Chapter Twenty-One

“Are you sure this is what you want? You just got out of the hospital you shouldn’t be flying to Paris this soon.” 

Marah tried to block out her mother’s desperate eyes while packing her suitcase.   She needed to keep busy.  As long as she concentrated on something else she didn’t wallow in ‘what could have been’ fantasies that would never happen.  “Yes I have to go back.  My life is there now.  I have an apartment, a career, I can’t just stay here forever mom.”

“Your father and I took years to get things right Marah.  We blew all kinds of second and third chances.  Your second chance is staring you in the face and you are leaving it behind.”

The tears Marah had been holding back threatened to overtake her, “He doesn’t want me mom!  And even if he did how would it even work?  I live in another country.  He never was happy about my choice of careers so why would it be different now?”

“That’s just geography.  And that was six years ago.  I am sure being locked away put a lot of things in perspective.  Besides when there is a will there is a way.”

She had to get out of here.  She closed her suitcase with a note of finality.   “It’s not like I’ll be gone forever.  I’ll be back to visit.  And this time I won’t wait six years, I promise.  And you can come visit me.” She bent down and picked up a sullen Collin, “We can take Little Man here to see the Eiffel Tower and get Gelato.  Make Dad take us shopping.  It’ll be fun.”

Reva wasn’t fooled by Marah’s attempt to change the subject.  But before she could continue her lecture they were interrupted by Josh’s soft knock on the bedroom door, “You packed and ready to go honey?”

Collin began to cry in earnest.  “I’ll miss you Collin.  You can call me whenever you want.  Be good for mom and dad, okay?”

He practically leaped into his mother’s comforting arms, “Okay.”

Marah hugged her mother one more time, “I love you.  And tell Jonathan goodbye for me.  I haven’t seen him since yesterday and he didn’t return my calls.”  She picked up her purse and headed for the door where Josh was waiting to take her to the airport.

As they drove away Marah felt like her heart was breaking all over again.

***

“Can’t you go any faster?” 

Danny just looked over and scowled.  “I am going as fast as I can.  Not my fault it took forever to get you discharged but we’ll get you there on time.  Jonathan said her plane doesn’t leave for another hour.  Now you want to tell me what in the hell you were thinking?”

Like Tony needed anyone else to tell him what an idiot he had been.  “I messed up.”

Danny kept his eyes on the road but Tony could tell he wanted nothing more than to reach over and smack him senseless. “We’ve established that.  Now answer why you decided to push Marah away.  Again.”

“I don’t know, I just panicked.  I saw Jonathan and those kids in the hospital and thought that she had the family she always wanted, that I always wanted.  After all we’ve been through I couldn’t take that away from her.”

Danny could see Tony meant well, even if it was the wrong move.  “Tony it took me years to realize that Michelle didn’t need or want a martyr.  Marah and Michelle are a lot alike in that regard.” Danny finally made the turn into the airport.  As Danny pulled up to the curb Tony didn’t even wait for him to stop, he was running for the entrance.

Once inside he frantically scanned the crowd.  Just his luck that half the town seemed to be there.  Then it was like the seas parted and there she was.  He wasted no time, he took off after her.

***

Marah concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other.  If not she was liable to turn around and head back to the safety of her family.  “You can do this.  You did it once you can do it again.”  If she kept repeated it she just might believe it, even if she was doing that talking to herself thing again.

“Marah!”

Marah stopped and glanced around to see who was calling her name.  She wasn’t expecting to see Tony running towards her. “What are you doing here Tony? ”

“Marah you can’t get on that plane.”  Tony watched her expression flash between surprise and anger.  But he wasn’t deterred.  This was the fight of his life and he would never give up.  Even if he had to follow her to Paris himself. “You leave and you take my heart with you.”

Mindful of those milling around them she kept her voice low but the anger come through crystal clear,  “Your heart!  What about mine?  You talked about love one minute then shut me out cold.  I refuse to go down this road again Tony.  I’m sorry I just can’t.” 

She moved to go around him but  just as quickly he maneuvered himself in front of her. “I love you Marah Lewis.  I always have and I always will.  For all his crazy Romeo was right about one thing.  You were the reason I held on for six years.  You.  You were my light in the darkness.”

“Tony don’t do this now.  I have a life to get back to.  A career.” She took a deep breath and continued on, “Words cannot express how glad I am that you are alive and how grateful I am that you saved my life.  You have a second chance,  be happy Tony.”

Without her that wasn’t an option.  Tony decided it was time to lay all the cards on the table.  “I panicked.”  At her look of confusion he continued on, “That night at the hospital I panicked.  I saw who I know now is Jonathan and the kids and I jumped to the wrong conclusion.  I thought you had a family waiting for you and I couldn’t come into your life and destroy that.  And I am ashamed to say I was angry.”  He stepped up to her and cupped her head in her hands, “Angry that some man gave you the babies that should have been mine.”

Marah opened her mouth to reply but before she could utter a sound his mouth with on hers, kissing her with all the passion and longing he’d been harboring for six years.    The people who were no doubt staring at them faded into the background, it was just her and Tony swept up in the heat of their kiss.  Until reality stepped in.

“Boarding call for Flight 125 departing for Paris, France please proceed to gate 7.”

Marah reluctantly removed herself from his embrace. “I’ve got to go.”

Tony’s eyes searched hers imploringly, “Don’t tell me you didn’t feel anything.  It’s still there Marah.  You want to go to Paris?  If you give me a few days to get my affairs in order I would move there in a heartbeat to be with you.”

“I can’t ask you to do that Tony.  You just got your life back.  Your family back.  To ask you to give all that up again just for me would be selfish.  I love you but I could never ask you to give that up.”

“Damn it I wouldn’t be giving anything up!  I told you once that there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you.  That hasn’t changed.  For six years the only thing that kept me going was the fantasy of coming home to you.”

Final boarding call for Flight 125 to Paris, France.  Please proceed to gate 7.”

“I’ve got to go.  I’ll call you when I land and we can…talk. ”  She turned towards her waiting flight.  She didn’t dare stop.  If she looked back she would crumble into dust.

***

Tony sat on the bench in front of the airport.  The sun was shining but he didn’t feel it.  He doubted he’d feel anything ever again.  He felt someone sit beside him but he didn’t even look over.  He simply didn’t care.

“You just going to let her go?”

Tony raised his head in shock.  He had expected Danny but there was Marah’s father staring back at him.  Josh Lewis had never liked him, which he could admit now was for pretty good reasons.  And here he was actually encouraging him to fight for Marah.  Miracles never ceased.

“Last night Reva and I had a little talk.  Well I should say she talked and I listened.  She made me see that I wasn’t really fair to you.  Afterall I’ve loved Reva for what seems like my entire life and it took us years and multiple marriages to get it right.  It’s years too late but I wanted to say that I’m sorry.  I know you love Marah and I know she loves you..”  He stopped and looked at something over Tony’s shoulder and grinned, ” And with that I’ll leave you alone.  But a piece of advice. Don’t make the same mistake I did and take decades to get it right.  Fight for her and never let go.  But if you hurt her again I won’t hesitate to hurt you right back.”

Tony was still lost in Josh’s words when a shadow blocked out the sunlight.  “We are going to take it slow this time and do it right.”

Tony stood up so fast his head was spinning.  Or it could be the vision in front of him.  He felt his heart stop and restart with a jolt.  “Slow is good.  We have all the time in the world.”  He opened his arms and she eagerly stepped into them.

Marah sighed as he held her close.  “Yes we do”

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