Emptiness has filled my days and dropped my entire my mind into depression, a depression that held my body under a paralysis which left me unable to eat, move, or even murmur a 'yes' or 'no' when my family came into my room. The days became longer and the only thing I could manage to do was open my eyes and stare at my wall until I went back asleep. The next morning after we came back from the hospital my mother walked into the room to see my curled up on the floor next to broken glass and surrounded by the mess I had created, she screamed when she noticed the blood that had oozed and dried on my arm and hands. She couldn't bare the sight so she rushed out and sent in Joey, he spent on hour cleaning up my room and putting this and that back in place.
"Ruby this isn't how you handle things." He whispered to me as he slowly cleaned the cuts on my arms, but when his came to mine I forced myself to look away and not answer. Everyone had learned to stop trying to get me to talk because it was no use, but in all honesty it would have been helpful for someone to actually really try. My mother had been up to her knees in taking care of Kelly and keeping an eye on me every once in a while and the number of hot chocolate mugs was piling up on my dresser, some untouched and others had sips taken out of them but I'd only actually drank one of them. My dad had to take over planning the funeral because Kelly wasn't in the right mind to do it and Arianna's dad was still out of the picture and we had no way of reaching him. I knew it was hard for him because Arianna was like a daughter to him and late one night when he was writing letters to family members I could hear him softly crying, it broke my heart but I didn't dare go bother him or that fact I hadn't left my room on my own yet.
The only time I had left my room when my mother came in and told me I needed to go shower, Did I stink?
"Ruby this is not healthy come on please get up let's go take a bath." She tried but I still stayed stuck in my bed, she sighed, "Joey!?"
In strolled my brother and he frowned when his eyes landed on me, "What's up?"
"Please get your sister and take her to the bathroom."
Without hesitation he lifted me out of my bed and carried me to the small bathroom and sat me on the floor, with a soft ruffle of my hair he left leaving me and my mom. She ran the bath water and helped undressed me, it made me feel like a child but I just couldn't bring my body to listen to my thoughts when I tried to scream 'move'. She put me in the tub and ran water through my hair, before I knew what was happening the tears began to fall and my voice cracked as I began to cry. My mother held my to her chest as I cried in her arms, she let me cry for almost an hour before draining the tub and allowing me to go back to bed.
One night he came into my room when I wasn't able to go to sleep, "Ruby honey um Arianna's favorite flowers were Tiger Lilies?"
My half closed eyes widened as I looked up at him but slowly I nodded and he kissed my forehead softly before leaving the room. These past few days have had running around, dress fittings and purchases for the funeral home, but the day was quickly creeping up and now was here and yet I still couldn't bring myself to leave the soft sheets and comfort of my bed. Light was shining through my window and the rain was clattering against the house hard I knew it was raining the minute I woke up.
"Ruby?" Slowly the door opened and in walked my mom with a black cloth on her arm, "Sweetie it's time to get up the funeral is in an hour and a half, honey?"
Her eyes found mine and she sighed hoping I would have said something but I still said nothing, "Well I have your dress here and your heels are in the closet, now I'm not dressing you again please try to cooperate today it's gonna be hard for all of us."
I wanted to shout a smart remark back at her but instead I rounded my legs to the side of the bed and was taken back how quickly and easily I did it, my mother slowly gave me the black cloth that turned out to be my dress and I sighed after she left the room. Slowly I examined the dress, it was long probably up to my knees, lace sleeves and tight and flowy at the same time. I started to undress and pulled on a strapless bra and the dress on next, I was right it was tight and flowy and up to my knees. If Arianna were here she'd be gushing about how I was in a cute tight black dress, but she wasn't here, she was in a coffin ready to be put into the ground.
A nauseating sensation came over me as I thought about it, but taking a deep breath forced it down before sitting in front of my mirror. My hair was crazy and went in ever which direction and yet I still didn't care, but knowing my mom I'd better brush it. It'd been a while since I had to brush my hair and now it was almost arm breaking trying to brush one strand, but with effort I managed every part of my hair down in twenty minutes. We had to be on our way to the funeral at noon and my alarm clock read 11:43 so I slipped on the wedge heels my mom had left me and hobbled out the door in hopes of not falling.
In my efforts not to fall I didn't notice someone standing in front of me until I crashed into them, with the impact I dropped to the ground landing hard on my butt. The ground was hard so my butt was hurting and I'm pretty sure there would be a bruise, the person shuffled over me and said, "Oh God I'm sorry I wasn't watching where I was going."
My eyes snapped open and I looked up, "Caleb...?"
His eyes landed on mine the same way he used to when we were always together, the soft caring look that his eyes always filled up with. My heart melted as our eyes locked and I realized I was on the floor laying on my back my panties probably on full display for the entire world, I jumped and pulled my skirt down making him smirk a little.
"Well you're just like I remember clumsy, adorable, and not one for skirts." His voice was like velvet in my ears which completely had me hypnotized, but then I realized he had called me adorable. A blush came across my cheeks and I started to rub them hoping the redness that was burning in my cheeks would go away. His hand came out and I slowly lifted mine to grab his and when my palm rested on his the soft grip he held on my hand allowed him to help me to my feet and yet do it with care.
"Well that's not fair we've been trying to get her to talk for days but she sees you for five minutes and you can't get her to stop," Joey said as he walked in which scared me as he ruffled my hair, "it's okay kiddo we know you got a little crush on old Caleb."
My heart stopped as Joey smirked at his joke, his smile indicated his joke which helped my heart to finally calm. The awkwardness in between the three of us didn't help the fact all I wanted to do was scream and cry over Arianna and flirt with Caleb, If only I knew how to flirt. Caleb's eyes trailed over me as I tried to avoid his eyes, Joey was oblivious to this as he gulped three chocolate donuts from the counter. My pulse started to speed up just as my mother rushed through the door, "Oh good you kids are all together we have to get going Kelly is already starting to hyperventilate if we wait any longer she jump out of that car and lock herself in her house....again."
We all nodded and followed her out of the door and to the three cars we had, Joey's pickup, my parents Nissan, and Kelly's small mini cooper which had been the only thing Arianna's dad left them. My parents climbed into their car and Joey into his, but when I went to climb in with joey my mom screamed from her car, "Ruby you're riding with Caleb! Joey has to go pick up some guests and lead the funeral car to the funeral home."
"Then I'll ride with you."
"Don't be silly we have to go get last minute things for the dinner tonight, just ride with Caleb." She said and before I could object the car sped down the street, leaving in the awkward stance next to the curb Caleb came up behind me and my eyes quickly found Joey. He waved and sped down the other side of the street and I inwardly groaned, "Let's go then."
"Lead the way." His hand led me to the car and opened it for me even though Caleb was always a jerk he was still nice and a gentleman every now and then, this was one of those times. Once in his seat he started the car and backed out the driveway and began the dreaded drive to the funeral home, it was quiet and even the radio was turned off, "So how have you been?"
My head snapped around to him to find his eyes still on the road but his body facing me, "Uh fine."
"Ruby you don't have to be awkward around me."
Tell that to the awkward silence that seems to really like us, "Well it's been a while since you've well you know been around here."
His grunt scared me, "I have my reasons Ruby and I did come back didn't I?"
"Two years after you left." I whispered after we came to a stop light and his eyes locked with mine and a scaring look came over him as his eyes drew daggers through mine.
"Ruby I'm here now."
My anger started to boil, "Well you're five days too late."
The minute it fell from my lips I regretted it because the hurt look that broke my heart more than it already had. If my mind was playing tricks on me I can swear from where I sat I could see the tears in his eyes, "Caleb I didn't..."
"No you did."
My mouth snapped shut and I said nothing at him for the rest of the ride but I dared a glance at him every now and then but his eyes never left the road. Caleb and my history was a long one and to think even though we're two years apart and with Arianna between us there was always a moment when we the connection between us.
Ever since I had turned thirteen Caleb had started to show some interest, or maybe it was my new teenage hormones that made me think that. He'd look at me longer, hold my eyes with his longer, softly touch my shoulders when he passed by, and sometimes wink at me when Arianna wasn't looking. As we grew older his behavior and actions grew more mature and sweet, he'd kiss my forehead when I was clumsy and hurt myself or when we passed by each other he'd slip things into my hands like Hershey Kisses or slips of paper with my name on them and a picture drawn on it. He was always drawing something and he was good but he just thought his drawings were just something to do when he was bored, music was more of his passion. When Arianna had her acting Caleb had his music, they both believed in following their dreams but Caleb he had a head start.
After his graduation this manager from California called him and his band, Midnight Rain, and told them he got their demo and wanted to talk business. Arianna was the one who encouraged him to go because this would be his chance, so within a week his band decided to go and we threw them a going away party. A lot happened and that was the one night I thought all Caleb's little chocolates and side glances were much more, but just when I thought he might stay...he let.
He called everyday, then once a week, then once a month, every few months, and last we got a text from him six months ago. I was shocked Kelly had actually gotten to him on the day of the trial, but seeing him this morning had really shocked me. I know it's Arianna's funeral and she's his sister but I didn't expect to see him.
"What are you thinking about?" He asked snapped me out of my thoughts, "You always have this look on your face when you're deep in thought so what are you thinking about?"
"Um just the past."
He nodded and I looked out the window to see we had finally arrived at the funeral home and people were just starting to get here. My heart seized when I saw all the people crying on other's shoulders and some acting as if losing Arianna hurt them so much, but most of these people were the ones who had mocked her and treated her like the bad guy when Luke was sent to trial. Since I hadn't been to school I don't know if Luke went back but I'm pretty sure once he heard about his he went into hiding, I dought he'd show is face here today.
"You're looking for him aren't you? He's not going to be here especially after with what he did, people might actually start believing Arianna was telling the truth. It's sick how they cry and make a scene making people think they actually cared about her, I wish it wasn't an open funeral it should have been private."
"I want to puke just seeing them and their fake tears."
"You and me both."
His eyes hurt me because they resembled Arianna's way too much, tears stung but I tried to blink them back before he noticed but it was too late. His hand found the side of my cheek and he rubbed his thumb across gently as if he pressed to hard I would break, my mind drifted as I started to relax just because of the softness of his touch.
"We should really go." I whispered realizing my parents or anyone could walk by and see us, and today was one day we couldn't do this and had to think about Arianna. He froze but held my gaze, almost as if he didn't want to he pulled away and opened his car door walking to my side to open mine. Once he had opened it his hand found mine and led me from the car and we started our walk to the funeral house doors but I felt every single pair of eyes fall on me, my stomach started to twist and I suddenly felt queasy.
"Caleb." I could barely whisper but he heard me and stopped, I didn't need to say another word because he instantly pulled me into his arms wrapping them around me securely and tight. The tears came back but wouldn't fall until I wrapped my arms around him too, he rubbed my back and held me tighter when the small sobs escaped my lips. He didn't say anything because he didn't have to, I could have stayed in his arms for hours but someone cleared their throat forcing me to pull away.
"Hello Ruby." My grief was pushed to the side instantly when turned to face the one and only Lindsey Winters.
"What are you doing here Lindsey?"
"Why giving my respects to my dear friend Arianna." She remarked and I growled, I took a step forward ready to punch her in her smart little face when Caleb grabbed my wrist yanking me back.
"Stop it she's not worth it." He whispered into my ear and faced Lindsey, "Hello Lindsey."
She grinned her flirt grin, "Hi Caleb it's been a while where have you been?"
"Ooo finally holding up that nice musician in you?"
He groaned, "Look Lindsey we have to go before our parents get here with the coffin so we'll see you inside."
She looked him up and smirked, "Yes you will."
It almost made me puke to see her flirting with Caleb, but as we left her behind my anger vanished and the sad reminder of why we were really here came back. Everyone's eyes watched as we made our way through the doors but when I glanced at them they looked away and ignored my gaze, the walk seemed to last forever as the glances at my back began to give me a headache. Caleb said nothing as he led us to the giant room decorated with bright Tiger Lilies and at least a hundred white chairs, some had been taken other were still empty. Caleb had stopped his eyes fixated on something in front of him, curiously my eyes followed his and my heart plummeted. There in the front of the room sat the shiny white coffin a pearl like color with gold trimming surrounding it, the blood pulsed in my ears as the nauseas feeling came back to me and made my knees want to give out from under me.
"Caleb is she.."
"Yeah she's in there." Even though the casket was open I couldn't see Arianna from where I stood, Caleb's body tensed but his eyes never looked away from the box that held his sister and my best friend.
"I can't do this."
My words were barely a whisper but the minute I said them his eyes locked with mine, I couldn't stand the destroyed look in his eyes so I pulled out of his arms and began to leave the room when my parents and Kelly walked into the room.
"Ruby sweetie thank God are you okay we've been looking everywhere for you." My mother cried as I was yanked into her arms, to say my mother was a suffocating hugger was an understatement her hugs were absolute murder.
"Mom I'm fine I just need some fresh air."
"Oh sweetie I'm sorry but the service is about to start we have to take our seats." My hope died in my chest as she led me to the front row of seats the coffin a mere ten feet away, I couldn't bring myself to look at the coffin so I focused on my chair which put me in between Caleb and Joey. The room began to fill quickly and before I knew it the pasture took his place at the podium next to the coffin, Caleb's hand found mine and I gripped it tightly.
"Morning brothers and sisters, I wish I could say good morning but alas I cannot today is a day of sorrow where family and friends have to say a goodbye much too soon to a beautiful and happy soul. Arianna Taylor was a girl who came into this world full of joy and hope but sadly had to leave with hurt and depression, a young happy soul like Arianna doesn't deserve such a horrific event such as suicide. God has a mysterious way of handling things but Arianna she was no mistake, she was taken from this earth out of God's wishes. God had plans for Arianna and her struggles were his way to make her strong for what was too come. She is now up in heaven looking down at us wishing we could see she is happy and a beautiful angel at peace with her burdens, she wants us to stop our grieving and be happy that she left to a better place. To the loved ones she left behind, a loving mother Kelly, a protective brother like Caleb, and a friend she found a sister Ruby, she loved each of you and do believe this was God's plan for her happiness." His words hurt me because he didn't know the truth behind this, my eyes watered but I watched a Arianna's aunt Molly came up to the stand.
"Hello everyone I'm Molly, Arianna's one and only aunt and to say Arianna was a daughter to me was an understatement, sometimes I'd think that she was really meant to be mine and not Kelly's. I loved Arianna so much and I know she loved others just like they were her family as well, she was just an amazing person seeing her smile was like watching true happiness at its best. If you were sad all she had to do was smile and every worry in the world vanished like it never was there to begin with, I remember when she was thirteen and my brother Kevin went to war he was gone a long time and after a while we didn't hear anything from him. It really began to worry us I cried every night and one night Arianna came to me and held my hand and said to me 'Aunt Molly uncle Kevin is gonna be okay God is gonna look over him and make sure he gets home safe, but it'll be God's choice to make sure he gets to heaven safely if he dies'. It sounds strange but it really helped and the next day there Kevin showed up at my doorstep in the flesh. Arianna was strange in ways, she was interesting in another, but to me she was just the perfect girl you could ever know. But there's only one person who can truly tell you the amazing reality of knowing this girl, and that's Arianna's best friend or as we all know her as Arianna's sister Ruby Collins."
My head snapped up at my name, I didn't know I would have to speak but as Molly wiped her eyes and grabbed my hand I found myself standing at the podium and staring at the many watery eyes and sad looked that filled the room. I cleared my throat and found Caleb's eyes, "Um hi everyone I'm Ruby as you all know, uh I've known Arianna since we were ten I know most best friends knew each other since kindergarten or maybe since birth but me and Arianna's bond is stronger than any other bond anyone else had. She um told me that she was psychic and could always tell when someone was upset or what they were thinking and sometimes just being near her was just a miracle. If you were lucky enough to truly be special to her she had these red lollipops that had this beautiful little ribbon wrapped around the stem, and she would tell me that red symbolized love and friendship. The lollipop stood for how sweet and special you were, she gave these lollipops to people she really loved and meant a lot to her. I'd wake up each morning to have one of those little red pops on my pillow each one a promise that she'd always be there for me, but now every morning I wake up there's no lollipop because there's no Arianna. I never thought I'd have to live a day without my best friend that she'd always be there for me and now I have to live with the thought I'll never see her again. The truth is I don't care that this was God's plan for her, she was too young to die, she had a whole life ahead of her, she was one of those girls who was strong and would make a good life for herself. But that was stolen for her, I love Arianna and always will she may be in a better place but I just wish I could turn the clock around and stop any of this from happening. But I can't and here I stand before all of you saying a goodbye way too soon to my best friend."
Once my words were gone everyone watched me intensely as my words sunk in, though I was done I still stood planted in my spot frozen unable to move. Caleb saw this so he quickly got up and walked me back to my seat, no one said a word as the pasture made his way back to the podium and thanked me for my speech. The rest of the service went by until finally it was the last goodbye everyone's last chance to see Arianna, the family was up first so Caleb helped me to my feet and we followed after Joey and my mom. Molly and Kelly were first and when they got to the casket Kelly laid down on the edge of it and cried while Molly rubbed her back and cried to John. My dad bent over and kissed her forehead before wiping his eyes and walking away afraid of anyone seeing his tears, Joey cried as he held my mom tightly who cried and almost dropped to her knees. My heart quickened as Caleb led me closer, my eyes widened as I looked down at the girl in the coffin. Her hair was a pale yellow which made me dizzy, her skin was pale but had a slight fake color to her which was probably painted on, and the bright pink lipstick that coated her lips was out of place and made me want to slap the color away. The tears came crashing down as a scream erupted from my throat, I cried and dropped to my knees Caleb being the only thing supporting me. The reality hurt as I yanked away from Caleb and ran from the room my legs leaping three feet at a time as I made my way out the door and into the gloomy day air. I stopped in the garden in the back of the funeral home and dropped to my knees throwing up the small amount of food that lay in my stomach.
Dark circles formed in the back of my mind making me more dizzy and the pain in my heart to start ache in an unbearable way, the world was spinning and the sound of footsteps came up behind me and warm arms circled around me. They lifted me up even though my legs didn't want to support me, I didn't need to look up to know it was Caleb's arms that were around me and led me to Kelly's car tucking me into the passenger seat and buckled my seatbelt.
"Ruby are you okay?"
I managed to nod my head slightly but his hand still went to my cheek and made me look at him, his eyes were red and the look on his face told me he was worried and pissed. I looked away when I saw the people piling out of the funeral home and six of Arianna's cousins carrying the coffin out and to the limousine that brought it here, Caleb sighed and shut my door and climbed into the driver's side and started the car. I watched my parents and Kelly exit the building and get into their car leading the limo out of the parking lot, Caleb took his time to leave the lot and follow all the other cars to the cemetery where we were to bury Arianna.
I didn't bother answering him which made him madder, "Ruby I'm trying please."
"What do you want from me Caleb!?"
I didn't mean to yell but when I did the look on his face made me instantly regret it, "This is just as hard for me too Ruby don't think you're the only one hurting."
"I'm sorry I didn't mean to yell, you didn't have to come after me."
"Yes I did, I owe you that much."
I had no idea what he was talking about but I didn't tell him that, my head was still spinning and the last thing I needed was to go the cemetery where I would bury my best friend. "Caleb?"
"Is this goodbye?"
He hesitated, "To be honest Ruby I don't know because I could never imagine ever saying goodbye to Arianna but the truth is Ruby she's gone, just like you put it in your speech."
"I didn't mean any..."
"It was the truth and was from your heart Ruby that's what truly mattered you let out your true feelings and told the truth, don't regret what you said."
His eyes connected mine for a second before they went back to the road and the rest of the drive was quiet until he pulled up to the cemetery, my breath caught in my throat almost choking me. The crowd had formed and by the looks of it they had already started without us which hurt but made staying here easier because it would be over sooner. We climbed out the car and Caleb wrapped his arm around my shoulders as we made our way to the crowd, upon seeing us the people separated allowing us to make our way through to my parents and Kelly.
My mother looked at me with a look that said, You should have been here sooner you're not making a good impression. I looked away and sank deeper into Caleb's arms, the sounds of crying and the pasture speaking were a blur as my eyes trailed over the coffin that contained the person who held my secrets, the one I grew to love, the only person I've ever trusted, and the one person I never thought I'd have to live without.
My tears fell in buckets and Caleb gripped me in his arms as his lips grazed the crown of my head, maybe he thought it'd make me feel better but his warmth reminded me of all the times I held Arianna when she needed me.
"May the family and loved ones of Arianna step forward and say their finally goodbyes to Arianna Marie Taylor." I watched as my Mom and Dad threw in dirt onto the casket which is tradition to the final goodbye, Kelly and Molly cried and each of them held out their handfuls of dirt and dropped it but Kelly held out her left hand and I saw it the red lollipop. She dropped it and broke out in tears, Caleb pulled my face to his and in my hand he slid a small Tiger Lily. His eyes searched mine as he wiped the tears from my cheeks and led me to the 6 foot deep hole, it seemed like an eternity away as the dirt dropped from my hands and onto the top of the casket. Caleb dropped his dirt and I looked down at the Tiger Lily, this was it my goodbye to Arianna the one thing I would never be ready for.
This was a goodbye for everyone else but I was not ready to say goodbye to Arianna, and today wasn't an exception. This is not goodbye, I promised as the flower dropped from my hand and deeper and deeper into the whole.
The day couldn't end soon enough, my mother thought it would be a good idea to have an after service dinner at our house and invite everyone to our house. Of course not everyone came to our house but there were still too many people to me, to make it worse everyone came to me and hugged me whispering things like 'it's gonna be okay' or 'she's in a better place'. It was too much I was gonna explode, but my dad just crossed the line when he pulled out the box of home videos.
Arianna was always one to preserve a moment, she was old school and always had a video camera just ready for something or a moment no one would ever want to miss. All together she had more than one hundred tapes of her special moments, some from when we caught Caleb or Joey with one of his girlfriends and talking in a really seductive way. Or when it was my last birthday and they threw me a surprise party, and that was the one my dad just had to pull out the last tape me and Arianna had made and the last amazing memory I had of her. My eyes were trailed on her perfect smile telling the camera that they were waiting for me and Joey was bringing me in a few minutes, the way her eyes sparkled with mischief as she told everyone to quiet down because I was coming. She smiled at Luis as he held the camera and quickly she ran toward the door ready to surprise me, my heart ached I couldn't watch anymore I left the room and rushed into the kitchen. Most of the men here only knew how to deal with death when they had beers, so in our fridge sat at least twenty bottles of beers. I grabbed three.
For the rest of the video I sat in the kitchen in the corner against the wall gulping down the contents of three of the bottles and feeling the tingly buzz of the alcohol begin to take control. The wave of stupidity began to crowd my mind as I took another sip of my third bottle, the alcohol taking the toll over my whole body just like it was made to do. The sounds of the video were now distant in my mind and all I could hear was the sound of my thoughts echoing in my head.
Ruby, a voice whispered in and I jerked up to look into the dark hallway. Ruby, it said again and I mustered all my strength to push myself off the ground and into the hall to see who's voice was calling me. But darkness was all I saw, shapes moved and the floor began to twist causing me to lose my balance and fall. I waited for the hard smack of floor but it never came only the warmth of strong arms did.
"Whoa!? You okay?" The arms belonged to Caleb and I giggled at the concerned look on his face, he was silent for a minute but his brows furrowed and groaned, "You're drunk."
"Ah ding ding ding what do we have for him Johnny!?" I snickered at my drunken attempts at being a TV show host but the look on his face made me stop.
"I thought you were more responsible than this."
"That was back when I had an irresponsible best friend that made me the serious one."
He cursed silently before hoisting me up, "Let's go get you in bed, God your mother will kill us if she sees you like this." He sighed before dragging me down the hall and behind the door easily and silently, but the minute we made it on the porch I pulled out of his grasp making him stop.
"What are you doing?"
Even in my drunken state I knew exactly what I was doing, "Not going with you."
"What do you mean?" The look on his face was heartbreaking it was a mixture of disappointment and hurt.
"You left." I whispered and he frowned, "You left us when we needed you most you didn't come back."
"Ruby I know you're mad but..."
"Mad!? You think I'm mad!? Caleb I'm furious!! You said you cared about us you said you loved us, but then you up and leave. But when we needed you, you stayed away so what makes you think you can just come back after everything that happened and everything will be fine and dandy!! Because it's not Caleb it never will be!!"
"Don't you think I know that Ruby!!" My whole demeanor changed, my voice died in my throat and I slowly shrunk back. I guess the look on my face indicated I was scared because he sighed, "Ruby I didn't mean to yell at you like that, I'm sorry."
When I said nothing he took a step closer but I backed away, "Ruby just let me get you into something more comfortable and into bed, I swear I won't yell again."
I hesitated but let him grab my hand and lead me across the street and closer to the house that held my childhood that was now lost forever. Of course he noticed my hesitation at the front door but with a tug he managed to get me through the door and shut it before I ran out, which I would have done.
"I...I can't stay in her room."
"I wasn't going to make you, you'll sleep in my bed" I froze and he chuckled a little, "I'm gonna sleep on the floor." I mouthed an 'oh' before following him up the stairs , it had been months since I'd gone into his room the last time was when me and Arianna were hiding from Kelly and her idea of safe sex. When we came to his door he opened it as if he had never left and it was exactly the way he left it, posters here and there, CDs scattered everywhere, and to my amazement there were clothes back in the closet and the bed looked like it had just been slept in.
"I'll just straighten up in here you go ahead and change." I nodded and walked into the bathroom, since this was my second home I kept clothes here but kept them in the bathroom. Which now I'm glad because if I had gone anywhere near her room I would have passed out again. The bag I kept in the bathroom held two outfits, a pair of pajamas I changed quickly glad to get out of the tight black dress I felt was suffocating me. I glared at it and growled, "I'm burning you."
Leaving the small bathroom I walked back to Caleb's room to see him fixing a bed on the floor, but what caught my attention was the fact all he had on were basketball shorts. His chest was bare showing off his tan abs and muscles, frozen where I stood my eyes roamed over his body taking in every detail. God he's amazing.
I snapped out of my thoughts and looked back to his eyes, "Oh hey."
"Beds all yours." He said and I nodded climbing into the king size and he pulled up the sheets, I watched as he moved around the room waiting for something. But he stopped and flickered off the light the moon was just bright enough I could make out his form as he moved back toward me, he sat on the bed right in front of my stomach and looked down at me.
"Have we ever told you what happened to our dad?"
I looked at him confused but shook my head, "No Arianna doesn't like to talk about him."
"There's a big reason why" he took a deep breath but finally looked me in the eye, "my mom and dad were together in college, but they were on and off because this woman Lauren. Lauren had been around since high school and my dad could never reject or say no to her. They had an affair and shockingly my mother knew about it, but when she found out she was pregnant she thought he might finally cut everything off with Lauren. Of course she was wrong. My dad promised it was over but even when I was born he was back and forth spending time with Lauren. My mom tried to raise me but it got too much, she left when I was only I year old. I haven't seen her since, but my dad didn't care he just took me in hopes him and Lauren could start their lives together. She hated that he had a son with another woman so she left him again. It took a while but we moved to Miami and a month later we went to this diner, it was probably early spring because I remember picking a flower outside the place and giving it to our waitress. She was really pretty her big grey eyes, a big smile, and a messy brunette bun nestled on the top of her head. She was so pretty and nice I gave her the flower, she thought I was cute and it was adorable that my dad was a single parent and got really flirty. My dad took advantage and flirted back, it took two cups of coffee and some French toast before he asked her out."
"It was Kelly." I whispered and he smiled.
"Even at twenty-one Kelly was bubbly and energetic just like Arianna. They dated for the summer and before we knew it Arianna was born, we had a family and everything was perfect until Lauren came back into the picture. Our dad said he got this job where he had to travel and Kelly never knew about Lauren so she thought nothing of it. He would go two months at a time but he always came back so Kelly never said anything, we went on this vacation to Disney World. It was fun Arianna had just turned eight and I was ten so it was just magical to us, but Dad got a 'business call' and had to leave. I was so mad we had to leave I didn't talk to them for the entire ride, Kelly was mad we had to leave and they were arguing, but Arianna she had fallen asleep. When we got to our house Kelly jumped out and told me to get Arianna inside but I didn't hear her so I climbed out and shut the door, our dad didn't realize Arianna was still asleep in the back seat so he drove. Lauren had lived in Orlando so that's why we went there, me and Kelly didn't realize Arianna was still in the car until dinnertime which was three hours after dad drove off.
"Arianna told me she woke up it was dark and she didn't know where she was, but this light came from around a corner so she walked to it. It took a second but her eyes adjusted and she saw something no eight year old should ever see. There in her kitchen Lauren sat on her counter with our dad plowing into her right there, Arianna screamed and they both jumped apart rushing to get their clothes on. Arianna screamed and ran ready to punch him in the face, but he was too fast for her because he picked her up and rushed her out of the door and to his car. The drive home was quiet but when they got to our driveway I screamed for Kelly and we rushed out the door, I went for Arianna who had tears running down her face and Kelly started screaming at our dad. I rushed Arianna up the stairs and she told me everything, I listened to everything but could still hear them screaming downstairs. Arianna slept in my room that night so I could keep an eye on her but in the morning I went downstairs to find a bunch of suitcases at our front door, from the kitchen I heard Kelly telling my dad he couldn't do this to us but he just screamed this was going to happen sooner or later. They stopped when they saw me Kelly rushed to my side and hugged me, but my eyes stayed on my dad. He cleared his throat and said, 'Caleb I'm leaving I'm going to go live with Lauren now you can come or you can stay here with Kelly.
"I looked at Kelly and hugged her tighter, my dad sighed and a horn came from outside. He grabbed his bags and walked out, we followed him and saw Lauren climb out her car. Kelly gasped when she saw Lauren's big pregnant belly and the two year old at her side, she looked at me and Kelly and frowned a little 'Caleb' she called but I looked away. She climbed back in the car as our dad climbed in, I watched as they drove away and felt Kelly start to drop with the tears she cried. It took everything in me not to tell her I knew about Lauren, but if I told her that I I thought she might be mad at me."
"But that was years ago that doesn't explain why you left."
"It was two weeks before I left, this random number popped up on my phone. It was this little girl she said her name was Destiny and that she was my little sister." He whispered.
"The little girl with Lauren."
"She told me she was turning nine and wanted me to come to her birthday, that her dad talked about me all the time and she wanted to meet me. Of course I felt bad she reminded me of Arianna I had to go, but I couldn't really tell Arianna or Kelly where I was really going so I said my band got some good gigs out there. Destiny gave me their address and said her older cousin could pick me up. So I got a ticket and left."
"Did you plan on coming back?"
"Of course I did I hated my dad but I didn't want my little sister to hate me too, her cousin James picked me up he was like twenty and promised that my dad had no idea I was coming and he had helped Destiny find me. I had no high expectations but when we pulled up to their house my jaw dropped, they lived in a mansion Ruby. It was amazing and huge, we walked in and this little girl came screaming down the stairs. Ruby she looked just like me but a little different probably Lauren, she jumped into my arms and hugged me. I was so excited I hugged her back hard, just then this little kid came running up behind her. It was a little boy six year old he smiled and said his name was Max. Ruby growing up without a dad and in a house full of girls made me really want a little brother, I knew Kelly wouldn't be with another man anytime soon so seeing Max it made me feel really happy. When I hugged him I heard someone clear their throats, my dad and Lauren for a second they had no idea who I was but then my dad ran at me and hugged me. He hugged me for a while before pulling away and asking where Arianna was, I didn't tell him he knew she still wanted nothing to do with him.
"It was amazing the house was huge they treated me like family and like I was special we had a big dinner, gave Destiny all her presents, and ate cake and ice cream on their huge backyard deck. I told myself I'd go back home by the end of the week but I just got too comfortable and I started to make a life there. Got a job, started decorating the spare room making it mine, even started bonding with dad and Max I tried to come back by the end of that summer but I don't know what happened the life style I started to live became more interesting than my real one. Destiny started to be my Arianna and I started to realize that Lauren wasn't all that bad, the calls started to be harder so I stopped calling. I know I was being selfish but I just liked living there, but getting that call from Kelly I broke down and realized what a dick I was when I told my dad. Him and Lauren looked at me as if I did something wrong, I asked if they were gonna come with me to the funeral. I guess that really pissed Lauren off because she screamed at me to never speak of Arianna or Kelly in her house again and that we weren't going to the funeral, the whole time I kept looking at my dad hoping he'd tell her to stop and take my side but he just sat there not even looking me in the eye because of the coward he was. I couldn't stop myself because the next thing I knew I punched him in the face so hard he dropped out of his chair, Lauren screamed but I ignored her. I had started crying and almost left the room but I turned back and screamed at him 'You coward you're daughter is dead and you're just gonna sit as if you never even heard of her'. I ran back to my room, packed my things, go the next plane here, and got here yesterday."
"Why didn't you just tell us the truth?"
"I never knew how." I laid on his bed all his words sinking in and every last image flashed through my head, I hadn't noticed I had started crying but when I looked at Caleb the streaks that went down his face broke my heart and wrapped my arms around him softly which he gladly returned.
"I'm sorry Ruby, I'm so sorry."
My lip trembled as gripped him harder, "I forgive you."
He didn't need to say anything because those words were enough for me, for most of that night we both cried in each other's arms. I don't remember when but I started to fall asleep but before I did he kissed my forehead and laid me down. His arms still wrapped securely around me I fell asleep to the soft thump of his broken heart, we were two broken hearts trying our best to keep going.