Time stood still. Declan froze, rigid to the spot and stared wide-eyed at Kayleigh.
What the hell? This he didn't expect.
He could see Kayleigh still talking but he could no longer process what she was saying. Eventually he became aware of his name being repeated.
"Declan?" Her voice shook him from his daze.
He blinked for a prolonged second and met Kayleigh's eyes once more.
Was she expecting him to respond to this little revelation? And how exactly? What on Earth was he meant to say to this?
"Declan?" She uttered his name once again but in a more choked, desperate whisper this time. He noticed her eyes had started to fill with tears and for a second all he wanted to do was take her into his arms and tell her that everything was going to be alright. The way he used to.
Did he really feel sorry for the girl who, so callously, left him for his best friend and took off to Dublin, leaving Declan shattered and broken?
Luckily his sensible subconscious was on hand to remind him of what she had done to him and it wasn't something he could just forget. A river of conflicted thoughts rushed through his confused mind. In a few short seconds he managed to get a grasp on what had just occurred.
He'd asked Kayleigh to meet him here the day after Anna left, merely to get back the treasured engagement ring his mother had left to him.
And yet here she stood telling him that she and Ryan were well and truly over, apparently because she'd realised she still loved Declan and had made the worst mistake of her life leaving him.
And once Ryan had got wind of this... well he didn't stick around for long.
"Declan, I wanted to call you so many times since Ryan left.." Kayleigh was on the brink of tears again. Declan felt his heart flip a little. Damn, she looked breathtaking - a broken but beautiful soul.
She swallowed hard. "But I thought you'd probably met someone else by now and was happy again, and actually I didn't have any right to make contact and mess with your head - again."
Declan's mind wandered back to the flame-haired siren who had entered his life only a few days ago, turned it completely on its head, and then exited it just as quick. He briefly wondered how she was doing - whether she'd had a safe flight back to Boston but, more importantly, whether she'd fallen back into her luxury lifestyle with the fancy apartment and her cardiologist fiancé. He thought back to Jeremy down on one knee in that hotel foyer, surrounded by pathetic, excited onlookers with cameras. In the little time he'd got to know Anna he never once thought she'd be impressed by that kind of charade/display of affection, whatever it was. But hey, what did he know?
"Declan please say something"
Kayleigh's voice again broke his thoughts of Anna.
He took a beat. Let's be honest, Anna had made it perfectly clear what direction she was heading and had seemingly made her choice quite easily. He knew he needed to forget her, she wasn't at all like he thought.
Besides... it appeared he was being given this chance of a potential fresh start. With his first love? Doesn't happen to many.
He looked down at his feet. He had to take control of this situation now.
"Kayleigh it's kinda crazy to think we can just... go back to the way we were, you know?"
Her face fell and silent tears rolled down her cheeks as she slowly nodded in agreement. Declan hated himself for making her feel like this, in spite of how she'd almost destroyed him.
"But" he said with a pronounced enunciation. Kayleigh looked up, hopeful. "I think you can use a friend right now. Why don't you come and stay at the pub for a few days?" The words were out before he realised. But what harm could it do? He managed a half smile. "There's a recently vacated room with your name on it".
He thought of Anna tripping out all the electrics with her silly phone charger and he couldn't hide the slight smile that crept upon his face at this memory.
Seriously though Declan.. He silently berated himself. You really need to forget about the red-headed American.
Anna waited at the baggage carousel in the arrivals hall. She couldn't stop smiling. "Oh look, there's Louis!" she exclaimed when she spotted her Vuitton case on its way round. She glanced at her fiancé who just offered her the mother of distasteful looks at her little outburst. Anna didn't care though, she was engaged. She was elated. It was everything she'd ever wanted.
Louis drew up to them and she stood back to let Jeremy haul him off the baggage belt. Except Louis stayed put and just trundled past them. What the hell? She couldn't believe Jeremy had made no effort whatsoever to grab her case for her. In fact he was too preoccupied by a video call he'd just taken with a colleague to even notice.
She briefly thought of Declan - he'd carried her bags for her at every opportunity. Such a gent. How did a cheeky bugger, with an ability for blatant rudeness and sarcasm, actually have such great manners underneath? And turn out to be one of the sweetest, loveliest guys she'd ever met? And that kiss...
Stop! Anna distracted her wayward thoughts. For God's sake woman, you're engaged to the love of your life aren't you...? Forget about Declan, he probably has you.
And with that all thoughts of the charming handsome stranger, who had grown on her a lot during their few days together in Ireland, were gone. For now...
Louis reappeared once more, having journeyed a full lap of the carousel, and Anna grabbed him with both hands from the belt. Jeremy was now several feet away from her now and still engrossed in his video call. She walked up to join him as he ended the call. "I can't wait to get to our new apartment" she grinned. "Me neither sweetheart" replied Jeremy as he kissed the side of her head.