Perhaps he was doing the merciful thing, I told myself. He knew that I hated the arrivals catwalk, where you have precisely half a second to locate your friends before everyone else regards you as a sad loser. Besides, how would I have greeted him if he was there? Run to him like reunited lovers? No. Stand there and wait for him to come running to me? Never going to happen. Walk over casually to him and hug him? Maybe. His absence made all these questions irrelevant. It should have triggered panic, a dawning realisation that I might be spending the next ten days alone but the overwhelming feeling of freedom dismissed any fear of that.
Perhaps he was just running late. I was supposed to arrive two hours later than I actually did. Somehow, I had misread the flight times on my ticket confirmation, even though I had read that email a million times. I’m one of those people that checks they have their ticket and passport compulsively on the drive to the airport and because I had booked it online, normally preferring face-to-face, I was particularly nervous about it. I had read and re-read the automated message from Virgin a thousand times, until it was ingrained in my brain. Yet like an idiot, I had still managed to confuse the times.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…
I found a bench nearby and had only been sat there for a couple of minutes when I felt him enter the airport. I could feel his energy drawing closer to mine. I tried not to fidget as he approached, resisting the urge to check my appearance one last time as that burning beacon drew closer and closer. Then, a woman dressed entirely in white steeped to the side and there he was, as beautiful and alluring as ever.
My heart skipped a beat as I watched Seth look around for me, those unmistakable eyes blazing blue behind his trendy specs. His silver hair was shorter than I had ever seen it before, normally he wore it longer and spiked with wax, he‘d probably just had it cut. He was fitter too, his muscles defined under his jeans and t-shirt, and even the unzipped hoodie he was wearing didn’t disguise the bulge of his biceps, but he had lost more weight than I’d expected. Seth had obviously been training hard.
Noticing something else, I frowned.
When had he begun slouching? This was completely new. I’d always thought that he had a confident swagger, shoulders back, at ease with the world. The man before me looked exhausted, as though all his energy had been drained out of him. I knew that Seth worked too hard but I wasn’t sure whether his body language was down to his career or coming to meet me.
What if he hadn’t really wanted me to fly over and visit him? What if we weren’t as good friends as I thought we were? Maybe Thor was right and this affinity that I felt was all a figment of my imagination?
The usual paranoid garbage.
I took a deep breath and called out his name.
He turned to me, his face lighting up. “Eden!”
“Hey Seth, how’s it going?” I stood and was enveloped in a massive hug, his scent swept over me, scattering my fears. It felt incredible to be that close to him.
Still holding onto me, his voice muffled by my hair and my tight grip on him, he replied “Really good. Its amazing to have you here. How was your flight? Did you get your gin and tonic?”
“Of course!” I laughed as we finally released each other. “Thanks for picking me up. I wouldn’t have minded waiting, seeing as I was such a fool getting the times mixed up.”
“Like I would have left you waiting here by yourself! Don’t be silly, its my pleasure. I am only sorry that I have to go back to work for a bit, but you’ll be ok in my flat for a couple of hours, right?” He took my suitcase as he said it and looked at me apologetically.
“Seth, I promise I will be fine. We have got so much time together in the next few days that it is probably best if I have a while alone to get my head around it,” I gave him an impish smile “You know, keep pinching myself to try and believe that this is really happening.”
He squeezed my hand as we approached his sleek, black jeep. “Trust me,” he said looking deep into my eyes “This is really happening.”
I felt the colour rise in my cheeks as I climbed into the passenger seat. My heart was beating so hard that I was sure he could hear it.