Sully stared out the window for only a moment before pulling the shade down and turning his back on heartache. His heart had yearned so much to hear those three special words, “I love you too,” but it just wasn’t so.
Her face was shocked as she fell into his arms the moment the train lurched forward. She looked as if she was trying to make sense of it all in her mind as what looked like tears forming in her eyes.
He wanted to comfort her, hold her close, never letting go as he dried the tears. But it just wasn’t so. His heart sank when she slipped from his arms before dashing from the train in all her finery.
She was a beautiful swirl of black and white in her exit as if she was truly running from something. Was it him? He hoped it wasn’t so; living without her would break him slowly into pieces until there wouldn’t be a reason to live anymore.
He wanted more than anything to leave the city behind him forever and it pained him so much that she was still there. There with him, the doctor who had wormed his way into her heart as he slowly worked to steal her away from him.
Only now it was if he had won, the doctor, the lucky man to sweep the most beautiful woman off her feet and into his life forever. He punched the seat with his fist as he tried to get the other man’s face out of his mind. It was too much to see him fawning over her, too much to see him smother her in his manners and way beyond anything when he proposed marriage. He couldn’t imagine her with him at all, knew it was all wrong. But did she? She, who had turned his life upside down, opened his heart, only to step on it later.
Had he known that such heartache was around the corner, he might not even have made the long arduous trip East. Feelings of longing had overpowered him so much that he had to go, only to find when he got there that he would be fighting for the one woman who would make him the happiest man in the world.
The children had been wonderful in their help as he made is way in society, even her mother did what she could to help. He had been so nervous, yet seeing her gleaming under the lights on the dance floor or watching her beautiful face from across the table had been so worth it. God she was a beautiful woman.
Silence enveloped him for the remainder of the trip home. There was nothing more to say, nothing more to do, she was gone. Yet no matter how he tried she wouldn’t leave his thoughts, her beautiful face, her smile, it was all there. Only this time it brought with it painful memories of something that was almost beautiful. Almost his lover and now what? Thoughts of where to go when he returned ran through his head, even as a part of him argued to leave altogether. She was the reason he stayed and would she now be the reason he left?
It was all so unclear as he tried to settle in on the seat and relax the rest of the way home. Home to Colorado Springs, or was that home? A part of him wanted to leave it all together to rid him of the memories of her. She was the reason he had stayed there after getting his life back. Now he didn’t feel any reason too stay. For all he knew she was going to stay in Boston and marry the sweet talking Doctor he despised so much.
Michaela moved through the crowded train unaware of those surrounding her. All she could think to do was not cry. It wasn’t proper, not in society to do such a thing in public. Yet she knew the tears would come.
His words to her were a shock to her very soul as he spoke what both of them had been dancing around. Love. She had known she was in love with him for some time now, how much she needed him in her life, but had been to stubborn to admit it.
Feeling his arms on her own had been almost more than she could bear. Had he kept them there longer or even embraced her, she would have been putty in his arms. There wouldn’t have been any turning back.
Just now it had taken ever fiber in her being not to leave him staring after her as she made her way out of the train. She wanted so badly to be there with him, finally able to snuggle close, feel his warm breath on her face. But with her children still in Boston, she just couldn’t leave them there. They had to be fetched and then they would all return home. It would take some time but she knew she had to go, now. Losing him was unthinkable and now was the time for her to run after him.
She made her way out of the train car and on to the platform, just as the train picked up speed. Standing there frozen in time she watched each car go by, searching for his face amongst the passengers. He had to be on there somewhere, so she could smile and wave. Give him some acknowledgement that she felt the same in her heart.
Her eyes never left each train car as it passed by her, creating a breeze underneath her skirts. She didn’t want to miss seeing him sitting there in one of the cushioned cars with his head back and staring out the window. Although all she saw at first was other couples or singles busy chatting or looking out into nothing with no mind to her at all. The cars continued to roll by, getting faster as they went and before long there was nothing but puffs of smoke left behind.
She was so caught up in wanting to see him on the train that the porter who came up behind her to say something, caused her to jump several feet in the air. “Sorry, ma’am,” he said tipping his hat. “Best clear the platform now that was the last of the westbound trains.”
“Thank you,” she nodded before picking up her skirts and scurrying out of the station as quick as her feet would carry her.
Once outside amongst the throngs of people leaving, she stopped to catch her breath. Her heart was still pounding with thoughts of him and his powerful three words to her. She had to catch her breath before going anywhere. “A proper lady never runs, she walks.” A phrase her mother loved to instill in her daughters. But of her four sisters she hated the walking and wanted to run around in circles like the boys. “They always have more fun.” She would remark back in a childlike huff before running off just to get under her mother’s skin.
With a pounding heart, she forced herself to walk back home to her mother, her children and tell them they were going home. She had to find him before it was too late. For now she would keep that to herself, although her mother was sure to see right through it all.
Chapter 2: Drifting