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Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Holiday Romance
“Abbie?” the voice said behind her, causing Abbie to spin round. “You don’t recognise me?”
“Er, sorry.” She collected her coffee and muffin, before turning to leave the busy coffeeshop.
“It’s me, Duncan.”
His words made her stop and stare, taking in everything about him. She remembered. How could she forget her holiday romance, the love of her life? It had taken her years to get over him. Years! And now here he was, standing in front of her, in a west London coffee shop, looking just as handsome, just as tanned, a little taller, a bit broader across the shoulders. But it was Duncan.
She had a thousands words for him but none came as anger and frustration built up at his timing. She was only seventeen when they met and everyone had said to move on, it was just a holiday fling. But Abbie knew it was so much more. Until he broke her heart, ripped it out and squashed it into the golden sands.
“I think you need a seat,” he said, taking her by the arm and leading her to a vacated table by the window. On autopilot, Abbie sat, still struggling to say anything. “It’s been a long time. I’ve never forgotten you, Abbie.” He watched her, waiting impatiently to hear her voice. “Say something Abs.”
“Eight years,” she whispered.
“I know. But you haven’t made it easy. You never replied to my of my emails, you never replied to any of the letters. You weren’t on facebook. You disappeared.”
“Eight years!” A hush descended throughout the shop.
“I know, Eight years, three months, two weeks and four days to be precise. I can give you the hours, minutes and seconds too.”
“Is that meant to impress me?” she spat.
“Well, yes. It means I’ve never given up on you, on us.”
“Us? After eight years, you expect an us? After you abandoned me? I waited like we planned. I waited for hours, sitting on that wooden bench, watching the sun rise, with every passing second knowing you weren’t coming.”
“I know.” He rummaged through his rucksack and placed a photo on the table. Abbie stared, taking her back to that early morning; the deserted beach, the misty mountains in the background, the gentle lapping of the sea. “I came to say goodbye but couldn’t bear it. You looked so beautiful, perfect. I took your photo and left, unable to talk to you and I’ve regretted it every single day.”
“What happened?” Abbie was finally softening towards him as she held the photo.
“Family stuff. My mum got taken ill that night and it was serious. I couldn’t run away yet I couldn’t talk to you. I didn’t want to upset you.”
“But you did. What you did was much worse, Duncan.”
“I know.” They both sat in silence, staring at each other. “You look great,” Duncan finally said.
“You too. Look, I need to go.” Seeing Duncan again stirred up dead and buried emotions.
“Can we meet up? I don’t want to lose touch with you again.”
“Duncan, I’m engaged.” She flashed her hand where the small diamond sparkled just like the stars on their last night on the beach.
“I guess I’m too late.” He picked up his rucksack and walked out of the shop, followed by Abbie. “You know, I haven’t stopped looking for you all these years Abbie, it’s true. If I could change the events of that morning, I would.”
“It’s too late.” She spoke words her heart didn’t want to hear. “I’m sorry your mum was ill. Maybe it was meant to be.”
“So you’re happy, truly happy?”
“Right. Well I hope you have a wonderful life, don’t give up on those dreams Abs.”
“You remember my dreams?”
“Of course, they were mine too.” He leant in towards her, inhaling her sweet perfume as his lips gently grazed her warm, soft cheek. Just as he remembered. “Take care.”
Abbie watched as he walked away, his head hunched into sunken shoulders. She still held the photograph and wanted to run after him, wanted him to hold her, to live their dream. All the feelings swamped over her from that holiday eight years ago as she saw Duncan disappear into the crowd.
Against her head, Abbie ran after him, her heart pounding like it would burst from her chest. “Duncan!”
He stopped and saw Abbie running towards him. He wanted to smile but his heart was heavy despite seeing his true love running towards him.
“Just tell me one thing,” Abbie panted.
“Your mum. I feel so rude not asking, but how is she?”
“My mum? She died. Two days after being taken ill.”
“Why didn’t you tell me back there?”
“I didn’t want your sympathy,” Duncan replied. “I still don’t.”
Abbie reached out her hand, taking his, squeezing tight. “I have no sympathy, Duncan. But I have dreams that I need to discuss and live,” she said as she smiled. Duncan kissed her and in that second they were both taken back to the beach eight years ago.
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x