It is after school. As students are being let out and some are taking the bus, some are getting rides from parents, and some are walking home, Lucy rushes to catch up to Mike. There is some small talk about school, and then shortly after…
Lucy paused. "Yeah," she began, "All those things I always called you? That's not you. Maybe the bits about you being a wuss are true, or maybe how annoying you can be... and I guess you're stupid someti-"
"Lucy," Mike interrupted, "Just get to the point."
"...Mike?" Lucy began. Mike remained silent. "I... I love you," Lucy finished. There was a pause, followed by Mike saying "What?"
"I love you," Lucy replied. "You do?" Mike asked. "Yes."
"Well... Okay." Mike said. Outraged, Lucy asked "Okay!?"
"I just... what am I supposed to do!?" Mike demanded as he threw his hands up. "I don't know... what do you want to do, Mike?" Lucy replied calmly. "...Well... Would you mind if I said no?" There was a shocked silence from Lucy. "It's just... I have Sandy and all... and I don't think... I don't know... I can't think of anything that involves you."
"But didn't you want me before?" Lucy asked. "I did! But... things happened. Now you're just... No."
"No?" was all Lucy could say. "No... I'm sorry." Mike replied. "No, it's fine," Lucy reassured. "Did-did you expect me to-" Mike began. "No, nothing. I just wanted to tell you. To be 'honest' for once," she said as she turned, hiding the tears.
"Well... I'm glad you did that," replied Mike, obliviously. "I'm sure it was obvious," Lucy said, trying desperately to hold herself together, wiping the tears away and facing Mike again. "Yeah... it was," replied Mike.
There was a silence, followed by Mike nervously saying "I have to go this way now..."
"Okay," said Lucy, dejected. "...Goodnight," began Mike as he started to turn away.
"...So, someone hundreds of miles away means more to you than I can?" Lucy inquired softly. “…Yes,” replied Mike, unsure of anything else to say.
There was another heavy silence, followed by Lucy saying simply "Okay... Goodnight."
It is 4 in the morning. Mike is asleep in his room. The phone rings, but Mike is sound asleep, although he tosses and turns uncomfortably for a moment. His father answers the phone, and there is a short, muted conversation with the person on the other end, with Mike's father occasionally expressing disbelief, and then the call is ended. Mike's father sighs sadly, and slowly puts the phone back, before waking up his wife to tell her something.
Mike's father trudges up the steps, dragging his feet the entire way. His ears are pointed down, and his tail hangs dejectedly, as he opens Mike's door.
"Mike," he calls out, "Mike, get up son." He nudges Mike as Mike begins to get up drowsily. "Dad?" Mike asks curiously, "What's up? It's like, 4 in the morning," he says, as he glances over to the clock. Looking at his son somberly, Mike's father said "Mike, me and your mother need to talk to you. Come down to the living room after you've woken up a bit more and have gotten ready."
"What? What's wrong? Did something happen?" asked Mike worriedly, becoming more alert. "Just get ready, son. We'll talk in a bit," said Mike's father, evading the question. Mike's father walks out of the room and gently closes the door. Mike hurriedly performs his usual morning routine, skipping the shower for now, and hurries downstairs. He sees his parents sitting on the couch with the TV on, and the sound muted. His mother says nothing, but it is obvious she is trying to keep herself from crying.
"Alright, I changed my clothes and everything... what's up?" asked Mike anxiously. "Have a seat, Mike," replied Mike's father. As Mike sat down, his father said "Mike... something's happened with Lucy..." Stunned, Mike was momentarily speechless. "W-what...?" Steeling himself, Mike's father said simply "Mike... I'm so sorry. I'm afraid she's been found dead this morning. Lucy's parents called to let us know, apparently they felt you deserved to know first thing."
Mike sat completely still in shock. His mind stopped working. He could do nothing but sit wide-eyed. "...Mike? Are you okay?" asked his father worriedly. "I... I don't know. W-what... why... what happened?" Mike stammered out. "Apparently she committed suicide. She was found in the tub with her wrists cut. There was no suicide note however, so the police aren't ruling anything out, but... Everything points to suicide. Lucy's parents said she had been depressed and not eating lately." Mike opened his mouth as if to say something, then shook his head and closed it again. "Mike?" asked his father. "I... I need some time to accept this, I think," Mike replied. "Of course, son. You don't have to go to school today. Take as much time as you need. And Mike?" began his father. "Yeah?" Mike asked. "...If you need to tell us anything, or just need somebody to listen, your mom and I are here for you," Mike's dad finished. "Y-yeah... thanks Dad," replied Mike, numbly.
Hours pass. Mike is in his room, occasionally pacing restlessly and sometimes lying on his bed, staring listlessly at the wall. The events of that day haunt him, as he replays it over and over in his mind, thinking if there was any other way to have handled it. There are no tears, just muted disbelief and wracking guilt. As Mike wrestles with himself, a scruffy Somali is walking up his walkway. Paulo knocks on Mike's front door. Mike's father answers.
"Yes? Oh, hello Paulo... Mike's in his room. I guess you want to talk to him huh?" says Mike's father, as he inspects Paulo. The Somali is dry-eyed, but his fur is matted and wet around his eyes. It is obvious that he has been crying, but has steeled himself temporarily. "Yeah, thanks," replies Paulo abruptly, sliding around Mike's father.
"Poor boy. He must be taking it really hard," Mike's mother commented. "Yeah... But I'm glad to see him come over to talk to Mike. Somebody Mike can talk to and relate with. Mike shouldn't be trying to deal with this by himself," replied Mike's father. "I guess you're right..." said Mike's mother.
Mike’s door opens violently.
“Paulo!? What are you doing here?” stammered Mike. “What the hell do you think I’m doing here!?” replied Paulo angrily. Mike said nothing. “You’ve got nothing to say, huh? No words to defend yourself!?” continued Paulo. “Defend myself!? Why should I defe-”
“Because this is your fault. You did this to her, you son of a bitch!” yelled Paulo as he cut Mike off, and grabbed him by his scarf. “What!? How can you say that?” demanded Mike defensively. “Isn’t it obvious?! You shut her down, act like she doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean anything to you, and you didn’t think there would be any consequences?! You piece of shit,” accused Paulo. “This isn’t my fault Paulo! I… I didn’t want this to happen…” Mike trailed off. “But it did. And you know damn well why. Don’t you ever talk to me again. I hate you. I can only hope something worse happens to you then what you put Lucy through,” Paulo spat out as he let go of Mike, throwing him back. “P-Paulo…” Mike said weakly, reaching out, as Paulo stormed out the door. “Bye, Mike’s mom, dad,” said Paulo as he went through the front door. “Uh… bye Paulo, glad you could stop b-” Mike’s father’s words are cut out by the slamming of the front door. “Oh my. I guess he’s not taking it so well…” commented Mike’s mother. Mike’s father just gave a weary sigh. “I guess I better talk to Mike. That didn’t sound good.”
Mike’s father begins walking up the stairs. Mike is in his room, lying face down, weeping openly into his pillow. Mike’s father gently knocks on the door frame, then walks through the still-open door. “Mike?” asked Mike’s father quietly. “It’s… it’s all… it’s all my f-fault…” wailed Mike between sobs. “What?! No… Don’t say things like that son. There’s no way it could be your fault,” said Mike’s father soothingly. “D-dad… there’s something I need to tell you… about Lucy,” Mike choked out.
There is a slight pause, then Mike begins telling his father about what happened with Lucy on the day she confessed to him. Mike’s father is silent throughout, and when Mike finishes, still says nothing.
“You see!? It’s because of me…” Mike started. “No. No it’s not. Don’t ever think that. I know you think there are things you could have done, could have said different, but it’s just not true. Don’t fool yourself Mike. It was a horrible situation, sure, but you should feel no guilt over it. If anything, I’m proud of you for not leading her on and lying to her, like most would. It would have hurt her even more in the long run. I’m sorry you were put in that horrible position Mike, but you did the right thing. Don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise,” stated Mike’s father. There is a silence while Mike digests this. “… Is that what Paulo was over here for?” asked Mike’s father. Mike says nothing. “Mike,” says Mike’s father, more forcefully. “Yes. But don’t be mad at him! It’s just-” Mike said hurriedly. “I’m not mad at him Mike. He’s hurting too, just like you, and he felt like he had to lash out at somebody. I just hope he sees his mistake eventually, but to be honest son, some people are just like that. They need to keep blaming others to keep the pain in check,” Mike’s father replied. “I guess…” said Mike, slowly. “Just… listen, just try to keep yourself busy, alright? Don’t dwell on it too much,” ordered Mike’s father. Mike just nodded.
The next day, Mike decides to go to school. It is a somber, overcast day, with scattered showers. The mood throughout the entire school is muted. There are quiet whispers in the halls, whispers that fade as Mike walks by. Mike walks to his class, and sits down. He stares blankly straight at the wall, saying nothing to anybody. Paulo storms in soon after, glaring daggers at Mike, then sits down roughly. Lani walks in after a while, and begins to address the class.
[Quick note: I’m not sure if Paulo and Mike have the same class with Lani as the teacher, but by God, I’m making it so. Also maybe it’s homeroom, or the teachers don’t give a fuck because a student died yesterday. So there. PLOT DEVICES.]
“Class, I’m sure you all know about Lucy. The school has decided to have a day off in memory of her, so I’m just going to put in a movie and you can do what you want. Keep in mind though, the upcoming test is next week, so please don’t forget to study. For those who were Lucy’s friends, I am so, so sorry. If any of you need it, the school counselor told me to let you all know that his door is always open,” said Lani, as she put in the movie and went into her office.
The rest of class passes uneventfully. Eventually lunchtime rolls around. As Mike gets his food and heads towards his table, he can see Daisy crying softly, with Abbey trying to comfort her. Tess is swirling her fork around her food, not eating. Paulo and Jasmine are sitting at another table, and Jasmine keeps casting worried looks back at the group’s table. Mike is still silent, and occasionally eats a bite of food. “You know, it’s not very healthy for people to remain quiet and not express themselves when depressed, it can lead to-” starts McCain. “Shut it, McCain,” choruses the group, weakly. McCain quiets and looks down at the table.
The next day. Mike is still withdrawn, but occasionally comes down and talks with his parents about small things. The phone rings, and Mike gets up to answer it.
“Hello?” says Mike. “Maish- Mike! Oh my God, I heard the news. I’m so sorry, that must be so terrible for you!” Sandy exclaims. “…Yeah. I’m coping though, I guess,” Mike replies. “…Listen, I’m coming up for the funeral,” says Sandy. “What? That’s great! …It’ll be good to see you again,” replies Mike. “I know. I just wish that it didn’t have to be for Lucy’s funeral,” Sandy says sadly. “…Right,” Mike replied. “Listen… just don’t get too depressed, okay? Promise me,” demanded Sandy. “Sure,” Mike agreed. “I’m going to hold you to that. Goodbye Mike, I’ll see you soon,” said Sandy as she hung up.
Two more days pass. It is the day of the funeral. Sandy arrived the day before and stayed in the guest room at Mike’s house. Seeing Sandy has helped Mike, it is obvious, but there is still a deep sadness. Mike’s father, in a black suit, calls up to Mike from downstairs.
“Mike? Are you and Sandy nearly ready?” he yells. Mike comes down the stairs in a matching suit as his father. “Yeah dad, I’m ready,” replies Mike. “Did you wake Sandy up?” questions Mike’s father. “No, she was up before me. She’s done fixing her hair now, she’ll be right down,” replies Mike. There is the sound of a door closing, then Sandy appears at the top of the stairs and begins to walk down. It is obvious she has been trying to get everything perfect in Lucy’s honor. “Sorry for holding you all up,” she says abashedly. “Don’t be absurd, it’s not a problem, dear,” Mike’s mother assures her. “Alright, let’s go everybody,” orders Mike’s father. They begin to depart. Mike’s father grabs Mike’s shoulders as he walks by and squeezes. “I’m not looking forward to this,” he sighs. Mike remains silent.
As they arrive at the funeral home, they see there is a large turnout. The sun is shining and there are no clouds, but there is still a chill in the air. People stream into the funeral home continuously. As they begin to enter, an usher motions towards them.
“Excuse me, are you Mike and family?” he asks. “Yes, that’s us,” replies Mike’s father. “There is a space reserved behind the family for close friends. Please, go in and be seated,” he tells them. “Thank you,” says Mike’s father in reply. They go in and sit behind Lucy’s parents. Mike’s parents and Lucy’s parents embrace, and Mike’s parents offers condolences. The funeral proceeds as normal, and eventually ends. Afterward, Mike’s group goes outside with the rest, and Mike pauses beside Sandy before they enter the car. “Hey… listen… Do you mind if I just walk home? There’s something I gotta do,” he says. “I understand,” replies Sandy, hugging him and nodding. “…Sure thing son. Just don’t take too long, okay?” replies his father.
Mike walks slowly. He enjoys the crisp air and the sunshine as he walks. Eventually, he reaches the tree where he and Lucy used to hang out. As he looks around, he remembers all the times they shared, all the arguments. His eyes begin to water, and he starts to speak…
“L-Lucy…” he begins, falteringly. “I don’t know if you can hear me… but… I’m so sorry, Lucy. I never meant for this to happen… I didn’t know you’d be hurt so badly. He kneels and places his hands in the grass, then clenches his fists and rips some out by the root. Tears begin falling.
“I j-just… want you to know…” he pauses as he tries to compose himself, “You were my best friend. Sandy might be my girlfriend, but you were my best friend. Nothing could ever replace you… I-I should have told you this while you were still alive. Oh God, Lucy… why did you leave us? I tried so hard… I thought…” he pauses again, collecting his thoughts. “I… I love you too Lucy. Wherever you are now, know that,” he musters out. There is another long silence. A breeze begins to blow gently, and Mike smiles sadly. “Goodbye, Lucy,” he says, as he takes his blue scarf out of his suit pocket and ties it tightly around the tree. He turns and walks away.
There is a rustling in the leaves. Paulo sits in the tree, silent throughout. When Mike is gone, he hops down. He turns and touches the scarf briefly, a thoughtful look on his face.
“What he said goes for me too, Lucy,” starts Paulo as he begins to look around. “So this is the place you guys always went too, huh? Figures, that pansy would want to sit under a tree reading a book or whatever, being all ‘close to nature,’” he sighs. “Well, I guess he’s not that bad though. He really does care about you, I guess,” he continues, as he scratches the back of his head. The breeze, having stopped when Mike left, begins blowing again.
“Yeah. Yeah, I guess you’re right. I’d better go apologize to him,” he finishes. He begins to run after Mike, calling out his name.
Years pass. Time eventually heals all wounds, but the group never forgets Lucy. As their high school years pass, their lives seem to be duller without Lucy in them. The space she left behind at the lunch table is never filled, out of respect. Paulo and Mike become nearly brother-like, and despite the tragedy, it seems to bring the entire group closer. Every year on the anniversary of her death, they go back to the tree with Mike's scarf tied around it, and have a picnic. Tess even comes back after she graduates for the picnic. Eventually, the entire group graduates as well, but they swear to each other as they go off to their colleges and jobs that they'll return every year. Mike, as the salutatorian, gives a speech about suicide and how it impacts friends and family, and urges anybody who feels suicidal to seek counseling. Daisy, as the valedictorian, gives a speech about hope and the future. There is a song played in Lucy's memory, and the ceremony ends.
Two years pass after high-school graduation. Mike and Sandy are enrolled at the same college, and share many classes. Mike sits nervously on a bench outside of Sandy’s dorm, his hands fidgeting in his coat pockets. There is a light dusting of snow all around as he waits for Sandy. Finally, he sees her approaching and waves a hand out to her. She sees him and begins running up.
“Mike? What are you doing out here in the cold? Are you crazy?” she laughs. Mike smiles, then shivers. “S-Sandy. Yeah, I guess I am a little crazy,” he replies. “Well, come on, let’s go inside and warm up. You won’t be able to stay too long before lights out though” she says. As she begins walking away, Mike suddenly reaches out and grabs her wrist.
“Sandy, wait…” he starts. “What is it Mike?” she asks. “There’s something I’ve been wondering…” he continues. She tilts her head and looks at him quizzically. He drops to one knee, and begins fishing out something from his pocket. It snags, however, and he curses mildly, before eventually freeing it and looking back up at Sandy, who is smiling broadly.
“That wasn’t supposed to… whatever,” he says embarrassed. “Sandy?” he asks. “Y-yeah?” she replies, barely containing her giggles. “Will you marry me?” he finally forces out. She squeals and hugs him tightly. “Of course. No need to be so nervous, Maishul,” she grins. “…It’s been a long time since you’ve called me that,” he remarks. “Yeah, I know,” she replies smiling. “Come on! Let’s get you warmed up! I can’t wait to tell everyone!” she exclaims. She begins to lead Mike by the hand towards the women’s dorms, and Mike blushes the entire way.
[HEAVILY IMPLIED CAT SECKS HERE]
A month later, the ceremony is held in Roseville, in a church near the graveyard Lucy was buried. Mike asked Paulo to be the best man, but Paulo was marrying Jasmine, so the two couples decided to have a double wedding, with David as Paulo’s best man, and Abbey as Mike’s. Abbey gives out advice as he feels entitled too, as he and Daisy married shortly after graduation, and David mocks Paulo for giving up his bachelorhood. Eventually, the ceremony starts and Jasmine and Sandy walk down the aisle side-by-side, holding each other’s hands, with their fathers on opposite sides, holding their other hand. The ceremony proceeds perfectly and the two couples run out to separate limos whilst being showered with birdseed.
Another year passes. Mike is all but sprinting back and forth in a hospital waiting room. He was forced out when the doctors found some unexpected complications with the labor. He prays to anyone, anything, that will listen. The doctor finally comes out with a tired look on his face, and gets Mike’s attention. Mike halts, then looks at the doctor’s face searchingly until the doctor smiles.
“Well, she had some odds against her, that’s for sure. But both the mother and the daughter are fine. Better than fine actually, for all the worry they put us through. I gotta tell you, your daughter? She’s a hell of a fighter. Come on, come see her, the nurses should nearly be done cleaning her up,” he says to Mike. Mike rushes in the hospital room, and grabs Sandy’s hand. “Hey, are you alright?” he asks while brushing her hair out of her face. “Oh yes, these drugs are fantastic,” she giggles. “We need some of these at the house.” Mike smiles, then says “I don’t think they’ll let you take samples home.” Sandy smiles back, then squeezes his hand hard. “Is… is the baby okay? I haven’t heard anything yet, I’m so loopy…” Mike winces in pain from his hand, then quickly reassures her: “Oh, she’s fine,” then sighs as the pressure is let off of his hand. He then smiles again and tells her “The doctor said she was a hell of a fighter…” Sandy looks closely at Mike’s face. “Well then, I guess we know her name then, don’t we?” she states. “Are, are you sure? I thought your mother wanted-” he starts. “You thought wrong. My mother isn’t even here, and I think our baby has earned the right to be named after somebody else, don’t you?” Sandy interrupts.
The doctor walks in, carrying a pink bundle.
“Here she is. Seven pounds and eight ounces,” he states as he passes the bundle to Sandy. “Why hello there, little angel,” says Sandy as she coos over the bundle. “Say hello to your daddy, mommy’s still a little drugged up,” she giggles again as she passes the bundle to Mike. Mike takes the baby carefully and caresses its head. “Welcome to the world… Lucy…” he smiles.
This post has been edited by Blazenarm: 20 February 2011 - 09:04 PM