Lea

One of River's hands is intertwined with mine as he drives. My thumb strokes along his skin in an attempt to allay the look of unease he portrays. After receiving the voicemail from Nick around a week ago, I tried convincing River to call him back. Obviously he refused, but I can tell that the message bothers him as much as it bothers me.

Not only because he finally realised that Nick isn't exactly the bad person in this situation. Although it was his fault, he's probably hurting just as bad as River is. However, the main reason why I tried to get River to call him was due to the context of that message.

It frightens me to say it, but it sounded so much like the last message that Nick would ever give.

Maybe it's just me making a big deal of things, and River assured me that Nick wasn't the type of person to...kill himself. Though in situations like these, I worried to think of what he is capable of. And as much as he wants to deny it, I think River shares the same concern as me.

I continue stroking at one of his hands while the other one is clutching onto the steering wheel, the knuckles turning a yellowy-white colour as he strengthens his tight grasp on it.

Today isn't going to be easy at all. It's the day of the burial.

For some odd reason, my father allowed me to come with River while he and my mother are travelling in Malcolm's car. I think he realises that all River needs at the moment is a friend, and since nothing disastrous happened at Graceland, maybe he's starting to trust him a little more.

I hear River sigh quietly beside me, but loud enough to hear over the car engine. Slowly turning my head towards him, I take a moment to study him. His eyes are blotchy, with redness replacing the white of his eyeballs; it's blatant that he's been crying for the past week, non-stop.

The thing about his cry is that he keeps most of it inside, not that many tears come out. His face is usually stone hard, not showing much emotion. And when a tear does eventually escape him, it falls without a blink.

I think that's the worst type of cry.

The car comes to a halt at a traffic light, and he returns my gaze, tugging at the corner of his lip to force a fake smile. He looks handsome, in his black suit with his hair gently slicked back and an almost-clean shaven face with only a bit of stubble showing itself. The only thing he wears that isn't handsome is the fatigue, showing in the way he carries himself. He's being dragged through hell, and I wish it would stop. 

"You alright?" He asks, voice a little weak.

No.

"Yeah," I force a smile back. "Are you?"

"Nah," he shakes his head, pulling a smile that holds no happiness nor humour whatsoever.

I hold his hand a little tighter as my heart shivers in my chest.

"I called him, Nick," River speaks, capturing my undivided attention. He pressed down on the gas when the traffic light turns green, and the car pulls us forward.

"And?" I ask, curious.

Another sigh escapes his lips. "His phone was switched off, so I called his home phone, and his mum said she hasn't seen him for a few days."

That's what I was afraid of. I should've urged River to call him straight after he sent the message.

"Do you..." I bite my lip, not actually wanting to ask the question.

"No, Lea. He wouldn't do it. I know him, he wouldn't." River attempts to convince me, and maybe himself too. Nonetheless, his voice sounds so tired and vulnerable that there's no confidence in his words. But I don't push it. Today isn't going to be about Nick; it's about Emily.

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