Hahaha, yes! A double update of sorts! Oh gosh, I'm sorry but I had so much fun with your reviews! All the "AAAAHHH" and "EEEEEEK" and the freaking out! Now I realise that was a big cliffhanger... and since I had this part written already, I thought I might as well throw it at you for being such cuties and waiting for this fic! *sends hugs and kisses*
A/N: More fluff. And other things too... Sorry! :3 But now it's when the story begins, so to say. Don't forget I'm following the book/movie, I really try to keep them not-ooc* as much I can.
Don't hesitate to let me know if you liked it! Have fun reading! ^-^
Chapter V - Goodbye
The tears that kept Elsa company for the rest of the day were not at all like those that had blinded her into the tree trunk. Those were noisy and hot; they pulsed. These were silent and steady and all they did was remind her that she wasn't good enough. She was eighteen, and every male she'd ever known had crumbled at her feet and it meant nothing. The one time it mattered, she wasn't good enough. All she knew really was riding, and how was that to interest a man when that man had been looked at by the Countess?
It was dusk when she heard footsteps outside her door. Then a knock. Elsa dried her eyes. Another knock.
"Whoever is that?" Elsa yawned finally.
Elsa lounged across the bed. "Jack?" she said. "Do I know any Ja-oh, Farm Boy, it's you, how droll!"
She went to her door, unlocked it, and said, in her fanciest tone, "I'm ever so glad you stopped by, I've been feeling just ever so slummy about the little joke I played on you this morning. Of course you knew I wasn't for a moment serious, or at least I thought you knew, but then, just when you started closing the door I thought for one dreary instant that perhaps I'd done my little jest a bit too convincingly and, poor dear thing, you might have thought I meant what I said when of course we both know the total impossibility of that ever happening."
"I've come to say goodbye."
Elsa's heart bucked, but she still held to fancy. "You're going to sleep, you mean, and you've come to say good night? How thoughtful of you, Farm Boy, showing me that you forgive me for my little morning's tease; I certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness and-"
"I'm leaving." He cut her off.
"Leaving?" The floor began to ripple. She held to the doorframe. "Now?"
"Because of what I said this morning?"
"I frightened you away, didn't I? I could kill my tongue." She shook her head and shook her head. "Well, it's done; you've made your decision. Just remember this: I won't take you back when she's done with you, I don't care if you beg."
He just looked at her in confusion.
Elsa hurried on. "Just because you're handsome and perfect, it's made you conceited. You think people can't get tired of you, well you're wrong, they can, and she will, besides you're too poor."
"I'm going to America. To seek my fortune. A ship sails soon from the harbor. There is great opportunity in America and I'm going to take advantage of it. I've been training myself in my hovel. I've taught myself not to need sleep. A few hours only. I'll take a ten-hour-a-day job and then I'll take another ten-hour-a-day job and I'll save every penny from both except what I need to eat to keep strong, and when I have enough I'll buy a farm and build a house and make a bed big enough for two."
"You're just crazy if you think she's going to be happy in some run-down farmhouse in America. Not with what she spends on clothes."
"Stop talking about the Countess!"
Elsa looked at him, slightly puzzled.
"Don't you understand anything that's going on?"
Elsa shook her head. It was too good to be what she thought it was.
"Do you love me, Jack? Is that it?" She dared to ask.
He couldn't believe it.
"Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches. If your love were-"
"Wait, what?," Elsa interrupted unconsciously, voicing her bewilderment. She was starting to get very excited now.
Jack looked at her intensely.
"I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids... Is any of this getting through to you, Elsa, or do you want me to go on for a while?"
"There has not been."
"If you're teasing me, Jack, I'm just going to kill you."
"How can you even dream I might be teasing? I love you." He whispered that last bit, and he felt so liberated. He dared to take her hands in his. "Want it louder? I love you! Spell it out, should I? I ell-oh-vee-ee why-oh-you. Want it backwards? Uoy-evol-i."
"You are teasing now; aren't you?" She smiled, though in the verge of tears. Of joy.
"A little maybe" He grinned. "Oh, Elsa…" He sighed, "I've been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn't listen. Every time you said 'Farm Boy do this' you thought I was answering 'As you wish' but that's only because you were hearing wrong. 'I love you' was what it was, but you never heard."
Suddenly, it all made sense. That was it. That's why. All his smiles, all his kindness and softness, his acceptance, all came in a bright flash. She understood everything.
"I hear you now, and I promise you this: I will never love anyone else. Only you. Until I die."
He nodded, took a step away. "I'll send for you soon. Believe me."
"Would my Jack ever lie?"
He took another step. "I'm late. I must go. I hate it but I must. The ship sails soon and the harbour is far."
"I understand." Elsa found it very hard to breathe. "Goodbye."
"Goodbye," he said again.
She made a little nod. Their hands parted. He stepped back. He took a third step, not turning. She watched him.
Then, he turned. And the words ripped out of her: "Without one kiss?"
They fell into each other's arms. Jack answered to her plead and let his lips tenderly touch her soft and eager ones. Both felt something warm expanding across their chests, involving them in a comfortable sensation, as if a spark had lit a space that once was dark and cold.
"Hold it, hold it… What is this? Are you trying to trick me? Where's the action?" Jaime interrupted, giving a serious look to his mother. "...Is this a kissing book?"
"Kiss!" Little Sophie giggled.
"Aw, c'mon!" His mom snorted. "Really? Just let me read! This is a very emotional time for Jack and Elsa!"
"But… when is it going to get good?"
She then moved her hand while saying: "Wait, just wait. 'Jack didn't have money for marriage, so he packed his few belongings and left the farm to seek his fortune across the sea.' "
"I don't believe this…" Jamie sighed.
"I fear I'll never see you again..." Elsa said, almost in tears.
"Of course you will" Jack whispered while caressing her hair.
"But what if something happens to you?" She just couldn't let her worries go. Not now that she was happy and had everything sorted out. She was so afraid to lose it all.
Jack softly broke their embrace to look at her right in the eyes.
"Hear this now: I will always come for you. I promise." He lifted his hand to hold her face, removing a tear with his thumb.
"How can you be so sure?"
"This is true love," he smiled. "Do you think this happens everyday?"
His assuring smile gave Elsa all the hope she needed.
The first morning after Jack's departure, Elsa thought she was entitled to do nothing more than sit around moping and feeling sorry for herself. After all, the love of her life had fled, life had no meaning, how could you face the future, et cetera, et cetera. But after about two seconds of that she realized that Jack was out in the world now, getting nearer and nearer to the harbor, and what if a beautiful city girl caught his fancy while she was just back here moldering? Or, worse, what if he got to America and worked his jobs and built his farm and made their bed and sent for her and when she got there he would look at her and say, 'I'm sending you back, the moping has destroyed your eyes, the self-pity has taken your skin; you're a slobby-looking creature, I'm marrying an Indian girl who lives in a teepee nearby and is always in the peak of condition.'
Elsa ran to her bedroom mirror. "Oh, Jack," she said, "I must never disappoint you." She had been unhappy all this time, and thus, careless of herself, and she didn't want to continue like that even though Jack was gone.
He was the reason of her happiness. And she won't allow herself to be sad anymore.
Thus, every morning she awoke, if possible by dawn, and got the farm chores finished immediately. There was much to be done now, with Jack gone, and more than that, ever since the Count had visited, everyone in the area had increased his milk order. So there was no time for self-improvement until well into the afternoon. But then she really set to work.
First a good cold bath. Then, brush and brush her hair, which was the color of a pale ray of sun, and slightly rebellious too so it took time. But she didn't mind, because Jack had never seen it like this and wouldn't he be surprised when she stepped off the boat in America. Her skin was the color of wintry cream, and she scrubbed her every inch well past glistening, and that wasn't much fun really, but wouldn't Jack be pleased with how glistening she was as she stepped off the boat in America.
And very quickly now, her potential began to be realized. The day after a three-page letter arrived from Jack in the harbor and just reading it over made her even more beautiful. That was really what was doing it for her more than anything, her love for Jack would not stop growing and people were dazzled when she delivered milk in the morning. Some people were only able to gape at her, but many talked and those that did found her warmer and gentler than she had ever been before. Even the village girls would nod and smile now, and some of them would ask after Jack, which was a mistake unless you happened to have a lot of spare time, because when someone asked Elsa how Jack was, well, she told them. He was supreme as usual; he was spectacular; he was singularly fabulous. Oh, she could go on for hours. Sometimes it got a little tough for the listeners to maintain strict attention, but they did their best, since Elsa loved him so completely.
Which was why Jack's death hit her the way it did.