Jack took his suitcase out of Florence's rental car and set it down on the tarmac, closing the boot with a thud. Florence appeared beside him, wrapping her arms around his waist, and resting her head on his chest. Jack drew her into him, pressing her against his chest lovingly and held her tightly.
"I'm going to miss you, Florence Cassell," he said, planting a kiss on the top of her head. He wanted to savour this moment, remember what it felt like to hold her in his arms. What a privilege it was to hold her like this, to know her like he did.
"I'm going to miss you too," she muttered, looking up at him, still in his embrace.
"I can't believe I have to say goodbye to you again," Jack said quietly, feeling a lump form in his throat. "I didn't think it would be this hard."
"You're not really though are you?" smirked Florence.
Jack kissed her nose. "No, I don't think I am," he whispered. "I'll call you when I land, okay? It'll be late but I'll call if you want me to."
"I hope so."
"I will," he insisted, bending his head, and kissing her lips.
"Give my love to Siobhan," said Florence, stepping out of his embrace.
"I'm going to have to come up with a very convincing lie when she asks me what I've been up to," replied Jack, his eyes dancing.
Florence snorted. "You've got the whole flight to figure it out," she said. "Just let me know though so if she asks, I can back you up."
"Maybe I'll just tell her the truth," Jack eyed her, his heart thudding as he spoke.
Florence cocked her head, digesting his words. "Maybe you should," she countered.
Jack smiled coyly and took the handle of the suitcase, drawing it up, ready to be dragged behind him. In his jacket pocket, he checked he had his passport, his wallet, phone, all the essentials, then checked his pockets for his keys. As he pulled a handful of keys out of his pocket, he noticed he still had the keys to the Shack.
"Would you do me a favour?" he asked Florence, picking out the right key from the bundle and holding it out to her. "Would you give the keys to the Shack back to the Commissioner?"
"No," Florence said, shaking her head, but there was a playful smile on her face.
"No?" Jack scoffed. "Why not?"
Florence stepped forward and cupped his face. "Because then you'll have an excuse to come back," she whispered, giving him a sweet kiss.
"Trust me," he breathed, as they broke apart. "I have a very good excuse to come back already."
"And what about you?" asked Jack, putting the key back in his pocket. "Maybe you'd like to visit me sometime?"
"I'd like that very much," agreed Florence.
"We could go for dinner, walk by the Thames – there's lots to do," he said.
"Oh, like a cultural exchange?" Florence replied, playing dumb.
"Exactly like that," agreed Jack. "Maybe we could even go to Ireland?"
"That's a good idea. I've always wanted to kiss an Irishman, see if it brings me any luck," said Florence, walking sultrily towards Jack, playing with his tie.
"I hope it brings you all the luck in the world," he said, catching her lips in his.
"Love you," she said, looking up at him through her doe eyes.
"Love you," Jack replied, taking her hand, and kissing the back of it. "Love the bones of you, I do."
"You love my bones?" snorted Florence.
"It's just a saying. But yes, love. Your bones. And everything else," he replied with a chuckle. "I should go, I don't want to miss my flight."
"I'm not saying goodbye," said Jack, beginning to walk backwards, dragging his suitcase. He was saying it to convince himself more than anything else. No, this wasn't goodbye, Jack was sure it of.
"In French, we say à bientôt," said Florence, giving him a little salute.
"Ah, well, my darling, à bientôt it is then."
Jack turned before he stopped walking altogether and paced his way over to the entrance of the airport. He could feel a dull ache in his heart, one that he knew would explode if he didn't look back, at least once. He just had to know that she was watching him leave. It didn't make it any easier, the leaving part, but if she were still there, something inside of him would make sense. He turned back to Florence, who lent against her car boot, arms folded, indeed watching him walk away. He raised his hand to her and waved, and she did the same.
Jack turned on his heels and walked into the airport.