| 6 years later |
I struggle to hold two boxes as I push my way through a glass door.
I huff air through my nose as I almost trip over my high heels.
Once I finally make it into the average-sized room, I gently place the two boxes down onto the wooden desk in the far corner of the room.
I push a piece of my hair behind my ear, since it decided to free itself from my up-do.
There’s a knock at the door, so I quickly turn and walk over to open it.
“Ms. Ryder, how are you settling in?”
“I just got here. The office space is beautiful. You weren’t kidding about the view.” I glance over my shoulder at the large window near the back of the office, smiling at the view of the water fountain just in front of the large building.
“Let me know if you need anything, I’m here all day.” Mr. Griffin says.
I nod, dismissing him. He shuts my office door, and I’m welcomed with peace again.
I walk over to the two boxes, and open the one on top. I pull out some notepads, a pen holder, a stapler, and a few framed pictures.
I place the pen holder on my desk beside my desktop computer. I place the stapler inside of my desk drawer, along with the notepads, leaving just one to sit on top of my desk.
I pull a new package of pens from the box, opening them and sticking them inside of my red pen holder.
As I pick up each picture, I smile sadly.
The first picture is of me and my best friend, Lexi. We graduated college two years ago, and after graduation we took a road trip across the country, just the two of us. This picture was taken on our last stop during the trip in Las Vegas. I haven’t seen her since that trip. She moved to another state after her and Carter tied the knot. Carter joined the army, so they’ve moved to quite a few different places since I’ve last seen them.
I know she’s happy, and expecting a little girl in the fall.
After I place the picture behind me on the ledge of the window, I turn and pick up the second picture.
I laugh at Liam and I. This picture was taken during the carnival grad night after our high school graduation. Liam thought it would be a good idea to volunteer us for the pie throwing contest. Both of our faces are covered in whipped cream as we smile at the camera.
Liam lives one town over where he’s still in law school. He decided in his sophomore year of college that he wanted to be a lawyer, and he’s actually pretty good at it. He always made it a point to prove that he was right whenever we were younger, so it’s honestly no surprise that he would choose arguing as a career path.
After I place that picture on the window ledge, I turn to the last picture sitting on my desk.
I frown as I look at the picture of my mom and dad holding Liam and I as infants.
It still breaks my heart to think about my father’s death. He passed away late last year, due to a heart attack.
None of us saw it coming. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t even have time to grieve properly. Liam and I held the funeral shortly after, and even though I was sad that Lexi couldn’t make it, I was floored that Ethan was able to be there with us. We buried dad right next to mom, allowing them to rest together for the remainder of eternity.
Ethan and his girlfriend flew out the day before the funeral, and stayed until the day after. It stung a little to see Ethan so happy, but I couldn’t make him feel bad for it. Grace is very nice and exceptionally beautiful. In a sense, I’m happy for him. He deserves everything he has.
Things got a little dark for me after my father passed away. For almost a year I spiraled as past emotions came creeping back. I even relapsed once, the scar on my left wrist a harsh reminder of that excruciating night.
Surprisingly, when I called my old therapist Lori, she agreed to do over-the-phone sessions with me, since I moved away after college.
I had to take some time off work in order to get myself together, but with the help of Lori and Liam coming to visit me often, I was able to get through it. I finally got back into work at full force, and now I’ve been promoted to manager at a local company that helps young adults and teens with their mental health and wellness. I’m not a therapist, but I do help people work through their problems in a sense.
Our company offers free wellness checks, cots for the homeless, clothes and food, and we have a hot-line where people can call in anonymously just to talk to someone whenever they’re feeling down.
At first I was skeptical about joining a company like this. I didn’t think I would be able to handle listening to the struggles of someone else, without it triggering what I went through in the past. To my surprise, it’s actually made me feel good. I feel happy to help someone who may be going through what I went through, or even something worse.
Now that I’m manager, I get to organize events and I’m in charge of helping out on the floors whenever I’m needed. My first assignment was to come up with a new name for the company. We used to be called The Help, but I didn’t feel as though that fit the company as a whole.
Now, we’re called Healing Hands, and I couldn’t be more proud to wear this badge every single day.
I throw away the first box, and start on the second one.
I pull out my umbrella and place it on my coat hanger near the corner of my office to the right. I also place my purse on one of the hooks as well, since I’ll be here for the remainder of the day working.
I take out a small box and open it, frowning at the necklace inside.
Ethan got me this necklace on our first day of college. It’s a silver chain, with a charm dangling off it. The charm is of two hands enclosed around each other. He said it symbolled us, and how we’ve helped each other get over everything that happened during our senior year of high school. How we helped heal each other.
Even after our break-up, I kept the necklace. Now, it hangs on the wall behind my desk, for everyone to see. It symbolizes more than just Ethan and me, as it’s also the new logo to match the new name of the company I work for.
I suppose it inspired me. Ethan inspired me.
It was hard to move away after college, but it was even harder to move away from Ethan. He stayed at home near his parents after he graduated college. I’m not sure where he works now, since we don’t really keep in touch. I hate the place we’re in, but the last time I saw him, I told him to call me if he ever needed anything.
Liam and I sold our childhood home and split the money equally. The money was more than enough for each of us to get our own place after college. Since Liam is still in law school, he found a cheap apartment not too far from his school. I go and visit him every chance I get, but now that I’ve started my new position at work, I don’t think I’ll be able to visit as often as I’d like.
It’s challenging being away from my twin, but I know he’s not too far in case I ever really need him.
After I finish unpacking and setting up my office, I get to work.
My phone rings, signaling my first client.
“Healing Hands, how may we help you today?” I smile as I pick up the phone.
“Wow, don’t you sound professional.”
I roll my eyes. “What do you want doofus?”
“Can’t a brother call his sister on her first day as manger?” Liam scoffs through the phone.
I smile. “Absolutely not.”
“Wow, you wound me. No but really, how is it?”
“It’s going, I suppose. I just finished unpacking and setting up my office, it’s pretty snazzy.”
“Two things: Send a picture, and never say snazzy again.”
“Look who’s wounding who now.” I tease with a laugh.
“You know me sis, I’m always gonna one-up you.”
“Yeah, yeah. How’s school going?” I ask, keeping the conversation going.
“It’s actually pretty tough. I still have this year to finish before I start clerking. I’m pretty stoked.”
“That’s great Liam, I’m proud of you for sticking to this.”
“Yeah well, after dad died, it really put life into perspective for me. I want to be able to provide for a family, for a wife, should I ever find one.” He laughs.
“Well, you got pretty close with Claire, I’m sorry about your break up by the way. I could’ve sworn you two would be end-game.”
“Yeah, shit happens. I could say the same about you and he who shall not be named.” Liam teases.
“Yeah…” I trail off with a sigh, “Let’s not get into that right now.”
“Noted. Anyway, I gotta get to class. Have fun! Love you!”
“Love you too Liam!”
After we hang up, I turn to my computer and log in. After going over schedules and making sure upcoming events were in the process of being taken care of, I lean back in my seat and look around my office.
I can’t believe I’m finally here, doing the work that I never would’ve done otherwise, had it not been for my troubling past.
I was sure that after everything that happened with Ethan’s brother, Jeremy, that my life would never been on track again. I even resorted to marijuana in an attempt to alleviate some of my stress and anxiety.
I have a prescription for anxiety now, but rarely take it. I keep a bottle in my purse, and I keep a bottle at my office, just in case. After relapsing following the death of my father, I needed to make sure I had them on hand, should I spiral again.
After lunch with some co-workers, I walk back down the long corridor leading up to my office.
Strangely, I see the door ajar, knowing I closed it shut before I left.
As I slowly walk inside, I see a tall figure standing and facing the window, looking at the pictures on my windowsill.
I freeze as I look at the shaggy brown hair. A chill immediately goes down my entire spine as my blood runs cold.
“Jeremy?” I gasp.
He quickly turns around, giving me an award-winning smile. My heart stops as I take a step back.
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