CHAPTER FIFTY SEVEN
A Thousand Miles Over
"Where in the bloody hell am I?" I mutter as I stand under a large tree, watching as the storm now diminished to a drizzle. My entire body was soaked, my pack included. So when I took out the directions and map from my pocket, I was relieved to see it was all still readable.
I twist my hair to let out the excess water and almost immediately sneeze as a sudden wind passes by, shaking the tree and bringing a bit of a chill.
I was currently heading in the right direction, and it looked like I was about a few minutes away. Could it be I've finally made it?
As I look up and around, I notice that the night was beginning to look clearer. The drizzle subsiding almost entirely. And that's when I see it.
Past the hill, past the dark greenery, there was a row of houses. None different from the others. Except in one, there was still a light on. That had to be the one. He always talked about his house. About how large and lavish it was, how it stuck out from all the others.
"It looks the same, but it doesn't." He would always say.
And I would furrow my brow and retort, "That doesn't even make any sense."
I never thought I would see it, I never thought I would know instinctively which one it was. But I do. I do.
I thought he was being ridiculous, but he wasn't. It did look the same, but at the same time it was so different. There was a slight slant to it, a certain...a certain something that radiated from it. I didn't even know what to call it. And as it is, I realize I'm starting to sound mad.
I smile to myself as I stuff the directions back in my pocket, putting my pack back on and retying my shoe laces. As much as my chest may have burned from the run, as much as my legs may have ached from the long distance, I felt energy coursing through my body. Nothing could stop me now.
As I started to run, the dampness of the night started to set in, but at the same time the stars started to come out. It was as if they were illuminating the road to his home. Their light set down upon me, kissing me as it did that very first night I had ran into him. The same feeling radiated from this night.
Excitement, hope, I was on the edge of something incredible.
As I run, all I keep hearing is his bloody voice. It fucking taunts me, propelling me forward at an inhuman speed.
The same conversation. It had been something that I had done constantly, replay his voice in my mind. Replay the same conversation in my foolish little brain. It was the only thing that had kept me sane all that time.
And suddenly I'm fifteen again, on the edge of tears, hanging on to a childish pink telephone. And his voice was rough, not at all as I had remembered it, his Irish accent was stronger than ever, his voice still able to send chills through my body. But then again, it had been three years since I had talked to him. I was fifteen, I was stubborn, and I refused to talk to the person who had abandoned me so ruthlessly. I had given up and called him then, on the day he was marrying someone he barely even knew, because I thought it would be the last time. I thought that by him choosing someone else he was letting go of me.
I only called him to say goodbye.
"Princess, perhaps you don't want to talk to me, that's fine. I understand." His voice sounds tired, "But baby, I hope that one day you'll understand why I did all of this."
But I couldn't do it. I couldn't say goodbye. I continued my silence and heard him sigh quietly.
"I love you Emma, I promise you, one day I'll make it up to you. One day I'll be back for you. But you know I'm here for you, love. I always will be."
I tried to hold my tears back, and simply uttered "Always?"
I could hear his smile through the phone, and perhaps his own heart splitting in two, "Always, princess. Always."
Always, princess. Always.
I breathe deep, my chest burning, my heart pumping. I was getting closer. So much closer.
But memories flash, my mind swimming with his voice and touch.
"What world would allow us to be together?"
We didn't know if the world ever would, we didn't know if we could ever be together did we?
"There is no world that would. We just have to watch the one around us burn."
And it did, it burned to the bloody ground. Everything shaken to its very core.
"Good thing we're fireproof."
Fireproof, we were bloody fireproof.
My legs burn as I turn the last corner, my chest heaving.
I could see it. I could see the house, the slightly different house with the light still on. I could see a figure through the window. I could see him.
"We're fucked aren't we?" His voice replays in my mind, that cocky, knowing tone.
We were fucked in every single way. With love, you are always fucked. No, it's not necessarily a bad thing. But it isn't a good thing either. My existence now solely depends on him, if he were to disappear, if he were to have left without a trace, I would not be living. I would be merely a shell. I would be nothing.
This person that I have become, this person that I have evolved into, is thanks to him. Thanks to his love. He has made me into the best possible version of myself. He is a part of me. How could I possibly, ever, live without him?
Forget all the stereotypical bullshit that a man does not make a woman. I am not saying that. I am saying that love does. Love changes you, it changes the type of person you are, the type of things you do, the way that you act. It changes everything. Everything.
I sprint the last few feet, pulling the key hastily out of my pocket and jamming it into the keyhole. Shakily, I manage to get it in, my hands pushing the door open.
As soon as I step in, I drop my pack on his wooden floor. Looking around in astonishment at the lavish house. I breathe heavily, adrenaline coursing through my veins as I try to look for him.
The light? Where had it come from? Was it upstairs?
I take a deep breath, suddenly conscious that he could very much be sleeping and I could potentially scare the shit out of him.
One step at a time I go up, my eyes adjusting to the darkness of the hallway. But at the end of it, there was that light. I walk towards it, my heart rate increasing.
As I touch his door, my hands shaking as I push it open, I see him.
I see him.
He's asleep upon his bed, shirtless, hair tousled, his tablet next to him. I smile to myself as I walk across the room, take his tablet and place it on his dresser, take off my damp clothes, and finally turn off the lights.
I get into his bed, under the covers, throwing them over him as well. I don't allow myself to touch him just yet, but as I am contemplating it, he shifts slightly in his sleep, his eyes opening slowly only to see me. They widen immediately, but quickly recede.
He doesn't panic, he doesn't scream.
He simply envelopes me in his warm embrace and says, "That was quick. Quite a trip I imagine?"
"For you." I pause and kiss his lips, wrapping my own arms around him, "I would run a thousand fucking miles over."