I don't have time to be upset that he's gone, because in his place, I find a folded piece of white linen stationery from the resort.
I couldn't handle another goodbye. I hope you'll forgive me.
I want to remember you exactly as you are now – perfect and naked and smiling in your sleep.
I hope I've given you an ounce of the happiness you've given me.
I meant what I said. Goodbye is not forever.
Call me when you get home tonight.
The airport is always ridiculous.
After getting through security, I find myself sitting in the first class lounge. I suppose that I really am a valuable asset to the company. Three paid weeks away that changed my life and flying first class roundtrip.
I make a mental note to thank asshole number one and two.
I make another mental note to stop calling them asshole number one and two.
I pull the note Edward left me out of my purse. I read it twenty times and try – unsuccessfully – not to cry.
Sadness is better than anger.
I don't even need to meditate to figure that out.
I think about the short amount of time that I've just spent with him. And as much as I hated the last year of my life, I know that I would never have met him if I hadn't gone through the entire terrible year.
Everything happens for a reason.
I roll my eyes.
Maybe I should start doing yoga.
A little while later they start boarding first class seats. I collect my things and board the plane. I'm sitting three rows back, and I'm thankful I have a window seat. I settle in and order a drink. I choose hot green tea instead of a cocktail. It seems appropriate.
By the time I finish my tea, they are almost finished boarding coach. I want to read his note again, but I decide to close my eyes instead. The flight to New York is six hours, and I know that I'll be jet-lagged.
I must doze off at some point because I'm dreaming of him. Not so much of him, but rather the energy I feel when I'm with him. It covers me all over just like always. I feel it all over my skin…everywhere.
I swear to god, I even hear his voice.
Velvet and fucking sunshine.
Saying my name – just my name – over and over again.
My eyes open when I feel his touch. I want to be pissed that I've woken up from my dream, but then I see him. And maybe I'm still dreaming after all.
He's here…standing right in front of me.
"Is this seat taken?"
He grins, and my dream is feeling a lot like reality. But I don't know how the fuck that's possible. I mean, it can't be possible.
His laugh is warm and familiar. And it's real. It's definitely, definitely fucking real.
"I asked you if this seat was taken." He grins.
"Am I dreaming?" I ask. "Because I swear to god, if I'm dreaming, I'm gonna be really fucking pissed."
He sits down in the seat right next to mine. He takes my hand, he holds it, and our fingers twist together.
"I'm pretty sure you just spent the last three weeks learning how to control your anger," he says, bringing my hand up to his lips. "I don't think getting pissed is the right way to go in this situation."
"What are you…how did you…" My voice is about three octaves higher than normal.
Tears fill my eyes. I can't even help it.
"How did you even get here?"
His free hand reaches out to brush away my tears.
"Well, I bought a ticket home a couple weeks ago," he says. "And this was the flight they put me on."
"Wait. What? You...you live in New York?"
I can't begin to wrap my mind around this.
"Well, not Manhattan proper," he says, "but Brooklyn's pretty fucking close."
I kiss him because I have to, because none of this can be real. Even though it is, even though I'm holding him and touching him…and it really fucking is.
"I can't believe you're here with me," I say through my stupid tears that won't stop falling. "I don't even know how any of this is possible."
"I told you, Bella," he says, kissing me softly one more time. "Everything happens for a reason."
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Thank you to laura1025 and Jaimearkin for editing and pre-reading.
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And lastly, thanks to all of you for reading! I adore you. Every single one of you!