Part One: Return
Davy is silent on their entire journey home. Bill and Miles try and make jokes, but eventually they both break down and cry. However, they continue to talk as they choke back sobs. Davy tunes out their words, closing his eyes to try and get some rest. Unfortunately, when he does, all he feels is the crushing guilt.
He should have saved James. They never should have allowed James his wish; he could have lived longer, if only for a few days… Davy hates himself for his inability to swim.
When the group pulls up into the driveway, it's obvious that James' family isn't expecting the best. The glimmer of hope in their eyes nearly brings the trio to tears again. Miles gets out of the car first, and his expression explains everything.
Bill gets out next, and he is almost instantly hugged by James' parents. He hugs them back, clutching them as if they could bring James back. The three all wail in unison, drowning out Chloe's choked sobs.
Davy has no one. He quietly climbs into the driver's seat and pulls out of the driveway, ignoring Bill's cries of protest, and he drives to his small flat. He enters his home all alone. He hasn't cried since they left the beach; the only thing he feels is a vague sense of guilt amongst the numbness. This allows him to remember James' harsh words as he collapses onto the bed.
Initially, Davy gets caught up on how cruel the words were, and how James had told the entire trio how much they sickened him. Did James hate me when he died?
Then, he realized how true his friend's words had been. James was right. There was nobody to take care of. What the hell am I going to do now?
Davy stood up, deciding to make himself some tea. As he stands, he catches his reflection in the mirror; he sees a ghost. He fits in with the pictures on the wall; something lost in the past, never to be retrieved.
A scream erupts from the Davy, and he throws a frame off the wall, watching the glass shatter as it hits the ground. He picks up another frame, tossing it with all his might at the nearest wall. The fragile frame breaks apart, the four pieces of plastic sprawled out on the floor.
Davy stares at the shattered photos for a moment, realizing that it hadn't been enough. He yelled again, ripping a nearby lamp from the bedside table and throwing it, too, at the wall. Suddenly, he's throwing everything he sees, deafened by the sound of glass shattering, wood hitting hard surfaces, and other general sounds of destruction.
Then, he stops. Davy looks around, in a daze. Somewhere in his tantrum, he had left his room, and he was now standing in the living room. Everywhere he looks, he sees destruction. All of his possessions, destroyed.
Davy walks slowly over to his television, which was now on the floor, the screen smashed. He can close his eyes and see it sitting on the table, in perfect condition, displaying some crappy movie that he and James are watching. They always used to watch films on James' worst days, when he could barely even move. The memory causes a painful churning in his stomach, and he stares at the TV, frozen. He feels tears in his eyes as he slumps to the ground, beginning to weep.
He shook a little, burying his face in his hands as he began to cry harder. "You bastard!" he screamed. He weakly threw a nearby shoe, watching it skid across the room uselessly. "You should have saved him," he whispered. "You should have saved him!" he yelled at the reflective shards littering the ground.
Davy sobbed until he felt his eyelids growing heavy. It was the first time he'd cried himself to sleep since he was a child. He wakes to the trilling of his phone, which had miraculously survived his tirade. He crawled over to the landline, reaching up for the phone. In the process, he cuts up his knees and hands on the shards of glass and broken plastic.
"Hello?" he says, his voice surprisingly calm and normal.
"Davy? It's Miles. James' parents were talking, and they want you to speak at James' funeral. It's on Friday, by the way…" Miles says quietly.
"Oh. Okay. Fine." Davy mumbles, watching a bead of blood drip from his hand.
"Are you alright?" Miles asks. He does sound worried, though Davy knows he isn't concerned enough to truly care. He's too busy with his own grief. It's mostly a polite gesture.
"Yeah." Davy replies. He ends the call, placing the phone—which now has a bloody handprint on it—back on the receiver. After a brief pause, he ripped the whole thing from the wall, tossing it aside. There was no point in having it now, anyways. James was the only one who ever called the landline.
What the hell do they want me to say at his funeral, anyways? "Hi, I'm Davy. My best friend, James—you might know him—he had cancer. I took care of him; except for I did a pretty shit job and watched him drown."
Davy takes a shaky breath. Three days. He has three days to come up with a short speech that doesn't sound too corny or bullshit-y. Something worth James' time. God knows James would never forgive him if he wrote a shitty eulogy.
"Listen to yourself, talking like it's a normal thing to bury your best friend," Davy mutters. He sighs. That, and you're talking to yourself now, he thinks.
Several days later, there's a knocking on the door. Davy doesn't respond; he's half-awake, still sitting on the floor amongst all the broken bits of his belongings. The door clicks, and Davy listens to it creak as it opens.
"Hope you don't mind, but I used your spare key to let…" Any words Bill was going to say dies in his throat as he looks around the entryway. "Davy! Are you alright? Davy!" he screams, breaking into a run.
"I'm fine. In the kitchen," Davy croaks out.
"Jesus, you gave me a heart attack! What's with the…mess," Bill calls, relieved. His jaw drops when he sees Davy sitting on the floor, wearing the same clothes he'd been wearing when they returned from Barafundle Bay. His bare feet are cut up and bloody, as are his hands and knees. Davy's eyes are red and puffy, though they're currently dazed with sleep.
Davy watches Bill's face pale, sees his jaw drop. He waits for what his friend is going to say.
"Um. Let me help you up. The funeral's in an hour, so you've got to get cleaned up and look nice," Bill mumbles, clearing his throat. He steps over a pile of wreckage, offering hand to Davy.
Of course, Bill would avoid the situation. James was right, like usual. He's a watered down version of his old self.
Davy takes his friend's hand, hissing as pressure is applied to his wounds.
Bill follows Davy to his bedroom, completely silent.
"You can wait for me in the car, Bill," Dave finally says, turning away from his friend.
"Oh, yeah. Yeah. I'll be out there waiting. In the car. Right," Bill mumbles quickly, rushing out.
It takes Davy a half hour to find a decent suit, bathe, bandage his feet and hands, and find a matching pair of shoes. When he finishes, he goes to the car, where Bill is ostensibly waiting.
"Miles is meeting us there," Bill says.
Davy nods, and nobody speaks for the rest of the car ride.
Part Two: The Eulogy
Davy sits calmly in the uncomfortable, plastic chair until it is his turn to speak. He limps up to the front of the room, avoiding looking at the casket containing what used to be one of his closest friends.
He looks over the crowd of people waiting, some crying, and he decides he can't stand their pain. Instead, he looks at the back wall, where he fancies he sees James standing.
"I don't quite know why I was chosen to speak. Miles is the one who's good with words. I'm rubbish at it," Davy begins.
James laughs, shaking his head.
Davy has to take a deep breath before he continues.
"I went on a camping trip with my best friends. We headed out to Barafundle Bay. It's an adventure I'll never forget. Miles, Bill, and I decided to humor James in his request to see this bay. His favorite place in the world."
Davy hears someone start crying. He thinks it's Miles, but he's too scared to look.
James stares at Davy, urging him to keep talking.
"The three of us pushed James around in a wonky yellow cart. I imagine we looked completely ridiculous, but looking back, I suppose that'd oddly fitting. You know what? I am so glad we went on the trip. Regardless…" Davy takes a deep breath, nearly breaking down into tears he had once thought he no longer possessed. He tries again.
"Regardless of how the trip ended, I don't regret going at all. Up until the end, we were having a blast, the four of us. James told us, he said, 'I have never been more alive.' What more could we have asked for?
"We made a lot of good memories on that trip, which is why I will never forget it. Not because it was the last days I had with James. Not because he died on that trip. No, I will remember it because we were all so happy, and I would like to think that I paid back a bit of the debt I had to James.
"I mentioned earlier that we pushed James around in the cart. We made him laugh, carried him when he couldn't walk, pushed him when he needed it. Well, I've done a lot of thinking the past few days, and do you know what? That was what James did for us. So, thank you, James," Davy says. He's crying hard by the time he finishes.
James just gives him a sad smile before he fades away.
Part Three: What James Left Behind
Davy sits in the passenger seat, staring out the window. He watches with teary eyes as everything speeds past. He tries desperately to stare at the blurry images long enough to make them stay, but he can't achieve his goal.
Bill breaks the heavy silence in the car. "Davy, I think we need to talk. We can't just bottle everything away, you know, and dammit, Davy, I'm worried about you. I'm really, really worried," he says seriously.
Davy looks at him, a small, sad smile appearing on his worn face. "James pushed you, too," he says simply, and he knew it was true. Bill was no longer going to be a watered-down adventure, and that was just what his friend had needed. James knew that, so he fixed it.
He always tried to take care of everything, the stupid bastard.
Davy laughs a little as a tear rolls down his cheek. "I realized something today, Bill. Even if I hate it, I do have someone to take care of. Myself. And James was the asshole who made me figure it out."
I do hope you liked it! Reviews will be extremely appreciated.