Epilogue: The End
Ardeth taught me how to control my invisibility.
And because of that, I had front row seats to my family standing before my grave. I politely nodded to Beatrice and Trinity, including Chihiro who was off at the distance, before giving my whole attention to the family before my tombstone.
The director of the cemetery apologized profusely for the lack of discipline his night watchers had, imploring for the family not to beg the small cemetery owned business. My family didn't respond. The man sighed and handed my father his business card in case there was anything else they had concerns about.
After the man left, my mother collapsed to her knees. My father knelt down, joining her in her tears as she sobbed heartbrokenly.
"Annette," my mother said in her hoarse voice. "I'm so, so, sorry, Annette."
For a moment, I had almost forgotten what my parents had looked like before I met them here.
My mother's beautiful pale face was twisted in agony, lips (which was highlighted in a nice red color) open in a wiggled-line triangle, which can only be defined as pure torture. Other than the obvious display of wretched grief, I was the exact replica of my mother. Her lips were thinned with age, smudged from her crying fest. Crows feet and wrinkles on her forehead were accentuated as she continued to grow old with age. She was still the same elegant lady she had been her whole life; attending to my grave with clothing that would make the First Lady proud.
My father was a different case. Where my mother was dainty and elegant, my father looked like he had worked in a butcher's shop. He was huge, wide and beefy, like a back liner. I used to swing on his arms for the simple feeling of pleasure, much like one would with a swing. His dark hair reminded me of Superman, glasses of the hipsters nowadays.
They made an odd couple, but a beautiful one nonetheless.
"Annette," my mother cried. "Oh, my baby."
Dederick, who had been saved a week ago, was suffering from nightmares. I visited him in his sleep from time to time, soothing away the darkness, but my limited powers can only do so much. His eyes were decorated with dark smudges and he was constantly whimpering when strangers drew too close for comfort.
He was not crying, nor in grief because he didn't have the chance to know me as his older sister.
Where he would cry, Anneliese should be. But instead, her identical eyes were shifting from side to side as if waiting for something to appear.
And I knew what she was looking for.
I dropped my invisibility for a moment, allowing Anneliese a glimpse before disappearing once again. Her eyes were huge when she briefly saw my image and it made me smile to see the corner of her lip tugging upwards despite my parent's sadness.
Because she knew the truth, Anneliese was not saddened by my disappearance.
"I miss you," she mouthed towards my general direction.
And with that, I left.
My family had been notified of my empty, open grave as soon as it had caught national news. It was the one and only reason why they were back here in America, the land that had stolen their daughter from their warm arms. And it was the land that had brought back justice to the murderers who had taken the innocence from me and given misfortune to the family.
I was finally at rest.
Throughout the years of my Guardianship, I had adjusted to my new life accordingly.
The other Guardians made sure to answer my every question and guide me as one would with a trainee at a burger joint. We had our laughs and we had our tears, but the Guardian Angels of this community was my new family, the family who will have my back to never after.
And throughout that time, I was with Alrik, at all times.
After the gunshot, Karl was dead. Both brothers were fighting for the gun, viciously and quickly throwing each other off course to a point where they didn't know what was going on anymore. And with that, Karl accidentally shot himself to the head, instantly cleansing the world of his existence.
Alrik was sad at this prospect and sobbed many tears over Karl's death, but it was for the better.
Norway had contacted the police and kept a close watch to my sister when I had dropped her off at his house. And after that, he quickly called Ardeth.
Ardeth was less than happy with the events. In fact, all he wanted to do was kill Alrik. But I refused to allow him to do so.
Alrik was my charge; therefore, I must protect him.
And with that, I left the under wing of Ardeth and moved into my new house, joining my old soul with Alrik so that we were together once more.
I had broken the rules of the Guardian Angels, and in that I suffered the consequences despite my happiness. I grew up with Alrik and thought that our lives and love would be eternal. My powers were immediately stripped from me and my name was blacklisted. I had fallen in love with a human and allowed it to go so far that the other Guardians were not allowed to speak to me.
It hurt to lose their friendship to something I felt so great about, but I wanted Alrik above all things.
Why I was allowed to stay was a mystery.
Unfortunately, my eternal love and devotion to the boy, the man who had become a plumber passed away in his sleep at the age of 48 from a heart attack.
I mourned for him for a lifetime, crying in my bed and sobbing at the removal of my beautiful tiger.
There would be no more 'baby-face Annette', no more gentle caresses in the morning, or random bouquets of flowers in a vase (Norway had gotten for my birthday in secret) down the hallway. There was going to be no more of old Alrik grumpily watching his football games, nor of the young man who played the guitar for me, crooning his love songs that never made fame nor fortune to the world; but it did to my heart.
Never will I see my strong tiger, never again.
The pain of it continuously struck me in the heart, stabbing my brain with pain and remembrance of the man I fell in love with.
Alrik Parnevik was dead.
At his death, the council sent me a letter, asking whether or not if I was to accept my role as a Guardian Angel once again. Because I had nothing to care for anymore, I took the offer and was reversed from my 51-year-old stage to the original body I had entered this world with.
Along with that, Ardeth came back to my life.
It was somewhat reassuring that nothing changed. Ardeth was still constantly coddling me like a mother hen, smoothing my hair behind my ears from time to time, and feeding me like a mother would to a child. This time I wasn't oblivious to his advances as I was before.
"Why do you do this?" I had asked.
He merely stared at me with eyes so soft it pained me to look into.
"Because," he simply said.
And that was that.
Where Alrik was my puppy love, Ardeth was my mature love.
There was a magnet inside the both of us, pulling each force together despite me fighting everything within me against it. But it wasn't enough. Ardeth was constantly following me, leaving small presents and giving me aid to a point where it was impossible to ignore him. We then called a truce to our growing love and placed everything aside so that we could tend to our garden with affection and trust. And though there was something that bothered me about it, I hadn't let it come to thought until recently.
It wasn't until later, when we had become an item (which was blessed by everyone and anyone) and had gotten into a rather nasty fight, did he reveal everything.
Ten years prior to my rebirth, something had happened to cause Ardeth to do a complete one-eighty.
It was I.
He had been my Guardian Angel, and my death had affected him greatly.
Ardeth was sobbing, burying his face into my lap as he retold the story from his point of view. He was assigned to the neighborhood and immediately taken a liking to my spunky nature. Though he had his responsibilities and tasks to complete, he did so and visited me every so often. He was basically another uncle, watching me from when I was a child till I had attended high school.
And through all these years he blamed himself for my death.
"I shouldn't have gone out with my friends," he said.
The Guardian Angels of the community were celebrating one of the Fathers from the Catholic churches birthdays and decided to hit up a bar for the old toot. Despite his reluctance, Ardeth had joined the group, singing high ho's to the priest and spoiling him with presents and laughter.
It wasn't until the next morning did Ardeth heard from the news, as he went to purchase coffee from Starbucks from the recent hangover, of my missing body.
And when the investigation closed, he mourned like no other.
"I'm sorry, Annette,"he cried. "I'm sorry I wasn't there to protect you."
He had given me protection and security my whole life until that horrid day, and because of that, he punished himself to an interminable hell and signed up for the roll of the Grim Reaper.
During the whole time of his story telling, my fingers were brushing through the locks of his blond hair in comfort, never stopping even when he had gone to the point of my death. I continued brushing back his hair, scraping my fingernails lightly against his scalp as he sobbed, burying his face into my belly. I felt the wet tears through my shirt, rubbing against my skin as if pleading for my forgiveness.
I said nothing and remained with the action of comforting him.
With that confession, the rest came.
Since I was a child, something drew him towards me like a moth with flame. And it was illegal in the guidebooks of Guardian Angels to come near a human with any intention of friendship or romance in the ye old days. And once I was reborn from the dead, Ardeth took the position of a mother/brother/uncle/father/friend/lover/etc just to come close to me.
He knew he was losing the battle against my ward, Alrik, and he submitted to it.
He out of three others (who ended up becoming Norway, Nadimah, and Chelsea/Chester) had stood up to the council and fought against them with every means necessary to allow me to live my life of love, which had been stolen from me by my ward's brother. The council had stated the only reason why I felt this feeling of 'love' was because of Alrik's blood and spit on my headstone, which gave me a closer connection.
But even with these facts, Ardeth wanted me to experience my love and go on with it.
"She deserves it," he defended.
They allowed the consequences of my stolen powers and aging body, but pleaded for them to give me a second chance once the human died.
My life was like a rollercoaster. It went through twisting roads, dipping whines only to reach up to the peak of its pleasure and stay there for eternity.
Here I was, basking in the sun with Ardeth. Our hands were clasped together, bodies side by side on the pool deck as we watched the children of the community screech with laughter and glee.
He wrapped his arm around me, pulling me closer to his warm body and landed a chaste kiss to my forehead.
"Why?" I asked, skimming my lips to the knuckles on the back of his hand.
"Because," he merely said.
With that, we sat there quietly, enjoying the life surrounding us and soaking in the vitality of the humans walking around; me in my blue-white pokadotted bikini and him in his leopard-printed speedo I relentlessly teased him the week before.
Ardeth leaned down, nibbling at my earlobe and secretly relishing my giggles. "My real name is Sebastian." He whispered softly, so softly that I thought I had imagined it.
"Hello, Sebastian," I grinned teasingly. "I'm Annette."
The Grim Reaper took my offered hand and kissed the back of it. "I love you so much, Annette." The words were soft, playing with the strings of my heart as it expanded with the affection and tenderness coming from him.
"And I, you."
This story is finally finished! (: There wasn't much romance going along, but it was still some here and there, haha! I wanted to concentrate on Annette more rather than the whole mushy mushy love me stuff, lol. And now that it's finished, I can sob in the corner of my room as I must prepare myself to write and complete "Shadow Boxer".
I wasn't planning on finishing the epilogue today, but something in me screamed to finish. So, I did.
With that, "My Wolf Boy" shall be updated next. I'll try to make it longer than twelve pages to relent to the rabid fans of its long been updates D:
Once "Shadow Boxer" is finished, I will juggle all the stories with updates once more (: I NEED TO COMPLETE ALL MY STORIES! ARGH NO MORE UPLOADING NEW ONES! Though, I am somewhat tempted to upload a one-shot (grinning). BUT NO!
Thank you all for supporting the story till the end! You're all my lovely reviewers and I would go nowhere without you! ;D
Much love xoxo
das Ende – means 'the end' in German