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The Runaway

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Sophie packs up all her things and leaves the Reynolds’ house just as morning light starts to peek through the trees. Her last 24 hours have been an emotional rollercoaster, stealing secret kisses and touches with the man who had been consuming her thoughts since she met him, finding out his dream was coming true, then having reality come crashing in. Keith was married. Keith had a daughter who had seen them as they laid curled in each other’s arms at the reservoir. As she realizes what she has done, it leaves her no choice but to finally make the right choice and run and never look back.

She did a great job at the first part. Seven years later and she was still working on the second.

Keith always wondered what had happened to the girl who had stormed into his life, tilted his world off its axis, and then left just as quickly as she had entered. Had she realized that he was just an old man, past his prime who was trying to cling to a glimmer of her youth and brilliance? Had he taken advantage of her, did she not feel the same way about him as he did her? Years later he would almost swear that she had never even existed, she was just a ghost, a figment of an active imagination.

Now, eight years after she ran from the Reynolds family, Sophie is a moderately successful pianist as well as a piano teacher. Living in Manhattan, Sophie teaches a few young pianists which allows her the flexibility to perform in small concerts throughout the states, though the majority of her performances are in the city. Although performing is undoubtedly her passion, she loves the time she spends teaching piano to the children.

She’s always loved kids, and adores their innocent passion for music and learning. She thinks a large part of her enjoyment with teaching stems from the closeness she feels with her uncle when she watches a young musician finally catch on to a concept, or finally play a song all the way through for the first time. It may not just be her uncle’s closeness that she craves when she teaches piano, but whenever images of glasses and plaid shirts pop into her mind, she pushes them aside.

‘You really have to forget him and move on’ she tells herself just after her last lesson of the day. ‘He probably hasn’t even thought about you for years, and you aren’t getting any younger. You really should try to put yourself out there and try to date again’ she thinks as she removes the sheet music from the stand and starts to pack up.

All of her relationships since Keith have been disastrous to say the least. She didn’t date for quite a while after him, probably out of a tiny sliver of misplaced hope that he might try to find her. Then there was Cameron, a chemistry student who was probably the exact opposite of Keith, outgoing, charming, cocky, buff and very abrasive. Cameron didn’t last long. After Cameron was a one-night stand (yes…big mistake, she knows…she was desperate for a distraction.) Then there was Josh who was in a single word, amazing. Josh was kind, good-natured, intelligent and protective, everything Sophie could’ve wanted out of a man. They dated for a couple years before Josh proposed out of the blue. Some part of Sophie wanted to say yes, Josh was the kind of guy Sophie wanted to want, but he wasn’t it, he wasn’t him.

‘On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t start dating again’ Sophie thought as Josh popped into her head. ‘Don’t want to end up in that position again, turning down one proposal was horrible enough’ she thought as a wave of guilt and shame washed over her. ‘Maybe I’ll just get a dog. Yeah, a dog might be a great compromise, and the students will probably love having one around.’ With that thought, Sophie turned her mind to thoughts of what to have for dinner.

Eight years after Sophie’s disappearance, Keith was still performing with the NYSO, but had also started a band of his own, getting a few of his old bandmates together to do some small performances. He was living in Brooklyn, and loved being back in the city doing what he always dreamed of.

When Keith looked back, he realized that it wasn't just Sophie he lost in that time, Lauren also started to act strangely around him. He had no idea why, but for the rest of the year she could barely look at him, and their previously easy-going relationship had become tense. It was a few years and a country of separation that allowed them to slowly mend their relationship, until finally Lauren started to treat him like her dad again. Now, they talk regularly and visit often, especially since she returned to the East Coast with her family.

After Sophie left, it took Keith a while, but he eventually realized that he didn’t need to stay trapped anymore. It was about 10 months after Sophie ran away, ans Lauren had already moved into her dorm at UCLA when Keith realized there was no reason to stay in a dead-end marriage any longer. Not long afterwards, the house was sold, he was divorced and he was moving back to the city to start the next part of his life.

Throughout this entire time, Keith often considered dropping everything and trying to find Sophie. Not long after these thoughts popped into his head, common sense would take over and he would realize that Sophie ran away from him. She wanted nothing to do with him, and who did he think he was that he would try to invade her life. He realized he had to be content with his music and his daughter, and that his love life was over the day she disappeared in the night.

Lauren never spoke up about what she saw at the Reservoir that day. When she got the phone call the morning after her confrontation with Sophie, telling her that Sophie had gone missing and they had no clue where to find her, she realized that it was better to keep quiet. For quite a while it was nearly impossible for her to look her dad in the eye, but once her parents were divorced and she matured little she realized there was no use holding a grudge.

Her parents’ relationship was obviously strained even before Sophie’s entrance into their lives, and looking back, she can better understand her dad’s feelings, although still not condone them (kissing the exchange student is a pretty horrible thing to do). Seeing how happy he was with his life in the city, and his music, she realized how lost he must’ve been back then. She realized the sweet-tempered, caring, thoughtful dad that she knew so well didn’t just disappear that day, he was still the same guy she had always known.

Lauren was happy to be back home and close to her parents again. Despite their divorce, her parents remained amicable with one another and they still spent almost every holiday together as a family. Lauren’s husband, Evan was also from the East Coast and once they were both graduated, they were eager to get back.

Evan and Lauren were married just after graduation, and 9 months later they had their first son, Johnny. Johnny was now 4 years old, and Lauren was 5 months pregnant with their next. Keith absolutely adored his grandson, and Lauren adored watching the two of them together. That was another great thing about moving back home, free babysitting!

Lauren was really happy with her life, and despite a few road bumps, she thinks that it’s been pretty great so far.