The GraveMature

The cemetery was half an hour from Jude's house. On the way he kept humming to himself while I avoided stepping on sidewalk cracks. I know, it's weird, but he didn't seem to mind it. Besides, he seemed to lost in his own head to care about anything else around him. It was only when I stopped walking, did he look back.

"What happened to John?" he asked. Then he shoved his hands deeper into his pockets. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay," I said, nodding. "He was shot two times in the chest. That's what the detective on his case told me. That's all I found out, really. I didn't want to press the issue, I guess."

Jude slouched his shoulders and dropped his head, closing his eyes. Then he reopened them, stepped forward and wrapped his arms around me, burying his face in my hair.

"I know it's hard losing someone you care about," he whispered. "I'll help you, if you want. We'll find where he's buried and we'll say goodbye."

"Thank you," I said softly.

I wasn't aware that my arms were around his neck, that I was moving closer to him, until he cleared his throat and untangled himself from my body. It was strange, but it looked like he was rather reluctant to do it.

"We're getting close," he said, looking back at me as he started to walk again. "Are you gonna be okay?"

"I'll be fine." I wasn't but he didn't need to know that.

"Good." He smiled and took hold of my hand, pulling me across the street with him. He let go once we were on the other side and looked at me. "She'll be happy you came."

I smiled thinly as I looked up at the gates of the cemetery. We were inside before I realized, then walking down a rows of graves. The weather was nice and the grass was soft underneath my sneakers. When Jude stopped suddenly I almost slammed right into him. He was so still, his head turned to the left.

"Kendall," he said, gazing at me. "Meet my sister, Abbie."

My eyes saw the granite, and the name etched into it, and the words beneath. My heart clenched inside my chest and I reached down to grip his hand, squeezing it until I thought mine might break. We stared at each other for a long time, the wind rustling around us, then Jude smirked, leaned down, and kissed me.

You see, this is the part where I should have pushed him away. I should have screamed at him, or hit him, or done something to get his lips off of mine. But I didn't. God, I didn't. I just let him keep kissing me. I let his tongue taste me, his hands hold my hips, pulling me against him, his breath quicken.

A crow cawed overhead, making me jump, breaking us apart. I kept my eyes narrowed at the ground until I heard Jude walk a few feet and sit down. Then he stared talking.

"Ab, this is Kendall. She's a girl I know from school. I really like it here, but I miss you. Mom still cries when she thinks I'm not watching, and Dad, well, he started drinking again. Don't you think that's a bit ironic? He's drinking but I'm the one that gets sent to a shrink? It blows without you here."

When his shoulders started to shake and he reached a hand out to touch the grave, I realized he was crying. He was crying more than I had ever seen another boy cry in my entire life. I dropped to my knees beside him and took his hand and just held it. Before I knew what I was doing, my hands were in his hair, stroking, and I was laying my head against his shoulder.

"Thank you for coming with me," he said quietly, like someone else would overhear. "It really meant a lot that I could share this part of my life with you."

I didn't know what to say, so we sat in silence, while the crow cawed again and left us to be alone together among the dead.

The End

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