After the party broke up, Dexter said goodbye to the Pruetts and got ready to go back to the rental house. Naturally, Sasha was not ready for him to leave just yet and suggested they go for a walk before he left for good. There was a taxi stop around the corner where Dexter had arrived that afternoon, so they walked toward it and talked along the way about the music they were listening to at the moment.
He stopped walking and said, “This is the spot where I heard your music.”
“Yeah. I was walking down this hill, and I was admiring all the trees and flowers and just all the life that Willow Creek has when I heard it. Then I saw the rocket, and I was like no way!”
“That’s funny. I wonder if all legacy families have rockets,” she said.
He shrugged his shoulders. “Probably.”
The conversation lulled, and Sasha felt anxious. She wasn’t ready to let him go yet. “I feel like you did the last time we saw each other.”
“Heh, not fair, right?”
She smiled. “Not at all! Are you sure you can’t stick around for another day or two?”
“Yeah,” he said with a smile. “Ever since learning I am to be the heir, I’ve felt even more responsible for my family. I feel like I need to get back to them and have some conversations with my dad so I can do this heir thing right.”
Sasha was slightly disappointed, but she understood. He saw that look and wanted to make her happier although he knew she wouldn’t be unless he agreed to stay. “I want to stay and hang out with you. I haven’t had this much fun since…since the concert! There is something about you that puts me at ease…I can be myself around you and…I enjoy that. I wish I could experience that kind of freedom all the time.”
She took pleasure in knowing that he didn’t want to leave. She wanted so badly to tell him how much her feelings toward him had changed. Perhaps if he knew how she felt, he would stay. She opened her mouth to tell him, but she couldn’t do it. It would not have been right, and she knew he took his heirship seriously and needed to get back home. Instead, she said, “You’re always free to come back,” she said. “Or, I could come visit you again.”
“We will see each other again soon,” he said. “We won’t let years go by again. I promise.”
They stood there staring at each other as if they were trying to memorize every crease and curve of their faces. Perhaps years would not go by, but it would be long enough before they would be in each other’s presence again. Tonight, their existence went back to silent letters on a screen accompanied with a still face.
“Let’s take a picture,” she suggested.
She took out her phone and they huddled close together and smiled.
She snapped the picture and they promptly inspected it. “Can I tell you something, Sasha?”
“You can tell me anything,” she said with a hint of hopefulness.
“I think you’re beautiful!”
She wasn’t sure what to think or how to respond. What did it mean? Was he simply stating a fact, or was he attempting to convey something else? She didn’t want to jump to conclusions and simply replied with “thank you.”
“I wish could stand out here and talk to you all night. I should probably get back and get some sleep though.”
“Yeah…you’re right,” she said with lowered eyes. “Will you let me know you made it home safely?”
“Of course,” he said and embraced her for the second time that day.
“I’ll miss you,” she said. “More than you know…”