It had only been a few days since my morning with James on the rooftop. I was walking down the halls of SHIELD on my way to see him when I heard sharp voices coming from a cracked doorway.
I stopped and peeked through the crack, being careful not to be seen. It was James. A distressed look bent the half of his face that I could see. I could hear Fury’s rough voice.
“I do not know how long you will be gone.”
“And if I die? What happens then?” James spat, clenching his jaw.
“Hydra is a ruthless, undying evil that—“
“Do not speak to me as if I know nothing of Hydra!” His anger flared. I gasped, clapping my hand to my mouth. James’ eyes flit to the crack in the door. I escaped before I could tell if he had seen me.
Questions flashed through my mind. As the conversation replayed in my head, panic strangled me. I raced outside, trying to escape the pain that was resurfacing in my heart. It spread like a disease inside me, ripping my heart into shreds.
A steady rain fell, washing away my tears that flowed so profusely. I didn’t search for shelter. I let the rain fall over me as I let my soul pour out. Images flashed in my mind of distant memories.
Memories that would rot inside me until the end of my days.
Sobs convulsed my body when I heard him say my name. He approached me and pulled me into him. I held onto him, never wanting to let go.
“What did you hear?” he asked, stroking my soaking wet hair.
“Enough,” I blubbered.
When he pulled away from me to look into my eyes, I saw that he was crying too. His eyes were red and glossy and his jaw tightened. “I have to…” he stammered, the words rolling off his tongue as if he hated them.
“Where?” I pressed, wiping my nose.
“I—I can’t…tell you…”
Anger boiled inside me. “So I am just supposed to wait here, not knowing where you are or when you’ll come back?”
“I wish I could tell you, Eleanor, but I can’t,” James pushed out beneath the tears.
I shook my head, hugging my arms to my chest. “How can you do this me?”
He wiped the tears from his face angrily, but they continued to fall. “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to leave you and I hate seeing you like this. It hurts so much because I love you, Eleanor. I love you so much.”
Before I could counter anything he had just said, he rushed at me and kissed me passionately. I didn’t retaliate because I didn’t want to. As much as I hated him for leaving, I loved him as much as the sun when it brightens the earth with its powerful rays. He was my sunshine, and I didn’t want the sky to go dark.
When we finally pulled away, I pressed my forehead against his and said, “I can’t lose you.”
“Whatever it takes, I will get back to you. Wait for me. Promise,” he replied.
And with that he tore away from me and faded from my vision. I didn’t follow him. I didn’t want to have to say goodbye again.
And then the waiting began.