I awoke with the sun, the room flooded in a soft light. Phil had his arm draped around my waist as he breathed deeply. Chris and PJ were sound asleep, and from across the room Phil's bed lay untouched. I shifted a little, my eyes examining Phil. They trailed to where his pajama shirt had been pulled up, his hips exposed. I smiled a little and pulled my pocket watch off the side table, the light glinting off of it and forming a spot on the opposite wall. Half eight. Tavy was letting us sleep in, which she never does, and that was just terrifying. Phil had to go to the train station at noon, but I wanted more time with him.
I pressed my lips to his forehead. His whole body shifted before he blinked into the bright room and looked at me. The corners of his lips turned up.
"Morning Dan." He barely murmured, his eyes sparkling.
"Hi bear." I whispered.
"It is later than normal?" He sat up and I moved over a little, "it's too bright."
"Yeah… we've only got a few hours-" He cut me off with a kiss. It was unexpected, but instead of pulling back I kissed him harder.
His hands wrapped around my waist and I moved closer, my hands moving behind his neck. He smiled into the kiss before pulling back a centimeter.
"I love you." Phil sighed sleepily. My heart fluttered.
"You're leaving today." I frowned.
"I don't want to think about it."
"Okay. Then let's not." I murmured, pressing my lips to his before sliding out of bed and taking his hand, half-dragging a very sleepy Phil to the showers.
We walked back at the same time twenty minutes later, holding hands with towels around our waists.
"So, what do we do for three hours?" Phil collapsed on his own bed, waking PJ up.
"What would you like to do?" I pulled on a shirt. Phil did the same.
"We could go for a walk down to the ice cream shop." Chris yawned from his bed, jumping into the conversation.
"This early?" PJ spoke up.
"Ice cream for breakfast and you're complaining?" I chuckled, sliding on trousers before going and sitting on the end of Phil's bed. Phil finished dressing and joined me.
"Boys?" Tavy's voice sounded from outside the door, "Are you all up?"
"Yes mam." We all replied in unison. She creaked the door open and walked in, her eyes immediately darting to Phil.
"How are you all doing?" She said, the smile on her face not quite big enough.
"Okay." Phil murmured, sitting up, "Tavy can we go to the ice cream shop?"
"Don't you want a proper breakfast?" Tavy's voice normalized, making all of us calmer.
"I'm not really hungry." Phil murmured.
"Well I suppose as a treat that'd be alright. Chris, PJ, get ready boys and make sure you all have coats." Tavy left and he room swayed with silence for a minute, begging somebody to speak.
"Cool." PJ finally said, getting out of bed and walking out of the room.
"I guess you should pack too." I feigned a smile.
"Yeah." Phil looked over at me with sad eyes, "It shouldn't be that hard."
By the time Chris and PJ were ready Phil's bed had been stripped and all his clothes were packed away into his trunk. A few things littered the bedside table, but we ignored them, focusing on the big things.
"Come on guys, you have ages for that." Chris urged us. We agreed and followed our friends out, grabbing our jackets off the coat rack as we did so. I accidentally grabbed Phil's but didn't bother swapping with him.
The walk was short and silent, one of my hands tucked in my right pocket, and the other holding Phil's.
We'd gone to Zina's ice cream shop a load of times, but this time it was deserted. The small silver bell tied to the door jingled as we entered, the lone cashier looking surprised. As they sold coffee and tea too they were open this early, but not many people came in.
"Welcome to Zina's!" She smiled, recognizing the four of us.
"Hi. We've decided ice cream for breakfast seemed appropriate today. Phil's leaving for America." Chris nodded towards Phil.
"How exciting! I've always wanted to go to America." She beamed, unaware of how it was tearing me apart.
"Yeah, we'll miss him." PJ nudged him.
"So what will you have today?" The lady spoke, pushing the ice cream menu a bit forward.
I got chocolate mix, Phil got vanilla, PJ got maple pecan, and Chris got the 'green one'. Chris and Peej sat at their own table, so Phil and I sat at the table behind them. I grimaced at my ice cream.
"Are you okay?" Phil asked quietly.
"I'm okay. I just don't want you to go." I sighed.
"I don't want to leave you, but America sounds so exciting." I noticed a hint of something in his voice and suddenly guilt bled through me. I'd been thinking of this as a bad thing, but he was excited.
"I'm sure it will be amazing." I paused, "tell me how New York is while you're there."
"I'm sure it's as amazing as it seems in all the books…" Phil loved books, "Newsies and stray dogs and actors roaming the streets and-" He stopped, wonder sparkling in his eyes, "I'm sorry."
"No, I love that you're excited." I lied, "You should be. You've been dying for this forever."
"You kind of got in the way, you know, love wasn't something I expected."
"I didn't either. And now you're leaving." As I said the words I lost my composure, my entire face crumpling.
"Dan- Dan please it's going to be okay." He whispered, reaching out a hand and running it over the curve of my face, I tried to fight the tears.
"I'm sorry." I mumbled, "I'm just going to miss you."
"I'll miss you too."
We left the ice cream shop about half an hour later, the sky a dark shade of grey as we returned.
At ten o'clock it began to rain. Despite the cold and the wet I went to the back door and just stood there, staring at the sky. I didn't move when I felt arms wrap around me.
"Are you okay?" He whispered.
"You're going to keep asking that, and they answer isn't going to change."
"Care to dance?" I said, the sound of rain peaceful.
"I've never danced in the rain."
"Now's your chance then." I grabbed his hand and pulled him outside, laughing as he tried not to step in puddles. Our fluffy jackets kept us warm, but as we twirled around ungracefully our hair accumulated water. I laughed and kissed a raindrop off his nose.
He was wearing a long black coat with a cute little collar that I adored, and I was stuck with this brown coat I'd had for years. He didn't mind.
We spent half an hour outside, making the gloomy sky so beautiful in our eyes. The rain poured but we laughed, hand in hand. The courtyard became our ballroom, our rainy day wear our tuxedos. I often imagined spending the rest of my life with him, waking up next to him every day. I didn't want to believe that was no longer an option. I never wanted to believe that. Maybe it still was, after all.
I couldn't tell what was going on in his mind behind those big blue eyes, but I was sure it was excitement and fear. Mine just held sadness.
Yesterday seemed to hold more of a melancholy feel, today simply executing what we had been waiting for all along. I only had two hours left with him, which made every inch of me ache. I pushed it to the back of my mind.
When we walked in we were shivering, our clothing soaked and our faces red. Tavy put her hands on her hips and gave us a disapproving look, a rag in her hand. She told us to go change and that Chris and PJ went to go drop off some mail, giving us time alone. We murmured our apology and grabbed hands, darting up the stairs. We laughed as we took our clothes off each other, somehow ending with both of us in our boxers and I pressed against the wall, his lips on mine.
"I love you." I said between kisses.
"I love you too." He always replied.
We didn't speak for another few minutes, not until we heard the door downstairs open. We rushed to pull on dry clothes, giggling when our friends returned and saw our messed up hair and blushing faces.
"Nope!" Chris grinned, cutting Phil off when the latter opened his mouth to explain.
"Thanks for leaving us alone." I smirked, playing it off as having done more than we actually had.
"We more meant it as time for goodbye, but whatever." PJ chuckled. My heart flip flopped. Goodbye.
"Well we've still got two hours."
"Uh love it's eleven already. We've got to leave soon." Phil corrected. I couldn't breathe for a minute.
"Are you guys coming to the train station with us?" I turned towards Chris.
"Of course. I'm not ready to say goodbye either." Chris nodded.
"Oh good." My tone was unnaturally high, hiding the pain of the inescapable goodbye.
I didn't leave Phil's side as he gathered up the rest of his things. I even felt too far just a bed length's away as I helped him strip the bed.
Tavy came up to double check he had all of his stuff and Mr. Darby helped us load it into the car. Phil lingered in the room.
"Are you ready to go?" I asked, grabbing his hand.
He hesitated, looking around once more.
"It's like the day I arrived." He said, "And nothing's changed."
He was wrong of course. He'd changed this room forever, and everyone living in it.
"Goodbye old room. I enjoyed my stay very much." He finished, giving the walls one last nod before walking out with me. I didn't miss the last glace he stole as we descended the stairs.
The ride there was interesting. Mr. Darby and Tavy in the front, laughing about the good times they had had with Phil there, talking about the weather. PJ and Chris silently sat beside Phil and I, talking through their eyes. Phil snuggled into me as I pet his hair softly. Neither of us moved until we reached the train station.
"All out boys!" Tavy commanded. We obeyed, walking silently with Phil and me carrying baggage. Mr. Darby bid Phil goodbye and stayed in the car.
"So you'll be on this train for four hours, and then on the next train for two, and then you'll board the boat. After 16 hours you'll be in America!" Tavy explained, handing Phil a little pouch with tickets and a timetable. He thanked her as we found a nice bench near the track and set his stuff down.
"Alright, we have ten minutes." Phil checked his watch. I shuddered.
"It was fun having you Phil." Chris smiled and hugged him.
We chuckled about the nights we stayed up and the days we spent together. I fiddled with my necklace he gave me and tried not to cry.
Minutes passed like hours, each tick of the watch in my pocket bringing us closer to the inevitable.
"I'll write to you all, tell you about America." Phil was saying. I hung to every word.
"That sounds amazing. I bet it's the best place in the world." PJ mused, his heart of a traveler jealous.
"And don't forget us, okay?" Chris added in.
"I couldn't ever forget my best friends!" Phil exclaimed.
"And we could never forget you." I said, and the other two agreed quickly.
Suddenly a faint whistle blew in the distance, signaling the train. My heart dropped like fire and my heart sped up, begging the train to never arrive.
"That sounds like the train, say goodbye boys." Tavy's voice cracked a little as she skipped forward and hugged Phil tightly, "Stay safe Philip, and have a happy holiday, alright?" She pulled away, blotting her eyes with a handkerchief.
"Thank you Ms. Tavy. For everything." He smiled before turning to Chris and PJ.
"Goodbye guys. You were the best friends I could have asked for." He smiled but his voice was a little choked up. They both said goodbye with sad smiles. PJ took a step forward and hugged Phil, the first time I'd seen him hug anyone other than Chris willingly. When they parted even Peej's eyes were glistening. Finally Phil turned to me.
"Dan," He paused, "I love you. A lot. And this doesn't happen much in a lifetime, I know that. So I want to promise you something, but you've got to promise it too." His words were a bit rushed.
"Okay." My heart raced.
"Dan, when we turn eighteen I'm coming back for you." He was in tears, but somehow his words were as eloquent as ever. "I want you to promise to wait for me, if you want to."
I couldn't hear myself think, I couldn't even breathe. The sound of the train approaching as its wheels squealed to a stop echoed through the station.
"Phil Lester, I would wait until eternity for you." I heard my voice crack.
"Then one last thing, Dan Howell, will you marry me?"