Chapter 11(Alternate Ending): In a Dream
She still couldn't believe what had happened. It seemed so unreal, like it was as if fate was playing a cruel trick on her. She hoped not. But she knew in her heart that there was no way that he was still alive. As she lay in Franklin's humongous bed with his dog, Amber, Melissa reflected on how little time they had together. She truly loved him and nothing would ever change that.
She couldn't help but think about how cruel she was to him. She would take it all back in a heartbeat if it meant that he would still be alive. Tears prickled her eyes but she welcomed them. She had yet to truly mourn him because she had been numb in disbelief. When she finally saw his body lying in a custom made coffin however, reality began to sink in. She knew right then that he was physically gone forever.
Her family had tried to help and so did the Parkers but she was inconsolable. The rest of the school year she had barely passed her classes and barely took care of herself. She had been pencil thin. Only when he father had threatened to admit her into a hospital did she start eating like she used to but she could never taste it.
She closed her eyes and inhaled Franklin's lingering scent. It was almost gone and she didn't know what she would do then. She found solace hanging out alone in his room with Amber or whenever she went to his grave. She was slowly slipping into a state of depression but couldn't pull herself out of it.
Deciding to go for a walk, she sat up on the bed. "Come Amber, let's go for a walk." she said to the Siberian Husky.
Amber followed her out of the basement and out of the house. Melissa didn't bother with a leash because Amber never strayed too far from her. When Franklin had passed, she had taken Amber as her own since no one in the Parker household wanted her. Melissa couldn't understand why though. Despite having some moments, Amber was really gentle.
They walked to the local cemetery in the cool fall air. Melissa had driven home from college to spend some time with her family and Franklin. She even spent time with Francesca, knowing that Franklin would have wanted them to work through their problems. They were by no means best friends anymore but they weren't acquaintances either.
She walked the lengthy rows of dead leisurely, slowly as Amber ran ahead of her to Franklin's grave. She watched as Amber licked the tombstone and cuddled against it. Maybe that was why they got along so well, they both loved him probably more than anyone else. And instead of finding comfort in other things, they found it in each other.
Kneeling next to the headstone, Melissa lay down next to it and rolled onto her side so that she was facing him. The sun was high but it was rather cold as she shivered slightly. When her eyes felt heavy she welcomed the sleep, never being able to have a good night's sleep without being near something of Franklin or Franklin himself. As she blinked one last time before submitting to unconsciousness, she hoped that she dreamed of him.
She was walking in a crowded room. Over everyone's heads, she could see Franklin and she smiled. She moved closer towards him. As she got closer, a crown appeared on both of their heads. They were prom king and queen. Both blushed lightly at the honor.
Franklin stepped off the stage first and held out his arms for her. She walked into him and he spun her around until her feet touched the ground. 'Sweet Sweet Baby' by Michelle Featherstone started up and the couple smiled. It was their song. The world dropped away as they danced in time with the music.
Melissa mouthed the words as they danced and Franklin lifted her into her arms until her feet were off the ground. She just laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck as they danced. He sang the words softly in her ear and she hugged him tighter, never wanting to let him.
"I love you." she told him with a kiss.
"I love you too. Always and forever." he replied and he put her down before leading her outside. "You can't do this Melissa."
"Do what?" she asked confused.
"Continue on like this. You have to move on." he replied gently and she sucked in a breath. Could she never escape the reality of his death?
"I don't want to. Why did Sheriff Johansson have to shoot you? You couldn't have made aviolent gesture. You were only in your boxers, soaking wet from the rain."
"Baby, that's not the point." He placed his hand over her heart. "I'm always here. I'm always in your dreams. Whenever you need me, I'm there but you can't go on like this. I can't watch you go on like this. If you don't want to be with another man then okay, I would never push you to do that but don't give up on life because I'm not there physically. I'm always with you. No matter what. The gates of Hell and Lucifer himself wouldn't be able stop me."
"You're not…" she said, trailing off nervously. He shook his head. "So you're in heaven?"
He nodded. "And I'll see you there. I have to go now but remember that I'll always be there when you close your eyes."
Melissa's eyes opened and she could still she the gray of Franklin's eyes. She took a deep breath and traced the words on his headstone. She traced his name and his birth and death date. She let her fingers slide over the words 'gone too young', 'beloved friend' and 'gentle giant'. She was a little upset with his parents for not putting that he was a good son but she didn't mention it to him.
When she finished tracing all the words, she smiled thinking of his words and kissed his headstone. "I'll always love you." She turned to Amber. "Let's go home Amber." They walked back to his house, feeling Franklin's presence the whole way back.