Chapter seventeen; Aftermath

The months that followed would be what I could say the worst months of my life. There were a lot of questions by the police and the cleanup crew. What we told them was a complete lie, but they seemed to buy it. They also discovered the lab, and all we could do was shrug our shoulders.

They unearthed mostly lab worker and guards' bodies, but they found Dr Karrol and my dad's body. They found Michelle and Seth's bodies. They never found Cody or Becci.

We had a funeral and a memorial service for Michelle and dad. Taylor was grief-stricken, but I had told him the truth. All of it. And being the great judge of character he was, he believed my every word.

A month after leaving the mess of a site, Taylor turned thirteen. Unfortunately at that time no one, not even he, felt like celebrating.

School... hah! If you could call it school... was moved to an empty squat building that had once been used as a cafeteria for the homeless. But that was years ago, and no one was as caring as they once were.

They decided which years would go when. I went on Tuesdays. Taylor went on Fridays. Not that we went much. We mostly spent time at home with mum, who was now working from home, shutting herself up in the little computer room and worked herself harder than ever. Although I didn't know what on.

But there was one day. Just one, and it changed us forever. It changed me forever.

I was doing the washing (since I'd picked up on the household chores since then) when I opened the door to my mothers room. She was standing there, in front of the mirror. She was touching her scar gingerly, almost as if it were a fresh wound.

"Oh mum! I didn't..."

She looked as startled as I was, turning to face me before finally sighing,

"No, it's all right Desiree. Is there something you want?"

"Just... the washing" I lifted up the basket in my arms a little to show her. She stared at it like she was seeing it for the first time, then up at me.

"Oh dear, I'm so sorry. I just..."

"I know mum... I..." There was a lump in my throat, and I could see she wasn't much better.

"I just... I can't believe it. He's gone. I..." She was crying now, and I think I was too.

"Mum..." I put the basket down and went over to her. Her hands were balled into fists, and I could see she was trying to hold back the pain.

"It's ok mum. Let it out. We'll cry together" I told her, choking a little on my own words, but managing to get them out all the same.

At that moment she crumbled, collapsing on the floor with her head in her hands, and just cried. I sat down, put my arms around her, and cried with her.

She kept talking about how would she go on without him, that it was her fault for letting him run ahead, and she was so sorry for cursing us all.

"Mum, you could never curse us!" I almost snapped, realising how much like my father I sounded.

"Desiree, I'm pregnant... four months... " She somehow managed to choke out, and that in turn brought fresh tears.

"I... oh no" we were both crying now, realising what all this meant. The baby she was carrying would never know its father. And it would always remind us of what happened to dad.

Now I couldn't stop crying. Why? What did we do to deserve this?

Soon Taylor came in, shocked at seeing both of us in tears, and started bawling himself. We swept him in our arms and we all cried.

As a family, we let out the grief together.

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More months passed, and thanks to a lot of support from just the right people, my family, even Sandy and Dawn, I was finally finding my feet again. And although I knew I'd never see my dad again, just knowing him was a gift in itself. He would never be forgotten, as long as I didn't forget him.

I would also bring it upon myself to teach my new little brother or sister who our father was. Taylor would help, but at just the right time.

A new school year started, and a lot of kids from my old school had been moved to other schools closest to where our old school used to be. Now I went to a place called Westwood High. Nice, but not my old school.

Taylor came too. He was still getting into mischief as usual with his friend Jeremy. And of course there was that puberty thing going on with him now.

Me, I barely reached seventeen. Uncle Evan and Robyn came around and we went through the usual embarrassing birthday stuff. But inside, I still missed my dad. No one could replace him.

Weeks after that, I was going to meet Sandy and Dawn at the mall. Kenny and Dawn hadn't worked out, so we had all decided on a girl's day out.

As I walked, I took a deep breath in and remembered my dad again. What he would say to me going shopping, and in spite of myself, I laughed.

"What's so funny?" a male voice said from behind me. A voice I knew very well.

I turned to see Cody. Older, maybe a little taller, but still the same old Cody. Smiling like the world was his.

"Oh my god!" I squealed, leaping into his arms, grateful to know he was still alive. My heart was doing flip-flops, and it got worse when he put me down.

"Nice to see you too"

"You're alive! Where have you been all this time?! What happened?! I thought the worst when you didn't...!" I was going a mile a minute, but he shushed me by just putting a finger to my lips.

"We both got out ok. It took a while to turn Becci around, and I knew I couldn't see you until I got both of us sorted out first. She's changed al lot Desiree, you'd be proud of her. I am. We're both living in an apartment and both of us are bringing in enough money for both of us. We're fine" He said all this in a calm and level voice.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry then. So I did both.

"What's wrong? Are you ok?" he looked worried, so I cried and laughed some more. I soon settled down, wiping the last of the tears away and smiling up at him.

"I'm just so glad you're all right. I didn't know... I was afraid... you know"

"Yeah, I do" He then pulled me towards him in a gentle hug, and I felt like my heart might leap out of my chest.

He let go, but just enough for us to be looking straight into each others eyes. And then he kissed me. It was the sweetest and gentlest kiss I had ever experienced, and I fell in love with him right then and there.

From that point on, it felt like everything was going to be all right. My life would go on, but this time I'd have Cody with me.

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Authors note: Hey, tigereyes here. Just wanted to let you know that this isn't the end. There's one more to go, and this time, their enemy is the ones they least expect.

Read and review my other stories too please, I'd really like some feedback, be it good or bad. Anything that'll give me some tips on how to improve my writing. And thankyou for actually getting through to the last chapter, I really appreciate it.