite the urgency of her situation.

The man across from her said nothing, simply looked toward the shattered mirrors and fractured ceiling. Slivers of light rained through its gaps, accompanied by the faint echoes of industrial saws. How long until they could be freed, he wondered – and how long could the two of them last in the meantime?

“Hey, Donnelly,” began Layla.

“What…”

“Why is it you came back to the city after being away so long? Was it to find me again?”

“…Not everything is about you, Layla.”

“Somehow I’m not entirely convinced,” she retorted. “You had such a thing for me back then, and it was you who threw all of it away. Don’t forget that.”

“…Why do you even care?”

“You broke my heart twice, Donnelly. I couldn’t hope to handle a third, if I even have the time left for that.”

“You shouldn’t say such things. Help will come; we just need to be patient.”

“Yeah, you have a point there.” Layla closed her eyes and allowed her memories to flood back to her. Donnelly had been an acquaintance since her grade school days, though in those days, Layla had been known by a much different name.

Until her twentieth birthday, Layla had always been Lain, a boy. Her transition began in her third year of college, and by the time she graduated, she was indistinguishable from most natural women – save for her cock, of course. Almost nobody recognized her on the day she showed up for her high school’s five-year reunion, but Donnelly was perhaps more astonished than anyone else.

Wishing to learn more about her, he gathered the courage to approach her once she was finally alone. Layla’s immediate conclusion was that he had no idea what he was doing and no experience whatsoever. She decided she would be patient with him, explaining how it started, the circumstances of her transition, her interests in the sexes, everything. By the time she finished, Donnelly was so captivated that he couldn’t keep his jaw from the floor.

Layla found this spectacle to be quite flattering, so she allowed herself to get closer to him as the days went by. It was only a matter of time before their feelings would turn serious. Summer arrived with many a lakeside party in tow. Layla was invited to a friend’s cabin where a large party was already in full swing. As the night wore on she broke from the crowd and made her way toward the shore, a bottle of wine in hand. Donnelly saw this and followed along, seizing the opportunity to speak with her alone. Together they shared in a moment of true beauty, talking and flirting, kissing and then groping. Layla knew she wanted more, that her feelings were genuine and not just a product of the alcohol.

Sliding down her jeans and her panties, lifting up her blouse, Layla exposed everything to Donnelly under the light of the moon. He traced his fingers all over that slender body, his rough skin stimulating hers. But then, just as his fingers were about to grab her cock, the man suddenly hesitated.

Layla, I… I’m sorry…”

“Donnelly…?”

“I’m… I’m not ready… Forgive me…” Donnelly backed away and ran for the cabin. As Layla dressed herself once more, all she could do was stare in anguish. All of her hopes had been dashed in a single utterance if rejection. Returning to her car, she quietly wept to herself until she was sober enough to drive home.

Opening her eyes, Layla sighed and placed a hand over her beating heart. Her pulse was so weak, her vision now too blurry to properly identify the features of the man across from her. “I was so crushed the night you broke my heart the first time. It took all of my pride to forgive you and… to let you have another chance at loving me…”

“Layla, I…”

“Why did you lie to me, Donnelly? Why did you… leave me behind….?” It was shortly after Christmas, another party and another chance encounter. Painful memories still lingering in her mind, she did all she could to ignore him on that winter night. When the throng eventually thinned, she remained alone, staring into the flickering lights of a warm fire. Donnelly then sat himself down aside her, an empty beer bottle in his hand.

“It’s been a long time.”

“Can I help you with something?”

“You can listen to what I have to say.”

“My gut tells me it’s something I’ve heard many times before.”

“Will you disregard it, then?”

This caught the girl a bit off guard. “Out with it, then.”

I took your existence for granted, and I’m sorry.”

“It’s whatever-”

“I’m not finished, Layla.”

“Huh…?”

I think I can speak for most guys when I say your appearance is an anomaly. It isn’t merely that you’re becoming a woman; it’s that you’ve reached a point where you exist as male and female at the same time. So, at that point… I think even the girls would struggle to figure out where they stand on things.”

“That’s such a cowardly justification,” she countered. Can you even hope to back something like that up?”

Donnelly shook his head. I shouldn’t need to, since I know it’s something you’ve come to embrace for yourself.”

“Just what do you mean?”

“I screwed up because I was afraid to learn. I was afraid of how the knowledge would change who I was, change my perspective of not only you, but of others as well. You were always willing to teach, and I don’t see you changing that anytime soon. That’s why I know you’ll give me another chance.”

Donnelly… You’re probably the first person to come out and say it like that..”

“Layla, the truth is…” Taking her hands in his, he leaned forward until his lips just barely brushed against her own. “I love the person you’ve become. It’s like you’ve completely mastered everything about yourself. I want to get there too one day, but all I can do until then is to champion you. I hope that makes sense.”

For Layla, time appeared to have stopped. The world around her fell gradually out of focus until the glow of the fire was all which surrounded them. Slowly, Donnelly’s hand found its way under her dress, pulling down her tights and panties before stroking his fingertips against her cock directly. It was enough to prove to her that his words were in fact genuine.

She grabbed a blanket from the nearby wicker basket and slid her dress to the floor. Her nipples poked out slightly from under her black camisole, goosebumps rippling across her exposed arms and neck. Donnelly joined her under the blanket, his hand beginning to stroke back and forth on her growing erection. She unzipped his jeans in turn, ready and eager to match his movements.

Pre-cum dripped along their fingers, but before either of them could climax, Layla took her hand away. “It’s probably best we don’t make a mess everywhere.” She winked at him teasingly and placed her fingers in her mouth, slurping away the musky residue. Donnelly placed his arm around Layla and held her close until the two of them fell asleep. In Layla’s mind, there had never been a more blissful moment.

When she awoke the following morning, Layla quickly realized that the room around her was unbearably cold. The wood stove was now all but empty, and her blanket had fallen to her hips during the night. Her dress lay folded under her neck as a makeshift pillow. Donnelly was nowhere to be found.

Someone told her that Donnelly was leaving the city for good. He’d been offered a job in the countryside and would be setting out later that day. Once more, Layla found herself all alone in the world. She tried to forget him altogether, to meander through her own life as she always had. It worked for about nine months, until Donnelly’s contract ended and he took a new job – in the same building where Layla worked.

“Layla.”

“What is it, Donnelly…?” She could barely keep her eyes open.

“If I told you the truth back then, would you still have let me be intimate with you?”

“Maybe… I would have seen things differently…”

“I didn’t want that. I wanted… for there to be a chance. So I left things ambiguous… in hopes I’d find my way back.”

“Then you…?”

“I don’t know if I’ve changed enough, or if I’m even ready for something like that. However… I did come back to try and win you back. Fate just got in the way toward the end.”

“Yeah, you’ve got that right…” Layla coughed violently, struggling to get air into her lungs. The symptoms of shock were setting in rapidly now. So this is the end, she thought. “Would you have… gone all the way with me…?”

“I’m positive that I would. And when we get out of here, I promise I will make good on it. Please be strong, Layla.”

“Could you… talk me through it?”

“Through what?”

“You know… what you’d do…”

“Oh, right.” She could hear him moving around in the cramped elevator, though she could no longer see him. “Let’s see… You and I would come back from the pool, your body dripping wet in a hot one-piece…”

“I take it you’d be showing… your muscles or something…?”

“Just for you, Layla. I’d carry you onto the bed and strip that dripping fabric all the way down. My hands would move from your collar down your beautiful breasts, your navel, all the way down to that beautiful cock you have…”

“Go on… please…” Layla’s heart pounded. She knew this would only fuel her own demise, but she could no longer bring herself to care. Being with him would make it all worthwhile.

“Once my swimming trunks are off, I would lube up my own and plunge it all the way into you, stroking you as I rode your heart-shaped ass. My other hand would trace along the goosebumps which formed from the cold air hitting your wet skin…”

Even now, she could feel his touch, and then suddenly a stabbing pain jolted through her right thigh. She blocked it from her mind, eager to keep the fantasy going for as long as possible. “Fuck… Donnelly…”

“Oh, how I would. I’d roll my hips again and again, throbbing and curving inside of you until I coated your insides white. I’d make you squirt all over my muscled body and have you collect every drop on your tongue. I’d pull the covers over us and kiss you passionately, sharing in its stickiness. I’d make you feel like a goddess every day from then on…”

A tear ran down Layla’s cheek as she only caught bits and pieces. His voice was fading, a sign that her time had run out. The last thing she heard him say was, “You need to hold on.” She wanted to say “I’m sorry,” yet those words never made it past her lips.

*… Beep… … Beep… … Beep… … Beep… …* The rhythmic chime of a heart monitor brought her back to reality. A dim blue light surrounded her, intravenous drips hanging from the foot of her bed. Am I… alive…?

The physician approached her, a clipboard in hand. “Welcome back. It was rather touch and go for a few days, but it looks like the worst has passed.”

“Where’s… Donnelly…?”

“Donnelly is…” The older woman faltered. “He found an old medical kit in the elevator compartment. Fashioning a makeshift pump, he used that to restore the blood you lost. It saved your life at the cost of his own.”

Layla’s eyes widened and she tried to sit up. “That can’t…!”

“Shhh… You need to relax. Aggravating your injuries will only worsen things.” The physician gave Layla’s hand a gentle squeeze. “Whoever this boy was to you, he must have loved you with all his heart. When you’re better, you’ll find a way to repay his kindness. Just focus on recovery for now.”

Layla waited for the physician to leave before allowing the tears to flow freely onto her pillow. Every scream of anguish sent a jolt of pain through her stitched-up abdomen, but it was nothing compared to the aching of her soul. She cried and cried until she passed out a second time, too overwhelmed by all of it to make sense of anything.

She spent nearly two weeks in the intensive care unit before being moved to a regular room for another two. Her parents would come by each day to check on her, though beyond that, her only company had been the nurses who made their rounds each day. When it came time for her discharge, she was informed that her rehabilitation would likely be more than a year and that she’d likely be out of work for equally as long. It certainly wasn’t something that anyone in their mid-twenties would ever want to hear.

However, none of thatseemed to bother her for some reason. In her mind, it was like starting life over again, and while she couldn’t explain it, she intimately sensed that she wouldn’t be walking this path alone. Was it the remnants of her lover’s blood? The echo of his words? Whatever it was, it cast a warm glow through every fiber of her being, solidifying her resolve and her hope for the future.

Donnelly had fancied her a goddess. What was it which actually made one? Was it defined by special talents or was it weighed through the perceptions of onlookers? No; becoming a goddess meant imparting a gift to others. The gift she had entrusted to Donnelly was repaid in the form of extra life. To honor him, she would spread her gift to all she met, so she swore up to her final breath.

Pulling herself into the passenger seat of her father’s car, she closed her eyes and set off for home.

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