Hey sorry! I actually never realized I never finished putting the end of this story up. My baddd! Anyway, here's the entire ending of the sequel. Sorry again. It's been like two years, I'm sorry!!! Don't hate me please. Love you all.
For the next few hours Morgan read her novel and sat around, waiting for time to pass. Finally, noon rolled around. Morgan watched her door anxiously. Suddenly, a knock echoed through the empty room.
Morgan jumped up and answered the door. "Hey."
"Hi, sweetie. Eric's face was bright and happy. He smiled and wrapped his arms around Morgan. He pulled back and looked at her, confused. "Have you lost weight? You feel thinner."
"I don't think so." Morgan replied; she wasn't lying. It'd been weeks since Morgan had stepped on a scale.
"Okay." He sighed and leaned up Morgan's chin, giving her a light kiss. For a moment, Morgan let herself feel the warmth rising up inside of her and kissed back, then pulled away,
"Let's go." She hid her anxiety with a wide smile.
The couple walked hand-in-hand, oddly silent, until they got to the restaurant. It was a small on-campus bar and grille called the Shack. Morgan was shivering until they stepped inside. Eric was too preoccupied with his thoughts to notice her shaking. They were seated almost immediately. Their waitress was young, with a familiar face. Morgan wondered if she knew her somehow. Eric and Morgan ordered drinks before scanning over the menu.
Morgan watched Eric, who had been strangely quiet since they'd left her house. He had a knack for shutting himself up when he had something important on his mind. What's bugging him?
Each of them had finished their lunch and sat, waiting on the return of the bill. Conversation had been quite impersonal. Mostly it had been about the approaching season change, classes, housing, students. Nothing too deep or meaningful. Morgan felt like Eric was holding something back and it was dying to be said.
Suddenly, Eric looked up at Morgan and their eyes met. His eyes were glistening with conflicting emotions. His hand grasped hers and he half-smiled.
"Morgan." He sighed. The smile disappeared. "I can't do this anymore."
"What are you talking about?" Her voice was rushed and quiet.
"Us. It's not working out anymore. There's something going on with you and I've tried to unveil it, but I've apparently wronged you somehow. I don't know why, but you won't trust me enough to tell me what's wrong. You're losing weight and shutting yourself out from your friends and from me." Sadness poured out of his tone.
"Eric –" She tried to protest, but there wasn't anything she wanted to admit.
"Go ahead." He nearly smiled. Morgan just closed her mouth and stared at the table.
"See? Something is wrong; you just don't want to tell me." He was borderline angry. Morgan knew that he had every right to be upset. Eric paused and sighed. "Morgan, I love you. Please, see someone about what's going on with you."
"I love you too." By now tears were silently falling from her eyes. Eric wiped away the tears before paying the bill and walking out. Morgan slowly shuffled into the bathroom, letting it all out. She locked herself in a stall and the rampaging tears morphed into sobs, muffled by Morgan's hands that were pressed to her face. Mom and Dad were gone. Aria and Jared were so far away. And now, Eric was gone too. There was no one left. Morgan was all alone. Is this what you wanted?
Morgan walked home, numb. Not numb from the cold, but numb from herself. The only way Morgan could think was if she numbed herself completely to everything that was going wrong.
Morgan approached her house, weighed down by her grief. As she grabbed the door handle and twisted, something thin and white fell to the ground. A gasp escaped her lips.
Her heartbeat raced as she picked up the piece of paper. As her eyes poured over the familiar writing, Morgan dropped to her knees. A shudder escaped her lips.
Betcha didn't think I would catch up with you, did you? I bet you thought that after you squealed to the police that everything would be fine and dandy for the rest of your life. We were going to let you live, but now we've got other plans. What happened to Mom and Pop is nothing compared to what's going to happen to you. See you soon.
Fear paralyzed her. Morgan couldn't think, couldn't breathe, couldn't move. She re-read the letter, doubling her anxiety. Slowly, she rose, entered her house and regained control over herself. Avoiding a second breakdown, Morgan called the two detectives who worked her case. She gave no details to them. All she said was "There's been a development. You need to come over, right away." The detectives promised to be there in two hours.
Until their arrival, Morgan locked her door and window and kept a large knife nearby. Perhaps it was paranoia but she figured she was better safe than sorry. The detectives arrived, just as promised. Their familiar faces at her door both comforted her and made her fears so much more real.
"Morgan, what is it? What's going on?" Detective Johnson asked, worry flickering in his guarded eyes.
"Please, come in." Morgan scanned the area behind the detectives before leading them inside.
"Are you alright?" Detective Adams enquired, as he stood in the foyer. Morgan ignored the questions and went straight to the table. There she grabbed her knife and the letter wordlessly, she held out the little piece of paper to the detectives. Johnson grabbed it and stared at Morgan's face, vacant eyes, apathetic expression, and ghost-like color. His eyes scanned over the letter before he handed it to Adams.
"Our friend is back." Morgan nearly broke down into tears as the words fell form Johnson's lips. All she could do was nod.
"Seems like we have two options." Adams interjected. "Put her in protective custody or have a protective detail around here 24/7."
It bothered her that she spoke like she wasn't even there. As if she were an object rather than a living, breathing person. Morgan finally spoke up. "I don't want to hide or assume a new identity or whatever. I want to stay here and keep living."
"The smarter choice is to relocate her. But we can keep cops here as well. We'll need to take this in for analysis, obviously." Johnson sighed and bagged the letter.
"It's not like I want it lying around here." Morgan breathed.
"What happened when you got this note? Did you see who it was who brought it? Was it delivered to you by hand or did you get it in the mail?" Adams shifted into interview mode.
"I was getting dumped by my boyfriend around lunch time. At about one, I headed back here and it was taped to my door. Just like last time." Morgan's voice was quiet, but bitter.
"Alright." He looked at Morgan with pity and concern. After a few more routine questions the detectives decided to head back to the station. They had precious work to do.
As Adams followed out Johnson, she heard him mutter something. It sounded like, "She's too young for this." He's right.
Again, Morgan found herself alone, engulfed by a sea of her own fears. No one there to comfort her now that she really needed comforting. Glancing around her vacant home, Morgan realized she'd always needed comfort. Love. People. Care. She'd just been too stupid to ask. And now, she was too proud to admit that.
So it began. A routine. Morgan ate with, bathed with and slept with her fear. It followed her to class, uncomfortably positioning itself on her shoulders. Only to make sure she wouldn't forget about it. In class, Morgan found herself lost, staring out the window because fear had told her to. Watch. Look. He's waiting. He's coming. Anytime now. Just wait and watch. It whispered like the wind, barely hovering above a whisper and coming and going. Its tone never changed. Always calm, yet threatening. Omniscient yet surprised.
Morgan crawled deep inside of herself. She watched through her own eyes as if she were watching a movie. Life moved on around her as a terrified little girl cried inside of Morgan, waiting for the approaching end.
Morgan hadn't realized how much time had passed since she'd retreated into herself. She hadn't noticed the blankets of white covering her world or the accompanying frigid temperatures. Certainly, Morgan hadn't noticed the passing of the date on her calendar that marked Aria's due date.
When a loud knock rang through Morgan's house one Saturday morning, she jumped. All the thoughts in her mind screamed that it was over. All of it would end here. She grabbed her knife and stepped toward the door. I'm not going down without a fight.
"Morgan?" A familiar female voice called desperately. The knife clattered as it hit the floor. Morgan swung the door open.
"I told you this was the right place." Jared smiled, proudly. Morgan's lips curled into a wide grin.
"Aria. Jared." She sighed happily and immediately embraced Aria. She would've hugged Jared too, but he was a bit preoccupied with carrying the baby's car seat.
"You feel thin." Aria commented. Apparently she was already in mommy mode. "Aren't you eating?"
"Of course, I am. I've just been busy. I'm probably just eating less." Morgan lied, coolly. "Please come in." Morgan smiled and stepped aside.
"Thank you." Jared chuckled. They both looked so different, so domestic. Both of them had stains on their clothes, probably from the baby. There were bags under their eyes. Their eyes were gleaming with fear and pride, just like every other set of new parents. Proud that they could create such a miracle and terrified of messing it up.
"When did you have the baby?" Morgan smiled.
"Ten days ago." They smiled in unison. The gorgeous child slumbered soundly in its car seat, bundled up in green.
"I can see you avoided gender specific clothing." Morgan chuckled. How long has it been since I laughed?
"Her name is Bailey." Aria smiled. "Bailey Morgan."
"Such a beautiful – Wait. Morgan? Like my name?"
Jared laughed. "You gave us our first real look into parenting, Morgan. You showed us how to take care of someone, aside from ourselves. It's only right that our first child is named after you. You're the reason we decided to have children."
"And if she'd have been a boy?" Morgan smiled, staring down at the slumbering angel.
"Owen Jacob." Aria replied, proudly. "Still kind of you."
Tears were biting at Morgan's eyes. She wiped them away and stared at Aria and Jacob. No words could describe what she felt. Here in front of her were the two greatest people she'd ever known, telling her that she had such an impact on their lives that their baby was named after her.
"You two will make phenomenal parents." Morgan smiled. "Just don't die on her." Morgan had meant it as a joke, but it came out like a broken little comment.
"We'll try." Jared chuckled nervously. "How's the investigation anyway?"
"Case has gone cold. Nothing left to do but wait." Two pieces of the truth, which doesn't exactly make it a lie. Morgan realized that a change of topic was in order. "How's the apartment?"
"We actually bought a little house. Moved out of the city to the more suburban parts of the area."
"Still in Washington district?"
"Of course." Aria smiled. Morgan rolled her eyes and let out a small laugh.
For three hours, Morgan's fear was gone. She enjoyed her visit with nostalgia. Her fear had been caught off guard by two temporarily forgotten guardians. For three hours Morgan smiled and laughed, while her fear lurked in the darkness. It waited, giving Morgan a break. As soon as Aria and Jared disappeared out her door, the fear tackled and paralyzed Morgan. The silence of her home was magnified and deafening. Vacancy and emptiness rolled in like waves and crashed over her, drowning her. Morgan picked up her knife and returned to her desk to work on homework.
There were only a few days left until Christmas break. Since Aria and Jared's surprise visit, Morgan had been primarily alone. She'd gotten a call or two from Lana and a message from her "roomie" saying that Morgan should look for someone else to stay with her because she was moving in with her boyfriend.
Morgan had gone out for groceries one afternoon when the weather got really bad. Snow was pouring out in heaps from the sky. It was getting dark very rapidly and she was beginning to get anxious. Morgan stood nervously at the bus stop waiting for it to arrive and take her back to the campus. It was over twenty-five minutes late, so she just gave up and trudged across the street to the laundromat. The cold was biting at her cheeks.
From a seat in the laundromat, she watched the snow beat against the earth, violently. For an hour and a half she sat, unsure of what to do. Morgan had watched sixteen people do their laundry; fold their clothes and leave, before the storm receded. Once the storm became a light snow, Morgan stepped out to wait for the 7:15 bus.
Its lights and flickering destination illuminated the dark, vacant street. The sun had been hidden behind threatening storm clouds all day and was probably long set by then. Morgan climbed on the bus and paid her fee, thankful that she was on her way home. She let her face rest against the cool window. Everything faded except for the feeling of cool glass against her face.
Morgan walked until her house was in view. A small smile made its way across her face. She couldn't wait to throw herself on the couch and rest. Morgan hated grocery shopping in general, but when you throw in a late bus and a snow storm, she was down right miserable. What should've been a forty-five minute trip had become a three hour fiasco.
She stepped through the front door, setting her groceries on the floor. It was eerily silent. There was no electric hum or refrigerator buzz and the house was a tad chilly. Morgan flicked on the light switch and nothing happened. There were two more small clicks, but still nothing.
"Power's out." Morgan sighed. "Great." Without thinking, she pulled out her cell phone and called Eric. After a few rings it went to voicemail.
"Of course." She said over his recorded message. "Hey, Eric. Um, I really hate asking you for a favor but my power's out. I was hoping you could come over and mess with the circuit breaker or something, because I don't have any idea what I'm doing. You don't have to, but I'd really appreciate it." Morgan sighed and hung up.
Morgan disappeared into her bedroom to throw on a sweatshirt before returning with a few candles. She lit them and began to dig through a drawer for her flashlight when suddenly a chill ran up her spine. The door was hanging wide open. She walked carefully over to it and poked her head outside.
"What the…" She trailed off as she looked outside at her vacant yard. "Eric?" No answer. Morgan retreated back into the house. She stepped into the kitchen and found her flashlight. She settled down on the couch and tapped the flashlight against her hand, no light. That's just wonderful. A broken flashlight. She tossed it on the floor, it flickered to life. Morgan crawled over to it and grabbed it. Suddenly, she heard footsteps. Morgan jumped to her feet and looked around, flashing the flashlight in front of her. She realized the steps were coming from behind her. She flipped around in time to see something black and hard hit the side of her head. Morgan stumbled backward and her head hit the ground. She felt intense pain before the darkness hit.
Upon awakening, Morgan found herself sitting in the dark. Her eyes focused and she saw a few candles casting moving shadows around the room. Beneath her, she felt a hard wooden dining chair. Her entire head ached, especially the right side of her face. Then came a blinding light. Fierce white light Morgan in the face. Someone stood in front of Morgan, she tried to move but her movements were restricted. Her hands were tied behind her back, at the wrists and each of her ankles were tied to a leg of the chair.
Then someone spoke. "Morgan, right?" A woman?
Shock and fear overwhelmed Morgan. It had been a woman who'd rushed passed her in the house, not a man. A woman who'd killed her parents. A woman who would kill her. "Yes, that's me."
The woman leaned forward and smiled. Morgan could see every despicable feature of her face. The half-moon shape of her blue eyes that shimmered with a powerful lust for murder. The evil crooked smile on her lips. Her high cheek bones and slender face. She was beautiful and homicidal.
"I'm Lorena." She smiled wider and pulled back. "I figure that if I'm going to kill you then we might as well be on a first name basis." A crazed cackle erupted from her mouth.
Lorena shined the flashlight all over Morgan before placing it on the countertop by the candles. "You look like a snobby rich girl. I bet you were, before daddy's little habit got you in too deep."
"Don't talk about my father that way." Morgan hissed, immediately regretting it. At the sight of Lorena's small facial twitch and the fire burning in her crazed eyes, any courage Morgan had shrank away.
"Excuse me, little girl." She straightened up and pulled something out of her pocket. Suddenly, cool metal was leaning against Morgan's jaw line, tilting her head up. "You do not talk to me that way." The knife nearly broke skin as Lorena pushed it just a touch harder into Morgan's face, but she pulled back. It was hunter's knife. A murder's knife. The blade was sleek and sharp. Fear paralyzed Morgan and she closed her eyes as Lorena let out another cackle.
"How much money id you get when mommy and daddy kicked the bucket?" Lorena's tone was light and conversational, mocking Morgan. She couldn't reply; she was frozen. Lorena's eyes darted over the room. "Enough to pay for college and a nice place to stay, huh? I guess murder pays off." She paused. "I can almost guarantee that it would've been enough to pay off the rest of the Geffen debt. You know, we'd have scratched your name off the list if you'd have paid us off. We'd actually almost forgotten about you, and it would've stayed that way if you hadn't squealed."
"But I –"
"Shh." Lorena pressed the knife to Morgan's lips, silencing her. "I'm talking, not you."
"Please, just kill me." Morgan whispered as Lorena pulled back the knife. Tears were beginning to poke out of Morgan's eyes. Death was so close, why was she continuing to toy with Morgan? The teasing was just too much.
Lorena's tone lowered as she leaned close to Morgan again. "Do you wanna know what happened when your parents died? Wanna hear all the details?"
"Please," Morgan couldn't get out her "no." She shuddered and closed her eyes.
"If you insist." Lorena giggled, sadistically. "I caught your father totally off guard. I snuck in the front door, which was unlocked. Too trusting, your parents were. Anyway, I slunk up the stairs. He thought I was you. Called down saying, 'Morgan, that you? How was your night with your friends?'" Lorena paused to laugh. "He came out of the bedroom and saw me, not you. He stumbled backward into the room, falling on the bed. Then, I stabbed him, right in the chest, with this knife actually. He didn't fuss much, just faded right way. It was your mother who was more difficult. She stepped out of the bathroom just as the knife plunged into your father's chest. She screamed bloody murder." Lorena laughed at her pun. Morgan nearly threw up at the thought of her father's murder weapon pressed against her face and mouth. "It really pissed me off when she opened her mouth. I shoved her and she hit the ground with a thud. She whimpered and moaned as I got closer, she pleaded for her life. She sat up and leaned against the bed, crying. I turned and took a few steps away. In hindsight I think I gave her false hope. She probably thought I was going to let her go. She let out a sigh of relief as my finger pulled back on the trigger." Lorena sighed. "Poor girl."
Morgan felt dizzy and nauseous. It was miracle that she hadn't vomited yet. Lorena leaned forward again so that her lips were nearly touched Morgan's ear
"Wanna hear how you're going to die?" She whispered. "Or do you just want to feel it?"
Morgan whimpered, tears gliding down her face. Lorena pulled back and stared at Morgan, studying her. Suddenly, her eyes narrowed, focusing on the tears. Then she became angry, slapping Morgan.
"Don't cry. It's weak." She hissed. Then Lorena retreated to the living room, when she reappeared she had a dark bag. She pulled out a gun, setting it on the counter, another knife, some rags, more rope and finally a roll of duct tape. She smiled at the tape and threw everything else in the bag. In a moment of indecision she grabbed the gun and stuffed it into her jacket pocket. She sliced off a piece of tape and slapped it on Morgan's mouth.
Lorena smiled at Morgan and grabbed her neck with one hand, with her thumb pressing against Morgan's jaw she leaned her face upward. Their eyes locked, Morgan's were screaming in terror and Lorena's were viciously savage, aching for the kill. Morgan's eyes widened as the blade inched closer to her face, she screamed beneath the tape but was to terrified to move. Lorena sliced the tip of the blade into Morgan's cheek, right below her left eye. It wasn't deep, but the pain was unimaginable. Blood poured down Morgan's face. She screamed and cried, the tears burned in her wound. Every facial twitch caused more pain.
It must've been visible pain too; Lorena smiled and laughed before making her way to the other cheek. Morgan shook and shivered beneath her restraints, making it difficult for Lorena to get a decent grasp on Morgan. Just as the blade pressed against the skin, Lorena's head flicked toward the door, followed by Morgan's eyes. A knock disrupted the silence of the moment. Lorena glared at Morgan, who was relieved and mortified all at the same time.
"Don't make a sound." Lorena hissed and moved toward the kitchen to grab her bag.
"Morgan?" Eric. His voice rang through the house, warming Morgan from the inside out. Morgan screamed as loud as she could, muffled by the tape. She kicked the chair backward, landing loudly on the floor. Was it enough?
"Morgan, what's going on?" The door creaked open. Eric had his own flashlight. He shined it on Morgan, moving toward her slowly. Behind Eric, Morgan saw Lorena creeping toward him. Morgan vigorously protested as he knelt next to her, shaking her head and angling toward Lorena. Beneath the tape she warned him about Lorena, who was just feet away. Eric spun around just in time to see her lunge at him. Eric jumped out of the way, letting go of his flashlight, and Lorena collided with the ground with a loud crash. She jumped up, fury gleaming in her eyes.
"You're gonna die, boy. Hope you're ready." She pulled out her knife as she moved toward Eric. In the dull light, Morgan saw the gun bulging out of her pocket. Lorena and Eric circled each other, as if in an invisible boxing ring. Fear and adrenaline fought in conflicted in Eric's eyes. He could barely process what was going on. With nothing but his size and fists on his side, Eric was at a dangerous disadvantage.
Lorena jumped toward Eric who grabbed her wrist and tried to wrestle the knife away from her. It dropped from her grasp and clattered as it hit the tile. Morgan's eyes widened as Lorena reached for the gun with her free hand. Morgan's scream came out as a muffled cough but Eric caught Lorena before she could do anything with the gun. He slammed her against the door. She groaned, but kicked Eric in the stomach. He buckled and coughed. She grabbed the gun, but Eric grabbed her leg and pulled, causing her to lose balance. Her head hit the hard tile and the gun slipped out of her hand. A moan escaped Lorena's lips, before she stopped moving. Morgan stared in disbelief. Eric kicked the gun away from Lorena and grabbed the knife, before he walked over to Morgan, fear in his eyes. He ripped the tape off her mouth, sympathy all over his face. "Thank you." She coughed, never taking her eyes off Lorena. She's not dead. There's no way.
"What happened? Who the hell was that?" Eric asked, breathing heavily as he cut off Morgan's restraints.
"I'll explain then." Morgan breathed, rubbing her wrists. "We've got to call the police." She pulled out her cell phone and called Detective Johnson. Eric pulled her up to feet. His eyes widened at the sight of her face. Morgan turned away as he rushed off to retrieve a rag. She gasped in fear when Lorena twitched.
"Get her gun." Morgan breathed anxiously.
"Morgan?" Detective Johnson finally picked up.
"Help." She squeaked.
"What's going on?"
"The killer is here. Tried to kill me. Officers, where are they?" All of her thoughts were crashing out in a rambling. She watched Eric grab the gun and toss it on the counter. Lorena let out a groan. Suddenly, the lights flickered back to life.
"Just around the corner. I'll call them now. How'd you manage to get free?" He sounded scared and shocked.
"An unexpected visitor." Morgan nearly smiled at Eric, who was wetting a cloth for her face. "Please, hurry. She's almost conscious again."
"She – who?"
"The killer. She's a woman."
"Oh, wow. Uh, okay. Bye."
Not even two minutes later, the officers burst in through the door, bumping into Lorena who lay, twitching ,on the floor. She stirred and sat up, before she could move any further the officers cuffed her. Lorena's narrowed eyes met Morgan's. "This isn't over." She hissed as the officers escorted her out. Eric came to Morgan's aid, pressing the compress against her bleeding cheek. She continued to stare at the door, even after the officers disappeared.
"Morgan?" He stepped into her line of vision. "You need to go to the hospital." The cut. She touched the compress and shuddered.
The rest of the night was a blur. From her emergency room visit, where she explained the situation to the nurse, doctor and Eric, the phone call from Detective Johnson, the mess that used to be her home, Eric tucking her into bed. It all ran together, blurry and fuzzy, like a distant memory.
Eric stayed with Morgan that night, too concerned to leave her alone. He'd laid next to her like he had so many times before. But it'd never felt so real. A realization came to him as he watched her chest rise and fall beneath the blanket. He could've lost her completely that night, what would he have done if she'd died? For once, her silence and distance didn't bother him, he was just happy she was alive.
The next morning Morgan awoke to the friendly aroma of burnt toast and crisp bacon. She stumbled out of bed and rubbed her eyes. Morgan felt as though she'd just awoken from a terrible dream. Is that all that all of this is, a dream? As she saw Eric standing in her kitchen, she wandered over to the table and plopped down in a chair. Her cheek throbbed, bringing back the memories of the previous night. Nope, not a dream.
"Good morning." Eric turned away from the stove and faced Morgan, smiling.
"Morning." Morgan half-smiled. Eric offered her a mug of coffee. She sipped it and smiled. He remembered how to make it. His eyes lingered on her cheek, concern flashing in them. She blushed and looked away, glancing at the plate of bacon next to the burnt toast. Eric sighed and returned to cooking, while Morgan stared listlessly at his back. Why did he stay? Why is he here, making me breakfast?
The sound of cracking eggs and sizzling pulled her out of her thoughts. She half-smiled before getting up to get plates. Morgan knew she shouldn't just sit around and expect to be waited on. She removed two plates from, cabinet and offered them to Eric. As he reached for them, his fingertips gently brushed over hers. Familiar electricity rocketed through their bodies like it had so many times before. Their eyes met and both opened their mouths to speak, but no words came. Eric set down the plates, breaking the stare. She turned to return to her seat, but Eric's hand grabbed onto her arm.
"Wait." He breathed and pulled her into a desperate embrace. God, I missed him.
"God, I've missed you." His voice, not her's. As if he'd read her mind. She stared up at him, hoping her eyes would admit what she couldn't. His eyes met hers, finding a familiar compassion in them. Without speaking, Morgan locked around him, not wanting to let go.
"I've missed you too." Morgan mumbled into his chest. "Eric, I can't do this without you." She pulled back and stared up at him again. This time she was nearly in tears. "I just can't. I need you."
"What do you think causes you the most stress, Morgan?" Dr. Mason asked with his usual inquisitive tone and curious expression. It was Morgan's second session with her therapist. Previously they only discussed her recent anxiety and hadn't dove into her parents' death, just talked about school and normal young adult stress.
"My parents' death." She sighed and briefly explained the circumstances surrounding her parents' murders. "It just seems to follow me in everything I do anymore. I feel their shadows everywhere and all I want to do is hide and shut down." Morgan sighed again, staring at imagined patterns in the ceiling of his office.
"Why does it – no. How does it bother you, Morgan? Their death, I mean."
"I don't know. I just feel so alone, like I'm totally lost."
"Do you feel responsible for their death?"
"Strangely, no. I don't at all, because it wasn't my fault and I know I couldn't have stopped it from happening." She looked at her therapist. "Is that wrong?"
"No, because you're absolutely right. Most survivors feel responsible because they're alive and their love ones are not, especially when the death is unexpected." His calm eyes were filled with knowledge. Morgan returned her gaze to the ceiling.
"What happened after they died? What did you do?"
"I ran." She replied. "And illegitimately assumed a new identity."
"Under this new identity did you attend your parents' funeral?" He had that doctor's tone, the one they use when they already know what you're going to say.
"No. I haven't even visited their graves. Heck, I've only been by the house once." Morgan sat up on Dr. Mason's couch and met his eyes.
"Perhaps you haven't said goodbye. You haven't let go of the pain or of them." He said so simply, like Morgan should've known it all along. He nearly smiled at the realization in her eyes.
"Are you sure you want to go alone?" Eric asked from the driver's seat. Morgan stared at her parents' head stones that were just a few graves away. Being there was eerie and calming all at the same time. She nodded, unable to speak and leaned over to kiss his cheek. He sighed before smiling.
"Okay, go." Eric was the best boyfriend Morgan could've ever wanted. He'd driven an hour and a half just to watch her sit at her parents' graves.
Morgan closed the door of the car before slowly moving toward the graves. Anxiety ate away at her. With every step she wanted to take two in the opposite direction.
Finally, she was there. Morgan dropped to her knees on the fresh spring grass. She stared at the headstones, almost crying. "Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad." She squeaked. Like they're going to reply, Morgan. Then a light breeze blew her hair in her face. Somewhere, they were listening. "I'm sorry that I didn't come sooner or stay with you guys. I should've been at the funeral or come sooner, but I didn't and I wasn't there. I was scared. I'm always scared these days. Constantly terrified, what a way to live, huh?" Morgan paused, wiped away her tears and smiled. "I'm seeing someone now. Mom, you'd really like him. He's just amazing. I really love him. Daddy, he treats me like an angel, so don't be upset." Morgan sighed, thinking out what she wanted to say. Tears cascaded down her face. She sniffled loudly. "I really miss you guys. It's been so hard not having you guys around. I've been trying to figure everything out all by myself; it's so hard without you guys. My doctor says that I struggle a lot because I never said goodbye to you. I guess it has something to do with closure. So that's what I'm doing, I guess. I'm saying goodbye and letting go of my pain." Morgan sniffled again and tried to smile. "Goodbye, Mom. Goodbye, Dad." She barely choked out. "I love you." It was nearly inaudible. She slowly rose and headed back to the car. She slid into the passenger seat and Eric handed her a pack of tissues.
"I love you." He smiled and pressed his lips to her forehead. Morgan's heart throbbed, her eyes ached and her throat burned, but beneath the surface pain was growing relief.
Morgan would return to their graves. At first, monthly and gradually it would ease into annually. Always decorating their graves with flowers, she'd smile as the tears clouded her eyes but she never spoke. Her goodbye had really been goodbye.