Chapter Fifty three. Life.
Song for this chapter: Britney Spears-Everytime.
I wanted to believe that this was all a dark nightmare, that when I woke up in the middle of the night screaming that he would be there to comfort me and whisper everything would be okay. But he never was.
All there was, was the darkness my empty room provided, the bed sheets stuck to my trembling body and my heart breaking into a million broken pieces all over again.
It had been two days, two days of emptiness, quietness, and loneliness. No amount of people or comfort could fill that aching black hole inside of me. I was merely a particle of a human, the life and happiness drained out of me.
When the news broke around our small town, it had been all over the news and still was. I couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing the words, ‘murder’, ‘an act of revenge’, ‘evil’.
It was like no matter what I did or said, the haunting of that one fatal night would forever be following me. After telling police who was behind the horrific crime, I was shortly informed that Hunter was being held in custody.
Police had been arriving at my house the past two days wanting to question me on what I knew. I knew everything and I wasn’t ready to talk about it just yet. Would I ever be? Was the question swarming in my head with every breath I took.
I knew I would eventually have to talk about it. Grayson’s funeral was tomorrow morning and I wanted to attend it with the knowledge that I wouldn’t ever have to say goodbye to him with the knowing that I would then have to replay the night he died again.
I wanted it to be over.
The nightmares, the screams, the tears, life.
But only one person could bring me out of my bubble of emptiness that was alive. Blake.
He hadn’t left my side since that fatal night, he was the one who I woke up with my loud screams, his ocean eyes were what brought me out of my acts of anguish. He was the one holding me tight and promising me that the pain will soon be over.
And I wanted to believe him, I really did.
But how can the pain be gone when the only person who could take it away was dead.
″You’re okay, Libby″ He whispered soothingly into my ear, rubbing my hair, ″I’ve got you″.
And just for a moment, I felt safe.
And maybe just a moment was all I needed, just one minute of numbness so I could succumb to my deep slumber until the police woke me up with their knocks on the front door like they had the past two days.
I was wrapped in his arms as I lay my head on his chest, I felt bad for putting my pain onto him but he had told me a countless amount of times that all he wanted was to be there for me and I was grateful, I was but still I couldn’t help but feel like a burden when he too was hurting.
Slowly, my eyes began to flutter shut until there was nothing but darkness and the light breaths of Blake from beneath me.
The loud knocking emitting from downstairs woke me up from my light sleep, the sun shining in through the sheer curtains hitting off my face and making me squint my eyes in return. I got up carefully off Blake’s sleeping body.
I knew today was the day.
The day where words from that one horrific night would come out and it would finally be over.
Maybe the pain wouldn’t go away and truth be told I didn’t know if it ever would, but speaking about it would ease the heavy weight on my shoulders that was forcing me to isolate myself from everyone around me.
Gabriela had stayed in our Mother’s room since Grayson’s death and I was thankful for that. The walls of our Mother’s bedroom would block out my loud screams at random hours of the night before dawn, I couldn’t let Gabriela hear me.
She knew something was wrong, she knew how broken I was inside. She proved that by not watching Disney shows I didn’t recognize when I was with her. Instead, she would only watch Hannah Montana or High School Musical knowing that would cause a small smile to crack from the corner of my lips.
I tiptoed to my bedroom door and sighed as I took a quick look at Blake with his brows furrowed even in his sleep, his clothes wrinkled and his hair disheveled. Closing the door behind me as I reached the top of the stairs I seen Mom making her way to open the front door, but not before catching me looking down from the top of the stairs.
″I’m sorry, hunny. I’ll tell them you’re not ready yet″.
But I shook my head, she seemed fazed by my simple action and so I finally took in a deep breath and worked up to courage to speak up for the first time since I left the hospital.
My voice came out shaky and not all confident as my words were meant to sound like. She froze at my words before nodding her head like an obedient robot and unlocking the front door as I slowly crept my way down the creaky wooden stairs.
When I took the last the step she had just opened the door revealing two policemen clad in their full uniform, caps and all. My heart hit against my chest, my breathing heavy at the realization of what I was about to do, or more so what I was about to say.
″Any luck today Ma’am?″ One of the police officers asked knowing that the odds of me finally speaking was unlikely.
Mom looked back at me and gave me an encouraging smile which I ever so badly needed right now. I let out a small breath as I threw on a fluffy robe on me that was on the end of the staircase.
″I’m ready to talk″ I answered them, they gave me polite nods in return as Mom stepped aside and let them come in.
″Would you like any coffee?″ She offered, her voice sweet. Just then it sounded like we were a perfect, tight-knit family. But that was the exact opposite of what we were. Maybe one day we would be and I wanted to believe we were climbing up the ladder to get there. But with Grayson’s departure, I had fallen off that ladder and wasn’t ready yet to start climbing again.
″If it’s no hassle, Ma’am″ One of the officers answered for the both of them. Mom waved them off with a small smile playing on her tight lips.
I had noticed that not only was I slowly dying inside as each day came and went, but I was killing everyone around me too. They were my mirrors and they took in everything I felt, every emotion, every ounce of pain I was suffering from, they too would feel. And the awful thing about that was that I couldn’t do anything about it.
Not a single thing, and I hated myself for it.
I hated that I was the cause of so many people’s pain and even the death of the person I loved more than there are stars in the night sky. I was ruining everyone around me without wanting to and I couldn’t control it.
″Just call me Elizabeth, just make yourselves comfortable in the living room″ She told him as she turned back around to look at me with sad eyes and giving me a remorseful smile as she made her way into the kitchen knowing that no amount of words would get rid of the ache inside my heart.
The policemen looked at me for any sign that I was going to speak, but I didn’t as I walked passed them and walked right into the living room. That’s what my days had become of now, just sitting in the living room as I stared out the window as I watched the bright flowers on the trees get attracted by bees.
The sky wasn’t bright this morning, it was dusty with swirls of grey hidden beneath the almost black clouds. It was like God or whoever controlled the weather knew that I didn’t want to see much sun.
As bad as it sounded I didn’t want to see anyone having fun, it was though I thought the world should stop and be mourning the loss of someone as special as Grayson. Because that’s what being with him led me to believe.
How could someone as pure and kind as Grayson not be loved by the whole town? the news was broadcasted that they were praying for his family and loved ones and that we were in their thoughts. But sometimes that just isn’t enough. Matter of fact, it never was enough.
I sat down on the couch as I motioned for the police to sit down on the two recliners in front of me with whatever little energy I had left in my numb body. I pulled my knees to my chest as I took in my surroundings, blocking out the two intimating policemen with their eyes on me.
Get well soon and we’re sorry for your loss cards were littered all around the room alongside bouquets of flowers that were slowly dying day by day. I had received too many that we had run of vases to put them in. I couldn’t bring myself to look after the rest of them, I wasn’t caring for the others either. Mom was in control of that. If it were up to me, they would all be dead by now.
Just like me.
Not literally but metaphorically all of me was dead.
My heart, my lungs, my soul.
″You were there during the night of the accident if I’m correct?″ One of the policemen spoke up knocking me out of my daydream. He had a New York accent you see in all the murder-solving movies. And boy did I wish was this all a movie, a very heartbreaking, soul-crushing movie.
But it wasn’t, this was my life.
I nodded in response, not adverting my eyes to the man who spoke but kept my eyes on the window as I watched a small bird land on the windowsill. It was a robin, small and beautiful. It had almost brought a smile to my frown stained lips. Almost.
″And we have on our records that you knew the suspect?″.
I gulped at the mention of ‘suspect’. He was anything but that. He was the spawn of Satan. He was a murderer who was set out to kill and get revenge and that’s exactly what he got, but just not how he planned.
″Suspect?″ I laughed out surprising myself at my built up courage to bite out something sarcastic. ″Hunter Jones is no suspect″.
The policemen looked between each other with confused expressions, their brows furrowed and foreheads creased as they flicked through the pages of their notebooks taking down what I was saying even though there was no need to since I knew they were recording every word I was saying.
″He is a cold-blooded killer. He’s no suspect, he’s a murderer″.
The looks of bewilderment soon left their faces at my words as they looked back up at me again. ″What was your relationship with the victim?″ The policeman with no accent and bald spot asked casually as though his words would have no effect over me.
But they hurt.
″He was my boyfriend″ I admitted, my voice low as tears began to surface but I looked up at the ceiling and tried to blink them away. A gust of wind orbiting from beside me made chills shiver down my spine. As I turned to look around I let out a small sigh at the appearance of my Mother holding a tray accompanied with two mugs of steaming coffee.
I was stupid to think it could have been Grayson.
A week ago it could have been but not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
″Would you like me to stay, hunny?″ She asked gently, placing a comforting hand on my arm. I looked up at her with glassy eyes and shook my head. She didn’t seem happy with my answer but she understood and soon left me alone with the two policemen.
I couldn’t bare let her listen in to what we were going to be discussing. She didn’t know about the abuse, the threats, the violence. She knew surface level and I wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible.
″And the sus-″ He stopped his words, ″Killer, what was your relationship with him?″.
I let out a loud breath at the dreaded question, merely because I didn’t know how to answer it myself. Noticing my unsteadiness the New York officer spoke up. ″Take as long as you need″.
I looked down at my lap not being able to keep my eyes glued to the secluded window any longer. ″We knew each other for a few years. We use to have a thing between us, but it was never official″. I answered truthfully even though it hurt to.
″You say you had a thing with Hunter, can you be more elaborate?″.
I placed my hand behind my neck, the coldness pressing against my bare skin making me flinch. ″I guess you could say we were in a relationship″.
They scribbled it down on their notebook as they whispered words to each other, I could hear them even though they probably didn’t me to. ″How long did your relationship last?″.
I furrowed my brows not knowing myself how long it lasted, it wasn’t official but still, he claimed ownership of me from the moment I met him.
″Roughly three years″.
″And during this relationship was there any signs of anger issues, abuse of any sorts?″.
I froze in my spot at the long-dreaded question, my eyes widened at the question as I bit my lip to stop it from quivering. ″He was very overprotective, not allowing any guy to look in my direction. There was no abuse″ I cut short.
″Not until I met Grayson″.
The officer with the accent eye’s became soft at my revelation, while the cop I knew from my town kept his eyes hard and unkind. As if this was a daily ritual for him. I knew it wasn’t, not in a small town like this.
″What abuse did you sustain while with Hunter?″.
″He hit me when he seen me talking to Grayson outside a grocery store, that was the first time″.
Tears pricked my eyes as I revealed all the trauma I had gone through while in Hunter’s hands, I had to think back and tell them about how long I had known Grayson, if he and Hunter were friendly with each other. The questions were slowly drilling holes inside my head at each one. I needed this to be over with. I couldn’t take it for much longer.
″Getting to the night of the accident″. Accident, I almost laughed at that. What happened on the night of prom was no accident. It was planned out.
″Tell us everything you remember″.
My eyes finally met their eyes at that one haunting question. My face paling of any color or life. I had tried my best the past two days not to think back to that one haunting night but to only think back to the good memories I had with Gray, like our first date or going to the Hollywood sign. But my nightmares would come to me every night haunting me with the memories I was trying so hard to push away.
But they would always be there.
″He didn’t want Grayson, he wanted me″ My voice began to shake as the tears I tried so badly to hold back escaped my eyes and fell down my cheeks. But I didn’t dare push them away.
I opened my mouth to fill them in on what exactly did happen since I was the key witness in the horrific act of revenge but the living room door opening from beside us stopped my words.
There revealed Blake in his morning glory, looking at me frantically, his clothes still wrinkled and his hair even more of a mess than I last remembered. He rushed over to me and pulled me into a hug as the police watched with confused eyes.
″I didn’t know where you were, Libby″.
I let out a small breath, ″Stay″.
He gave me a small smile as he sat down next to me and held his hand in mine to show that he was giving me moral support when I needed it most. I began to speak when Blake gave me a reassuring smile and held me close.
With Blake holding my hand, it gave me that newfound courage to not let out any tears I was trying hard to fight against. I wouldn’t let Hunter do this to me, he couldn’t win. He may think he has but I’m still breathing.
″Did you know of any plans beforehand that Hunter was going to act out that night?″.
That one question hit me like a sledgehammer, my breathing caught in my throat as Blake looked down at me with worried eyes.
″No″ I answered, trying to mask my voice with certainty hoping they wouldn’t catch on, ″I didn’t″.
They stood up off the chairs they were sitting on for well over an hour as they closed over their notebooks. It was all over. I could finally breathe again with the knowing that I wouldn’t ever have to recite that god awful night over again.
I solemnly shook the police officers hands as they thanked me for my patience and honesty. Mom walked them out as Blake and I stayed in silence in the living room with my head leaning on his shoulder.
″Thank you″ I whispered out in honesty.
I felt his blue eyes snap to mine as he stared deeply into my grey eyes with confusion. ″What for?″.
″Everything″ I breathed out, ″I don’t know what I’d do without you, Blake″.
″Me either, Libby″.