That Summer: Twenty-FiveMature

Willow

My hands were trembling as I smoothed out the skirt of my simple black dress. There was a faux red rose pinning back a few strands of my white blonde hair, exposing my tear-stained face  I so desperately longed to hide. I was drowning in a sea of unfamiliar faces, of grieving expressions and black.

I had let her slip away so easily. I could have called back. I could have gone to visit. I could have asked her what was wrong. Instead I had done nothing, sitting idly by on the sidelines as my best friend decayed. She didnt deserve to be in her coffin, anymore than I deserved to gaze down upon her slumber.

When it all became too much, I wordlessly excused myself to the funeral home's lobby. It was done up how one might expect, drab furniture and white walls. I glanced out the window. The summer sunlight seemed so unfitting. 

"Willow." The sound of my name caused me to spin around. Riley stood just beyond the doorway, looking positively miserable I hadnt seen him since school had let out; at that time he has been rather stunning. Now he only looked defeated, wretched.

But the brown haired boy had barely registered before my attention shifted to another figure. He was standing to Riley's left, both shedding his light and dragging in the darkness.

Trevor.

There was a moment of confused hesitation, but the n he was upon me,sweeping me up into his arms. At first his hot breath only teased my beck, but then his lips suddenly found my own, and we were kissing, and for a moment I forgot who or where I was.

Breathlessly I pulled away, though my hands were still clutching his dress shirt. Every part of me seemed so intensified, lips tingling, body shaking ever so slightly.

I didnt realize I was crying until Trevor used his thumb to wipe away a few stray tears. "What are you doing here?" I asked him softly.

Trevor glanced away, to the place where Riley stood idly by, wringing his hands and frowning at the two of us.

"I'm just supporting my brother," he told me in a low tone. "He's, uh, pretty upset about the whole thing."

"Brother?" I repeated, eyes wide as his statement registered. Trevor nodded as though I should have known all along. Maybe I should have. I couldnt help but let out a shaky laugh at the beautifully magical mess we were in. Wondered if it was wrong of me to feel so light when Harper was gone.

No, I thought to myself. Harper would have wanted us to go on. And it would be hard. Really hard. But with Trevor's arms around me maybe the weight would be easier to bear.

Turning away from the steely eyes of the boy who just might have been stealing my heart, I faced Riley full on. "I'm not going to tell you it'll be okay," I spoke softly.

Riley raised his shoulder in a feeble shrug. "It wouldnt help."

Sighing a little, I placed my hand on his forearm. "You will get through this, Riley. We all will."

The broken boy looked away then; I doubted he would reply. Trevor took the cue to come over. "I can go with you to see her," he offered his little brother. Looking rather corpse-like himself, Riley sauntered into the parlor. After exchanging a look with me, Trevor followed his brother.

I was left alone. Perhaps that might have unnerved me before, but not I felt perfectly comfortable. I though of my gently spoken words with Riley, thought that I may have been lying. Somehow everything would be okay. Even as those words crossed my mind, I could feel Harper beside me, smiling as she pushed her bangs out of her slender face.

"Dont worry about me," Harper whispered. "I'm free." 

I had to blink to stop the tears from bursting free, collapsing into the nearest chair. Reminded myself she wasnt really there.

Of course not. She was gone. She would never be there.

The End

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