A/N: Well here's the final portion of the story. Sorry it took so long to get up, the computer and I got into a fight (it won the first few rounds). Anyways, thanks to everyone who reviewed or put the story on alert, haha made my week. Ah, if anyone is interested, here are the two songs that helped me get this along:
"Stay With You" Goo Goo Dolls
"Ever the Same" Rob Thomas
I'm shutting up now, so enjoy!
She sat by the window in what had been her favorite spot years before. Nostalgia rolled over her and she let herself sink into it; it was only temporary, anyway. She had been gone three years, she wondered how he was doing. More than that, she wondered if he had forgotten her.
Pain lanced through her chest when she remembered the last time she had seen him. "Best friend, huh?" She checked her watched. It was almost time, she just hoped he hadn't changed his schedule.
The bell over the door tinkled and she held her breath. Half-hopeful, half-fearful she found herself unable to turn and look. Was it him?
"Morning Sable, your usual?"
"You bet, Paula."
She trembled at the sound of his voice, it was something she had longed to hear again. But, she couldn't lose her composure now, she was only passing through. She only needed to see him one last time, needed to see if she still loved him as she had before.
"Excuse me miss, is this seat - Em?" His voice caught in his throat, a strangled sound replacing words. She looked up to see him frozen, a hand clutching the chair for support, eyes wide in shock or horror. He was just as handsome as she remembered and her heart broke once more.
"Been a long time, Sable." She watched as he started breathing again, watched as he slid into the chair as if all his bones had disintegrated, watched and knew she would never truly be over him.
"Am I dreaming?" He reached a hand toward her face, hesitated, then drew back.
"If you are, then so am I."
"How long have you been in town?"
"My flight got in an hour ago." She fiddled with a sugar packet. "How have you been?"
"I see." She stood to leave.
"You're going?" He jerked to his feet after her.
"Yeah, my train's leaving in a little bit. I'm going to visit my family before I go back." She smiled slightly. "It was nice seeing you again."
"Wait." He reached out, finally finding the courage to caress her cheek. Though her eyes had closed, a single tear escaped and slid down her cheek, wetting his fingers. "Stop." She pulled away. "I'm done with this dance."
"Why'd you leave me? Us?"
"Us? There was never an us, just a you and a me who were never going anywhere. I was stuck and I hated it. The job I have now, it's all I've ever wanted and I have it."
"So why come back?"
"Closure, I guess." Her cheeks flamed. "I just needed to know." She took a step back, he caught her wrist gently.
"Do you still love me?"
"Yes." She pulled herself out of his grasp, then turned and fled for the second time in her life.
"Em." He ran after her, unwilling to let her disappear again. "Wait." He ran as if life itself was slipping from his fingers, and wrapped his arms around her when he was close enough, pulling them both to a stop. "Talk to me Em, just talk to me."
"There's nothing left to say, we live in two separate worlds now." She squirmed, hoping to break free, but he only held her tighter.
"You were my best friend and you ran away. I don't understand why you never even called." He sighed into her hair. "You've no idea how worried I was, how each time the phone rang, I'd run to see if it was you. You'll never understand how lost I felt when weeks turned into years and it was as if you had disappeared from the world. I though I'd lost you, Em. I don't want that to happen again."
Tears fell from her cheeks onto his arms, tiny drops of salted sorrow. "I was tired of being only the best friend."
"You were never only best friend." He turned her around so he could search her face. "I love you, I have for a long time. Promise you won't leave me again? Promise?"
She felt as if her heart was occupying her throat, as if time itself had paused in its endless march. Was he serious? "Honest."
"Babe, I've never been so honest. I love you, Emily Rose Hawthorne."
She smiled more brilliantly than she had in years. The moment she had waited for all her life was crashing over her with fireworks going off in her brain and butterflies causing a tempest in her stomach. Their lips touched, hesitantly at first and then with years of longing flooding forth.
The moment would have lasted forever had she not remembered where they were. "I can't stay here, not in this city. I love you, but I also love my work." Frustration swelled in her chest, why could nothing ever be simple?
"Then I'll just have to go with you." A slow, easy grin twisted his lips upwards.
"Really? What about your work? Your friends?" It wouldn't be fair to ask him to give up everything when she wasn't willing to.
"You're everything to me, all that other stuff is just make believe." Her hands in his, he leaned down to kiss her forehead. "I should've gone with you three years ago. I was an idiot, but I'm getting better. You won't get away from me so easily this time. I love you, Em."
"I've waited a long time to hear you say that."
"That I love you?"
"So, where exactly are we going to live again?"