“Of course not. You go and do something. You being cooped up in a room isn’t too good of a thing. It’s only an hour. and she’s asleep anyways.” She lightly patted his back with a returned smile.
“Thanks Em.” He leaned down and hugged her, pressing a quick kiss to the top of her head.
“You’re very welcome, now get out of here before I change my mind.”
“I’m going.” He assured her with a laugh as he walked away.
Once he was out of the building he pulled the collar of his coat up and walked on down the cold streets. He was glad to be here again. His precious New York that was alive beneath his every footstep. He looked up at the buildings as if he had never seen them before, as if he had never stood on these exact streets that seemed to mean so much to him. Before he got too far from the hotel he almost had the second thought of going back for Elise but he brushed it aside and continued on down the street. He wasn’t sure where he would go or what he would do. He hadn’t done much of anything without Elise and he wasn’t sure what life was without her now. She was everything to him now and he liked it that way. He was sure though that he could figure something out, he always did. He only had a little over an hour before he was due in soundcheck, and had a bit of press to do as well.
He got himself a quick cup of steaming tea and gave a wave to the paparazzi who managed to keep their crazy at bay. He blindly looked into the passing windows as thoughts of the show later on in the night filled his mind. He was thinking of set lists, changes to songs, and things he could do to make the show special. It was all that ever preoccupied his mind other than Elise. He had closed himself off to the rest of the world. He had nothing else to live for anyways.
Something caught his eyes though in the previous window causing him to back track after throwing his cup out. He stopped in front of a poster hanging in the window. It was an ad for an art showcase that was going on tonight, the painter was apparently to be revealed at the showcase but just by looking up at the work he knew who it was.
The agony reflected in each brush stroke, the perfect depiction of sorrow shown was obvious. She was alive in the print and he felt the constriction pull inside of him. He nearly couldn’t bring himself to believe as he stood there unable to move. He pulled his hands from his pockets before he walked to the entrance and pulled open the doors.
“Hello?” He called out nervously. He just wanted to know if it was going to be a single day showcase. He looked around and there were her paintings. He wanted to smile, wanted to let the pride he felt swell inside of him out but he couldn’t let that out without letting out the bit of sorrow out as well.
There was a shuffle in the back and then hurried footsteps.
He turned around once the footsteps stopped and he met her eyes. Everything froze, time itself stood still. They were lost in a moment that had felt like an eternity in the making. She was there before him. Everything about her was still so familiar. Her eyes shone with the innocence he had been drawn to, her lips which were painted red were still so sweet he could have closed the space between them if only to kiss her. The strands of her hair were in a braid over her shoulder. The way he had last seen her was so different than it was now. She was without any bandages, the only thing she wore to hid her scars were a pair of fingerless gloves that reached her elbows. Her purple lace dress swayed at her knees and gave enough room for the boots she wore.
She was as perfect as he held her in his dreams, in his memories. He could taste her kiss, could feel her touch, could feel those moments when they were each others. It was all he could think of as he stood there, enraptured by the perfection he had thought impossible to behold again.
She stood as frozen as he was, her breath lost to her. The blue of his eyes held her intoxicated and unable to complete a train of thought. His hair was shorter than it had been and so was his facial hair. He looked as groomed as he always did while out on tour but there was something strikingly different about him. He looked better, less burdened, and somehow more alive. He looked amazing, perfect. As amazing and perfect as he did when she had been in his arms before, when she had been his. But didn’t she still belong to him even now?
“I didn’t know you were in New York.” He said finally after a long moment of silence that had been drawn out between them. He nervously buried his gloved hands in his coat. What would he have done had he known that she was here? Would he have planned this moment? Would he have hid?
“It wasn’t decided until a short while ago.” She replied, managing a weak smile.
He gave a short nod and then lifted his hand to brush it back through his hair. She lost herself to his movements, in the way his lashes touched down to his skin, the way the leather of his gloves pushed his strands of hair away. The way he just stood there, so comfortable in his skin and so separate from everyone else in the world.
“You have a show tonight.” She said simply, loving the way his eyes seemed to light up at the mention of it.
“Yeah I do.” He nodded.
She tucked her hair behind her ear and wondered if it was alright to approach the subject. She looked away for a moment contemplating.
Somehow he knew what she was thinking of. “I have a daughter.” He figured this whole time that she had known but she only knew the condensed media version of things.
“Elise right?” When he nodded she smiled. She could see the glisten in his eyes the mention of his daughter gave. It gave her a feeling of sweetness that he had that sort of happiness with him.
“She’s beautiful…” He whispered, unsure then how to approach the subject of Bianca. He didn’t want to make mention of it like he was suddenly going to expect something.. “….just like Bianca was…”
She couldn’t get a feeling of jealousy when she saw the way pain shot through his eyes. The use of the past tense word was enough to keep her words away from the subject. She didn’t belong there. That was how the past was supposed to work, it was meant to stay in the past.
Jared’s phone rang from inside his coat cutting off the line of talk. He gave her a look of regret before he pulled it out and answered it.
She distanced herself from his phone call, although she picked up the fact that he was needed elsewhere. Once he hung up he gave her a nearly sad smile.
“Have to go?” She asked, lifting her fingers to the end of her braid.
She nodded and again they were drowned in silence. It echoed off the walls bringing with it a million memories that hadn’t gone away, that neither of them wanted to let go of.
“Well I guess I’ll get going.” He said, gesturing towards the door.
“Bye.” She said softly, her heart then ached to just be in his arms again but before she could do anything he moved towards the door.
“Bye.” He said before he slipped out.
She stood there for awhile before finally she gathered enough courage to rush out after him. “Jared!” She called out to him causing to turn around. She stopped in front of him, the winter air making it more difficult to breathe for her in her breathlessness. “I’ll be here late…if you want to come by.” She nearly stuttered on her words as she tried to calm herself.
He saw that same glint of hope he had seen in her smile the day he had let her walk away, the day he now counted as the worst of his life. “I’d love to. Except, well I have Elise.”
She shook her head. “I’d love to meet her.” She replied, her heart began to race when a smile came on his lips. That smile that had become the most resplendent thing she had ever laid eyes on.
“Alright. Then we’ll both be here.” He gave her a nod and his smile grew a little as the feeling of excitement coursed through him, the feeling of living.
She abandoned reserved thinking and threw her arms around his neck, pressing her face gently against his chest. She took in his familiar scent, lost herself in the warmth of his body. His arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her closer to him, every curve of her body filling him with a yearning he managed to stifle. He smoothed over her hair and then brushed a whisper of a kiss to her forehead. Her hands clung to his coat and her fingers brushed a caress beneath the collar of his coat. He let out a small breath in the crook of her neck, thinking of all the things he had dreamed of while they had been apart. He wanted to kiss her, to feel her gentle lips come alive against his. He wanted her fingers lost in his hair, wanted her in his arms with the promise of never leaving his embrace. He wanted her like he had been unable to have her before with the chains locked so tightly at his wrists and the prison built up around him. He was free now and in that freedom he found her standing there with him, waiting as she had promised. He was hers more than anyone could belong to anybody else. She held his heart gently in the palm of her hands and he gave no thought to what she would do with it. It was safe and so was he. There in her arms he was complete.
With a final pressing of her against him he forced himself to let her go. He looked down at her, the glisten of her eyes wishing he didn’t have to go. He didn’t want to walk away but with the promise of tonight he found it easier.
“I’ll see you later.” He said, taking her hand in his and pressing a kiss to the top of it. He gave her a final smile before he let her hand slip from his.
She returned his smile and then watched him walk away, the Winter wind whispering through his hair and brushing past the back of his coat. She felt everything inside of herself come alive in the sweetest and gentlest way. She had been dreaming of this moment, holding it as nothing more than a dream and yet here she was, holding his promise as close as she had ever held anything. She had never really given up, had never let go of the hope she had always held onto. And here it was paying off, as brilliantly as it ever had. It was whispering to her, telling her to lose herself in it, to come away with the reality she was now waking up to and she went in as easily as she could letting go of the hope and stepping into the result. The perfect and beautiful end. It would be different this time. She knew that from the look he gave her over his shoulder, the smile glistening in the blue of his eyes. Pain was merely a memory and sorrow seemed to no longer exist. This was their end and it felt more complete than she could have ever imagined it.