Chapter One: Only for you, babe.
I sat silently in my front row pew. It wasn't like I was family, but I had spent most of my life at Marty's so his parents had basically adopted me. My dad sat next to me, his arm protectively around my shoulder.
Things were never meant to turn out like this. Best friends forever, we'd said and now he was gone. It just wasn't fair.
An accident, was all the police could say. Marty had been driving home and then a truck had smashed into his car. Someone on the scene had called the ambulance, but it was too late. He was gone. Dead.
The Kurt family sat on the same pew, Mr and Mrs Kurt, or Steve and Angeline as I had come to know them. Trent, Marty's older brother sat next to his mother, all the while consoling her, while he held four-year-old Stacey on his lap.
The ceremony went through in a blur. I don't remember much of it. The Kurts had asked me to read a eulogy and I had stumbled through it, tears drifting down my face and my throat constricting. I hadn't had much to say, just that I didn't know what I was going to do now that my best friend was gone.
They'd buried him at noon. It had been Marty's favourite time of the day.
People started to leave not long after the burial, but I sat myself next to his grave. His tombstone was simple.
MARTIN DOYLE KURT
17.4.88 – 21.5.05
Son to Stephen and Angeline.
Brother to Trent and Stacey
Will be dearly missed by family and friends.
He'd just gotten his license and it was one of the first times that he had been driving on his own. And now he was gone.
Before I knew it, the tears started flowing. Dad came out from the church after talking to Steve and Angeline and bent down next to me and pressed his starched handkerchief into my hand and patted me awkwardly on the head. We'd never been close, but after Mum had left us, we were all each other had. Well, at the time I had Marty but...
"I'm going to go home and check up on Jaiden, ok honey?" my dad asked me.
I nodded numbly, the tears still refusing to let up.
Jaiden was the son of my father's business partner and he was living with us until his parents returned from a yearlong promotion for the company. At first dad has been asked to do it, but then...
Dad patted me on the head again and reached up to hug him tightly. We never really did show much emotion between the two of us, but somehow knowing that things could get taken away so easily...
"I love you Dad," I murmured.
"I love you too Kris."
He got up and took a last look at me.
"I'll be fine Dad. I'll walk home."
He nodded and then went to the car.
I sat, huddled next to Marty's grave, the tears slowly easing up.
I touched the freshly dug up soil on the top of his grave.
"Hey," I whispered, hoping that somewhere, somehow he'd hear me. "Hope you're ok. It's just not fair though..." I choked. This was going to be hard, but it was something that I felt that I had to do. "I'm not really sure what to do. It's been a week and... I still can't get used to the fact that you're gone. But I'm pretty sure that you're happy wherever you are." I sniffed, wiping the last few tears from my eyes. "The ceremony was... not what you'd have wanted it to be, but your parents are your parents and they wanted to do it right. So it was all black and..." I looked down to what I was wearing. A black skirt, black stockings and a black halter. "And now I'm wearing a skirt." I laughed softly. Marty knew how much I hated skirts. "But only for you babe." We had been best friends, but nicknames like babe and honey were never absent from our conversations. But we'd been just best friends, nothing more.
I didn't know if I had anything left to say. It was hard, because I'd never really be able to talk to him again.
At this thought, the tears started to flow again. I looked around the cemetery, trying to blink them away. I spotted a large oak tree.
"Hey, remember that time when we sat under that tree? The big oak one, just over there?" I pointed, knowing that it was pointless; he'd never see me. "You were crying because we'd just been walking through and then you'd found your granddad's grave. And you had just sat there. I had no idea what to do and now I'm sitting here and..." I sobbed. "And I still don't know what to do. Why Marty?" I cried. "Why?"
I pulled my knees up to my chest and rested my head down, sobbing and just letting the tears come.
The whole week before, while everyone else had been preparing for the funeral, I had just walked around in a daze. I hadn't wanted to believe that it was true. I couldn't cry or anything, because I didn't believe it.
But now, I just couldn't stop crying.
I guess I feel asleep because the next thing I knew I was being shaken awake. I opened my eyes to find that it was quite dark and it was cold.
I heard someone take off their jacket and wrap it around me.
"Your dad told me to come and look for you," a voice said softly.
It was Jaiden.
I nodded, and let him help me up.
He put his arm around me, drawing me into an awkward hug. For the couple of years that I had known him, we'd never really got along. He would always insult me and I would retort with some sarcastic comment. But in the week that he'd been staying with us, he had been anything but insulting and sarcastic. In fact, I'd go as far to say that he'd been nice.
He led me to his car and at first I was hesitant to get in.
He rolled down the window on the passenger's side.
"Kristina, just get in."
After a standing there for a few more seconds, hugging his jacket around me, I looked up at him. "I'm scared," I said softly.
Realisation dawned on his face and he got out and came over to my side of the car.
"You can't not get into a car ever again," he said, trying to reason with me.
I shook my head. "I know but... I'm still scared."
He led me away from the car so he could open the door then helped me in, holding me gently.
I sat in the car, still numb, but strapped the seatbelt in across my chest.
Satisfied that I wasn't going to run, Jaiden went to his side of the car and got in.
A warm hand touched mine.
"You don't have to grip the seat so hard," he said lightly, a reassuring smile on his face.
I nodded at him, and released my grip.
He didn't let his hand move from mine. Instead, he curled it around my own and held it while he drove.
I held on to it tighter.
I stared straight ahead, carefully watching the road.
Every so often I could feel him glance at me, his hand never leaving mine.
It wasn't long before we reached my house.
Jaiden parked the car in the driveway and turned the engine off.
We sat there for a while, before he broke the silence.
"Are you going to get out?"
I nodded, then glanced down at our hands, still together.
He coughed, then withdrew his hand.
I stared at his back as he got out.
Then I opened the door and got out too.
We walked up to the front door and I fumbled with my keys, trying to get the door open.
Jaiden put a finger to his lips. "Shh. Your dad's already gone to sleep."
As I put my keys down on the hall table, I took a quick glance at the clock. 21:17, the little red lights blinked at me.
"You want anything to eat?" Jaiden called softly from the kitchen.
I shook my head as I walked past. "I think I'm just gonna go to sleep," I replied.
He nodded. "Then is it ok if I use the computer?"
I headed upstairs and into my room. I threw myself on to my bed and buried my head in the pillow.
The tears started to come again, but now I wasn't going to stop them.
I heard a soft knock at the door, but I didn't answer. I just let myself fall to sleep.
I'm going to try my hand at all this fictional chapter-y stuff. Going to post as I write, rather than trying to write the whole thing. The reviews and stuff keep me going. HINT HINT! Haha.
Well, let me know what you think.
Review responses for A Bitter Christmas:
penami: glad you liked. This was such a spur of the moment kind of story...
p-y-a: yes, I know that your cousin was calling. Lol. But thanks for the review.