Well, everyone, it's the last chapter! Yes, it's sad, but before you grab the tissue box, I want to say how thankful I am to you all for reading and reviewing this story about love, friendship, and family. And, of course, time travel. It has been a joy to write, and I hope you all look for my upcoming stories, some of which may be about time travel.
Well, enjoy this last chapter! Thanks again for reading! =)
"Hey, miss, wake up! Hey!"
My consciousness came back and my eyes fluttered open to see a young man with blonde hair hovering over me. He wore mint green scrubs. I blinked several times, trying to process what was going on. I stared up at the young man, confused.
"Oh, thank God," he gushed. "Are you okay?"
I blinked a few times more and put my hand to my forehead. "Ow..."
"I'm so sorry," the nurse guy said. "I was hurrying down the hall and I didn't even see you." I tried to get up, but I winced at the pain in my forehead. "Stay down, alright? You were out for two minutes."
"Two minutes?" I mumbled, and that confusion filled me. "How is that possible? I was..."
I was what? Back in 1926 for several weeks when only two minutes passed here? Was 1926 all a dream?
"Do you know your name?" the nurse asked me. "Where are you now?"
"Um... Katherine. Kat," I corrected. "People call me Kat. Kat Belee." I looked around me in the hallway we were in, and I saw the cart I banged my head on. "We're in the care center."
"Yes, that's right, and... you're Kat Belee?"
He shook his head. "I'll tell you in a second. Let's get you up and into a bed and we can get something for that nasty knot on your forehead."
I nodded and he helped me up. I leaned into him as he helped into the closest room. I noticed that the room was decorated, so the room was most likely already taken, but the occupant was away. The nurse helped me lay down on the bed.
"Just lay right there for a moment, okay? While I go get you an ice pack." He let out a large sigh. "Boy, you really scared me. Thank goodness you're okay. I'll ask our doctor to come in and check to see if you had a concussion."
He left and I looked around the little room, at black-and-white pictures on a shelf. I focused on a wedding picture that looks like it was taken in the thirties.
I came back to my time in the same way that I left it. I'm not in the year 1926 anymore. It's all gone. James and Edna, Gowanda High... Robbie is gone...
My chest started to ache and hot tears fell from my eyes. I let out a sob as the nurse returned as that horrible reality came crashing down on me. He came up to me, an ice packet in his hand. Alarm came to his face. "Hey, does your head hurt? The doctor said that he would be in to check on you in a few minutes."
I shook my head. "No, I'm fine, I just... oh gosh, it's all gone..."
He sat on the edge of the bed. He put the ice pack on my forehead, and I winced at the coldness of it, but that cold felt soothing on the bump that was in the same place as it was when I first woke up in 1926.
"What is?" he asked and I held the pack to my forehead.
"Nothing. I..." I looked at him, and I noticed that he was a rather good-looking guy with shocking blue eyes, and who looked around twenty-five. The lanyard around his neck had a picture name tag hanging from it, reading Shawn Newman. He may be the male nurse that Grandma Edna was talking about the day before. "I came to see my great-grandmother Edna Belee. I need to talk to her about something. She's in room 105."
Shawn's features fell. He pursed his lips and I eyed the sad look in his eyes. Alarm shot through me. I sat up, still holding the ice pack to my forehead.
"What?" I demanded.
"Um..." He started, then met my eyes. His turned sympathetic. "This is the reason why I was surprised that you're Kat Belee. I was in a hurry coming down the hallway earlier because I was on my way to call your family."
My heart started hammering in fear. "Call my family? Why? Is Grandma Edna okay?"
He took a breath and said in a soft and apologetic tone, "Kat... I'm so sorry to tell you this, but... your great-grandmother has passed away."
My mind suddenly went blank and I stared at his face. Aching suddenly encumbered my chest, painfully. "Wh...what?"
"I'm so sorry for your loss, Miss Belee."
I stared off at a wall. Everything that I experienced with Grandma Edna in my past visits with her, and experienced with her back in 1926 suddenly flashed before me. More hot tears fell down from my cheeks. "No... no..."
My whole body started shaking, and I dropped the ice pack. My chest ached horribly as sobs escaped me, and I covered my mouth with my hands, trying to hold them in. I shook my head in denial.
"No..." I wailed through my hands, and I suddenly found myself in an embrace. I cried into green scrubs as my eyes let out tears like a running faucet. "It can't be..." I said through tears and into those scrubs, wetting them. "No, not Edna..."
I felt his hold on me tighten, and he rubbed my back. "I'm so sorry, Kat."
"She was..." I let out a sob. "...my best friend."
He nodded. "I'm sorry."
"How did she die?"
"In her sleep, I suppose. Peacefully. I came in to check on her on my morning rounds, and..."
He didn't need to finish. "Can I see her?"
He nodded. "Of course you can."
I came out of his embrace and he walked with me to Grandma Edna's room. I entered her room and I saw her there in her bed. Still. As if sleeping. And even though she was old, I still saw her younger self in her face. I looked over at her bed-side table and saw that same high school picture of her that we looked at together the day before. It was framed, next to a picture of me. I walked up to her.
"Edna..." I touched her face, and felt no life there. "I just talked to you yesterday. How could you leave me life this? I'm your best friend. We're like sisters."
More tears came and I sat on the bed next to her. "I'll leave you two," Shawn said, and he left. I heard him start talking to someone outside of the room, a man, and I guessed him to be the doctor who was going to check on me. I didn't feel like seeing a doctor at the moment, even if the bump on my head still hurt.
"Grandma..." I said, tears still streaming, and my makeup most likely a mess. "I went back to 1926. I met you and Grandpa James. And Robbie. I fell in love with him and he fell in love with me. He became a wonderful person and became so much more happy... oh, gosh, I came here today because I wanted to ask you about him and 1926. I wanted to see you, I..." I took her still and lifeless hand. "I wish I could talk to you now..."
I sat there for the next half-hour or thereabouts until my family showed up, holding grandma's hand, and talking about the fun times I had with her in 1926. I told her everything. I just hoped that she somehow heard me. I looked at her picture. If what I went through in 1926 actually happened, then she already knew. She might've known as we spent time together in our past meetings and just never said anything.
I will never really know.
"Kat, it's time to go."
I stayed sitting on my bed as my mom and my best friend Bethany stood in my bedroom doorway a week later as I held onto Edna's high school picture. My family allowed me to keep it. "I'm coming, mom."
Bethany left as mom came in and sat next to me on the bed. I continued to stare at Edna's young and beautiful face in the picture. Mom put an arm around my shoulder as I wiped away another tear. Thank goodness for waterproof mascara.
"I miss her," I said in a cracked voice, and my chest ached from the emotion. "I miss her so much, mom."
She tightened her hold on me, and she brought up her hand and wiped away another tear that fell down my cheek. "I know, honey. You two were really close."
"We were best friends. No, like sisters, just seventy-seven years apart."
She nodded, and we sat there for a few more minutes and looked at Edna's picture. I have told her and Bethany about my experience in 1926, and I have come to believe that it was all a dream. Nothing changed since I was there. That nurse Shawn even said that I was out for only two minutes. That doctor said I had a mild concussion, but not anything serious. The bump on my forehead has already healed.
I took in and let out a large breath. "Okay, I'm ready to go."
We both stood up and made our way downstairs. Bethany, who was a pretty girl my age and had stick-straight blonde hair going passed her shoulders, was talking with my dad on the couch. Since my dream, I have always seen James in his face. I missed James and everyone I knew in 1926. Both my dad and Bethany stood up from the couch and Bethany hugged me, and I hugged her back. "Ready?" she asked into my hair.
"Yes, I am."
I kept hold of her as we left the house and made it to our church building where the service was being held. I eyed the garden in front of the brick church building, blooming brilliantly with pink, yellow and white flowers. It reminded me of Sarah's mom's garden.
I gave myself a mental shake and followed my family into the church. We came into the chapel that had a large cross in the front, along with a colorful stained glass window, and a dozen rows of pews were on each side of the chapel with a middle aisle separating them. Several people were already seated, and others were up at the open casket near the pulpit. A soft hymn played from the organ as my family walked up the aisle. We all came up to the casket and I gazed down at Grandma Edna. She looked so peaceful. I couldn't believe that she was gone. At least physically.
"I love you, Grandma Edna," I said. "You were my best friend. You'll always be in my heart, I promise. I won't forget our fun times together, back then and recently."
I gazed at her for a moment longer, imagining her young, smiling face. I turned and sat down in the front pew, and Bethany and my mom sat on either side of me, both clutching each of my hands. I looked around at the congregation seated, and eyed people still coming in. I recognized friends and relatives, and many of the relatives resembled both Edna and James. I noticed some really old people as well, most likely friends from the care center. I scanned the men's faces to see if I could recognize any of them.
The service started and I turned back to the front. Who was I kidding? Robbie's not here, not even as an old man. He's in California, just as his relatives told me.
I sat through the lovely and heartfelt service, and after, there was a luncheon in the garden. It was a beautiful spring day, and the scent of all the flowers around comforted me a little. We had tables and chairs set up, but I didn't want to sit. Walking around helped me keep my composure as person after person said how sorry they were for my loss. Honestly, I didn't want to hear it again. It was just a reminder that Edna is never coming back.
After another person, a middle-aged woman I didn't know, said the very words I didn't want to hear, I walked off more into the garden, and my black heels poked into the grass as I walked. I took hold of my bare arms and hugged myself, and tears fell. I felt suffocated, and not because I wore a black thin-strapped dress that was a size too small for me.
I took a breath as I wiped away some tears, but that breath hitched when I heard footsteps in the grass behind me. I turned and saw a very old man walk up to me.
"I'm sorry to disturb you," the old man dressed in a grey suit said, his face full of wrinkles. He looked like he was probably in his nineties, and he was hooked to a little machine of some sort. It hung from a little sack that was hooked to his waist. "I suppose you and I had the same idea. I needed to get away for a moment. Edna was a good friend of mine, so this is a bit difficult for me."
That phrase was coming. I said, wanting not to hear it, even from a sweet old man, "I see. Were you a friend of hers from the care center?"
He came up closer to me, but he turned and sat on a bench near us and let out a breath, like someone would after over-exerting themselves. "No, we were friends when we were young." He looked up at me, and I noticed his blue eyes. "We were about your age as a matter of fact. And I have to say, you look so much like her. You must be her great-granddaughter."
"Yes, I am. My name is Kat Belee."
I looked away from me at the garden. It wouldn't hurt to sit with him. I did so. "I see. She told me so much about you over the phone. Your visits to her and such. She told me about the stories she told you."
I smiled sadly. "Yeah... about her high school days."
He nodded. "Yes, those were good times. I remember my high school days and after. I'd say I had a pretty good life. A loving wife and children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren..."
I nodded. "That's good to hear." We sat there for a moment longer and I eyed him. Something was familiar about him, and him saying that he knew Grandma Edna when they were my age... "May I ask your name, Sir?"
"You may. It's..."
"Hey, Grandpa! That's where you went. I've been looking for you everywhere."
The old man and I looked over and saw a young man come up to us, wearing black slacks, a white shirt and a navy-blue tie. I shot up from my seat when I saw him and shock pulsed through my system intensely.
"Don't fuss, boy," the old man said and stood up. He slapped a hand on the young man's shoulder. "This is my great-grand-nephew Randy, and believe it or not, I just met him today. He came on this trip with me from California after showing up out of the blue. I have to say, he's such a selfless and albeit handsome young man." He gave me a wink.
"You don't have to embarrass me, Grandpa," Randy said. I stared at him. I didn't know whether to cry of happiness or just plain and utter shock. Even his voice was the same!
"Well, I'm going to get one of those delicious ham and cheese sandwich rolls," said the old man and he walked away. I continued to stare at "Randy."
"How...?" I muttered, my tongue feeling heavy. "Are you...?"
Randy smirked and took a step up to me, his hands in his slacks pockets. I noticed that familiar glint in his blue eyes. "Am I... who?"
The whites of those blue eyes started to redden, and moisture appeared there. I let out a whimper and embraced him, not being able to help myself in the least. He staggered back, but I kept a hold of him, and relished in the familiarity of his nearness. He embraced me back, tightly.
"Robbie... it's you, isn't it?" I asked into his neck.
He held me so tight I could hardly breath, and he ran a hand through my wavy brown hair. "I told you I would do whatever I could to be with you. We had a deal, remember?"
Another whimper escaped me, but from sheer happiness. I looked back at his face and brought a hand up to his cheek, not believing that he was standing in front of me, holding my waist. "It really is you. How did you get here? When did you get here? Where did you wake up, even?"
He took hold of my hand and brought it to the back of his head. I felt a rather large bump, and I gasped. "One question at a time, Kat. James did me a favor and hit me in the head with a football as hard as he could. He didn't want to, but I begged him to do it." He brought my hand to his mouth and kissed the back of it. "I was desperate. After you got hit in the head that time, we took you to the nurse's office, and we looked away from you for an instant when the nurse came in, and then looked back and you were gone. Just like that. After, I went crazy with wanting to see you again. That's when I asked James to do what he did. And it worked. I woke up in a care center in California just today, and that's where I met my family and my older self, who was stayin' there. It was shocked silly. I guess I know how you felt when you met James and Enda in 1926. Some of my relatives actually look like me, especially a boy who's around my age."
I attempted to take all that in. "Holy cow. Wait, then the old man who was here just a minute ago...?"
He nodded. "Yes, he's my older self. He doesn't know who I am, and neither does the rest of my family. I just had to make up a story about me being my sister Emily's long-lost great-grandson who came about through an illegitimate child she had when she was younger. I haven't told a soul about who I really am, not yet at least. And when I heard that Edna died, and older Robbie wanted to go to the funeral, I jumped at the opportunity to go with him, and be his caretaker of sorts." He gave me a soft look and held my hand to his cheek. "I just wanted to see you, more than anything. I knew you would be at this funeral, considering how close you and Edna were." He smirked. "I was actually surprised that the family trusted me with their elderly relative, considering they met me only, what, three hours ago?"
I stared at him. I really couldn't believe this was happening. It was difficult to even comprehend it. "Gosh, Robbie, you're crazy, you know that?"
"Yeah, I am." He leaned in close to me, and he kissed the back of my hand again, which made my nerves tingle. "I'm crazy in love with you, Kat. When I saw you in that church when the service started, I about ran to you to kiss you in front of everyone, but I remembered how you don't like me to kiss you when people are around."
I smiled and gave him a loving look. "I wouldn't have minded, Robbie. I love you, and I missed you so much, more than I could miss anyone. I never ever want to be separated from you again."
"I never ever want to be separated from you again, either. I hope to stay here for the rest of my life. You know, you weren't kiddin' when you said that your time is different from mine. I was shocked. I'll have to get used to everything."
"I hope you do, Robbie. I hope you stay forever. I don't think I can be happy without you."
"I can say the same. I know you changed my life when I saw how happy my older self is." He snickered. "You won't believe who I ended up marrying."
"Give me a hint, but don't tell me."
"Alright. All of the girls in my family have blonde hair."
I nodded, having a good idea about who he was talking about. "We can talk about that and everything else later. Now, I just want to be with you and hold you and kiss you like I've wanted to for the past week that I've been home."
"I want to do that, too."
He leaned in and I felt his mouth move over mine deeply and passionately, and I instantly responded. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and his wrapped around my back as we kissed in that garden like we have never kissed before. My happiness shot up to the skies, and it was doubtful that I could ever feel this happy again. I only dreamed of this happening, of Robbie coming back to me, and in reality. This is proof that everything I experienced in 1926 actually happened. It wasn't a dream. I was really back there and was successful in improving Robbie's life. I made him happy and will continue to make him happy.
That's all that matters.