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I Love You, Danny by Nigel

Badpuppy Model - Jason Land

It felt so strange sleeping alone that night, alone in a bed I had occupied with Danny for the past year. The sheets were cold and I missed his warm body close to mine. A tear formed in my right eye, quivered slightly then ran down the side of my cheek and faded away.

"I miss you, Danny," I croaked softly. "I miss you. Please come home soon. I need you so much."

Danny isn't his real name. That is almost impossible to pronounce and totally impossible to spell. He was first introduced to me as Danny, and Danny he will always be.

More than a year we shared that bed, and as I lay there thinking over the good times we had together, I thought right back to our first meeting and cried myself to sleep with the memories.

I am a freelance journalist by trade and when I was offered a commission to go to Kosovo and write a series of articles for an international relief agency, I jumped at the opportunity.

It was a long journey, flying first from London to Budapest and then to Tirana in Albania where I joined a UN flight into Prestina. The military conflict had been over for just three weeks when I arrived, the airport was a military base and so nobody paid any attention to the small group of civilians leaving the white United Nations jet. There was no immigration, no passport control and since the tiny terminal building was closed while it could be checked for unexploded munitions, we simply walked from the aircraft, across the tarmac and onto the road outside.

It was there I first met Danny. He picked me out from the others with a broad smile, walked towards me and offered his hand. "Hello," he said. "I'm Danny, your interpreter."

"Hi Danny, pleased to meet you."

The next two days were a whirlwind of crazy activity as I visited scenes of the most terrible atrocities and talked to many families about their experiences and suffering at the hands of the Serbian forces. Danny was constantly at my side tirelessly interpreting everything.

"I am not Kosovan myself," he told me. "I am Albanian. I have been working with Save The Children, but have been borrowed for a time to work with you and help you with your writing."

"Well I am very pleased to have you with me, even if it is just on loan."

Danny told me he was twenty-five, sixteen years younger than I. He had grown up in communist Albania, the world's most totalitarian state and learned to speak English just eighteen months previously. He was very good and I admired his skilful command of the language. There was something between us, it had been there at our first meeting and we quickly became friends.

My first night in war-torn Kosovo was spent in a make-shift base operated by the relief agency. I slept on a rickety camp bed in an attic room, Danny retired to an army tent on the grounds. The second night I shared a room with Danny and our driver in the home of a family who had only recently returned from a refugee camp in Northern Albania.

By the end of our third day my mind was exploding with all I had seen. All I had been told. I had gathered enough material to write a book never mind a series of magazine articles. We were going to spend the night in a former hospital. It was packed with relief workers desperately trying to make it functional again to cope with so much trauma. I needed to be alone, I needed to think. I found a small empty store room and rolled out my sleeping bag on the hard concrete floor. I lay back and contemplated the last few days. I hadn't been alone for long when Danny came in.

"Are you asleep?"

"No."

He switched on the light.

"You can't sleep like that on the floor," he said.

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"I'm alright, don't worry."

"No, wait."

He left and when the door opened for a second time a mattress burst through and landed on top of my legs.

"Sorry," Danny said quickly pulling it off me and laying it squarely on the floor. "There should be room for us both on here."

It was a three-quarter mattress, not as large as a double and not as small as a single. There would be room enough for two to sleep there but it would be close. I had looked many times over the past three days at Danny in that way and knew sleeping together in that way would be a pleasing experience. Never did I expect what was to happen.

It was a very hot spring evening and I had been laying on top of my sleeping bag wearing just a pair of briefs. I began to lay my sleeping bag down one side while Danny began to undress.

"I like your tattoo," he said.

I'd had it done years ago, a picture of a broken arrow on the upper right arm.

"A broken arrow," Danny continued, "is a North American Indian sign for peace is it not?"

"You are very clever, not that many people know that."

He smiled. "I have a tattoo and mine is also of peace."

I glanced at his body and looked for it but could see nothing obvious. He had a fine and beautiful body, kneeling there on the edge of the mattress now dressed only in the tightest imaginable pair of white briefs. His manhood was visibly contoured beneath them. I looked him over but there was no sign of any tattoo.

"Would you like to see it?" Danny grinned. "You are a good friend so I will show it to you."

Did he mean? He did mean! Where else could it be?

Danny hooked two thumbs inside the waistband of his underpants, pulled them forward and down. In moments they were off.

The sight that met my eyes was one of pure beauty. Yes, I saw the tattoo quickly, a dove of peace to the side of his right groin, but my eyes focussed on a beautiful cock and two fine hanging balls topped with a bush of straw blond pubic hair. Danny had a semi-erection and as his smiled broadened, it began to grow and stiffen.

"Do you like?"

"Oh yes I do."

We were both kneeling down, our eyes on the same level and transmitting deep and inner thoughts one to the other. Danny rested his hands on each of my hips and took a hold of my own briefs.

"May I?"

I nodded. "Yes please."

As Danny removed that last thing between us I placed my arms about him and pulled us towards each other. Our mouths met and shared a deep and long kiss.

"You are a wonderful person," Danny said. "I think I love you."

"Me too," I whispered wondering if he could hear the pounding of my heart over the words.

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Yes, I am gay, and in my life I have had lots of sexual experiences with other guys, but this was different. With Danny that night we didn't have sex, we made love. The difference in our ages was lost in the delight we found in one another.

Danny lay with his head on my chest, my arm beneath him and my fingers stroking his back. We talked for hours, each telling the other his life story and through it all falling more and more in love.

"I don't want you to go home," Danny said. "I don't want to lose you."

"And Danny I am not going to lose you." I held him close to me and added. "That is, if you really want me."

"Of course I do, silly. They switched interpreters just the day before you arrived; I wasn't originally assigned to you. This was meant to happen, I think."

But I knew I could not stay in Kosovo and besides Danny was from Albania, not Kosovo. The terrible stories out of Kosovo would probably run for some time yet, there was a world-wide hunger in the media and this gave me an idea.

"Come to England and work with me there," suggested excitedly.

But Danny did not receive my suggestion with the same enthusiasm. His body stiffened slightly and moved fractionally away from me.

"What's the matter?"

"Everybody wants to leave Albania," he said. "It is a dirty place, a bad country, but I haven't done this with you as a way to get out of there."

"Danny, Danny!" I cried pulling him close to me and holding him as tight as I could. "The thought never occurred to me. I know we have only met a few days ago but I love you. Come to England with me. Please?"

Visas for Albanians to visit England are not easy to obtain. On my way home, having bid a tearful farewell to Danny I visited the British Embassy in Tirana. The visa clerk there told me that Danny would probably be granted a visa for up to six months if I were prepared to sponsor him and show that I could support him financially during his stay. However, he would need to attend an interview.

Communicating with anyone in Kosovo was not easy but I did manage to leave a message with the relief agency via their satellite phone. Back in England a quick exchange of e-mails secured that Danny would be in Tirana to meet me two weeks later. Those two weeks passed as an age, each minute an hour and each hour a day of the longest duration. I had fallen in love with Danny and in spite of our age difference I knew that he had with me. There was so much work we could do together and so much love in our lives we could share. I could not believe that I had been so lucky in meeting him.

And then at long, long last I was on my way back to Albania where Danny would be waiting for me. The aircraft climbed steeply out of Heathrow and banked over the M4 Motorway beneath me. I tried to pick out my car in the airport long-stay parking area but it was, of course, impossible. The next time I sat in that car and drove along the motorway, Danny would be right there with me.

When the plane touched down at Budapest I was one of the first off. I raced up the walkway and into the transfer lounge where I waited impatiently in line to check in for the flight to Tirana.

"Danny, I'm on my way," I whispered. "I'm coming to you."

But the departure board showed a delay of thirty minutes for the Tirana flight, thirty minutes which changed firstly to an hour and then to ninety minutes. Such an agony. The flying time from Budapest to Tirana is just fifty-five minutes, I knew Danny would be there waiting for me in Tirana Airport where there is no computerised display board of information available for those meeting flights. People just stand about in ignorance and wait as patiently as they can.

"Oh Danny I am coming, honestly I am."

My pulse quickened as I heard the tone of the plane's twin jet engines change and indicate that we were starting our descent. The ground slowly came up to meet us and the pilot skilfully wound the plane through the mountain range to line up with the runway. The mountains looked so close I could almost reach out and touch them. Even with computerised guidance it must take a large degree of skill to fly though such difficult terrain. My stomach was churning with excitement, like a child awaiting a birthday treat. Finally the tyres bit the tarmac and I was back in Albania, home of my new friend Danny.

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It took almost as long as the flight itself to clear passport control, collect my baggage and get through customs. Outside in the brilliant sunshine I searched the sea of faces for Danny. I squinted and began to panic ever so slightly. What if he wasn't there? But of course he was, and how wonderful to see him again.

While there are many hotels in Tirana, Albania's capital city, there are few any westerner would want to stay in. I had booked us a room in the Rogna Hotel at $150 a night. When I tell you that a teacher or a doctor in Albania earns about $75 a month you will understand how very expensive this was. Danny was concerned about the high cost.

"You are more than worth it," I said. I knew he was.

I had spoken to the embassy several times on the telephone before leaving England, we had an appointment for three o'clock.

"I could do with a shower first," I said. "I left home very early this morning. Then after the interview we can go for a meal and celebrate."

"I am very nervous," Danny said. "What if they don't like me?"

I took him in my arms and held him close to me. "How could anyone not like you, and Danny, I more than like you, I love you."

"And I love you too. Now about the shower, would you like me to help you?"

My smile gave him the answer.

Danny lathered soap and massaged it over my back, pressing his thumbs hard between my shoulder blades and relieving much of the stress generated by the journey. Then his hands reached round to my chest and began to work there. His lips touched the back of my neck, ever so gently and kissed me while warm soothing water cascaded over our bodies.

Lower and lower Danny's hands worked until they found the place where we both wanted them to be. How wonderful my Danny was. He held me with a firm and loving had then started a slow rhythmic beat which climaxed in a joy oh so splendid.

Then with that joy still surging through me, Danny gently parted my buttocks and worked a single finger inside. My inner being writhed in pleasure, only to be surpassed and soar to new heights as his large and solid manhood entered me. How I had longed for this since our first night of love back in Kosovo. I knew this second time would be better than the first and I knew there were destined to be many, many more such times to come. Every one would always be better than the time before.

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The embassy would not allow me to be present at Danny's interview and I was forced to wait nervously in an ante room. Of course he would be granted a visa, I knew that, but pangs of doubt attacked my mind and gnawed at my confidence. Less than a month ago I did not even know that Danny existed, but since we had met and fallen in love he had become my world. If he were refused a visa and permission to come to England, my world would end. The agony continued for almost a full hour, and when Danny finally emerged, I searched his face for a sign as to how the interview had gone. But I could tell nothing.

"Well?"

His face was expressionless and pale. My heart began to sink. Then a faint smile, just the tiniest hint of a grin, began to move the corners of his mouth. I repeated my question with a tone of urgency.

"Well?"

"I can pick my visa up tomorrow at two o'clock," he exploded. "I am coming to England with you."

There were squeals of joy from us both as we embraced and danced about there in the British Embassy. Whatever the staff thought, I dare not comprehend.

"I love you so much Danny," I said wanting to find better words to express myself but resorting to just those few.

"I know and I love you so much too."

The visa granted Danny leave to remain in the United Kingdom for up to six months but we had no intention of him ever returning to Albania. Two days later we were on an aircraft climbing steeply through that mountain range beginning the rest of our lives together. My eyes were full with tears of joy but among those in Danny's eyes I knew there would be some of sadness at leaving his home country.

But I would make a wonderful home for Danny in his new country. Although I had still to work out a long-term strategy I had so many ideas floating round in my mind I had yet to draw them together. The visa had been issued for Danny to work with me for six months in preparing news items but I knew any media interest would disappear well before then. I had no intention of allowing Danny to return once his visa had expired. And while I was more than happy to earn enough money to keep us both, I believed Danny to be a man who would want to earn his own money and pay his own way.

I looked at him sitting next to me on the aircraft and felt a sense of deep pride. How truly, truly lucky I was.

England amazed Danny. The vastness of Heathrow compared to the only other airports he knew - Tirana and Prestina, put his mind in a whirl. Then as we headed out onto the M25, he could not believe such a road could exist.

"If only we had roads like this in Albania," he said.

I laughed. Any Englishman who knows the joys of driving on the M25 London Orbital Motorway will join me in gladly giving it away to anyone who will take it!

Danny leaned across the car and gently pecked a kiss on my cheek. "Can I ask you something?" He said.

"Sure, of course."

"Are you certain that gay people are accepted in England the way you say? I mean in my country we have to be so careful, and under communism it was a crime. "

"Trust me, being gay is almost normal these days."

I would take Danny to Mardi Gras later in the summer, we would visit my favourite gay pub and make it our local. We could even go clubbing to G A Y - I wasn't too old yet.

Danny's first introduction to the culinary delights of the West was courtesy of Burger King where he totally demolished a double cheese whopper meal with a large strawberry shake. I'm not sure what he made of the burger and the skinny potato fries but the milkshake set light to his taste buds.

"This is wonderful," he said. "I've only ever tasted one thing better!"

"What's that," I inquired?

He smiled, tapped the side of his nose with his right forefinger and winked an eye. "You," he cheekily grinned.

After our first night together in the bed we were to share for the rest of our lives, I took Danny to London where I gave him a day that any blue-badge tour guide would have been proud of. We went to the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. Then to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Somewhat displaying the fatigue of the day we took the tube to Tottenham Court Road and walked into Soho where we ate a sumptuous meal in Balans. We gave my credit card a real hard bashing and included a bottle of champagne at £135! But it was not an extravagance, Danny was worth every last penny. How I had fallen in love with him and how much falling we both had still to live out.

I really wanted to end our day with a visit to the theatre, any theatre and any play or show but we had a full schedule the next day. We needed to sleep and be fresh for the work ahead.

As I had predicted there was a lot of media interest in Danny. Several radio stations wanted to interview him, and he appeared as a special guest on Breakfast Television. There were more newspaper and magazine articles than I could count, and for all I meticulously kept account of the fees and deposited cheques in our new joint bank account.

We worked hard but we also played hard and had some fantastic fun, being with Danny made me feel young again. Like the night we drove over to Pink Punters in Milton Keynes. It was a karaoke night and we found ourselves on stage singing the Sony and Cher number I Got You Babe. If I say so myself we were good and took the audience by storm. It was a great night. As we skipped back through the car park, I started singing the old T Rex song: We Love To Boogie. We danced about like a couple of kids just let out of the school disco.

It was a memorable evening but more so a memorable night. I lay down with music running through my brain and my love for Danny pounding deep in my heart. Danny was soon asleep but slumber just would not overtake me. I remember seeing the clock at one and again at two-thirty, I think five registered but by then I was dozing in and out of a light sleep.

I could feel Danny gently stroking my back. He had a special way of caressing his hands lightly over my skin in a sensual way where his touch was so soft and subtle that I found it highly arousing. He would ripple his fingers as he moved his hand and set all the hairs on my body aglow with fire. I groaned with pleasure and pressed myself back against his naked body. A kiss into the nape of my neck heightened my arousal.

"What time is it?" I asked.

"Time to make love," was the answer.

I should have been tired but I was not, with those words I was awake and kissing my lover all over his body. "I can not tell you how much I love you," I said.

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"I know," Danny replied. "Nobody has written the words to explain our love, so we must show rather than speak."

And show we did.

I am a top but that night, or early morning, Danny took control and reversed our roles. He was not an experienced top, being predominantly passive himself, and his initial penetration hurt. But I did not care and writhed in pleasure as our bodies became one. Danny was a marvellous lover, and that early morning our physical bonding reached new heights of beauty. Wonderful, wonderful Danny.

When our love making was over we lay side by side and whispered our passion for one another. How could I live without Danny? Although the time when his visa would expire was months away I worried what would happen when the time came. Of course Danny would not go back to Albania, no way, but if he was caught overstaying his visa he would be deported and never have the chance to return to England. There is always much talk of people coming to England to claim political asylum but for such Danny had no case. At the time same sex partnerships were accepted but they were not legal entities and so he had no right of residence simply because we were in love. How cruel is the fortune of birth that I could hold a passport which freely entitled me to roam the world at my will, while Danny's would always be subject to tight visa control and suspicion.

After Danny had been in England for three months, I knew we would need to move away from where I had made my home and in the community where I was know. I could not run the risk of a neighbour becoming suspicious when Danny's official time in England was over and perhaps informing the authorities. We discussed this and decided to find a new home in a different part of the country. I longed to turn my writing from mere journalism into writing books while Danny was fast becoming an excellent, self-taught web designer. We could work from home in both of our occupations and no longer needed to live near to any city or large community.

We found a nice little cottage on the edge of Exmoor, a short car ride from the holiday town of Minhead. It was a lovely home and we quickly settled in together. It was a much better home than when we had first moved into my flat when Danny came to England. That had been my home in which Danny had joined me - this was our home together. It was different. Better.

The weeks went by, Danny had as many clients within his little web design company as he could handle and my first novel was proceeding at a fair pace alongside the freelance writing I had kept on in order to earn a living. We were very happy and content. But as the day drew ever nearer for Danny's visa to expire I worried that he would be found, arrested and sent home. If that were to happen I would die. Logically there was no reason for the authorities to intervene, why should they? They had a record of Danny entering the country but the only record anyone would have of those leaving England would be the airlines, exit passport control is no longer manned at UK airports, and there would be no cross referencing from the commercial airlines to government records. Quite simply he could disappear into the air and live the rest of his live in England and be of no trouble to anyone.

In our new home we kept to ourselves, making our local pub and evenings out more than an hour's drive away where we were most unlikely to encounter any of our neighbours. Exmoor has a simply zero gay scene, so any forays into the rainbow world were always by way of week-end trips to London.

I don't know what I thought would happen that day: armed police waiting outside at dawn? Bus loads of immigration officials laying siege to us? Terrible thoughts pervaded my mind and refused to go away. That night, the last night of Danny being legally in the country, I held him so tight in bed and mentally bound him ever closer to me. Nobody would ever take my Danny away from me.

And they didn't. A day passed, then a week and then a month. Soon it was Christmas. Until I met Danny, Christmas had always been a time of anti-climax. The shops tend to declare Advent ever earlier each year, and by the time December 25th actually dawns, there's not a lot left other than to collapse in exhaustion and beg for the New Year. But that Christmas together was different.

I bought Danny a gold signet ring and had it engraved with his name. I had gone to great length to find the Albanian translation for I Love You, and to have that recorded by his name.

I was so full of joy when I handed Danny my gift and imagine my overwhelming emotion when he too handed me his gift in a small wrapped box. Tears fell down my cheeks as I opened it and saw that he too had chosen a ring as his gift.

I threw my arms about him and we cried tears of happiness in each other's arms.

"Nigel," Danny said. "Will you marry me?"

I answered with a single word: "Yes."

We were married exactly one year to the day from the time we met back in Kosovo. It was a simple enough ceremony; we were the only people there, just Danny and I. Of course the vows and promises we exchanged had no standing in law, we did not even have anyone to witness them, but they meant everything to us. I had no family I could have invited and since meeting Danny there had been little reason to see many of those who had previously been my friends. Danny had a mother and a sister, but it was, of course, quite impossible for them to travel from Albania.

After dedicating our lives to one another we consummated our love with a passion that lasted much of the afternoon. I made love to Danny, and then he to me. Danny was becoming more experienced as a top, and I loved having him inside me. How I loved Danny; words are not enough to tell.

I would have liked for us to have gone away on holiday to celebrate our union but leaving England was impossible. Instead we spent a couple of nights in London, staying in a top class hotel where we were pampered from dawn to dusk. We had a meal at The Ritz and brought one another expensive gifts in Harrods.

Danny was fairly well off in his own right, his Internet design business was doing well. I had an offer from a publisher for my book, all I had to do was to finish a rewrite of two chapters. Life was being good to us.

As we drove back home from London we were in a light, airy mood - so happy and by the hour falling more and more in love. But back at the cottage there was something waiting for us that would bring us down to earth with a terrible crash.

The answer phone was flashing four messages. While Danny went to make some coffee I listened to them. Three were of no consequence but the other was from somebody speaking frantically in Albanian.

As we drove back home from London we were in a light, airy mood - so happy and by the hour falling more and more in love. But back at the cottage there was something waiting for us that would bring us down to earth with a terrible crash.

"Danny," I called, "this message is for you."

As we drove back home from London we were in a light, airy mood - so happy and by the hour falling more and more in love. But back at the cottage there was something waiting for us that would bring us down to earth with a terrible crash.

"Who's it from?"

"I don't know, they are speaking in Albanian."

"I'll be there in a minute."

He came in with coffee, offered me a cup and pecked a gentle kiss on my lips. "I love you," he grinned.

"And I love you too. I think you had better listen to this message, it sounded important."

"Oh," he said casually. "Don't see who would be calling me."

I watched as he listened to the message and saw the expression on his face change. My suspicion of the message being urgent was confirmed, and I realised it was bad news.

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"What is it?"

His face went grey.

"What is it?"

"It's my mother."

Terrible thoughts ran through my head.

"What? Tell me!"

"There's been a fire. Her home is destroyed."

"Is she hurt? Is she alright? What happened?"

"She is burned and in hospital. That was my sister on the phone. She will be alright, I think, but I don't know." He began to cry.

I did not know what to say. What could I say?

"Nigel, I am going to have to go to Albania. I have to see her."

Of course he did; the thought didn't hesitate in my mind for the slightest moment. But, there were dozens of terrible thoughts along side it that I would lose him. If Danny were to return to Albania, and Danny had to go back to Albania, how ever would he come home again to England? It would be impossible. Would the embassy realise he had overstayed his visa and refuse him another? It was almost certain they would. Was I about to lose him? I could not bear that. But he had to go.

The same thoughts must also have been spinning through Danny's mind. "I'll come back," he said. "As soon as I can."

But how? I wanted to ask the question but could not. However, I did not need to ask the question for Danny knew well enough my thoughts. "There are other ways," he said.

"How?" I said.

"There are people," Danny started to explain. "People who can do that."

"Do what?"

"Get me back to England from Albania."

"People traffickers you mean?"

"If you like. I can return that way."

The idea horrified me but Danny did all he could to convince me that such people could bring him safely back to me. Of course he had to go to see his mother, and I supported him in that, but I did not want him to go. I knew I could probably talk him out of it and get him to stay with me, but to do so would be the wrong thing to do and horribly unkind. Tomorrow I would drive him all the way to Heathrow and get him on any flight there was space on back to Albania. I had always used Malev Hungarian Airlines into Tirana, flying by way of Budapest, but I knew there were routes via Vienna with Austrian Airlines, Rome with Alitalia and Sophia with Balkan Airlines. He was sure to find a seat on one of the flights.

Our night together was sad, neither of us quite knew what to say. I was trying to reassure him and Danny to convince me that he would be all right and could get back into the country through an illegal route. It would cost several thousand pounds. We both had the money, and were it to cost every penny we had, we would both have given it. We did not make love that evening, but spent the night in each others arms, our tears staining the pillows.

We were at Heathrow in time for the various airline ticket offices to open and Danny secured a seat with Alitalia to go to Tirana through Rome. There were four hours to go before the flight left and that time raced by like an express train. My heart ached and tears flooded as I watched him walk into the departure lounge. I went to the top of the multi story car park to watch the flight leave and cried uncontrollably as the plane disappeared into a tiny dot in the sky.

I slept that first night I was alone without Danny and didn't get out of bed until eleven. I was alone without Danny and felt my life was empty. I was weak, ate a little breakfast and went back to bed where I slept until the early afternoon. I had important work to do on my novel but could not find neither the energy nor the inclination.

"Come home Danny, come home to me soon."

The following day I was still not myself. Danny phoned to say that he had arrived safely and that his mother's condition was no worse. I brightened up to hear his voice but something was wrong with me. I made the effort to drive to the shop and buy some Lucozade and a few groceries but was totally exhausted on my return and slept again for hours. What was wrong with me?

When on the third day I felt no better I telephoned the doctor and made an appointment for that evening. He took a series of blood tests and told me to call two days later for the results. I was probably exhausted and needed rest and a tonic. But why would that be? I could not concur with his initial diagnosis.

Danny called again and said that he was in contact with some people who would be able to get him back to England. "Be careful," I urged him. What ever you do, don't get caught. I couldn't bear it if you do not come back."

"Don't worry. I am with you in my heart and I'll be back by your side soon."

I didn't tell him about my illness, I was feeling a little bit better and would be my old self by the time he came home.

The doctor called me ahead of the time I was due to phone the surgery for the results of the blood tests and asked me to come in to see him.

"When?"

"Come over now if you can."

I didn't sense any problem; my mind was focused on Danny and besides I was feeling so much better. When the doctor told me I needed to see a specialist, I was puzzled. "What's the matter?"

He didn't answer me, but asked if I could drive myself over to the hospital there and then. I could but why the urgency? What was the matter?

The GP looked down and then tired to smile, not a smile of happiness but one of sympathy. "Your blood test showed an abnormal level……."

I stopped listening. I wanted Danny there with me. The doctor continued trying to explain, but I did not hear. In hospital the consultant gave a similar explanation. It appeared that I had leukaemia. Leukaemia, that meant cancer, didn't it?

"It's in an advance state," I was told.

"But I have been well until the past few days and besides I am feeling a lot better now. Are you sure?"

From the look on his face I could tell he was absolutely sure, and that the situation was not good.

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"How bad is it?" I asked.

"If we had found it earlier," he said kindly, "we may have stood a better chance, but as I said it is quite advanced."

How advanced. He was trying to tell me that I was going to die.

"How long?" I asked.

"With treatment six months, perhaps nine. Without, three."

"Danny!" I screamed inside me. "Danny!"

The meeting continued for a long time. The consultant said a lot and I know I responded although I can remember little of that either of us said. A series of clinic appointments were made, but I doubted I would attend any. I just needed Danny. Come home Danny.

Back home the house was even more empty. What would it be like for Danny when he was left alone there without me, when I was gone? Come home Danny, I need you.

I am not a religious person and don't believe in a hereafter, but I am not scared of dying. Indeed, I am strangely calm about that which I don't fully comprehend. But I am terrified to the last fibre of my being of dying alone; I know I can not do that. Hurry home Danny; I need you Danny.

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I am not going to tell him when he next calls, I can not do that on the telephone. It will be hard to tell him in person but I will manage. Time is so precious and I do not want to waste a single second in anything but his wonderful and loving company.

"Come home," I screamed. "I love you, Danny!"

The Badpuppy.com model in these pictures is Jason Land

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