Challenge prompt from https://authorsbmazing.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/finish-it-6/
She was about to board the plane, close to tears and confused. He had brought her to the airport and the goodbye was not easy. They were only friends, but it felt like so much more. She knew what she felt for him but she also knew it would not be possible. He had only just lost his wife 10 months ago and was still grieving. Although there was some kind of chemistry between them, it could just not be. Probably she made it all up. But what if there was more? What if there was love? Would it be possible? She would never find out if she would set foot on the plane which was due to take her back to the other side of the planet.
She turned around, hoping to see him still there waiting for a final wave and still tempted to abandon her journey and walk back toward him, make up some excuse for not leaving, some reason she couldn’t go back home, anything! There was no sign of him, he’d gone. She overfilled with regret for hesitating so long and could hold back the slow trickle of tears no longer as she boarded the plane reluctantly, knowing she had no choice but to leave and return home.
As Paul reached his car in the airport parking lot, he spotted something on the passenger seat. He’d not noticed it before leaving the car to walk Jessica in to the airport, but then he wouldn’t have, he’d been unloading her luggage from the boot as she was getting out of the car. He’d sensed her reluctance about leaving, there’d been an awkwardness between them those last two days as she prepared for her return journey home. He looked at the gift-box on the seat, then spotted Jessica’s bracelet – it looked deliberately placed rather than fallen. He recognised it as the one he and his late wife had bought and sent in the post for Jessica’s fortieth birthday. He sighed, taking his mobile phone from his breast pocket and dialling. No answer. He left voicemail, “Linda, she’s gone. I’ll be there in just over an hour. Love you.”
Jessica dragged herself and her luggage out of the taxi she’d taken from Heathrow and made her way up the steps to her front door. Only it wasn’t ‘her’ front door, it was a shared house of very small flats and she cursed as she found it unlocked again and at this time of night. She locked it behind her and made her way up the stairs with her luggage, carefully and slowly, trying not to wake her neighbours – although she’d never even seen most of them and had no idea who most of the inhabitants of the building were.
She was ready to flake with exhaustion as she reached the door to her own flat, no-one to welcome her, not even a cat or a goldfish. She wondered she’d been kidding herself all these years that having no dependant was a freedom, an advantage. She cursed again as she entered the gloom of her small hallway, finding the light wouldn’t switch on, “Damned electric meter!”she muttered, pressing the emergency credit button and the lights coming back on.
Leaving her luggage behind the door she threw her keys down on the shelf, hung up her coat, kicked off her shoes and made her way into the open plan bed-sitting room she called home. It felt chilly for April but still she needed some fresh air in the place and opened the windows to air the room for a while. She reached for the phone, but thought better of calling America – she’d already blown most of her redundancy money making the trip to New York to see Paul. Instead she used her mobile phone to email, briefly, too exhausted and still hurting from the sense of rejection that he hadn’t begged her to stay, hadn’t made any future plans with her. She’d been sure he would have from their email conversations and facebook chats, he’d been so friendly, so grateful for her support and kind words. So what if he’d been her best friends’ husband? Her best friend was dead now and while she was ill she’d told Jessica how she hoped her husband would move on and find another love in his life and not be left on his own. Jessica had hoped it would be her, they’d seemed to get on so well, have so much in common. She’d wondered that ten months might have been respectfully long enough in those circumstances to spark at least the start of a new relationship and she still convinced herself that maybe they had sparked the start of something special and not to be so negative, only time would tell.
(672 words…to be continued…)
(I was using a computer with no internet connection to write and couldn’t remember the word limit, so having sketched an outline for a continuing story, left it here in case it ws 500 words and needed re-working! The word-limit is actually 3,500…so maybe I’ll finish the story in the next few days… not my usual style, romance, but I am trying to practise all different kinds of writing challenge!)