…Such an embrace never could exist in the tangible world. He knew
then it would only ever exist between their souls momentarily, for
half a beat, connected through such a suspended gaze only her eyes
offered – a suspension of time, of being intimately found then
infinitely lost.

The longest look and the shortest breath left him disoriented but only
for a second, until the hard and fast world came rushing back and his
sense of floating vanished like a vague dream.

He could never love her enough, no matter how much he wanted, needed,
or tried. Or maybe he feared his love would never compare to hers –
such a forgiving, indiscriminate, intimate love…purity marked with
unrelenting admiration, and sweet care. Such tenderness that he could
so easily destroy, like everything else he dared to hold close.

He couldn’t bear the thought of her following him, witnessing his
darkest recesses and clouding the mirror he saw within those warm
brown eyes. He wanted that version of himself – the untouched, the
unwithered, the unbroken – to exist somewhere, and she was the only
one, the only person in this world and the next with the strength and
devotion – the loyalty – to encapsulate his ephemeral perfection, in
all its blackened glory.

Through her eyes, he saw what he wanted to be but could not actualize.
And in each passionate, ardent gaze, he lived proudly, at peace and
ease, if only for one small timeless moment…until his fear pulled
him inward and away from such ephemeral, intangible, incomparable love
that he did not dare taint.

He lived for those moments. He relished the stolen breath, halted
heartbeat, keen sense of synchronicity. But his strength and willpower
inevitably faltered. His inward struggle was beginning to break free,
seep through invisible cracks, to sully the clarity for which he

And so he knew in that moment he must retreat. He had to leave at
least a morsel of his singular beauty in tact, perpetually breathing
life through the never-ending love reflected in a single pair of deep
brown eyes…