Would it be completely inappropriate to say it lives?


A Day Too Late

Joeri stared at the phone blankly before hanging up without a word. This had to be some sick joke of Keiran's, right? It would be just like him to fake his own death. He'd always wanted to, anyways. He must've had something on Garrett to get him to play along…

"He's… he got himself… he…"

But Garrett was never one to stumble over his words like that.

"Garrett?"

"…He was hit by a car… and…"

"…Did he…?"

"Yeah… he died."

Oh God, God, God, God… oh God.

The last time this happened, Joeri was five years old and had no idea why his dad was throwing grey dust over the side of the boat into Lake Michigan. Now… oh God.

Keiran. It was so… so like him to act without thinking twice. They had always considered it to be a "redeeming quality," in Garrett's words, to make up for how big his head was. It just figured that his greatest trait of undying loyalty would do him in.

Ha.

Undying loyalty.

"Joeri?" Mr. Anderson found his twelve-year-old son lying across the couch, staring at the phone. Something was very wrong here. Sure the kid could get pretty serious, but he had never seen Joeri look like that… not since Anne…. "Joeri, what's wrong?"

Joeri buried his face in a pillow and replied inaudibly.

"You're gonna have to stop talking into the pillow," said Mr. Anderson gently.

He waited for several long moments before Joeri finally released the pillow and, staring at the floor, said in a flat voice, "Keiran got hit by a car." He closed his eyes. "And… he…" He trailed off, unable to say anything more.

Mr. Anderson heard the pain Joeri was trying so hard to keep out of his voice and went to sit next to him. He didn't say anything at first. "It's OK to cry, son," he said reassuringly. "He was your friend."

"One of my best friends," added Joeri. "The one you could always count on." He smiled in spite of himself. "He was saving Charlie. Fits him perfectly."

It really did. Keiran was the one who would never betray you or choose some jerk over his friends. He was the one they went to when they needed help with math or just joke around. He was the one who was such a complete dork that he was cool.

He was their best friend.

---

"Lee- Leah?"

Leah was very confused. For one, Fiona was like a bottle of sunshine, so why would she be crying- especially on a snow day? For two, if she was sad, then why didn't she talk to Caomhe since they were best friends? Unless she'd had a fight with her… but that didn't make sense. Fiona and Caomhe had their differences but Leah doubted that there would be a schism between them. But whatever happened was definitely horrible….

"Fiona, what's wrong?" asked Leah worriedly. "Why are you crying?"

For a few moments all Leah heard were sobs. Then Fiona replied in a shaking voice, "It… it's Keir- Keiran…" She sniffed. "He- he got hit by a car…" She went on to tell Leah exactly what happened: how the boys were sledding down the hill, how Keiran saw a car coming at Charlie, how Keiran saved Charlie's life at the expense of his own….

"He's gone, Leah!" Fiona coughed harshly. "Now Charlie thinks that it's his fault, Garrett is still trying to 'be strong' for us even though he's just as depressed as us, and… Caomhe…" Fiona fell silent for a moment. "She doesn't believe it really happened… thinks it's a nightmare."

Leah slid down against the wall and stared at the soft green carpet. She was still, in her friends' eyes, a new kid, but having a sensitive spirit, she felt tears forming in her eyes. "Do Celia and Joeri know?" she asked quietly.

"Joeri prob'ly does…" Fiona's murmured something that sounded like, "Garrett or Charlie…" She exhaled shakily. "I was gonna call Celia after…" She trailed off.

"Right," said Leah for the sake of not letting them fall into a silence they could really do without. "Um… I'll talk to you later, I guess."

There was a pause (Leah figured that Fiona had forgotten that she was on the phone and nodded) before Fiona said, "Oh, um, yeah… talk to you later, Lee…"

---

KEIRAN DONOVAN HOLMES

December 19, 1993- November 17, 2006

Keiran Holmes died yesterday afternoon…

Sniff.

…twelve years old…

Sniff. Hiccup.

…memorial service will be held at East Bible Church…

"Caomhe…"

"Leave me alone, Mom."

"Fiona's here."

"Tell her to go home."

"Tough. I'm comin' in anyways." Fiona almost glared at Caomhe as she walked in and collapsed in the chair across from Caomhe's bed. After a long pause, Fiona said icily, "Admit it."

Caomhe looked confused. "Admit what?" she asked unsurely. "What's there… to…" She trailed off as she realized what Fiona was talking about. "Oh."

Was this why every time she was in the same room as Keiran, she'd hear her little voice telling her to forgive him? Because if something ever happened, that little voice knew that she would always regret it?

She didn't want to admit it. Keiran betrayed her… but his final act had been one that proved his loyalty and love for his friends.

"Admit you cared about him," continued Fiona, sounding angrier than Caomhe had ever heard her. "Admit that you wanted to be friends with him again, that you have always missed him and that YOU NEEDED HIM!"

Caomhe pushed herself off her bed and shouted back, "WHY? What does it matter now? He's gone, he's dead, and he's NEVER COMING BACK! What does it matter that I missed him and will always miss him! YOU DON'T EVEN GET IT!"

"WHAT DON'T I GET!"

"I NEVER HATED HIM!" Caomhe collapsed into tears and glared at Fiona. "And believe me, I tried! I tried to tell myself that he would only do it again so forgiving him wasn't worth going through that hurt again, but every time I was near him, I knew it wasn't true! And now he's dead, and I never forgave him! How could you EVER understand that and what it's doing to me?"

There was a long silence.

"Caomhe…" Fiona stepped towards Caomhe and wrapped her arms around her shoulders. "Do you forgive him now?"

Caomhe hesitated and nodded into Fiona's shoulder, saying quietly, "A day too late."


Wow, haven't updated this in a while.

I know, Fiona and Caomhe were fighting, isn't it weird?

Thanks to lovefantasyworkreality, brilliantfusion, IdeasInTheAir, and CaveDwellers for the reviews. :)

Gingerbread cookies anyone?