A Long Time To Wait For Love: Chapter 4
Thanks to reviewers: xXbeautifullyshatteredXx, PhunkyBrewster, sweetStarre123, RemDiamond, InvaderJohnny and CarlRahl.
The Pullings Arms Public House was a long standing establishment in central Oxford. The walls were covered in relics, most of which were from the various wars and conflict the British Empire had taken part in.
Over the bar was a pair of crossed swords, said to be the personal weapons of the original owner, a Naval Officer who opened the place using the prize money from capturing French merchant shipping back in the Napoleonic Era.
The tone was hushed, the mood sombre as usual. Filled with regulars, a handful of blue collar workers having knocked off for the night, and a couple of younger teens trying it on with the owner's wife to get some beer with their chicken and chips dinner.
Freddie was sitting in a corner nursing an empty mug.
"Another pint thanks."
"Coming up lad."
The publican poured the beverage and bring it over to Freddie.
As he drank, he realized this was probably the last beer he'd ever have here. Not just the pub itself, but in all England. For a few years at least but maybe forever.
Freddie returned to his plate of food. He'd eaten most of the pie, and started up again on the thick cut fries.. or 'chips' as he'd come to call them.
They were a good excuse to not have to talk. The mood at the table was morose, even with the usual atmosphere at the pub was in mind.
"This is it Freddie."
Freddie looked up from the plate over at his companion. A women, his age. Blonde haired, blue eyed. With the curious feature of a ring through her nose.
"I'm going to miss you a bit Fredward." The woman replied with typical British understatement.
"Me too Em."
"You aren't leaving just because of me.. of us are you?"
"No love. I'm sorry we didn't work out, but it's not the reason. It's time to go home." The last thing Freddie wanted to do was hurt the poor girl more than he'd done in the past.
"Figured as much. It's her isn't it?" Emma sighed, her eyes cast downward at her pint of lager.
"You deserve better than her."
Freddie rolled his eyes, "You've made that perfectly clear over the last year. I don't want to have this conversation again, not now."
"Fool me once Freddie. Just remember that."
"She's not gonna cheat on me again." Freddie picked at the pie, sticking a piece of chicken onto his fork and eating it.
"Says who? Her? Can you ever trust h-"
Freddie slammed his fist down on the table harder than he wanted. Sneaky Pete, Doghouse Dave and the rest of the regulars turned their heads. Freddie sheepishly apologized by holding his hand up and they went back to their scotch or gin or whatever it was they were using to drink themselves into early oblivion.
His eyes softened when he looked across the table at Emma and saw her look of sincere apology, "I trust her. You don't know her like I do."
"Does she love you like I do?" Emma asked.
She reached across the table and took his hands together in hers, "I hope you're right. I just want you to be happy Freddie. I really do." The sincerity in his eyes made him wish even more that he didn't have to break her heart by walking out the door the next morning.
"I know. I'm really sorry you got caught up in all this drama and baggage." Freddie had kept the fact he was going back to more than just reconnect a secret. He knew how much it hurt to watch the one you love with another person. He also didn't want to watch Emma go through that pain.
"We had fun. We've been through a lot together. It's time for you to move back, and time for me to move on." Emma took her napkin and dabbed away the tears that threatened to fall down her rosy cheeks.
Seeing her like that killed what was left of his appetite.
"Let's go home. It's getting late, I've got an early flight in the morning."
"Okay," She said, sniffling as she stood up from the chair. They passed through the dark streets, along the road to their apartment. It was stripped of all personal effects. The shell of a house that was no longer a home. All the furniture they'd bought together sold off to friends who lived close by.
Freddie was going back home to Seattle. Emma going back home to Manchester. The cost of sending anything back to the US was prohibitive for Freddie, and Emma was going back to help her family business and was moving back to her old room for a while. They split the money 50/50.
After a night of fitful sleep, he woke up one last time in England. He checked over his bag to make sure he had all the correct documentation and tickets. Then he showered and dressed. Finally he ate his breakfast. A few pieces of toast with honey, and orange juice. He was getting a lift from one of his ex-work friends and they would soon be there. Freddie intended to leave before Emma woke, but she wouldn't have any of it.
Just as he stood to walk out the door, he heard her cry his name from her bedroom. She was crying, tears that threatened to fall last night were now pouring out with no chance of
Before he could get a word out, she took his head in her hands and pulled him towards her, giving him one long, final kiss. Her full lips on his. He didn't kiss back, but didn't push her away. Her lips eventually fell away from his at the sound of a car horn.
"I have to go Emma. I'm gonna miss you so much."
"I love you Freddie."
"I love you too."
They both knew their definitions weren't the same but neither cared. It was long past the time the difference between their two loves meant anything. The only thing that mattered was the last few seconds together.
Once the short seconds passed, the distance between them would increase rapidly until they were nearly 5,000 miles distant. Freddie embraced Emma, his hand stroking gently in her hair as he'd done dozens of times before.
The horn sounded twice more, "I really have to go now."
Emma didn't speak, she nodded with her hand over her mouth. After he opened the door, he gave her one last long look. The front gate opened with a squeak of rusted metal and then Freddie sat in the car. He waved at Emma as she stood by. The tears kept coming, and Freddie felt a hot drip down his own cheek. His friend started the car and they drove off, with Freddie leaving her behind.
AN: Wrote this over the last couple days. You can probably see some of the more overarching storyline develop here. Thanks for reading.