The taxi hadn't completely halted by the curb in front of the airport when I opened the door. Before the driver could even open his mouth, I threw too many bills at him and muttered something about keeping the change. I rushed out of the car and closed the door with unnecessary force. The way I was dressed attracted some attention, which I promptly ignored, gathering the fabric of my dress in my fists as I prepared to run. I looked around, located an entrance marked 'Departures', and ran towards it, narrowly swerving around a toddler and his mom, who did not look happy about me almost running into her child.
In the vast and crowded departures hall, I ignored the looks I was getting as I fluttered around like a lost puppy, frantically trying to catch a glimpse of a familiar face, a familiar leather jacket I knew he wore when he traveled, a familiar mop of dark hair.
I came up with nothing. He wasn't here anymore.
Screeching to a halt by a huge screen that displayed departing and arriving flights, gates and boarding times, I located his flight and found that it was actually on time. What were the odds? I groaned loudly, causing a nearby family of five to look at me with evident concern. But I was already rushing towards security and hoping against hope that he was late, despite his usual punctuality.
I ran like I'd never ran before, pushing past people with luggage, shamelessly using my elbows to make a path for myself. Since when did people walk this slowly anyway?
When I made it to security check, I found that there were long queues and people swarming around like bees in their hurry to catch flights. I started getting desperate; how was I ever going to find him in this? I wasn't going to get past security without a ticket, and I'd just thrown the last of my money at the cab driver.
But I wasn't about to give up, either. I pushed myself as close to the security check points as I could, and one queue at a time my eyes raked over the people, searching... searching... I felt tears behind my eyes. They burned, wanting to leak, but I swallowed them back.
Then, just when I was about to give up and break down, I saw something that made my heart jump into my throat.
His bag was already on the conveyor belt; he was about to walk through the metal detector.
Screeching to a halt, I stared at his back.
And I chocked. I opened my mouth to yell, but couldn't get out a sound. Why was I here? What was I doing?
As if sensing me, he turned around, glanced almost lazily my way – and froze. Amazement widened his eyes, his hand gripped the handle of his carry-on, but he didn't pull it back. He didn't move. Because he didn't know why I was here.
Because it was my move.
"Don't go!" I shouted, loud and surprisingly steady. People were looking, but I didn't care.
He was biting his lip, considering. Deciding. His eyes darting between me and the security people now waiting for him.
And then he was pushing himself through that crowd of people, making his way towards me, and it was like I was watching it all in slow motion. With every step he took, my heart grew in size, until it was big enough to obstruct my breathing.
"Bella," he stated, standing in front of me. His face was an expressionless mask, but I knew that there was emotion burning behind those eyes. "I'm gonna miss my flight. What do you want?"
That was a good question. And if I had been asked that two months ago, the answer would have been very different.