I started this one right after publishing the last one. Yay! Though it took me much longer to post. Sorry 'bout that. Finals SUCK, people.
Another one of those 'all mine' chapters. Never mind what I said in the last chapter- a lot of these are all mine. Er, mostly mine. Excepting the fact that this whole story is one big copyright issue, and it's not like any of the characters are mine. 'Least not any of the main ones. **sighs** Oh, well.
I also do not own The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, or British Airways. So technically, I had no right to use them, either.PPP
I sat on the plane as other fliers passed by in the aisle next to me. I couldn't believe it. I was actually going to America, as I'd been fantasizing for weeks.
Lord Dashwood had insisted on paying for me to go to America. I didn't like to think about how much it cost to get us to be standbys on a flight overseas, so I did my best not to. He was a lord- he had money.
I had gone back to my house to explain to my parents. As I was leaving, Chloe punched my shoulder and said, "Go get her, bro."
It was to the dorm to pack a bag, and then it was off to the airport with a man I barely knew, thinking, This isn't going to be awkward at all…
Waiting for the plane to take off, I couldn't keep still. My knees moved up and down in quick, nervous movements and I clenched my hands to keep from fidgeting.
"Nervous?" Lord Dashwood asked. I stared at him for a moment. These were the first words he'd spoken to me since we'd gotten to the airport.
I tried to relax. My body responded nicely. My face broke into a slightly embarrassed grin as I answered, "Yeah."
I stared at him again. "Well, I'm flying halfway across the world to try and make amends with the girl I walked out on."
"I must take responsibility for that, I'm afraid. I asked her to change."
I sat up straighter. "There was nothing wrong with her!" I said, a bit too loudly. Some people turned to look at me, but I didn't care.
His response matched mine in volume and intensity. "I know that!" He clamed enough to say, quieter, "So I'm flying halfway around the world to make amends with two women."
My anger receded. "I think you win."
He smiled. "Yes. I believe I do."
"Doesn't make it any easier for me, though."
"At least for you it's only been a few weeks. I have seventeen years to make up for. Seventeen years to breed resentment, seventeen years for the wound to heal."
I flinched, and we were silent as the plane took off.
"She'll take you back in a second, you know."
I sat up straighter. "Why should she?"
"After I… spoke with her, she was less than herself, but after you left… well let's just say I don't think I've ever seen a girl so empty in all my years."
Wincing, I looked down. "You really shouldn't be telling me this now, sir."
"Call me Henry," he said, so quick that it seemed almost like an instinct, a reflex. "And what I'm saying is that she loves you. And she knows you were right. Everything will clear up between the two of you."
We fell silent then and all I could think was, I hope you're right…
As I flipped through the channels of the TV screen in front of me, I saw Lord Dashwood writing something out of the corner of my eye. I shifted ever so slightly to get a better look. He seemed a bit frantic, like I always looked when I was trying to get an idea out on paper before I lost it completely. I also noticed that he wasn't writing on a regular sheet of paper. It was his boarding pass. I squinted and could make out writing on the napkin on his tray table as well. Shaking my head, I paid more attention to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I hadn't really liked the first two, but it was either this or Pirates of the Caribbean, and romance, no matter how much it was disguised behind skeletons and sword fights, was something I could not handle right now.
I must have dozed off towards the end of the movie (maybe around the third ending- they just kept going, didn't they?), because the next thing I knew, the pilot's voice crackled over the speaker, telling us that we should prepare for landing.
Some ten minutes later, we were at the gate and the pilot was telling us to enjoy our stay in America, and thank you for flying British Airways. Lord Dashwood and I stood up, picked up our luggage, and proceeded to leave the airport (no one could believe we'd come overseas with just carry-ons).
We checked into a hotel and put our bags down. After that was done, Lord Dashwood immediately pulled out his cell phone and called the Reynolds' residence.
"Hey, this is Libby and Daphne Reynolds, we're not home right now, we're at the Marshall wedding, and it's not over until very late, and we'll be home even later because it takes a while to get home from the Five Towns…"
They were giggling, finishing each other's sentences… she sure didn't sound like she missed me.
Lord Dashwood didn't look disheartened by the message at all. I suggested that we'd call it a night and try their house again tomorrow, but he wouldn't have it. He just dialed another number on his cell phone, and ten minutes later, we were getting into a taxi. Lord Dashwood shouted an address to the cabbie, and we were off.
Lord Dashwood and I both stared out of our respective windows, each of us burning off nervous energy in our own ways: my legs and hands wouldn't stay still, and he kept tearing little pieces of paper into even smaller bits.
When the cab pulled off the highway, Lord Dashwood said, without looking at me, "We're almost there." He then turned to me and continued, "If you don't mind, I'd like to have a word with Daphne before you come and sweep her off her feet."
Had I been less anxious, I would have snorted. That sounded much too close to something out of Sleeping Beauty. Lilly would have loved it. As it was, all I could do was shake my head; there would be no feet leaving the ground tonight.
Lord Dashwood ignored my disbelief. "I have a feeling that once you show up, I won't have very much of her attention."
"But you're her father!"
"Yes, but she's a teenager."
I decided not to argue with such a valid point. If she weren't mad at me, I'd agree with him completely. He seemed so sure that she'd forgive me…
The car stopped abruptly, and I was jerked from my thoughts. I resisted the urge to swallow like a cartoon. We're here.
Lord Dashwood wasted no time in taking a raft or something across the picturesque lake. I, however, had the time to walk around it, trying to appreciate the beauty (that I couldn't see) and keep my mind off of what I was about to do. Chloe would have called me a wuss.
There's no guarantee she'll take me back. I could be walking into heartbreak.
Whatever I was walking into, I was there. The lights from the wedding were creeping up my body, making me more and more visible to those present. No one paid much attention to me, the guy in jeans at a wedding. I guess they assume that someone planning on crashing would wear something classier.
There she was, dancing in the middle of the floor in the arms of someone whom I recognized immediately as her father, or I might not have been responsible for what I'd end up doing to him.
Lord Dashwood caught my eye over Daphne's shoulder and nodded slightly. I took a deep breath, then began walking towards them. I caught his last sentence.
"I think when you're groveling, it's important to bring a very large present."
I could practically see the confusion on her face as she said, "I don't understand."
A small smile crept up Lord Dashwood's lips as I said, "May I cut in?" I don't know what I looked like, but in my head, I was going, Please, please, please, please-
She whirled around to face me, and the huge grin on her face and the "Hey!" that kept going up until it was too high for her range was enough to make my own face light up like I'd never doubted for a second that she'd take me back. As I hugged her, I figured I should have known all along.
I would have held her for much longer, but there were things to be said, on her part. Her hands went up to my neck and mine settled on her waist- everything seemed so natural. "I tried to call you but every time I did you weren't home, and your mom always said that she'd tell you to call me back, but she seemed sort of distracted, and I'm not sure she remembered…"
"I was staying out of the house as much as possible. When I'm depressed, I don't like walls. Too confining. They only let you think about one thing. The one thing that depresses you."
Her face darkened a little. "Don't I know it."
"And to expect my mother to remember anything she hears on the phone is ridiculous and unfair to her. Chlo and I call her the Absent-Minded Professor all the time."
Daphne giggled a little, face returning to the blissful happiness. Leaning against my chest, she giggled.
"What?" I asked. She inclined her head towards her parents, who were snogging. Rather than be completely disgusted (as I would have been), she was happy for them. Granted, she didn't look at them for long, but still.
She rested her head back against my chest and I tightened my grip around her waist as we revolved in slow circles on the dance floor. Maybe tomorrow we'd all go back to England, maybe we'd stay here. Maybe later we'd have a moment alone (neither of us were PDA type people, and I, for one, wanted the 'kiss' part of 'kiss and make up'). Maybe our future would see us separated for stretches of time. But all that mattered was now, this perfect moment, and if someone were to ask me how I was doing, I wouldn't respond with a generic 'fine' or 'good'. I would be able to truthfully say, "Never better."
Yeah, I know. I didn't warn you in advance \ that this would be the end. Because truthfully, I hadn't known. I was sort of making this up as I went along. I never thought that I'd become so committed to it or love it so much. It was sort of just a throwaway idea that I had to write down (as always), but I've really grown to love this. And I had no idea that it would be met with such roaring (well, maybe… squealing? Whispered?) praise. Thank you to my 23 lovely reviewers!!! (Yes, I counted. Yes, I know I'm sad.) You guys were really what kept me going when I wasn't so into this story, and I wasn't sure I was going to even finish it. **hugs all around**
I may do a sequel (it depends on how much you guys beg me. … just kidding), but I'm not entirely sure. If I do, though, it'll take longer to get it out, because I'll **gasp!** actually have to come up with my own plot!!! I have a few ideas bouncing around, though, so… we'll see.
So… I'll see you 'round, and I look forward to all the reviews!! **wink wink, nudge nudge**
Love ya lots,