A/N: This is an outtake from The Kübler Ross Model. If you haven't read the story, that's okay. All you need to know is Dexter is an original character.
This was originally written for the Twifans for Haiti compilation. Thank you to everyone who donated and to MsKathy for organizing the whole thing.
Special thanks to siouxchef who stepped in and beta'd this for me, and to stupidreader who inspired Pervmett.
I don't own Twilight, its characters, or anything else that is publicly recognizable. Dexter, his family, and these words are mine. Please don't steal.
All my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they're here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
-Yesterday, The Beatles
When you're four years old and playing Cops and Robbers with your best friends, you never think about what might happen if one of you isn't there to play any more.
When you're twelve and your friend tells you he's got it bad for a girl, you don't think what life would be like if they were together.
When you're eighteen and those two friends are stronger together than they are apart and still closer to you than anyone else in the world, you think you're invincible and life is just beginning.
When your best friend is diagnosed with cancer, you become a cheerleader. Sure, you listen to his fears, but you encourage him, tell him that it will all be okay. You never imagine that your friend will die at twenty-two and leave behind a group of people longing for the days before cancer was even a word in their vocabulary.
Today, I'm a pallbearer for my best friend. I'm sitting in the front of the church trying not to cry as his best friend and girlfriend knocks the eulogy out of the park. Bella's always been the toughest out of our group of three, but she won't ever admit it.
She's standing up there, recapping Dexter's life and sharing his words of wisdom with everyone, and I don't know how I'm not crying. Maybe it's because she's not crying. She's being strong, which is all Dexter ever asked of her.
I take a moment to look around the room. So many people here; Dexter really was loved by everyone who ever met him. There are kids he met while doing volunteer work in the cancer wing of the local children's hospital, all sobbing because their buddy is gone. His parents are here and Bella told me his mom hasn't stopped crying since the moment he took his last breath. People he worked with, people we played sports with, people we went to school with. I notice Rosalie Hale towards the back of the room, crying into some guy's shoulder. He smiles at something Bella says and Rosalie smacks him.
Before I know it, it's my turn to get up and share my memories of Dexter. I hug Bella as she steps from the stage, holding her a bit longer than I should. I want her to know that just because our common link is gone, she shouldn't think I'm giving up on her.
I get up in front of all of these people and I want to focus on Bella or Dexter's parents, but my eyes are drawn to Rosalie. The one who got away. I watch her the entire time I talk about Dexter, knowing she always wanted him, not me. I don't care. If she ever moves back home, I'm going to find a way to make her mine.
Rose is a pain in the ass, and that's putting it mildly. She's full of herself, she knows what she wants, and she'll stop at nothing to get it. In a word, she's ruthless. She's always been bitchy toward Bella, and I think it's because Rose didn't quite know what to think when Dexter rejected her in favor of Bella.
"Those two were like peanut butter and jelly," I hear myself say, and I know without looking at my note cards that I'm talking about Bella and Dexter together.
Having note cards was a great idea, and I remind myself to thank Bella before I retreat back into my fantasy world. I'm still talking about Dexter, but my mind is playing an image of Rosalie going down on me over and over.
Bad move, subconscious. I can't walk away from the podium with the wood I'm sporting, and I can't discreetly hide it either because I talk with my hands. If I hide them now, people will notice and Bella will probably call me on it later.
To stall and hopefully give myself time to rectify my . . . situation, I start telling a story about a trip Dexter and I took together and realize a little too late that I'm going to have to alter the ending to make it appropriate for telling in a church.
Why did I pick the story about the time we set up a camp site in a meadow we'd found so he could take Bella there and they could lose their virginity to each other? Instead of telling the truth, I tell the story our parents heard about that weekend - Dexter and I went camping because we thought it would be fun. I even embellish a little, telling them how it snowed.
It did snow that weekend, and I didn't think Bella would ever forgive Dexter. But my girl was dickmatized by my boy and she was back on the proverbial horse faster than I could plead with her to forgive him, because I was the idiot who was supposed to check the weather.
My embarrassing wood is gone, Bella is glaring at me and Mrs. Robinson looks horrified. I think Mrs. R knows what really went down that weekend. I snicker softly to myself and thank everyone for coming to pay their respects to Dexter. I sneak in one last look at Rosalie and decide I might want to kill the jerk she's clinging to.
I don't pay attention to the rest of the service because frankly, it's too hard. Despite my perverted thoughts about an old classmate, this is my best friend's funeral. I didn't think I'd be here until we were old, grey, and each had a gaggle of grandkids to spoil.
I'm remembering something funny Dexter said to me shortly before he died, when Reverend Webber asks for the pallbearers to come forward. I wonder if I can really do this. Can I help lift that box containing what's left of my best friend out of this church and into the waiting hearse? Can I lift that box again when we get to the cemetery and willingly let someone put him in the ground? I know I don't have much of a choice; this was the last thing I promised Dexter I'd do for him.
That's the thing about someone knowing they're going to die. They have a lot of time to plan their own funeral. I hope no one else I know is ever in that situation.
Dexter was a goofy guy; he planned where each of the pallbearers would stand. After everyone in the church files past the casket one final time, the funeral director closes it. I'm to take hold near his head, at his right side because I was always his right hand man. He put his cousin Tyler by his left foot, and I actually snorted when Bella told me it was because Dexter loathed Tyler from the moment that kid was born.
Bella is standing there with this look on her face like she doesn't know what to do. She's sandwiched between Tom and Sandy and the three of them were the last ones to look at Dexter. Appropriate, since they were the last to see him alive. Her eyes catch mine and I can see tears there. She's gnawing on the inside of her cheek. I don't know why she's trying so hard not to cry so I mouth "Let it go."
She doesn't. She won't break down until later, maybe not until tomorrow. She'll wait to do it in the privacy of her apartment, with a pack or two of cigarettes and a bottle of Jack Daniels to keep her company. I haven't told her, but I took tomorrow off work too, because I know she'll call me when it gets to be too much to handle on her own.
I cry a little as we walk Dexter out of the church. After he's safely locked in the hearse, I'm invited to ride in the limo with his parents and Bella. I start to turn them down but Bella's eyes plead with me, so I slide in next to her.
Bella stares off into space, and I know I should be concerned, but I can't stop thinking about Rosalie. I wonder who the guy she's with is and I still want to kill him. Not the most appropriate thought for a funeral, but I can't control my brain.
The ride to the cemetery is short and soon I'm with Tyler and the other guys carrying Dexter to his final resting place. Reverend Webber says a few more words, something about ashes to ashes, and Sandy tugs at my arm until my hand is in hers and I'm holding a fist full of dirt. We wait until the few people who came to the grave side leave and for the guys who work here to kind of lower Dexter into the ground before we toss the dirt onto the casket.
Bella's still stoic, but I'm sobbing.
That's my best friend. I don't know if I know how to function without him.
I catch a ride home with some guy I barely remember from high school and wallow in my room. I must've fallen asleep at some point, because Bella's four a.m. phone call wakes me. She's crying so hard she can't talk, and I know she needs me. I tell her I'll be there soon and hang up.
Dexter may be gone, but Bella is still here. She's my best friend too, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure she does what he wanted: moves on and leads a happy life.