Inspiration: “Wonderwall” by Oasis as covered by Ryan Adams.
He watched her move. The flicker of the lights surrounded her like a halo as her light green dress swished around her body. She was as graceful as she was beautiful. It was hard for him to breathe.
Ryan brought the tumbler to his mouth and tipped his head back allowing the pale, gold liquid to flow down his throat. It burned the way his heart did as he forced himself to look away from her.
Seven years. It’d been seven years since he last saw Darcy. If his love for her were a person he could’ve declared it legally dead by now. Yet it’d been seven years, twelve ill-fated relationships and now he was forced to accept the truth. Darcy had been his first love and he hadn’t loved anyone since.
Miranda, the last of those ill-fated exes, had curled herself into him one Saturday morning almost six months ago. Sunshine flittered in through the pale yellow curtains they’d chosen together.
“You don’t love me,” she had said so calmly he’d almost missed the magnitude of what she’d said.
He pushed himself up off the leather couch and reached for the remote control relegating the sounds of the football match to mere background noise.
“Wha… What?” he spluttered.
Miranda slowly removed the engagement ring, placed it in his palm and closed it.
“I love you so much,” she whispered. Her voice cracked under each word, “I love you enough to let you go.”
“I don’t understand…”
She kissed him, “Go find her. Whoever it is that’s closed your heart off.”
“Mirie this is crazy. I love you.”
She shook her head – slowly, sadly, “You love the idea of loving me.”
She brought her hand down to the left side of his chest, “That belongs to someone else. I kept thinking I could change your mind but I now know I can’t. I’d rather you be deliriously happy with someone else than just sort of happy with me.”
He reached for her but she backed out of his touch. Everything he could think of to say to her to make her stay stuck to his throat. Emotions he had long sealed shut hit him so hard, so fast that he sat there paralyzed.
“Promise me you’ll love me forever.”
Her eyes were velvet and chocolate. He grinned at her, “I promise I’ll love you forever.”
She reached over pulling the sheets across her naked body and kissed him, “Me too.”
The silence between them was comfortable – lying there on the tiny, hard bed with the overhead fan struggling against the sweltering Caribbean heat. Her soft giggles suddenly penetrated the silence. He looked at her curiously his mouth curving into a smile of his own. Orchestral symphonies and soulful ballads could be written to her laughter. He could listen it forever.
“Don’t you think we chose the most cliché moment to profess our undying love,” she said and then laughed even harder. “Right out of Harlequin I tell you. We didn’t even wait for the afterglow to fade…”
He grinned at her, “Afterglow you say?”
“Shut up Ryan,” she shoved him playfully and wiped the years of mirth from her face.
“It was that good wasn’t it?”
“Not going to answer that,” she said. “It’ll probably go straight to your head.”
It was long after both their laughter faded and she’d fallen asleep, long after the afterglow dimmed into the darkness with the setting sun that he kissed her and said, “I promise you I’ll love you forever.”
Ryan slid his tumbler towards the bartender and nodded when the tall, slender man looked at him enquiringly. Yes, he definitely needed another drink. Damn it if he wouldn’t need seven more before he could work up the nerve to approach her.
It’d taken him three months after he’d got over the initial shock of Miranda’s leaving to admit truth to himself. Then, it had taken him another two months to track Darcy down to a small, sleepy village in Southern France. Other than the fact she owned a small photography studio and had been living in Europe for the past four years Ryan knew nothing. She might’ve had a husband, a fiancé or kids waiting for her. He gulped the whiskey. It wasn’t the first time he questioned the sanity of coming here. The song faded off into silence and Darcy still laughing glanced up and caught his eyes. Her laughter stopped abruptly as recognition dawned. Ryan wondered if her heart, like his, threatened to beat its way out of her chest. He took another gulp of the whiskey then, on slightly unsteady legs, made his way towards her. Seven years. His love for her should have been dead by now but it still swam strongly against the current of his beating heart. It had been seven years but some promises weren’t meant to be broken.
Copyright: Rilzy Adams, 2012.