Life went on, just like Chris said it would. It turns out, Haylee’s death taught me a lot of things. How to move on, how to control my thoughts, how to perform everyday activities without thinking of her, and how to spend time with Jackie, Kyle, and Chris without bursting into tears once, although I couldn't ignore the feeling that something was missing every time we went out together. My brain finally wrapped around the thought that I would never see her again except for in my dreams, if I was lucky.
Yes, I moved on. No, I didn't get someone to replace her. My career with music continued as the months passed. I went to my first gig with Chris and Kyle, and we even met someone there. We found that his name was Will, and he played guitar. It was perfect, the one thing that we needed. It was kind of ironic that he was from England as well. The gig ran smoothly, despite my nervousness, and we invited Will to stay in our little town. He accepted, and he eventually found a house and moved in.
Nobody ever bought Haylee's house, even though I made sure to keep it clean and tidy. I would visit at least once a week, dusting and vacuuming just like Haylee would. I even mowed the grass. I think that it stayed unowned just for my sake, for rumors spread fast in a little town like the one we live in.
The man that killed Haylee was caught and sent to jail after trial. It didn't matter to me, but I'm sure that it pleased Haylee. As far as I know, Sophie is still after me, but what else could she take? Sometimes I think she would be doing me a favor by killing me, but she never did, obviously.
Our Japanese cherry blossom tree became part of the ground, and the stump and bark began to rot. I visited there every once and a while, but never saw Riley again. Not once.
Kyle, Jackie, Chris, and Will came over to my house to discuss our band name one day. Not one idea seemed quite fitting.
"Tied?" Will suggested.
"How about Crossed?" Chris said thoughtfully.
"Dan?" Jackie turned to me. "You haven't said a word." Concern was entwined in her tone.
"None of them seem right." I answered, and it was followed by a moment of silence.
"But still..." Kyle said after a while.
"Bastille?" Will questioned, not hearing him correctly.
"No, I said-"
I cut Kyle off. "Wait, wait. Isn't that a holiday?"
"Yeah, we celebrate Bastille Day in England. Why?" Chris chimed in.
"My birthday is on Bastille Day..." I trailed off.
"Well, how about Bastille Day? That could be our name." Will piped up.
"No, how about just Bastille. Americans won't know what Bastille Day is." I pointed out.
"They won't know what Bastille is, either." Jackie put in.
"To them, it's just a word that we made up. I'm not sure what you guys are thinking, but I like it." I said, then ran inside to grab a pencil and paper.
"We talked, and we all like Bastille. It seems fitting, since we're all from England." Kyle said once I had returned.
"Perfect." I murmured, writing in all caps BASTILLE at the top margin of the paper. I looked at it for a while, then erased the A, changing it to a triangle instead.
"A triangle A?" Will asked, glancing over my shoulder.
“Yes. In honor of Haylee.” I mumbled. Everyone turned silent, their eyes dropping to the ground.
"Umm... No one ever told me about this Haylee girl." He laughed. "You guys are acting like she's dead or something." A tear escaped my eye, dropping down to the paper. Will looked around at the solemn faces, confusion clouding his gaze.
"She is." I whispered, tears choking my voice.
His expression immediately turned guilty. "Oh, I'm so sorry, mate. I didn't know-"
"No, it's fine." I cut him off. "Here, let me show you a picture." I pulled out my phone, wondering if I could do this. I hadn't looked at our pictures in months. I pulled up a photo of me holding her bride style, her one arm up and one leg kicking out. Her toe was pointed, some of her gymnastics showing through.
Will smiled at the picture. "She's beautiful, mate. You two were-"
"Keep going." I cut him off again. I had a whole album of pictures of just us two. I saw his expressions change from happy to surprised to sad as he scrolled through them.
"You guys were... Really close." He said, handing my phone back to me. I nodded, clearing the tears from my eyes.
"Do you mind-"
"Telling you what happened?" I kept cutting him off. "It's a long story, but I'll tell you later, I promise." I took a shaky breath, clearing my throat. " She would write her name with a triangle a, so if you don't mind, I would like to keep that going." I looked around at our group.
"We love that idea." Chris said, standing up and brushing the grass from himself. "Bastille it is, then?" He asked as everyone else stood up.
"Bastille it is." Kyle agreed.
"Bastille it is." Will repeated. And that was the beginning. We traveled together all over the world, touring different places and creating different songs. We became a family of our own, me, Chris, Kyle, Will, and Jackie. Jackie never did get to fulfill her career as a teacher, but we did find out that she was pretty wicked at playing violin. So she traveled with us, but never really became one of us, if that make any sense. She insisted that it was a boy band, and that she was perfectly fine right where she was. Her and Kyle got together in the end, and they became something more than just friends.
When Haylee died, she became a part of me. Sometimes I could hear her loud opinion when I was faced with a choice of any sort. She lives on within me, her personality showing through with my own.
What did I learn? Live like you're going to die tomorrow and love like you're going to live forever. Be thankful for what you have, because you don't know what you’ve got until it's gone.
Trust me, I would know.