Nine // He Doesn't Care

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Today is the day.

The day I dread each year.

Of course, my parents went to Aaliyah's, but I couldn't do it- not this year.

Peggy left me alone, thank God.

I do it the same way I did it that day, and every year since then.

I go for my jog, wearing blue.

Then I come home, take a bath, and drink a cup of tea.

I find the tape still in the old, beat up VCR in the living room.

Right as I'm about to turn it on, someone knocks at my door.

This was not part of the plan.

"I'm busy! Come back later!" I yell.

"Let me in!"

Damn you, Calum.

"Calum, really. Not today!"

"Caroline-"

"Go the fuck away, you're ruining it!" I yell.

And I'm about to cry.

The tape hasn't even started yet.

The door wiggles open, and I'm sitting there in my pink bathrobe.

The bathrobe that's 4 years old with stains all over it.

"What on earth-"

"Get out. You can't do this. Not today." I say without looking at him.

"What's going on?" He asks me.

"Get out, Calum. You're ruining it." I clench my jaw.

"Ruining what? I came to apologize-"

"This is not how Jonathan wanted it! I've been doing this for four years, and you're fucking it up! He's going to hate me for this!" I stand up.

Calum approaches me slowly.

I'm fuming.

He grabs my wrists.

"What is going on?" He asks quietly.

I tear away from him and sit back down.

"What are you watching?" He stares at the fuzzy TV.

"Nothing, if you don't leave." I try to contain my anger.

"Let me watch it with you." He sits next to me.

I shouldn't let him ruin my day- Jonathan's day.

He can't do it.

"You can't touch me or say anything. Pretend you're not here." I tell him.

He nods and moves away from me.

My shaky hand presses the play button.

Slowly, the screen fades in from black.

"Hi, I'm Monica Turner from ABC7. We've just received word of a pirate jet crash in New York. Apparently, the jet left early this morning with only two passengers. The two men have been identified as Jonathan Masters and Brian Wemberly. One of the men was declared dead on sight, and one has been rushed to the hospital in critical condition. More on this-" It cuts to the second clip.

"Goodmorning, Los Angeles. Today, grieving family and friends remember none other than Jonathan Masters. Jonathan was from a very large family originating in Zimbabwe, South Africa. He was raised by two loving parents along with his younger sister, Caroline. Jonathan was engaged to be married in January to Aaliyah Brown. Jonathan was only 19 years old. Our prayers go out to anyone who knew him." Then the screen goes black.

I stand up and call my mom.

"Caroline." She answers.

"Hi, mom."

"Did you see it? Are you alright?"

A tear rolls down my cheek.

"Yeah, mom. I'm fine."

"Ewigheid." She says.

I hear a sniffle.

"Ewigheid, momma."

I hang up.

When I turn around, Calum is staring at me.

"I'm done now." I say quietly.

He stands up and looks at the ground.

"He was my whole world. I loved him more than anything. I normally do this by myself."

"I should have listened. I should have left. I didn't know-"

I shake my head.

"No, it's fine. I didn't realize you were here."

"I'll go, okay?" He finally looks at me.

I want to cry again.

"No, please don't."

He nods and pulls me into a hug.

And that's the first time I cry in front of Calum Hood.

-

He doesn't leave this time.

But I know it's because he feels sorry for me.

And I hate that that's the only reason he stayed.

"Just go." I mumble.

"What?"

"Just leave. You leave every other time."

"Caro-"

"Calum, just go. It's alright. You don't have to stay because you feel bad."

"You really think that's why I stayed?"

"Why else would you?" I stand up.

"You know what, Caroline? Maybe we should just be friends- in public and in private." He says.

I scoff.

"Let's just not be anything because we both know we're wasting our time here."

He stares at me for minute.

"Deal. Bye, Caroline." He walks out and slams my bedroom door.

And the front door.

And if he could've slammed the elevator, he would have.

But I just let him go.

I can't do it to myself.

He's not worth it, Caroline.

He doesn't care.

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