Adam straightened up from laying the red rose of the grave, his back to all the other mourners. He glanced to his right and saw Kate talking to Dorothy. She seemed to be comforting her; squeezing her arm and murmuring softly.

Her blonde hair tumbled loose, straight, past her shoulders like a golden waterfall. Her blue eyes were darkened with grief at the loss even as she attempted a smile for her friend. He watched her for a moment, then turned back to face the marble headstone again.

"Goodbye, Shelly," he whispered, a small smile touching his lips as his fist clenched tightly inside his pocket. "Hope Hell is hot enough."

He felt…good. Free, somehow. Inside him, something had…given out. It felt as though a small fraction of the pain and hatred he had been holding onto all those years had lessened. But it was still not enough. He still had-

"Adam?" Kate had come up behind him, surprise in her voice. He felt suddenly cold. Had she heard him?

"Hi, Kate." He turned to smile at her. "How are you doing?"

'Best to play it cool', he thought.

"You came." The genuine relief and happiness in her tone relaxed and warmed him. He could tell she had wanted to see him here, at the funeral of one of her best friends. Maybe…maybe she wanted to…maybe they could-

"I just thought you could use a friend." He smiled at her and she smiled back, nodding. Inside, his heart was singing. Yes. Maybe he could be happy again, maybe he wouldn't have to-


"I don't know, Adam. I mean, Shelley's just died, and…"

That bitch. Even in death she was coming between them.

"And," Kate smiled apologetically at her sort-of boyfriend. "I kind of promised Paige, Lily and Dorothy I'd go eat with them after, so…"

All of them. They were all taking Kate away from him. Adam looked over at the other three girls, huddled together whispering but still clearly watching them. Watching if Kate would be going back to her pitiful, alcoholic boyfriend.

The blood started to boil in his veins and he nodded curtly at Kate, mumbling some excuse and making himself scarce before she could suspect.

So. They weren't going to take the hint from Shelly dying? Okay. He could fix that…