She breathed in deeply and stared at the face looking back at her from the mirror. She still wasn't sure what she was doing here, in a diner a thousand miles away from the home she knew, dressed in the nines. Her hair curled softly around her face, held loosely back with a small silver barrette, the personification of artless elegance, but the tight line of her soft lips betrayed her. The tension in her spine as she bent to adjust the strap of one graceful heel belied the lie she told herself. The black silk dress brushed softly against her skin as she leaned into the mirror and dipped a finger into the pot of lip gloss on the sink.
She was insane.
She was in love.
She blinked at her reflection and then turned away. She could feel the eyes on her as she made her way out of the diner to the cab waiting beside the curb. She knew she was beautiful. She knew she could make him laugh. That he admired her intelligence and worshipped her spirit, she knew. She didn't know if it would be enough.
She sank her teeth into her lip as the driver placed her bag in the trunk and pulled away from her refuge of the past twelve hours. How many cups of coffee had she anxiously nursed? How many napkins had she twisted and wrung? She'd lost count of the number of times she tried to leave, go home, forget this ever happened. But she couldn't. She could never forget him.
The landscape whipped past, the trees and plains of Saskatchewan hazy darkness in the heady night. The stars wheeled over head. Her heart pounded in her ears.
This was lunacy.
This was love.
The cab pulled up in front of a brightly lit building, the soft orange haze of the street lamps masking the imperfections, the huge paned windows lit up like golden jewels. She steeled herself as the cabby rested her bag beside her ankles.
Impetuous. That's what she was. What madness had gripped her mind to make her come here? It carried her forward through the building. She slipped into the back of the theater, sitting in the shadows far from the stage. She watched him perform. Watched with unshaken adoration as he moved across stage. Listened with bated breath as his theater voice echoed through the room. The play came to an end. The applause went on, the bows were made. The curtains swung close.
She stood on shaky legs and slipped out to the back of the theater, the night air chilling her skin, the pale lights of the aurora borealis dancing above. She waited, the soft wind cooling her audacity. Perhaps she had made a mistake. Perhaps this was all wrong.
The back stage door swung noisily open, letting loose a torrent of laughter and light. He'd be leaving early. He'd be riding high on his success. He'd be wanting to call her. She knew it would be him. She listened to him call back to his friends and cast mates, saying farewell. He turned, heading down the alley. She was going to lose him.
It would be madness to call him.
It would be love.
"Glen." His name left her lips softly, the lightest caress of sound. She watched as his back stiffened and he slowly turned, brow gently furrowed. She came forward, her heels clicking rhythmically against the ground with every step until the shaft of light from a jewel-bright window high above fell across her.
His eyes widened and his lips parted in surprise. "Sarah? What are you doing here?"
She took a deep breath, her speech now impractical, her thoughts chased away by his voice. "I came for a lot of reasons. To tell you that I hate you. That I can't stand the way you walked out my door—"
"You told me to leave!"
"— that when you left something inside me fell apart and I don't know how to put it back together. I came to tell you that I'm sorry. That I was wrong. That I can't stand myself for what I said. That I should have trusted you. I should have known better than to let you in—"
"I wanted you to let me in."
"—and then to try and force you out again. You're a part of me. A part I can't let go of. I came to tell you that. That and that I love you. I just thought that you should know that. But I don't want to hurt you anymore. So take this as a last goodbye."
She met his gaze then, her heart bleeding from the harm she had caused. "I love you, Glen Thompson, with everything I am."
Then she did the hardest thing that she had ever done. She turned and slowly walked away, the sassy stride that she once used broken to pathetic steps of a beaten spirit. Once she had turned away, she let the tears fall, let her pain come through.
She stopped, her heart lodging in her throat, strangling her voice as she felt his hands slide over her shoulders, closing tight on skin and silk as he breathed in her apple blossom scent. He'd been thirsting for that smell, she could feel it in his hands as they slid down her bare arms and turned her to face him. His hands slipped to her waist, delicately coming to rest there as he edged closer. She could feel his warmth down the length of her as her eyes fluttered closed.
"Sarah." He whispered her name like a prayer as his lips brushed against hers and their mouths melded with the tender hesitation of those too terrified to hope. He pulled away, kissed away her tears and wrapped his arms tight around her. Her own crept tightly around his waist, holding tight to him as if he were the last bastion of life.
"Oh, God, Sarah."
"I love you, Glen."
He smiled then and kissed her hair. "Took you long enough to figure it out. I love you too."
She let out a breathy sigh and buried her face in the curve of his neck. She was home. Three thousand miles away from the life she knew but she was home.
He was her sweetest perfection.
He was her greatest love.
Special Note to Readers: I haven't been able to write in a while. The life got sucked out of me and believe me it was a rough ride to get it back. For what it's worth, sweat, blood, and tears went into this story so hopefully it will open the floodgates to let some new stuff out. Yes, I know America's Sweetheart hasn't been updated in FOR-EVER. Yes, I am trying to fix it. Yes, I edited and revamped and added and cut. There are new characters and some characters have changed. I'll repost as soon as I have a new chapter to add. Right now I'm only seven pages into the newest installment and I've been averaging about fifteen so it'll take some time. All my best, Merry