Best and Honor

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Chapter 20

Andrew

How are there no flights out of this town until tomorrow? I sit on the edge of my bed and rest my head in my hands. It looks like Sophie caught the last plane out of here and now all I can do is wait around until the flights resume tomorrow. My bags are packed and my ticket is purchased. This time if she is fleeing this town, I’m going with her. I will not make the same mistake I did four years ago when I let her board a plane and fly out of my life.

Maybe this is not the best thought out plan, but I can’t take a chance she is going to try to push me out of her life without even letting me explain. I had no idea that Evan cheated on her with Rachel. My secret I was keeping from her was that he had been cheating on Rachel. I didn’t think it was in her best interest to know that if she had to stand up there with Rachel. I guess now I was very wrong. Asking her to trust me only lead her to believe that I knew about Evan and Rachel.

I pace my room watching the numbers on the clock slowly change, mocking my need to get face-to-face with her so she can see in my eyes that I’m not lying. I would’ve never allowed her to go through with this week if I had known earlier. Evan was my best friend, but I’m not a heartless dick like he is. What he and Rachel did to Sophie is unforgivable and I would have never kept that from her.

Evan’s texts start blowing up my phone an hour before I’m about to leave for the airport. He is apologizing for our fight and asking me to help him fix things with Rachel. I don’t answer any of them. I also don’t answer the door when he knocks on it ten minutes later. My exit from his life is going to be swift. There’s no need to drag out this dying friendship any longer.

The taxi pulls to the edge of the parking lot and I climb inside. The worker that’s changing the marque in front of the hotel waves as we drive by. So far the new message proudly says, “Congratulations Evan and Rachel.” As we wait for the light to change, he adds, “On your pregnancy.” I feel my brows furrow together and then the realization hits me that Sophie might have something to do with the hilarious new message. Good for her.

As we make our way through the traffic of the now busy airport, I begin to receive a second wave of frantic texts from Evan and then eventually Rachel. Evan is freaking out because apparently his face is swollen and no amount of ice is making it better. Also, apparently his grandparents would like to know why they were not told about the baby and will not believe that Evan has no idea what they’re talking about.

Rachel’s texts are a little more insistent. She wants to know if I have seen Sophie. She would also like to know if I’ve seen her wedding gown. I don’t feel sorry for her for even a second after what she did and I hope that if Sophie had anything to do with all the strange things happening today, she’s going to one day be able to see all the chaos beautifully documented on Facebook and Instagram.

My thoughts have not left her all night and all morning. I pray I didn’t destroy what we were building and that she’ll allow me to do what ever it takes to make this better. It just doesn’t seem fair after all of these years of loving her from afar, I only got a few days with her and one unforgettable night. My stomach knots and I feel the ache in my heart grow as the time away from her ticks by.

Having her leave has shifted my world. I felt the loss of her from my life again and I know it’s not something I’m willing to live with. I’ve put a call into my assistant Anna, at the office and let her know I will be in California for a while and to set up a meeting with the partners on Monday. I should know by then if Sophie will have me, and if she says yes, then I’m not going to ever let distance separate us again. I’m going to offer to head up the firm in California like they have been grooming me for this last year.

I should probably have a plan for if she tells me to leave, but thinking about that road only causes a panic to race through me and I just can’t face that possibility right now. I move through the security line with only my small carryon and check my phone one last time before shutting it down. The picture that Evan just sent me of his swollen face is very amusing, but I still move my fingers quickly, blocking his future calls and texts.

As I step onto the plane, I over hear a few of the flight attendants talking about a woman who had left her wedding dress on the plane last night. They had tried to run after her, but she only smiled and told them to keep it. Word travels fast through the attendants apparently and I feel a small smile curve my lips as I picture a strong Sophie taking with her Rachel’s most important accessory for today. I had never figured her for a vengeful woman, but I’m starting to love that about her. Knowing she didn’t just roll over and take it any longer makes me very proud.

As the plane takes off, I realize there’s no other way this story could possibly end. Sophie and I are meant to be together and if it takes me the rest of my life to prove that to her, then let today be the first day of the rest of our lives. I reach down, pressing my hand to my pocket to make sure I remembered the keys to my condo in LA. While the plane closes the distance between Sophie and I, Anna is working hard to find her address for me. I guess it helps to have a few friends in the right places.

I grow increasingly more impatient as I wait for the people ahead of me to leave the plane. I feel like I’m losing ground the longer it takes to get to her. She could have convinced herself by now that I’m as big of an ass as Evan. Maybe her friends are even telling her to stay away from me. I wouldn’t blame them one bit. Finally I emerge from the plane and quickly make my way to baggage claim, firing up my phone to talk to Anna.

“Anna, did you get it?” I sound desperate and that’s because I am. She laughs softly into the phone as I hold my breath waiting for her answer.

“You owe me big for doing this on my day off. I talked to your friend at the station. He came up with the address from her driver’s license. Of course I had to promise him we would never say where we got the info from, but he was happy to pay back the favor he owed you for getting him out of that legal mess a year ago.” I can hear a paper crinkling as she pauses to give me the information.

“Thanks Anna. I owe you. Can you text me the address?”

“Of course.” I’m about to hang up when she says, “Oh, hey Andrew?”

“Yes?”

“This girl must be pretty special.” It’s a statement, but I can still hear the underlying question within the words.

“Yes, I think I’ve loved her since the day I first saw her. Now I just have to convince her to give me a shot.” I feel my heart beat rapidly in my chest as I watch the bags begin to make their first circle around the track.

“I have my fingers crossed for you. Let me know how it goes.”

I thank her and we hang up as my bag finally makes its way to me. My phone chimes with Sophie’s address, and I pull the bag from the belt and make my way out into the crisp Californian air. Jumping into the back of a taxi, I rattle off her address and hope that he gets there quickly.

We pull onto her street and I practically rip the handle off the door when the taxi stops right in front of her cute little apartment building. I pull my bag from the trunk and sling it over my shoulder. I probably should ask the driver to wait here for me, but then that would require me admitting to myself she might not want to hear what I have to say. Instead I ask for his card and hand him a wad of cash, eager to make my way up to her door.

Of course she is on the second floor and there is no elevator in sight in the old building. I’m a little out of breath by the time I make it to her doorstep, but then again that might be more from my speeding pulse and anxiety about seeing her than luging my bag up the stairs. I take a minute to calm down and then lift my hand and knock on her door. I find it ironic that I’m supposed to be standing at the end of an aisle with my best friend on the most important day of his life, and instead I am standing alone in front of a door that might just make this the best day of mine instead. Please, Sophie. Give us one more chance.

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