Sheriff Stilinski looked over the table with a grim expression on his aging face, hardly making eye contact while he flipped through a tan folder full of glossy pictures. While he remains silent, I'm scrambling inside my brain for some clue as to why I was here. I couldn't remember getting a ticket and I'd just spoken with my parents an hour before I'd been escorted into this dim room. My heart begins to thud a bit faster at the thought of one of them being gravely injured; it was the only thing I could think of that would lead to them bringing me into the Police Station so late at night.
Swallowing thickly, I lean in closer, tears threatening to leak out of my eyes. Were my parents dead?
"Sheriff, are my parents-"
"Oh, no, no," he immediately counters. "No, they're fine, Rosalie."
My eyebrows furrow at that.
"Why am I here, then?" I ask.
Sheriff Stilinski glances apprehensively up at me. I can tell this whole conversation was something he'd rather avoid. The realization makes dread surge through my system till I'm even more nervous.
"You and Derek Hale… You two were close through high school, right?"
This only further confuses me. Derek? He'd left town sometime after the fire ate away the majority of his life, abandoning everything in favor of a stony silence that left many people, including myself, guessing to where he was. I'd not had any contact with him since the day at the hospital when I'd come in with bad news about Kate and apologetic words dripping from my eyes. Now, though, he was a shadow I sometimes forgot that really had been a part of my life.
"Yea, I was," I answer.
The Sheriff nods. He clears his throat and withdraws one of the shiny pictures from the folder. Sliding it over to me, he avoids his eyes to the floor.
My mind doesn't try to warn me about gazing down at the photographs. To my knowledge, I was here on something minor, something pertaining to the Hale fire, maybe. That's what I thought, anyway. But what my eyes meet when I look over the images has absolutely nothing to do with the blaze that happened some odd years ago.
At first I'm not sure what I'm looking at, but then further elaboration by Sheriff Stilinski informs me that this was Laura Hale, or what was left of her.
This throws me. The person I'm looking down at was broken into two pieces, with blood scattered around the torn in half body and a pair of lifeless orbs watching something to the left of them. It doesn't look like Laura. My brain tells me it's not her but my chest starts to painfully clench and tears swell up in my eyes again.
"But… No… She… Her and Derek… They left… I…"
"I know this is hard," the Sheriff softly starts, interrupting my rambling.
"No, that can be Laura. Her… Derek and her left after the fire. She doesn't live here anymore."
When I glance up at the sandy haired man, he looks somber.
"We're not sure why she came back. Maybe for a visit or something," the Sheriff shrugs. "We found her last night in the woods."
"Are you sure? She hadn't even…"
"We're sure, Rosalie. We found her cell phone a few feet away from her body."
I'm clinging to the final shreds of calm I have left, squeezing my hands tightly together till there's a strong pain radiating through them. My brain is buzzing with thoughts and I try to remember when was the last time I'd had any real contact with Laura or Derek. The latter had been especially elusive after he left town, but Laura was better at letting me know about their well-being. She told me where they were and how she worried for Derek; he hadn't been adjusting to their new surroundings or the death of his family well, even after years. But that was a while ago and it'd been a year since I'd heard anything from her.
Swallowing thickly, I tell myself to not look back down at the photo. I know I won't be able to stomach seeing my friend like that again.
"I'd like to go home," I murmur.
This place is cold and I don't feel comfortable with beginning to mourn her in a room so pale and impersonal. I want to be home, by myself so I can scream and cry without eyes looking down on me with pity shining in them.
"I know. We'll get ya home soon, alright? But first I need to ask you some questions," the Sheriffs says, his tone low and sad.
Reluctantly, I drop back into the metal chair I'd been shown to upon arrival and stare over at the tired looking man with tear glazed eyes. He only looks at me for a few seconds before his eyebrows pinch together. Then he starts flipping through a little notebook quite quickly.
I wonder if he remembers all the times he had to wrangle us out of trouble when he'd been a deputy and we'd all been younger. I wonder if he remembers Laura Hale and feels just as sad as I do.
"Had Laura contacted you in the past few weeks?"
I shake my head. He flips to another page.
"So you hadn't seen her at all recently?"
"No," I manage out.
He nods. "What about before, maybe months ago… Had you and her talked any then?"
"It's been about a year since I heard from her. She was fine then," I murmur.
"And what about Derek Hale? Ever hear from him?" he asks.
Again, I shake my head.
Sheriff Stilinski goes through a few more pages but doesn't ask me anymore questions. A moment later and I'm being released with the weak warning to not leave town because I'd probably need to be contacted for more questions later on. I just nod and let another deputy show me the way out. He opens the door to the back of a cruiser before strolling around to the driver's side.
I sit in silence as I'm being driven home. My brain is whirling with images of the past as silent tears stream down my cheeks. There of Laura and me, falling against each other while we laugh about something Derek had just done. In another, I'm letting her braid my hair while she confesses about how she finally kissed that one boy she'd been eyeing for a while, then we're laying in the same bed and I'm crying about my Grandmother.
But Derek has his own moments, too, many of those being when he needed advice on Kate and thought I knew the girl better because she was my best friend. He looked so pretty, I remember, and the few times we'd crept too close still burns lowly in the pit of my stomach.
His face is an array of different smiles and his green eyes mimic all the emotions he always so clearly displayed. And Laura, she's a mother hen who doted too much and smothered Derek to the point that he griped about her.
I have to hide my face in my hands because I can't hold it together anymore.
Laura was dead and God knows what's happened to Derek.
Authors Note: I'm re-posting chapters to this story. I was planning to rewrite the entire thing, but once I went through and read everything I'd written before, I was inspired with new ideas for this story. So from here until about chapter eight will be the same stuff you guys have read before (but hopefully you don't remember it, so you can relive it). I might heavily edit some chapters here and there, but the story is going to keep the same flow it had before I went on my rewriting spree. Sorry for any confusion. lol I'm an indecisive person.