At The Edge Of Hopelessness

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The Pain They Feel.

Emmett and Austin take their things out of the truck of Austin’s car while Donna and her friends walked inside the beach house. Emmett glanced towards the girls to see Donna pointing her finger towards Austin while he was not looking to talk to him. Emmett nodded and scratched his nose before he stuffed his hands in his khaki short’s pockets while Austin was busy taking out supplies off his car, “So, listen - buddy, ” He calls out Austin who hummed in return as Emmett continued, “Um, do you remember Gia?” He asked him. Austin looked at his friend and knits his eyebrows together, “Gia - As in Donna’s best friend Gia?” He asked. Emmett nodded his head, “Yeah, I do - why?” He asked again. “Donna wants me to ask you to ask Gia out, ” Emmett replied.

Austin glanced at his friend as he took the last box out of the trunk and shut it, “Why would I do that?” Austin asked him. Emmett shrugged, “Well, Donna told me that Gia told her that she likes you, but she is a little shy to ask you herself, ” Emmett answered. Austin chuckled, “Yeah, but I am not interested, ” he twisted his mouth. Emmett knitted his brows, “I think she is a nice girl - she is pretty, ” He shrugged. Austin nodded as he glanced towards Gia, who was already looking at him. “Sure, she is but she is not my type. Tell Donna, I am sorry.” Austin said to his friend as he picked a box with food supplies and walked into the beach house. He passed by Donna, Gia, and two other girls. A frown on Donna’s face explains she was expecting Austin to stop and talk to her friend.

Austin doesn’t fancy Donna - no one does. She is the girl that always has a guy at her fingertips. Austin, Reuben, Milo, and Emmett were inseparable before she came in and now Emmett hardly hangs out with them since Donna demands him to be with her all the time. From the big window of the beach house’s kitchen - Austin could see Milo’s car to stop beside his own. He had Reuben with him in the passenger seat. As soon as the car stopped, Reuben stepped out with a scowl on his face. Milo sighed and put his head on the steering before he lifted his head and stepped out of the car as well.

Emmett called out Reuben but he didn’t look at him and storm into the house. Emmett shrugged and called Milo and both of them started to bring the rest of the boxes into the house. Milo glanced towards the door from where Reuben stormed in, a couple of times before he went back to help Emmett. Emmett and Milo might not have seen it, but Austin did. Something was wrong with Reuben - he looked agitated. So, to find out - he walked out of the house to find him in the sea of Donna and Emmett’s friends. He looked around for his friend in a crowd of unfamiliar faces but didn’t find him.

He bumped into a few familiar faces while he walked up the stairs to see Reuben sitting on the couch by the window with his head resting on the header and his eyes closed. Austin walked to his friend and put his hand on his shoulder, only to be pushed back by Reuben. Austin frowned, “What the hell, man?” He asked. Reuben got up, “I am sorry - I thought you were someone else, ” Reuben spoke as he rubbed his eyes. Before Austin could ask any other question, Reuben continued. “Hey, I have to take shower - I spilled coke on my jeans on the way to here. Do you know where can I shower and change?” He asked Austin. Austin glanced at his stainless clothes, “Uh, I have no idea. Let me ask Donna about it, ” Austin offered but Reuben shook his head, “It is okay - I will ask her myself.” He said before he walked past Austin. Austin was now certain that something was wrong but he didn’t ask him.

Alesha put her car on the brake as they reached the beach house and sighed before turning her face to look at her best friend, “I am still not sure about it, Leah.” She spoke as her eyes were on a few girls helping out some boys with setting up the barbeque in two pieces. Alesha could tell that these people were not whom she and Leah could hang out with.

Alesha looked at Leah to see her biting her lips, “I don’t know any of these people, ” Leah mumbled as her eyes wander around all the people at the back of the beach house. She could see some movement in the house through the window and sighed, “Maybe we can spend a few hours and then head back?” Leah asked Alesha. Alesha shrugged, “I am not sure about that either. It took us an hour and a half to get here. Driving back at night - just us two, doesn’t sound like a good idea.” Alesha spoke. “Does Austin know you are here?” She asked.

Leah guilty looked at her and she didn’t have to put it in words - Alesha got it. She didn’t tell her brother because it was obvious he was going to object. “It is not like I came here uninvited, ” She shrugged. Alesha rolled her eyes and stepped out of her and so did Leah, “Come on, Alesha -” Leah wanted to talk to her friend but she was interrupted by another voice. “Excuse me, ” Leah turned around to look at Donna standing behind her.

Leah and Alesha instantly recognized her but Donna didn’t and asked them what was in her mind, “I am sorry, but do I know you?” She asked. Alesha sighed and looked around while Leah answered, “Hi, I am Leah. I am Austin’s little sister, ” She held her hand out. Donna raised her eyebrow as she looked at Leah’s hands and after a while slowly shook her hand, “Right, ” Donna said with a small yet fake smile on her face. She wasn’t very welcoming towards the two girls.

Donna was truly beautiful. Leah noticed that it wasn’t makeup that made her look gorgeous, but it was her natural beauty. Leah now realized why Emmett went after her. Donna had everything that Leah didn’t. Donna was beautiful. She has a social life. She is confident - everything that Emmett himself possesses. Donna with a fake smile displayed on her lips asked, “I didn’t know younger siblings were allowed, ” She might have spoken softly but her words were sharp and edgy, “I would have invited my younger siblings as well, ” She chuckled. Alesha and Leah mashed their lips together as they glanced at each other, “Well, Emmett invited us - so, ” Leah answered as she shrugged. Leah didn’t like Donna since day one because she had something Leah wanted, but now she disliked her for her sugar-coated rude behavior.

“Oh, that’s nice.” Donna’s spurious tone was annoying Leah, but she didn’t point it out. Maybe it was a bad decision for her to come here after all. Donna clapped her hands together, “Now that you are here - why don’t you get in? It is a party after all, so the more the better.” She shrugged and gave them a cheeky grin before she walked to her friends - who were busy drinking and set up the barbecue. Alesha walked closer to Leah as they both looked at them and mumbled, “We are so misfit for this gathering, ” Leah heard her loud and clear but didn’t answer her back. Her friend was right - she doesn’t belong here.

Austin was leaning against her car outside the cemetery while his sister went in. He has been bringing Leah here for five years, but not once did he go in. The fact that some of his friends are in there - sleeping peacefully six feet under the ground makes him feel guilty that he got to live and they had to die. It also makes him miss them. It makes him want to cry because not only he but thirteen families lost their treasures that night. It scares him that it could have been him or Leah that night. It reminds him of the panic and horror of that night. It makes him hate one of his best friends - it reminds him of when he saw people dropping on the floor. It makes him remember the blood-covered floor, of the lifeless bodies, of the screams of pain and agony, of the burning smell of gunpowder - of his friends dying in front of his eyes. He is scared of the fear he felt that day - he doesn’t want to remember that.

“Thanks for waiting for me again, ” Austin almost jumped as Leah quietly came out of the cemetery and stood to hear him. He was so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t realize she has come out. Austin sighed and nodded, “Can we go now?” He asked his sister before getting into the car. Leah didn’t say anything - she knows how painful it is for Austin to come here - she doesn’t want to cause him more pain, so slowly she walked to get in the car while placing her hand over it. She gets in and was immediately welcomed by the same void silence.

As Austin drove Leah back home - he glanced at his sister to see her eyes closed as she had her head rested on the window. He knows Leah wasn’t sleeping since he is aware of his sister’s inability to sleep in a vehicle. Austin still hasn’t told her about Emmett yet. There were no words spoken between them as he drove closer to his mother’s house. Austin broke the silence as she cleared his throat, “Emmett is coming back, ” Austin announced. Leah opened her eyes immediately, only to be welcomed by the same darkness.

Leah didn’t reply to him as her last few visuals flashed right in front of her eyes. She recalled the screaming while Emmett held her hand. They both ran among the chaos and gun fires. She remembers when she felt a burn on the right side of her neck before something warm oozed out of her wound. The bullet grazed her skin - she remember feeling nauseous and before she could process anything - she hears a few more gunshots and Emmett fell on the ground with blood coming out of him - from where? She couldn’t tell. “Emmett!!” she yelled. She was standing too close to the opened window. During the chaos, someone pushed her. She lost her balance and fell out of the window from the first level of the house onto the patio. The last thing she remembered she ever saw was Emmett on the floor - bleeding. When she woke up a week later in the hospital - it was nothing but darkness. She lost her sight that day. She never heard of Emmett again. She was told he was alive and injured and then one day out of nowhere she was told he left - just like that he left.

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