I know this chapter is incredibly short compared to the others, but my friend/faithful reviewer and I both think that Chloe's story doesn't need to be continued. So, enjoy the end of Kate's story. And thanks for reading! :)
Late that night, I was sitting at Mrs. Delgrasso's grave in the pouring rain, wishing for everything in the world that I was nine years old again, with my best friends and a bunch of candles. Instead, I was planning out for the hundredth time exactly what I would say to Eric the next time I saw him. Would he want to hear it? After the way I'd been acting, it didn't seem likely. But I couldn't hide it anymore. It was too much to handle, and it obviously wasn't working very well in the first place.
There was flash of lightning that illuminated the graveyard just long enough for me to see someone coming in my direction. My first instinct was to get up and prepare to run, but something told me to stay where I was. When the lightning struck again, I saw that the person was Eric.
I thought he might be mad to find me at his mother's grave, but he sat down next to me completely expressionless. He was close enough now for me to make out his face, which was smeared with blood.
"Oh my God, Eric, what happened?"
He brushed his fingers against his face. "I didn't realize it was that bad."
Luckily I had a pack of travel tissues in my sweatshirt pocket. As I pulled it out and gave it to him, I asked softly, "What did he do to you?"
Eric didn't answer. Instead he took a tissue, held it to his cheek, and said, "I think the neighbors called the cops this time. I saw Mrs. Feldman looking through a window with a phone in her hand."
I drew in a shaky breath.
"My grandmother was always threatening to take me to Florida to live with her. I guess now she'll get her chance."
Out of nowhere, tears came pouring out of my eyes. "You can't leave," I said softly into the ground, trying desperately to remember the speech I'd planned. Lightning struck for a third time, momentarily revealing my tear-stained face, then hiding it again. Giving up on my mental script, I started to say the three words I'd been wantingto say since I was twelve. "I--"
That was all that came out before Eric covered my hand with his free one. "I know."
I looked up at him. "How long have you known?"
"Since today," he answered. "The way you were looking at Chloe at the bus stop this morning... kind of a dead giveaway."
I looked back down and pulled my hand away. "Right."
"How long have you known?"
God, can I just answer that? Should I make something up? Or maybe I could...
Oh, screw the act. He knows everything anyway.
"Since that day you helped me off the monkey bars."
He didn't respond.
"I know it sounds so stupid," I said, wiping the tears and rain from my face with my sleeve. "But there was just something about the way your hand felt that--"
Eric actually held my hand this time. "I know," he said softly. "I felt it, too."
We heard sirens in the distance.
He sighed. I sighed. He let the tissue fall off of his face, took my other hand in his, and pulled me up off the ground with him. "I guess I should head home."
I was crying too hard to say anything.
Eric pulled me towards him and kissed my forehead. With that, he walked away towards his house, leaving me to sink back to the ground and sob, while the sirens got louder and louder until I could see the red and blue lights out of the corner of my eye.
That was last night.
This morning, I woke up in my bed, wearing the same clothes I'd been in the night before. My father must have found me in the graveyard and carried me inside.
Kyle and Chloe were waiting for me when I left for the bus stop.
"We saw everything at Eric's house last night," Kyle said gingerly.
"Where did they take him?" My voice was completely expressionless.
Chloe answered my question. "The officer said he'd be in state custody until his grandmother could come up to get him."
I sighed and started walking. They followed me.
"Kate," she continued, "I had no idea how you felt about him. I swear, if I'd known, I'd--"
"I don't care, Chloe," I said bitterly.
She and Kyle stopped walking. As I got further away, I heard him say to her, "It's nothing personal. Just give her some time."
He was right; it wasn't personal at all. Chloe Hallmark isn't a threat anymore. What's bothering me now, as I sit here in English class ignoring my insane teacher, is that I didn't say anything that would have prevented her from being a threat in the first place. Maybe then, Eric and I would've had a chance to actually date. Or at least kiss.
I've been thinking about kisses all morning.
The bell rings, and as we all stand up to leave, Kyle asks me, "You gonna be okay, Kate?"
I sigh. "As soon as I hear from him. Then I'll be okay."
He smiles at me. "You're in love with him, aren't you."
As we exit the classroom, I give a wary smile back. "You have no idea."