James opened the door of the rental car and took place behind the wheel. The engine roared to life when he turned the key. Besides him, on the passenger seat, laid his belongings. There wasn’t much, because where he was going he didn’t need much.
The road was a long one, he moved off right away.
Soon he was outside the city. The sky was bright and blue. It was a warm day, but not too hot. Michael’s favorite kind of day.
James remembered that one date they had outside. The day had been as warm as today when they had left Michael’s house – where they were supposed to meet. They were going to the nearby park to enjoy a quiet lunch of sandwiches and salad. Half way there, ominous grey clouds started covering the sky, and when they finally arrived at the park, it was raining. They eventually ate their sandwiches in a fast-food. The staff wasn’t too pleased with this idea, but when they saw who James and Michael were, they left them alone and even offered them to go to a quiet part of the restaurant. The date hadn’t been that bad actually. For a third date.
James turned to the right. That was the fastest route according to the GPS. He wanted to arrive as much as he dreaded it.
Their second date – the one that had made James think that it could work – had been after the end of filming X-Men. They were back in London. They didn’t live far from each other; that should have been easy. But it took Michael three weeks to muster the courage to ask James out for the second time. It was a very formal diner in a classy restaurant. It was perfect. The subdued light brought sparkles in Michael’s eyes. For a second, just a second, James thought he could see love in those grey-blue eyes, and it was overwhelming. It was too early to be sure, but just the idea didn’t seem so bad after all.
James’ bladder woke up. He had had one too many drinks during the flight. A sign announced the next gas station was two miles away. He could wait.
Their third date had been the first time they made love. It had been both tender and passionate. They couldn’t quench their thirst of each other. James had tasted every inch of Michael’s body, and Michael had enjoyed making James squirm. Their orgasm had been just the beginning of another round. And another. And another. They had spent two days in bed – and on other pieces of furniture. James had never guessed sex could be that satisfying before Michael.
At the station, James filled the gas tank and bought snacks. He was still four hours away from his destination. Hunger could strike him any moment now.
James moved to Michael’s apartment four months into their relationship. Some of his friends said it was too early, that he should at least keep his own, just in case, since he could afford it. But he didn’t want to. It was a commitment. If he took no risk, what was the point? And he never regretted his choice.
Two hours left of driving now. He had kinks in his shoulders. But he didn’t want to stop. Not yet. He put his hand on his backpack.
Their work schedules kept them away from each other for long periods, but their reunion was worth it. Sweet love, nice dates, it was like a new beginning each time. They could never be bored with each other company.
Finally he was here. He took the next exit and ended up on a nice little road, surrounded by woods and groves. He could smell salt in the air. Not much longer, then.
Three months ago, Michael had fallen on his knees. James’ breath had remained stuck in his throat until the end of Michael’s proposal. Both had cried while hugging each other like drowning men in an endless sea.
James parked the car and took his backpack on the passenger seat, holding it against his chest. He walked to the beach.
That was actually the beach they used in X-Men First Class. He hadn’t come here since, but the place held a sweet memory. Here, between two takes, Michael had asked him out for the first time. That tall, handsome and proud guy was blushing the whole time. Little did they know that it was the beginning of a great relationship.
James was back to end it in the most painful way. He put his backpack on the sand and opened it.
Inside was a beautiful jar, ornate and delicate. That was all that remained of Michael. James couldn’t help but think of the motorbike accident that had taken Michael’s life.
Tears started to run down James’ face, and sea spray wasn’t to blame.
James walked to the water with the urn in his arms. He removed the lid and let the wind take away the ashes. Some of them sprinkled the foam, some others mixed with the sand on the beach.
Michael would stay on that beach until the end of time.
His task done, James wiped the tears on his cheeks with the back of his hand and came back to the car with the empty vase.
In about six hours, he would be on another plane, leaving America behind for good. Leaving Michael behind too. For all eternity.