|Songs to Love and Die By
Author: Lemony Snickerz PM
When Sam's best friend Ben is killed in a hit and run, she feels like her life has ended too. She seeks solace in her music, but falls into depression, stops going to school, and is led down an even darker path by her rebel boyfriend Alex.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Words: 5,021 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-23-10 - id: 2799934
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Hey guys, it's me again. I figured I might be a little while yet working on the sequel to Open Your Eyes, so I dug up this old story and started working on it again too. P.S., it's really sad! I almost cried rewriting it today! I actually wrote most of this in like grade 6, so I'm pretty impressed with myself for that. There's an album on my photobucket with pictures of these characters too, so check it out if you're interested. Try this story out in the meantime if you're waiting for the sequel to my other one :) Enjoy.
Hanging by a Moment
I've gotten past the stage of constant crying. Now I'm simply stuck wondering how the hell I'm going to live the rest of my life without him.
My name is Samantha Arden, and this is the story of how my life was ruined. I was seventeen years old as of June 26th 2010. Not that it matters. Basically, I was living a normal life; I had my wonderful parents, Annette and Cory Arden, I had my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I had my friends, my boyfriend, and of course, my best friend, Benjamin Davis, or Ben.
I have to say, Ben was the most perfect, amazing guy in the world. In the world of teenagers, everyone was split into different cliques, like nerds, cheerleaders, jocks, Goths, skaters, gangsters, and so on. I wasn't entirely sure where I fit into those categories. Somewhere between nerd and skater, I supposed.
I definitely wasn't the most popular girl in school, in fact I was sort of an outcast, and I preferred it that way, but who really gives a damn, anyway? I had so much fun with my friends that it didn't matter, and technically, life was great. At least until July 18th, 2010, only a few short weeks after my birthday.
I'll take you on a little trip to the past, so you can experience exactly how it felt to lose my best friend in the entire world.
"Hey Sam! It's Ben." I had barely pressed talk on my cordless phone when I heard my best friend's voice on the other end.
"Ugh, it's so early, Benji. You woke me up, what do you want?!" I responded groggily.
"Just wanted to know if you could come with me and some friends to the movies today. It's pretty far, but whatever, we're going to see Clash of the Titans, that movie you wanted to see so badly." He said. "My sister's driving us. So, do you wanna come?"
Ben sounded really awake despite the fact that it was only around 7:58 in the morning, during the summer holidays, a time when most teens were still asleep. Not Ben, apparently. I was about to reply that I would most definitely be there, when I remembered something.
"Oh, Ben, I really want to come, but I already made plans with Alex." I said. "I'm sorry!" The smile I could hear in Ben's voice faded a little.
"Oh, okay, well I'll hang out with you some other time, then. Maybe tomorrow?" He asked hopefully.
"Yeah, for sure." I said, wiping the sleep from my eyes and yawning. "See you then, alright? Love you!"
It was natural for me and Ben to say that we loved each other, since we truly did. Not romantically, of course, but like brother and sister. We had been friends for so long now, I realized.
"Okay, love you too, bye." Ben replied.
I pressed the off button on the phone and lazily dropped it onto the floor beside my bed. Still tired, I fell back onto my pillow and drifted asleep.
When I awoke, it was again to the sound of the phone ringing. "Hello?" I grumbled.
"Hey, it's Alex."
I looked at my alarm clock; it read 11:17 am. "Hey!" I replied cheerfully. "So what time and where should I meet you today?" I asked.
"Um, well, you can meet me at the park? You know the little one that's always empty? You sound like you just woke up, so I'll give you like an hour to get ready." It was nice to hear Alex's sweet, soothing voice on the other end.
"Sure, I think I'll be able to be beautiful by then." I laughed. "Love you baby, bye!" I threw my covers off and jumped out of bed. I always felt happy knowing I had plans for the day; today I'd be with my boyfriend, tomorrow with my best friend.
I was so excited that I sang in the shower, the song Two is Better than One by Boys like Girls. I knew I wasn't really in a hurry, but I still stepped out of the shower dripping wet and put my towel on as I ran to my room.
Since I had just done my laundry, I was planning on wearing my favourite outfit. I yanked open dresser drawers and threw my clothes on my bed, and then slammed them again so loud that I heard a disgruntled snore from my brother's bedroom.
"Shut up in there!" He shouted.
"Good morning to you, too!" I laughed.
I ignored the rest of my brother's complaints and quickly towel dried myself off. When I finally finished getting dressed, I stood in front of the mirror for a while, staring at my reflection. My shoulder length black hair was tied in a messy ponytail, my eyes lined with black eyeliner, and the necklace Alex had given me was there, as it always was, on my neck.
I was wearing a white tank top under a dark teal zip-up hoody with white drawstrings, and a pair of black skinny jeans. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I slid on my navy blue Converse and laced them. Finishing off the outfit with a belt Ben had gotten me, a plain black one with a Nintendo controller buckle, I spritzed on some body spray.
After I finished wolfing down my cereal, I glanced at the clock. It read 12:17 pm; exactly an hour had passed since Alex had called. I flew up the stairs and crashed into my brother's room.
"Paul! I'm going out." I shouted. "See you later!" I said in my brother's ear.
"Go away!" He yelled back, snorting and rolling over, throwing the blanket over his head. Paul was twenty-one and very lazy. On weekends and summer days like this, he usually slept until at least two.
I once again raced down the stairs and flung open the front door, only to step out into the pouring rain. Shrugging, I hopped on my bike.
By the time I got to the tiny park to meet Alex, I was utterly soaked. He was sitting patiently on one of the swings that wasn't broken, humming to some rock song. I ran up and jumped on him, throwing my arms around him. The whole swing set shook.
"Hey, Sam." Alex had a frightened look on his face, probably scared that the whole swing set would collapse on us. Alex made a sudden movement, and still hugging me, we both fell forwards off the swing, Alex landing on top of me.
"Great way to charm a girl, Alex!" I grunted. "Get off me!" I snorted, and gently pushed Alex off me and rolled him onto the ground beside me.
"Aw, I kinda liked lying on top of you." Alex joked.
"Ben invited me to a movie today, but I already had plans to chill with you, so…" I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
"You chose this over a movie with your best bud?!" Alex exclaimed.
"You're referring to the fact that we're soaking wet, lying in the mud and about to make out, right?"
Ben had been talking and laughing with his friends not that long ago, although a part of him wished that Sam had been with him. Instead she was with her boyfriend, a nineteen year old nobody who was no good, and definitely no good for her. Ben had never liked the guy; there was just something off about him.
He had told Sam so many times how he felt about Alex, hoping that she would trust his opinion over the boyfriend that she just met. But she kept ignoring his warnings, and insisting that Alex was a good guy. She just kept telling him to give Alex a chance, and he would see that he was a good guy.
Ben highly doubted that. This Alex character was seriously shady, just from the fact that he didn't even go to school, or have a job, and he was a bad influence on Sam. She had started drinking and partying and skipping school a lot more since she had met him. Ben was afraid he was going to lose her.
He wasn't sure why, but he had a terrible gut feeling that something bad was going to happen. He was crossing the street late that night, around eleven or twelve. It was a relatively deserted street, but sort of a dangerous curve in the road where you couldn't really tell if anyone was coming around the corner or not.
Ben had his hood up over his head because it had just begun pouring a while ago. The streets were slick with rain, and as it pelted down on him Ben began jogging across the street after checking that no cars were coming. He was lost in his thoughts about Sam, so he didn't hear the car coming.
He turned just at the last second, and all he saw was headlights and the screeching tires before everything went black.
A ringtone version of A Day to Remember's "If it Means A Lot to You" jingled from my phone, barely audible over the sounds of the party going on around me. I searched each and every one of my pockets and finally discovered the blackberry inside my shoulder bag. I pressed talk and held it to my ear about two seconds before the call answer picked up.
Someone dropped a beer bottle and it shattered on the wooden porch a few feet away from me, droplets of the alcoholic beverage landing on my black and pink Gallaz. I laughed loudly at the idiot who had dropped it – some guy in my math class who was currently being pushed around by a senior.
"Hello?" I yelled into the phone, sticking a finger in my ear to drown out the rest of the noise. Pulling the phone away from my head, I inspected the call display and realized it was my mother. I waved to the people I was standing with and turned to jog down the steps and onto the grass to begin walking down the street and away from the noise. "Mom?!" I shouted.
"Sam… honey…" The shaky voice on the other end said slowly. I could hear her gasping, and her voice was broken up as if by tears.
"Mom? What's going on? What's wrong?" I asked frantically. I heard thunder rumble in the dark sky above me.
"There was… an accident, honey…"
"WHAT?!" Where? Who? What's happening?" I exploded, praying she would speak faster and just tell me already.
"It… it's Ben, dear…"
After she spoke those words, my voice caught in my throat, and it felt as though my heart had stopped beating. As I stood there in the middle of the darkened street, rain began to shower down on my head, mocking the tears that threatened to fall from my wide eyes.
The cold of the night suddenly seemed to dawn on me, sending shivers down my neck, and arising goose bumps on my pale skin. The clouds were just a sheer curtain in front of the ever daunting moon, its bold blue light giving the atmosphere an eerie glow.
Suddenly I felt something heave in my stomach and then that lump in my throat was on the sidewalk in front of me. I croaked into the silence on the line, "I… I'll be r-right there." And then hit end, stuffing my phone back in my pocket.
For a moment I stood still, sucking in deep breaths of crisp air, contemplating whether I had imagined that phone call or not. I made up my mind and abruptly took off running, leaving behind me the bright lights, the thumping, blaring speakers, everything that didn't matter at all.
I vaguely caught the sound of tires screaming to a halt as I made a mad dash across the street, across many streets, and I ran and ran and I thought nothing, just blindly pushed forward in the direction I hoped would get me there… before it was too late.
My heart, despite its earlier attempt, had begun beating again, and as loud and thunderous as the music from the party. It was pounding so hard and loud in my ears, drumming and drumming away, the blood pulsing in my brain, that I couldn't hear a thing.
Blurry faces appeared and disappeared before my eyes and I shoved them away, pushed past them, blindly driven by my only instinct – perhaps that blood pact we had made really did have an effect. Something insistent was tugging at my arm, it seemed like a motherly tug, but nothing would hold me back.
I burst through the door, secretly hoping that I wasn't screaming my head off and giving anyone a heart attack, and for one moment, one blissful moment, my vision cleared and there he was.
It was almost too much to take in at once, the life-support machine blinking and beeping, the tubes and wires attached to him like the arms of an octopus. I choked back a sudden surge of tears and shuffled my feet, signaling to my brain that my legs should start moving any minute now.
In a moment I was beside him, and it was terrifying to look at your best friend, your other half, sprawled in a hospital bed with blood running down the side of his face, his eyes only half open, his body still. Let me tell you, it was pretty freaking scary.
I fought back my tears; I ignored the abrupt pang in my heart, like a knife stabbing it repeatedly. I focused my hardest on simply breathing in, breathing out, and not having a total breakdown, because I needed to be strong for him now.
I fell to my knees hard on the tiles beside the bed, I stared at him, even though it hurt to look, and I gasped, "Ben…" and then promptly burst into tears. So much for being strong.
Slowly, painfully, my dear, beloved best friend turned his head and looked right at me through his barely open eyes. His eyes told me how much pain he was in because his mouth could not, they told me the torment he was in and how much he was hurting right now.
In that moment, I just wanted to touch him, to hold him and hug him and never, ever let him go but I was too afraid to. I was too afraid to because right at that moment, he looked so fragile. I was too afraid that he would… I choked, pushing the thought out of my mind.
Biting my lip, I tried to stop crying for him, because he was looking at me like I was the only thing left in this world. His fingers twitched lightly, and I gently placed my hand over his, my eyes watering. I couldn't do this, I wasn't strong enough. I could barely see his beautiful brown eyes through his eyelids, but he was gazing at me hopefully, and I didn't want him to lose hope.
I wanted him to fight, but it looked like he had already fought enough. He looked so weak, and so broken, and I just wanted him to not have to hurt anymore, whatever that took. The heart rate monitor was beeping ever slower as each minute passed, and my heart began beating faster, as if it could beat for him.
My mom and several nurses and a doctor watched from the doorway, but I paid no attention to them. "Ben…" I choked out, reaching my other hand out to gently stroke his cheek. I saw a tear leak from his eye and roll down to his chin. That only made me cry more. "I love you, Ben…" I whispered.
He opened his mouth as if to speak, but only a small sigh escaped his lips. That was okay, I knew what he wanted to say, anyway. His eyebrows furrowed in pain, and his hand wrapped around mine and squeezed tightly. I didn't even notice that he was practically crushing my fingers, I was too absorbed in gazing at him, taking in every bit of him that I could, while I still could…
I sniffed, fighting back more tears that threatened to fall from my eyes. I was biting my lip so hard that I drew blood, and I licked my lips, tasting copper. I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to know what Ben's body was like beneath the sheet that was covering him, but from the pain he was in I was sure it wasn't good.
I vaguely heard my mom shut the door to the room, and the doctor walked over to the other side of the bed, followed by several nurses. I glanced up through my bleary eyes, watching the heart monitor begin to flatten out. The jagged spikes turned into smaller, rounder ones, and then gradually turned into a straight line, the constant beeping becoming one long beep.
My eyes widening, I quickly glanced back at Ben, and saw his eyes flicker beneath their lids, and his hand fell limp in mine. The nurses quickly nudged me out of the way and they went to work to try and revive him, bringing out the shock paddles. They tried several times, but his heart rate remained at a steady zero.
My eyes glazed over as I I stood near the end of the bed, watching the life fade from my best friend's eyes.
Ben. Dead. The two simple words baffled me. I never thought they would be used in the same sentence. It didn't seem possible. Probable, even. It didn't seem right. It wasn't right. My thoughts weren't processing properly, coming and going in blurred chunks of coherent thoughts.
Was I going insane or did nothing really make sense anymore? I backed up a couple of steps and went backwards into the wall. I slumped against it and slid to the floor in a crumpled, broken and confused heap.
The nurse came towards me, followed by my mother. They both towered over me and said things to me. Things that were supposed to be comforting. I felt like lashing out at them for being so stupid. Ben wasn't dead.
My face merged into an expression that to any sane person would be entirely unreadable. I laughed. It was choked at first, like I really did want to laugh but what little sanity I had left was stopping me. My mother and the nurse exchanged glances. "I," my mother started.
"He's not dead." I grunted.
Feeling my way up the wall, I slowly found my way to my feet. Tears blurred my vision as I attempted to stumble across the room. The nurse, whose name I didn't know and didn't care to find out, reached for my arm to help me. Big mistake.
I whirled on her, tears threatening to fall; fists clenched, and shoved her away. Not gently, either. I roughly pushed her across the room and grunted when I felt her grip loosen from my arm. "Don't touch me," I growled, and then turned back in the direction of the hospital bed.
I shuffled my way towards it, my limbs not cooperating with one another because my brain was so foggy and my vision so blurred. My mother wanted to stop me; I could feel her eyes boring into my back. She said she didn't want me to remember him like this.
I could hear her crying. What did she have to cry about? He was my best friend. I gazed down at the bed, my anger, my agony tearing me apart. A little blood stain marked his forehead from some unknown gash. His eyes were closed, and his face looked peaceful enough, but I knew he had just fought a battle with himself. And lost, I reminded myself reluctantly.
But how… how could he be gone? My best friend, someone I had known my entire life, someone who had always been by my side. It was next to impossible to believe that he was just… gone. His life snatched away from me just like that.
His messy brown hair lay against the pillow, some strands astray on his beautiful, once lively face. His eyes… it was too bad I couldn't see his eyes. And I never would, ever again. Those soft, gentle, happy brown eyes that always cheered me up. I could never gaze into them, never get lost in them again.
I didn't want to believe it. But I also couldn't deny it. Ben was dead. I sank to my knees beside the hospital bed, tears streaming down my face and smudging the black makeup he always told me I would look much more beautiful without, yet I never listened to him. I would do anything for him now, anything. I'd jump off the C.N. tower right now if he told me to. Oh yeah, but he couldn't. He couldn't exactly tell me anything right now. He couldn't even know how much I wanted to be in his place, how much I wanted him to be here with me.
I reached up and touched his hand; it was getting cold, reaffirming the fact that he was gone. More than anything, I was angry right now. Angry at my mom, the nurse, the world. Especially angry at myself, however. Wiping at my tears with my hands I rubbed away the black eyeliner, and cried harder when I did. Maybe if I had been with him, maybe if I had been there, maybe he wouldn't have gotten hit by that car. Or maybe it would have been me instead. Anyone but Ben. But I guess, and my sanity never hesitated to throw me back into reality, it was too late for maybes.
Why?! My mind screamed. He didn't deserve this. He was only seventeen. He was sweet, kind, caring, thoughtful, ambitious, funny, intelligent… all the qualities of a wonderful person. I was lucky to have known such an amazing boy. He never did anything to deserve this; everyone loved him.
I felt my mother's hand on my shoulder but my emotions were causing me to become weak. Sobs racked my body and I trembled, nearly falling to the floor. My mom took my arms and helped me to my feet and I reluctantly cooperated. Somehow, and I was too lost in my own thoughts, but somehow I managed to get from the hospital room to my mother's car.
My mom pulled me into a hug just before we got into the car, as if to comfort me. What was she thinking? Nothing could comfort now. My best friend was dead.
I didn't even remember leaving the room, didn't remember getting in the elevator, or leaving through the front doors. I guess I didn't remember because I had more important things on my mind that stupid, boring, leisurely things like, geeze, walking? My best friend was dead. My mom could have tied me up and dragged me out of the hospital and over the pavement and I wouldn't have complained.
During the drive home the image of Ben lying lifeless in the hospital bed was burned into my mind. My thoughts never drifted away from him. Although my last words had been 'I love you,' I still felt guilty somehow. So I sat there in the back seat – I hadn't wanted to sit in the front and receive looks of sympathy from my mother every two minutes. Why did people think that sympathetic looks or pats on the back would ever do any good? My best friend was gone. Was a hug or an 'I'm sorry for your loss' really going to bring him back? I sat there, tears still streaming down my face, my body silently shaking, and my mind wracked with guilt.
It wasn't as if we had a fight before the accident, it wasn't as if I'd been stupid and mean and never apologized before it was too late – those were the usual reasons for guilt. It was the fact that I could have changed things. Ben would still be alive if I had gone with him that day instead of spending it with Alex in a tiny, muddy park.
Was it really even that enjoyable? Okay, so I spent some 'quality time' with my boyfriend. In the rain. In a lame, muddy cramped park where there wasn't even a bench. My hands were clenched so tight at my sides that I could feel my nails digging into the skin of my palms. I could have prevented this. I would have bet any money that Ben wouldn't want me to blame myself like this. But he was dead now. I guess I wouldn't hear what he had to say about things anymore, now would I?
I had a horrible empty feeling in my heart. My stomach was knotted and I was starting to feel sick. I wanted to escape reality so badly at this moment, just drift off and get away from everything. My mom was saying something to me. Probably something like, 'Sam, honey, take off your seatbelt. We're home now,' but what did I care? Home. For some reason, the word wasn't as appealing as it should have been.
When I think of home, I'm supposed to think of a warm, soft bed, a TV, endless piles of CDs and magazines, and okay, besides my mom scolding me twenty-four seven and a lazy older brother, it was a safe haven for me most of the time. My brother looked out for me, right? And my mom could be nice, sometimes. Although I was a little reluctant to admit it.
Not tonight. Home seemed like just another place where Ben and I had spent so much time together, had so many memories, and now what? Now whenever I walked into my house I'd just be haunted by him.
I'd take a look at the living room couch propped in front of the TV and think of the time when we watched a horror movie together there. I loved horror movies. Ben tolerated them. The funny thing was, he was scared out of his pants when we watched one, and clinging to my arm like he was stuck in the middle of the ocean and I was a piece of driftwood in the waves.
Of course, being the best friend I was, I never mentioned it to anyone. I teased him relentlessly about it a few times, but he laughed with me. That was the thing about Ben. He always laughed at himself, in a good, healthy way. He didn't really get embarrassed or upset too much by anything. He just laughed and let it go.
At some point I was willing to bet my mom might've picked me up and carried me into the house. The last time she'd done that was when I was five or six and had fallen asleep in the back seat on the way home from a relative's house on Christmas eve. When I felt my soft bed under me, I immediately fell into my pillow, burying my face in the smooth fabric.
Apparently I'd already cried all the tears my eyes could produce, because now I was just flat out weeping, rubbing at my dry, bloodshot eyes. And for some reason, no more tears would come. I sobbed and moaned and beat the living snot out of my mattress, but my eyes were dry as bone.
I still couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it. There was now a hole in my life, my heart – a void that could never be replaced. Ben was special enough to do that to me. I guess that's what happens when you know someone long enough that you call them your friend. Add a few more years to the pile and call them a best friend. But Ben meant more to me than anything I could ever describe with words.
And now he was gone. I guess that's why you're supposed to cherish something while you have it – make the best of it. Take some pictures, make some memories, laugh, have fun. Best friends can never be replaced. Sure, you'll meet someone new, make a few more friends, but they could never compare to that one special person. Yeah, you should make the best of what you've got while you've still got it. Guess why? Because once something's gone, you can never, ever get it back.
Tidal waves they
Rip right through me
Tears from eyes worn
Cold and sad
Pick me up now
I need you so bad