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Before You Leave

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Before she leaves, he was going to tell her everything he felt about her. He was going to tell her how, the first moment they met, he was head over heels for her. Fucking hell, he felt like a pansy but she had him at hello. Or, to be more precise, she had Hunter at "you're blocking my way to my locker, jackass."

She took him by surprise - very much so that he accidentally spilled his soda on her shirt. He keeps telling her, to this day, that hesincerely never meant to do it, but she still doesn't believe him. But anyway. She shot him a look that frankly scared him, although he will deny that to the day he dies. He offered her his sweater (thank god he wore a t-shirt underneath) and when she still looked like she wanted to castrate him, he offered to take her shirt home and wash it for her. She agreed and told him that if he didn't wash it with a fabric softener of her choice, she would murder him. Slowly and painfully. He did spend two hours at night going from Walmart to other stores looking for the specific brand she asked for, but it was worth it the next day, when he introduced himself, and after a long, suspicious look at him, she stuck out her hand with a "Jennifer Watson."

Technically they were only friends for one year, seeing as she moved schools at the beginning of senior year, but man, if she only knew... She was the ultimate source of entertainment for him. Despite the fact that she were a self-proclaimed nerd, god, she cracked him up. She made him laugh. Her favorite subject was (absurdly) Physics. He hated that subject with passion, but after watching her pore over Physics homework, he wanted to see why she liked it so much, so he actually started paying attention in class. That's pretty much how he discovered that it wasn't that boring, and he even managed to score an A.

His friends didn't get why he was hanging out with her so much. To them, she was the new chick (Jacob. his best friend said at the time, "short legs but her rack is pretty sizeable") but he didn't care, he didn't give a fuck. He liked being around her. She made him feel (fuck here we go with the pansy feeling again) secure, like he didn't have to hide anything from her, like she accepted him for who he was. He distinctly remembered one time when he came to your house after smoking outside for about fifteen minutes. He thought that she wouldn't notice but she just sighed, walked into the kitchen and handed him a lemon and some water. As he gargled in silence, she placed a new pack of gum beside him and continued their conversation.

Then came Prom. The final dance of their senior year. He wanted to kiss her so badly. He wanted to take her out, to hold her, to tell her just how much he liked her. Fuck, he was in love with her. But every single time he opened his mouth to tell her, he couldn't do it. He was scared that she would reject him. Worse, what if she rejected him and then didn't want to talk to him ever again? He couldn't deal with that. Well, her getting pissed at him once because he laughed when her dog messed up her underwear drawer he could take, because he made it up to her afterwards. But anyway. As far as she knew, two guys asked her to Prom. As far as Hunter knew, the other three hopefuls made a U-turn after taking a look at his face, just moments before they wanted to ask her.

He felt so fucked up at sometimes. Here he was, Hunter Thompson, reigning basketball star of Victoria High and he was scared of asking out a girl half his size. Nevertheless, he screwed up his courage and asked her... and it turned out that she was going with the fucktard, his own best friend, Jacob. Asshole.

He was inches away from pounding Jacob's head to a bump when Jacob yelled that he asked her to go with him so that Hunter would come to his senses and "kiss the crap out of her, because dammit man, if I don't make you see how much you like her the both of you will never get it on, now get off my head, fucker!"

But she turned up at Prom looking so fucking gorgeous, and Hunter was tongue-tied. How the fuck would she ever accept him now? He was the guy that burped alphabets A to E in front of her, for fuck's sake. He couldn't keep a straight conversation with her that night, let alone tell her how he felt about her. The night ended with him dropping her off at her house with a polite kiss on the cheek, and he went back to his house to find Jacob banging his head on the wall, yelling at him about how much of an idiot he was. Hunter agreed with him.

This routine repeated itself until the end of high school. They graduated. They moved on to college. And he never told her. They kept in touch through e-mails, calls, video calls. They spent the odd Saturdays together, occasionally with Jacob. They spent New Year's Eve together, as tradition, for several years. She dated other men, her relationships ending unsuccessfully. He tried to date other girls, but he gave up as soon as he realized he kept trying to replace Jennifer with those girls.

But not now. When she called him last week and told him that she got a work transfer overseas, he made up my mind. He was going to tell her. Because fuck all, fuck all - he had to tell her. After all this time, he still loved her.

He was going to tell her. Fuck the risks. He loved her. He fucking loved her.

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"Hello, earth to Hunter. What are you staring at?" The petite brunette tilted her head sideways, staring at the man beside her.

Hunter looked at her, almost as if in a daze. "Nothing."

She rolled her eyes. "I expect 'nothing' is really checking out one woman or another."

He grinned, a smile that did not reach his eyes. "Aw, Jenny. You haven't left yet and you're already jealous."

"Shut up," she muttered, although her frown only lasted seconds before she grinned at him. "Hunter, I'm going to miss you."

"I know." Hunter's voice was serious. He frowned at his feet for a while, and then fixed her with a determined look. "Jenny, I... what time does your flight leave?"

She looked away from his eyes, checked her watch and let out an alarmed gasp. "Hunter, I'm late!"

"We've been waiting in the airport for the past half hour and yet you still manage to be late." Hunter let out a genuine chuckle. "Only you, Jen."

She pursed her lips at him, but ignored this jibe as they made their way, running like teenagers, towards the departure gates. They stopped, and she turned to him, breathless, eyes sparkling, and opened her mouth.

"I'll e-mail you as soon as I reach, but take care, and - "

"Jennifer, I love you, will you please marry me?"

She stopped. A few late passengers behind them stopped. Even the guard paused to watch.

"Hunter.."

"Jennifer," Hunter said. He closed his eyes briefly and opened them, fixed her with determination. "It's taken me all these years to work it up to finally, finally tell you - I love you. I fucking love you -" a mother few feet away covered her young daughter's ears. " - I've always loved you, even when you were yelling at me all those times in high school. I love you."

Her lips parted, almost like in shock.

"Five more minutes to departure," a voice over the comm links said.

"Jennifer," he looked her in the eyes.

"Mam," the guard interrupted quietly. "I'm sorry, but if you don't go right now, you're going to miss your flight."

Jennifer looked at the guard. Then back to Hunter. Back to the guard, and then back to Hunter. Back to the guard.

She turned and looked at Hunter. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his forehead - and then she walked through the gates.

Hunter stood there in silence, as he watched her run towards the plane. The guard shut the gates and looked at him. Hunter didn't return the look - he didn't want to see the sympathy in that look.

After about five minutes, he left. He drove home, feeling like there was a fist of lead where his heart should be. He was too late.

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It is a risk to love; what if it doesn't work out?

Ah, but what if it does.

- Peter McWilliams

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In the silence of the early 3.30 a.m., his laptop beeped with a new e-mail.


Dearest and stupidest Hunter,

Took you long enough.

Love Jenny.

P/S I will.

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Author's Note: Raaaaaawr so... hi! :) Please do tell me what you think, loves. Thanks for reading! :D