Life After You

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Chapter 7

I want him in the bluntest way. I want his lips, his hands, his arms. I want him the way the ocean wants the shore, constantly reaching and running back again and again. I want him the way the rain wants to fall, the way the sun wants to brightly shine and the way words want to be read. I want him to infinity, to the millionth degree. No amount of rain could douse the blazing fire I have in me for him.

Even so, the longing feeling I have for him to wake up and kiss me never goes away. It is there to stay, permantanly taking residence within me.

Its day six now... almost a week. A week of no answers. A week of sorrow. A week of misery.

He still has not moved an inch. Every six hours an intern comes in and places Landon on his sides for a few minutes each, so he won’t get any bedsores.

That is the only time I see him move.

I finally allowed myself to shower in the hospital room bathroom and change my clothes. I washed my hair and brushed it out, leaving it dangle against my shoulders. It took me what felt like an eternity to remove Landon’s clothing from my body. I didn’t want to lose the only thing that gave me comfort. The only thing that made it seem as though Landon himself was engulfing me.

I forced Riley to get another pair of his sweatpants from our apartment and another one of his T-shirts. I couldn’t wear anything else. His clothes still smelled like him, which alone made it so I could get through another day.

I even put some of his hair gel in my hair, scrunching it. Just the smell was enough to calm my aching nerves. The same smell I was used to smelling every morning after his shower.

Some would call me insane. I call it grieving.

Grieving over the fact that since it has already been a week and nothing has changed, that maybe nothing will ever change. Maybe he will always be like this, not moving or speaking. Not able to react, or laugh. Not able to smile or pout the way he used to when his cute dimples would drive me wild.

Grieving over the fact that he may never wake up again. That he may be gone. So far gone that even the strongest of pleads and prayers couldn’t bring him back. So far gone that even the love that still dwells within me isn’t enough to wake him up. Just simply gone.

Tori and Riley have been my rocks. They have been in this hospital every day making sure I’m alright. Tori brings me my classwork so I can at least keep up with it, despite not having a care in the world for world literature or biology. The only thing that ever crosses my mind is Landon.

I knew this entire situation was wearing me down. I still couldn’t eat much and the thought of anything other than Oreos made me nauseous. My multiple morning trips to the bathroom was enough to worry anyone. Throwing up isn’t how I like to start my mornings. I knew I needed to do something before I end up in a hospital bed myself. I’ve lost six pounds in this week. That’s a pound every day just about.

I couldn’t help it.

Claire noticed and every day has been trying to plead me into letting her run some tests. My response, though hardheaded, is always the same: no.

Allowing them to run tests would mean leaving Landon’s room. It would mean being away from him. It would mean that anything could happen and I wouldn’t be there. I can’t do that to him after promising him to be there the moment he wakes up, even if he couldn’t hear me say it.

Also, allowing them to run tests means that they would find a diagnosis. A diagnosis that maybe I just didn’t want to hear.

Could it be anorexia? Bulimia? That’s what they might think. The starvation and the vomiting. That’s what anyone would think.

I know it is false. I don’t care about my weight and I don’t need to be skinny to be happy. I’m not eating because the love of my life is basically a vegetable and there is nothing I can do about it. The anger and the depression is causing me to not eat. It has to be that.

Tori made a joke the other day about me being pregnant. I laughed too which was the first time I have laughed since the morning before Landon’s accident. There was no way I was pregnant. Landon and I always use protection. I’m even on the pill.

I know I’m not pregnant because I get my period every month on the exact same day. The 11th.

I walked over to the bedside table and picked up my phone as it vibrated.

“Hello?” I mumbled.

“Hey there Liv, how you feeling today?” Tori asked while annoyingly chewing on something.

“Are you eating into my ear on purpose?” I teased.

“Well duh. Anyways-” I heard her swallow. “I wanted to see if maybe you wanted to go to the mall with me today?” She asked uneasily. She must have known my answer before even asking.

“Sorry, but no.”

“Olivia please... you need to get out of that hospital at least for one day. Just one. I’m literally begging you. I am down on my hands and knees right now, you just can’t see me.” She urged dramatically.

I sighed.

“Tor, I can’t. The moment I step foot out of this hospital, something could happen and I won’t be here. I need to be here.”

“I’m sorry Liv, but you’ve left me no choice. I’m going to have to call Mrs. Cavalier.”

My heart stopped. “What?”

“You heard me. I will call her right now and tell her how you haven’t left that hospital once since Landon’s been there.”

“You... you can’t! She will come over here and chew my ass out! She will lecture me about how ridiculous I’m being and how I need to continue living my life.”

“Exactly. Do you really want to go through that conversation? Or do you want to come enjoy a day at the mall with your amazing best friend?” Tori questioned. I could feel her smirk through the speaker.

“I hate you.”

“Great! See ya in ten minutes!” Then the call ended.

I sighed and placed my phone in my back pocket. I finally changed into my own clothes, keeping Landon’s for when I sleep.

I gently walked over to his side and sat down in the plastic chair that I once called my bed.

I grabbed his hand and left a slight squeeze as I looked at him.

“Landon... I know I promised you I would be here when something happens, but Tori is insane and won’t let me stay. She taking me to the mall today. I don’t want to go, but she gave me no choice. The mall is foreign to me and nothing feels more comforting than being right here beside you. I love you so much. Can you please do me a favor?” I asked, knowing I wouldn’t get a response.

“Can you please not do anything until I get back? If you feel the urge to wake up, simply wait. Wait until you feel my hand on yours again. Just wait for me.”

I felt a tear sting the corner of my eye, but I kept it from falling.

I placed a sweet kiss against his temple and got up, finally emerging from his room and shutting the door behind me.

“Olivia! What are you doing up and out?” Claire asked with a warm smile.

“I um... I’m going to the mall with Tori.” I said with a slight frown.

“The mall? That sounds wonderful! Tori is a great friend. Hey, while you’re there can you pick me up some food court food?” She asked with a grin.

“Um, I wasn’t planning on going to the food court, but I can make a stop for you.”

“Great, here’s forty bucks! Have fun!”

“But I don’t need this mu-”

“Nonsense! Keep the change.” With that, she disappeared into a hallway.

I knew what she was trying to do. Giving me extra money so I would buy myself something to eat too. Sneaky Claire, very sneaky.

At an instant, I remembered what I wanted to say to her. “Claire, wait!” I yelled.

She appeared again and gave me a concerned look. “Yes dear?”

“If anything happens, anything at all...” I glanced over to Landon’s room.

Claire walked over to me and gently placed her hands on my shoulders.

“Olivia, I promise I will call you the minute anything changes. You’re the first to know.” She smiled.

I nodded and walked away towards the elevators. I decided to wait for Tori in the lobby.

“Why did I let you talk me into this?” I pleaded, sitting down at one of the food court tables.

“Because you love me. Because you haven’t been outside of that hospital since you went in. Because you’re my best friend. The list goes on and on...” She smirked bringing a bite of orange chicken to her mouth.

“I guess...” I sighed showing no emotion whatsoever.

“Will you stop pouting? I get it; you are going through a really hard time. In fact, it’s unimaginable... but you can’t keep doing this to yourself. You need to take care of yourself too. You don’t want Landon waking up to find out that you starved yourself on his behalf. He would kill you.”

She let out a small smile and I couldn’t help but smile back.

“I know. It’s just hard, Tor. Not knowing. Not having an answer. Waiting. It feels like I’ve been waiting forever and it’s only been a week. What if he never wakes up? I won’t be able to just go on and live my life as if nothing ever happened. Landon has been a part of my life for a very long time. Just the thought of him not being there... it’s well, unimaginable.”

I picked up my soda and took a drink. The cool but carbonated liquid flushed the dryness from my mouth in an instant. I licked my now chapped lips and shoved my hands into the pocket of my hoodie.

“I understand, Liv. I also understand that you are strong and that you have handled something similar to this before. You got through that, and you will get through this no matter what the outcome is. You can do it.” She urged, reaching out to touch my arm.

I nodded and she continued eating her lunch. I looked around the mall at all the people. The mothers trying to feed their children who insists on throwing food on the floor. The group of high school girls gawking at boys from just a few feet away, looking completely and hopelessly obvious. I looked at the old man sitting alone next to the indoor waterfall. His eyes were closed and he held something tightly in his hands. As soon as he opened them back up, he dropped the silver coin directly into the water and smiled.

I drifted my eyes to the booth across the room. A young couple were sitting across from each other. The girl looked young, probably in high school. She held her hands under her chin and looked at the young boy in such admiration, such infatuation. The young boy looked at her just the same as he took a drink of what I assumed to be soda. His eyes never left hers. They looked to be in love.

It would have been a Kodak moment had the boy not of spilled his soda all over the table, including his girlfriend. That’s what you get for not paying attention. However, I smiled at them. I smiled at their love, their joy. I smiled at his embarrassment. I smiled at her sympathy.

It brought me back to Landon and I’s first official date.

“Landon Cavalier if you do not get to my house in the next ten minutes, you are a dead man walking!” I yelled through the phone as I tapped my foot against the tile in my kitchen.

Landon was supposed to be picking me up for our first date, but instead he was at the mall with Riley. Why are men so incompetent? You give them all of the instructions on what to do and how to do it, and they still find a way to disappoint.

I guess it is just in their nature. You can’t be mad at nature.

“Olivia, I will be there! I promise. I am so sorry for losing track of time!” He pleaded.

I smiled at his nervousness.

“The clock is ticking Cavalier. You better start moving.” Then I hung up the phone.

When I heard the knock at the door, I waited a couple seconds before answering.

“Well well well... only seven seconds to spare. I’m impressed.” I teased with a grin.

“I um... These are for you.” He handed me a bouquet of lilies and started breathing heavy.

“Is someone out of breath?” I laughed, taking the flowers and giving them a sniff.

“Of course not. Now, let’s get this show on the road!” He smiled.

I rolled my eyes. “Romantic Landon, very romantic.”

“Bye dad! Be home later!” I yelled.

“Hey Landon.” My dad yelled back.

“Yes Mr. Harper?”

“Two words: Twelve gauge.”

“Of course, Sir.” After that, he yanked my arm and pulled me from the house.

“Your dad wants to kill me.” He sighed.

“Well you’re the one who was late.”

“It wasn’t my fau- never mind. Are you ready for the perfect evening?” He cooed, opening the backseat door of his mom’s car for me.

“Why of course.” I smiled getting in.

“Hi Mrs. Cavalier!” I cheered.

“Hello dear! You look beautiful! Doesn’t she look beautiful honey?”

“Mom... please don’t.” Landon sighed.

His mother had to be our chauffer for the night. Landon and I were only fifteen years old and didn’t have our permits just yet.

“Alright, fine. My lips are sealed.” She laughed, glancing back at me with a wink.

I smiled back. Landon’s mom and I have always gotten along. She loves me and thinks of me as her daughter in a weird, non-incest way. She was there for me a lot when my mother passed away few years back. The Cavalier’s meant a lot to me.

A short while later, Landon’s mother dropped us off at the movie theater. We were seeing Grown Ups. I heard it’s supposed to be really funny, of course anything with Adam Sandler and Kevin James is hilarious.

“I’ll see you two love birds in a couple hours! Have fun!”

“Mom, please!” Landon begged through gritted teeth.

Once she drove off, I laughed and grabbed onto Landon’s hand.

“Um Landon...”


“Why are your hands sweaty?” I teased.

“Oh... N-no reason.” He shyly smiled.

“My, Mr. Cavalier are you nervous?” I smirked, resting my head against his arm as we waited in line for our tickets.

“Why o-of course not.”

“You’re a terrible liar.” I chuckled, kissing his shoulder.

“How can you tell I’m lying?” He laughed, looking down at me. I hated how much taller he was.

“Because of your stutter. You always stutter when you’re lying.”

“N-No I don’t!”

“Point proven. Now, buy me some popcorn.”

“Sheesh, you’re a bossy date.” He smirked.

“This isn’t news, Landon.”

“Next please!” The employee yelled to get our attention.

“Oh, that’s us.” I said, pointing to the counter.

“Hi, can I get two tickets to-“And just like that, Landon tripped over his shoes and fell flat on his face.

I tried like hell to hold back the laughter, but it was nearly impossible.

“Oh my gosh!” I breathed through the laughter. “Are you alright?” I quickly bent down and extended my arm to help him up.

He rejected the offer and shot up from the ground onto his feet again.

He brushed off his clothes and the redness was starting to sink into his cheeks.

“Two tickets to Grown Ups, please.” He managed to whisper to the laughing employee.

“Here... these are on the house! Thank you for the entertainment!” She laughed some more, handing us our free movie tickets.

Landon snatched them away and huffed as he walked towards the concession counter.

I quick walked to catch up with him and I locked my hand around his giving it a gentle squeeze. He looked at me and I smiled. He gave me a small smile back and ordered us a large popcorn with extra butter and a large cola to split.

“Can you grab the straws and some salt? I’ll meet you over there.” He tried to lift his hand quickly to point to the hallway next to the theater door and just as he did so, the popcorn went flying.

The employee’s behind the concession counter glared at him for giving them work to do and everyone else that was around us started laughing.

My eyes widened as the scene unfolded and I tried to hold back the laughter once again. Landon looked defeated and worn out. He clearly gave up on trying to do anything.

“Fucking hell man. WHY?” He blurted out to himself as he set the cola back down on the concession counter and ordered another popcorn.

“I see you have some bad luck kid.” The older man said. “This one is on the house.” After that, he handed Landon another large popcorn with extra butter and bit his lip to keep from laughing in his face.

“Gee thanks, are you and the lady upfront related?” He mumbled, taking the popcorn and the cola and heading straight for the theater door.

I quickly grabbed some salt packets and two straws and smiled to myself as I followed him.

“Where would you like to sit?” He asked, not even mentioning anything about the popcorn incident.

“The top!” I cheered, heading for the top of the theater. “These are the best seats. No one behind you kicking your chair.”

“To the top then!”

We got all the way up the stairs when on the last one Landon tripped over his shoes. I already knew what was coming so I quickly grabbed the popcorn out of his hand before he fell, spilling the cola all over his pants and shoes.

“Oh for crying out loud!” He yelled causing some of the other people who already entered the theater to spin their heads around to look at us.

At this point, all the laughter I was holding in came bursting out in full volume. Landon’s face diminished and his red cheeks darkened. I quickly bent down to help him up when he yanked me down onto his lap and purposefully smeared the wetness from the cola all over me.

I instantly grew angry and slapped him in the face. This caused him to laugh and I tackled him.

“You know... this is the best first date ever.” He whispered.

“It gets better.” I smirked.

“Yeah? How so?” He asked.

“Close your eyes...” I gently bit my bottom lip, inching closer to his face.

His eyes widened for a quick second before he quickly shut them and puckered up his lips.

I quickly grabbed the bucket of popcorn and got up, causing his eyes to shoot open as he watched me sit in the seat and put a handful of popcorn in my mouth.

“That was cold, Harper. Very cold.” He mumbled as he got up himself to take the seat next to me.

“What’s cold is going to be your legs. Here.” I took off the jacket I was wearing and placed it over his lap.

“Now I look like the girl in the relationship.” He pouted.

“Aww, don’t be mad. You make a cute girl.” I smiled. He slapped my shoulder and grabbed some popcorn stuffing it into his mouth.

Once the popcorn was about half-gone, the movie finally started. Reminder to self: Previews are annoying.

Landon set the bucket of popcorn down on the floor next to us and seconds later the lights dimmed.

Without words, we glanced at each other and smiled. A few moments later, he grabbed my hand and didn’t let go the entire movie.

On that night, I finally understood what it meant to be blissfully happy, forgetting of all the bad memories that clouded my brain.

“Hello! Earth to Olivia!” Tori yelled while waving her hand in front of my face.

“Oh, sorry Tor...” I mumbled.

“Please don’t start zoning out on me. We might need to take you to the psych ward here soon.” She laughed.

I let out a small smile and watched as the young couple across the room got up and held hands walking side by side out of the mall, both radiating with blissful happiness. The kind I once felt.

As soon as I grabbed my soda, my phone went off.

I quickly yanked it from my pocket and my heart stopped when I saw the number to the hospital.

“H-Hello?” I said warily, my palms starting to sweat.

“Olivia! Landon woke up!”

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