Chapter 17: Cry Me A River
“Do I really have to go?” I ask quietly from the back seat of my parents small car. I fiddle with my tie. It’s too tight, it feels like it’s choking me. I look up at my mom. There are tears in her eyes and her eye makeup is smudged.
She sniffles before saying “Of course you have to go Derek she was your best friend.” I look back down at my shoes and move them slowly back and forth over the rubber mat on the car floor. My dad turns to look at me.
“Son I know this is hard, but I think she would really want you to be there.”
“I’m surprised I even got invited.” I grumble looking out the window of the car. The sun is shining brighter than seems possible in the cemetery parking lot.
“If we don’t go soon we’ll miss the whole thing.” My mom says opening her door and climbing out of the car. My dad follows her lead and exits the car. I sit, silently for a few more minutes fixated with this one tree off to the left than their actions. A willow. ‘This isn’t right’ I think looking down at my watch, the numbers are all weird. ‘A dream’ I sigh and put my head in my hands ‘A fucking dream.’ Not knowing what else to do I get out of the car and begin walking toward the out of place willow. This cemetery doesn’t have any willows, only old Oaks. I’ve visited it to know every blade of grass by heart. Just as I figured my parents didn’t even notice I was gone just spoke to the air where I should have been. I continue walking toward the tree. It seems further away than when I started. ‘weird’ I shrug and pick up my pace slightly. The tree gets further away ‘what the...’ I begin thinking but then I hear it and I go cold.
“Derek” an all too familiar voice whispers. I whirl around frantically trying to find the source. Nobody’s there. “Derek” the voice whispers again and I turn back the other way. Still nothing. I groan, frustrated before setting off in a dead sprint toward the tree. It just gets further and further away. The voice laughs and I stop running. I sink to my knees and grab fistfulls of grass, trying to calm myself down. It doesn’t work. I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes and it takes all I have to push them down. Why I’m pushing them away I have no idea. “Because you’re guilty” The voice says and I feel something trail across my shoulders. I look up quickly and see that I am surrounded by dense fog. I can’t see the willow or my parents anymore. I stand slowly and try to think of a plan, but nothing comes. Shit, shit, shit. “You killed me Derek” the voice says and I shake my head.
“No I didn’t I did everything I could have..”
It cuts me off “No you didn’t! You let me die! You let me die!”
I shake my head harder “No, no. I’m sorry, I didn’t I tried, I tried.” tears are pouring out of my eyes now and so I shut them. When I open them again the fog has lifted and there she is. Just standing there. Her hair being blown around by some wind that I can’t feel. I try to walk toward her but my feet are stuck. I try to yell, but nothing comes out. All of a sudden she looks me dead in the eye and smiles wickedly before bursting into flames. “No!” I manage to yell.
End of Dream
I jolt up in bed “No!” I hear myself yell loudly. Paisley is looking down at me, terrified. I rub my eyes hard, and they come away wet. ‘Tears.’ she lets out a breath and wraps her arms around me. It takes me a few moments but I wrap my arms around her and hold her close. “You really scared me” she mumbles pulling away. She perches on the edge of the bed lightly. I try to think back to what had just happened but I can’t remember anything. Come to think of it I can’t remember anything after Dr. Kirkland telling me that I was the reason Georgiana and my sister died.
I sit up and look over at Paisley who is playing with her fingers nervously. ‘She’s nervous, I make her nervous.’ I shake my head slowly before grabbing her hands so that she has to stop “What happened?”
She looks up at me slowly her cheeks pink “Well, you were fighting with Dr. K and he said some pretty awful things and I don’t, I don’t know…” she trails off biting her lip.
I let out a sigh “Well how did I get here?” I motion to the bed.
Her cheeks get redder “You tried to leave and then you passed out so I uh, well I put you there.”
My jaw falls open, “You put me here? Like by yourself.” She just nods and looks away from me, pulling her hands out of mine. I sigh again and run my hands through my hair. “You were talking.” She says softly.
“What?” I ask surprised.
“While you were sleeping you were talking.” My eyes go wide “Oh not like super loud or anything but uh I fell asleep and then you started talking and I woke up and umm yeah.” She rambles wincing and scratching her arm.
I put my hand on hers “Stop that.” I say softly before wrapping my arms around her waist and pulling her closer to me. She relaxes as I sit her on my lap and put my chin on the top of her head. “What did I say?”
“You kept saying no, and that you did everything you could.” I feel her tense up slightly as her voice becomes slightly strained “You just kept saying it over and over and over.”
I look down at her, and see that her eyes are shut tightly and her fists are clenched. I rub small circles in her back and whisper “Shush, I’m sorry I’m sorry. Shush Paisley it’s okay I’m sorry.”
After a few minutes of this she relaxes and lets out a little laugh “I should be doing this for you not the other way around.” A small smile forms on her face as she looks up at me. I smile back down at her before sighing and closing my eyes. “Are you still tired?” she asks wiggling off my lap and taking a seat next to me.
I open my eyes “why’d ya move?” I ask pouting slightly.
Her eyes go wide and blushes again “I-I don’t know I guess I just..I don’t know” she says before yawning.
I smile a little “I am still tired, but I think you need sleep more than I do.” I begin to get up from the bed but I feel her hand on my arm.
She doesn’t meet my eye but says shyly “No”
I raise an eyebrow “No?”
She shakes her head “Please don’t go.” she looks up and I see there are tears in her eyes.
I immediately sit back down “What’s wrong, why are you crying?” I cup her cheeks in my hands but she moves away.
“I’m scared” she mumbles.
“Everything” she turns back toward me “Of losing you, of messing whatever this is up, of never getting out of here, never having a life that’s mine, God Derek I’m scared of everything!” she cries breathing heavily, tears streaming down her cheeks. I hold her close and after a few minutes she calms down. “Sorry” she mumbles and I shake my head.
“Don’t be you didn’t do anything wrong.” She nods and tries to move away so I tighten my grip on her waist. She looks up at me “I’m not leaving” I say softly looking down at her. She blushes, smiles and moves closer to me. I sigh at the contact and close my eyes. After a while when I think she is asleep I move slowly, laying her down on the bed and moving away.
Again I feel a hand on my arm “You said you wouldn’t go” she says not opening her eyes but moving over to make room for me. I sigh lightly and climb back into the bed. She instantly wraps her arms around my waist and snuggles up to me. I smile and wrap my arms around her, looking up at the ceiling. ‘It wasn’t my fault, I did everything I could.’ I think before closing my eyes and drowning out all my other thoughts