There was an awkward air hanging in the room when everyone arrived at Raven's place. Bryson and Spandel were upstairs talking privately, while Jasper hadn't come at all. Keily was sitting with Raven and Vanemy, the three friends catching up, Christopher was off in the kitchen eyeing the food with Lily sitting at the table looking out the window. Kirron was around as well, though he'd gone outside for a moment alone in his car.
Valerian could be found in the corner of the living room where Oliver was sat alone. The turquoise-eyed male was resting his head to the side as he curled up in the armchair and looked dolefully at the pictures Raven had framed on the wall. Valerian had come up and sat down beside him, he felt a bit bad for what had happened earlier with him and Jasper. Even if it was a short exchange, it was easy to tell Oliver had grown upset over it. Oliver lifted his head with a smile as Valerian sat down, "hey." He spoke, his head moving to lean on his leg, which was propped up with his arms hugging it.
"Hey," Valerian noted that for once the boy didn't look exhausted and the dark that was normally present under his eyes seemed to be fading. "You look good." he noted, "you don't look like your ready to pass out." He smiled with a small laugh.
"I've actually been sleeping really good lately." He explained, "I've been feeling really good too, at least, as good as I can feel on a day like this."
"I get the feeling. I don't want to be all sad because I know they'd want me to be happy, especially Emily, but at the same time it's hard not to feel down." Oliver nodded in agreement. "So...you didn't know that Jasper asked Spandel to marry him last year?" Oliver's pale cheeks grew red and he buried his face in his knee.
"No" he admitted shamefully, "I..after that first year I just fell out of it with everyone. I feel so stupid for not knowing…" he looked back up. "I wasn't there for anyone, I was only concerned with myself and my relationships with everyone suffered because of it."
"At least you understand." Valerian offered his words, "it'd be worse if you didn't get what you did wrong." Oliver nodded.
"That's kind of what my therapist told me the other day."
"You've been going?" He said in slight surprise. Keily had always said that he didn't want to go.
"Yeah...I hate going though. I feel so nervous just sitting there and talking about everything, but with all this guilt I feel I need to make it feel better somehow."
Valerian gave a slow nod, "guilt?" He asked, "about how you've been acting?" He questioned with slight confusion. Oliver's eyes widened slightly as if he hadn't meant to mention anything about guilt. He glanced around nervously, "well I guess it's not really guilt, more a sick feeling I get when I think about something…" His voice was quiet and unsure if he should say anything more. "I just…"
Valerian's hand found his back reassuringly, "you can tell me if you want, I won't tell anyone else."
"Will you tell Kirron?" he asked suddenly, "he'd be so mad at me, I don't know if…" Valerian bit his cheek gently, he wasn't sure if he really could keep something from Kirron, especially since it sounded like Kirron should know about it.
"I'll try." He admitted. "But you know Kirron and I don't keep secrets from each other." Olivia nodded, saying that he understood.
"Well" his voice dropped, "do you remember when the police got that call about their bodies being in the forest, but the caller didn't leave a name or stay around?" Valerian hummed with a nod, raising an eyebrow at what exactly Oliver want getting at. The other boy clutched the edge of his seat, his nail digging into the fabric. "I made the call." He spoke, just barely above a whisper. "I found them."
Valerian was quiet for a long moment. "How…?"
"I was walking one of the dogs from the shelter, but he got away and ran into the forest. I chased after him and when I found him I also found...all that blood and…" Oliver looked like he was about to get sick.
"It's okay Oliver, you can-"
"There was so much blood…" he whispered, his eyes a bit glossy as he seemed to space out as he stared intently at the floor.
Oliver's panting had come to a stop as he hand grabbed the leash. The retriever had stopped running, his nose buried in the snow as Oliver caught up to him and seized the leash that had been torn from his gentile hold just a few moments earlier. The raven-haired male looked to the golden dog with a tired look in his eyes. "It's too early for this." He grumbled, reaching to pet the dog, but he stopped as the canine picked his head up from the snow. There was an old pack of cigarettes in his mouth, prompting Oliver to tear it from his jaws and toss it away; however, when he looked to where it had landed he saw it all.
Red painted the delicate white snow. His eyes grew big at the sight of crimson stains in the mess of disturbed snow, on one of the trees, in pools around two unmoving bodies. He shook at the sight and began to back away, stumbling to fall back with a terrified expression gracing his features. He tore his eyes away from the scene, looking up at the grey sky for a moment before he felt his body lurch forward slightly. His eyes watered at the feeling of his breakfast stirring in his stomach with an ache. He turned to his hands and knees, eventually getting to just his knees. He covered his mouth as he heaved and whined at the feeling of getting sick on the spot.
His eyes were wet, his stomach empty, and his body trembling. He got up slowly, the back of his hand covering his mouth. In the corner of his eyes, he saw the very faint movement of one of the bodies. Brooklyn's hand gently groped at the snow, as if she were trying to move. Oliver searched wildly for his phone but found that he'd left it back at the animal shelter. He jumped up quickly, turning to run, however, he looked at Brooklyn for a quick second, "I'll get you help!" He spoke before dashing off. The closest phone as an old pay phone in the market's parking lot. He called but refrained from leaving his name and when the sound of sirens could be heard in the distance he grew spooked, soon turning to leave.
"I feel sick…" Oliver spoke as rubbed his head, "seeing it...it's always eaten at me."
"I'll get you some water." Valerian offered and stood up, leaving Oliver to look down with an uneasy stomach. When Valerian got to the kitchen he found that Raven and the other girls had moved in there to sit with Lily and talk.
"Hey!" Raven smiled, "I haven't gotten to talk to you, Valerian."
"I know, I've been...occupied talking to the others." Valerian grabbed a class and moved to the sink. Raven rested her chin on her hand as she watched.
"Yeah, you've been talking to Oliver for a while now, what are you two doing? Sharing secrets?" She joked.
Valerian turned with a slightly nervous smile and chuckle, "something like that."
Raven looked at Keily and then back to Valerian, "sooo, how is Oliver anyways?"
"Good," Valerian answered, ignoring the fact that the boy looked ready to get sick. "He actually feels really bad about how he's been acting the past few years. It's actually kind of uplifting to see him acting the way he used to before their deaths." Keily looked up for a second, a bit of interest in her eyes. Lily awkwardly shifted alongside Vanemy.
"Tell him I'm happy he's doing good." Lily, keeping her eyes adverted to the table.
"I will…" Valerian watched his girlfriends for a long moment, leaving Raven to be left in the awkward air as Kiely had left to answer her buzzing phone. Lily got up next, pulling the car keys from her bag and handing them to Valerian.
"Here, you take the car. I have to do something." She breathed.
"How are you going to get-"
"I'll take the bus." She spoke quickly, "I just need to do something before you get home." Valerian gave her a confused look, ready to question her more about what exactly she needed to do, but she was quick with giving him a kiss on the cheek and leaving.
Raven raised an eyebrow before moving over and patting the seat next to her and Vanemy, "want to talk about it?" Valerian looked to see Oliver had left his spot and what nowhere in sight, so he set the glass down and took a seat.
Meanwhile, Keily had hung her phone up as she ended her pacing down the hallway. Her brother had called to check up on her, so after giving Lucky a small update on how things at the memorial went, she told him she'd be over in just an hour or so. Keily slipped her phone away and moved to head back downstairs, only coming up for some quiet. She slowed down as one of the hallways doors opened, peeking to see if it was Bryson or Spandel finally ready to come back downstairs, however, Oliver had stepped out of the restroom with a flushed look. She thought about simply walking past him without much of a thought, but she found herself unable to when they made eye contact. She cleared her throat and tried to keep things casual, "are you okay? You look sick."
"I'm fine, I just wasn't feeling well." He admitted. "I feel better now though." Keily nodded and moved to leave, but Oliver stopped her with a small nose. He rubbed the back of his neck, "uhm- I- I understand why you broke up with me." Keily frowned, this was the last thing she wanted to talk about at the moment. "And I respect your decision, I just wanted to ask, can we still be friends?" He posed, "I don't want us to be awkward or anything, it's just a shame if we never spoke again because stupid and stubborn back then."
Keily turned with a small nod, "agreed." She stated. Despite struggling to find what exactly she wanted to say, she knew that she didn't want things to hang over them like some depressing and awkward mass. They didn't say much of anything after that, Keily could hear Vanemy calling for her, so she left. Oliver remained in the hallway with a small smile before heading downstairs to find Valerian as well
"It just feels like things between us have grown dull...like there's so much distance between us now- we've been growing apart ever since it all happened."
Raven nodded in understanding as Valerian spoke about the clear tension and awkwardness between him and Lily the past few months. "A lot of relationships go through hard times like this Valerian, but you and Lily really need to talk. You both are ignoring it."
"I haven't brought it up, because I don't want to hurt her" he admitted.
Raven stiffed a small giggle, "come on Valerian if anyone can take it's Lily. She's not fragile."
Valerian grew quiet, "I know that, but she's been different for a long time now. You know, she got rid her painting supplies a long time ago, she won't paint anymore. It's disheartening,"
"I can understand that" Raven sighed, "I think we're all a bit different now. It's weird not going out on the weekends with Brooklyn or when we go out and Emily isn't hanging off of Kirron's arm like she always did." She looked to the side with a small frown, "it's weird not having certain people around…" She avoided his name but thought of the plane ticket to Japan laying on her bedside table.
When Lily got outside she began to button her coat up, descending down the stairs while fixing her white knitted hat. She wasn't sure what had come over her, but the feeling of motivation mixed with an unfamiliar motivated warranted that it was time for her to go home. She jumped slightly as noticed Kirron still sitting in his car as she passed it on the sidewalk. The door was open and he looked like he was about to stand up, but when he saw Lily coming he learned to shove something away in the glove box. She had forgotten that he'd went out for air earlier, plus she would've figured that he'd gone back inside by now. "What are doing?" She asked, stopping to turn toward him.
He glanced at her, "what does it look like?" He asked with a hard tone making Lily frown, though not in a sad manner.
"What's wrong with you?" She questioned, making Kirron glare and try to bite back his words. Alas, he really couldn't bring himself to stay quiet as he thought about her snapping at him earlier all over again. "About earlier with Jasper-" he began.
"It's fine." She interrupted and Kirron scoffed a bit.
"I wasn't apologizing." He stated. She narrowed her eyes,
"Then what about earlier?" He watched her for a long moment, trying to think about his words despite his clouded mind. All he really could think about was how angry he was feeling towards the smaller girl at the moment.
"I don't get why you got so snippy about Jasper" he clenched his fist in aggravation, "I was defending Emily, I don't see why-"
"Defending?" Lily scoffed, "I'd say trying to start a fight while standing over her grave is more than disrespectful." Kirron bit down at her tone, sometimes she really could get bratty. Kirron stood, much taller than her, though she continued to glare up at him. They remained engaged in their little staredown of spite and aggravation. Lily's eyes wavered slightly under his gaze and eventually, she looked away. Kirron kept his hard gaze, even more, angry with she'd just said to him. However, he wasn't ready to start a full-on fight with the girl, instead, he wanted to go home and get away from everyone for a while.
Lily left, disappearing down the sidewalk, leaving Kirron to fish his phone out of his pocket and leave Bryson a short text that he was heading home.
Meanwhile, Inside Valerian found Oliver again, the said boy was picking at the small plate of food before him. Valerian set the water he'd gone to get earlier down, sheepishly apologizing for the wait.
"It's fine, thanks." Oliver slid the glass towards him, "I ended up getting sick anyways."
"Yeah, Keily mentioned that you did." Valerian sat down, thinking about their conversation earlier. "Oliver, how come you never told anyone?"
Oliver gripped his fork tighter, "well, I was scared" he spoke, "and I wanted to forget it- like I hadn't seen it in the first place. So I buried it. Didn't tell anyone and tried to forget it. It worked for a little bit too, the thoughts of blood stopped coming, but then the dreams came. I couldn't unsee it, even though I tried so hard, it wouldn't leave." He cupped the side of his head, leaning into his hand slightly. "Every night it all came back to me in Nightmares. Eventually, I knew that I had to get help for it, that I couldn't just ignore it anymore. So, I've been talking about things with the therapist. I feel better, but I still can't help but think about it...all that blood...there was so much." His voice cracked a bit, "it makes me feel so sick."
Valerian closed his eyes, he wasn't sure if he could keep this secret form Kirron or not.
When Lily got home she tore her coat off angrily and tossed it over the sofa, kicking her shoes off and leaving her bag on the kitchen chair. She leaned at the kitchen counter, buried her face in her arm as her shoulders shook and she cried lightly. She was so mad, so worked up that she could barely think of what to do with herself. So, she just stood there, shaking with silent sobs as tears spilled over from her eyes.
Eventually, she picked herself back up, though she wasn't sure how long she had stayed there crying. She flicked the lamp on to let a meager light fill the dim living room. She wandered down the hall, not really sure where she was going until she stopped in front of a door that had remained closed for a long time. She sniffed slightly, rubbing her wet eyes as she twisted the knob and pushed the door open. Her old studio sat bare, with only a few canvases remained among a few random boxes. She walked in, flipping through them until she found a blank one. She tore through one of the boxes until she found what remained of her painting supplies. A few small brushes and the basics of colors.
She sat on the floor for a long time, hands shaking as they held the brush and left streaks of pain on the once pristine canvas.