-One week later…-
A comforting hand was placed on my shoulder, resting, the rain falling on this day all too cliché… the sound of the priest chatting away some religious mumbo jumbo… my already soaked clothing clinging to my skin, which is now absorbing water…
I didn't pay attention to any of it, though. He was dead. Dead. Gone from my life, never to speak to me again, dead. I can't ask for anything more than what his dying breath had said to me. What he said spoke to me louder than any other time he screamed at me, more than any time he forced me out of the house over night, more than when he caused mom to leave, more than anything he's ever done.
It was a last-moment redemption… it happens all too often. Does it happen because he died and wanted to amend himself at the last second… or did he really, honestly, truly realize his mistakes and wanted to tell me? Either way, it made me feel better… but when his life got taken, the world came crashing down around me… eyes closing… tears falling… the sound of rain hitting the ground, trees, graves, and bodies… the priest finishing his ramblings… the hand on my shoulder becoming an arm around my shoulders, pulling me into a tight embrace…
The priest and others who had come quickly cleared out. Gar and I didn't have enough money to pay for the full funeral, so we just got the basic… it's the least I can do for him… and all I can do for him. A warm, dry hand wiped the tears away from my face.
"Rachel…" it whispered… "Do you want to go home?" I shook my head.
"I… need a moment alone…" his head nodded, his green eyes fixed on mine. He kissed me on the forehead, then stepped back a few steps, joining Victor, Richard, Kori, Tara, and Kitty. I knelt down at the grave, touching its wet marble. It was bone chilling…
"You made mistakes all your life, dad. You hurt the others around you in blindsided by your own greed and selfishness. You damaged me so much… so much so it caused my life to go into a downward spiral, become one of the 'Feared Three'. I didn't know at the time, or care, at what kind of consequence of not obtaining an education would do to my future. My life… it would have been ruined.
"To say you were the cause for it would be unfair… because Tara and Kitty had helped with that. All of you drug me down into self-loathing, so I turned it into anger and then anger into remorselessness to hurt others. I know now is a stupid time to tell you all of this, dad… but if I don't at least say it… I'll feel guilty for the rest of my life.
"I almost feel as if your death is my fault, or I'm an indirect cause to it. I never wanted you to die, dad. No matter how many times I did wish it upon you, I never wanted the day to come. I didn't want to see you… well, you get the point. People would probably say you had it coming, which you probably did, but…
"What you said to me before you died, it spoke to me. Louder than any of your other actions or screams before that. It… it showed me you cared about me, I don't know about love, dad, but it was at least care. You probably did it because you didn't know any other way to raise me. You were probably raised that way too, weren't you?
"I… I'm sorry, dad. I know I shouldn't be, but I can't help but apologizing, because I do feel guilty… if I had acted faster, maybe I could've helped you. I was just so amazed at what you did, though.
"Well… thanks to a special boy, named Garfield Mark Logan, I feel… as if my life can finally get back on the right track. I… wish that you were here to see that, to cheer me on, to provide advice and opinion. But no amount of wishing is able to bring anyone back to life.
"You may not be here in person, but… I'll always remember you, dad. I… sort of, deep down, always knew you had cared about me. In the end, I can't help but thank you as well. Because if you weren't one of the causes for my lifestyle, Garfield never would've come. That… that's the gift you've given me. Your death… it wasn't in vain, dad. I'm not trying to say I'm happy that you're dead, but I'm happy that this happened… not your death, that didn't need to be.
"But it did make me realize how much I appreciate what you did for me in the long run of my life. Thank you. I… love you, dad." I pulled a single black rose out of my jacket pocket, still dry from the protection, and placed it down on the grave. I sighed and stood up, facing my friends, and walked towards them.
"Are you ready?" I nodded. He took my hand in his, and we all proceeded into the three waiting limousines. Gar and I got into our own, Kori, Richard, and Kitty got into one, and Victor and Tara got in the last.
"You say everything you needed to?"
"Yeah… I hope." He grinned at me, but not his normal grin. It was cheerless.
"Well… that was really depressing. Remind me to not attend funerals any time in the future." I gave a half-smile.
"As long as no one else…" he put his hand on mine.
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "Let's try not to think about that."
"It's so unfair, Gar. Why'd he have to go, right when saw his errors?" I sobbed, a single tear dripping down my face. He sighed.
"I wish I could answer that for ya, Rae. Life has a cruel way of mocking people. So cruel that man can't ever understand it, no matter how hard they try. This was one of those situations…"
"Well… where do you think he went?"
"In the dirt."
"No… which place?"
"Place…? Oh! Rae, I believe in reincarnation. Your dad's going to be reborn again, and seeing the error of his ways is going to carry over with him." I cocked my eyebrow.
"You… are not just saying that to try and cheer me up?" I asked him.
"No. I truly do believe in that."
"… I hope you're right. I don't think… he'd make it…"
"Shh, Rae. You've had an exhausting week. Try to get some rest." His voice was so quiet, so hard to hear… so peaceful. I laid my head on his shoulder, and he started humming a song… Greensleeves… my mother used to do the same… before sleep finally enveloped me…
A bump woke me up, followed by the stopping of motion from the limo. A hand was on my head, slowly stroking my hair.
"Rae, we're here."
"I'm awake." He didn't move after the car stopped, his strong, caring arms still holding me. "Gar?" His body trembled against mine… "Gar… are you okay?" He wiped his face quickly.
"Sorry you had to see that… I guess the reality just caught up with me. I didn't get a chance to meet him, so it's probably silly that I'm crying."
"No, you probably feel my pain… I didn't know you were an empath, Gar." He blushed.
"I only learn from the best. Shall we go…?" I nodded and exited the car. Richard was kind enough to host a feast after the funeral… I don't know why, but it's a good idea. Especially considering how much it made me hungry…
It didn't stop raining, so Rick couldn't barbecue like what was initially planned, so he ordered pizza and Chinese food.
"Rae," Kitty approached me as I was coming out of the bathroom.
"How come you never told us?"
"I… thought I was strong enough to handle it on my own. I should've asked for help." She nodded.
"Is that why you didn't want to be expelled? You'd spend all day with your dad?" I sighed.
"That's the truth of it." In a totally un-Kitty like moment, she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me briefly. She let go, and her face was soft.
"I hope you know I'm not mad at you. I'm really sorry for everything."
"Don't worry about it, Kitty." She smiled before she entered the bathroom, and I walked back into the living room, where there was food and much conversation… everyone who talked to me avoided talking about the death. But that's all I really want to talk about right now. How much could have changed…
I know I'm a fool for wanting to talk about things that could've happened if he were alive still, but I just can't help myself. Things would have been so much different. At least Gar is here to help with that. Without him, I wouldn't be anything.
He walked up to me as I was standing outside in the rain. "Come in, Rachel. You'll get sick if you stay out here too long." I turned to him and frowned.
"God, how am I going to get through this? Gar, if he was so mean to me all my life, does it make sense I'm so sad?"
"Of course it does. What he said before he died is going to stick with you for the rest of your life, and you'll remember it when times get tough for you… and, y'know, I'll be here too…" he blushed as he took my hand. "For as long as you need me."
"Would you stay forever?" He leaned in close and whispered.
"Forever? I was hoping it could be longer." Before I could respond, he leaned in and kissed me.
"Okay… Gar, I think I can get through this with you by my side. I don't think I'll ever be able to thank you enough."
"Your presence is enough for me Rae. C'mon, let's go inside." I shook my head.
"I want to go home, Gar."
"Well, okay… Tara wanted to see you though."
"Oh." He led the way in the house and Tara was standing over the couch, chatting with Kori and Richard.
"Rachel, can I speak to you alone please?"
"Of course." She led me upstairs where no one would hear anything we spoke about.
"Rae. You should have told us."
"But you didn't. Let me guess… you were the fearless Rachel, and coming to ask anyone for help would've hurt your rep. Right?"
"Yeah…" I admitted shyly.
"Pride can do stupid things to one sometimes… I'm glad Rory's dead. The asshole deserved to die after all that shit he pulled. Er, anyway… Rae, remember, if you need anything at all, don't hesitate to ask me. I'm still your friend, so you can still be mine… right…?" I breathed in heavily.
"I guess you're right, but I'm going to need time to adjust. It might be a long time before we get back to the 'hanging out' part between us. I need a lot of time."
"It's alright, Rae. Have fun with Gar in the mean time, okay?"
"I will… thanks." She smiled at me and hugged me.
"Any time." We walked back down the stairs.
"Are you and Gar leaving now?" Richard asked.
"Yes, we are. Call tomorrow, okay?" I assured.
"Yeah of course I will. Kori's staying here tonight, and Vic will drive you home."
"He got his license?" Garfield asked with a tone of surprise in his voice.
"Yeah, he did. Anyway, we'll see you guys later." He leaned in close to me. "I'm gunna ask Kori out tonight," he whispered and winked. I nodded. Victor was waiting outside for us and the long drive back home began.
"You guys gunna be alright, right?" Victor inquired.
"Yeah… it will be a tough road but we'll get through it together. Right, Rae?" I smiled at him.
"Yes, we will."
"Good. I know you two are stronger than you look. You gunna take some more time off school?" Gar was quiet, waiting for my answer.
"No, I don't think we should. I've missed enough school as it is."
"What the lady said."
"Alright, glad I'll see ya in class tomorrow then. Anyway, this is your guy's stop. See ya."
"Bye." We got out of the car and proceeded up to Gar's apartment and he opened the door and allowed me. "Such a gentleman. Glad I got one."
"Heh… well, I do try to be as nice as I can."
"That's good, Gar. A lot of women want that in a man but not too many are smart enough to realize it."
"Well. I like it how I am one of the few."
"What's with the equipment in your room?" That question has been bugging me for the longest time…
"Ehh, I'm a people watcher. It was to help me with my 'mission', but I used it more to watch people. It's entertaining."
"Oh, that's cool."
"Wow." I raised my eyebrow.
"What?" I asked.
"That's the first time I've heard you give such an un-interested answer all this time I've known you."
"Hmm, well I can't think of anything witty to say to it. You're lucky I don't mock you for that." He put up his hands.
"Hey, no need to mock me!"
We watched movies for the rest of the night, including Resident Evil and Borat. The rest of the week went by normally, with little mentions of my father and Rory. Fact is the whole school knew about it and his old ways. But it's all right, because no one was mean about it. No one wants to mess with me still to this day.
I've quit my smoking habit with lots of support from my great friends. It was a tough battle but I eventually passed the final test, which was being in a room with a bunch of smokers and resisting the urge to have one.
Gar and his uncle's relationship is nearly unchanged, but I've noticed that Melvin has been being less of a jerk than he normally has been recently, which is good in itself and for the school because it's slowly becoming half-decent. Gar doesn't speak of his parents. No one else knows about that stuff, and that's how it's going to stay.
Richard and Kori are dating. It's quite cute to see them together, I must admit. Kori is so energetic and hyper, and Richard is so serene and tense. It's good to see that she can loosen him up a little, and good to know that all my friends are around me and we can hang out together without any discomfort.
Victor found a girl, Nicole Diaz, and started dating her. The two have a lot of fights because Nicole is a thief and has little respect for people, but Victor is slowly showing her the wrong of her ways and she's slowly becoming that of a better person, kind of like me and Gar.
Tara and Kitty… the strangest thing had happened between the two. Well, they are slowly starting to be nicer, but I don't think they'll ever be completely changed. The strange thing is that the two are dating. I couldn't believe it when I heard the news. It certainly is a good thing. The two seem like quite the opposites… it's funny, really. I remember Kitty having a crush on Richard at one point in time. She almost asked him out, too…
At least everyone in my life has someone they can go to, to spend time with alone and to appreciate for who they are. I'm glad everybody got someone, because it would be unfair if one person were to be left without someone.
"Do you think we'll be together forever?"
"Forever and longer."
A/N: Well... this is the end. I'm going to miss working on this. I hope you all enjoyed the end chapter, and the story altogether. I hope it was as climactic as I know you're probably expecting it to be... man, lots of fluff in this chapter. It took a while, didn't it? Ah... what does an author say at their end A/N? Thank you for reading my story, my first one to come to completion. Good night, and see you on my next story! (If you read it).