After the war, all the German officers and soldiers had to run away, looking for a shelter in another countries. Most of them emigrated to South America, to save their own lives. The Courts or Nuremberg made justice in the end, and the whole Europe was under a big commotion. The old continent was going through one of the hardest stages of its history.
Carleton/Alexander and Anne moved to New York, the day of her 30th birthday. They both knew that Alexander would die, if they stayed in Munich. The United States were a safe place, and in Europe there were too many memories. She still had nightmares about all the events. She knew she would die of sorrow in Vienna. Also in Germany. She must run away.
Life in New York was so peaceful and cheerful, both with new names, that it seemed like a miracle after a storm. He had enough savings to afford a nice little flat in Manhattan. Everything was like a dream, and she was happy enough. But she knew there was an empty space in her heart, and she knew it would never be filled. She loved Alex, but although it wasn't real love, it wasn't like with Jan. She didn't allow herself to have those kind of thoughts, she knew they would only destroy her spirits. But sometimes things don't go in life as we expect. She learnt the lesson that spring morning.
Alexander told her he was going on a business trip, and she decided to go for a walk to the flowers market, and check the plants. She took a light jacket and went out. The sun was shining, streets were crowded. She loved the nice weather. She had again her real brown hair, and her appearance hadn't changed that much.
The park was her favourite place, a shelter. Feeling so far away from the bad memories, it was the only way she had, to start a new life. A thought came to her head: she was living now so far away from Jan. She hated herself for thinking that, because she knew how much Alexander loved her. Scaring the thought away, she crossed the street fast, and hurried to the market. She checked the shelves slowly, walking head to head with people. She saw a plant she had never seen before. Dionaea. A carnivorous plant. It fascinated her, she couldn't help watching it all time, and she picked it up slowly. But another hand was picking it up too. When she looked up, and he looked down, they both paralysed. Slowly, he returned the plant to its place. She wished she hadn't left home. She felt the biggest shock she had ever felt in her whole life.
"Anne.. I can't believe it's you.. but it's real" A soft voice spoke, and she wished to disappear, but she couldn't.
"This is the last thing I would have expected" She looked up, at those green eyes that were smiling so heartily. He hadn't changed that much neither. Jan was still the same cheerful handsome man.
"I thought you were in Europe.." He said. She felt the tears in her eyes.
"I thought you were dead" Her voice failed her. A neverending minute passed, and they were still standing and looking at each other. Jan took a deep breath.
"So, you're living here now?" She just nodded in reply. "How is life with Carleton?" She gaped at him.
"How did you know?" Jan smiled, and then she felt her heart sink, feeling how much she still loved him. And she knew it wasn't right. He had never loved her.
"Carleton is a good friend of mine. He kept me updated, and I came here to see you" She was totally confused.
"Why?" She asked, still remembering when he told her he didn't feel anything for her. Jan's eyes saddened.
"What I did to you was the hardest thing I've ever done. To pretend I didn't love you" She opened her eyes in surprise. "Anne, I've always loved you. I just couldn't let it happen. You could have died and I would have never forgiven myself" She now understood everything, and whished she could go back in time.
" I'm married, and Alex loves me.." Jan didn't give up.
"Anne, if you don't want to see me again, if you're happy with Carleton, then I'll leave forever" He looked at her and knew the answer at once. " Anne, do you love me?" She felt the tears in her eyes when he said this, and just nodded. They walked together in silence. He felt a strong need to hug her, and never before he had needed so much self control.
They reached the bank and they sat down, their arms touching. She felt so well, next to him, that didn't want that moment to end.
" We can't be together, Jan, this is not right.." He took her hand and she jumped, moving apart. "Jan, please, it's not possible.." She had tears in her eyes now, and observed Jan picking up a paper. "What's this?" She asked, looking into his green eyes.
"Read" He said, still smiling. She obeyed.
"Dear friend Jan,
We've been working in the same office for 8 months now, and every day I heard your stories about the war, and I also shared with you my deepest secrets.. except one. The woman you told me about, the one you love so much, is a dear person to me. I can tell you where to find her, but I'm afraid you won't see me again, neither she will. You can show her this paper and tell her, that all I want for her is her happiness. She never loved me, she will always love you. She didn't have love back in the past, and she deserves it now. You will understand better what I mean when you'll meet her. I bet she's going to the plants market. Now I'm leaving, dear friend. I must pay for what I did in the past. But we'll meet again in the next life. With love for both of you,
Anne looked up at Jan, shocked. "What does this mean?" She said.
"Alex and I have been working in the same office, I had no idea you were his wife.. all this time talking about you, confessing him all the story.. he knew it all the time.. he planned this.. he wants us to be together!" Jan waited for her reaction. She was deadly pale. He touched her face and she closed her eyes.
"This is too unreal.. What about our marriage?" She said, opening her eyes, and Jan picked up the envelope, which contained a second paper inside. The divorce paper. It was possible in the US.
"You just have to sign this" She took it with trembling fingers.
"But I must talk to him, he can't leave like this.. where did he go?" Tears were falling down her face.
"He told me once that he wanted to return to Europe, that he had done many bad things and wouldn't live happy until he fixed them. Believe me, Anne.. he's gone. He knew you didn't love him, and he only wants your happiness.. the thing is, that all this time, I didn't know he was talking about you, that you were his wife!!" Jan took a deep breath. "I've been waiting for you during an eternity, obviously we're meant to be together, and Carleton was clever enough to see it.. I've loved you since the first time we met and I couldn't live without you"
"This is too good to be real« She said, and before she could go on talking, he kissed her. She forgot about everything, in that moment all that mattered was Jan. People observed them as they walked. But they didn't care. The nightmare was over, and destiny had made its part. Forever.