THIRD PERSON POV
Everybody watched her as she struts the hallway like a model. Everybody wanted to be her. She is beautiful and a genius. But what impressed them the most? She is a Larove. To them, her life was perfect. They looked at her, and all they saw was perfection. After all, she was top of her class since she started preschool. She was the youngest student to graduate from Cambridge Judge Business School. But they didn’t see the pain she hid inside her. They haven't seen the real Allesandra Larove.
“Yes Mom, I am on my way out the door now. I will be there in fifteen minutes.” I picked up my stuff and headed to my car. Just as I got to my car, I heard someone call my name.
“Hey, Alle!” I turned around to see Jane coming toward me. “A group of us are going to get a drink. Wanna join?”
“I can't tonight, Jane. Family dinner and they are waiting.”
Jane pouted. “Ok. Maybe next time. I really would like to get to know you better Miss. Larove.”
I smiled a little. “Yeah, maybe next time.” I turned and got into my car and drove off. I had no intention of ever getting to know her. I was single, and I planned on staying that way. I parked my car and walked into the house. I was greeted by my nieces like always. I was what they called the ‘fun aunt’.
“Aunt Alle! We have been waiting for you. Mom said we couldn’t eat until you got here.”
I wrapped my arms around them. “Well, I’m here. Let’s eat.”
We walked to the table, and as always, Mommy went all out. It looked as if Mom was going to entertain royalty. She always used her ‘special occasion’ for our family dinner. She said ‘what is more special than family?’ Mom had everyone over once a week. We started with dinner, then a game and last a movie.
I never stayed for the movie though. I always made up some excuse not to stay. But Mom said she made my favorite cookies for the movie tonight, so I think she wanted me to stay. I just hoped I could convince her I needed to sleep or something. Watching the movie was always my favorite part of the night. But that was before. Before I lost the love of my life. I used to love watching with my parents and even Hope and Bella. They found their soulmates and were in love and happy. They watched the movie in each other’s arms. I used to do that with Kylie. Now that she was gone, I couldn’t stand to watch them all cuddled up together. I would never have that again. My heart ached. It always would.
“All right, now who is up for a movie?”
That was my cue to leave. “Mom, I’m really tired, and I still have work to do before I can sleep.”
The look on Mom’s face told me she wasn’t buying this. “Alle, You can't leave. You have been back from school only a few weeks, and all you do is work. I talked to your dad about the amount of work you are doing, and she said you are taking on extra. You don’t have to work tonight. Please stay with us.”
I should have known she would ask Daddy not to work me so hard, and she would find out I was working myself, not Dad. “Mom, I will try to stay next week.”
Mom shook her head. “No, you can stay now. If you are tired, you can sleep through the movie, but I want you to stay tonight. Ok?”
I nodded my head. I knew eventually I was going to have to stay.
Mom hugged me. “Thank you, baby.”
We sat down and started the movie. The movie started, and all I could do was think about my Kylie. I stayed for about thirty minutes and couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t breathe. I had to get out of here.
“Aunt Alle, where are you going?”
“To the bathroom, kid,” I said quickly and ran to the bathroom. I splashed cold water on my face and trying to get my breathing to go back to normal.
“Alle? Are you ok?” It was Hope. She always could tell when something was going on. We had always been close.
I opened the door. “Yeah, I’m fine. Why?”
“Because you have been in there almost twenty minutes, and I have been out here for five minutes waiting for you. I could hear your breathing was labored. So I decided you are either upset or masturbating?”
I smiled at her. “Yes, Hope, I was masturbating in my parents’ bathroom with everyone five feet away.”
She laughed. “Then you are upset. What’s up?”
I shook my head. “Its nothing,” I could never put anything past her.
“I don’t believe that, but I know better than to push you to talk before you are ready, so when you are ready to talk, I’m here.”
“I know, Hope. But I’m fine.”
She grabbed my hand and pulled me into the kitchen. “So what shall we drink? Any preference?”
I shook my head.
We spent the rest of the movie talking in the kitchen. Mostly about work. After the movie, everyone said their goodbyes and I snuck up to my room before Mom had a chance to say anything to me.
“Carmen, I am so worried about Alle. I thought she got help after Kylie died while she was at school. But ever since she got home, she has been moody and depressed. All she cares about is work. We should go talk to her.”
Carmen grabbed my hand and pulled me into her lap. “I know you are worried. I am, too, but if we push her, she will push back. Last time we tried, we almost lost her. It is natural for her to go through an adjustment period. She is back in the town where her girlfriend died. Remember how hard it was to get her to come back after college?”
I nodded. I was heartbroken when Alle called and said she didn’t want to come home after she graduated.
“I know you are right, but I’m her mother. I hate feeling like I can't help my daughter. All I want to do is hug her and tell her everything will be ok. I wish I could take away her pain.”
Carmen and I lay down and fell asleep in each other’s arms like we do every night.
THIRD PERSON POV
Kylie was so excited. Today was Alle’s sixteenth birthday. She had wakened up extra early today to prepare for Alle’s surprise. On Kylie’s last birthday, Alle asked her to be her girlfriend. Kylie was so happy. She was determined to make Alle just as happy. She made Alle’s favorite food, and she had set up a picnic at their spot.
It was at the top of the waterfall a few miles outside the city. Their car broke down near here once and they found the waterfall. That was where Kylie gave herself to Alle for the first time. This place was special to them.
Alle was on her way right now. Kylie had called her and asked her to meet her there. She was ready, and now, all that was left was for Alle to arrive. As Kylie sat waiting, The wind blew and carried Alle’s birthday card just over the edge. She went to reach it, and her foot slipped. She fell over the edge but grabbed a root from the tree that stuck out. She hung over the edge of the cliff. She was terrified. Her hand was slipping. She screamed as loud as she could for help. “HELP! ALLE HELP!”
Just before Kylie fell, Alle was there and had her by the hand.
“I’ve got you, Kylie. Hang on!”
“ALLE! I'M SLIPPING! I CANT HANG ON!”
“KYLIE, GIVE ME YOUR OTHER HAND! PLEASE!”
As Kylie tried to reach up with her other hand, she fell.
“NO! KYLIE!” Alle watched in horror as the love of her life fell to her death. She watched as Kylie hit the rocks below. Alle grabbed her phone and dialed 911. She went back out to her car to show the paramedics where to go. “Please hurry! My girlfriend fell and I can't get to her!”
Two men were dropped down the side of the cliff to where Kylie’s body lay. A helicopter flew above them. The men placed Kylie’s body into a body bag and airlifted her out.
“Alle? Alle, wake up!”
Alle shot out of her sleep. She was hyperventilating and crying. She had been having that horrible nightmare again. She always woke up in a sweat wishing it was only a nightmare, but it never was. It was exactly what happened to her beautiful Kylie.
“Alle honey, it’s ok. You are awake now.” Larissa held her daughter as she cried. In the months after Kylie died, Larissa was in Alle’s room every night because Alle would have that nightmare over and over again. It had been three years since it last happened. Larissa just rubbed Alle’s back and never let go until she was back to sleep. They never talked. Nothing needed to be said. The pain said it all.
Alle was getting ready for her day. She had a lot of work ahead of her, but after all of that, she was having a night out with Hope. She always loved the time she had with her. They had been having these nights together for as long as she could remember. Hope was a great sister, and Alle knew she could always talk to her. Hope was the one she went to for help because she gave her anything she asked for. “Hope, I need a favor,” Alle said as she sat next to her sister.
“Anything for you, kid.”
Alle rolled her eyes. “I’m not a kid.”
Hope laughed. “You always say that, but you are a kid to me.”
“Anyways, I need you to tell Mom that I want to skip my birthday completely this year. No gifts, no party, and no dinner. Ok?”
Hope looked at Alle as if she were crazy.
“Anything but that, Alle. You know Mom respects the fact that you need to do your own thing because of what happened with Kylie on your birthday, but asking her to pretend that you didn’t have a birthday at all is just cruel to do to Mom. She still even gives me a birthday party every year like I’m a kid, and I’m thirty-two. Besides, you need to start living your life as normal. You know it’s what Kylie would want you to do. You don’t date. You don’t celebrate your birthday, and you seem so depressed all the time. Don’t you think it’s time to move on?”
With that, Alle got angry and walked out. Neither of them realized it, but Bella had heard it all. She followed Alle outside. “Alle? Are you ok?”
Alle turned around to face Bella. Tears were running down her face. “Why does everyone keep saying I need to move on from Kylie? How is that even possible? She was my everything, and now, she is gone. She is dead because of me.”
Bella walked over to Alle and pulled her into a hug. “We all know how much Kylie means to you, but she is gone now. It is very hard to start living your life and looking for love again, but Kylie would want you to.”
Alle shook her head. “No, if I start looking for someone else, it's like she didn’t mean anything to me. I won’t do that to her.”
“Alle, if it had been you who died, would you want Kylie to live like you are now? Would you be angry if Kylie found love again? Wouldn’t you want her to be happy?”
Alle had always been so busy trying to do the ‘right’ thing for Kylie that she never even considered how Kylie would feel if the roles were reversed. Bella was right. Kylie would probably kick her butt for living this way. For not living.
“Alle, Kylie was an amazing woman, and you know she wouldn’t be happy if she knew you were letting her death hold you back from being happy. She spent the last hours of her life trying to make your life and birthday special. Instead of avoiding it, You should be celebrating it.”
Alle looked at Bella. “I never told anyone this before, but when the guy climbed back up to me after Kylie fell, he said she was holding something in her hand. It was my birthday card. She was still holding it even after she died. They said it must have been very important to her. I have never opened it. I had always felt like if I opened it and read her very last message to me that she would be gone and I would have nothing left of her. But you are right. I need to move on. It’s what she would want. Thank you for helping me see that.”
Bella hugged Alle once more and then they went back inside.
I have never been able to bring myself to come here. Kylie’s last resting place. It always seems wrong that she was here. I hated to even drive past. But today was my twenty-second birthday, and I need to do this. I touched the stone and cried.
“Kylie, I’m sorry I haven’t come to see you before now. I realize now that how I have been acting is foolish. You would want me to live my life. Just like I would want you to. I never opened your letter. It was too hard. Too painful. But I think I’m ready now. I wanted to open it and read it here with you. I was supposed to do that the day you died. You put a lot into that day. I wanted to thank you for that. It was beautiful.”
I open the envelope and took out the card. On the front, it was a picture of two women in a car. The inside said ‘Let's drive toward the rest of our lives together’
I laughed. We always picked out the cheesiest but funniest cards we could find for each other on our birthdays. Below it said in Kylie’s handwriting.
‘Happy Birthday, Love!’
I started to cry when seeing her handwriting. It was always perfect. Also inside was a little note written by Kylie. It said
To my Dearest Alle,
I am so happy to be your girlfriend. You make me so happy every day. When I wake up, I know there will always be a text from you telling me good morning! I smile just thinking about it. You are the first person I think about in the morning and the last person I think of at night. You are the one who fills my dreams. I dream of the life we will have together. I know we are young, but I just know we are meant to be together forever. I cant wait to see what adventures we will have together. I know through the good and the bad we will make it together.
With all my Love,
I broke down.
“How will I ever do this without you, Kylie? You weren’t supposed to leave me. We were supposed to be together forever.” I just sat there crying and not moving. I didn’t know if I was strong enough to make it through this. I was not sure how long I was there crying when I felt arms around me. At first, I thought it must be Mom or Dad, but when I turned, it wasn’t either of them. To my surprise, it was Kylie’s mom.
“It's ok, Alle. I hope I didn’t interrupt.” She was crying, too.
“No, you didn’t.”
She smiled at me. “I always come visit Kylie today and on her birthday.”
I couldn’t help it, but I broke down. “I’m so sorry I couldn’t save her. It was all my fault she was there anyways. You must hate me.”
She looked surprised. I never talked to her when Kylie died. I didn’t know what to say to her. I’m sorry it didn’t seem like enough.
“Alle, I have never blamed you for what happened to Kylie. When she woke up that morning, she was so excited to spend the day with you. She had been planning it for weeks. Alle, you made my daughter happy until the very end, and for that, I thank you.”
I wrapped my arms around her and hers around me, and we cried there together. We both lost someone so precious to us that day. Someone we could never replace in our hearts.
“We are having a birthday party at Mom and Dad’s house. Would you come?” I asked Mrs. Wilson.
Back when Kylie was alive Mrs. Wilson was like a second mother to me.
“I don’t want to impose.”
“You wouldn’t be. I’m sure everyone will want to see you.”
She nodded. “Ok, I would love to.”
We stood up to leave.
I placed my hand on Kylie’s gravestone. “Goodbye, my love.”
I went home after visiting Kylie’s grave. Just as I opened the door, Abigail and Allyson were yelling at each other about something.
“Hey! What’s wrong!” I yelled over their shouting.
“Allyson broke mommy’s phone, and she’s blaming it on me,” Abigail said.
Mommy... Bella’s huh.
“Well, kid, good luck with that.”
“Aunt Alle, help me!”
I Sighed and turned. “Fine. Where’s the phone?”
Allyson handed it to me.
“Where’s your mommy?”
She pointed to the pool outside.
“All right, let’s get this over with.” I walked out and called out to Bella.
Bella turned looking as confused as ever.
I waved her phone and started to run towards the pool.
“CANNONBALL!” I jumped inside the pool with her phone in my hand. I could imagine Bella being speechless. I remerged from the water and smiled sheepishly at her.
“ABIGAIL! ALLYSON! COME HERE!” Bella yelled.
Told yah kids. Her eyes were like a hawk.
My nieces walked towards their mom slowly.
“Tell me, who’s fault it is.”
I looked sternly at Allyson.
Bella knelt. “I never taught you to be a liar, Ally.”
“Daddy will kill me if she knows. Please don’t tell her.”
“Tell me what?” I laughed as Hope suddenly appeared behind her daughter. “Hey, beautiful.” Hope leaned into her wife and kissed her.
And that is my cue to go make my leave.
“Alle, why are you in the pool with your clothes on?”
I smiled and walked towards the stairs in the pool. “I was bored.” I pulled my sleeve up and Hope grabbed my hand.
“Alle. I thought you stopped,”
I yanked my hand back. “Yeah…. I did.”
Hope raised her eyebrows.
“Look. Just because you have Bella to go home to every day lets not show it in front of my face! Now, give me back my hand or I’m sure I’ll break it!”
I could see hurt in Hope’s eyes, and she let go.
“You want to see more?” I started to pull my shirt up and threw it at her face. “YES! I self-harm! THIS... ALL THIS... I’m doing this to myself. Tell the world! I don’t fucking care!” I looked behind my sister, and I saw Bella hold Allyson close to her.
What had I done?
I stopped her. “Don’t... touch me.” I walked inside towards the stairs.
I could see my parents look at me. But before I entered my room, I could hear daddy say,
“What have I done?”