Laura finally returned to her apartment, satisfied she was ready to leave. After she had left the bakers shop she had bumped into a group of the children she taught. They were not due to have another lesson until the next week, and she felt grateful for the chance to say goodbye. When she explained that she was leaving with Mr Fenton, the children’s faces lit up. She knew he had made a lasting impression on the children and they would remember him fondly. In saying goodbye to them herself, there were a few tears, but it was a happy goodbye nonetheless, the children excited at the prospect of attending a real English school, and they were satisfied with Laura’s reassurances that they would have a wonderful new teacher.
Collecting her bags, Laura dropped the key to her apartment off, then stepped into the taxi she had called to take her to the hotel, where she would begin her new life!
When she arrived at the hotel, the taxi driver helped her take her bags into the foyer, where she looked around wondering if Sean was still in his suite. She looked at her watch and saw that she was still couple of minutes early, so she went to sit down on a nearby sofa. Laura sat for a few minutes staring out of the large glass wall that looked out to sea. She would miss this beach she thought, it really was beautiful, but then again, she would no doubt be seeing lots of beautiful places soon.
Laura looked at her watch again and saw to her surprise that it was a few minutes after four thirty. Sean had said this morning that she had to be on time so they could get to the airport for their flight. She searched the hotel lobby but saw no sign of Sean, so she decided to ask at the reception desk. The lady working was still Marie, the blond who did not seem to like Laura much. Laura sighed and walked up to her and smiling asked if she could call Sean Fenton’s room.
Marie looked at her with false sympathy. “Mr Fenton checked out about an hour ago.”
Laura’s whole body seemed to freeze, and she had to force herself to breathe. What did she mean he had checked out? Maybe he was waiting for her outside? Panic began to creep up Laura’s throat as she stammered, “B..b..but he hasn’t left the hotel yet, has he?
The receptionist regarded her slowly, before seeming to decide to tell Laura something. Laura frowned and said, “What is it? Did he leave me a message? I’m taking a flight with him in a couple of hours.” The words were spilling out of her now and she knew she was beginning to sound desperate. What could possibly have happened? She really didn’t know what to think, “Please!” she begged, “tell me what’s going on!”
Maria sighed and rolled her eyes as if speaking to Laura was a task she could do without. “Mr Fenton asked to use a car this afternoon, something about going to pick someone up with their luggage?“ she looked pointedly at Laura’s two bags sitting on the lobby floor. Laura’s stomach lurched. Sean had come to collect her from her apartment? But then where was he now? Her heart was thumping so loudly and the blood rushing in her ears, Laura could barely hear the next words Marie said.
“He came back in a very bad mood, asked me to cancel the second plane ticket I had booked for him this morning, saying it was no longer needed, then he asked for his bags to be brought down, and he left for the airport. He didn’t look very happy at all!” she added, totally unnecessarily.
Laura’s knees buckled under her and a cry escaped from her lips as she realised that Sean was gone. If he had come to collect her, then he must have seen her say goodbye to Fernando and thought.. oh who knows what he had thought, but it was clearly bad enough to make him leave without her! Laura felt sick. She held onto the reception desk, her knuckles turning white she was gripping it so hard.
“A..are you alright?” Marie asked, looking nervously at Laura’s pale face.
Laura looked up at her, and something snapped inside, “No I am not” she said slowly and deliberately. “There has been a terrible misunderstanding and I need to get to the airport right away,“ she said through gritted teeth. Maybe she could get to the airport and catch Sean before his flight, then she would have a chance to explain. She hadn’t told Sean about Fernando, she thought belatedly. But really there had been nothing to tell, why would she of? To avoid a reaction like this she thought, answering her own question.
“If you go out the front there will be a taxi there you can take,” Marie said, her voice softening slightly.
“Thank you,” Laura replied and walked over to her bags, picking them up by the side handles and wheeling them outside again where she climbed into the first taxi and asked to go to the airport. Fast.
As she sat in the back of the taxi watching the town fade behind her as they drove out towards the airport, Laura fidgeted nervously. Why hadn’t she just mentioned Fernando to Sean? Then none of this would have happened, he would have known there was nothing between her and Fernando, and right now they would be going to the airport together, instead of her chasing him, hoping she wasn’t too late. The drive seemed to take an eternity, just over an hour in fact, the town not being big enough for its own airport, they had to drive to the next town. When she finally arrived, Laura grabbed her bags and ran as fast as she could while dragging them up to the check in counter.
“Am I too late for the flight to Athens?” Laura asked, her eyes wide with hope, her heart trying to beat its way out of her chest.
“Athens” the check-in lady said as she scanned her computer. “Ah yes, that flight leaves in...just ten minutes, I’m afraid boarding is complete now, the flight is closed.
“No!!” Laura yelled, causing several people to turn and stare at her. “Can’t I just..” she asked , her eyes pleading for one last chance to reach Sean.
“I’m sorry Senorita, the flight is closed,” the lady repeated once more. The words seeming to bounce around in Laura’s head repeating themselves over and over again. She remained motionless, not knowing what to do, or where to go. This could not, should not be happening!
Someone tapped her on the shoulder, “Er, excuse me, but are you checking in, there are a lot of people waiting you know.”
Laura turned and saw the rapidly growing queue forming behind her, “I’m sorry” she said, and picking up her bags again, she wheeled them away from the desk. When she reached a row of chairs, she sank into them and put her head in her hands. She felt totally and utterly drained. The emotional rollercoaster of the past four days, especially the unbelievable high of the past 24 hours, when Laura felt she had finally broken free from her own restricting version of life, had left her with nothing more. She had no tears, nothing. She simply felt lost. She looked up and out of the window ahead to the sound of a plane taking off. She felt like an icicle had been driven through her heart as she wondered if that was the plane to Athens, was Sean on that plane? Flying away from her, forever? Leaving her with what? She thought. She had now left her life here in Spain, she had nothing, nobody. The enormity of her situation threatened to engulf Laura. But the fact that depressed her more than anything, was that Sean was no longer there. To be without a job, a house, was difficult, but they could be replaced. She feared that there was no way she could ever replace Sean and the void she felt he had left in her. She sat and stared out of the window, her mind shutting down rather than deal with another loss which to Laura seemed to be as big as the loss she felt four years earlier. What was she to do now?
Laura didn’t know how long she sat like that, but she was brought back to the present by the touch of someone’s hand on her shoulder. It was almost as if she had turned to ice, and this touch was breathing warmth slowly back into her body. Laura breathed in as if to wake herself up and smelled a rich exotic scent that sent immediate shivers through her. It couldn’t be. Could it? She turned and looked up, to see Sean standing behind her.
“Sean!” Laura cried in disbelief. “But the plane, Athens, you were, it’s gone,“ she said all at once as she stood up and turned to face him, all kinds of crazy emotions running riot in her head now as she struggled to know whether to fling her arms around him and kiss him, or fall to her knees and beg his forgiveness for not telling him about Fernando.
“Laura,” Sean said, using the Spanish pronunciation again, as he had consistently for the past four days, the sound of her name on his tongue making her whole body tense with anticipation. “
“I thought you were gone,” Laura said quietly, drinking in the sight of him, proving to herself that he was really standing here before her.
“So did I Laura. I saw you with that other man, and I just went crazy,” Sean said, his black eyes searching her face.
“Sean, he’s nothing. He’s..” Laura tried to explain, but Sean held his finger to her lips to stop her.
“I know Laura. Once I calmed down I realised that there wasn’t anyone else. Like I said yesterday, when you aren’t with me, it’s like a piece of me is missing. I just couldn’t get on that plane. Trying to leave you Laura, made me realise the truth.” He now looked at her with such honesty and intensity, Laura felt tears welling in her eyes. “My work is not the most important thing in my life. You are. I love you, Laura.”
Now Laura did not hesitate, she put her arms up to his face and pulled him towards her so that she could kiss him thoroughly. When they parted, she looked at him and said, “I love you too Sean. I know what my dream is now,“ she added.
“What’s that?” asked Sean smiling.
“Isn’t it obvious?” asked Laura returning his smile, “to share my life with you!” she said, and once again they fell into a kiss that made them forget where they were, and all the people around them who were smiling and even applauding their open declaration of love!
The story concludes tomorrow.....