Afterlife (chap9)

Also known as Dark Angel and Her Prince

I opened the door and I’m taken to Wake Up Buttercup Café. Shay is leaning on the railing of the balcony watching her daughter, Scarlett, play. Her mind struggled in the distance with a thought. The world clouded with haze.

“Don’t lurk around me like a creep. Show yourself. Give me at least that,” Shay said as her eyes scanned the surrounding space. 

My transparency became a solid form which made Shay gasp and cover her mouth with her hands. 

“Hi,” I said, my hand moved side-to-side like I’m the topper to a fucking parade float. 

“You still look the same, like you never aged.”

“Yeah, death seems to be the real anti-aging cream,” I said with a nervous laugh. I saw a partial smile on Shay’s face and realized how gracefully she aged. Her blonde hair pulled back in a low bun, her makeup natural, and her clothes mommy chic style. 

“See you haven’t lost your smart-ass humor. Why are you here on this day?”

I felt like I was trying to get a good-sized jawbreaker down my throat, as harsh as my swallow sounded. 

“Even those we leave behind need to close a door, Shay. I’m here because you called me. Not through words, but emotions.”

Shay shook her head and looked towards the ocean.

“Today is the anniversary of his death. What am I to mourn when only a piece of him is buried beneath a headstone nobody cares for? He’s alone with only us to show him love in death. Do you know what they did with his body?”

When you choose to be a member of a crime organization, betrayal is looked upon differently. Drew no doubt was a great husband and father, but he forgot his place. We all tried to take back control of our lives, but no one escapes the consequences. 

“Our body no longer matters when we are dead, Shay. I’m sure Drew is always with you. Bringing you warmth and love on the days that are grey.”

“It matters to me! He was the love of my life, my heart and soul. He didn’t deserve such a death.” I saw the tears on her face brighten in the sun’s rays. “You were my best friend and caused me so much pain. Why, just tell me why?!”

Truth. Everyone wanted the fucking truth.

“You want the simple answer. I enjoyed it. The adrenaline rush of being on the wrong side was a drug I couldn’t stop shooting in my vein. Then there was a moment where I knew I needed to destroy the syringe before someone I loved found it,” I answered. Shay had this look I’ve never experienced before. “What happened to Drew was not on me, Shay.” 

“No. You don’t get to excuse yourself from this. It took me a long time to accept my best friend was dead long before her body was. No way would my friend be so selfish and twisted to do what she had done. She would have stayed and loved her child, never letting pride get in the way. She would have survived and made sure we were all okay.” 

It always hurts to hear the hatred in between the words. The pain aimed straight to my pathetic heart.

“There was no other way, Shay. I knew in the depth of my soul you would be safe or else I would have put a bullet right between Drew’s eyes the moment I found out who he was.” I paused when her eyes struck mine. It needed to be said. All of it.  “Your skin was thin, and your heart was pure. You would’ve tried to save me, and you know I wouldn’t allow it. Never, no matter how screwed up I made things, would you let my daughter suffer. I knew you would be the glue holding it together.”

“I hate you, selfish bitch. You never let me say goodbye and you created a hell storm.”

I watched Shay’s beautiful daughter play in the sand and even through all the pain caused, the shining light was right in front of us.

“There is an angel in her and in the sky. Life may have taken from you, but it has given you a precious gift of being a mother. Fuck all the other bullshit. Look at how she needs you, the unconditional love you two share. I’ll never have that, but it’s a fault of my own. I love you, Shay, like you loved the raspberry cheesecake chocolate delight here years ago.”

Shay wiped the tears from her face and then clocked me in the arm. “At least I’m not drier than the Sierra Desert. How are those cobwebs, by the way?!”

No, laughter wasn’t a sign of forgiveness or a wave to take away the pain I had caused. It was a moment of stepping back into time to a memory where the only thing we worried about was the opposite sex and a delicious dessert. 

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