Sitting alone in his apartment, Alex replayed the moment - nearly two years ago now - that he stood there across the street from her in Daley Plaza. He had been so close to her but so far, as it had always been. Yet he knew if he took a step forward to reach her, that their chance would be ended with the last beat of his own heart. His fingers could still remember the texture of the paper she had written on and her words echoed through his mind:
"Just wait. Please... Don't look for me. Don't try to find me. I love you... and it's taken me all this time to say it, but I love you. And if you still care for me, wait for me... wait with me. Just wait... wait. Wait two years, Alex. Come to the Lake House... I'm here." Those words had driven his life from that moment on. He'd kept her in his gaze for as long as he'd been able to as he walked away, praying that this time he would be able to make their date. Kate Forester had changed him, even though he'd only held her in his arms once, their conversation through the letters was no less real than face-to-face conversation; he'd tried to explain that to his brother.
On February 15, 2006, he awoke a changed man. He knew that he had just altered the course of his life. Fate, God or something had allowed him to keep it. He cherished every day after that, knowing how quickly it could be over, careful not to do anything that could potentially stop him from seeing her again. He put his heart back into his job, creating structures that were art and not just a mass of building materials.
And every night he came home and wrote Kate another letter.
For Kate, the two years Alex would wait did not exist. She only had to wait a few moments at the Lake House and he would be there, but he had to live those two years. He never intended to send them to her; he only wanted to write them so that he could share with her what had happened to him in those two years. He'd become so accustomed to the idea of writing to her that even though she did not write back, it was the best he could do to stay in touch with her. Sitting down at his desk, he unwrapped the plastic that he had kept them in and leafed through, reading the words that caught his eye.
15, 2006 Dear Kate -
I love you. That's all I can think of to say right now, it's all I can think of period. I owe my life to you, and I can't wait to see you again.
Dear Kate -
June 29, 2006 Kate
- Still waiting,
I took our walk again today. It was a gorgeous; the sun was shining as I've never seen it shine before. Work is going well. I'm working on plans for this greenhouse that a new client has been asking about for a few months now. We're set to get underway in a month or so. I miss you.
December 25, 2006
Dearest Kate - My
brother got married just yesterday. It was a beautiful ceremony. I
think you will love his wife.
Merry Christmas! We got quite a lot of snow a few days ago, and as I'm writing to you now I am looking out at it, covering the sidewalks and the trees, and wishing that we could be out walking in it together. I wish I could see you again. The days are dwindling and I will be able to see you soon. You don't know how excited I am.
My brother got married just yesterday. It was a beautiful ceremony. I think you will love his wife.
February 14, 2007
Happy Valentine's Day. It's been a whole year, Kate. I can't believe it. So much has changed in that year; my life is so much more vibrant. It's all because of you. I woke up last night dreaming of you. Only one more year.
2007 Kate - -------
I became an uncle today. She's so precious. They named her Elizabeth. Remember that special project I was working on? It's almost finished, coming along beautifully.
January 1, 2008
As for New Year's resolutions, I have none. I've never been a fan of them, they never seemed very genuine to me. We had a New Year's celebration at the opening of the museum today. Midnight came and went and sadly, I had no one to kiss.
He set the stack down and pulled out his last piece of clean paper. He readied his pen and began to write.
February 13, 2008
Dear Kate -
I've written for two years now, and nothing I've experienced in those two years can compare to the butterflies I am feeling. Tomorrow, Kate. After all this time, it's finally here. I love you so much, Kate. That seems so strange to say, but I feel it. It's more real than anything I've ever known. I know that you are waiting for me there and I hope that after all of this time we can make it last. No woman has ever touched me like you have. You are amazing. There's nothing else to say. See you tomorrow.
Sighing, he placed that letter on top of all the others. He replaced the plastic covering and gently set them in a red box. As he fell asleep that night, he dreamt of her one last time and how she would look when he saw her.
Kate clung to the mailbox, her only hope of ever seeing or speaking to Alex again. She sat there in silence, eyes closed, just praying that he'd gotten the letter and that he would live to meet her here. Her heart raced, and thoughts swirled through her head. What if he didn't get it in time? He'd be killed at Daley Plaza and she'd lose him. She couldn't lose him.
The little red flag
moved swiftly down. Her heart soared.
The blue truck reached the bend just around the Lake House and he turned the engine off. A tear slid down Kate's cheek as she heard the door to his truck slam shut. She stood slowly and turned. He paused only a moment before walking swiftly and authoritatively toward her. His momentum was only stopped by her physical presence. The attraction between them was undeniable and she found herself in his arms faster than she could have imagined.
"You waited," she whispered.
Without saying a word, he kissed her. This wasn't just any ordinary kiss, it was two years full of waiting, two years of longing, and most of all, it was a kiss fueled by love. Their first kiss had been passionate, unexplainable really, but this was different. It was amazing. It felt like a warm bath on a freezing cold day or the best piece of chocolate cake you've ever eaten when all you've been wanting is chocolate for two years. It was as if they fit together, perfectly. He kissed her, and kissed her, and hated the idea of stopping. He'd finally made it back to her and he never wanted to let go. He ran his hand through her soft brown hair and finally broke the kiss to catch his breath. He pressed his forehead against hers, looking into her eyes.
"You waited," she whispered again, her warm breath caressing his lips, "two years."
"Didn't have anywhere to be just then," he smiled. He stood there a moment just looking at her, trying to remember every detail of this encounter. He'd cherish it forever. She absolutely glowed, more lovely than he'd remembered her. He moved his hands down her arms, finding hers and entwining their fingers. "I have something for you," he whispered. "Don't go anywhere," he asked, kissing her on the forehead. He ran to the truck and got out the box. "Happy Valentine's Day, Kate. I know I'm two years behind, but trust me, I was thinking of you." She took the box from him, running her hand over the smooth crimson package. Carefully she lifted the lid, revealing the letters. He took the box as she lifted the plastic covered correspondence.
She gasped once she understood what they were. "You wrote?" She looked up, tears welling in her eyes again.
"Everyday for two years, it's all I could do, I couldn't lose you. I wanted to share everything with you."
"They are beautiful. I can't wait to read them," she smiled through her tears.
"You don't have to." He replied. She placed them back in the box, noticing something she had missed at the bottom. It was a key, taped to something. She pulled it up and looked at Alex.
"Part two of your Valentine's Day gift. Turn it over." He replied. She did. It was attached to a photograph. It was a very large, new colonial style home on the very edge of Chicago.
"It's beautiful, Alex. You made it?" She looked up.
He nodded. "It's yours, if you want it."
"It's perfect Alex, but I only want it if it can be ours." She smiled, and placed the key and the letters back in their box and held it close to her heart. Her right hand found his once again. "I love you, Alex. I'm sorry it took me so long to realize that." His eyes seemed to reassure her, saying, don't worry Kate, we'll never be apart again.
Kate closed her eyes as she placed the most gentle kiss on his lips.