Ashleigh Anpilova


A letter is written and read.

An established relationship story.

Written: April 2007. Word count: 1,766.



I Will Always Love You - Dolly Parton


If I should stay

I would only be in your way

So I'll go

But I know

I'll think of you each step of the way


And I will always love you

Oh, will always love you


Bittersweet memories

That's all I am taking with me


Please don't cry

We both know I'm not what you need


And I will always love you

Oh, will always love you


I hope life treats you kind

And I hope you have all you dreamed of

And I wish to you joy and happiness

But above all this, I wish to you love


And I will always love you

Oh, will always love you

I will always love you.


My beloved Jethro,


This is the most difficult, the most painful, letter I have ever had occasion to write. Indeed, what I am about to do is the hardest and most hurtful thing I have ever had to do. I only hope that I have the strength to write it, to do it. Indeed, I must.


My dearest, my dearest, dearest Jethro, I am leaving you.


There I have written it. And I can hardly believe that I have done so. However, I have. And now I must go on to explain.


Please, beloved, do not think that I have taken this decision lightly. I have not. I have agonised over it for many, many months.


Nor, my dear, must you think that it means that I do not love you. I do. I love you so much, so very much. And I will always do so. I shall never, never cease to love you.


However, it is because of my deep love, affection, caring and respect for you, that I have taken the decision. Jethro my dear, I am not right for you; I am not what you need; I am not the person who will ultimately make you happy. Not in the way you should be happy.


Loving me, remaining with me, would not give you the life that you should have. A normal life; a wife, a family, a partner you can openly take out, to whom you can show affection and not worry who might be looking. You should not have to go through life with unpleasant things said to you, about you. Nor should you have to spend time wondering who is thinking the things they are not saying. That is not who you are; you deserve more.


And I believe, I have to believe, that you will find the happiness, joy, and peace of which you have no doubt dreamt. And the love, Jethro, the love that will be right for you; the love that you want and need. The kind of love that I am unable to give you.


The love I have for you goes beyond words; it goes beyond explanation; it goes beyond logic. It is more than love, want, need, desire, passion; far more. And if I truly believed that it was what you needed, then, dearest, I would not be walking away from you.


I know that you will never tell me to go; so I must be the strong one. I must do what I know you'll never be able to do. It is better that I cause you pain now, that I hurt you whilst you still love me, than sometime in the future when you no longer feel the same way.


I am not certain that you will believe my words, at least not initially. But, beloved, you must trust me, trust me in a way you never have had to do, please, for your own sake. Believe me when I say that it hurts me beyond my capacity to explain, and that I do still, and always shall, love you.


Try, my dearest Jethro, to remember me with fondness. Try not to hate me. One day you will thank me for this, of that I am certain. It is what I have to believe. If I did not, I could not walk away from you. Indeed, even as I write these words, I do not know how I am going to be able to do that thing. But I must. For your sake, I must.


I will take with me the memories of our years together; both the good times and the bad. And although I know that remembering what we had, what we shared, will give me pain, I shall never be able, or indeed willing, to give those memories up. Because to do so would be to forget you, to act as if you, as if we, never existed. Giving them up would be to deny the love that we had, the love that I still feel, that I always shall feel for you.


Be at peace beloved, and try one day to forgive me and remember me with fondness.


I love you, my dearest Jethro, and I always shall. But this is the right thing for me to do.


With all my love and my heart both now and forever,




The letter was dated more than thirty years ago, and as Ducky looked at it he sighed softly. "Ah, my dear, in the end I simply wasn't strong enough."


"Not strong enough for what, Duck?"


Ducky started slightly, as a gun callused hand lightly stroked his cheek, he hadn't heard his lover come home. Then warm, soft lips replaced the hand, as Jethro bent over and kissed him. Ducky turned a little in the chair, tilted his head and met the gentle kiss with one of his own. As he did, he heard the sound of paper being scrunched as his hand closed around the letter he was holding.


Jethro sat down, perching on the arm of the chair in which Ducky sat, and brushed a strand of hair from his face. "Not strong enough for what, Duck?" he repeated. Then he said, "What's that?"


For a moment, no more, Ducky considered prevaricating; something at which he was extremely good, of even distracted his lover. However, he knew his Jethro; his tactics would not last for long, and as pleasant as a hour or two in bed with the man he had loved for more than half his life would be, he knew that at the end of it, his stubborn lover would once again ask the question he had already asked twice.


Thus instead he smoothed the crinkled letter and passed it to his lover. Then mentally, emotionally, and to an extent physically, preparing himself, he waited.


And he went on waiting.


By the time Jethro lowered the letter to his knee, Ducky realized that he must have read it twice. Still he waited. Never once, even though the position made his leg ache more than usual, as well as cause him general discomfort, had he changed his position or taken his eyes off of Jethro. He'd seen a myriad of emotions flash across the handsome face; the face he knew so well.


"You were going to leave me?" Jethro finally said.


"Yes, my dearest," Ducky answered, his voice gentle. "However, in the end I could not bring myself to do so. I was not, as you heard me saying when you came in, strong enough."


Jethro shook his head. "No, you're wrong there, Duck. Staying and going through the hell I put your through was being strong. Leaving would have been easier."


Ducky blinked and considered his lover's words. "You may be correct, my dear. At least once I had actually left, that is."


"You really loved me that much?"


Ducky nodded. "And I still do."


"Don't think I know what to say, Duck."


"Then don't say anything, my dear. It never happened. I'm still here and I promise you that I am not going anywhere. Indeed, I had forgotten that I hadn't destroyed the letter. It was pure chance that I found it today."


"Well, I can deal with that," Jethro said, pulling his Zippo out from his pocket and flipping it open. For a moment he hesitated and looked at Ducky, raising his eyebrow in question.


"Please do," Ducky said firmly.


However, Jethro closed the lighter again, folded the letter in half and shrugged. "Maybe later," he said, standing up and dropping the paper onto the table. Then he offered his hand to Ducky, pulled him into his feet and gathered him into a fierce embrace. "Love you, Duck," he murmured, as he tugged Ducky even nearer to him.


"I know, my dear. I know. And I love you. That's all that really matters."


"Yeah, guess it is. God, when I think -"


"Then don't," Ducky said firmly, reaching up and pulling Jethro's head down so that he could kiss him.


After several minutes of loving, tender kisses, Jethro said, "You're wrong about several things, Duck, but one most of all."


"And what might that be, Jethro?"


"That you're not what I needed. You were. You still are. Always will be. And you and your love was, is, the rightist thing I've ever known."


"Oh, Jethro," was all Ducky could manage, before his mouth was again claimed by that of his lover.




"You know, Duck, you didn't really think it through," Jethro said, as his fingers continued to lightly stroke Ducky's body.


Still fuzzy, warm and content from their lovemaking, it took Ducky a second or two to process quite about what his lover was talking. "I didn't?" he said, when he caught up.




"In what way, my dear?"


"In that I'd just have let you go."




"I wouldn't have, Duck. I'd have come after you. Found you, wherever you were. Wouldn't just have let you walk out of my life, no matter how much you said it was for my own good. Loved you too much to let you walk away from me. Love you too much."


Jethro's tone told Ducky just how serious he was. Just how much he believed that is what he would have done. And it was the tone, more even than the words, that touched Ducky in a way that he hadn't known himself capable of being moved.


He swallowed hard and answered the statement with a kiss. And as Jethro's lips parted under his mouth, he knew with a sudden, startling clarity that his lover's simple comment that it had taken more strength for him to stay had been correct.


And I will always love you

Oh, will always love you

I will always love you.



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