When Lightning Strikes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 27 (v.1)

Submitted: July 04, 2012

Reads: 555

Comments: 17

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 04, 2012

A A A

A A A

To say I was nervous was an understatement. Today was the day we would say goodbye to Aubrey.

All night, I had been crying. I was exhausted. My body felt weak and I had a headache. Mom had given me some Panadol for the pain, but it was still there. Also, I had been working hard to write a little speech. I didn’t feel worthy of saying one though. It was only something small and I didn’t think it was good enough to partake in Aubrey’s grand funeral.

I had already slipped into black dress. My shoulders, collarbones and arms were covered with intricate lace and opaque stockings protected my legs from the cold. On my head sat a black headpiece. It was similar to a beret with a flower sitting on top. My blonde hair had been pulled back into a side ponytail and I had rubbed on some concealer to cover my eye bags.

I rarely wore black, as it was such a depressing colour. I truly felt like a girl in mourning. You’d think for a funeral they’d want everyone to dress in yellow so it’d be cheerful, but no …

In my palms was a crumpled piece of paper, which contained my speech. I sighed as I read through it. It was pathetic. The theme had been ‘memories’.

There was a knock on the door. I walked over to open it and there stood my dad. I took the sight of him in. His hair was neatly pomaded to the right and his skin was gaunt. He had lost a bit of weight since Aubrey’s death, so his suit (that he had worn in his younger days) fit him. His tie was a deep red, which reminded me especially of Aubrey.

“Hey Cee,” he greeted. “How’s my girl?”

I leant into my dad’s embrace. “I’m alright. What about you?”

He sighed. “You know your dad’s always going to be ok. Now why don’t we head out? Your mother’s ready.”

I grabbed my purse and followed dad. Mom was standing on the porch, staring at the sky. When she saw us, she smiled faintly.

“Let’s get into the car,” dad announced.

It felt so different without Aubrey here. Whenever we attended functions together as a family, we’d all fit into the car. Now, the backseat seemed empty. It was only me. There was no sister beside me to talk to.

When we arrived at the church, we found that the Levine’s were already there. All dressed in black and huddling together, it looked like they were comforting Jason.

“Gracie!”

It was Stella, rushing up to me. Even on this day, she still managed to look gorgeous in her sleek dress. Her hair was left down and in her usual waves with a large black bow.

“Oh my god, I haven’t seen you in so long!” she exclaimed, hugging me tightly. “How are you?”

I let out a sigh. “I’ll be alright.”

Stella’s eyes were full of pity, making me look away. “Look, why don’t you come inside? It’s decorated perfectly. Aubrey would love it.”

It hurt when she said that. In truth, Stella and Cale hadn’t liked my sister very much, but I was glad she was kind-hearted enough to feel bad about everything. She led me away from the entrance and I caught a glimpse of Jason’s tired face. It seemed like his face had aged by years, but he still looked handsome to me. I desperately wanted to cling to him and never let go. But that wasn’t possible.

“Wow,” was the first word which came out of my mouth. The hall was exactly how I imagined it, but my face fell when I saw the open casket up ahead. My eyes widened. “What’s … what’s Aubrey’s coffin doing there?”

Stella touched my arm. She looked at me like I was a fragile doll. “Your parents decided to have an open casket so everyone could say their goodbyes.”

“Oh.” My feet led me towards Aubrey’s body. I was hesitant to look inside again, but once I opened my eyes, that was it. My breath caught as I saw my sister’s smooth face. Most of the scratches on her face were gone. She looked so perfect, as always, but the sight of her was too tragic for me. She was so young. She didn’t deserve to be there.

“I’ll give you some privacy,” I heard Stella murmur.

Once she left, I took a step closer and touched Aubrey for the last time. My fingers splayed out on her cheek. The silkiness and coldness of it was eerie.

“I’m so sorry Aubrey,” I whispered. “I wish I could take it all back, you know. For you. I love you so much and I can’t believe you’re gone. How am I supposed to go on Aubs?! You’re my sister, I can’t live without you!”

Of course, she stayed quiet.

“Answer me, please! I don’t know what to do with my life anymore. Nothing seems worth living for …”

I was interrupted by the sound of footsteps. More people were starting to troop in, but luckily they hadn’t noticed me. I closed my eyes briefly before returning to my family. My parents were greeting my aunt and uncle. I spotted one of my closest cousins, Catalina, who came up to me.

“Hey Gracie,” she said, hugging me. “I haven’t talked to you in ages. I know this is a silly question, but how are you?”

I gave her a smile. “I’m getting better.”

She frowned, concerned. “If there’s anything you need, just let me know.”

I nodded before letting her go to see Aubrey herself. My parents dragged me to the entrance to greet more people, but I didn’t feel like smiling. When Ruby and her mother arrived, we hugged each other tightly. I had forgotten she had seen Aubrey at the scene of the accident as well.

“Oh G, everything will work out, you’ll see.”

My eyes briefly flitted to Jason, who was holding Delilah’s hand. “I don’t think it will.”

She saw who I had looked at. Her lips pressed together. “Don’t worry. It may seem bizarre now, but everything will become clear soon.”

Gwen towed Ruby away after, so I could continue greeting the guests. I sighed when Ruby gave me an apologetic glance. I’d rather spend my time talking with her.

Michelle also came too. She wore a sleek, tight dress which looked like it could feature in a runway. I had to hold in my disgust at how much skin it exposed. It was a funeral, for god’s sake. When her eyes met mine, they narrowed slightly. I cringed because it seemed like she was blaming me for Aubrey’s death. The guilt barrelled in again.

When we finished, the three of us took our seats by the front row. The priest was starting the ceremony but I pretty much zoned out. My eyes remained locked on Aubrey resting peacefully in her coffin.

As the ceremony came to a close, my parents next to me started the waterworks. Mom leaned onto me while we headed out of the church. The next stop was … the graveyard. I gulped as we ducked into our car. Dad started the engine, ready to follow the limousine which held Aubrey’s coffin.

It was a half hour drive there. Throughout the whole time, I stared out the window, wondering why this happened to us. The sky had turned darker and it started to sprinkle lightly. Drops of rain dripped down the windows, and later, I heard the unmistakable sound of lightning.

Dad cursed the weather as we pulled into the car park at the graveyard. I could see up ahead that Aubrey’s coffin was being taken out. I couldn’t believe this was it.

We waited for everyone to arrive. By the time everyone stood crowding around it, I was nervous. Terribly nervous. Aubrey was finally going.

Jason was called up to give a speech first, and I admired how composed he seemed.

It was bad of me, but I tuned out throughout most of his speech. It hurt me to hear all these lovey-dovey memories between Jason and Aubrey. It reconfirmed that I was the outsider and that I was still in love with him. He talked about how determined she was throughout high school to receive good grades, as she wanted to be a lawyer. He talked about their first date – a picnic by the lake, and their first kiss. He talked about her dreams – to move to the big city and to name their first daughter Anya, after Audrey Hepburn’s role in Roman Holiday. Everyone laughed at that part.

When Jason came to a finish, my heartbeat increased. It was my turn next. How could I do this?

“Gracie Elwood, the departed’s younger sister would also like to say a few words …”

Dad pushed me gently towards the small podium. Everyone’s eyes were on me as I took steps forward. My legs felt like jelly. How did Jason do this?!

The microphone was given to me and I tapped it, seeing if it worked. I felt like a loser. “Uh, hi everyone. I’m Gracie, Aubrey’s little sister.”

I saw Ruby give me a look of encouragement.

“Memories – something so precious, yet painful,” I read. “I’ve had a lifetime of memories with Aubrey. She was one of the most precious people in my life. I would give up anything for her and do anything for her. I remember when I was a little girl; she’d teach me the alphabet every day. She tried to look after me as if she was my own mother. Mom said that she used to throw tantrums whenever she didn’t have a turn to help feed me.”

I heard my parents laugh softly as they remembered.

“In elementary school, I remember she used to bring her friends along and play with me. We’d race with our skipping ropes around the playground. Sometimes, we pretended that we were Disney princesses. She was always Cinderella, because she thought she was the prettiest. We always watched Dora Explorer after school and say things to each other in Spanish. I remember that she also had a crush on Diego.”

There was laughter at this.

“Jason, I think you might have some competition,” I joked. He chuckled in return and it made me happy to know that I could cheer him up, even if it was only a tiny bit. “Anyway, I remember my first day of high school. Aubrey always kept by my side and introduced me to all of her friends. I was in awe at how popular she was. Soon I found out she was. She was also head cheerleader in the cheerleading squad. I remember after school, they’d come over to practice their moves. She’d always pester me to join, but I wasn’t really into that.”

I swore I saw Michelle smirk.

“Aubrey was the best sister. If people made nasty comments about me, she always stuck up for me.” I saw my parent’s faces pale slightly. I had wanted to include this part in my speech, but I hadn’t wanted to scare my parents. They had no idea that a lot of people thought I was a weakling throughout high school. I also didn’t want them knowing how their eldest daughter exactly ‘stuck up for me’. “She was very protective and loyal to the people she loved. That was one of her best qualities. She was also very rational, so it’d be rare to see her do something on impulse.” That reminded me of the time when she had found out that Jason and I kissed. She had yelled at me for the first time. I shivered. “But then, she was also quite stubborn. She and dad used to be at heads with each other.”

I saw dad hang his head, as if he was guilty at the way he had overreacted.

“I think everyone who knew her admired her. She was charming and knew how to connect with people. Aubrey had many friends and boyfriends, though I’m glad she found Jason.” I saw him look up at the comment. My eyes met his. “She loved you so much and she never wanted to leave you. I see that now. I’m so glad she experienced love with you. Although I’m upset that she isn’t here on earth physically, I know she’ll always be with me – in my heart. To be honest, we had a fight leading up to her death and I hope …” I sniffled. The tears were starting to build up now. I hurried to finish, because I didn’t want to burst out sobbing onstage. “I-I hope she forgives me entirely. I love you so much, Aubrey. I’ll always miss you every single day. She was and still is, the most beautiful woman I know.”

I swiped at the teardrops falling from my eyes. As I stepped off the podium, Ruby rushed up to me and enveloped me in a hug. I leaned on her shoulder gratefully.

“It’s ok, G,” she soothed. “You did amazing up there.”

I shook my head and whispered, “Face it. It sucked.”

Ruby gave me a stern look. “Your thoughts and emotions do not suck, ok? Now let’s get back.”

When the graveyard service came to an end, nearly everyone was in tears. I was glad that these people were invited. I was glad that they truly cared about my sister.

Everyone was given a red rose, symbolic of Aubrey, to place in her coffin. I plucked one and managed to be the fourth one in line. I talked to my sister in my head as I stared down at her. She was really gone. I would never see her again after this. I made it count.

I’m so sorry about everything, Aubrey. It was never right to fall for Jason. It was horrible of me. But you know what? I still can’t help but be in love with him! I’m begging you, Aubs, help me get rid of my feelings towards him. I can’t bear to look at him now, knowing that you’re gone. I feel so guilty. This is all my fault. Why can’t you be alive? I miss you so much … I love you so much …please forgive me …

I prayed in my head until I had the feeling that the person behind me was becoming irritated. I laid my red rose in the centre. It sat above her heart. I reached down and kissed her gently on her forehead. I didn’t care if she was dead. I needed to do that.

“Goodbye Aubrey,” I whispered.

With that, I stepped away. That would be the last time I’d ever see my sister again. It was time to let her go.

+ And because of the fashionista I am (LOL), I made a polyvore picture of the girl's funeral outfits! - http://www.polyvore.com/when_lightning_strikes_funeral_outfits/set?id=52235012


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