Anna was home. This had never felt more real for Joseph than it did when he stepped off the airplane at LAX. It was late, the airport looking more bare than he’d ever seen it before. Joseph was usually one to love the hustle and bustle, being surrounded by people just like him, just trying to get where there going. Tonight was different, though. Tonight was the first time he’d been in LA for what felt like the longest time. Tonight, all he wanted to do was race through the airport, no people, no hold-ups. Tonight it had been months since he’d gotten to see the person he loved, since he’d gotten to hold her, since he’d gotten to kiss her. Tonight, Joseph thanked whatever gods may be that he could breeze through the airport to the rental car he’d called ahead for.
More than just his first time back in forever, tonight was Anna’s birthday. It marked another year for her, and Joseph wanted nothing more than to make the day perfect. He’d decided long ago that he couldn’t do that from hundreds of miles away, so without telling her, he’d booked a flight home a week earlier than intended. She deserved to smile on her birthday, she deserved everything. Distance had been harder than he ever thought it could be. Being away from Anna, especially so soon after their wedding, was one of the hardest things he’d ever done. And he knew, if it was hard for him, it must be hard for Anna, too. They were each other’s puzzle pieces, and he’d felt that missing piece since the moment he’d flown away from her. They knew that work would make things difficult, it wasn’t something they hadn’t planned on. It was just…he never knew it would be this hard.
Joe’s first stop wasn’t home, as much as he wanted to steer the car directly to their house, breaking every speed limit along the way. His first stop was Taco Bell. The drive-thru felt like the longest wait of his life, even if there was only one car ahead of him, and he drummed his hands restlessly against his steering wheel. Any hold-up was too long. It was a necessary stop, though. It was an Anna thing. To anyone else, bean burritos at near midnight on someone’s birthday might seem completely pointless, possibly stupid, but it was Anna. So many of their dates had been bean burritos and Italian cream sodas, it only seemed fitting that they should be involved in their homecoming, as well. Finding a coffee shop open at eleven at night was impossible, so Joe had to improvise, buying the stuff to make them himself.
When he finally pulled up to the house, a part of him that he didn’t even realize was unsettled relaxed inside of him. Anna was just inside, it was as if he could just feel it. She was right there. A smile spread across his face as he gathered his purchases, excitement bubbling inside of him as he walked up to the door. He opened the door, making sure to make enough noise that Anna would hear it, wanting to surprise her, but not scare her. Pushing the door open, his eyes immediately moved to the living room, seeking out the woman he loved. Once he found her, it was like a piece of him slid back into place. It had been way too long. “Hey, you.” He called softly, a smile spreading across his face. “Happy Birthday.”
The past month had been the hardest. She had finished Pitch Perfect 2, began promoting Happy Christmas, started filming some more projects— the worst part was coming home to an empty home. Joe had been gone for a while, which literately felt like forever, and it hurt but they both knew this was coming. She just didn’t know how much she’d miss him, until it was actually happening. Ever since their short lived honeymoon, there was very limited time together. There was a text and a call every now and then, which meant everything to her— but of course, it was not the same. Nothing could ever compare to him being beside her— hearing his voice, feeling his kisses and his arms around her…to be there own little and small family. It was hard, but they had to work, she knew and accepted that— and of course, they were able to get through all of their other bumps, even the worst ones, without a doubt they would be able to get through this one, together.
Filming had come to a close for Anna, same with promoting and the last week she had been able to have her own break. Mostly, she stayed home, cleaned, read some scripts, cooked, and then it faded into her going to her in-laws every other day. Joe’s mother had truly become her mom as well, through their lunch and shopping dates, telling more stories about Joe, and even about Dan and then the G-word bombed. Grand-kids. To be honest, Anna had thought about having kids, but she knew it couldn’t happen now. The both of them were way too busy and she knew Joe would want to be by her side, or her by his, especially even more if that miracle ever did happen for them. It was not ever easy to dodge that bullet, but she did it successfully, of course until it would somehow get to Joe’s ear.
The petite brunette was settled into the couch, wearing the same hitRECord sweater and shorts. The television on, having a small bowl of ice cream with one birthday candle sticking out of it. In less than an hour she would be 29, and it was one of her first ones alone. Her lips pressed together, her blue eyes turning down to look at the melted cream in her bowl, letting out a soft sigh before her eyes went to her ring finger, the diamond ring sitting on top of the wedding band. Anna chewed on the inside of her cheek as she leaned forward and set the ice cream bowl on the coffee table, and turned off the TV set. Slowly, she lifted herself up from the couch, getting ready to head upstairs, deciding to not even wait for midnight and that it was for the best to just go to sleep.
A piece of her had been missing, nothing was ever the same without him— no matter how much she hanged out with her friends and family…there was still no Joe. Her foot pressed to the first step, her body frozen as she heard the door turn. Always remember to lock the door. Something that she always seemed to forget. Slowly she turned around and her thoughts had left her and a smile overtook her face. There he was, unexpectedly standing there. “Hey yourself,” she smiled as she quickly went over to him, wrapping her arms around his waist and pressing her lips to his— kissing him long and lovingly. As soon as he walked through the door, the missing piece in her heart was filled. Her lips lingered against his, before they slowly slipped away. “I thought you weren’t coming back until next week.”
They’re good tears, don’t worry. You’re coming home? Tonight? Aw it’s like a present.
Thank you for making me cry. I love you too, Mr. Gordon Levitt. I miss you, a lot and there’s not a day where I don’t miss you.
You might not have said it in a while, but I still know it.
I appreciate it, mister. I want you to know that I love you too.