Author: ElisseHolland PM
God answers all prayers, but sometimes, the answer is not what you would have expected. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and twenty-year-old, Danny Curtis, was about to find out just how mysterious (and merciful) God is.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Words: 4,729 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 01-28-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3096439
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Daisies lined her mahogany casket, which was carefully opened. It was stated in her will that she wanted it that way, but he couldn't complain. Her face looked so peaceful.
Danny Curtis could see over the top; he saw his girl in a delicate lavender dress, and daisies in her hands. She always loved white, the pureness, she loved chastity. She had such a sweet face, one that brought so much joy to so many people he had never met. She had passionate, sparkling eyes, the ones that showed how much love she was truly capable of. The cherry red lips that held that wonderful smile, she was always smiling. Ellie was gone forever. She died such a horrible death, tormented by that horrific disease. Why do all the good ones die?
Danny couldn't last one more second in that church, staring at that casket, which held the body of his friend. The girl who was everything he had ever dreamed was lying dead inside of a wooden box, going to be hidden away under a pile of dirt, never to be seen again. All they had left were pictures, memories, and those few beautiful things she left behind. She was alive for only twenty years. She deserved more than that, more than two measly decades. Eleanor Barnett deserved a lifetime, but that thing robbed her of that.
That terrible sickness robbed them all out of the most amazing girl on the planet. So many people came to the funeral, even the children she worked with her church on Sunday; tutoring, mentoring, and teaching. She loved everyone that came, every single one of them, especially those children. She called them her own; she loved them all so dearly that she called them her own. They were on the front row just across from the trio. All seven of them, with their heads bowed, hands in their laps, trying not to cry.
You could tell that they treated Ellie like their mother from the way they sat; quiet, meditative, and solemn. Danny admired how hard they were trying to not cry, he was struggling with the same thing, as well as his friends. The dreary music sounding from the hidden speakers was painfully reminding them that they were at a funeral. Ellie wouldn't have liked this, all the gloom; she would want everyone to be happy for her. She would want everyone to celebrate, not mope around like zombies, dressed completely in black. She hated black.
She told him that herself. She always said it made her feel like she was going to a funeral, and how she didn't understand why anyone would want to wear that color if they went to a funeral in it. Well, they were at a funeral, why should they not wear black? Even Rebecca wore black; she was sitting right beside him, never once looking up towards the casket. Austin wasn't faring much better, he was on Danny's other side, staring at the floor.
Unlike his friends, Danny was so focused on the coffin that he didn't notice one of the children come up to him and his friends. "Are you Mr. Curtis?" A sweet voice asked.
With a hazy look in his eyes, Danny tediously turned his head to look at the source of the voice, and was floored by what he saw; the girl in front of him reminded him so much of Ellie, the reserved tone, the bright eyes, and the loving aura. The little girl's auburn hair fell in large curls; a childish, ebony dress covered in grey ribbons hanging loosely over her body.
"Yes?" he answered, slightly dazed by the little girl.
"Miss Ellie always talked about you, and she wanted to give you this." he noticed she held a small notebook in her tiny hands, "she said it was for when you got married to her." The little girl held out the journal for him to take.
Danny picked up the notebook slowly. "Thank you. What's your name?"
Madison. If Ellie had the ability to choose favorites, she would have picked this girl. They were like two peas in a pod; Madison would never leave Ellie's side, she was always beside her, always asking questions, always trying to gain her attention. She always succeeded
"It's nice to meet you, Madison," Danny attempted a smile, placing the journal in his lap. "You know, Ellie used to talk about you too; she said you were very sweet."
"Mm-hmm, she would tell me about how she loved teaching and talking to you," he took a shaky breath. "She loved all of you so much."
Madison nodded. "Miss Ellie would always hug us, a-and say that she did."
She even had Ellie's stutter.
"She said that if she could, she would adopt all of us," her eyes sunk, and her head dropped. "I would read the last one."
And with that, she walked back to the rest of the children, leaving Danny to hold the notebook, his fingers playing with the charms surrounding the attached, decorated pen.
"Are you doing okay, man?" Austin finally spoke up, worry evident in his chocolate orbs.
All he could do was shake his head as he twisted a heart charm around between in thumb and index finger, a silent tear falling down his cheek.
"It's going to be okay." Rebecca's voice cracked as she squeezed his shoulder, tears rolling down her cheeks as well. Like the good friend Austin was, he reached over, and gave his shoulder a brotherly pat, joining in on the comfort session.
He knew they were trying to be supportive; they were hurting, but not as much as he was. He had been there when she died, standing by her bedside holding her hand, encouraging her to make it through the night. The disease caused her pain that night, so much that she couldn't carry on. She tried to hide it from her, but he knew. He knew her like the back of his hand. It was obvious. The way her muscles clenched, her teeth grinded, and how she shuddered, but most of all, the way her eyes were glazed over. They were distant, longing, and wanting. She wanted to die, she wanted it to end.
He wondered just how much suffering she was put through over those long months, and how that would have affected her if she had survived, how the illness would have impaired her physically.
His sweet, beautiful Eleanor was put through so much. She was his, and only his, and that vile thing took her away from him. She didn't deserve that. She worked so hard to better herself over the past year, she really had changed, and he was so proud of her, but he never got to tell her that. He never got the chance to ask her. He bought the ring; he kept it with him, on a string, to remind him of her. To remind him of the most loving creature God had ever created.
She loved unconditionally, that was rare. It happened after she changed; her eyes sparkled with a twinkle he hadn't seen in a long time. A very long time. The way she carried herself changed, she had a spring in her step. Even her smile changed, it was more genuine, filled with love affection, and truth. The one thing that changed the most was her attitude, towards everything. She was happy, no, she was euphoric, in every sense of the word. She loved every living being more; she showed him a new meaning of life, to live every day like it's your...last.
Danny looked to his left, Ellie's father and mother could be seen on the other row; her mother was openly sobbing and her father trying his best to comfort her. As much as he despised her father for being so cruel to her, he couldn't help but feel sorry for him. He just lost his only daughter, his only child. He would be alone, truly alone. Maybe her parents would get back together after this, who knew; good things come from the bad, so they say. He felt Rebecca's grip on his shoulder tighten as the lights dimmed and a pastor walked up the pulpit. He sensed Austin become stiff, and his own grip tightened up on the leather diary in his lap.
"We are here to mourn the loss of a young life," the pastor began, his voice steady, "A life that was taken from this earth so cruelly, but a life that would not want us to mourn, so instead, we will celebrate the fact that she will be forever in our hearts and minds. A life that was changed, or in her own words, rededicated. The love of Christ shone through this young girl, and we celebrate how she is certainly in a better place. From what her parents have told me, she must have been a vivid child. When her friends handed me the slide-show they put together, I watched the video, and just let me say, her friends did an amazing job. They put a lot of love into making this video and I'm very happy that we are able to play it for you today."
Danny, Austin, and Rebecca had made a slide-show of home movies, old pictures, and Ellie's favorite songs. They cried countless times when putting it together, the memories replaying in front of them, different scenes affecting different members of the trio. For him it was hard to watch her smile and laugh. Especially when he was the one making her smile. To his surprise, he was in most of them. Not that he minded, she was lovely when she laughed, with that glint in her eye, you knew she was happy when she laughed. Though he would miss that, the one thing he would truly miss about her was her companionship.
She wasn't just his girlfriend, she was his companion. She would notice if he was upset, and gently coax the stress out of him. He would miss the feeling of her hands, and how they were around his neck when he would kiss her. The taste of honey on her lips, the smell of coconuts in her hair, the strawberry perfume, the softness of her hands. And it was because of those little details, their love, that he was going to profess their love to everyone, and that he was going to tell her one last time.
"That being said, someone else has a few things to say. Mr. Daniel Curtis would like to speak to you all today."
He felt the gazes from the entire congregation burning into the back of his head as he gave Miranda the journal, solemnly walked up the stage, shook the pastor's hand, and began to speak, "Some of you may know me, some of you may not, but I...Ellie and I...would like to confess something to you all that only a few people outside of us know." he shot a glance towards Rebecca and Austin, who were staring at him with widened, shocked eyes.
He swallowed a monstrous lump in the back of his throat, "I'll be quick; I loved Ellie with everything I had. I still love her, and she loved me. We would sneak out in the middle of the night just to see each other, but before you start to judge, just let me say, I was afraid. I was afraid of what you all might think, her and I together, and how people might not understand why we did what we did. I asked her, I brought her into it because I didn't know how everyone would react. I was mostly scared for her, she was...fragile during that time, and I didn't want to put her through anything she didn't have to be, but I loved her, and I will always love her. You have no idea how many times I've picked up the phone and dialed her number in the middle of the night because I wanted to hear her voice, because I wanted to prove my nightmares weren't real. I can't describe the despair I feel when I'm alone, the sheer pain of having half of my soul ripped out because she's not here. I know this isn't just about me, but I need to vent, I still need closure."
A chill embedded itself in his bones, "Even while I'm speaking to you, I keep looking for her face in the crowd here, and when I leave this place I'm sure that I'll still be searching for her. Every time I see anyone with that brown hair, I get that same flutter in my chest, then I realize...she's gone. You may think that we were too young to know what true love really is, you may thing that I'm over-reacting, or that I really didn't love her. But you know what? I did. What I felt for her was true, and do you know the sad, pathetic part? I didn't realize it until I walked inside this church, and I saw that coffin. That's when I realized that I lost my other half. She was everything to me. I'll continue to pray each and every night for everyone here, and my friends, her family. Speaking of which,"
He turned to them, a fire burning in his eyes, "She loved you. If you could only see the pain in her eyes every time you rejected her, you wouldn't have treated her the way you did. You never deserved such a perfect daughter. In fact, I hope you hate me even more now, Ellie told me that she was afraid that you would, but she wanted to tell you anyway. You know why? Because she wanted you to be a part of her life, she wanted to let you know about everything. Did you know that she almost killed herself one night? I caught her trying to strangle herself. With a scarf. She wanted to die; she told me that she was pathetic, worthless, just trouble for you. She wanted to die because she thought she was a bother. You, sir, are a disgrace to her memory, and I'm almost disgusted that you were going to be my father-in-law." he gave him one last menacing glare before hurrying off the stage to rejoin his friends.
"Danny, my goodness, where did that come from?" Rebecca had a disbelieving look in her eye, holding the notebook in her lap.
"I needed to vent." he squeezed his eyes shut to prevent the tears that were threatening to make their way down his face.
"And vent you did." Austin mumbled,
The sermon continued without any more disruptions, from anyone. Danny was silent during the ordeal, his eyes tearing up every so often from the words spoken, or pictures displayed. After what seemed like a lifetime, it was finally over, but as they were walking out, the trio was approached by none other than Mr. and Mrs. Barnett themselves.
"What do you want?" Rebecca was the first to speak up, her arms crossed, and eyes narrowed.
"We never knew," her mother, Leigh, spoke first. With dark circles under her normally bright, hazel eyes, which were puffy and red. A pale hue had overtaken her usually tan complexion, and her greying hair was half-heartedly thrown up in a misshapen bun. It looked as if she could barely hold herself upright, and was leaning on her ex-husband for support.
"I...should apologize. What you said, about me, all of it's true. I could never have asked for a better child, and I never got the chance to tell her. And if you're the reason she was so...happy, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making her feel something I couldn't." Adam Barnett was lying; Danny could see it through the man's ashen eyes.
"That would actually mean something if I didn't know you were lying." he said simply. "You never cared about her and you never will. The only forgiveness you should be asking for is Ellie's, not mine, and since she's not here, you're out of luck. Come on you guys." Danny motioned to the door, shooting the parents a glare filled to the brim with venom before he and his pair of friends strode out the door with their chins held high, but with tears running down their faces.
"Who does that jerk think he is?" Rebecca's flats scraped the concrete as they all shuffled down the sidewalk. "Who lies about their daughter? At her funeral!"
"He has no feelings whatsoever, even to her. I wanna strangle that deadbeat so bad." Austin added, cracking his knuckles.
Danny clutched the journal at his side, struggling with the liquid welling up in his eyes. "Let's just go home, I don't want to think about it."
A brick building came into his side vision, indicating they were close. Close to where he first met her, his first day at work, and he spilled coffee all over her clean, white shirt. Who knew they would be dating just weeks afterward? He didn't. Her eyes sure could emit a dark fury when called for.
He couldn't stop the flood of memories washing over his mind; the only defense possible was to squeeze his eyes shut, continue walking, and let them flow through. Hopefully, they would end before the torture became too much to bear…
The young man woke up in a chair next to her bed, where he had fallen asleep too many times in the last week. His vision finally cleared from its sleepy fog to reveal a frantic Eleanor, struggling to breathe. She turned to him with a desperate look in her eyes, and tried to say his name, but all that came out of her mouth was a small whimper. She even tried to sit up, but immediately fell back down. With widened eyes, he jammed his finger down on the "call" button inserted inside the patient remote, his skin whiter than fresh snow.
"Don't move, Ellie, don't move. It's going to be okay." he soothed, stroking her forehead in a calming motion. "I called for the doctor, she's going to be here soon."
Her eyelids fluttered as she looked up at him, slowly sliding her hand towards his.
"Are you okay?" his voice cracked as he squeezed her hand.
There was no answer..
"Ellie? Please, talk to me if you can. I need to hear your voice."
Yet still no answer, just a solemn, sorrowful gaze.
"I know it hurts, but she'll be here in a little while, Ellie, don't worry."
But she wasn't; the doctor never came.
Her breathing was coming in short, shallow gasps as he continued to call, and shout for someone, anyone, to come and help her.
"Come on, Ellie, stay with me." he squeezed her hand repeatedly, staring into her eyes with an intense gaze.
"I...c-can't." Eleanor's face contorted with concentration and pain.
"Yes, you can, now come on!"
"I'm s-sorry." His love took one last shuddering breath, and her eyes closed. Permanently.
"E-Ellie? Eleanor? Ellie." Danny cried as her body went limp in his arms, and her chest stopped rising and falling. He broke down, and pulled her body close to him, tears streaming down his face as he stared into the dead face of his love. The only girl he had ever loved. Dead.
She was dead...
"Hey, are you coming?" Rebecca's voice called him out of his memory. Nodding, he picked up his pace, and caught up with his friends, clutching her precious journal in his hands.
Putting the past temporarily behind him.
Danny plopped down on his bed, changed back into normal attire, and carefully snapped the lock on Eleanor's journal, the golden clasp unlocking with a click. The simple, brown journal was nothing special, but in that moment, it meant everything to him. When he touched the soft, delicate leather it was like he could feel her hands with his again, she called them bread and butter; they could never be kept apart for long, and they went so well together. She always had a thing for crazy metaphors. He remembered what Madison said and with trembling fingers, and he flipped to the very last page, taking great precaution as to not rip or tear any of the paper. He was going to read every single one of these entries.
June 24th, 2012 their anniversary, their year anniversary.
To my friend, and lover,
I hope you someday realize how much I truly love you; I love you so much that I feel like I'm blinded. I can't see your faults, I believe you have none. You are one of the few people in this world who truly care, and I respect, and admire you for that. If I don't get to have you in the end, I pray the girl who does, loves you with everything she has, because you deserve that. If I leave this earth sooner then I planned, please don't be upset. I don't want you to be sad, or cry. Remember that I'm so much happier, and that I will never stop loving you.
Hopefully yours forever,
She didn't want him to cry, but he couldn't hold it in any longer. The letter had such a poetic form; you could feel the adoration from the way she wrote the words, so neatly, carefully, and dreamily. The gentle calligraphy was definitely hers; smooth and soft, she drew it like she cared. With a shaky hand, he closed the notebook and replaced the clasp. With great care, he placed the journal on his nightstand, running his fingers over the cover. It was only four o'clock, but Danny felt drained and exhausted. Not having enough will power or strength to fight it, he let his head fall back on the pillow, the journal resting on the nightstand.
And he slowly drifted off to a peaceful sleep...
He felt strange.
And everything was black.
Oh, his eyes were closed...that explains it.
He opened his eyes to see nothing but light. Bright, but not blinding, light. He picked himself up off of...ground? Completely white ground. He was dreaming, he was definitely dreaming, but it all felt so real. He glanced around, but there was nothing to be seen, nothing but that pesky light.
"Danny?" A familiar voice called, "You came! They said you might not have, but I knew you would!"
Then, he saw her,
The pure-white, sparkling gown she wore flowed around her, the glowing light surrounded her form. Her light brown hair cascaded down her shoulders, and her eyes sparkled and shone. Her hands were in front of her, connected together. She looked perfectly normal, in fact, better than normal. A bright smile was on her face, she was happy,
Like she should be.
He couldn't move or breathe as she began running over to him; her movements were graceful and light, so much so that she appeared to be floating. When she reached him, he couldn't help but stare at her. His Eleanor was right in front of him. She reached for his hands, and intertwined their fingers, just like they used to do. She felt so...real and alive. This couldn't be a dream, and if by some miracle it was, he was going to see a psychologist. He could sense everything around him, he could feel, he could touch, he could see, he could breathe. This, this wasn't a dream, this was reality. Another reality.
"I'm so glad you're here, now that you are, we can say goodbye." Eleanor's voice was soft, smooth, and loving. Tears welled up in his eyes, he wrapped his arms around her, and pulled her close. She still had that wonderful coconut scent in her hair, and he couldn't help but smile.
"Why did you have to go?" he asked between planting small, tender kisses on her cheek, and neck. He had never done that before, she was conservative about their relationship, and he didn't question her want for in-corruption. After all, who was he to push her?
"He called me Home, it was time for me to go, but He said that we could see each other one last time because of how you saw me when I died." Eleanor rested her head on his shoulder, a light sigh leaving her lips.
"You're not dead, Ellie," he mumbled against the skin of her neck, pressing another kiss there.
"I'm so sorry, but I had to go," she pulled back, looking into his eyes, "But He said that I can help you when you need it."
The pure affection in her gaze was enough to last a lifetime. If only they had that, a lifetime, to be together. Just them, just their love for each other, just their dreams together.
"Ellie, I'm the one that should be sorry, I should have tried harder," he ran his thumb over her cheekbone, tears welling up in his eyes.
"Don't be upset, I'm so happy here. My grandparents were there to take me, and it's so wonderful, I can't wait until you're able to join me," she clutched the hand on her cheek, "But don't force anything, don't give up on your life. You have so much to offer the world, dear, don't waste it."
"Then I'll live for the both of us,"
"Perfect, but can you promise...that you won't forget me?"
"How could I forget the most amazing girl I've ever known?" Danny brought her head forward, letting their foreheads touch, "I will never forget you."
"Thank you," she whispered.
Danny closed his eyes, and savored the moment, he could feel her steady breathing on his lips. They were so close. He couldn't wait any longer, he had to do it one more time.
"Can I...kiss you?" he asked for her permission,
"Way to ruin the moment, genius," her teasing filled his ears,
"I'll take that as a yes."
He pressed his lips to hers, and that familiar feeling of complete adoration filled his heart. It was exactly the way he remembered it; the way she smiled into the kiss, the way she returned each steady movement, even the subtle taste of honey on her lips, nothing changed.
It was over all too quickly, and they both pulled away with a small pop. She looked up at him through shy, misty eyes, "They're calling me, I have to go. I'm sorry, dear." Eleanor looked torn,
"It's okay, I know." Danny combed his fingers through her hair; it felt exactly like corn-silk, just like it was before.
"I'll never stop loving you," she repeated the words from her journal, "I want you to have it, keep it with you always. Remember me."
She put a finger to his lips, "Remember, but forget. Love, but let go."
She slid her hand to the side of his face and smiled a sad smile, a pained smile. He clutched the hand and kissed the bottom of her palm gently.
"What was that from?" he asked, caressing her hand.
"Me, don't forget it."
She started to fade, but he didn't want her to leave, he didn't want to say goodbye to the only girl he had ever loved.
And with that, she was gone, faded into the light, but when he woke up, her journal was right beside him, tucked in his arms.