Life After You

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Chapter 28

“What about Ethan?” I shout.

“Eh, next!”

“Toby?”

“Nope!”

“Okay, what about Thomas?” I shout again.

“Damn Liv, you suck at this.” Tori laughs as she exits my bathroom. She came over to hangout and I have been reading this book of baby names for the last half hour.

Today is Saturday and it’s New Year’s Eve. The college dorms are throwing a massive party. I told myself I wasn’t going to go, because I knew there would be alcohol involved, but Tori convinced me that this might be the last party I will ever get to attend once the baby arrives.

After our Christmas Eve dinner with Landon’s parents, we saw some of our own family on Christmas day. A few second cousins from my dad’s side and even some people I never met before. The food was amazing and the presents were pretty cool too. Of course, I did mostly get gifts for the baby, but I was not going to complain. This baby is going to be set for life! Well, at least for the first year or two.

After our Christmas celebration, Dad, Riley, and Tori came with me to visit mom and Landon. I left flowers by each of their gravestones and I even wrote a letter to Landon, telling him all about the baby and how much I miss him. I didn’t think seeing Landon’s grave for the first time since the funeral was going to be as hard as it was, but I knew I couldn’t leave Nevada without seeing him.

It honestly made me feel a little better to be close to him again. Spiritually, of course.

“Well get over here and help me then!” I pout, patting the spot on the bed next to me.

Tori came over and lounged beside me, grabbing the book from my hands.

“Let’s take a look.” She begins skimming through each page, loudly turning each page as she sighs in defeat. “I don’t see anything even remotely interesting.”

“Gee, thanks for all of your help.” I glare.

“Don’t worry, the name will come to you when you least expect it.” Tori smiles.

“Well, I would like that to be before I’m in the delivery room.” I sigh, getting up to go pee. Again.

“Didn’t you just go?” Tori laughed.

“How about you carry a watermelon inside of your stomach directly on top of your bladder and see how well you can keep your pee in.” I reply, closing the bathroom door shut behind me.

“No thanks! Not for a while!” She shouts.

“How about Brad?” I shout as I flush the toilet.

“Brad who?”

“For the baby.”

“Nah, I know like seven Brad’s.” She laughs.

“You can’t know eight?” I tease, stepping out of the bathroom after washing my hands.

“Too many.” She lazily shrugs.

“Well, we got about five hours until the party starts at eight. I say we nap for three and a half of them.” I yawn.

Tori nods and we both spread out on my bed, listening to the sound of the TV as we fall asleep.


“I can’t believe I woke up for this.” I sigh, getting out of my car with Tori.

“Technically we woke up late for this. At least we showed up fashionably late.” She laughs.

My alarm didn’t go off like it was supposed to, so we ended up sleeping four and a half of the five hours instead of three and half. We tried our best to get ready as quickly as possible, but that tends to be super hard with one of us hogging the bathroom to do our hair, and the other being pregnant.

We finally arrived at the party at exactly 9:25pm, and then it took us another ten minutes to find a parking spot.

“I hope there’s food.” I say, feeling incredibly hungry.

“It’s a party Liv, of course there’s food.” Tori deadpans as she leads me into the cafeteria where the food is kept for the party.

The party is being held outside on the large campus, but of course, people had to eat; myself included.

“Yay, Pringles!” I beam with delight as I grab one of the smaller cans.

“Really? Out of everything here you go for the Pringles?” Tori chuckles.

“Hey, the boy wants what he wants.” I say, gently patting my stomach.

“He has good taste.” We hear from behind us.

I turn around and see a smiling Noah.

“He certainly does.” I smile back.

“Okay, I’m going to go find Riley.” Tori smirks, happily taking a handful of popcorn and heading for outside.

“Really, popcorn?” I mock.

“Hey, everyone loves popcorn.” She shouts, not bothering to look back at me.

“Don’t worry, everyone loves Pringles too.” Noah laughs, taking a small can for himself.

“How have you been?” I ask.

It’s been a while since I’ve talked with Noah. After I had my crazy fall in the schoolyard, I didn’t really get a chance to speak with Noah. With all of the doctor’s visits and then going home for Christmas, we just really didn’t get a chance to catch up and talk about what happened that day. I still felt horrible. He tried texting me a few times, but I just never got around to answering any of them.

“I should be asking you that.” He softly smiles.

“Oh, I’m fine. Good as new. You know me, can’t keep me down.” I laugh, walking outside with him.

It was dark outside, and the other students hung up a bunch of twinkling lights that resembled the stars in the sky. I loved the decorations. New Year’s Eve is always a happy night for me, or it used to be.

Music is blaring from a set of speakers near the front of the schoolyard, and a handful of students are dancing underneath the twinkling lights.

“Listen, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about everything that happened that day. I am so sorry for freaking out on you, and then freaking you out even more when I tripped and fell.” I began my apology.

“A lot of different emotions just overwhelmed me whenever you touched my stomach, and I don’t really know why but it made me sad.”

“You don’t need to apologize Olivia.” Noah smiled. “I understand. It finally dawned on me after I walked for a few minutes. You reacted normal.”

“I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings, or make you feel bad.” I frowned.

“No frowning on New Year’s Eve.” Noah warned, pointing his finger at me.

“Deal.” I smile, eating my last Pringle.

“I’m just glad you’re okay. That fall was scary. How is the baby?” He asks, genuinely concerned.

“He’s perfect.” I smile looking down at my belly.

“And his name?” Noah teases.

“Ugh, don’t drag me down that road right now.” I sigh, throwing my Pringles can into the garbage.

Noah does the same and then we find a seat at one of the picnic tables. I see Tori dancing with Riley who is wearing a huge New Year’s Eve hat with the numbers 2018 on the top.

“He is insane.” I laugh, pointing him out to Noah.

“That’s no news to me.” He chuckles.

“So, you didn’t come to the party with anyone?” I ask.

“Nope. Just me, myself and I.”

“Same.” I smile.

“So that makes us the loners of the party?” Noah jokes. “I always knew I’d do great things when coming to college.”

“My dad would be so proud.” I jokingly wipe a fake tear from my eye.

Noah and I hangout for most of the night, but once some of his buddies show up, he respectfully tells me he will be back soon.

I take this time to go dance a little with my brother and Tori. I may be almost seven months pregnant, but this momma still knows how to move.

“Was that Noah I saw you with?” Riley asks over the loud music.

“Yes.”

“I like him.” Riley smiles. “Well, a little.” He shrugs. “He isn’t the same as I remember.”

“I agree.” I say, smiling to myself.

I agree.


“The ball is about to drop! Where’s Olivia?”

“I’m over here!” I shout as I exit the cafeteria with more Pringles.

“Figures.” Tori smirks.

“Shut up!” I laugh.

“Twenty seconds!” One of the other students yells over everyone.

“Do you have any new year resolutions?” Tori asks me.

“To be happy.” I say, feeling confident in my answer. “And to be the best mother that I can be.”

“You so will be!” Tori smiles, pulling me in for a hug.

“Hey! Don’t squish the Pringles!” I tease, holding the can out to the side.

“And here’s the countdown!” The same student yells over everyone.

“Ten!” Everyone chants.

“Nine!”

“Eight!”

“Seven!”

I really want this New Year to be special.

“Six!”

“Five!”

“Four!”

“Three!”

“Two!”

“One!”

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!” Everyone shouts.

Music begins playing again and couples all over the schoolyard begin kissing, including my brother and Tori.

I shrug my shoulders as I kiss the palm of my hand and gently place it over my stomach.

“Happy New Year little guy.” I smile.

“Yes, Happy New Year.”

I swiftly turn around and see Noah’s smiling face again.

“Happy New Year.” I smile back.

He pulls me in for a hug and I hug him back happily. We pull away, and what he does next completely and definitely catches me off guard.

Before I realize what’s happening, Noah’s lips are on mine, moving slowly but delicately.

I surprise myself that I let it happen, and that I melt into it a little bit.

I like it.

This can’t be happening. Landon hasn’t been gone that long. Why am I doing this?

I don’t think I can do this.

I can’t do this.

I instantly pull away and Noah’s eyes widen a little.

“I uh... I need to pee.” I suddenly choke out as I hurriedly step away and dart for one of the nearby bathrooms.

I don’t even give Noah a chance to say anything.

As I finally reach the bathroom, I make sure no one is inside one of the stalls and I immediately begin to cry.

“I am so sorry Landon...” I mumble into thin air.

“Olivia?”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re not.”

“I am.”

“Stop arguing with me. What’s the matter?”

“Didn’t you see Tor? He kissed me. I kissed him back. I kissed another guy and it wasn’t Landon.” I sniffled into a paper towel that I grabbed from the dispenser.

“Olivia, it’s okay. It’s been almost a year since...” She didn’t finish her sentence. “I don’t think he will hate you for it.”

“I just... I feel like it’s too soon still, but I don’t want to hurt Noah.” I huff, leaning against the wall.

“Olivia, does worrying about what Landon might think over every little detail of your life make you happy?”

“No.”

“And does Noah make you happy?”

“Yes.”

“And what was your New Year’s resolution?” She asks, causing me to look up at her.

“To be happy...” I mumble.

“Exactly. I’m not saying jump into a serious relationship with him, but maybe just go out on a few dates, see how it feels. Just as long as you’re happy, Liv. That’s all that should matter. I know that’s all that matters to Landon. He would want you to always be happy.” Tori smiles.

I smiled back, still wiping under my eyes just in case some of my mascara ran while crying.

“Who are you and what have you done with my carefree, crazy best friend? Now you’re all wise and level-headed.” I laugh.

“Hey, my crazy side is still here girly. Don’t let this sophisticated face fool you.” She smirks, linking her arm into mine and pulling me out of the bathroom.

I see Noah is sitting at one of the picnic tables alone, so I slowly start to walk over to him.

He looks up at me and lets out a half smile. “You alright?”

“Yes, I’m sorry. I know I keep running away a lot. Believe me, I hate running.” I try to joke, which makes him chuckle.

“Yeah, I feel you on that.”

I sit down next to him and turn to face him.

“Listen, I know I said I wanted to take this super slow and just be friends, but after that kiss I realize that maybe I want something just a little bit more than that.” Noah perks up at hearing this and continues giving me his full attention.

“You have to realize that this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. I am probably going to mess up a lot and say the wrong things. I’m probably going to bring up Landon randomly and sometimes at bad times, but I don’t mean to. We don’t have to label this or jump into some deep relationship, but I would like to start at least dating. If you’re okay with that.” I softly smile.

“Of course I am.” He smiles back. “And I totally understand. We will figure everything out together as we go along. We will make it work.”

“Gosh, you’re so sweet. You didn’t used to be this sweet.” I tease.

“I so was, you just never noticed. Middle school girl brain and what not.” He shrugs.

“Um excuse me, you’re the one who had the middle school boy brain, and that’s way worse.” I reply.

“I don’t think so.” He shakes his head. “You are highly mistaken.”

“Whatever.” I laugh, looking down at my lap.

Noah uses his index finger to gently lift my chin upward so we could make eye contact.

I stared into his light blue eyes and something shifted. Something good.

“Are you ready to try that New Year’s kiss again?”

“I’m ready.” I nod with a soft smile.

I’m ready.

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