Chapter Three: Too Much

Soon, the gym was filled with students. Groups of friends began to form, along the walls at first and then, just anywhere there was open floor. Backpacks were scattered everywhere, bodies swaying together standing, others, sobbing in each other's arms. There were circles of people, hands on each other's shoulders, praying, each face wet. Some just sat, stunned, no tears, denial running through. Some were scared, not able to cry, just paralyzed with fear. The door banged open and all eyes were on the doorway. It was Aaron Fields, quarterback of the football player, Faith's boyfriend.

I watched as Sam stood, slowly, rising from the mass of bodies, and called out, "Aaron." Aaron's green eyes searched the crowd for his best friend. Spotting him, Sam managed to make his way through the maze of people and then he was standing right in front of Aaron. Silence filled the gym; it was just hollow, still. And then, they embraced. Hope rose, I hadn't seen her before, hiccupping and wrapped her arms around both of them .and the crying started again. I couldn't take it; I turned towards the wall, letting the tears slip down the cool smooth surface. Hope and I had been Faith's best friends, how could we not have known? How could she have been that unhappy? I forced myself back to look at where they were, they were walking towards me.and another wave of terror hit me. One was missing. Faith should have been under Aaron's arm, laughing at something Hope said, waving at me, making a kissy face at Sam to tease him. But Faith wasn't there. She was gone.

.
"I talked to her yesterday." Hope whispered, clutching her knees to her chest and looking like a little girl who had just woken up from a nightmare and thought there was a monster under her bed. "She seemed normal. How could we not have known? We." She motioned around, "Were her best friends. You were her boyfriend, Aaron. She loved all of us. I never thought.I never even suspected she'd do something like this."

"We don't even know what she did. She took her own life. She's dead, but we don't know how. We don't know what she did. Do you think she used a knife or a gun or something?" Sam was looking down, as if already feeling guilty for his question, but it had been on my mind, too. I reached out and squeezed his hand. His eyes sought mine for an instant, but Aaron started to talk and his eyes fell again.

"Do you really think she'd do something that hurt?" His voice tightened. "Like shot herself or.

"It could have been pills. Like too many pain killers or some of her Mom's?" Hope offered.

"She could have hung herself." Some kid said, glancing at us, guilty to be caught, eavesdropping. Aaron looked ready to punch him, so he scurried off.
"Maybe, she did." Hope said, looking like she was ready to puke.

"Who do you think found her?" Aaron whispered. I closed my eyes, not wanting to think about whoever it was. It could have been Rose, the maid, her mom, the drama queen, her dad, the banker, or her brother.Oh god, Jason.

Sam seemed to have the exact same thought, "What if it was Jason?"

Hope pulled out her cell, desperately dialing a number, she listened intently, but there was no answer. More tears filled her eyes, "Want to hear something stupid?"

"Huh?"

"I was half expecting her to answer." She leaned into Aaron, for support, beginning to start again. How could she have done this to us? Faith, the one who was always so considerate, was tearing everyone's life apart. Why couldn't she have just said something, said she needed help? The thought echoed.

"Why wouldn't she have told us?" I asked, wanting an answer. The first time, I talked since they had sat down. They all looked at me. "If she was so unhappy, if she was hurting that bad, why wouldn't she have told us?"

"Maybe, she couldn't." Sam said, quietly. I almost didn't hear him. But I did.

"How could she not tell us?" I asked.

"Sometimes, no matter how much you love someone, it's hard to tell them what's wrong. And it's hard to tell people what hurts, when you don't know what's hurting, you just know that something does." His voice was husky, like he knew from experience. My heart thudded against my chest. Overwhelmed, I pulled on his hand, needing to hug him, to make sure he was still real.

"You can always tell me. Always, no matter what. I can't lose you, too." I pulled back, kissing his cheek quickly and smoothing a tear that managed to escape from his tough guy act, "I just can't lose you."

Hope moved so she was on my other side and Aaron slid to sit next to Hope. We were all holding hands, silent now. Talking hurt too much. There was still too much. Too much that was unknown; too much that hurt.too much everything.