Southern Constellations

Romany Fitzgerald wishes one day to lead a frivolous and harmonic life pursuing her dreams, but first, she must complete the exhausting challenge of being an actual teenager. Romany believes her vicinity is filled with people who just do not understand, in fact, nobody understands. Most of all, there's a person she would give her left arm to avoid.

Austin Orion.

Hell-bent on bringing beautiful chaos into Romany's life, can Austin and Romany build a steady friendship on the ruins of a lifetime of hatred? This seems far too surreal for Romany, but she is unknowing of the hell and torment waiting for her around the corner; she was yet to lose possibly the most important thing she had in the world; music.
But she still has the constellations for guidance; looking for answers in a world that doesn't know the question, can Romany delve deeper into what is meant to be and follow her heart?

Did fate fall short this time?

A/N: Rated red for bad language and trauma.

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15. Fourteen

It was the day of the funeral. I'd been dreading this day for so long now. I just wanted to get it over with, because quite honestly, it had been eating anyway at my mind for the past week or so. I put on that stupid dress that was laced with sadness; the dress I only ever wore when somebody died. I hated that dress so much, it must have been possessed, and its one aim was to fill me with sadness every time I wore it.

My mother saw me and gave me a sad smile, "are you ready?" she said, picking up her purse. I nodded slowly, clasping my hands behind my back. That was when the doorbell rang. It was Austin.

The door swung open and revealed the beautiful young man I had grown to admire, clad head to toe in a crisp white shirt and black tie, accompanied with a black suit jacket. He had on a smile, that looked somewhere between sad and proud.

"Oh, Austin, you look wonderful." He gave me a pleased look, looking down and smoothing his tie.

"You always look beautiful, Romany." Austin replied shyly, and we both stood there blushing for a while. My mother came up behind me, and placed a warm hand on my shoulder.

"You two look lovely," she stood for a moment, admiring us, as if she couldn't quite believe how much we had grown up over the past few months. "We better get going."

In the car journey, I realized just how selfish I had been over the last year or so. I had a roof over my head, a loving family, friends that cared about me, and still I complained about everything. I stopped and realized just how lucky I was. Lillian made me see life from a different perspective. She made me look at life the way she looked at it – whole-heartedly and with open arms. For that, I owed her the world.

 

We arrived at the place of the funeral, there was a large sea of unfamiliar faces, many of them relatives of Lillian's. My anxiety must have been obvious, because Austin slipped his hand into mine and gave it a reassuring squeeze.

The attendees began filtering through to the area in which Lillian would be buried. I took my position next to Austin at the front of the crowd; Austin's hand never once left mine – if anything, the passing time made his fingers grip onto mine tighter. The priest who was leading the service had his hands knitted together, admiring the huge turnout of people who had come to say their goodbyes to Lillian. Through the priest's speech, my mind wandered off elsewhere and I just stared at the hole in the ground, Lillian's coffin resting next to it. She shouldn't be in there, she should be out here, baking almond cupcakes and singing melodies and laughing her beautiful laugh, not in a box waiting to be buried underground. Tears slipped from my eyes, falling to the ground – like all the other thousands of tears that had once fallen to earth in this very spot.

By this point Austin was crying. By this point, in fact, almost everyone at the service was crying.

"Does anybody else have any words they would like to say?" The priest looked willingly in our direction. Austin took a step forward, his head bowed to the floor. He composed himself before turning to the crowd.

"My mother was the kindest woman to walk the earth," he started, "she was my everything. This woman, for as long as I can remember, has been not only my mother, but she's been my best friend. She helped me through everything, no matter how big or how small, she was always there." His tears were getting harder, and his head was still hung toward the floor. "It is the hardest thing in the world, knowing that I'll never be able to tell her how much I love her, and it breaks my heart that she's gone. But I know, in my heart, that she lived a happy life, I'd never seen a happier person than her, she loved and cared for everyone around her, and if you knew her you'd understand what I mean." In the corner of my eye I noticed a few people nodding their heads in agreement. "I know she'll be shining down on us all," – he took a moment to look at me, and gave me a watery smile, "she's up there, she's in peace now, and most of all, she's happy, I'm sure of it."

A round of applause rippled through the crowd, and Austin reclaimed his spot next to me. I grabbed his hand and smiled at him, "That was beautiful, I'm so proud of you."

He dipped his head down and placed a kiss on my forehead. "I wouldn't be here without you, so for that, Romany Fitzgerald, I am eternally grateful."

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