Promises

The rain falls softly, running along the window to match the tears streaming down her cheeks. "Will I ever see you again"she asks quietly. "It's been ten years since you left…"

She tries not to think about that day, but the memories come flooding back to her despite her attempts to hold them at bay.

A quick hug.

"I'll come back," he tells her with that charming smile of his.

"Really?" she asks anxiously.

He nods.

"Promise?"

"I promise."

She makes him repeat it, but even after he has reassured her he will return, she still begins to weep. It looks as if it is all he can do not to cry as well.

He crouches down in front of her and gathers her into his arms. "I don't know how long I'll be gone, but I'll do everything I can to come back to you."

"I'll miss you," she whispers.

Another hug, this time fiercer and she can hear his voice catching in his throat.

"I'll miss you, too."

And then he stands up, casts one last look at her, and leaves.

Now she is older, no longer holding onto childish dreams as she once had. The cold reality of it all had hit her when she turned sixteen—he wasn't coming back. Her friends constantly try their best to cheer her up, but nothing works. Not even dancing thrills her anymore. She is an empty shell of what she used to be.

"You promised," she murmurs, pressing a hand to the cold window and biting her lip to keep back another sob.

Then, from behind her: "I told you I would come back."

She turns and a soft gasp escapes her lips. No doubt it is just her imagination. She can't believe it—she won't. And yet she takes a step toward him, then another and another until she is standing right in front of him.

"You're really here," she whispers and collapses into his arms, weeping with joy.

"You didn't believe me?" he asks, stroking her hair and holding her close to him. "I told you I would do everything I could to come back to you and here I am."

She clings to him, sobbing against his shoulder in relief.

"Don't ever leave me again," she tells him, looking up into his blue eyes.

"Never," he replies.

Nothing more is said.

Nothing needs to be.