Jay stood on the porch, a small banister ran across the edge, his arms rest on it looking out onto the snow-covered garden. He was wearing a baggy jumper; one Elizabeth had gotten him for his birthday a few years back. His hands were cold, he wriggled his fingers while looking at them, as if he couldn’t feel them moving without seeing them move. His mind whirled. He could feel himself beginning to think too much about what happened.
“Everything okay?” Anna asked as she leaned on the door frame looking out into the cold.
Jay turned around to see her, he smiled.
“Yeah, I’m okay. Just getting a little bit of a headache, happens sometimes when I think about the accident too much.” Jay explained leaning against the banister.
“That can’t be good.” Anna stated. “Do you get flashbacks?”
“A few, usually far and few between now though. They were worse before, like just after the accident occurred.” Jay informed her.
“I can’t imagine how bad that is for you.” She tried to empathise.
“You wouldn’t want to imagine it.” Jay replied coldly.
Anna saw the pain in his eyes that had once worried Abigail. She stepped out onto the porch towards Jay, she put her hand on his elbow softly before wrapping her arms over his shoulders and hugging him tightly. She felt him relax in her arms. As she let go she watched his eyes.
“When do you go home?” Anna asked.
“Three days.” Jay sighed. “I feel like I’m already home though.”
Abigail came down the stairs and could feel the breeze from the front door. She could hear Anna and Jay talking on the porch. She quietly continued walking down the stairs and looked outside to see them stood together talking, leaning on the banister looking out onto the garden.
“What do you mean by that?” Anna asked Jay.
“Well, I’ve got nothing left back in England. I don’t feel at home there, at least I’ve got family here.” Jay replied.
Abigail felt her heart sink a little in her chest. She stepped away from the door frame trying to deal with what she had just heard. Her eyes began to well-up as she turned around and hurried back up the stairs.
Jay turned to look at Anna. He sighed.
“Abigail is all I’ve got back home. With Elizabeth gone, I often feel completely alone, and Abigail really does change that when she is around. I’d happily move out here and bring her with me.” Jay explained.
“You really care about her don’t you?” Anna asked.
“Yeah... She’s the closest thing to god I’ve got.” Jay stated.
Abigail was in Jay’s room quickly packing up her things. She had tears streaming down her face. She stopped for a second and sat on the floor with her head in her hands. She had never felt her heart race so fast.
“Abigail?” Jay asked as he came to the top of the stairs.
He looked around and saw her sat on the floor in his room, he quickly walked in to see her crying on the floor with a half packed suitcase on his bed. He quickly dropped to her side and cradled her in his arms.
“What’s wrong sweetheart?” His voice showing his concern.
Abigail couldn’t formulate words, she was just sobbing in his arms. Jay sat with her comforting her until she had calmed down.
“I can’t do this anymore Jay.” Her voice wavered.
“What do you mean?” Jay asked.
“This. Whatever we are doing.” Abigail explained. “I can’t pretend that we’re perfect for each other just because we remind each other of someone we both loved.”
“Where did that come from?” Jay stood up and walked to his window. “I’m not sticking around with you because you remind me of her.”
“Then explain to me why you are!” Abigail shot back.
“I can’t explain it.” Jay answered.
“Well maybe you should at least try.” Abigail stood up and walked over to Jay.
“I... You...” Jay stuttered before sighing. “You are the reason I don’t feel like I’m falling apart every second of the day. You make me feel like a human again. When I’m with you I don’t feel like everything is falling apart, I feel like I have something worth holding onto.”
“Then why doesn’t it seem that way?” Abigail questioned. “Why don’t you feel like I’m enough of a reason to come home?”
“What do you mean? I’ve never made that kind of statement?” Jay was confused.
“I heard you with Anna on the porch. How you don’t have anything back home.” Abigail growled.
“I don’t have anything back home. You’re out here with me! Why would I be excited to go home when I’ve got you here with me and I have my family here.” Jay argued.
“Tell me something; if I hadn’t come out here, what would have happened between you and Anna?” Abigail interrogated.
“Me and Anna? Is that what this is about?” Jay shot back.
“Just answer the question.” Abigail ordered.
“Nothing would have happened. As far as I’m concerned I’m with you, even if it has never been officially stated that we’re together, I know where my loyalties are.” Jay stressed.
Abigail and Jay argued for about an hour. Jay tried to stay on the defensive for as long as he could, but eventually he got worked up enough to attack back like Abigail had been doing.
Jay felt his heart begin to break as she tore into him with her choice of words. He stepped towards her, placed his hand on her face and just kissed her like she had only a few moments left to live. As he unlocked his lips from hers they both felt breathless and weightless. He let go of her and looked at her directly in the eyes.
“If you wanna go home, then go. I will be home in a few days anyway, we can talk about it all then if you still feel the same way. But I couldn’t just let you go without one last kiss at least.” Jay stated.
“I’m sorry Jay.” Abigail felt a tear roll down her cheek.
She cuddled him, her head resting on his chest, her arms around his torso, while his wrapped across her shoulders and his head rested on top of hers.
Abigail picked up her bags and headed out. Jay watched her from the door, with a heavy ache in his heart as she walked down the path.
Jay closed the door when Abigail was out of sight. Aoife came up to him and cuddled him tightly.
“I’m sorry.” She said.
“Don’t worry about it, I guess it just happens when I bring girls home.” Jay joked.
Jay walked over to the sofa in the front room and just dropped onto it. He hit the cushions and sighed as he did so. Renee came and climbed on him.
“What’s wrong?” Renee asked as she laid down on his chest.
“I miss my friend that went away, Ren.” Jay answered as he began stroking her hair.
“Are they coming back?” She questioned.
“No, Ren.” Jay replied.
Anna heard Jay and Renee from the hallway, she felt a heavy lump in her heart.
Aoife and Jay laid in the living room on both the sofas, they hadn’t moved for a few hours.
“So is it over?” Aoife asked.
“I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out when I’m home.” Jay replied.
“She’s making a mistake if she leaves you.” Aoife stated.
“We aren’t even really together.” Jay looked over to her.
“Then what are you holding onto?” She looked back.
“She has been my rock. She has made my life worth living the past few months.” Jay explained.
“And maybe she was only supposed to help you through the past few months. Maybe it’s not meant to be the rest of your life?” Aoife suggested.
Jay spent the next few days trying his hardest to stay positive. He hung out with Aoife as much as he could before he had to go home, he didn’t know how long it would be before he would see her again. The last night before Jay had to catch his plane home Aoife and Anna made Jay watch Makeshift Love. It was awful. Despite how terrible it was Jay enjoyed the night, he and Aoife made a lot of jokes directed at Anna, and she took it all and laughed along. Unfortunately 2am came about, he had to drive back to the airport. Aoife was heading home with Anna at the same time and the airport was on the way, so instead of asking Sammy to drive down to Galway and then back to the airport he headed out with Aoife.
The lights passed by at a calming rate as he watched them out of the window. Anna had fallen asleep and ended up leaning on Jay, he welcomed it.
“Any idea what you’re going to do when you get home?” Aoife asked.
“I don’t know. I guess finish the argument, then return to work.” Jay stated.
“How has work been?” Aoife asked.
“... I can’t actually remember the last time I went in.” Jay was slightly baffled.
He was stood about to enter his gate, he turned to Aoife and hugged her tightly.
“I’ll miss you. I’ll try and be back soon.” Jay spoke with his head over her shoulder.
“I’m gonna miss you.” She said before kissing his cheek.
Jay then turned to Anna, he gripped her tightly in a warm embrace.
“It was so nice to meet you at last Jay.” She said.
“And you Anna. I hope you’ll stay in contact.” He smiled and kissed her cheek before heading toward the entrance to his terminal.
The late night flight home was peaceful, so peaceful he actually managed to fall asleep, his headphones nursed him gently. As the plane touched down in London, he could see the dreary weather through the window. It was still really early in the morning, but he still had a grueling bus journey on the X30 before he would be anywhere near home.
It was nearly 8am before he arrived home. He dragged his bags up the stairs of his apartment and threw them into his room. It was fairly warm, but he wasn’t in the best of moods. He turned the heaters off and opened the windows in his bedroom, the cold air gently filled the room. He laid down on his bed and curled up on top of his covers. He tried to get to sleep but his body was having none of it. He waited an hour before getting up and admitting defeat. He got in the shower and got himself ready for the day.
It was 9:27, he tied his shoes and headed out of the door. He headed straight to Abigail’s house. He hesitated to knock on the door but she opened it before he got the chance to knock.
“Oh, hey. I didn’t realise you were back.” Abigail said.
“Yeah, I got back today.” He informed. “Can we talk?”
“I’m on my way to work right now, but if you wanna walk into town with me...” she implied.
Jay walked with Abigail. They discussed their relationship for the entire walk.
Jay and Abigail arrived at her work. Abigail turned to him and hugged him tightly, almost like the world was going to stop spinning when she let go.
“I’m sorry.” She spoke softly.
“Don’t be.” He touched her cheek gently. “I’ll still only be a phone call away.”
She turned to head into work and he began to head home. He felt a single tear drop from his eye as he swallowed the ache he suddenly felt in his heart.