Authors: Ema Volf
Her Last Wish
By Ema Volf
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and
events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or
locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 Erin “Ema” Volf
Amazon Kindle Edition
Cover by Megan Parker at Emcat Designs
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including
photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the
prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by
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Table of Contents
To my boys Joe, Aiden,
and Nathan, without whom, I’d likely get books written and published faster,
but my life would be so empty without them that it wouldn’t matter.
To Julie and all the
beautiful souls who have been stolen from us much too soon, leaving us to
wonder what divine plan could be so important that they couldn’t witness it
Also, to you, the
reader, without whom, books would not be necessary.
never put much faith in a concept of a divine plan. Life hands us shit cards
sometimes–sometimes, a massively shitty hand of cards for a lot of good
people–and it doesn’t represent a fucked up plan so much as a reminder to value
what we hold dear and appreciate the blessing that mortality represents.
Without the threat of an end, there’s no way to truly appreciate anything.
Don’t view it as a plan that’s designed to hurt you, but a means by which you
and many others who appreciated the one who passed can more greatly take to
heart all the joy and lessons they’ve left behind.
what true immortality is.
My life was perfection.
Not exactly perfection by definition, but it was perfection by
standards. As far as I’m concerned, being my life and all, my standards are the
only ones holding any merit, anyways.
In primary school, I
skipped grades so frequently I lost count. I wanted more of a challenge, needed
it, even. In my spare time, I wrote and released my first book through a major
publisher at the age of twelve. Science Fiction, of course, because that’s what
my twelve-year-old self was interested in. My writing was the only place I
allowed myself to walk outside the boundaries of what I thought things should
be, my escape from the course I set for myself. Despite popular belief amongst
onlookers, my parents had nothing to do with my obsessive drive to succeed. While
my mother did have very strong personality (and very strong opinions to match
it), the drive was all mine. At any rate, that first book was the first of
I completed most of my
college courses before I ever left high school. I only had one year left by the
time I was finished. I had no idea what I was working toward, but I felt like I
just needed to keep working. I needed to accomplish something. I needed to be
better than the person I was. I needed to be better than everybody else, too. I
had told myself that I would accept no less.
At nineteen, I was the
youngest ever to obtain the position of the Department Head of English and
Literature at a well-respected university. I wasn’t sure what made them seek me
out, but I was pretty excited about it, all the same. Especially since I had watched
college chew people up and spit them out into mediocrity.
At twenty-four, I
continued to hold the position firmly in my grasp. I was envied (and sometimes
hated) by many of my colleagues, a fact that pleased me far more than it
probably should have. I didn’t make millions, by any stretch, though I was more
than stable. However, you would never have been able to tell that I made any
less than royalty by my attitude. I had accomplished a lot in my relatively
short life. I had earned it. And truth be told, I used it as an excuse to be
cocky as hell.
Until I met Elizabeth,
that is. I was introduced to her by my colleague, Savannah, one of the
professors in my department. At first, Elizabeth avoided me like the plague. To
her, it didn’t matter what I’d accomplished or what I’d had. She wasn’t
impressed in the slightest. Savannah enjoyed watching me squirm on the end of
the hook Elizabeth had unintentionally and unknowingly set. But I didn’t care.
I had to have her. Elizabeth would be mine.
After months of
pursuit, I finally convinced her to join me for coffee. Our relationship had
been relatively slow to start, but from the second we met, I recognized her as
the one I had never known I’d been searching for my whole life, something I’d
never thought would ever happen to me. The wait for her was well worth it.
Although officially we hadn’t been anything, she quickly became my everything.
When I finally won her heart, I knew I was the luckiest man in existence.
She showed me what it
meant to be a caring person. She made me strive for more than financial success
or social status. She taught me how to appreciate those in positions lower than
mine. She made me realize that they were the only reason that I had ever
gotten as far as I had. She made me realize they were the only reasons I’d
continue my success. Without them, I was no one.
In changing my
attitude, I noticed I was more appreciated at work than ever before. The books
I wrote after that time had gotten better reviews and more sales than ever
before. I can’t say that she gave me my career. But she saved it. She
strengthened it. Hell, she strengthened
. She made me face myself so I
could become a better person.
Finally, I convinced
her to marry me. We were wed less than a year later at the same church she
attended as a child. I never understood her attachment to the place, but she
was more important to me than anything else in the world, and that church was
important to her. I wanted her to have the wedding she wanted, the wedding she
We tried for the next
year to add children to our blissful marriage. Children were extremely
important to her. Though the idea scared me to death, I knew she would be the
perfect mother. She had already been the perfect wife up to that point.
efforts were fruitless. She decided to see a fertility specialist. After
several tests and treatments, we accepted the idea that IVF would likely be our
only remaining option. Although I saw her as perfection, the specialist managed
to find a flaw in her design.
Despite the frustration
and heartbreak, she never gave up, even though it looked hopeless. She was as
determined in this as I had been in my past. During that process, I learned
exactly how strong she could be.
would never see the procedures pay off. Just before my twenty-seventh birthday,
she was killed in a car accident. I was told she died on impact, a small mercy
if her wounds were any indication. Between the gashes and burns, she barely
looked like the same person. But just like that, in one flicker of a moment, my
whole world vanished.
I never understood why
everyone looked so forward to college (or looked so fondly back on it, for
those who had already been there and left). I’d been there for almost four
years, no vacations or summer breaks and as full a schedule as I could stand,
and I didn’t see anything so fantastic about it.
Don’t get me wrong. I
wasn’t miserable, and I certainly didn’t hate it. It just seemed like every day
was just another day. I’d get up in the morning, get dressed, and go to class.
Then, I’d head to my job at the coffee bar on campus. Between specialty teas
and white chocolate mochas, I’d look out into the seating area at my fellow
students laughing and goofing around with each other. I didn’t see a problem
with them. I just wasn’t quite like them. My focus was somewhere totally
different. I didn’t work so hard and spend so much money just to throw it all
away on a four-plus-year party. I was there to further my education and make my
life worthwhile. Sometimes, it seemed I was the only one.
At the end of my shift,
I’d go home to my apartment. It was small and only contained the basics. But it
was mine, and I was proud of it. It was the first place I’d ever had to myself.
I’d chosen to live off-campus so I could focus on my studies in peace. I wasn’t
against having roommates, but I had to acknowledge the ease of living without
them. I got a lot more work done and lived by my own rules.
At the same time, it
did get pretty lonely on occasion. I didn’t have that roommate bestie that so
many of my high school friends back home gushed over. I didn’t even have those
obnoxious roommates who ate all your food and “borrowed” all your things only
to never return them. Sometimes I think even that’s a little better than
constantly being alone, though I’m sure I’d disagree had I actually been in
that situation. But I hadn’t. I mostly kept to myself.
I always looked forward
to my days off, because it meant that on the first one, my boyfriend, Jackson,
would come by. And thank goodness he was on his way. I had started to go a bit
stir crazy. Homework could only distract a person so much. Besides, I’d
finished mine hours before.
I hurried through the
apartment, wiping dust off the coffee table that I never used, fluffing pillows
on the sofa I rarely sat in, and running the broom over the floors I only
walked on to get to my bed. Jackson never paid attention to the condition of my
apartment, but I did. My mom taught me that when company was on the way,
regardless of how long their stay, the house needed to be sparkling. I would
never get it as clean as she could, but I did a decent enough job. At least, I
always thought so.
I’d gotten so wrapped
up in my speed cleaning that the knock on the door nearly made me jump through
the ceiling. I quickly tossed the broom in the hall closet and straightened my
When I opened the door,
Jackson’s smiling face brightened the hallway. He leaned casually against my
door frame. His dark blond hair fell over his eyes in that perfectly messy way
that always made me melt. His black tee shirt hugged the muscles of his arms
tightly, and his dark, perfectly-fitting jeans gave his look a bit of an edge.
You know those ridiculous girls you see on TV who turned into stumbling,
bumbling idiots over that attractive guy who simply walked past them? That was
always me where Jackson was involved. I had never imagined I’d actually get a
chance to date him. But there we were. I’d gotten a little better at keeping my
drooling over him at a minimum, but I occasionally found myself unable to resist
an extended look at him complete with a few wandering daydreams.
“I take it you like
what you see?” he asked with a smirk.
I could feel the heat
rush to my face. He had caught my stares. When I finally met his eyes, I could
see it all over his face. I thought about lying to him, but I didn’t see the
point. I was already busted. “I can always appreciate a good-looking man.”
exactly?” He stepped into the apartment and towered over me with his
characteristic cocky grin. He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me
against his hard body.