Chapter Twenty Nine
I was watching Ireland pack and each time she puts something in her luggage my heart breaks. She’s leaving in three hours and I’m barely keeping it together. I don’t want her to leave, and if it was possible, I’d fly out with her. The past two weeks have given me yet another taste of what it'll be like to live with her and have her every single day. It’s been pure bliss to hold her every night and wake up next to her the following day. I know we haven't exactly been together for a long time and everything between us happened quickly, but I don't think there's anyone else I want to be with but her. I just know that I’m going to break apart as soon as we say our goodbyes.
I took a steadying breath preparing myself for what’s probably the most nerve-wracking moment I’ll ever experience. Not even the first game I ever had or a shot at winning the championship came close to this. “Angel? You still want to pay me a penny?” She stopped whatever it was she's doing and sat next to me on the foot of my bed. "Always," was her answer. I kept my head down, staring at my tattooed arms that are resting on my lap as if I'm seeing them for the first time. "You have to promise to let me finish before you can say anything," I said quietly. "I promise." Well, this is it. There's no turning back now.
It took me a few minutes to gather my reasoning and find the courage to bare my heart and soul to her. I understand more than anything how important her company is to her in the same way she knows how important football is to me. It's a tough situation we're in because we haven't really talked about the future and that's exactly what I want to have with her, a future. I started by thanking her for rushing to see me and wanting to be with me at a time when I was about to lose it. I told her how much the past two weeks changed my perspective about life and mostly about myself, about us.
I confessed that I was a complete mess since I got here not because I was having a hard time getting back in shape, but because I was missing her every minute of every day. That there were times when I'd feel like I want to throw in the towel and fly back to Seattle. I tried to break things to her as gently as I could partly because I'm not sure if her feelings for me are as strong as mine and partly because I have this notion that she'll never choose me. I told her that I wish more than anything for her to stay, but I won't force her to. She kept her promise and stayed silent the whole time.
"Do you ever see our relationship going anywhere?" I finally asked. My heart was pounding like a bass drum while I waited for her answer. "I don't know where it's going to go, Elijah," She choked out. "Your life is here and mine is in Seattle." She smiled sadly. "I want to be yours and I want you to be mine, but neither of us can ask each other to give up the thing that serves our purpose in life." I intertwined my fingers at the back of my head, keeping my eyes fixed on the floor. It's clear how this is going to end, she's going to leave me and it's not just for Seattle.
"Are you saying goodbye to me?" I asked. She didn't respond, but instead, she knelt down in between my thighs and cupped my face so she can look straight into my eyes. "For now, my love, I am." A lone tear slid down my face, but I didn't look away. I allowed myself to study every part of her face so that I can store it in my memory. The color of her eyes, the shape of her nose and lips, every freckle, every line. She brushed her thumbs over my eyes to wipe my tears, then she placed her lips on mine and kissed me slowly. I held on to her tightly pouring every emotion I feel in my heart for her into the kiss. She pulled back slightly and pressed our foreheads together. "I don't have the answers now, but we'll eventually figure it out. What I'm a hundred percent sure about is I'm not letting go even if you don't want me anymore."
I smiled grateful for her words because it gave me hope that like me, she's going to hold on and make it work. "I'll never not want you, mi amor. Never." We stayed in each other's arms for a while until it was time for me to drive her to the airport. We kissed and hugged each other for the last time before she boarded the plane and I stood there for God knows how long not paying attention to the people who were asking for autographs and pictures with me. I stood there like a statue even after the plane has departed still hoping and praying hard that she'll change her mind and stay for good, but she never came back.
When I got home, I went straight to my room. I didn't bother with dinner, or any other routine. I quickly changed and buried my face in her pillows, drinking her scent in like a drug. I fucking miss her already and it's driving me absolutely insane. I tossed and turned almost the entire night. I tried everything just to make me fall asleep. I even counted sheep which didn't do a damn thing. My situation is just so pathetic. At some point, I gave up on sleep and headed out to the back yard. I ran around kicking the ball, basically beating the shit out of it until I could no longer move. And I stayed there, lying on my back in the middle of my practice field staring at the sky until the sun came up.