I jolted awake from my dream. My alarm clock was blaring and Ryder jolted awake soon after.
“Morning beautiful.” Ryder said, laughing at my bedhead.
“Shut up.” I threw my pillow at him playfully. “I better get ready. Help me pick out what to wear?”
“I’ll try, but after that whole chaffron incident, I’m pretty shaken up.” Ryer teased.
“Chevron.” I corrected.
I got up and Ryder followed. My parents were still asleep so we were quiet. We tiptoed to my room and I opened my small closet. Ryder looked inside and pulled out a swimsuit.
“Here!” He joked.
“Nice try.” I threw the swimsuit back in the closet.
I sorted through some clothes until I found a shirt that was white and had ‘Dream Big’ written in red on it. Then I went to my dresser and pulled out a pair of capris. I asked politely for Ryder to step out while I got dressed. He respected my request and waited for me to tell him it was okay to come back in.
I went into my bathroom next and looked for my straightener. I realized that I had packed it, and I didn’t feel like unpacking it. I decided that I would put in a french braid and hope for the best. The funny part was that I forgot a ponytail band, so I asked Ryder to hold the end of my braid while I searched for one.
“Being a girl seems tough.” Ryder announced.
I laughed, though it really was true.
I tried to decide on what shoes to wear. I could go with my plain black flats with white laces, but those were uncomfortable. I debated, then I felt bad because Ryder must’ve been bored out of his mind. I just picked out my black and white casual boat shoes and threw them on over a pair of no-show socks.
“Does this look good?” I turned to Ryder for approval.
“You always look good.” He replied sweetly.
“Thanks.” I said.
“No, I mean… thanks for everything. You’ve been so sweet, so helpful. I don’t know what I’ll do without you.” I didn’t realize how true this was until the words were out in the air.
“I don’t know what I’ll do either. As long as you’re happy though, I will be too.” After he said that, I stood on my tiptoes and kissed his cheek gently.
“We still have about ten minutes til we have to leave. I’m gonna say bye to my parents okay?” I looked at the wall clock.
“Okay, I’ll wait in the kitchen.”
“Oh, I’m so stupid! Have anything you want.” I felt rude for not thinking of breakfast.
He nodded and I headed to my parent’s bedroom. I knocked before entering. My dad came and opened the door. He flicked the light on and I went on in. My mom got out of bed and came to me too. I knew that at most I’d have to spend a month without them. If I didn’t get a part, I’d go back home. If I did get a part though, they would fly my parents to New York and pay for our house. Meg’s parents and mine both agreed that we could stay in the same house. I looked forward to that. If we both got parts however.
I hugged my mom and dad and they both kissed the top of my head. It filled me with so much joy to know that they cared. My dad was already dressed, probably to head to work. My mom was still in her pajamas though.
“I’m so proud of you kiddo.” My dad stated kindly.
“I love you sweetie.” My mom stated as well.
“I love you both.” I replied, hugging them tighter.
My dad looked at the clock. “Oh! I’m gonna be late, and so are you.”
“I’m about ready to head out. Ryder will drive me.” I explained.
“Okay. I love you so much!” My mom kissed me once more.
“I love you too.” I said in short, though I really meant it.
My dad left, and I went into the kitchen. There was Ryder with two pieces of toast out.
“Do you want jelly? Peanut butter?” Ryder asked.
“Peanut butter please.” I walked closer to him, admiring how thoughtful he was.
Ryder spread peanut butter on one piece and jelly on the other. He handed me the peanut butter one and took a huge bite out of the jelly one. I laughed at what a coincidence it was. I liked peanut butter, and he liked jelly. We went together so well.
“We better go!” I announced, finishing the last of my toast.
“Okay, come on.”
We rushed out to Ryder’s car. I threw my suitcase and electronics bag into the back seat and then hopped into the passenger’s side. I buckled my seatbelt as Ryder started the car. I seriously was hoping I wouldn’t miss my flight. We drove in silence as if Ryder knew that was how I wanted it. We reached the airport before I even knew it. Time was flying by so fast. We sped out of the car and into the airport. We searched rapidly, trying to find the spot where we all had planned to meet up at. Finally, we found the starbucks and saw Jayde, Zander, Meg, and Trish all waiting.
“I thought you would flake!” Meg ran up to me, clearly surprised.
“Never!” I stated with a smile.
“You guys better hurry!” Jayde said, implying that it was time for our goodbyes.
“I’m going to miss you Jayde!” I hugged her tightly.
“You too!” She said as a little tear drizzled down her cheek.
“Don’t cry. We’ll be back before you know it!” Meg assured.
“Okay, I won’t hold you back. Have fun okay?” Jayde released Meg.
“Of course.” I replied.
Jayde waved goodbye and walked out. I watched her hair bounce against her her back as she exited the airport. I saw her run to her car, probably in tears. I wished I could chase after her, but I knew I couldn’t. I didn’t want to leave like this, but there would be texts and emails and posts. We would stay in touch, that I was sure of.
“We’ll wait at the gift shop while you two… um… say goodbye.” Trish said impishly.
I nodded. They went two shops over to the gift shop and waited there. I looked back to Ryder. This was the last I’d see of him for at least a month. If I got part, I don’t even know if I’d get to see him ever again. The thought brings tears to my eyes. The tears are wiped away by a firm, yet gentle, hand.
“Please don’t cry.” Ryder says, wiping my tears.
“I’m going to miss you so much.” I squeeze him tightly.
“I will miss you too, but you can’t cry okay? You’re going to go on that plane with a smile and you’re going to get a part in that movie.” Ryder encourages.
“I don’t want a part, I want you.” More tears roll down my cheek to the corners of my mouth.
“I will always love you. You know that. If you love me too, you’ll go.”
Ryder’s words stunn me. This was coming the guy that said he would always wait for me. That he didn’t want to move on. Now he wanted me to go? I knew why, but it was such a change I could hardly believe it.
“I love you.” My voice was a whisper.
“I love you too Bridgett. I always will.”
Ryder’s grip is strong. I never want him to let go. I want to stay in his arms forever and I want him to hold me forever. I look once more into his glittering eyes. Possibly the last I will ever see of them. I look at his hair. Perfectly messy and undone. I look at his strong arms and think that he could move a mountain with them. I hold the image of his face in my mind, refusing to let it slip. I look at his lips, which are barely an inch away from mine. Then they are only a centimeter away. Then there is no gap between us. The only thing I feel is the warm touch of his lips against mine.
“And to think, you just came back. Now I’m the one leaving.” I say in a hushed tone.
“You’ll always be here.” Ryder places my hand on his heart.
I smile. I don’t say another word. Neither does he. We are both speechless. He waves goodbye, and I do the same. I go over to the gift shop and tell myself that I won’t cry. Ryder told me not to cry, and I was determined to carry out his wish. I would do anything for Ryder, and I knew he would do anything for me.
I got on the plane and it took off. All my worries left behind. Ryder was miles and miles away. Our distance seemed to be growing farther apart, but it still felt as if we were so close. I knew I would always have a special place for Ryder in my heart, but I had to open my heart up, just a sliver, and let someone else in. That’s what Ryder would want me to do. And I would do anything for Ryder.