The years following J.D's death had been slow for Veronica. Days after his suicide and funeral, it was like he had never been there. Just a memory. A memory dressed in a trench coat and great hair.
For Veronica, J.D was just a bad dream that faded over time along with Heather, Kurt, and Ram's "suicides." After high school graduation and she began to move onto college, she was even able to convince herself that their deaths really had been a suicide. That maybe J.D never really existed at all. But those times when she striped of her clothes to bathe, she'd see the scars for their last "fight" before it all ended, and she'd remember. She'd remember how blue Heather's mouth had been, how scared Ram had looked before they shot him dead, and how distant Kurt had looked in death. And she'd crave for it to be all a bad nightmare again. Just a nightmare. But she knew better than that.
Her parents had been surprised when Veronica brought up going to college in a different state. She saw the disapproval behind their eyes. She knew they'd miss her a lot, but she just wanted to get away from there. Away from the bad dream and wake up already.
College life was easy to adjust to. Dorm living, however, was not. Veronica had been paired up with a girl that reminded her so much of the "Heathers" back home. She'd listen to her roommate go on about lip gloss, her hair, and guys she had met at parties. Veronica often would pretend to listen when she read or scribbled on a piece of paper from her homework.
Veronica spent most of her free time in the school's library, away from the other kids and away from the social life college often brought. She never went to parties. Not after the fraternity party at Remington Heather Chandler had taken to in their Junior year of high school. She couldn't even look at alcohol the same way after that.
She didn't know how long she had been in the library for, but the last of the kids had left and the librarian began to lock up for the night. Veronica left, leaving the books she had been reading behind and exited into the cold night air.
Winter nipped at her exposed skin and her breath left a trail in the air. Veronica was sure she had never seen the campus after dark before. In a way, it was peaceful. In another, it was terrifying. Finding herself all alone, Veronica bundled up and began to walk in the direction of the dorms.
That was when she met him. At first, he had spooked Veronica real bad. Dressed in dark clothes, she hadn't seen him sitting on the park bench when she passed him by. The only thing that let her know he was there was his silky voice when he called out "Greetings and salutations."
The boy was tall and lean, clad in a black turtle neck and ripped jeans. She guessed he was two years older than her, with well kept dark brown hair and eyes so dark she couldn't see her reflection in them. She didn't know why his greeting shocked her so much. Where had she heard that before? Where had she seen him before? There was something too oddly familiar about all of that and her mind did a few flips, trying to recall why it all seemed too familiar.
He introduced himself as Jay Daniel, a junior majoring in engineering. He hoped to one day be able to work for the military to detonate bombs or even create weapons soldiers could use. Veronica must have flinched, because the smile on his face disappeared and he reached out to see if she were alright. She dismissed it, telling him it was the cold. He offered to walk her to her dorm and she was more than grateful to have someone walk with her, but once had walked into the building and up the stairs to her room, she wondered if that had been a smart idea at all.
That was the first but not the last time she'd see Jay Daniel. Sometimes she'd catch a glimpse of black in the corner of her eye at the library, and look up from her lunch in the cafeteria feeling as though someone had been watching her only to find black eyes staring before disappearing into the crowd; sometimes she'd be walking to class and she'd see a dark figure turn the corner.
In a sense, Veronica was scared shitless. In another, she liked the adreneline rush in her veins. It all seemed too familiar. But she always shrugged it off and let college distract her.
The night her roommate had gone out to a party was the second time they met face to face again. Poking his head through her window, Veronica nearly had a heart attack. "Dreadful etiquette I apologize," he said through a sheepish smile. "But I had to see you again. I would have used the door but your dorm rooms are locked." He gave her a sheepish smile and the memory her mind tried to grasp was again gone from its clutches.
He bought her a slurpy, cherry. They talked into the night and for the first time since she could remember, Veronica felt...relaxed. Like she had known Jay her whole life. Varying between topics on majors, classic literature and crochet, Veronica never thought that life away from home could feel like, well, home.
The years following that, Jay took her to places she thought she'd never miss back when she had been in high school. Miniature golfing, movies at the local drive in theater, dinner at diners.
Jay was a very reserved guy. Veronica had observed this during the times they would be together. She would ask about his family and he'd always reply with "far from here." He never went into any detail on his life, where he had come from or if he had any siblings. All he did tell her was that he was there to find something to live for. To have a clean slate.
It didn't take too long for Veronica to forget why she had felt so damn miserable for the last few years. Why she spent time moping and why she had moved so far away.
Jay was good to her. He often swept her away on his motorbike to the lake half an hour away from the school. There they'd spend the day splashing around, eat a picnic and make love between the trees. He'd have her gaze up at the stars and he'd tell her each one had been a great once. Each blasted their way to destinies no one thought possible for them. She told him he was beautiful.
After graduation they up and moved to San Francisco, California. They explored the golden gate and proposed to her at Alcatraz. They celebrated their engagement at Disneyland, walking around with the Mickey and Minnie wedding caps.
He'd tell her on their honeymoon how she had snipped the wires in his bomb of a heart, knowing he now had a reason to live. Whenever he said that, Veronica couldn't help but place her hand over his heart and let it roam over his torso. He'd flinch where his scars were. The scars that he had gotten from falling off of his bike as a kid. She'd nod her head and go along with the story, but for some reason she never bought it.
Veronica expected Jay to be overly joyed to find out he'd be a father. When he jerked back from the news, Veronica wondered if it had been the right choice after all. He comforted her saying he'd always wanted to be a father, but wondered if he'd be a good one. She'd place a hand on his shoulder and tell him he'd be the most outstanding father in the world. Her calming words would ease his tension but it never would leave for good.
The day their son was born, Veronica had taken a turn for the worse. The doctors blamed the baby for not wanting to come out head first. Jay blamed the doctors for "fucking things up."
Veronica knew she had come to the end of her life. Was it the end? Would it be considered a murder on the doctors' part? A death brought up by nature? Perhaps a suicide?
With that word circulating around her head, the image of Heather and her blue mouth flashed before Veronica's eyes, how dead Kurt had looked and how scared Ram had been. She turned over her husband's sayings over the years around and around like a never ending wash machine. She realized why it sounded so familiar as the image of an explosion filled her eyes like it had when she was only seventeen. How she had walked away with the ash of the world on her face and the guilt hiding behind her glazed eyes.
Veronica may have had a high IQ, but she was slow. Very slow. She felt the remainder of her life tick away, tick away like a bomb planted inside of her. She rolled her head over until Jay came in sight. She moved her mouth, wanting to say something. Anything.
She gazed into his squinty dark eyes, placing them on a youth she had known in her younger years. Veronica licked her lips, taking in the face that she called her "spouse." She had to admit he looked good for a man in his 30's. For a man who couldn't stay away from black and leather coats.
"Where is he?" Jay took her hand. It felt so warm. So warm compared to hers. Why? "He's beautiful, Ronnie. We made such a handsome boy. The nurses are taking care of him."
She tried to sit up but found she couldn't. Why was the world spinning? Where was her baby? A nurse came out with a bundle and Jay placed it in Veronica's limp arms. Vernoica peered down at a miniature form of a former lover. The baby's eyes opened to reveal black orbs, his head covered in a mop of dark brown hair. He was gorgeous.
"What should we name him?"
"Jason." Veronica licked her chapped lips as the baby yawned and fell back asleep.
She must have had passed out, because the last thing she heard was her husband calling for help and a nurse prying her baby away from her. HER baby. Veronica wanted to hold James. Snuggle him. Give him the mother he deserved. She needed to stay and tell him how much she loved him, how much she cared about him and would never leave him for anything in this world.
Veronica felt herself slipping away. Slipping away into a comforting darkness. She remembered holding on long enough to open her eyes and see the face of her husband. The face she had come to love even before they had supposedly met in college. Veronica studied every centimeter of his face and tried to memorize his expression. Distain? Love? Longing? Misery? She gave a weak smile before letting her eyes drift shut. The last thing she remembered was whispering "J.D" and the triumphantly proud look her lover gave her before allowing death to fully embrace her.