Disclaimer: As I'm sure you all know, I do not own Jimmy Neutron.
Author's Note: Hello. There were a couple of requests for another instalment to this fic. More specifically, requests from guadardguy200 and sum1strange. Brat Child2 also asked it was really the end. Well, here's the answer to your question, Falisha. So here it is. And to those of you who are waiting for the next chapter of "New Technology," it might take a while, but it should be coming soon, so just hold on a bit longer. One more thing, before you go any further, I want you all to know that right now, I'd appreciate it if you'd be kind enough to be gentle with me if you have any intension of criticizing me on this chapter after you read it. This second part is very special to me. And I say this because I've recently lost someone close to me and I did the best that I could to cope with the loss by doing what I believe was the only possible thing I could. Which was to write. This is the result. I took bits and pieces of what I wrote in the pages of my journal and transformed it into this, making it in Jimmy's point of view. Of course there are a few things in here that did not happen to me, but this chapter holds a piece of me. Some of the feelings Jimmy is having were many of the ones I've felt. And so, it'd be nice if you could be as nice as humanly possible if you're going criticize me. Thank you.
In Loving Memory of my dear sweet cousin. . .
May she rest in peace.
Jimmy didn't know how long it had been since the incident. He had lost track of time a long time ago. . .Or was it not too long ago? He couldn't remember. At times it seemed like it was a lifetime ago and others it seemed like it had just happened yesterday. But time didn't matter anymore, anyway. Not even if his mother had said, "All you have is time." She had been talking about something involving healing with time.
But what is that?
Because all he had were the bittersweet memories of Cindy. Not time!
Time was not a friend. Time was cruel and deceitful.
To Jimmy, Time was a force that just like playing with him. Something to put him down even more than he already was. And it hurt. Sometimes time passed him by without him ever knowing it, deceiving him. It was a force always playing with his mind and nipping at his heart. The pain of Cindy's loss seemed to only grow with time. Wasn't it suppose to be the other way around? Wasn't he suppose to be healing? If so, then why wasn't he? Why did it feel like he was coming apart at the seams? And why was he feeling as if he were falling deeper and deeper into a dark abyss?
Things shouldn't have been this way. Things should've been happier for him. Things should've been different. But that's just it. It should've been, but they weren't. More than anything he wanted to go back and live his old life. His happier one. He remembered Cindy's smiling face and the ache in his heart spread, making his chest hurt. He cringed at the sudden pain. The memories were always bittersweet. Sometimes a little too bitter for his liking. Memories of his sleepless nights entered his mind. He hadn't slept very well since Cindy's death. He'd lay awake in bed thinking of Cindy, crying and other nights he'd actually cried himself to sleep, but he'd awake later with the memories of Cindy or nightmares of the car accident with his heart aching, his chest always sore, and tears in his eyes. He missed her. He wanted to hear her laugh again. He wanted to see her smile again. He wanted to smell the sweet fragrance of her. He wanted to make her laugh like he had always been able to. He wanted to just hang out and talk for hours about just junk. He wanted so much. Wanted so much, but couldn't have any of it!
He remembered how Time stood still for them. That was when Time was a friend. Now it was more of an enemy to him than Cindy could have ever been.
He thought about bringing her back to life with a new creation he had in mind or going back in time to stop the accident from happening. But altering time could have great consequences. He learned this when he had gone back in time to convince his father in investing in McSpankies. When he went back to his own time, things were drastically different. Sure, he had ultimately gotten the set of encyclopedias he had wanted, but with a price. His parents ended up being neglectful when it came to him, sending him off with money so as to not bother them. What kind of life was that? And that was one small thing he had managed to change about the past. What consequences could stopping an accident bring to his present? And reviving someone from the dead? Who was he to play God? If there was a God.
He did, although, begin to build a machine to bring Cindy back for his own selfish needs, but for some reason he was overcome with overbearing loss and a powerful sense of grief and sorrow mid-way through. It left him numb and lifeless at the end as if something were giving him a sign to stop. How was he to go on with his creation when a force he couldn't explain seemed to leave him paralyzed if he even neared his lab where the machine was kept?
"Jimmy," came his mother's soft voice.
He sighed angrily. He hated the way she spoke to him. The way everyone spoke to him! It was as if he was a wounded little pup who desperately needed love and attention. It was one reason why he spent so much time in his room, locked away from everyone. That and the fact that he couldn't bring himself to leave the sanctuary that was his room. It protected him from anything else that threatened to hurt him. Everything in the outside world was capable of hurting him and he felt that he hurt enough. He wanted nothing more to do with that outside world. And so he spoke to no one and saw no one. Not even Goddard was allowed in his room. He remembered how the mechanical dog always sat outside his door, whimpering and scratching at the door, wanting entrance, until it was time for him to "sleep." That was when Jimmy would open his bedroom door and grab the glass of juice his mother left for him. She was always leaving food for him outside his door on a tray, hoping that he'd come out to eat. She'd leave him breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but he never came out to eat. Only when he knew everyone was asleep. He'd open his door ajar and take only the juice. He rarely ever touched his food. He was never really hungry, anyway. The juice was always just enough, but he never finished it. His family worried that he'd collapse from malnutrition while he was locked away in his room. He often heard his parents arguing about it. It'd always end with his mother sobbing from the very thought and his father attempting to comfort her. It didn't matter to Jimmy, though. If anything, he'd welcome it.
"Jimmy?" His mother called, this time it was more of a question. Her voice was closer as well. "Would you like your father to drive you to school before he goes off to work?"
He ignored the question. He didn't want to go back. It'd just bring back too many memories, but his mother felt it was about time for him to return whether he was ready or not. He didn't have a say in the matter and so what was he to do? There was nothing to do, but pray that he'd survived the day.
He sighed as he walked into his bathroom. He stood, looking at his reflection in the mirror. He didn't even recognize the person who stared back at him. Who was that with their hair tossed about, strands falling in his eyes? Who was that person with bags under their eyes and sadness laying above the surface? Who was that weak, hopeless person who stared right back?
Jimmy took a deep breath as he closed his eyes. Memories flashed in his mind's eye and he gripped the sink for support, suddenly feeling dizzy.
Cindy, he thought.
"Jimmy?" his mother called a third time, her voice consumed with concern. She was frantic too. "What's wrong?"
He took another deep breath and let it out as steadily as he could before opening his eyes again and looked at his reflection again. He combed his fingers through his hair and then made his way into his room for his book bag and opened his door. His mother stood there, startled for a moment until a faint weak smile grew on her face. Goddard barked happily as he ran up the stairs and into Jimmy's arms. He licked his face, greeting him as his tail wagged like never before.
"It's nice to see you again, Jimmy," his mother said, tears brimming in her eyes and her arms wrapped around him. "I was beginning to think that you'd never come out of that stuffy room."
Jimmy didn't smile or respond. He just stood there, Goddard in his arms as his mother embraced him.
"You showered," his mother said as she pulled away. I stood there, letting the water hit me until I couldn't stand up anymore, he thought to himself. His mother reached out and straightened his shirt and then fixed his hair. Jimmy's only response was a tired sigh as he allowed his mother to fix him up. What did it matter? "I made you lunch." She smoothed out the wrinkles in his shirt with the palm of her hand and when she was finished she stood back to look him over. She smiled sweetly as she looked at him.
Jimmy placed Goddard back down and his mother took his hand, leading him down stairs. Goddard followed in pursuit, tail wagging. They soon stepped into the kitchen. His father was eating his breakfast as he read his newspaper. He looked up and saw Jimmy enter. He stood and rushed over. "JimJim!" he exclaimed as he held his son close. "It hasn't been the same without you, son."
Hugh pulled away and looked at Jimmy with a smile on his face. But Jimmy did not return his father's smile. He didn't even flinch. His muscles felt to weak to respond to such things. He didn't even think he could stand much longer. But without thinking Jimmy stepped away toward the door.
"Aren't you going to eat?" his mother asked as she walked after him.
"Please, eat something, Jimmy," she pleaded. "I'm worried."
He stopped and turned. Without even looking at her he took the glass of orange juice that was set out for him and drank what he could. Only half. He then turned and walked out the door.
"Jimmy, wait!" his mother called. "At least take your lunch!"
But Jimmy didn't turn. As he walked away from the door he could hear footfalls behind him. He turned. Goddard was following him. He sighed as he shook his head.
"Go home, Goddard," he said as he shooed the dog away. His voice sounded so rough as if he hadn't spoken in months. It didn't even sound like his own. "Get out of here. You can't come."
Jimmy shook his head. He looked up. His parents stood in the doorframe staring out at him, their eyes wallowing in sorrow for him. He flinched at the sight. He turned away, he didn't want to see anyone pitying him any more. It was only more of a reminder. So what! He was hurting, but did other's have to treat him like a wounded animal. Always cautious yet loving and gentle. He didn't need it! Any of it! He shook his head, wanting the vision to disperse. He didn't realize that he was heading in the direction of Cindy's house until the world came back to him like a slap in the face.
"Jimmy," came a voice, like a soft summer breeze.
He looked up. Was that. . .? He looked about frantically. It could've been his parents. They were still watching him, unable to move. But it sounded like. . . He shook his head. It couldn't have been her, he said to himself as he looked up and stopped.
Cindy's house loomed in the sun, his eyes shut from the bright light and then he noticed a figure standing on the small path toward the door. It was Libby. She looked up at Cindy's window as if she were waiting for Cindy to come out and greet her, like she had done some many times before. A knot formed in his throat. Jimmy could remember how he waited for Cindy. But he was secretive about it. He never walked outside to wait out her door. No. He didn't want to leave the safety of his room. But he'd sit there, waiting, hoping to see her stepping through his door and sit down beside him as if nothing had ever happened. And maybe he was crazy for thinking such a thing could happen, but he did. He felt as if he could still call her up and she'd answer the phone and they'd talk about all the things that they use to talk about. He had even gone through a short time where he believed that she would come back. That she was still alive and the nightmare of her death was just that; a nightmare. A figment of his imagination. Something that he probably remembered from a movie and placed himself and Cindy in the scenario. It was just so surreal. Part of him knew that she was gone, yet another part of him didn't believe it. That part of him just couldn't grasp the fact that she was truly gone. He couldn't! Because then it'd mean that she really was gone and he didn't want it to come to that. But it did. Eventually, it did.
Libby turned, her eyes misty with tears and she wiped the stray tears on her cheeks with the back of her hand before continuing toward him.
"Libby?" he asked. He hated the way his voice sounded. It was to raspy like he was losing it or something.
Libby looked up. Her sad eyes smiled weakly and she ran to him. She let her books fall to the floor and then she embraced him. He knew she was trying her best not to cry on his shoulder, but he also knew that she wanted to. She really wanted to.
"I'm glad you're finally coming out," she said, her voice a bit shaky from her emotions. "And it only took you two months."
Two months? Jimmy thought. Has it really been that long? Have I really been out for two months?
"Sheen and Carl will be thrilled to see you again." She gently pulled away from him as she remembered her books. Jimmy moved to help her pick them up. She thanked him when he handed her the textbook. "You're probably wondering what I'm doing here."
Jimmy took a deep breath to try and get it all to sink in and said, "I can take a guess."
Libby nodded as she let out a soft chuckle. She turned to walk to school and Jimmy joined her. They didn't speak to one another. Jimmy was beginning to feel uncomfortable around her, but he didn't want to mention it. He felt weird talking to her. It was like. . .talking to. . .he didn't know. But it hurt. Being with Libby. Everything just all came back to him like a punch in the stomach. She was Cindy's best friend. Isn't he suppose to feel comfortable around the people the Cindy knew and loved so much, like Libby? But if he was, then why wasn't he? Why did he feel the need to just walk away? It wasn't out of disrespect. He respected Libby. She was hurting just as much as Jimmy was, possibly even more. It was just that, it hurt too much to be around her. But he kept quiet, not wanting to upset her by telling her. He'd just have to suppress the feeling. Not to hard to do, he said.
He was thankful when they made it to the school. Now he'd have an excuse to get away. My locker, he thought. I have to go to my locker. He was about to open his mouth when-
"Jimmy!" He turned and Sheen lunged at him. Carl followed close behind. Neither of them didn't seem to notice that people were staring until Libby informed them. They pulled away from each other and cleared their throats, shaking one another's hands. Their prides were at stake here.
Libby shook her head, but smiled weakly.
A huge smile grew on Sheen's face. "It's really good to see you again, Jimmy," he said.
"I was beginning to think you'd never come back, Jim," Carl confessed.
"I didn't think I'd come back either," Jimmy replied. "But my mom thought it was time to get back. She said I missed a lot. She was surprised they didn't kick me out or something. I just guessed that they'd feel bad if they were to do something like that to me. Considering. . . ." His voice trailed, unable to finish.
"What happened with Cindy," Libby finished for him.
Jimmy nodded as he looked away.
"Are you feeling any better?" Carl asked.
"A little," Jimmy lied. He didn't want to have to go into detail about anything. He just took in a deep breath and smiled.
The bell rang and students filed into the school, getting ready for first period. Jimmy dreaded the day before him, he already hated the stares he was getting. With a long, deep breath, he thought, It's going to be a long day.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Jimmy!" the teacher's frantic voice echoed in the hallway as he ran. He couldn't stand being there. How could his mother even allow this to happen?! It was all her fault. If it hadn't have been for her, then he'd still be home, laying down in bed, thinking of Cindy. School wasn't much different anyway. The only thing different was the fact that there were seats and a teacher lecturing about who knew what! And students all around. It was crowded. Too crowded. He felt suffocated at times and he couldn't breath when he realized where he was. But when he didn't know where he was, his mind would float away. He'd day dream of Cindy and he was never able to listen for more than a second. He was a complete mess and this whole situation wasn't working out well for him.
People pitied him too. They gave him that same look that his parents did at home. And that voice! That stupid, little, cautious, wounded-puppy voice! They used that. All of them! He couldn't understand just why it bothered him so much. All he knew was that it did and he didn't like it. The teacher had used that stupid voice when she came around to check for the class's progress on an in class assignment she gave. Jimmy was of course not doing his work and she approached him, cautiously. She knelt down beside his desk and began to whisper in that wounded-puppy voice.
"I know you're hurting, Jimmy. And I don't want to make you do anything you don't want to, but this is an important grade. Especially, for you. You haven't been here for a while."
Like I already didn't know that, he thought.
She had paused when he didn't respond. She sighed and tried again. "I can't say I know exactly how you feel, but I have an idea. I almost lost someone I cared about dearly recently. I know what it's like to feel a pang of loss." She stopped. "But you see, Jimmy, death is a part of life." She opened her mouth to say more, but nothing came out. She thought a bit. She took a deep breath and tried yet again. "I know you and Cindy were close-" Her name triggered something in him and he looked at her with a suddenness that sacred her. She twitched. "She was a-"
"Don't you dare talk about her!" he snapped. "Don't you dare." His voice was dripping with venom. "You don't have any right!" And with that he stood, his chair fell back as he did and in an instant his book bag was in his hand and he was racing for the door.
The bell rang and students swarmed about in the hall way, trying to reach their lockers so as not to miss their bus. But Jimmy simply stormed out. His thoughts or concerns all blurred and tangled as one. It left him confused and a bit dazed. He hurried to a nearby tree and leaned against it for support. He hadn't realized how hard his heart was pumping or how labored his breath had become. And he hadn't realized the tears streaming down his cheeks until he tasted the bittersweet salt water on his lips. His throat was sore and his heart ached. He wanted to run. Run far away to a place where no one knew him. Somewhere where there weren't any bad memories. Somewhere where he could go on and live his life without any regrets. But that couldn't happen. The pain he felt wouldn't leave him, unless he made it stop. And that was exactly what he was going to do: Make it stop.
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That night he stayed sitting up in bed. He could hear his parents whispering in the other room.
"What do we do, Hugh?" his mother asked. "I'm afraid he'll. . .do something."
"I know," his father soothed. "I'm afraid too, but what can we do to make his pain go away?"
"I don't know," his mother replied. "I just don't want to see him like this anymore. His teacher called. She said he ran out after she tried talking to him in class. He had tears in his eyes and he was yelling at her for mentioning Cindy. He told he she didn't have a right to talk about her."
Jimmy could hear his mother's soft footfalls as she paced and then the spring in the mattresses as she sat. "I miss Cindy too," she said.
Liar, he said to himself as he listened.
"I want to tell him, but what do I say? You heard about his teacher. I didn't want that to happen to me. I want him to talk to me. She was a good girl, Hugh. A great girl. She loved Jimmy so much. And he loved her. He loves her."
"I love her too and it hurts to think about her and I know he thinks that I don't care," she continued. "But I do. I really do. Someone needed to stay strong. Some had to and I thought that person had to be me."
"I know, honey," Hugh said.
"I want her back, Hugh," his mother said. "I want her back! I want her back, I want her back! I want her back!"
The tears streamed down Jimmy's face as he listened. His mother's sobs became louder and louder and she became more empowered by her grief and then Jimmy let himself go. His body began to shack violently from his powerful emotions and he hugged his knees as he brought them up to his chest. He rocked back and forth, trying to contain himself, but the emotions inside him were running ramped and wild. Everything was unleashing in that moment and he couldn't stop. His heart seemed to burn with the loss he felt. The ache was so strong that his chest began to hurt.
"Make it stop," he sobbed as he continued to rock back and forth. "Make it stop!"
He stayed like that for some time until the anger from deep within him began to slowly make it's way to the surface. He soon stood and with sudden anger sweeping through him he approached his desk. His body still shook from his emotions and the pain in his chest continued to grow. With a swift motion of his hand he swiped away the papers and things off his desk and then he moved to his walls and ripped his posters apart. Albert Einstein went down and was ripped to shreds. A low cry of pain, sorrow, and anger was steadily growing in his throat as he continued his rampage of loss and anger. He moved to his dresser, breaking and throwing anything and everything in his path. When he made it to his dresser, he punched it, trying to see if he'd bleed. The blood soon surfaced. It seemed to confuse him, but only for a moment and then like a savage he threw his belongings across the room. His eyes fell on Cindy's picture and he grabbed it.
"You left me!" he shouted. "You left me here to rot! I'll never forgive you! Never!"
He threw the picture. Glass shattered all about as he continued to thrash his room. The sudden pounding of his door did nothing to deter him from actions. His parents' shouts also had little affect on him. He couldn't open the door. He wouldn't open the door.
"You left me!" he shouted again. "You left me, you selfish bi-" He stopped, his breath ragged and heavy, his heart and chest throbbing. His parents continued to pound on the door, demanding entrance. He didn't know what had made him stop, but something had. "You left me," he repeated softly.
The door finally swung open as he fell to his knees, his tears no longer from anger. His parents rushed to him. "She left me," he said as he slowly turned to his mother. His face asking why. "She said she'd never leave me, no matter what." His voice was strained as his tears fell. His mother looked shocked and unsure, but it sank in.
"I know," she sobbed.
"But she left me," he said. "She left me, anyway. She's gone and she's never coming back. Never. She left and she'll never return to me."
He threw himself on his mother. She embraced him as he continued to weep. "She left me," he repeated as he buried his face in her shoulder. "I love her and she left me!"
"I know," his mother said as she rocked him in her arms as she had done when he had been just a baby, her voice sweet and loving with sorrow. "I know."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
He awoke later with a start. He sat up in his bed, the sweat trickling down his forehead and back.
"Another nightmare," he said to himself as he looked about. "Or not." His room was thrashed. Clothes were tossed carelessly about, glass covered one side of the room, and shreds of paper littered the entire room. Everything had been turned upside down. A sudden pain in his hands made him look down. Dried blood covered his knuckles. He sighed.
"Are things really that bad without me?'
The voice made his heart skip a beat. His breath caught in his throat and he slowly looked up. Cindy stood at the foot of his bed, wearing a white outfit and she seemed to be bathed in a mesmerizing glow. She tilted her head to one side as she looked at him. He felt the threat of tears and rubbed his eyes. I must be dreaming, he thought.
"You're not dreaming, Jimmy," came Cindy's angelic voice. He smiled at her as he allowed himself a soft laugh of joy. "I'm here to warn you."
Jimmy's smile faded. Her face expression did not fall. "Warn me?" he asked.
Anger suddenly overcame him, seeping in his veins. "I don't see you for what? Two months? And you come to me only to warn me? Well, it's great seeing you too, Cindy!"
"Jimmy, listen!" Cindy pleaded. "I'm sorry, but this is important!"
"But I want to talk to you!" he argued. "I miss you." His voice softer.
Cindy let out a happy sigh as she smiled. "I miss you too," she said. "But I can't talk long."
"Why not?" Jimmy demanded.
"I'm not suppose to be here," she answered. "But I needed to warn you.I just can't let your life end." She stopped as she stared back at him.
"I'm going to die?" he asked, feeling a welcoming foreboding within himself.
"Just be careful when you pay your respect, okay?" she said.
"Pay my respect?"
"I can't stay," she said hurriedly as he body began to fade.
"Wait!" Jimmy called. "One last kiss."
His eyes pleaded with her and she smiled as she moved toward him, her body fading out. She hovered only inches away and continued closer. Her lips touched his as he closed his eyes and it felt so real. The warmth that sat on his lips felt exactly as it had always when Cindy kissed him and when it was gone, he knew she had left. He opened his eyes again and all trace of her was gone. He had heard many stories of people who claimed they had been visited by their loved ones, but as a scientist, he had never believed in any of it. Maybe he had just been so full of grief that he imagined he was speaking to Cindy. He had just had a break down not too long ago. But it was Cindy. It had to be her. It was just so real, too real to be false.
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He had not gone to school the following day and his mother did not object. Neither had his father. No one wanted to speak. They were all too weak and besides, they didn't have anything to say. What needed to be said had already been said the night before through actions and reactions. Instead, Jimmy spent the day with Goddard at the graveyard. He wanted to visit Cindy's grave. He had remembered that he had been unable to go to her wake and her funeral had left him numb by the time it was over. He had brought along some things for her that day. His things. The things she liked, even a letter he had written to her. He could still see the brown coffin sitting at the bottom of the grave as the priest sprinkled soil on it and the various things placed with her. Roses lay on top with various flowers people had brought with them. Family, friends, classmates, townspeople, and teachers, everyone who knew her had gathered that day for her. A real fair well.
He sat at her grave thinking of her as Goddard sat, huddled close beside him, whimpering as Jimmy wept. Goddard placed his head on Jimmy's lap as he looked up at him, but Jimmy could not bring himself to look back. Instead, he looked away, leaning on Cindy's gravestone. He had read it so many times that he knew what it said aloud. Her full name was etched into the stone along with her date of birth and date of death. Beneath that were the words:
Loving friend and daughter.
Dear to everyone she loved.
Brave and strong and always prepared for what life gave her.
May she rest in peace.
Jimmy stood, unable to stay any longer. Goddard followed close behind. Jimmy stood alone when he came to a small path where cars were able to pass through. When he looked down at Goddard, he wasn't there. Goddard had disappeared. He looked about for him and called to him, but Goddard did not come. A sudden sound made him turn, but nothing was there. He turned again as he heard yet another sound. Something moved from behind the tree where he stood and moved quickly. But when he peered around it, no one was there. He stood baffled for a moment and then the sound of car approached. He paid no attention, believing it was his mind playing tricks and then something in the distance caught his eye. Blond hair. A girl with blond hair was running.
"Cindy?" he breathed. His feet moved and he began to race ahead where he had seen the girl. A loud crash made him halt. He turned with no intention of staying, but when his eyes fell upon the car that had crashed right into the tree where he had just stood, his mind seemed to not grasp the concept. I could've been. . .His thought trailed. He turned again, certain now that the girl he had previously seen was Cindy. I just can't let your life end, came Cindy's voice. Be careful when you pay your respect, okay?
He ran and ran, but no Cindy. There was absolutely no sign of her anywhere. He looked around one more time, but when he saw no one, he returned to the car, looking over his shoulder every chance he got. Just incase. Goddard had come running from the graveyard when Jimmy checked inside the car. A young woman sat behind the wheel. She looked as if she were. . .dead. He rushed to the car door and checked her pulse. She was alive. He attempted to speak to her, but the only response he got was he soft mumbling. He shouted for help and it seemed like he was alone. No one answered.
"C-co-cold. . ." the woman said, her voice low and not very audible.
"Don't worry," Jimmy replied. He removed his sweater and placed it over the woman. Her eyes opened slightly and then they closed.
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The following day, the story of the young woman who's name was, Sunny Knight, appeared in the newspaper. Jimmy made an appearance as well, as the hero. Now he really couldn't go outside. People were always congratulating him. He hadn't really saved anyone. Cindy was the one. She saved both him and that woman. He didn't feel right going out there and allowing people to praise him for something he hadn't done. Besides, he didn't deserve it.
He sat alone on his bed as he stared into the darkness. Night had fallen hours ago, but he couldn't get to sleep. He hadn't been able to sleep well for a long time, anyway. He had gotten use to it. He hugged himself for warmth. He felt a sudden chill. He closed his eyes and the visions of that day flashed before him.
Don't go changing the subject again, Jimmy. Why can't you just come out and say it? I know you do!
Then why bother saying it?!
You don't know how much you've hurt me!
He put his head down as he brought his knees up to his chest. He wrapped his arms around himself.
I'm sorry, but I can't help it if I'm scared to tell you!
Oh, please! Don't make up excuses, Neutron!
The horn honked and then something flashed in Cindy's eyes and in one swift second as he blinked the car rammed into her hip.
He flinched at the memory and took in a deep, sharp breath. The tears began to escape his eyes and he couldn't hold them back.
He began to rock back and forth as he sobbed. Every memory like a stab in the heart.
It'll be okay, Cindy. You'll be okay.
His heart ached.
I love you.
The pain grew.
I love you too.
It was growing too fast. Too much.
Don't leave me, Cindy, please.
He began to fall on his side.
"Jimmy?" his mother called.
He had moved to the floor and curled himself into a ball as he sobbed.
"It hurts," he whispered.
He remembered the ache in his heart that night. It had been killing him. He couldn't stand it much longer. And he remembered thinking, was it possible to die of a broken heart?
Here came his answer.
His mother opened the door. She rushed to him, trying to help him, shock and fear in her eyes.
I'm so sorry.
His eyes shut. Here it comes.
I'm sorry, Cindy.
His mother screamed.
And then. . . darkness.
If he could only turn the hands of the clock around. . .
He stood, watching his mother sobbing over his lifeless body, looking at him, her head shacking, denying the evidence that literally lay before her eyes. It is possible to die of a broken heart, he thought
. . .then he'd tell her how much he loved her. . .
"Are you coming?"
He turned, a smile on his face.
"Will they be okay?" he asked, taking her hand as his father joined his mother in his room. Goddard followed close behind him.
. . .the first time she had asked and every day after that. . .
"In good time, they will," she answered. She paused. "I didn't know you'd still pass. When I found out, there was nothing I could do."
He nodded as he thought about it. Time hadn't been his friend before, but now there was no such thing.
"You could visit. In their dreams," she suggested. "Even Goddard."
He nodded as he looked at his parents one last time, knowing he'd have to communicate. "Take care. I love you all," he whispered.
. . .until he knew for sure that she would stay with him forever. . .
And then he was gone. To another world. Another place, where he would live forever with the one he loved.
"You've returned to me," he said, turning to her. "Stay with me this time." He took both of Cindy's hands in his and stared back at her his silent question in his eyes.
She smiled. "I thought you'd never ask," she said as she took him in her arms.
THE End. . .