Disclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever own the Beautiful Dead book series, and no copyright infringement is intended, I am purely writing this for my own amusement. Some parts in this chapter are taken directly from canon; I don't own those either.
A/N: I know, I know, I haven't updated in ages, I'm a terrible person. But I got real-lifed, and fanfiction (among other things) got put on hold. And once I did have time for it again, it had been so long that I had to read over everything that I'd already written and re-familiarise myself with the fandoms. So here's the next chapter, and it definitely won't take another year until the next update. Also, sorry it's a bit short, and if you see any mistakes, please, let me know. Thanks.
Chapter 3: Maybe It's Love, But It's Like You Said
The days that followed were long. I had slipped into a routine that made the days pass in one huge monotonous blur, but the increasing amount of work we had to do in preparation for Summer's concert was beginning to take my mind off things.
The time I spent at school gave the biggest distraction, and the hours passed quicker then. I was making more of an effort to spend time with my friends than I remember doing before. Especially Logan and Zoey. There was more of a connection there with them than with the others. But, really I just needed them to take my mind off things. From what, exactly, I didn't know. There were times when I would ache for Phoenix, but when I tried to think of my last memories of him, it makes my head pound, and this causes the ache to get worse. Maybe it was a subconscious way of protecting myself; I don't want there to be last memories, period. The thought of not being able to make new ones still brings me close to a breakdown. You would think it wouldn't be like that after all this time.
So I'd decided to put all my effort into the concert – not that I wouldn't anyway, it's Summer's tribute.
On the Wednesday after Logan told me about the fight with Ezra, I found a new song by Summer tucked away in one of my notebooks. I didn't remember ever seeing it before, but it was in Summer's handwriting, and the style fit, so I pointed it out to Hannah and Jordan. They hadn't seen it before either, but we all agreed that it would be perfect for the concert.
I nearly made it to the weekend without anything happening.
"Today is your session with Kim Reiss," Laura reminded me on Friday. She seemed to know that I'd forgotten. I'd been going through the week on auto-pilot, I was so focussed on making Summer's concert perfect.
I showered and dressed, and made an effort to at least try to muster up some level of enthusiasm towards my appointment with Kim. When I went to the window to raise the blind a face was staring in at me.
The guy had staring eyes. His lips were mouthing words at me through the glass. He rattled his fist against it until I thought it would shatter.
I went and opened the window – first floor, remember. Staring-guy had stood on the roof of is car and used my window ledge to haul himself up. He'd grazed the knuckles of his left hand doing it. "What the –"
"Listen to me," he hissed. "You have to do something for me."
the idea of prising the fingers of his bleeding hand away from the ledge entered my mind. I didn't care that he would drop four metres to the ground. Then I noticed something else about him – namely his black t-shirt with the exploding skull motif.
"I need to get into Summer's concert," he snake-hissed – S-S-Summer's cons-s-sert.
Jeez, I went for the guy's fingers big time. "Get the hell out!" I yelled. "Jim, Laura, come quick!"
I couldn't make anyone hear and JakB hung on. I stared at his twisted face – the too-close-together, pale-lashed eyes and long nose, the bid Adam's apple jerking up and down as he fought to cling to the ledge.
"I'll blow my brains out if I don't get a ticket," he threatened.
Go right ahead, weirdo! Right now I had no softer side for him to appeal to. I raised my bare foot and stomped on his fingers.
"Summer means everything to me!" he grunted. He'd let go with one hand but still hung on with the other. "She needs me there with her!"
I stamped down hard on hand number two, heard him let out a phlegm-thickened cry as he fell, then the thud of his body against his car roof. Leaning out, I watched him slither to the sidewalk. He looked up in agony, holding his wrist and pleading with me to join him, but the last thing on my mind was running down stairs to continue my conversation with Summer Madison's 'number one fan'.
When I enter Kim's cream-and-yellow office we start talking about Summer's concert.
A memory flashed across my mind but was pushed out again as soon as I realised what it was. It was my last visit to Summer's parents, her mom saying that she couldn't take another step out of hell until they found Summer's killer, and me feeling like it was a message to me personally.
I completely ignore Kim talking about different ways of dealing with grief and how the concert would help us and tried to bring up any memory on Summer's death. There were some vague flashes of things, conversations with Zak and Brandon Rohr, internet research, but there were worrying time gaps between some of them. Whole spaces where there was just nothing.
Panic started to bubble in my chest. There were a lot of blank stretches from when I'd been moving on auto-pilot right after Phoenix died. But these were different. Every time I tried to focus on them my head started pounding. All I could see were yellowing skull-faces.
I'd gone rigid in my seat and was staring into space. I didn't notice Kim until she put her hand on my arm. I could see her mouth moving, telling me to do something but the only sound I heard was beating wings.
I tried to focus on Kim and what she was saying, anything to stop having to look at the eye-sockets of creepy skulls. It was hard to focus on anything through the noise in my head, but it seemed it would stop as soon as I tried to avoid it.
I gratefully accepted the glass of water that Kim offered me and took steady sips while I tried to slow my breathing.
I ignored her attempts at getting me to talk about the reasons behind my sudden panic. I didn't even speak more than one-word answers for the rest of our session.
It distracted me all weekend. I didn't put as much effort into practising songs for the concert, now that I'd uncovered this new mystery. I discovered more and more blank spots, and grew increasingly worried with each new one. They kept going back until just after Phoenix died. Before I started seeing a shrink. I kept the memory of what happened in Kim's office playing on repeat, thinking about the wings, and the skulls. It was almost like a warning, I thought. Like something wants me to stay away. Which led to the question that was distracting me: what happened to me?