The feel of the cool breeze and sprinkling rain upon my skin cause me to awaken from my restless sleep. Slowly opening up my eyes I can see that it is still dark out and that I am once again waking in the same park as I had many times growing up. Easing up from my back stiffening sleeping position I turn to take in my surroundings. It is still dark out indicating that it is either late night or early morning, the low pattering of the rain, peaceful and relaxing, calms my nerves drastically. Out of the corner of my eye I see a figure laying on the opposite bench. Turning to look in that direction and to my surprise it is the one person I least expected to see, Andrew, taking in his features I can see the discomfort he is in. Slowly I stand from the bench, easing down into a crouching position in front of him. Reaching out I place my hand on his shoulder, gently shaking him, " Andrew." I whisper just loud enough for him to hear. " Andrew, wake up." I say once more shaking him a little more forcefully. With a jolt he wakes, just barely keeping from falling off his own bench. " What is it? " he asks getting into a sitting position. "What are you doing here?" I ask confused at his presence. " Your sister called, she said you were gone, and hadn't come back. I came looking for you, thought you might be here." He replies rubbing his eyes. " Why did you stay? Why not just tell her where to look?" I ask curiously. " I had to come find you myself. And then when I found you, I couldn't just leave you here alone." He admits. " I still don't get why you would care. You've made it perfectly clear that you want nothing to do with me." I question him, still hurt about the earlier incident. " Why would you think that?" He asks shocked at my sudden admission. " This morning when we ran into each at the park." I tell him still in my crouched position. " I'm sorry if you got that impression but that is not true at all. Yes, I was a little wary of you being back. Yes, I was surprised that you were all cheery and happy. No, I do not want you out of my life. I'm just a little cautious about you being here. " He admits pulling me up and patting the seat beside him. " I actually came home to apologize to you. And to ask for you to forgive me." I tell him honestly. " Why would you need to do that? You haven't really done anything wrong." Andrew says shifting his body around. " Andrew, I left you to deal with you grief alone. I left you without a word. And I know you were already hurt and me leaving like that couldn't have helped in the least. I really am honestly sorry about doing that to you." I reply laying my hand on his shoulder. " It's like I said , you have nothing to apologize for. You had to deal with it in your own time and your own way. But if it is important for you to hear it, I want you to know that I forgive you anyways." Andrew says reaching for my hand. " Can we still be friends? I know it won't be the same as before but I really would like for us to be friends again." I add . "We both know it won't be the same but yes I would like for us to be friends again." He says holding out his hand. "Now, if it's alright with you I would really like to head back. Maybe we could stop by the diner and get breakfast before I drop you off at home." He adds standing up. " That sounds wonderful actually. I think the last meal I had was breakfast yesterday." I admit taking his hand and standing. " That isn't good for you, you know that right. You didn't develop some eating disorder while you were away did you?" He questions looking at me in shock. " No, I've just been a bundle of nerves and all. I'm really fine." I reply trying to convince him. " If you say so." He says still looking unsure." I am." I add leading him off the gazebo.
After waking up to Allison shaking me awake in the gazebo and having one of our honesty hour conversations the sun is starting to rise and the thought of having breakfast is suddenly appealing. Mentioning breakfast to Allison and her admission to having not eaten in almost twenty four hours I am more suspicious about the new her. Her attitude about and how she is trying to convince me I know she is hiding a lot of secrets I feel the need to uncover. Following her down the stairs of the gazebo, I follow her to the path that will lead us back up to the road. As we near the diner I look over at her, " Do you remember coming here every weekend we had free, buying the new flavors of desserts they came up with?" I ask wanting to see how much of us she still remembers. " I do. They had some of the best ever. I also remember you trying to convince me to share my half of everything." She replies laughing at the memory. " If I remember correctly you too also tried that a few times." I says pushing her lightly. " Hey, it wasn't my fault. It was my favorite and you knew it!" She exclaims trying to push me back. " Right, if that's the story you want to go with. I'll let you tell everyone that." I tell her teasing her. " It's true." She laughs shaking her head. " Whatever you say darlin'. Whatever you say." I laugh wrapping my arm around her shoulder pulling her to my side. " What would you like? Is it still the usual?" I ask as we near the booth." Sounds wonderful. Are they still as good as it was before?" She asks looking at the menu after having taken her seat. " Oh definitely. There are also a lot of new flavors you have to catch up on. And maybe if we get lucky they may even make a few of the ones they took off after you left so you can see what you missed." I reply looking to see if they have added anything new since last week. " So, tell me. Is there anything we use to do that you still do." She asks after choosing her food. " This actually. After you left, I couldn't bring myself to break this tradition. I felt like it had to be done. It was almost like a ritual. One that could never be broken. Also, I still visit the gazebo every holiday, and also the day that everything fell apart." I tell her honestly, looking directly in her eyes. " I'm actually glad you did. I really did miss doing all that. Especially with you." She says looking out the window. " Alli, Tell me something. When you left did you find what you were looking for?" I ask her wanting to know the truth. " Yes. It took a while. But yes I did. And now I'm ready to face it all. I won't say I regret leaving because I don't. It may me see things differently than I would have if I had stayed. But I always had it planned to come back." She says a soft smile on her face. " Did you miss home? This? Me?" I ask watching the emotions play across her face: guilt, sadness, happiness. " More than you could ever know. There were days when I felt worse than before I left but I had to push through. I couldn't always expect you to do everything. You needed to grieve and that couldn't happen when you were always putting together my pieces. I had to get strong for both of us and I had to let you break down. I don't regret it entirely but I do regret hurting you." She says softly. " Hey Drew? Can we maybe go by and visit him. I haven't ever been. I couldn't but now I think I am ready to. And even after all this time if you're still willing to listen, I'm more than ready to talk." She replies reaching for my hand. Taking her hand I rub my finger across the back of hers, " I'm still more than ready to listen and we can most definitely go." I say giving her a reassuring smile.