10

I

The rain clouds gradually moved towards the south. It allowed the sun to cast its rays upon New York City surrounded by a clear blue sky. Below sidewalks once again became crowded by people, traveling to unknown destinations. Cars, vans, buses, and trucks began building up on Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue. Soon the sound of horns filled the air, in the hopes traffic would pick up again. As the traffic light turned red, the horns suddenly stopped.

A large black hearse crossed, followed by a huge funeral precession. Mr. and Mrs. Cromwell sat in the backseat of the limousine following the hearse. They were joined by their three children, Andrea nineteen; Rich seventeen; and Jade fifteen. Everyone was dressed in all black, the men in suits and the women in short sleeve dresses which went to their knees. The ride was very quiet and you could hear every bump on the road.

Michelle Cromwell sat staring out the window, seeing all the small shops and restaurants. She still couldn't believe that today she would be burying her first born, Elizabeth; she had just turned twenty-one last month. The night before the NYPD: Special Victims Unit found her at a local club dead from a drug overdose, according to the medical examiner.

"Michelle, Michelle we're here." Her husband Adam said tapping her on the shoulder.

There was no reply and the silence continued to grow around them.

"It's time, mom." Andrea said placing her hand upon her mother's which rested on her lap.

Michelle turned to see Andrea leaning over towards her, her soft brown eyes surrounded by her long blond hair. Her round face glowed in the sunlight as she followed her father and her sibling out of the car. Slowly Michelle turned her head to her husband who was standing outside waiting for his wife to join him. He stood about 6"3, very well built; his face was squared off at the chin, while his blond hair was tied into a short pony tail. His icy blue eyes stared at Michelle, while her long brown hair covered part of her small face.

"I can't bury her Adam. I just can't do this." Michelle whispered.

"Darling I know. This isn't easy for any of us, but you have to try to be a little strong for her." Adam replied sitting beside her.

Adam and Michelle got out of the car. He shut the door behind him and they slowly walked toward a white canopy set up in back of the grave sight. Two men from the Freemen Funeral Home, unloaded the white casket. It was then placed onto a harness and was lowered into the ground.

II

"I would like to welcome friends, family to the memorial service for my daughter; Elizabeth Ann Cromwell. She was born January 1, 1986 in Napa Valley, California." Michelle began addressing the crowd.

While she spoke Jade's crystal blue eyes stared at the top of the casket. Her auburn hair rested upon her shoulders, but the wind picked up again. She began to get lost in thought about the last time she saw her sister.

"Where are you off to tonight?" She asked standing in Elizabeth's bedroom doorway

Elizabeth was standing before her full length mirror. Her short dirty blond hair just covered her ears. A pair of warm brown eyes stared back at Jade, as she walked into the bedroom. The light from the five headed lamp lit up the light blue walls. The one closest to her window was lined with numerous awards for her writing. Jade sat upon the off-white comforter, which covered the bed. Elizabeth was dressed in a white baby doll dress and a pair of blue jeans underneath.

"Out; I'm meeting with a new writer who I might start publishing." She replied; "What about you?"

"You're lying, seriously where are you going?" Jade smirked; "Are you seeing him again tonight?"

"He has a name you know."

"Oh sorry Killian; what do you see in him?"

"Someone who likes me for the person I am. Not the famous Lizzie Cromwell, eldest daughter to a family of protégés. Andrea has her own art studio in Manhattan, Rich has become the youngest entrepreneur, and you have become a famous playwright. I've watch all of you and it reminds me so much of when I first got started. I couldn't get over all the attention. Everyone knew who I was and was constantly stopping me in the streets for autographs. But one day I became sick of it all. For once I just want to be normal and not in the spotlight. Trust me there will come a day when you'll just become sick of all the attention from the press and everyone else. You'll just want it to go away, but it keeps right at your heels. Anyway I'd better go, Killian's waiting for me."

And with that she slipped into a pair of black flats and walked out of the room. Jade followed her into the hallway and watched her go downstairs and out the front door. She then just turned and went back into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. It made her mad sometimes when her older sister didn't listen.

Later that night she woke up to hear the doorbell ringing. As she looked at her alarm clock it was one o'clock in the morning. She came out of her room to see Andrea and Rich sitting at the top of the stairs.

"What's going on?" She whispered walking up behind them

"It's Elizabeth, the police found her dead at some local bar." Andrea whispered

"Dead?" Jade gasped

They began to listen to one of the detectives explaining what had happened.

"Mr. and Mrs. Cromwell, do you know a Killian Freemont?" The detective asked

"That's Elizabeth's ex-boyfriend, what's he got to do with this?" Michelle asked confused

"Apparently your daughter lied and was still seeing him. Mr. Freemont had spoken to Elizabeth earlier today and planned to meet at this local bar. They met and were at the bar for about an hour, but then an eyewitness saw Elizabeth get up and walk back to the restrooms. Mr. Freemont soon followed her and a few minutes later he left alone." The detective continued

"That monster killed our daughter!" Michelle began to cry burying her head in her hands.

"Right now we are holding Mr. Freemont in custody for interrogation. We will be keeping in touch if anything comes up. Once again, we're so sorry for your loss."

Both of the detectives left and Michelle looked up to see her children had heard everything. One by one they walked downstairs and joined their parents.

"How could he have done this?" Jade asked

"The police aren't sure if he did do it." Adam replied

"I knew from the moment he walked into this house he was bad news." Jade interrupted

III

"Jade… Jade?" A voice called

"Huh?" Jade said suddenly coming back to reality

She looked up and saw Andrea sitting down beside her, while the crowd began to leave. Most of them were invited back to the house for lunch provided by the family.

"What's going on?" Jade asked

"Mom just got off with one of the detectives and Killian's innocent. It turns out Elizabeth committed suicide by overdosing on some pills." Andrea replied; "Though I don't know why she would do something like that. I mean she seemed so happy becoming a famous author, being on the best seller's list five times."

"She wasn't happy Andy." Jade sighed

"What are you talking about?"

"The night she left, I knew she was going to meet him. She told me that she wasn't happy. Everywhere she went, she was always known as Lizzie Cromwell. Andy she hated being in the spotlight all the time and just wanted to be normal. Somehow, Killian saw past the fame, seeing a normal girl looking for love."

"How could anyone get tired of being in the spotlight? I mean we've been in it since we were little."

"Listen to me, Lizzie had been doing this longer than the three of put together. She said there will come a day when you'll just become sick of all the attention from the press and everyone else. You'll just want it to go away, but it keeps right at your heels. Now I know what she meant."

"She hid it really well from the rest of the world. Come on we'd better get going, everyone is coming back to the house."

"Alright."

Both girls stood up and started walking towards the limousine waiting to take the family home. As the car pulled out of the cemetery, Michelle looked over at her children and smiled.

"It was a nice ceremony wasn't it?" She asked

"It's exactly what she wanted mom, very plain and simple." Jade replied

Soon they arrived home, but as soon as the car door opened there was a huge crowd of reporters standing around the vehicle.

"Mrs. Cromwell, a few minutes please." They all asked

"Do you want to or should I?" Adam asked

"I'll talk with them. Just let everyone else inside, the caterers should already in the kitchen." Michelle replied.

As they got out of the car, Michelle made her way to her front stoop and stood on the second step. Soon all the reporters were ready with their recorders, cameras, and questions.

"It has been a very emotional day for me and especially our family. Elizabeth will never be forgotten, though the city has lost a very talented novelist."

IV

"Lizzie… Lizzie don't worry we'll be together soon." A voice echoed

Her eyes began to twitch and slowly opened. At first everything was blurry and she couldn't make out where she was. Once her eyes adjusted to the darkness, her fingers began to feel something smooth and soft.

"What's going on?" She thought to herself.

Slowly she tried to sit up, but hit her head against something hard and she lied back down. While her hand rubbed the newly forming bump on her forehead, she remembered seeing Killian at the bar. Then she went into the ladies room, with something that he had given her. After she had taken a few pills, everything had become dark.

"Where am I?" She asked

Then she began to feel her surroundings and realized she was in an enclosed space. Suddenly her heart began to pound beneath the red long sleeved dress she was wearing. Beads of sweat had begun running down both sides of her face, while her hands reached up pushing against the lid of the box.

"Someone help me! Can anyone hear me! Help!" She screamed; "Probably no use, who's going to hear me." She sighed

Suddenly she heard the sound of a motor and something hitting the lid. She began to scream punching the walls of the box, unsure of what was going on. Gradually it felt as if something was lifting her out, but then she crashed onto the ground; she couldn't tell.

"Elizabeth! Can you hear me?" A voice called

Was she dreaming? Had she died? A creaking sound soon entered her ears, but then she started to feel the wind blowing through her hair.

"Lizzie!" The voice called again

The lid opened and she looked up to see Killian standing over her. He was dressed in a black suit with off white pin stripes, while his long black hair fell upon his shoulders. His gray eyes glowed in the moonlight as he lifted her out of the casket. They embraced quickly, but then she pushed back.

"What happened?" She asked bewildered

"The pills I gave you were a mixture of opium and a few other ingredients. It was able to fool anyone into thinking you were dead. Tonight begins the start of a new life." He smiled

"Thank you for freeing me of my old life. But, Killian who's going to fix my grave?"

"It's going to be taken care of. I made a call into the funeral home and someone is coming tonight."

She hugged him tightly, but then he took her hand into his. They began walking out of the cemetery and on to start a new life together.