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Pen Your Pride

6 • nobody said it was easy

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The day was here, the day she'd been dreading. The funeral.

Aria looked at herself emotionlessly as she brushed back her hair and attached the collar of her shirt. It was a week since Calum had passed, nobody had said it would be this hard. Waking up everyday and trying to pretend that your world wasn't collapsing around you. Running from the daylight.

A shout from her mother let her know it was time to leave and Aria took one final sigh before walking out of her bedroom. Today was going to be hard, but she had to get through it. For Calum. She silently got into the backseat of the car, her parents sitting side by side in the front and her mother gave a sad smile as she got in.

The silence in the car was unbearable. Aria had to speak. "Mum?"

"Yes, darling?"

"Do you know anyone called Ashton?" Her mothers grip tightened on the steering wheel making her knuckles turn white and her father shot a quick look at her.

"Ashton? No dear, why are you asking?" Her mother asked, flustered.

"You're lying." Aria said bitterly and her mother shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

"Aria there are some things you don't need to concern yourself with." Her father said gruffly.

"My friend was murdered because of it. It has something to do with me. Why are you lying?"

"Now isn't the time Aria!" Her mother said shrilly just as the car pulled into the carpark of the church as Aria pushed the door open and stormed out, slamming the door behind her. Anger was an easy emotion to have than grief.

She walked into the church and was taken aback. It was beautiful. Decorated stunningly with white roses and poppies, red and white were the colours of Calum's football team. He would've loved it. At the far end of the church was the casket, next to it stood a picture of him. Aria's eyes scanned the church as she searched for Michael and Luke who were sat side by side with their heads down and she went to join them. They each gave a small smile o each other, saying nothing. There was nothing they could say.

The ceremony was exquisite, Calum's parents stood up each sharing their most loved memories of him, Calum's mum hadn't been able to talk, too overcome with grief and it was heartbreaking watching her up on the stand unable to even breathe properly.

The hardest to watch was Luke. When the priest called his name a look of pure fear washed over his already pale features and his knees shook as he stood up and walked to the stand. He looked around at everyone sat down, everyone there to remember the life of his best friend and the emotion had gotten too much but he began to speak.

"There's so many things I can say about Calum. He had this... Positivity. That radiated from him and when you were with him you felt that positivity too." Luke's bottom lip started to tremble. "Death is inevitable. Its the only thing you can guarantee in life. But it doesn't seem possible that one day my best friend is sat next to me and the next he's gone. I'll never see him again." He started to chew his lip ring as he snuggled, using his sleeve to wipe his tears. "Calum. Man. I'm sorry." He sobbed. "I let you down. I should've helped. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry, everyone. I'm s-sorry. Calum please forgive me wherever you are. I'll miss you everyday, man." And he finished, too caught up in tears to continue, his speech had effected everyone as all around the room people were dabbing at their eyes with tissues or turning into someone's shoulder for support as Aria had to Michael. His arm was wrapped round her as they both cried and the music began.

That was it. Calum was gone. His family and friends, including Luke and Michael, had carried his casket out and he'd been layed to rest next to his grandmother and one by one everyone had left until only Aria and her parents were left, she wasn't ready to say her final goodbye just yet. She sat silently next to his headstone as her mother came and stood next to her.

"Darling, this has been a very rough for us all but we need to talk. There's something you should know and something you should see." Her mother said, eyes glistening lightly with tears as she helped Aria stand up. Without speaking she took her mothers hand and let her lead her to another headstone.

Julianna Irwin
Beloved mother.

Was written on the front and Aria was confused. "Mum why'd you bring me here? Who is this woman?" She asked frowning in confusion.

Her mother took a deep breathe before speaking. "Aria... Julianna Irwin is your real mother. You're adopted..."

"You're lying. Please tell me you're lying. Please, mum!" Aria started to get hysterical.

"The boy you mentioned, Ashton... He's your biological brother."

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