She sat by the window, her cheek resting on her palm and her eyes locked on to something no one else seemed able to see. He was late, very late, as always. Why had she expected this time to be different? She sighed.
"Em, are you mad?"
She knew that voice, would know it anywhere and at any time. It broke her heart each time to hear it, too. "Hey Sable. No, I'm not mad." She turned to look at him then and smiled at the way his dark, tousled hair fell into his perfectly clear blue eyes. He was beautiful and she felt like crap. "Didn't think you'd make it."
"Course I would. Have I ever let you down?"
Yes, she thought. "Guess not."
He ruffled her hair. "So why'd you need to see me so badly?" A smirk smeared its way on to his lips. "Missed me?"
Yes. "Hardly. Actually, I came to say goodbye."
He laughed a good solid chuckle that burned its way from her ears to her chest. "Good one, Em. Almost got me there." He chuckled some more and flopped into the chair across from her. Sliding the notebook out of her hands and snatching up the pen from the table, he ignored the frown marring her brow.
"I'm serious, Sable. My flight is leaving in," She glanced at her watch. "In two hours."
"Quit joking, babe." He grinned and continued doodling.
Annoyed, she hefted her purse up and dug around inside. A one-way ticket made its way in front of him. "Believe me now?"
He stared at the ticket as if it was some deadly snake poised to strike. His fingers hesitated before grasping the thin pages and bringing them closer to read. "Australia?" His voice, barely audible, sounded choked. "Why?"
"Grad school. They have an awesome program…" Her enthusiasm trailed away at the look on his face.
"Why now? Why at all?"
She sighed. "I don't want to stay here anymore. I've told you that I can't tell you how many times. I want to go places, do things. I'm not waiting around for you and I'm not sorry that I'm going." She lifted her chin as if in defiance of the pain that wrenched its way inside her chest.
"Stop. I'm going." She stood, leaned over the table to take back her pen and notebook and shoved them into her purse.
He stood too, wide-eyed. "You can't."
"I love you, Sable. I have for a long time and you know that. I know you do." Her eyes softened. "We've had a lot of fun together. And, you had so many chances, you just didn't want me." A small, sad smile lifted her lips. "I can't do this." She raised her hand, her fingers skimmed his cheek. "I'm giving up."
Turning, she fled the café without looking back. Sable collapsed into his seat, hands cradling the head that suddenly felt too heavy to hold up. "Oh, Em."
She was early, as always, and forced to wait in line to check in her bags. The airport was crowded with people milling about, strangers welcoming or sending off loved ones and friends. She clutched her bag closer, willing the tears to disappear. He wasn't coming, she should've known that. But, a voice in her head, fragile and love struck, still hoped that her common sense was wrong this time.
"Next?" The woman on the counter flashed her a polite, disinterested smile. "Two?"
"Yes, ma'am." She passed her bags to the woman.
"Em!" She jolted. Was it possible?
She swung around to see him making his way towards her. "Sable?"
He swept her into his arms, crushing her to his chest. "I made it."
"What are you doing here?" The voice in her head squealed with joy at having been right.
"I came to stop you. You can't leave me." He tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear.
She smiled brightly, shoving all of her doubts into some dark corner of her mind. "You don't want me to go?" She had dreamed of a moment like this.
"Course not." He grinned. "Who else would go to the game with me or bring me soup when I'm not feeling well? You're my best friend, I need you here."
The voice in her head died. "Best friend? I see." She stepped out of his embrace, heart crushed and cheeks burning in shame. "I see." She turned back to the woman at the counter, who was now gazing at her in sympathy. "Is everything done? Thank you."
"It was nice knowing you, Sable." A thin smiled fixed itself firmly on her face. "I've got to go." She attempted to brush past him.
"Wait." His hand shot out and clutched her arm.
"We're done here." She yanked herself out of his grasp and headed towards the security line. She glanced back, eyes glassy with unshed tears.
Confused, he watched her walk away. "I don't understand." She was supposed to be happy that he had come, supposed to kiss him senseless, and they were supposed to go home together. Everything was going to end like in the movies, wasn't it?
"Idiot." He glanced down at an old woman standing beside him. She shook her head in disapproval and shuffled off to a man about her age, placing her hand in his.
"Em?" He took a step towards the security line. She had to stay with him, she was his best friend. "Em." She smiled at the personnel and placed her purse on the conveyor belt. She glanced back once more, the light in her eyes fading, before walking through the metal detectors and going beyond his reach. Alone in a crowd of strangers, he felt the first violent twist of loneliness in his chest. The woman he had loved was gone, all those years of waiting for the perfect moment to confess having slipped through his now limp fingers.
A/N: I was thinking of making this a two-shot, but I'm still undecided. Anyways, thanks for reading!