The house stood there.
Jamie knew it was the perfect house. From the first he laid eyes on it he wouldn't consider any other. It was exactly what Sara wanted. Big, lots of windows, a wraparound porch and white columns. The columns were the deal maker. From the time they were kids, Sara had talked about a house with columns like the ones in old southern movies.
He looked all over hell's half acre to find it and finally there it was, sitting empty and ready for them to make into a home. He'd been staying alone in it the last 6 months waiting on Sara but he knew seeing her face when she got there would be worth it. It needed some minor fixes, paint of course and the inside was in need of a dust rag or two but those were superficial blemishes. Nothing would keep him from making it a home for them now that Sara was ready to leave her family. This house would be theirs.
Her parents had kept them apart far too long. They were concerned about her and only wanted what was best for her but Jamie knew he was what was best for her and he knew Sara wanted to be with him more than anything. It just took a while for her to get the courage to leave them. They fought it all the way but in the end they knew they had to let go of her because it wasn't right to hold her back anymore.
Jamie walked through the open rooms. There wasn't much furniture but at least there was a bed and he figured they could get by with that. There were a few spider webs but spiders wouldn't deter Sara from loving this house. Or him.
He would carry her across the threshold and they would dance in the front room under the chandelier, and laugh together before they would walk hand in hand up the staircase to the bedroom and make love for the first time in their house with the white columns. It would be perfect.
They were probably all saying their goodbyes right now. Sara would be at the door in a manner of seconds. Jamie loved her so much he thought his heart would burst.
And then, the knock at the door. Tentative and soft, just like Sara. His Sara.
He opening it and her smile filled him with joy.
He lifted her in his arms. "Welcome home, Sara."
"Oh Jamie, It's perfect. I'm sorry I made you wait so long. It was hard to leave Mom and Dad but never because I love them more. I just had to make sure they would be ok with everything."
He carried her through the door and into the front room where they stood wrapped around each other under the chandelier.
"I love you Sara. I'll stay here with you forever." They swayed back and forth to the music in their hearts and when they were ready, they walked up the stairs to the bedroom and made love in their own home.
Across town, Mady was still crying. It's what she did best these days. Sam had his arm around her shoulders and tears slid down his face too. Sara had always been a headstrong child. What she wanted, she usually got but her parents had dug in their heals these last few months. In the end, they had to face reality that if she needed to leave them, there was nothing they could do to stop it. It's hard to completely avoid the inevitable.
"Mady, Sam. I know it'd hard. I do. But sometimes, fate wins."
What could they say to Anne. Jamie was her son. "Even though they left us, they will always be our babies. At least I feel that way. I hope you'll think of us as family. I know it will make them both happy."
Mady hugged Anne. Her husband Tim was not as forgiving. He was still pissed about the whole thing and refused to speak with Mady or Sam. If not for Sara, Jamie would still be with them.
Over beside the church, some little kids were swinging in the very swings where Sara and Jamie had played as kids.
Anne watched them. "I can't feel sad because I know they ‘re taking care of each other right now," said Anne. "And I know we'll see them again."
Tim turned. He was mad at everybody, including himself. If he had nipped it in the bud before it got too far, things might be different. He should have followed Jamie. He could have stopped the whole mess. Jamie was too young to marry anyway.
"I mean, not that any of this is easy but with Jamie, there wasn't any discussion. He was gone when we got there. Your Sara... she stayed so you could say a proper goodbye. Sometimes I wish..."
"Goddamn it Anne. Shut up! It's their daughter's fault our son's gone. Why can't you understand that?" Tim stomped away.
"Sorry, he is , uh... sorry," said Anne.
Mady looked at Sam and he understood her silent request. He followed Tim across the yard.
These past six months had been the worst of Sam's life. It took them that long to realize that Sara was not really their Sara anymore. After that realization sunk in, they held her as the machines were turned off one by one and she looked happy. Without pain. At peace. Sam knew it had been right and hoped Mady would be ok.
"I wasn't Sara's fault, Tim," said Sam. "The road was slick. I should have insisted on better tires. Blame me, not Sara."
Tim had no more tears. His eyes were as dry and vacant as his heart. "I don't really blame her," he said. "I just wish Jamie never met her."
Sam's shoulders sagged with the weight of Tim's words and his own pain.
"Me too," he said.