"You didn't think to tell me that she was here?" Sean snapped as he stormed into Agnes' office, blithely ignoring the fact that she was on the phone.
A slight rising of one brow was all the response that his sudden entrance received from Agnes, who continued on with her phone call while Sean sat down, flexing his suddenly stiff neck muscles. He needed to get a hold of himself.
He hadn't really expected to walk in on such a touching little love scene between an old colleague and the girl that he hadn't been able to remove from his brain since the day he had met her. Of all his musings and thoughts on Leah's whereabouts, he had never once thought of the Agency.
He sighed. Had he really just made such a scene in the kitchen? He definitely needed to get a hold of himself.
Agnes placed the phone back in its cradle and raised her eyebrow again. "Too busy to bother with civilities, Sean? I'm sure you'll be thrilled to hear that I'm fine, even if you didn't ask."
Sean ran a hand through his hair and sighed again, noting to himself that he really hadn't been the sighing kind before...well, before. "I'm sorry, Agnes. I'm not my usual self today."
Agnes seemed to find this amusing. "No. You clearly aren't." She walked round the desk and perched herself on the edge, eyeing Sean in a way that made him feel distinctly uncomfortable. "So, you finally figured out she was here?"
"I didn't figure anything out," he muttered, feeling something akin to petulance – again, not an emotion he had much experience with. "I came here to ask you if you had seen her and walked in on a lovely little scene between her and James. What the fuck, Agnes. I've been looking for her for two months and you didn't think it was worth mentioning? Instead you left me wandering around France trying to find her while James sidled in and worked his magic?" He could feel his anger rising again. That bastard. How dare he touch her.
"Would you care?" Agnes asked, sharply. "Because much of the reason why I never bothered to mention it is because I assumed you wouldn't."
"You assume a lot." Sean bit out.
"No. I don't. That assumption is based on years of knowing you and how you – how do you always like to put it? How you operate."
Sean closed his eyes and lent back against the chair. Ah, yes, those blessed days of existing rather than living. "That was before." He said softly.
"I see." It was all Agnes needed to say for Sean to know she understood him perfectly.
There was a pause. All the unsaid things that would never need voicing lay between them, and Sean was thankful for the presence of Agnes in his life. She was a sort of link between the world as he had lived it and this new world, where emotions ran deep and life meant something.
He got up and walked over to the window, looking out unseeingly at the rain which dropped steadily from the iron-grey sky. It always rained in the North. "Agnes, are they together?" Anger had given way to the deeper, more vulnerable feeling underneath: fear. Fear that he was too late; fear that, again, he had lost something precious; and, most of all, fear of the grief this would cause.
He closed his eyes. Thank God.
Agnes continued: "James likes her. He's taken good care of her. She was broken when she came here, Sean. And parts of her are mended but the wound is still fresh underneath. I never told you because I couldn't bear to do anything that could hurt her more." She crossed over to the window and, gently, laid a solemn hand on his arm. "I think the world of you, Sean. I've watched you grow over the years and I've hoped that someone like Leah would come along and jolt you out of this half-life you have lived. But, now that she has, I find I am also scared for her; for the pain you have, and could continue to, inflict on her."
There was a pause but Sean waited, sensing there was more. And there was: "So, let me just say this now. If you do anything to cause that girl any more harm, you'll be in a great deal of trouble. Not just from me, but from Deborah and her daughter Amy. So: be careful where you tread."
This last elicited the faintest of smiles from Sean, as he turned and cocked his gaze toward Agnes' stern one. "I see she has some fans. Good. I'm not here to hurt her, Agnes. I promise."
I decided to run home after work, despite the heavy rain. I needed solitude to think, seriously, about my options. Amy had drinks with some friends so I knew the house was mine. I grabbed my bag and shoved it under my coat before heading out. It was quite a mild day in spite of, or perhaps because of, the rain that had not stopped since the morning. I didn't mind rain. I tipped my face up and let the drops fall over me for a few seconds, cleansing me of the heated emotions of the day.
I set off at a brisk pace. I took the time to look at everything: the cars parked in driveways; the trees above, their leaves waterlogged and heavy; the sound of the water flowing through the drains beneath my feet. I needed to keep my mind on the mundane and off the extraordinary...of the thought of Sean and his arrival earlier today.
I needed to be home, in private, to think about that.
It took me ten minutes before I was crunching up my gravel drive way, so thankful that my destination was near as counting how many red cars versus black cars I had seen was beginning to wear somewhat thin. I fished around in my coat pocket for my keys and squinted through my soaking wet hair for the door lock.
"Let me, sweetheart."
I nearly dropped the keys in fright as a large hand reached out and took them from my numb fingers.
He was here. Sean.
"Nothing to say?" his voice was soft, but I could sense a slight air of amusement. For a moment, I feared it was because I looked like a drowned rat. Had I honestly thought that walking home in the rain was the idea of the century? Why couldn't I have been a normal human being and grabbed an umbrella? Then, Sean's sudden appearance at my door would have elicited no more than a sophisticated nod and controlled smile from me, rather than drowned rat plus total inability to speak plus general idiotic and stupid behaviour.
Please, God, help me pull myself together.
I felt him put a guiding hand on my waist to help me into the house and, to my eternal shame, I heard myself squeak.
Squeak. What mice do.
"The keys go there." Panic had set in and so, obviously, the smartest thing for me to do was to say something inane and point out the side table where, it was true, Amy and I always put our keys. He did as I instructed and placed the keys on the table before reaching a hand out to my still-outstretched one. Slowly, he brought it to his lips and kissed it before turning dark eyes to me.
"I'm sorry. I know this is a bit of a shock." With that, he took my hand in his and led me down the hallway and into the living room. I didn't bother to ask how he knew where the living room was.
I took a deep breath and removed my wet coat, so I could sit down on the sofa. It seemed I wasn't going to have time to think about my options; this was it. Sean was here, after all these weeks of me hoping and praying he would come. He was here.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, hoping he couldn't hear my voice shaking. I knew, however, that he could because he was Sean and he knew everything.
He followed my lead and sat down on the couch beside me. Though there were still inches between us, I could feel his body heat.
"I'm here for you." He said simply, raising a hand to my damp face. "I would have come before but I couldn't find you. Do you believe me?" He looked at me, his eyes open and clear. This was the Sean that I loved, the one I remembered.
"Yes." I replied, and I found that I did.
"It's been a long road for you and I, Leah." He said, his eyes never leaving my face. "But I find I can't do without you."
My heart lurched painfully yet beautifully.
"Good." It was all I could say.
He smiled at that, "Yes." He leant forward and brushed his warm, soft lips against my cold ones and, suddenly, I was warm too. "I love you, Leah. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to figure it out".
I smiled back. "I love you too. And, also, I forgive you for nearly killing us both before you figured it out." It was a joke but he didn't laugh. Instead, he put his arms around me and gently lifted me onto his lap. "You shouldn't forgive me." He cupped his hand under my chin and made me look at him, his eyes serious. "I haven't lived a normal life since I was eight years old. This is going to take some adjustment. I may do mean things and I may hurt you. I'm going to need to learn how to do all the things that someone like you takes for granted because loving and trusting have always come naturally to you."
I looked down at his large hands, his beautiful mouth and eyes that I had dreamt of every day since I had left him in a Parisian hospital. I opened my mouth to speak but he laid a finger on my lips.
"I want to learn how to do all these things, how to be the man you need but we're both going to need to be patient. I wasn't sure I could do this but I'm no longer in control, Leah." He took my hands and turned the palms upward, "You've caught me. Will you have me?"
I reached forward and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead, then both of his eyes, then his nose, "I will." I whispered against his lips.
He reached a hand up under my hair, his eyes darkening. "I'll love you till the day I die, sweetheart."
And, as my heartbeat quickened at his words, he kissed me.
Hey all, this is the end, I really hope you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you thought.
A reviewer has asked if I'm planning on writing another story and I definitely am. However, I'm having a little difficulty coming up with any kind of a storyline so, if any of you have any basic ideas or something you would like to see written, pls let me know.