Even though a day had passed since, Sara still got tingly at the sight of it. In fact, she could hardly leave her office yesterday and barely sleep last night, somehow worried that it was all just a dream. That yesterday never happened and that Rapheal's 'Saint George and the Dragon' was not in fact in her office at the time. This morning she woke up too early and skipped her coffee and bagel ritual just so she could get to her office that much sooner.
But, here she was, standing in front of the beautiful painting, still feeling tingly. It was not just the art that had caused her good mood, it was the history behind it: The painting had been around for over half a century and of all people in the world she was lucky to be part of what can only be a rich history.
Another half century later, people would talk about the infamous con man who's true identity was to that day never discovered. About how he stole the painting as an act of love. About how there was another woman determined to recover the painting and return it to their rightful owners. They would speak of how the con man and the bounty hunter had been enemies for years because of a painting. And how it was that same painting that had abled them to grow closer and eventually become lovers.
This painting had been hovering this world for 506 years and Sara was lucky enough to be involved in the last six years of it's existence. The contentment she felt was written all over her face and the smile it caused was almost irremovable.
It was still early and there was almost no one in the office. Sara knew she had to go and get her breakfast, or at least her much needed dose of caffeine, to get through the day. She took one last look at the painting, straightened her skirt and turned to walk over to her desk to grab her purse.
She was halfway to the door when she saw him flying out of the elevator and running towards her office. Within seconds he slammed the door open and was standing in front of her, breathless, gasping for air. He looked tired, but not the kind that was caused by sleep deprivation, she's never seen him look so… vulnerable. Hurt, even.
"Neal, what's-" she started to ask but was soon cut off.
"Good, you're here," he panted, "I went by your place and no one was there."
"Neal? What's going on? What, did the board make a decision?"
"Come with me?"
"No, I mean, run away with me?"
"What? What are you talking about? You can't run away just cause they decided not to commute your sentence, you've only got two more years left!"
Neal had already started shaking his head before Sara even finished her sentence, but as he was still trying to recover his breathing, he couldn't stop her.
"It's not that. It's Kramer."
"Not again! Does that guy never stop?" Sara made no effort to hide the annoyance towards the man in her voice.
"No. This morning I was confident, I was gonna say what I had to say to the board. I had made up my mind, commutation or not, I was staying. But as I was approaching the building I saw Kramer. He had Marshalls with him and he was talking to Peter. Peter spotted me and told me to run."
"Wait, what? Peter? He told you to run?"
"Not exactly, it was more of a look."
Sara raised her eyebrow: "A look?" she asked skeptically.
"A signal. Look, I don't have time to explain, it's only a matter of minutes before they find me. I have to go, now," he emphasized, he then took a moment to try and read her mood. He had to take a shot if he wanted her to run with him.
"Come with me."
She couldn't put her finger on it, but there was something about seeing Neal this way that caused strange emotions to bloom out of the pit of her stomach. She's never seen him this vulnerable, honest…unlayered. It caught her off guard.
"Elizabeth once told me that there is a difference between loving someone and loving the idea of them. At the time, I didn't understand. And then you told me that I'm living a daydream. It has taken almost four years in prison, two years on a leash and a commutation hearing for me to realize that you two were right. I have been living a dream. I don't wanna do that anymore. I want to live a life. And I know it's a lot to ask, but I'd like you in that life."
Though confusion still clouded most of her mind, the swelling of her heart had forced room for sympathy and maybe even affection. Sara thought she'd known... 'love' - if you will, but this was different. It was a strong urge to comfort the man in front of her who was so obviously hurt and conflicted. It was an urge almost too strong to fight, but as seconds ticked away, reason came to her and she remembered her vow to never make decisions based on emotions.
She let out a shaky breath, "Neal, I have a life. And I'm living it. Here."
"So, that's a no?"
Through a haze, Sara read the hurt in his eyes and the betrayal on his face, and that's when she realized that tears had been forming in her eyes. She didn't trust her voice to speak so she confirmed his words with a slight shake of her head.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye then. For good."
Sara let go of a breath that weighed heavy on her, placed her hand on his cheek and leaned in closer. It was when she kissed him briefly that she tasted the salt of her tears.
He gave a short nod, teeth clenched and jaw tight, and then turned around, causing Sara's hand to fall back to her side. The door closes and she watches him leave through her office window. Maybe for good.
Please, pleeassee review!
And should I continue or not?