The arrivals area of the Boston airport is packed, full of people with suitcases and people with signs with names on and people in general. Marvin cringes as he weaves his way through the crowd, trying to minimise the number of people who accidentally touch him.
He's here, at long last, to pick up Elizabeth. They had had three glorious days together in London back in November, culminating in passionate tear-stained kisses in the departures area of Heathrow. Then there were the flirty texts and the entrancing phone conversations and the lingering thoughts, and then they spent a week in Ireland together in the summer, hiking through the countryside and walking along windy beaches.
And now, finally, they'll be together again. It's November, five months since he last saw her and just over a year since the ball.
There's a sudden influx of people coming into the arrivals area. BA flight. British accents.
And there she is, in a grey trench coat and dragging a suitcase on wheels. Her hair's shorter than it was, not quite reaching her shoulders. Like it was at Molly's party.
When she sees him, her eyes light up. Actually, her whole face lights up. She cries his name and leans over the metal barrier to kiss him, and he hugs her tightly.
"Hey." He says.
She pulls back enough to look at him. "God, I've missed you." He kisses her again, and then she lets go and walks out from behind the barrier. And then he kisses her again, because he can.
They drive from the airport to Patrick and Angela's house in North Attleboro. Marvin parks in the driveway, and together they pull their suitcases to the door. Almost as soon as the bell is rung, the door is opened by Frank.
"Marvin!" He throws himself at Marvin, hugging him hard.
"Frank, this is Elizabeth." He says, once Frank has released him.
"Hey." Says Frank, stepping back to allow them into the hallway. He has walked with a cane since the accident, but other than that it's like nothing has changed. (Except that he might be a little more careful now) "I've heard so much about you."
"I am a huge fan of your music." Says Elizabeth. "I don't listen to a lot of punk rock, but your lyrics are downright poetic."
Frank leads Elizabeth towards the living room, and then Patrick and Angela come through from the kitchen to greet Marvin and be introduced to Elizabeth. Marvin has been imagining this moment for months, has been worried about it. But it's fine, of course it is. Elizabeth is funny and polite and charming enough that his family immediately like her, but she stays close to Marvin the whole time.
They go to bed early; Elizabeth's jetlagged. They're in the room that used to be Marvin's but is now a beige-and-white guest room.
"I like your family." She says sleepily.
"I like you." He tells her. Unnecessarily.
"It's been weird, hasn't it?" she says. "Weird and wonderful."
"What has?" he turns out the lamp on the nightstand, and the room is plunged into darkness. Marvin turns onto his side, facing Elizabeth even though he can't see her.
"All of this. Us. Kingswood and Molly's party and the book signing and the Hay Festival and the wedding and the film and the ball."
It is weird and wonderful, Marvin supposes. "It's like I've been living it rather than writing it for a change." He says. "Like it's the plot of a story that I'm not writing."
"Maybe you should write it."
"Nah." He says. "It wouldn't be as good. I'm writing something completely different."
"I'll look forward to reading it." She says, and kisses him. Tonight, one of many nights, Marvin falls asleep with Elizabeth in his arms.
Aaaaand it's over! If you've actually read all the way through, thank you so much! (Even if you're just my boyfriend or someone else I'll force to read this)
I hope you enjoyed this story! I know it's not too great - I started it when I was 15 and it took me 2 years to write, even though it's really not very long and doesn't have too much of a plot - but I feel like it made me better at writing. Also, I like Frank. I kinda want to give Frank his own story.