It really isn't all that morbid.

I mean, I guess I'm more surprised that it's not because I expected it to be. Everyone's wearing black and holding tissues and pouring their hearts into them. And I'm not. Should I be crying my eyes out, too? Should I be blowing my nose and hiccuping and gasping for air? Should I be choking back a thousand sobs and blinking back tears?

I don't know if I should because I keep having these thoughts. Maybe that's my problem. Maybe I think too much...

No. Thinking is good. At least that's what I like to think.

It's my turn next, after my aunt says her farewells. I feel really bad for her. She's all alone now. She looks so frail and weak in her long black dress. Vulnerable. Her walls are down. Everyone has seen her mourn. That's the easiest time to see into someone's soul. Maybe that's why I feel bad. Maybe I feel bad that nobody can see through me like they can see through her.

She takes hours saying goodbye to her daughter. But it's alright, because she deserves to.

I can hear my mom, my dad and my sister crying behind me. Do they think it's rude how I'm not crying? Will everyone hate me after the funeral? Or maybe they're already hating me.

Finally it's my turn. I walk up slowly, carefully, as if I'm walking on a thin sheet of glass over water, and I don't want to splash in because I'm wearing such a pretty dress. When I'm done with this dress I'm going to bury it in the back of my closet, just like how my cousin will be buried. Who will be buried deeper? My cousin or my dress? I'll never know.

She looks peaceful. It's all I think about this time. Definitly more peaceful than me at the moment. I'm not jealous. I like the cool fresh air in my lungs. But I want peace. Maybe that's all I've ever wanted.

Her hair is sprawled out like a fan behind her, and for once her foundation matches her skin tone perfectly. She had never been able to find the correct foundation. Apparently they didn't make a foundation color as white as she was. Her eyelashes are perfectly seperated, not clumply like how they always used to be when she was alive. I want to touch them. They will probably feel like rolly poly legs.

I touch my own eyelashes. They're sticky with cheap mascara. I hear sniffles behind me. They're trying to tell me to hurry the hell up. I look down at my cousin one last time. She was my best friend when we were younger. I don't know when we grew apart. I don't know why she killed herself. I wish I had known. I wish she had reached out.

I whisper goodbye, send a quick prayer up in the sky somewhere and shuffle back to my seat. I wonder where the prayer will go. I wonder if it will be answered.

I ask Him if he will make me cry.


"Well that was certaintly nice."

Yeah, it was, I think. But I don't say it. I'm too tired to talk.

"Very. I just...I'm still just wondering why she killed herself." My dad says. I can't see his lips moving because my eyes are closed. He's driving. I hope he's still looking at the road and not tearing up again. It must be hard to drive with your eyes blurry.

"Maybe it's better if we don't know." My older sister murmurs.

I peek one eye open to see my parents' reactions. My mom turns around in her seat and looks at my sister. "But it would give some closure to everyone. I think that's what everyone needs right now."

Of course that's what we need. It's what I need. I have to know or else I might die, myself.

"You've been quiet, Ava. Everything alright?" She's looking at me now. I open both my eyes.

Peachy, mom. One of my childhood best friends just commited suidice and I'm perfectly alright. Thanks for asking.

"Um...yeah." It's not completely a lie. I mean, I don't look depressed. I don't look deep in thought. And that's the best part of thinking, you know. Nobody knows how much you're thinking or what you're thinking about or how much you're thinking about what you're thinking about.

"I know this must be hard for you."

You do? Because I thought I put up a pretty good charade.

"Um...well, it's still just soaking in, y'know."

"I understand. Now get some sleep. We have a long ride home." It's one of the best things she's said all night. I fluff my pillow before leaning back against it on the window again and shutting my eyes.

Only two more hours and 21 minutes and 15 seconds until we're back in Los Angeles again.


My bedroom is stuffy, so I open a window when I enter and blast the fan to blow the air out. I walk over to dresser and check my phone. I forgot to bring it with me to Palm Springs. There are only three new texts over a course of two whole days. It doesn't exactly phase me.

It's just my friend Stacy asking to borrow a dress for Veronica's New Years Eve party. Which I wasn't invited to. Which I don't care about.

I tell her yes and to come by my house tomorrow and then I turn off my phone. I figure she'll come in the late afternoon, sleeping is everything to her.

I am about to collapse on my bed when my mom shouts for me to come out into the living room. I let out a loud sigh (I enjoy being melodramatic when nobody's around) and slump out into the living room.

"Someone's at the door for you." She tells me, then winks at me and walks away. My mom only winks when it's a boy, or when it's some bitch who wants to apologize to me. A fake apology, of course, but bitches love having connections with everyone.

I take only a few seconds to make sure I look presentable before I swing open the door. I'm still wearing my short, black funeral dress, and I set a timer in my brain to remind myself to bury it later.

It's a boy. No, not a boy. A guy, I should say. Boys look younger. He's wearing all black. Jeans and a shirt. I want to laugh. We're matching. Even his hair is black.

"Hey." He says.

I don't know him. I don't know what to say.

"Uh,"

"Oh, sorry, I forgot. I'm Leo, Veronica's boyfriend."

I nod my head. I don't want to be rude and say "What do you want?!", althought, I'm tempted to, because he is Veronica's boyfriend, after all.

"You're Ava, right?"

Another nod.

He sticks his hands in pockets. This is the most awkward conversation I've had lately. Other than the conversations I've had in my own head with myself, but I suppose I'm pretty used to my own awkwardness by now.

"Veronica sent me to invite you to her party."

"Holy shit."

Crap, did I say that outloud?

"Is something wrong?" He looks generally concerned, but if I were him, I'd be laughing. Just to relieve the awkwardness.

"No," Yes, "Nothing's wrong. Thanks."

I should have laughed and made it into a hilarious joke. Then maybe we would've become friends. Friendship starts with laughing, doesn't it? My cousin and I always used to laugh, and we were best friends. Emphasis on were. But, then again, I'm not sure I want to be friends with Veronica's boyfriend. You have to be a bitch to like a bitch.

Wow. I judge people too much.

"So do you think you'll go?"

I don't have to think twice before shaking my head furiously. Is he crazy? Does he not know what happened between us? He raises his eyebrows in puzzlement and I take it as a sign to explain.

"I'm not exactly close with her anymore...so I'm a bit surprised she even invited me. Why did she invite me?"

He shrugs. I bet he is completely unaware of what a snob his girlfriend is. In fact, I think inviting me is all part of her big plan to humiliate me or do something to me. She must think I'm an idiot. Why would I even consider going to her party after what happened?

"Maybe she just wants to be closer to you again." He suggests.

I want to laugh loudly in his face. It's the funniest joke I've heard all day.

"I'm sorry to completely debunk your idea, but I'm pretty sure that's not what she has in mind."

He chuckles, even though I was completely serious. I don't even know if you can even joke around about such a subject.

"Care to tell me what happened, then?"

I open my mouth to speak, but I'm not sure again what to say. Should I tell him? Or should I say goodbye and shut the door in his face? I chose the latter.

Of course, not before he gently grabs my elbow and pulls me back. I collide with his chest with a soft 'oof' and look up at him. I just met him and I am already so close to him. I don't think we could be any closer. But, the thing is, I don't really mind. Something about this feels right. I just can't explain it.

"You seem like a nice girl, Ava. And it's obvious you and Veronica used to be really close. I just think it would be really great if you guys became friends again, don't you?"

I push him away and beat him down in the bushes. I take his cell phone, delete Veronica from his phone book, then throw it across the street.

"Hello?"

Oops, back to reality. "Sorry...uh," I think of what to say, " I don't think so." He lets me go, finally giving in. I guess he just wasn't that interested in making us friends again. I step back into my doorway and off the porch.

"There's a reason for everything, you know. And, if the Universe didn't mean for us to be friends, then we shouldn't mess with that."

He laughs. "Everybody deserves a second chance."

I ponder this for a while. It's true, I suppose. Under the right circumstances, that is. I don't say that outloud, though, for the fear that he might think I'm too stubborn. But why would I care? He's Veronica's boyfriend.

"So are you going to come?" He interrupts my thoughts.

I vote yes. He's so hot.

I freeze.

I can't move. I can't think. I don't know what's going on. And, for the first time in a long while, I'm deadly scared.

Those weren't my thoughts.

"What's wrong?" Leo asks me, but I'm still frozen in the doorway. I move my finger an inch, just to see if I'm not paralyzed. I feel my body loosen and relax a bit. I shake my head and rub my eyes, hoping I can forget about what just happened. Nope, not happening.

"Yeah, uh, I'm not going to the party. Sorry you had to come all the way out here just to ask."

You better be sorry. Look at his cute, sad face.

I jump back out of the doorway into my house. My heart is racing again. Leo must think I'm going crazy or something, but that doesn't matter the most at the moment. These thoughts in my head...they're not mine, and I'm sure of it. I can hear the voice echoing throughout my head, and it's not a characteristic of my own thoughts.

My own thoughts just come and go. But, these thoughts ring in my head. As if I'm having a conversation with someone.

"Uh...it's no problem." There's finally a hint of awkwardness in his voice, and I feel a little better knowing I'm not the only one who feels awkward. Although I'm pretty sure the only reason he feels awkward is because I look like I'm having a seizure.

"Well thanks. See you around." I start inching the door shut as he waves and walks away. When he's out of site, I slam it, lock it, and collapse on the floor in a heap.

What is happening to me?

"What's wrong, honey?" My mom asks frantically, running up and kneeling down next to me. I pull my head out of my hands and shake my head.

"I'm fine, I'm fine. Don't worry." I stand up, just for the heck of relieving her suspicions of anything being wrong with me, and smooth my dress down. "Something weird just happened."

"What?"

I contemplate telling her about the voice in my head, but she'll think I've gone crazy and sent me to a mental ward or something. Especially right after Adele's funeral. Plus, I didn't cry, so that might add on to it. So, I take the easy way out.

"Veronica just invited me to her party."

My mom stares at me for a minute, then starts laughing. "Huh. That is weird." Then she walks away with a strange smile on her face.

When I know for a fact that nobody else is in the room with me, I run my hands through my hair and sigh. "I'm going mad." I whisper to no one in particular.

Not even the slighest bit.