Flashback

Chapter 12

"And even though we lost her at such a young age, Diana's sweet, calm presence will be forever in our hearts..."

Tim frowned at the words. Diana would have been embarrassed by all the crying going on in that room- all for her. Actually, although the funeral had an immense turnout, it wasn't fit for the young girl because it was nothing like her. It was all wrong.

"All of it," Tim thought dejectedly. Di would probably have been hurt by it.

The music was too depressing. She would have wanted her favorite pop or rock tunes, so that everyone could have jammed out and smiled at the girl's uncharacteristic taste in music.

Also, Amazing Grace made Shortstop cry when she heard it. She didn't like it, and her mom knew that.

So why did it play before the priest started speaking?

Though he'd never admit it in his life, Tim knew the girl's favorite flowers were roses. But she also adored lavender. And daisies, and tiger lilies, and sunflowers. Especially sunflowers.

In her own words, "What can I say? I'm a flower girl."

Kristen, being the awesome artist that she was, had sketched up an impressive bouquet that somehow included all of these. She presented it to Di's parents, her personal condolence gift to them. They accepted it gratefully and Kris explained that these should be scattered around the funeral parlor. Mrs. Fitz agreed and declared that they would be.

However, her knack for not paying attention at the most important times seemed to ensure that only one little basket showed up among the guest bouquets, pathetic and forgotten.

There were only a few flowers that Di didn't find appealing- and it seemed like they were all here.

Mr. Fitz had remembered his girl's roses, but they were choked by the presence of orange mums and carnations. Also there was an overabundance of peace lilies.

Tim was staring at the flowers, remembering when he got in that wreck on his birthday, and how he almost died. Afterwards he had laughed, saying that he didn't want girly flowers at his funeral when he did pass away. Alex and James agreed and snickered when Kristen just asked to be buried with her paintbrushes and some of her favorite flowers from her garden.

In his mind Tim heard Di beg that if she died first, they just wouldn't put carnations anywhere near her casket.

"They're too conformist," she had announced, and they all laughed at her wish for a 'non-conformist' funeral.

What a joke.

The moment they had walked into the parlor together, puffy eyed and formally dressed, Kristen's eyes locked on the mums and peace lilies. This was the bad part. Ironically, Di was allergic to both- and fatally allergic to peace lilies.

"Her parents know, right? Why on earth would you put flowers that can kill a person right next to their...casket?"

The young McGee had been too sick to his stomach to answer.

So through the procession he suffered, staring at his wrecked hands. One was still wrapped up in a bandage

"...And we should remember that death is just the beginning of eternal life..."

Tim was, at this point, not listening to a word the poor priest was saying. He had heard a similar spiel at Alex's funeral two days ago, and another the day before, at James'.

That Monday the Alameda naval community held a joint memorial service for the kids. Actually, many residents from Myso Valley also attended. Tim saw Mark and several other baseball friends there.

The service was short and rather nice, with acceptable music and no caskets, just photos of the three.

That Tuesday was Alex's private funeral. It was decent and plain. He would have been fine with it. There were big white orchids and lilies, which the teen would have pretended to scoff at - but he would have been secretly happy that they weren't girly pink roses or something. Tim half expected his best friend to jump out of the casket and shout "SURPRISE!" and roll on the floor in howls of laughter at everyone's expressions. Or maybe even be hiding around the corner with water balloons, ready to pelt his ex girlfriends who showed up that day. He would run through the aisles, hitting everyone, and then making sure that Tim's nicest suit was thoroughly saturated with water. That would have been much better.

James' service was actually really good. He was close with his parents despite their frequent work-travels. They put on some of his favorite tunes but kept it respectful. James was a Beatles fan, and so Yesterday and Let It Be were featured in the casket procession. Flowers were far from his idea of masculine, but James had this trick he once shared with Tim and Alex.

"Give a girl flowers on your dates-" he had said.

"Everyone knows that," Tim rolled his eyes.

"Like not just the first date. If she's goth, char them or buy them black. Remember when I gave that girl white roses specked with red? She thought it looked like blood and she loved it. It was a little creepy. If she's bright or cheery give her daisies or sunflowers. If she's romantic give her red roses."

He had gone on like that. Tim would use the black roses trick later. Actually, once he showed up at a girl's door with a sunflower like his friend advised- she was president of the World Peace Club at school. That had been a good idea and that girl was his date to prom later.

Tim saw the standard carnations, but spotted a black rose that someone had slipped into the arrangement... And could just see James raise his eyebrows in an I-Told-You-So look.

So it had come down to Diana. Her father was too distraught to do much of the planning, and her mother had been rather tipsy for that whole week. (To the woman's credit, she only drank just then out of grief, and she didn't let it get out of hand.)

But the drunkenness was still enough to mess some things up. And Tim sorely wished that he could talk to Alex or James about it. Kristen...well, Kris had withdrawn and wasn't really good for deep conversations; they made her nervous.

The three teens were buried in their families' plots, coincidentally in the same cemetery, considerably close to each other.

Walking back from the burial, Tim excused himself to sit behind a tree, where he promptly vomited.

He knew he wasn't sleeping that night, or any night in the foreseeable future.

His best friends were gone, and he was angry.


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