Chapter Twenty Six + Epilogue - I'll Stand By You

4.8K 274 41

Everything changed when the airport loudspeaker began broadcasting, No one said anything before a guitar started playing. The little hairs on my arms stood up on end, goosebumps washed over me like a cold wind had rushed passed. People kept walking by, but I stood frozen to the spot. It couldn't be him, this wasn't happening. It was too surreal, like I was living in a dream. This kind of thing didn't happen in real life.

Then I heard him. His melodic voice cut me right down to the heart. I gasped for air like I was drowning. He was singing 'I'll stand by you' by the pretenders, and he was singing it for me. My legs felt weak, I dropped down to the ground, kneeling there as I continued to heave deeply. Then the tears came, thick, fast and without reservation. He did care. At one point someone knelt beside me and asked me if I was okay. I replied with a tearful nod, and I'm not sure they believed me, but they stood up and kept going anyway.

Jackson had reached the second verse before I had managed to stand back up. Like a clichéd movie everything felt like it was moving in slow motion. I turned and ran back towards the boarding door, but it seemed like it took an age just to get there. The steward was about to close it when I pushed it open and almost fell through it. She looked at me and rolled her eyes. "You can't go back in if you leave. You'll have to re-book."

"Sure. Whatever." I replied through my tears.

I looked up at Daniel who was grinning. He pointed to my left and I let my eyes trace around the airport through the people, until finally I saw him, I focused on him and my heart fluttered uncontrollably. He was standing on a luggage carrier, holding a guitar while Jace, Ben and Xavier were pushing him through the crowd of people. I could feel the smile on my face grow wider, and the tears worsened, but it was out of happiness so I let them flow.

He had grabbed the attention of every person he went passed, but even from a distance I could tell I was the only person who had his attention.

My heart raced faster and faster the closer he became, and it got to the point where I began to feel weak and dizzy again. The song finished before he made it to me, he slid the guitar off and shoved it in to Xavier hands before yanking a headset off as well. His eyes turned back to me as he jumped off the luggage carrier. He stood there, a nervous smile plastered across his face. I didn't wait though, I'd spent too much time waiting for my life to feel whole again and I wasn't about to do it anymore. I ran for him, and when my arms slid around his neck and my lips pressed against his the room became nothing but white light. No one else was there, it was us against the world. We knew nothing of distance and time, it was like we had never even been apart.

He pulled back for a moment and kissed my head. "Don't leave me. I love you."

"I love you too." I replied.

"I should have told you the other day. I'm sorry." He croaked.

"I still have to go." I whispered sadly. "But I'll come back." It had always been an option anyway.

His brow furrowed and he shook his head. "Why?"

"NYAPA sent me a letter. They like me. A lot. I have an interview tomorrow." I grinned. I had wanted more than anything to tell Jackson, but I didn't know how. I wasn't sure he'd care. Now as he stood before me, I wondered how I had ever thought that him not caring was a possibility.

Jackson's eyes widened. He pulled me back in for a tight hug and whispered in my ear. "You applied? When. What changed your mind?" his spoke with a quiet excitement, and I understood why now.

"Clarity." I replied. "I guess I wanted it all along really, I just didn't think I deserved it. I think that's why I didn't tell you about the secret too. I didn't think I deserved you either. I subconsciously set myself up to fail."

Going The DistanceWhere stories live. Discover now