He holds out his arms as a short blonde girl charges straight at him with a backpack slightly hunching her over. Even with the extra weight, the second she is close enough, she jumps and squeals and wraps all of her limbs around him. After they shared a quick embrace, he lets his lover back onto her feet gently, but keeps his fingers interlocked around her waist as he kisses her forehead with an ecstatic beam.
I glance down at my watch. One hour left. I like the sound of that. Just one more. But, that equates to sixty minutes and 3,600 seconds, which was a lot more than "just one."
There's something nerve-wracking about sitting in a train station, I have to admit. Waiting. But there's also something euphoric about it, too, and maybe even bittersweet.
I lean back in my seat, closing my eyes and letting out a breath as I will the passage of time to move along. When I open my eyes a few minutes later, the first couple is gone, but another stands in their spot near the platform. She is clutching one of his hands with both of hers as he wipes a tear that drags itself down her cheek. He's whispering to her, comforting things, no doubt. "It won't be long;" "We'll call each other every night;" "I'll be back before you know it;" "I love you."
Soon, his arms are completely wrapped around her, and she buries her face in his chest, grabbing a fistful of his shirt on either side of him. He lowers his head so that his lips touch the top of her hair. He tries to look strong, but I can tell that his heart is breaking too, maybe even more so than hers. I recognize the look; I'd seen it before, a long five months ago. Five months, thirteen days, and about seven hours, give or take.
"Last call for train number six-nine-seven to Montreal," calls someone over the PA system, "Last call for train number six-nine-seven to Montreal."
They both look up to where the sound came from, clearly distressed. The girl places her hands on either side of her significant other's face and makes him look at her. They're still for a moment, trying to take as much of each other in, hoping that if they completely stop, time will too, and praying that they won't have to separate, even though they both know it'll happen.
After a kiss drenched in sorrow, he steps aboard the train, leaving her with one last reassuring smile. She stands next to the train until it finally pulls away from the station, only keeping most of her tears in until the last carriage whips past her, when she finally breaks down.
I can't help but wonder why they split up. Was it work or an unwilling break up from either party or what? Did he work in Montreal but live near DC, like Chandler did in Friends; or did he have to leave because of their respective families were an issue, like Romeo and Juliet had to do; or was it school, like many college students in long distance relationships have to endure?
I look down again. Forty-three minutes left. Not too bad. A little bit harder to do the math for, but it was less than 60 minutes and less than 3,600 seconds, which was getting better, even if the progress was only slight.
Feeling a bout of paranoia, I check my phone, making sure I have the date right. Yup, the nineteenth of November. There's even a small notification on the bottom of my locked screen to remind me, as if I hadn't been counting the days since the second I had a date to put in. Then, I had five months, thirteen days, and about seven hours, give or take. Now, I was down to forty minutes. If only time would fly by as quickly now as it did then.
"Wait!" someone shouts, causing me to turn my head. A disheveled young couple is sprinting, hand in hand as they run toward the train doors that are starting to be closed. Still sprinting, the girl turns her head back, as though she running from something rather than towards it. The uniformed man standing in the doorway holds out his hand for their tickets and the two eagerly present him with what he needs. As the man inspects the tickets, the girl pushes up on her toes and kisses her partner on the cheek, looking relieved. I smile for them. Maybe I didn't know where they were going or why they were going, but by the look on her face, I could tell that they made it. Wherever they're going, they'll still be like that, linked together by their hands and their hearts as they run from the world.
I continue to watch the people come and go with their trains, some separating, some reuniting, and some staying together. It was weird to think that one place was the cause of so many people's sorrow or happiness, that coming here meant something different to everyone.
Amazingly, I was so lost in my thoughts that the next time I check my watch, there's a mere five minutes left. How it happened, I don't know, but I felt a surge of adrenaline run through me. Five minutes, 300 seconds. Not long at all. I take out my phone, fixing myself up in the camera app. I know that he won't care; he'd seen me looking much worse than I did now, the only huge imperfection being the bags under my eyes from my lack of sleep the night before.
Soon, a train pulls up to the platform. Unlike all the other times it happened, my heart starts beating erratically in my chest. He's in there. In one of those little train-carts, twenty feet away from me. It seemed so insignificant compared to the hundreds of miles away he was before.
I stand up as the doors open and my eyes eagerly scan the crown as people start trickling out. There's no sign of him. Even by the time everyone has come off the train and the lady on the PA is calling for the final stragglers to get on, I still can't find him. I want to go look for him, but we made a plan to meet in the exact spot we split. I'm here, I've been here, but where is he?
I check my phone again. It's been at least ten minutes since his train arrived, but more importantly, I still had no bars. I don't know why I thought they would just magically appear, but it didn't hurt to try. My shoulders slump, but I keep my eyes peeled in hopes to catch a glimpse of him. After a couple more minutes, I'm about ready to just give up and go home, but then I hear him speak.
"You look like you're waiting for someone." His breath tickled my ear when he spoke, and if I hadn't instantly recognized the voice, I may have jumped up three feet in the air. Instead, I relax for the first time since his train arrived, and quirk up the corner of my lip into a smile.
"Just some guy," I reply nonchalantly, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. I don't look at him, letting my attention focus on the train as it pulls away.
He slides an arm around my waist and hums noncommittally. "Hope he's worth it."
"You know what," I say, leaning into his warm embrace. "I think he might be."
A/N: This was written for A Drop of Romeo's Star-Cross'd challenge. Here were the requirements:
Must be multi-chaptered (unless it is a Battle of the One-Shots prompt)
Reference to Romeo and Juliet
Must have been written after the contest begun
I also don't own Friends or Romeo and Juliet.