Chapter 71: Dearest Taylor, It's Time

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[A/N: Grab your iPod and put the following songs on repeat and enjoy this heartfelt chapter.
- Avril Lavigne // Keep Holding On
- Avril Lavigne // When You're Gone
- Evanescence // My Immortal
- Sleeping With Sirens // Don't You Ever Forget About Me
- We The Kings // Just Keep Breathing]

My bags were packed for college and bundled inside Tyler's room. We didn't have to leave for our new campus until tomorrow but I wanted to get the short flight done and over with. There was the option of driving for four hours, but there was no way I was staying in a car for that long; not if I wanted to avoid a third accident at all costs.

I spent the morning with Mom, absentmindedly poking at my food in a Thai restaurant as she rambled on and on and on about how much she was going to miss me. As soon as she had to return to work, I jumped at the chance to rush over to Tyler's house and here we were, sprawled across the freshly trimmed grass in his garden, staring at the cloudless sky. He didn't seem to be talking much, until I managed to draw him away from his deep thoughts. It turned out he was extremely apprehensive about leaving the town to live somewhere else for a long time without his sister.

"I have an idea," I picked my head up off Tyler's lap and my gaze flickered over the kidney shaped pool. I admired the beauty of the sunlight reflecting off the clear waters. "What if you were to say goodbye to Taylor? You know...like properly."

"Goodbye?" He seemed taken aback and confused. "Why would I do something like that? It's not like she's going anywhere. I'm the one who's leaving."

"Exactly. Think of it as closure. A final way to prove that you're done grieving and ready to move on with your life. Because that's what we're doing: moving on."

His bright eyes seemed to die down at where I was heading with this, but still, Tyler plastered on a genuine smile.

"You think I'm no longer grieving?" He seemed happy with my remark. "Am I seriously doing that well? You said it could take years for me to get over her death."

I lifted my hand and traced my knuckles against his cheeks.

"Well, you proved me wrong. Grief is a lifelong emotion that you'll never really be able to shrug it off but you've stopped letting it consume your life. So what do you think about getting the closure we both need so badly? It could be like another funeral service. We could like dress up and order some expensive flowers, and you could finally finish off the speech you couldn't get through the last time."

"I don't know Ash..." Tyler rubbed the back of his neck and stared at his lap. "It's a bit late notice, don't you think? We're leaving tomorrow night. Even a small funeral service needs time and effort."

"Ty, we are not burying her all over again and neither are we inviting the entire town for a rave. Think of it as a farewell gathering."

"Gathering?"

"Yeah," I smiled, taking his hand in mine. "You, me, Mona and Blake. They're leaving town next week and I think it would do them some good. Especially Blake since your parents didn't give him a slot at Taylor's real funeral even though he was her close friend too."

He knitted his eyebrows together, wrinkling his nose and thinking deeply for a minute. I watched him tilt his head as if he was weighing the pros and cons whilst his lips moved soundlessly until he nodded slowly.

"Hmm...okay, fine. I'd be crazy to shoot down a second chance at saying goodbye properly. Mrs Henderson will take care of flowers. And maybe we can get some candles too."

The excitement in his voice made my insides heat up. He scrambled to his feet and hauled me up effortlessly.

"Sounds good," I grinned before glancing up at the sky. "What time is it? I'll call Blake and Mona now and ask them if they're free."

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