The Day He Came Back

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
For Ethan and Maddi, it was love at first sight. But when Ethan leaves and they gradually lose contact with one another, their love must stand the test of time, distance, and perhaps even death.
--this story is for Oceanicflight815's Plane Crash Challenge

Submitted: April 13, 2011

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Submitted: April 13, 2011

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“No! Please, God, no!” Maddi threw herself at the fence surrounding the tarmac. The explosion rocked the earth and sent fiery heat shooting even as far away from the mess as she was. She nearly fell off the fence, but managed to keep her grip and continued to try climbing over the top. Slicing her hand on the barbed wire at the top, she collapsed in a heap on the ground, unable to take her eyes off the disaster unfolding before her eyes.

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2 days earlier

Maddi flopped back onto her bed. She had only been awake for an hour and already she wished the day was over. It was only the second week of June but it seemed that years had gone by since graduation. She had no real friends to call. No spectacular summer vacation to plan for. Nothing exciting to look forward to at all. The only exciting thing that had ever happened in her life had walked out the same summer it had walked in.

Ethan. The love of her life. She had met him back in the summer before senior year. Eleven months, two weeks, and three days ago to be exact. Ethan had come in to the ice cream parlor where Maddi worked and by the time he walked out the door that afternoon, they were in love. They were together every possible second of every day. He picked her up for work and took her out afterward. They walked together under the stars along the edge of the Arizona desert almost every night.

Maddi squeezed her eyes shut and the images came flooding back.

The night Ethan first hugged her.

The day he first kissed her while they were hiding from the rain in the back of his truck.

The time he first said “I love you.”

The memories were too much and Maddi snapped her eyes open again, desperate to forget. But it was too late.

“I’m leaving, Maddi.”

A tear made it’s way down Maddi’s cheek. Reliving this was like losing him all over again. Sure, they talked every once in a while. But as time went on, those conversations got further and further apart. Soon, they lost contact completely. It was an accident, really. But every time Maddi picked up the phone to call him again, something stopped her. What if he didn’t want to talk? What if he didn’t like her anymore? She put the phone back down. Life sucked with out him.

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Ethan sat in the driver’s seat of his truck and looked out over the Atlantic Ocean. The water was so smooth and blue on a sunny day like today. So much opposite of the dry, sandy desert. A sigh escaped from his lips. He tried so hard not to think of Maddi, but it was impossible. She was the most amazing girl he had ever met. Why on earth had he ever let himself lose contact with her? The day he met her had been the best day of is life.

Walking into the ice cream shop, Ethan spotted the girl at the counter. He stopped and just stared for a minute, deciding right then and there that he had to have her. He stepped up and ordered and ice cream cone, all the while making conversation with her. She laughed and his heart skipped. What a beautiful laugh. Since no other customers were making appearances that afternoon, Ethan stayed for almost two hours just talking to her and, before leaving, made arrangements to meet her when she got done with work. As he walked out of the store, he had only one coherent thought: I’m in love with her.

Ethan pressed his lips together. He had been trying for months to work up the courage to call her again. He picked up the phone again and found her number. He closed his eyes and pushed the call button.

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Maddi’s phone rang. She made no move to pick it up. It rang again. Finally on the third ring she rolled over and lazily grabbed the phone. Seeing Ethan’s number, she froze. Should she answer? It rang a fourth time. She answered.

“Hello?”

“Maddi?”

“Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you answered!”

“Ethan? It’s been so long…”

“I know and I’m so sorry for letting it get that way. I never meant to…” he broke off and was quiet for a minute. “Listen, Maddi. I’m coming back this weekend. We need to talk for real, not this over the phone stuff.”

“Okay.” Maddi was too stunned to say anything else.

“I’m gonna call you back with my flight information.”

When he hung up, Maddi just stared at the phone. What the heck? He calls after months of nothing and asks me to pick him up from the airport because he wants to talk to me?

She sat there for another minute before jumping up and running to the closet to find something appropriate to wear.

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Present time

Maddi watched in horror as the plane burned on the runway. It had come down too swiftly, too steep of an angle. She screamed for it to correct it’s course, but instead it had come smashing down on the runway, exploding like a bomb had gone off.

It was Ethan’s plane. She had checked a thousand times before leaving to come to the airport. Flight 305 from New York, due to land at exactly 2:17 pm. It was now 2:19. The flight had landed, if you could call it that. Ethan was dead as were all the other passengers. Nobody could survive that brutal of an explosion. She curled up in a ball and cried. Fire trucks and ambulances arrived by the dozens. People in bright emergency uniforms rushed as close as they could to the flames without getting burned themselves. All Maddi could do was watch and pray and cry.

Finally, after almost an hour of watching the disaster, Maddi’s phone rang. She almost decided to ignore it again, but at the last second decided to answer.

“Hello?” She mumbled through paralyzed lips.

“Maddi is that you?”

“Who is this?” It sounded a lot like Ethan. But no. It couldn’t be.

“Mads, it’s Ethan.”

“No. Don’t do this to me. You’re lying!” She screamed at the phone.

“It is me, Maddi! Why would I lie to you?”

“I just watched your plane crash. You can’t be alive right now.”

“What? Oh no! God, no, Maddi! That wasn’t my plane! I landed safely on the other side of the airport from that plane. We’re safe. I’m safe.”

Maddi hung up and got in her car. Speeding back to the entrance of the airport, she pushed through the crowd of people. “Ethan!” She yelled his name over and over. “Ethan!”

She felt hands grab her from behind and spun around. Ethan’s arms pulled her so tightly against his chest that she could hardly breathe. “Oh Maddi. I love you so much. I’m so sorry for losing touch with you. I guess when I didn’t hear from you I assumed you didn’t want anything to do with me.”

Maddi laughed. “We’re so stupid, Ethan. I told myself the same thing. We could have avoided all of this heartache.”

He kissed her in the middle of the crowded airport. People ran past in every direction but the couple ignored them, oblivious to anything but each other.

“I love you, Ethan.”

“I love you too, Mads.”

“What? Why?”

“I have to. You knew I was only here for the summer, right?”

“Well, yeah, but I didn’t think the end of summer would come so soon.”

“I didn’t either.” Ethan said grimly. He hugged her tightly.

“We’ll still talk, right?” Maddi asked timidly.

“Of course we will, Mads. I love you.” They kissed one last time and then he was gone.


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