If you leave, don't leave now, please don't take my heart away.

The model home was completely vacant and isolated. It seemed like a forever ago, and just yesterday that they had been at that very site. That night, when Marissa had bolted and shed tears over a mere stranger and Ryan had burnt the entire building down. It was the start of an endless cycle of tears, heart wrenching pain and the colour of some new laughs and beauties. Summer had left, it was too hard for her to keep saying goodbye to Marissa, and Seth had gone with her. After all, she'd only leave for a year right? 365 days. It wouldn't be too bad. That was what Summer tried to convince herself anyway. Ryan, too. Ryan made his way from the pool and walked through the glass doors and into, what could be, a large rumpus. Marissa stood there. Her feet planted on the ground. She shed a tear as she stared at the front door. For a second, it felt like those 3 years ago, before everything had happened, and for just that one moment, she almost wanted to stay. Ryan bit his lip and didn't say a word. He patted her bare shoulder gently and just the very touch of his pulse caused Marissa's being to tremble. Suddenly, her entire body jolted and she erupted in tears.

"It's so weird talking about that night," Ryan paused. He stood at least an arms distance away from her. He wanted to be near her, but in a few short hours she'd be gone. Even standing, one step closer to her would be too hard for Ryan to bear, and maybe then, he wouldn't be able to let her go and let her leave, "Last time we were here I was leaving, and now you are."

Marissa took a deep breath. Although the last 3 years had been a blur, that night lay crystal clear in her mind. It was Summer's birthday. Seth was rolling around on his skateboard. She was sipping coke and eating burgers with Ryan at the edge of the empty pool. The taste still lingered now. "That night, did you ever think we'd end up together?"

Ryan leaned back, almost startled at her question. Sure it had been almost two months since they had broken up, but just her very tone made it seem like… it was over for good. He stood there, almost shaking. His hair was wet and the Newport wind blew into the empty house. The house was empty. It was just built with bricks and water, but still, Ryan felt completely comfortable and secure. He looked deep into her blue irises and wiped a tear away from her the crease of her eye but immediately after, let his hand go. He needed to kiss her one last time before she left, but it was too difficult. Ryan gulped and turned away, "You never know."

"I'm sorry," she smiled, "For all the craziness."

"I wouldn't have done it any differently," Ryan smiled back, "Except maybe Oliver." Marissa let out a giggle like a four year old. She hugged herself tight, still cold and in her bathing suit. She looked over at Ryan who was clothed in his warm leather jacket, but didn't say a word.

Ryan hesitated for a moment, "We should go," he said, without checking his watch. Standing there, just the two of them… it was too much. After all, they were never just friends.

They were trapped in a city of cars. It seemed like everyone was on their way to the airport at this time of year. Ryan cranked up the music and leaned back against the leather seat. He stared ahead at the road full of angry drivers who were honking and swearing.

"Great," he muttered, "Marissa you're flight is in an hour and you still need to get your luggage in, your boarding pass checked…" he tapped the steering wheel nervously. He needed to convince himself that it was the right decision for Marissa to be leaving. The right decision for him to leave her. But really, it wasn't in his decision to make.

"Ryan…" Marissa hesitated in the passenger seat beside him. His head turned towards her for a second. The music on the radio reached a sharp crescendo before the chorus. Death Cab for a Cutie.

"Seth should be here," Ryan laughed. His eyes fell back on the traffic ahead. The lanes began to merge and he switched over to the right lane and the cars began to move. "Finally," he muttered.

He parked the car and helped her load her luggage onto the trolley. Share bear was sitting on the very top of the pile next to her Chanel bag.

"This is it," he whispered. Marissa tried to hold back tears as she leaned forward and wrapped her arms around him.

"I'll see you in a year, no big deal right?" she feigned a smile. She leaned closer into his back and wiped her tears, afraid she would drench his jacket.

"A year," Ryan muttered. He felt the uncontrollable urge to tell her he loved her but made a valiant effort to stop himself. What if his words made her stay? He couldn't do that to her. He couldn't hold her back. Marissa swallowed hard and released herself from the hug. Ryan shook his head. Although he had hesitated, he knew his words couldn't make that much of an impact, who did he think he was anyway? A monotone voice of a wrinkly old woman blasted through the speakers, "All passengers for flight C2350 to the Greek Islands…"

His mouth opened. "I…"

Marissa patted him gently on the shoulder. "Ryan, you don't have to say anything," she smiled and pulled her luggage towards the check in, "See you next year, okay?" She lined up near the other passengers and shot him a wave.

"I love you," he finally spat the words out.

"I know," she whispered.

Ryan made his way back towards his car. He threw the keys into the ignition and drove towards the highway, or rather struggled. He was trapped between a crowd of angry drivers yet again. It was expected, after all it was 11pm on a Friday night. He tapped his fingers across the steering wheel and cranked up the music. It was going to be a long drive home alone.

Marissa held her boarding pass up to the flight attendant at the check in. She looked around at the other passengers who would be boarding the flight. If Summer were here with her she'd be busy checking out all the hot Greek guys who were ready to return home. "And If you end up with some hot Greek shipping heir, I'm so your maid of honour," her little voice echoed through Marissa's ears.

He pulled the hand brake and searched his car for a CD. Any CD to listen too. Even Seth's silly old punk rock would suffice. There was nothing good on the radio and he had been trapped on the high way for over twenty minutes. Usually Ryan didn't mind being alone, but that night he had called Seth and Summer, both who hadn't answered their phones. God knows what they were doing. His hand struggled towards the back seat and he pulled out a CD case. The Model Home Mix. He slid it into the CD drive. Marissa had burnt a new track. The familiar four chords of Forever Young started to play.

"Let's dance in style… let's dance for a while."

Ryan followed Seth reluctantly into the cotillion hall.

"Dancing, you didn't tell me there was dancing… I really don't dance."

Marissa cranked up the Rooney sound track. Ryan put on his shoes ready to leave for the concert. She planted her lips softly against his.

"There won't be dancing right?"

"I'll dance, you can watch."

"Works for me," he smiled and yanked her towards him by the t-shirt, covering her mouth with his in a hungry kiss.

"Forever young… I want to be forever young."

Marissa sat in the gold lounge. She sipped a glass of champagne and skimmed through her copy of Italian vogue. She looked up at the clock. There were twenty minutes until she had to board the plane.

His eyes fell upon the massive population of cars on the highway. He hadn't released the hand break for a good ten minutes. None of the cars were moving, it was the worst gridlock ever. He paused the song. Grabbed his keys and his wallet. The airport was still insight, and with that, Ryan bolted past the cars, on the sidewalk, and back towards the glass building

She smiled and cast her thoughts back to that very day; graduation, her three best friends, jumping and swimming around at the pool. Her eyes cast towards the exit. A middle aged couple kissed. The tall man entered the lounge with his daughter and waved his wife goodbye. Marissa's eyes fell upon the clock, back at the exit and then towards the boarding gate. She couldn't leave.

"I love you."

"I know."

He was the love of her life. If she left, he would still be back waiting in 365 days, right?


Ryan sprinted through the automatic doors. He stared up at the callboard. His eyes searched frantically for a plane to the Greek Islands. He had no idea which plane it was… C2350… C 2349… C3910… He panted heavily, almost stumbling to the ground.

"RYAN!" Marissa cried. Her Chanel handbag struggled to fit under her arm as Share Bear's head was popping out the top.

"Marissa, what… what?" he muttered. Ryan wasn't sure if he was hallucinating. "I… I… don't leave."

It wasn't often that Marissa had to quieten him down. After all, Ryan wasn't a man of many words.

"Shh," she whispered.