Three hours and counting until Jasmine left for New York. She stared at her gloved hands, holding back the tears. She sniffed as tightness increased in her limbs. Her vision blurred, but she blinked to stop the waterworks. She would celebrate this Christmas in New York. Time was slipping through her fingers, but she could leave without looking back.
Making partner in her law firm, she would run the offices up north. She was leaving. No changing that now. Jasmine only turned when familiar arms wrapped around her waist. She turned around. “What are you… Tyler?”
She melted in his arms. He cupped her cheek and her body went still. Then his mouth claimed hers. She pressed her fingers into his chest as his hands splayed across her back. Jasmine’s heart palpitated as she clung to him. This wasn’t good. She had to leave.
Tyler had chosen now of all times to kiss her, to make her knees wobble. Now, in the idle of her going away party. Why would he kiss her now? They said everything to each other the night before—or so she thought. She’d professed her feelings, and he said nothing. That said everything. But now he was kissing her. And she didn’t want it to be for the last time.
He ran his fingers through her long hair and her scalp tingled. He deepened the kiss and Jasmine lost herself. Her mind numbed, losing a sense of where she was. The hyper-awareness of her body increased. Euphoria had to be the right word for the moment. Her coat and scarf warmed her body, but the nearness of Tyler kindled her blood. Why would he do this to her now? It wasn’t fair. With one final brush to her lips, he pulled away.
She exhaled deeply to regain her bearings. “Tyler?”
He pressed his forehead against hers. “I’m sorry.”
“I messed things up last night. I didn‘t know what to say, but I’m here now. I want us.”
Her mouth, just moments ago tingling with his kiss, turned down. “I can’t stay. I’ve worked too hard for this promotion. I—”
“I’m not asking you to give anything up.”
“Then… what are you asking me?” She took two steps backward, leaving the comfort of his arms.
Tyler rubbed at his stubble chin. “To give us a chance.”
She folded her arms over her chest. “How would we make it work?”
He shrugged, looked away. But she saw the doubt in his eyes. “I don’t know. I live here and you’ll be up there.”
It was too much to ask of him. She wouldn’t ask. Instead, she bore down on her feelings, trying to raise a wall around her heart. “Don’t worry about it, Tyler.”
His forehead furrowed. “Jasmine?”
She held up her hand to stop him. “I get it. Long distance is not the way to go. I think that’s why you didn‘t say anything last night. You already knew.” She shook her head.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said.
She choked back the tears threatening to spill over again. “It’s okay.”
Bringing his mouth back to hers, he planted another kiss. Jasmine held on to him for the last time. She cupped his cheek this time and leaned into him. She would never forget him. Even if it was only short-lived, she would love him forever.
Jasmine pulled Nina and Paige in for a group hug, the airport terminal bustling around them, heedless of their grief. Jasmine would miss her sisters—her best friends. They would call or FaceTime if they needed to stay close, but it wasn’t the same.
Grabbing her bags, Jasmine gave one final look to her sisters.
“Call us as soon as you land.” Nina, the baby sister, pointed to her.
Jasmine rolled her eyes, refusing to let her younger sister mother her. “I will.” She hugged them both once more, her eyes teary. She then gave one final wave and then walked to check-in. Flights announced through the intercom along with names of passengers wanted.
Her heeled boots clicked against the floor as she proceeded to her gate. Why did she feel she was leaving it all behind? This was a perfect opportunity for her career as a lawyer.
Walking down the narrow carpeted aisle, she found her seat. After placing her carryon into the white overhead compartment, she settled into the chair which seemed to get smaller every time she took a flight. People talked and laughed around her and even a few babies cried. She breathed in fresh coffee and hand sanitizer, and she hoped to hear the engine fire up soon for takeoff.
No more block parties. No more Christmas festivals. Not even the mom-and-pop business she loved visiting on the way to work. Hilda’s Bakery and her special cinnamon rolls. Jasmine loved speaking to her fellow townspeople as they strolled on the street with her. Charms would ring over her head when walking inside Clint and Ginger’s floral shop. When her phone rang with a message, she saw Nina’s text. The sisters were in a group.
7:45 PM… Nina: Make sure u call when u land
Wasn’t Jasmine the oldest? How did she end up the one always needing reminders? It didn’t matter. Her baby sister never hesitated to speak her mind with her point of view. Jasmine would miss their weekly visits, but no distance could shatter the unique bond from losing their parents in childhood. They would always have each other.
Jasmine’s heart clenched. She wouldn’t see them regularly, but she would find her own way. She then lowered the shade on the window, only to nudge her seatmate as she leaned back into her seat.
“Sorry,” she said.
“Comfortable?” A familiar voice asked.
Jasmine’s head jerked to find Tyler sitting next to her. “What? How… what are you doing here?”
“I bought a ticket.” He held it up for her to see.
Jasmine’s fingers touched her parted lips, and a jolt went through her body in desperate hope. He was coming with her? Was he planning on moving? The thought made heat radiate through her chest. “I can’t believe it.”
He laced his fingers with hers. “Believe it. I’m not losing you.”
“You think you’ll like New York?” she asked, tears filling her eyes.
“I can get used to it.” His eyes sparkled.
Kerriann Curtis      7/07/19 1:00 PMI wasn't expecting that! Can't wait to read more!!