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Cole’s funeral was one of the grandest anyone had ever seen. His dad did not spare any expense. Almost everyone from the school was invited. Yet, the passed away’s own sister was nowhere to be seen.

Lola was one of the first people who arrived at the funeral, along with Michael. They both were waiting in the parking lot outside the church for more people to show up.

“Where’s Adaline?”

Michael asked the pink-haired girl as soon as he saw her.

Lola had never really been friends with Michael, even when him and Adaline were going out. She was always friendly towards him, but never went out of her way to talk to him or any of his other friends.

“I thought she was with you. Aren’t you both back together now?”

Michael let out a loud breath. He didn’t even dare to think of an answer to that question.

“I haven’t seen her since she received the news. She didn’t let me take her to the hospital.”

Lola was surprised, but she didn’t show it. Michael was probably the best thing that happened to her friend and this time she was sure they both would last longer. It was times like this when Lola hated to call Adaline her friend.

A black Bentley stopped near them and Lola saw the familiar four boys step out of Prince’s car. Everyone was dressed in black, which made them look

more vicious than ever. Lola decided to get out of their sight as soon as possible. If she hated anything more than homophobes, it was rich men who thought that they owned the whole world, and sometimes even did.

“Sorry, Michael. I haven’t seen or talked to Addy since last week. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.”

Michael nodded gratefully at her and watched her return back to the funeral service.

Prince approached his best friend and patted him on the back in a comforting manner. He hated to see Michael in so much pain, and he hated the fact that it was somehow always related to Adaline.

Prince wondered where Adaline was.

Jack was the first to ask the question running through everyone’s mind.

“Is she okay?”

Michael shrugged indifferently and gestured at Wesley to hand him a cigarette. Wesley did so without missing a beat.

“Haven’t seen her since Friday. She’s not picking up my calls.”

Prince held his tongue but a million thoughts raced through his mind.

Be fucking careful, Mike.

Sebastian spoke up, “What happened though? One minute I was almost getting warmed up to that bitch”—Michael threw him a dark look—“and then next, her brother dies.”

“Yeah,” Jack asked, “what even happened to Cole?”

Michael puffed out smoke and replied. “Adaline’s dad told me that he slipped on the stairs while on his way to a monthly check-up. Injured his spine.”

Nobody spoke a word as they heard several cars pulling over in the parking lot. Adaline’s dad had great connections all over the city and Cole was well-known in the school. It felt like the whole New York City had arrived at the church to pay their respects.

Yet, Adaline was nowhere to be seen.

When the boys went inside the church, they weren’t shocked to find almost every seat filled up with people. The atmosphere was dark and sullen, just like any other funeral. The air was filled with dampness of tears, soft sobs and Chanel perfumes.

After what seemed like eternity, the priest got up to narrate the Bible verses.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

“Friends and family, today we are gathered here to say farewell to the beloved Cole West and to commit him into the hands of the Lord. Cole was loved by his peers and we all mourn the loss of such a precious soul. May his soul rest in peace.

“Now, Cole’s sister, Adaline, would like to speak a few words for her brother.”

The church fell silent. Everyone waited for the familiar brunette girl to show up. People glanced around, and back at the church door. Yet, Adaline was nowhere to be seen.

After a while of waiting and an uncomfortable silence, Adaline’s dad got up from his seat and headed for the podium.

The mic screeched as soon as he cleared his throat.

“I apologise for my daughter’s absence. She is going through a very hard time...uh, we all are.”

Nathaniel West cleared his throat again.

“Cole was very dear to me. He had always been a good boy. Even with his... disability, he never lost hope. I’ll feel his absence everyday.”

Michael felt the urge to climb on the stage the beat the living daylights out of the man. But he stopped himself. Adaline would not do well with two losses.

After the funeral everyone paid their respects to Cole, including Michael. Last year he had grown quite fond of the boy. And Cole used to idolise Michael.

Later, Michael joined his four friends in the parking lot. He felt the irony of smoking cigarettes at a funeral, but right now he couldn’t care less. Wesley offered one to each of them and they gladly accepted.

“So...” Jack started, and looked at the others.

What happens with you and Adaline now?

Jack did not dare to finish his sentence.

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