Except he wasn’t.
There really was a London black cab rumbling slowly over the cobblestones.
It stopped in front of the Rolls and he stared in shock—not at the car, but at the woman stepping into the sunlight.
‘Do you need some help?’ she asked.
Frankie was standing there, her red hair gleaming in the sunlight.
‘What are you doing here?’
He watched without blinking as she walked towards him, scared to blink in case she disappeared. His throat tightened with love and longing as she stopped in front of him.
‘Oh, you know... I was in the area.’
‘But you’ll miss your flight.’
Frankie nodded. ‘That’s the plan. Although it only really became a plan this morning, when I was on my way to the airport.’
Arlo swallowed. His mouth was dry, and he felt breathless with shock and hope. ‘I was on my way there too.’
Her face tensed. ‘To go to Svalbard??
‘No.’ He took a step forward. ‘I’m not going to Svalbard. I was coming to find you. To stop you from leaving.’
She took a step forward too, and now he could see his love and longing reflected in her beautiful blue eyes.
‘And why do you want to stop me from leaving?’ she said shakily.
Lifting his hands, he cupped her face. ‘Because I love you and I need you. And I want to spend my life with you.’
‘You love me!’ Frankie echoed, and then she started to cry. All the way up in the taxi she had been picturing Arlo’s face, imagining what he might say, but the simple, absolute truth of his words were more than she could have wished for.
‘I want to spend my life with you too. More than anything. I love you so much.’
‘Not as much as I love you.’
His face creased and she saw that he was crying too.
‘I can’t believe that I let you go. Or that you came back—’
‘Of course I came back. Everything else in my life is optional. But you—you’re like air to me. I can’t breathe without you.’
* * *
Arlo pulled her closer, his mouth finding hers. ‘I can’t breathe without you either.’
He could hardly believe what was happening. Not just that she was here, and that she loved him and he loved her, but that love had come so simply and completely.
‘I made everything a struggle,’ he said softly. ‘I fought the past, my family, and most of all myself, because I was scared of being proved right. But I’ve never been happier to be proved wrong.’
He felt her hands slide around his body and they looked into each other’s eyes, both of them certain that here in each other’s arms they were in the right place—the only place they would ever want to be.
* * *