I'm Coming Home Now
I woke up with Amber still in my arms, and I wondered how I’d ever managed a morning without her. At some point in the night we’d shifted from me being on top of her, to lying in each other’s arms and it felt right.
I felt her breasts rise against me as her breathing changed and although her eyes were still closed, I knew she was waking up. Even if she wasn’t ready to admit it.
She shifted her shoulders and sunk her face into my shoulder then said.
“Not until you bring me coffee.”
Which, I mean, was just the cutest thing ever.
Eyes still closed she looked up and found my lips for a kiss.
It was so simple, so normal, and so totally alien to my life. Such a stark contrast to every day of my life before that, I mean, I couldn’t help it. I cried, again. The tears just came.
Then there she was again, Amber.
Her arms tightened around me.
“Oh no, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing, nothing is wrong. For maybe the first time in my life, nothing is wrong.”
We lay like that for a long time. It’d be cool and manly to say I didn’t cry for long, but I did. So much had happened in such a short time. There was just so many uncried tears and unrealised pain, that once the gates were open it was hard to stop.
My dad was gone, fuuuuuck… It was hard to believe.
It felt like waking up from a nightmare, knowing you’d had a nightmare, but still being scared to roll over and see the rest of my bedroom, in case it was still somehow there, waiting for me. Watching me.
But eventually the moment passed, and my mind settled, and the world came back into focus. I then kissed the top of her head, found my sense of self, and said.
“So, I don’t actually know where the kitchen is?”
Her back instantly stiffened, and then the cutest little giggle started bubbling up from inside of her.
She looked at me, blushed crimson, then with her hand over her mouth managed to say.
“I don’t either.”
We both laughed way harder than the situation was funny, but it was good, needed. It felt right, like the full stop at the end of the crazy ride we’d been on.
We then got dressed, and started looking for the kitchen, the coffee and the normality.
Hours passed as Bastian and I spent time together. It was just so easy. Jessica called a couple of times, and it felt weird to do, but I didn’t answer. Partially because I didn’t want to break away from Bastian, but also because I didn’t know what to say to her. I hated the lie I was being forced to tell, and even though so much shit had happened, I didn’t feel like I could tell her any of it.
I hated myself for putting her on silent, because I knew she was hurting too, but I just couldn’t keep up the lie, so silence felt like my only option.
By the third time Bastian gave in trying to ignore the look on my face.
“If you trust her, and I mean, really trust her. We can tell her at least my part of the story.”
The words I didn’t know I was desperate to hear. The feeling of acceptance and understanding and trust. It wasn’t until he’d said it that I realised I had been mentally making excuses for him too. Just presuming that I would always have to make up stories for all of the craziness of my life to everyone forever.
That my old life and my new life, fuck my new life was a thought I’d not had before. But it just felt like they could never mix. But then there he was, blurring the line. Opening the door like a gentleman between the two telling me that I could be me, all of me. That I didn’t have to sacrifice my past and who I’d been to be with him.
It felt huge, a massive weight off my shoulders. Way more than I’d realised. As if on que my phone rang again and I just answered.
“Oh my god! I have so much to tell you.”
Jessica’s voice was flat, flatter than I’d ever heard it and it sent a chill through me.
“They found him last night, or like, most of him.”
I mean, I knew the truth, but her voice, that sound, I couldn’t pin her words to any solid idea in my mind and I just felt super confused.
“The people, doctors, I don’t know, say he probably died on impact in the car crash and then, fuck, so fucked, he got like, carried away by wolves or whatever. When are you coming home!”
“Now, I’m coming home now.”
I looked up at Bastian who’d apparently realised something was wrong and was on his feet ready and waiting.
“About fucking time!”
I knew the truth, but tears rolled down my face anyway.
“Jessie, fuck, I’m coming home, I’m coming home. I’ll text you when I’m close.”
I think she nodded at the phone and it sucked to not be there. I wanted to just reach through the phone, pull her through and hold her, and be the friend I was supposed to be. We hung up and I looked at Bastian.
“We have to go.”
Outside of the moment with Jessica, I realised how weird was to say but still said it.
I could see it take him a moment, but he got it. We knew what had happened, but that didn’t mean it also hadn’t happened. Frankie had died. He’d come back as a vampire, but he was still dead to the rest of the world. His friends, his family, everyone who supported WV football. A lot of hopes and dreams, as weird as it was to say, died with him.
My vision suddenly shifted and Frankie stood at the entrance to the kitchen, he looked, tired, dirty and also, weirdly relieved. Blessedly, Belinda was nowhere to be seen.
He sounded exactly as he looked and I rushed up to hug him.
“I died. I mean, you were right. Something had to be done about everyone else. Now it’s done. My body was found, and confirmed and it’s done. I’m dead.”
I welled up again at the words, but he was also right there, and it was so weird. But I got it.
“I think it’s better to have an answer than a question, you know? For like, your parents especially.”
He closed his eyes and let out a long breath.
“Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, probably but having to bury their kid.’ He opened his eyes and looked at me, looking the most like himself since everything had happened. ’I saw them, when they were told. I mean, I know it was the right thing to do, but… I don’t know. I watched him kill his dad and I still think I hurt my parents more.”
He gestured at Bastian who just took it. I think he knew what Frankie meant, I certainly did.
I wrapped my arms around him again and we hugged for a long minute, then he pulled away quickly.
“I need to sleep, and you need to go.”
He then handed me a set of car keys.
“Belinda says you can have it, she said wedding present and I’m going to choose to ignore that idea for right now.”
He then kissed my forehead and vanished.