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Flashback to the End

- February 1993 -

"You look so beautiful."

"You clean up pretty well yourself."

"Picture time!"


"I'm not letting you leave without a picture."

"If it helps, we have to go back to my house for the same thing."

I laughed. Mom directed us to in front of the fireplace where we stood, his arm around my waist and my head on his shoulder. We looked the part of the perfect Valentine's Day couple. My red floor length dress had a modest slit that stopped right at the knee. Brian's black suit was accented with a red tie.

Cupid would have been proud.

"Have her back by elev--" mom turned and my parents seemed to have a silent discussion. "twelve," dad corrected.

"Yes, sir," Brian said, trying to hide his grin.

"One more picture!"



Tell me princess, now when did you last let your heart decide?
I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder
Over sideways and under on a magic carpet ride
A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no, or where to go, or say we're only dreaming.

"I love you Jilly Bean."

"I love you, too Bri."

His hands drifted down my back. All around us couples were swaying to the slow song. I felt his lips on my neck and then his warm breath on my ear.

"What do you say we leave a little early?"

It didn't take long to decide. The decorations were high school cheesy, all baby-faced smiling cupids, metallic red hearts, and paper conversation hearts that said things like 'Cool' and 'Wild Thang."


Then How Do You Talk to an Angel began to play. Brian's fingers pressed deeper in my sides.

"After this song," he said. I laughed, but soon closed my eyes and let myself enjoy Brian's voice singing along, a voice that sounded even better than the actual artist.

I hear a voice in my mind
I know her face by heart
Heaven and earth are moving in my soul
I don't know where to start

Tell me, tell me, the words to define
The way I feel about someone so fine
How do you talk to an angel
How do you hold her close to where you are
How do you talk to an angel
It's like trying to catch a falling star


"You're lucky your birthday's next week. If mom finds out--"

"I owe you one."

Harold smiled. "It was so much easier when you just needed me to buy baseball cards for you because you couldn't reach the counter."

Brian took the motel key from his brother's hand. "I'll be home around 12:30."

"I'm not responsible if you miss her curfew," Harold laughed. He winked at me and I blushed. He pulled out his car keys and slapped his brother on his back.

"Have fun."

My blush intensified, but the feeling of Brian's hand taking my own distracted me.

"You can say no," he said softly.

I had already said 'yes' twice on the way to the motel. I smiled.

"No to the no."

"Two no's make a yes?"

I laughed. "Yes."


- April 20, 1993 -

"I'm just going to go down and see what Kevin's talking about. I'm sure it's not going to be the big break he's hoping for."

"And if it is?"

My stomach was in knots. Everything was happening way too fast. One minute we were in the middle of a history test and the next Brian was racing out because he had an important phone call.

The call was changing our lives and I was nervous.

"If it is then you're going to be moving to Florida," Brian smiled. He cupped my face and gave me a kiss that radiated his excitement. This was an adventure. As much as I wanted to beg him not to go, how could I?

"I just...I just don't want you to forget me," I said, my voice shaking. I was going to cry. I was going to cry!

"His fingers brushed around the perimeter of my face. "How could I ever forget you, Jilly Bean? We've got too many plans. We're going to get great jobs and fix up an old run down house and then have four kids."

I smiled at the dream. "Little Avery Marie."

He held me tighter. "Exactly."

"Except if we have four boys," I teased. He nuzzled my neck.

"Then we'll have to keep trying 'til we get a girl."

My tears started the same time as my laughter. I clung to his shoulders, hating the selfish feeling that was bubbling in my stomach.

"Two months," he promised. "I'll be home if Kevin can't make something happen in two months."

I was a blubbering mess. I had to pull myself together. The shoulder of his t-shirt was getting soaked through my tears. "Okay," I said, my voice sounding ridiculously small. He pulled back and smiled.

"You have nothing to worry about."


- Graduation Day -

"I wish you could have been at SeaWorld. It was amazing. All the applause and the people. Jill, this is something big. I think this could be it. The other guys are really good and our vocals really blend."

My hat was annoying me. Even with the bobby pins holding it in place, it kept sliding down over my eyes. I slid it back up. Brian looked so happy. What could I say?

"So you're staying down there?"

"Well, they're talking about taking us over to Europe this summer. Can you believe it? Europe!

It felt like I hadn't seen my boyfriend in forever and now he was talking about putting even more miles between us. And the worst part was he didn't see my pain through his excitement. He gave me a tight hug.

"This is all going to work out great, Jilly. I love you."

I squeezed him tightly, closing my eyes to trap the tears.

"I love you, too."


- July 1993 -

"I'm really sorry, Jill. Things are happening so fast and I just don't think it's fair to you."

"This isn't fair to me. You're breaking up with me."

"Jill," even though it sounded like this conversation was ripping his heart out as much as it was mine, I didn't want to hear his hurt. "They said we probably won't even be home for Christmas. I promise this isn't going to be forever. There's just so much more involved in the process than I thought."

I choked on a sob. "Is there someone else?"

Visions of some French topless girl floated in my mind. I hated Europe.

"There's no one else," he said. "I love you Jilly. Always have and always will."

Those words had always meant so much. Now they felt...empty.

"Brian, I--"

There was noise on his end of the line. Muffled voices followed my a sigh. His voice finally flooded the line.

"I've got to go. Jill, I--"

It was the end. I knew the second I hung up the phone that I was going to fall to pieces. I clung to the phone. Don't hang up, don't hang up, don't--

"Bye, Jilly Bean."

The line went dead...

And I began the fall.