Note: I do not wish to offend anyone with this piece of fiction. This is just how I pictured the afterlife to be for this story, I'm not trying to say that this is how it is, or how it should be. Please read at your own discretion--and remember that it is only fiction.
Rating: PG-13 for more mature themes about death
Disclaimer: I do not own the OC or any of its characters. I'm not affiliated with anything.
End of Forever
She watched over him all the time. He never saw her, but he knew she was there. He felt her. He breathed her. She was always with him.
At first, it had been difficult for her. She spent endless days crying and crying, but nothing ever changed. Time didn't change. Everything was painfully the same here. She got the sympathetic glances from all the others; many had walked the same path, they all knew what she was feeling. There were things that would never be said, feelings that would never be felt. Everyone felt like that upon arrival, like they were robbed, violated. But they would learn to live with it and get over it. They had no choice.
It had been equally unbearable for him. She knew that for the first few months he cried behind closed doors every night, clutching his pillows, even though he tried to pretend that he was fine to the outside world. It was all weak smiles and facades. She knew he wasn't alright. She was the only one who knew. In the beginning, he had been in denial. He had wanted to go to sleep and wake up and find her there standing before him. But every time his eyes fluttered open, he was still alone.
Eventually he moved on. He grew up and left home and entered a different world. One where people didn't know about her. As the years passed, her memory crept slowly to the back of his brain and heart, where it would inevitably remain forever. But as with everything else, as memory ages, it starts to fade. He found himself grasping for little memories like how her skin felt soft and smooth against his palms or how her hair smelled like strawberries and honey. He wanted to hold onto these memories of her, but he couldn't. The memories were hidden in the back of his mind where they lay far enough away that he could continue living in the present, and not in the past. From where she was, she had kicked and screamed, wanting to be there in the flesh with him, wanting to make him remember her more. But she knew it wasn't fair to him. Just because she didn't have a chance to live a fulfilling life didn't mean he shouldn't. But it hurt. It was supposed to be the two of them. Seth and Summer. Hadn't that been the plan?
It should've been like Coop and Chino. Summer watched them all the time as well. She watched them after the accident, as they grew closer and more in love. They learned the lesson, life was far too precious to let little things get in the way. She watched them when they got married, in fact she was standing right next to Marissa, like a faithful bridesmaid would. She was there for the birth of both of their little boys, Sanford and James. Beautiful children that she would never get to hold or touch. As they grew into perfect young men, she watched as the love between their parents only grew. Anniversaries, birthdays, weddings were filled with happiness and pure joy. She knew because she was there.
Sometimes Marissa would include her in the ceremonies. She kept Summer's picture in a locket that she wore around her neck. Sometimes Marissa would open it up and talk to her, like she was still there. "Summer, look at how your two nephews turned out. Aren't you proud of them?" And Summer cried. It was ironic that only after death did Summer feel loved. When Marissa took off her locket, even Ryan would talk to her. He would tell her how things were going, how Seth was. She enjoyed these one-sided conversations because it felt like they knew she was there and was listening to everything they had to say to her.
Seth talked to her all the time. He had been angry at her for leaving. He would yell into the sky, chiding it for taking her. Asking if she could hear him. His attempts at communication that way were fruitless though, sometimes she would be standing next to him. He had a lot to learn about the interim. Other times he would break down and tell her how much he missed her. How much he wished it could've been him dead instead of her. How he still loved her and dreamed about her. He used to come and visit her all the time. He'd sit in the cemetery in silence, taking with him a photo album or some of her letters. Then he'd sit and just cry. Sometimes her memory was too much for him to handle. Summer would sit next to him on the grass and he could feel her comforting presence. She patiently listened he had a secret to tell her or if he just needed to confide in her. She relished these visits. Then the years passed and the visits became few and far between. He'd usually come to see her on major holidays and her birthday. He had a family now. He couldn't get away as much.
Seth had moved on. Summer knew it was bound to happen someday. But she hadn't been prepared to accept it. Danielle was a good woman. Seth had rejected her, but Danielle had persisted and been patient with him. She knew he had been hurt and was lost, but she loved him. Summer would watch from her window with envy and bitterness. Another woman was loving her man. It never got easier. Summer loved him so much. She wanted to be the one to feel his embrace and taste his kiss. But she wanted him to be happy so she had to settle with watching another woman claim her prize.
He had visited her only a few hours before the wedding. He had asked her if it was okay that he was moving on only ten years after she left him. It was like he was asking her for her permission to marry this woman. That was the day she grew bold. She could not resist the temptation any longer. She stood next to him as he looked down at the gravestone and kissed his cheek. It had felt stronger than a cool breeze to him, but when he looked around frantically, he saw no one. But he knew. He could always feel her. She had given him her approval. Then he had raced to the hotel and married his girl.
Summer had sat on the lawn in the cemetery for hours that day. She had missed the way his skin felt cool against her touch. She missed the way his hair was always untamed and unruly. She had missed him. She was probably going to get in trouble for what she did, but it was worth it. One touch from Seth Cohen was worth everything.
Summer didn't attend the ceremony. It was the only major event she missed in his life. He needed to be alone, without the memory of her for just one day.
They had three lovely children, two boys and one girl. She had been in the delivery room for each of their births. Summer would close her eyes and pretend that she was sharing the moment with Seth, that they were celebrating the arrival of their children, together. But then she'd open her eyes and see how happy Danielle and Seth were together. And she was happy for him. When that last child, the little girl was born, Seth had come to visit her. She was the first person he told about the child's name. Summer Roberts Cohen. She had been proud that day. She cried a lot, but was overwhelmed by the sight of the little girl in the nursery. She spent the whole night there, watching over her little angel. She was perfect. Oh, but was she a terror.
Summer Cohen had been a little terror just like Summer Roberts had been. She got everything she wanted; her confidence was terrifying. But she grew up to be one of the most beautiful girls the older Summer had ever seen. She had her father's eyes and that stubborn little dimple. Summer was proud of her every day. She looked over all three children and protected them. She watched them go to college and get married. They had children of their own. Sometimes, Sandy and Kirsten Cohen would join her as they watched the family celebrate big events. Those two visited from beyond though, they were not in the interim like she was; they had no unfinished business. Both had lived successful and happy lives. There was nothing left but happiness in eternity.
Summer was getting old. Not physically, because nothing ever changed up here, but she was running low. The frequent trips back and forth were starting to take their toll of her. It was her supervisor's way of telling her that she either had to slow down or get ready to go to the beyond. Her time in the interim was running out.
The last trip she made to Earth had been little Summer's wedding day. She was marrying a terrific man; Summer was beaming all day. She had gone around and told all her friends that her namesake, her little girl, was getting married. She sat in the room while Summer got ready to walk down the aisle. Seth had come in to give his daughter some last encouraging words before he gave her away to another man. And surprising both adults, Summer Jr. had asked her father a simple question. A simple question that did not have that simple of an answer.
"Who am I named after Daddy?"
His daughter was surprised to see tears welling up in her father's eyes. Her father was strong, he had rarely cried. "How did you know you were named after someone, honey?" His voice was calm, he was trying to keep the tears in.
"Aunt Marissa said something about someone named Summer being really proud of me right now, while I was getting dressed."
"She would've been so proud. She is proud," he paused for a few minutes to gather his thoughts, "Summer was the first girl I ever loved, sweetie. Before I met your mother, I was in love with Summer Roberts, I dunno, since I was 9 years old. She was beautiful and charismatic and I just…I just loved her."
"Well, what happened to her?"
"She died in a car accident when she was 18; the summer before we went off to college." He stared at his hands while the elder Summer sobbed in a corner of the room.
Seth sniffled back a tear as his daughter reached for his hand. "I'm so sorry, Dad. I didn't know. I just…"
"No, it's okay. I've been the luckiest man in the world. Not only did I find love, but I found it twice with two of the most wonderful women. I couldn't have imagined that I would have loved so much in my life. Summer, your mother, you kids. I love your mother, Summer. She has been so good to me for all these years, so patient with me. She knew about the other Summer, but she stood by my side and waited. She has loved me through everything and I love her. And I want you to have the same kind of marriage with Tom. He's a great guy and I know that you two will love each other forever."
Summer retreated from the room at that point. She walked outside and sat in a pew near the back. After the ceremony, she made her last trip back up to the sky. Now all she could do was wait.
She busied herself with activities in that time. Years and years passed, she lost count. Until the day finally arrived. She waited by the entrance; she didn't want to miss him. She was wearing her best dress. It was white, of course. For hours and hours she stood there, waiting. Until she finally saw him striding towards her. He was Seth Cohen of old--the young, vibrant boy she had remembered from their last summer together. Heaven had turned the clocks back for him. He had looked forlorn and sad, but as soon as he saw her, he started running.
A smile played upon his face as he picked her up and held her in his arms. It had been comfortable as if no time had passed at all. He held her close to his chest as he smelled her hair, letting flood of memories come back to him. She inhaled his scent in, holding him close to her, not letting him go. They had been apart for too long. Other forlorn lovers walked past them, waiting for the day when they too would be reunited with their lost loves. Seth smiled at Summer and kissed her gently. He finally had his second chance. This time around, he would not lose her. She kissed him back and took his hand. She pulled him towards a gigantic entryway; he didn't know what this was, but he trusted her. She waited for him to fall in step beside her. She squeezed his hand gently and kissed him once more before walking him through the gates. It was the moment they had waited for; they could finally be together. Together until the end of forever.
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