Page 108 of Hopeful Hearts

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“I don’t know. It’s just emotional, isn’t it?”

“To be fair, I hate goodbyes, too,” Jayda agreed with Lennon.

“It’s time to go, beautiful,” Brodie murmured. His hand on the small of her back brought them both a sense of comfort.

“Okay, it’s time, guys. I love you all so much. I’ll call as soon as I get there.”

“Wait,” Daisy shouted from Mel’s arms.

“Oh yes, Daisy made you these for the journey.”

Sophia turned her attention to the little girl holding a plastic bag full of cookies and grinned.

“Will they taste as good as they look?” she asked, and Daisy nodded with excitement.

“You be good for your mummy, okay? Take care of her because she’s very special, just like you.”

Kate smiled and Sophia kissed Daisy’s rosy cheeks and gave her a cuddle before Brodie rushed her away.

With the boot loaded and goodbyes over with, there was nothing else to do but drive.

Brodie beeped the horn and Sophia glanced over her shoulder to see everyone she loved waving like crazy and wishing her nothing but goodness.

Her heart nearly exploded like the confetti party cannon her mum had set off on her.

Words weren’t enough to describe the overwhelming love she had for each one of them.

“No tears,” Brodie said. Reminding them of the pact they made the night before to not get upset, as it would only make the goodbye harder on both of them.

Sophia gazed out of the window as they sped along the winding roads which took her away from the sea and her home. She knew that of all the places she would travel to, none could hold such a special place in her heart as Lani Bay. Half of her couldn’t wait to go and the other half already couldn’t wait to come home.

When they finally reached the airport, everything seemed to happen so fast. Security checks, boarding passes, luggage check in and the call for the gate came far too soon.

“It’s time,” Brodie said as he looked her up and down. Drinking in his beloved wife from head to foot and trying to drink in every inch of her as if he wanted to devour her.

“No tears,” Sophia reminded him.

If she wanted this adventure to make her feel something, she had achieved it and more as her chest squeezed tight and she felt his sweet embrace for one last time.

“I love you,” he murmured.

“I love you,” she replied, and tore herself away from his arms.

Putting one brave foot in front of the other, she marched toward the gate and looked back when she reached it to see him standing there.

Hands clasped at his groin, legs apart and shoulders broad. Her strong rock of a husband stood tall and proud as he winked at her and she nodded, before handing the flight attendance her ticket and rounding the corner.

Brodie felt the wave of emotion wash over him so hard that it brought him to his knees.

He had held it together, but watching her disappear onto her flight was harder than he ever could have prepared for. Her absence had already taken a huge chunk of his heart and without it, he felt as though he couldn’t breathe.

His chest and airways felt tight as he sat on his knees, head in hands and tried to regain his breath.

Brodie had never had a panic attack in his life, and it was as physically painful as it was scary.

One breath at a time, he forced himself to his feet and over to the airport window to watch the Boeing seven forty-seven take off with the other half of him inside it.

He didn’t know how he was going to get by until she was back in his arms, but he knew he had to do this. For her.

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