A/N: The title of this story belongs to the Strokes, and the characters belong to Sean Ellis. The two quotes that I added at the beginning were my inspirations. Enjoy!
"The bad news is that time flies. The good news... is that you're the pilot." – Ben Willis, Cashback
"Knowing you, you wait for clear skies.
To tell us how changes come about
With the sunlight" - The Strokes, "Clear Skies"
I am restless again. I haven't been like this in months.
Those miserable numbers on my alarm clock mean two things. For one, there are three hours left until the night is over. Three bloody long hours during which I, Ben Willis, will have to stare vacantly at the ceiling and twist around in my sheets like an incapable idiot. Unfortunately, the numbers also mean that my second real girlfriend –Sharon that is - has left me exactly twelve hours ago.
3:27pm, the previous day.
Sharon and I had just finished eating lunch together, and we were walking hand in hand through the crowded London streets. It was one of those rare sunny Sundays, a perfect shopping day during which masses of people spent their time running around various stores and cafes. Sharon had never taken a particular interest in shopping, and neither had I. Perhaps it was just a side effect of having worked nightshifts at Sainsbury's. But I do admit that it's rather amusing to watch others perform the hectic activity that shopping consists of. It reminds me how peaceful my own life has been for these past few months, sketching and painting for galleries.
A few clothing stores had taken advantage of the clement weather and had decided to place some of their racks outside, on the sidewalk. I pointed to two middle-aged women fighting over a rather ugly dress. Sharon laughed. As she did so, her large eyes sparkled. If I had known that this could possibly have been be the last time that I would see her laugh, I would have frozen time.
Before I even had the time to join her in her hilarity, Sharon suddenly closed her mouth and her bright beam turned into a dull expression of worry. Women can be so frightening sometimes.
"Sharon, is something wrong?"
Yes, I had just raised the typical concerned boyfriend question: "Is something wrong?" Of course something was wrong. I felt incredibly stupid asking her that.
She looked distant. Her blue eyes were now fixed into nothingness. Our hands were still intertwined, but I could tell that she wanted to let go and perhaps even run away from me. After a few seconds that seemed like an eternity, Sharon finally looked up to my face and said this next sentence in a dry and barely audible way:
"Ben, we need to talk."
Those four last words made my heart sink into the deepest and darkest void, and the fact that they were preceded by my name only expanded my fear. My girlfriend was serious, very serious - too serious. But about what? What could Sharon possibly have had to tell me that was so excruciatingly dull? Was she pregnant? Had her father died? Had she lost her job at the travel agency?
All of these thoughts raced through my mind as Sharon tightened her grip around my hand and led me to a nearby bench. Now, it was I who felt like running away from her. Nevertheless, I sat with her and waited.
The fact that she might end our relationship had never occurred to me before. Of course, it seemed ridiculous, because things had been going so well between us. We had dated ever since our kiss at my first art show, almost two months ago. We never fought or argued, which was probably why I never expected her to break up with me so abruptly.
"I got promoted."
I almost flinched at the feint sound of her words. I was relieved to find out that this was only about a simple promotion. At that moment, I thought that Sharon had been so serious about it as a joke, and managed to pull off a full smile.
"But that's wonderful, Sharon! We should celebrate! Is there something you'd like to do tonight?"
She was not smiling. On the contrary, she looked more sunken than ever.
"No, you don't understand. I've been promoted to a travel agency in Boston, in the States, Ben! The company's opened a new branch there, they're moving some employees."
I was too lost for words. "When do you leave?" I asked weekly.
"Next week." There was an uncomfortable pause. The silence painfully made me reminisce the period that followed my breakup with Suzy, my first real breakup. I didn't want to suffer nights of insomnia again, yet I was quickly realizing that this would be inevitable. "I'm sorry Ben, I'm so sorry", she said almost pleadingly.
"If…if you loved me, you wouldn't…"
"Don't say that! You know I didn't have a choice! I took the job because I need it. They pay better over there. We can't be together anymore."
This couldn't be happening. Not again.
"Would you mind giving me a ride back?"
I swallowed sadly before accepting to drive Sharon to her flat. I don't really remember how it all happened, but I know that we didn't talk in the car. We didn't look at each other either. It felt as though my ears weren't functioning, as though I had gone mute. Even if Sharon had spoken, I wouldn't have heard her.
I stopped in front of the complex where she lived, and waited for her to come out of the car. Slowly, Sharon put a hand on my arm, which was still on the wheel, and laid a soft kiss on my cheek. It stung. I would rather have received another IKEA lamp in my face than have felt her lips on my skin for the very last time.
I watched as she made her way up the metallic stairs that led to her flat. The sound of her heels against the steps echoed in the empty street. I felt the tears swarming into my eyes like those twit shoppers into stores, but waited until Sharon was completely out of sight to release them.
I am still awake. Sharon is still gone.
Well, she hasn't left for the States yet, but I think she's made it quite clear that she doesn't want to see me again. What could I possibly do to make her changer her mind? She's already got it set on that bloody travel agency job.
I think I should call Sean. Yes, that seems like the best solution. It doesn't matter if it's three in the morning; we all know that best friends give the best advice when they're not quite awake.
"Mmm? Who is this?"
"It's Ben. I need your help, Sharon broke up with me."
"What time is it?"
"It doesn't matter. Look, Sharon got a better job in the States. She's leaving next week, and it doesn't look like there's a plan B for her. I'm not giving her up, Sean, not like this. She still loves me, I know it."
"And you want me to…?"
"I need advice."
"Huh. Well mate, if the girl won't follow you, than you follow her. If you really love her, then that shouldn't be a problem."
"Yea, Sean, except she's not exactly going to the nearest village. Her job is in bloody Boston, for Chrissake!"
No response. I hear a distant beeping sound: Sean has hung up.
I sit on my bed, my face buried in my sweaty palms. Maybe Sean was right about "following the girl". Out of selfishness, I hadn't even thought of going to Boston with Sharon. I know my girlfriend: she wouldn't have dared to expect me to come with her; it would have been too much of her to ask.
After all, I'm an artist. I can paint, draw or sketch anywhere in the world – whereas Sharon's job doesn't offer this freedom. And Boston would be a great opportunity to expose my pieces.
Yes, I will follow Sharon wherever she goes, because I love her and nothing should keep us apart.
I am the pilot to my own life. The actions I take affect my passengers, the people who surround me. It is up to me to make sure that the plane doesn't crash and that I don't lose any passengers, not to anyone else.
A week later. Flight London-Boston. 4:19pm.
Sharon is sitting in the seat next to me, fast asleep. Her head is on my shoulder. It amazes me how calm she can be at times. Her thin hands aren't clenched firmly to her armrest like mine. I've never been on an airplane before. It's one of those many things that I'd do for Sharon, and Sharon only.
I look out the porthole. All around us, clear skies.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed! Please review.