The last chapter! Wow, this story went by fast…
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it and reading your reviews(:
In the end, I didn't have to deal with Valentine. Nobody did.
The alcohol took him one night while he was at home. Jace was over at my house, where we were going over our shopping list for Brown, when we got the call. He picked up the phone, turned white, and ran out without telling me why.
Later I found out he'd rushed straight to the hospital, staying by his father's side the whole night while the doctors worked to resuscitate him. He did love his father after all, even after all those years of abuse.
The morning after Valentine regained conscious, my mom got a call. It was from Celine. Asking my mom if she could come and see him. To grant a dying man's last wish.
Nothing would have stopped her from going.
The room he was in was bare.
He was hooked up to life-supporting machines, with tubes going into his nose, his skin. The machine regularly beeped. Celine saw us, standing by the doorway, and I could tell as the years of betrayal and guilt wash away in her eyes. My mom didn't seem to be angry at seeing her former best friend for the first time in almost two decades.
It's like what they always say: in the face of death, nothing else matters.
We walked to Valentine's side, and he looked younger, more peaceful; the angry, hacked lines in his face were smoothened out.
Jace sat in a chair by the side. His face, gaunt and worried, looked tired from the lack of sleep. His eyes tracked his mom's and my mom's every movement, and I knew then that somehow, he'd known the truth long before I had.
Celine gently touched Valentine's face. "Honey," she said softly, a hint of sadness in her voice. No jealously whatsoever that his last wish had been his former love. "Jocelyn's here."
At first, nothing happened. The air was still, as we all held our breaths. Then Valentine's head shifted a fraction, and his eyes opened, landing on Mom's face. He looked at her for a long time, and she at him, and feebly, he tried lifting his hand.
After a pause, Mom covered his bony fingers with hers.
But by then, his eyes were already glazed. He was already gone.
The machine stopped beeping.
I looked at Jace. His head was in his hands.
In an act of genuine compassion, my mom reached out to Celine, and they hugged.
Celine cried for the loss of her husband, Mom cried for the loss of her first love, and Jace cried for the loss of his father.
As for me and Jace, we drove off to Brown together. He recovered from his loss, although a part of him will never fully heal, and returned to being his old, sarcastic self. My Jace.
But who knows what will happen? After all, we're only college freshmen. A lot can happen in four years, like Mom and Valentine's story, but something tells me we won't follow that path. And if anything did happen, we'd overcome it together.
One thing is certain though: even though I might have to occasionally tutor Jace again, I will never be off limits to him anymore.
So…how was it? Did you like the story? The best parts? The worst parts? Anything you would have liked to see instead of what had happened? Sad that it's over?
And last but not least…REVIEW.