Her End

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A maid opened the front door for them. Lucas put his hand on Chanel's back and slightly pushed her inside, and for the first time in her life, Chanel didn't protest and walked behind them. Her brown hair was falling over her eyes, her hands embedded deep in the pockets of her large oversized black hoodie, she kept her head down silently. It had been three months since they had been home, three months since they had seen Alissa.

...Three months ago...
"Calm down, look it's fine, breathe, just breathe," Alissa instructed her.
But it did no use, Chanel didn't even hear her. Rose couldn't guess what must have been wrong but she knew that Rick had given Chanel bad news. With shaky hands and sobs fighting to escape her lips, her shaky hands pushed Rose away and her fingers dialed Lucas.
"L-Lucas." She wept, "I-I need a plane, I need to get back to Iraq ASAP."
"Chanel? Chanel, what's wrong? Are you okay?" Rose heard Lucas say through the phone.
"I need a plane right now, goddamit!" Chanel yelled hysterically.
"Why? Coco, just breathe and tell me why." Lucas said in a calm tone.
Chanel took a few short, tearful breaths, as if she was bracing herself to answer.
"M-my parents...th-they g-got into a c-car crash," Chanel said in a cracked, shaky voice, but as she continued, the shakiness became loud sobs, "th-they're g-g-gone!"
Rose gasped in shock. Chanel dropped the phone and broke down in screams and cries, Rose took her in her arms and hugged her tightly. Alissa picked up the phone from the floor.
"Lucas?" Alissa said.
"Alissa? I-I'll get Chanel and Rose the first flight back to, you're all from Basra, right?"
"Yes, yes, Basra."
"Alright. Just keep Chanel with you, I'll pick you all up and they'll be able to fly back."
"Alright, alright."
Rose felt Chanel's aura, she was broken. Destroyed. She screamed and screamed, tears dropping down from her face onto the floor. Her body shook and trembled, her face turned red.

                 ...The present...
      Rose could hear a baby crying down in the living room, she saw the baby's cries do something incredible to Chanel, put a small smile on her face. The cries became louder as they got closer. Alissa greeted them with a small baby in her arms and a worried half smile on her face.
She had already lost almost all of her baby weight and looked almost no different than she did before she got pregnant, if Rose hadn't seen her, she could've never guessed that she had been pregnant nor given birth. Rose couldn't stop herself from running to Alissa, carefully pulling her into an embrace and taking the crying baby from her arms while Alissa pulled an indifferent, doll-like Chanel into a hug.
"I'm so sorry, Chanel." Alissa said in a tearful voice.
Chanel only patted her back in response.
Rose gazed at the little baby's beauty. She was chubby with long eyelashes, her big tearful green eyes scanned Rose all over as she sucked on her tiny hands. She had none of Alissa's asian features, Rose assumed whoever the father was, he must be white because the baby looked completely white. Rose knew Chanel must have bought the pink bunny onesie she was wearing because Alissa would never know how to buy warm and soft clothes for babies. Chanel came next to Rose, smiling down sadly at the baby in her arms.
"Can I hold her?" Chanel asked.
"Of course," Rose carefully handed Chanel the infant, "be careful."
The baby almost instantly stopped crying in Chanel's arms.
"God, you're so beautiful." Chanel said to the baby, her pupils dilated at the sight of the infant smiling at her.
"What did you name her?" Lucas asked, patting the baby's head.
"Alaya." Alissa answered shortly.
Chanel's smile grew, "You chose them name I suggested?"
Alissa shrugged, "I wasn't going to waste hours looking for name."
"When are you gonna...give her away?" Rose asked hesitatingly.
"Chanel knows the family that are gonna take her so I had to wait for her."
"Coco, why don't you go wash up for dinner? The flight was exhausting." Lucas suggested, changing the sensitive topic.
Chanel's smile disappeared and she looked at Lucas with annoyance, "I'm not hungry."
"You can't starve yourself." Lucas insisted.
Rose bit her lip, knowing Lucas was pushing Chanel's buttons.
Chanel handed the baby back to Alissa and picked up her backpack.
"Leave me alone." She said firmly as she started up the stairs.
Lucas followed her half way up the stairs, "can you stop being so goddamn stubborn?"
Chanel completely ignored him and continued walking up the stairs, only quickening her pace. Lucas wanted to follow her but Rose stopped him.
"Don't push her." She said, "I'll talk to her."
Rose followed Chanel down the hallway to her bedroom.
Chanel threw her backpack down on the floor and sat down on the foot of her bed, holding her head in her hands, eyes glued to the floor. Rose stopped at the door, feeling the empty, surrow filled atmosphere suck out all the air in the room.
"Go away, Rose." Chanel said, reliezing that Rose was standing there, watching her.
Rose sighed and sat next to Chanel, hoping she would actually look at her.
"Look, I'll let you rest but only if you promise to talk to me later, okay?" Rose negotiated.
"I didn't think there's anything left to talk about." Chanel replied, still not looking in Rose's eyes.
"Do you think I haven't noticed how you've been acting lately? Closed off, quiet, distant, this is not you."
Rose was right. This quiet and distant girl was a far cry from the outgoing, bubbly, wild Chanel Rose knew.
"Both of my parents died, Rosabella, do you expect me to be happy?" Chanel asked, rather annoyed.
"Even before this happened, you were just..." Rose said but stopped herself, she knew this was not the right time to push distort Chanel even more, "no, I'm sorry. Y-you should rest."
She got up and put a hand on Chanel's shoulder, "I love you, Coco, we all do. We're all here for you."
Chanel paused for a while but then slightly nodded. Rose sighed with surrow and started for the door.
"Rose?" Chanel's voice stopped her.
Rose stopped and turned around, "yeah?"
"I-I...I'm sorry."
Rose was confused, "what? Why?"
"I'm sorry, Rosabella, I'm sorry." Chanel said again, "for everything."
Rose became even more clueless, "what are you talking about, Coco? You haven't done anything."
"I-I want to sleep, can you please leave?" Chanel asked.
Rose was frozen by confusion.
But she couldn't do anything except respect Chanel's wish of being alone. She tried to imagine how destroyed Chanel must be feeling, how hurt. She shut the door behind her, her mind racing, she couldn't see ahead and bumped into someone.
"Careful, sweetheart." Lucas's voice said to her.
Rose flipped her hair out of her face, "I'm sorry."
"How is she?" Lucas asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
"She's acting really...weird, I guess. She just apologized to me for no reason and pushed me away when I asked why she was apologizing."
Lucas stared at Rose with am eyebrow raised for a few moments before he sighed and shook his head.
He took Rose's hand in his, putting it in his black jacket's pocket, pulling her along with him down the stairs.
"She just lost both of her parents, she's probably confused." He said as they walked stopped at the bottom of the stairs.
"I just don't get what she's apologizing for," Rose continued, "I'm scared that she did something?"
Lucas traced the lines on her palm absentmindedly, "I don't what Chanel might have done would be your problem, sweetheart."
"If she's apologizing to me then I think it is my problem, Lucas." Rose replied angrily.
Lucas ignored her anger and held her her hand back in his pocket, walking them across the chandelier lit hall to the dinning room in silence, Rose knew there was something else on his mind, something else was bothering him more than her bickering.
He stopped by the dinning room door and faced her. He took a deep stressful breath and pressed his warm lips against her forehead.
"This is isn't your problem, Rosabella, trust me on that." He said with a small, absentminded smile, "don't stress yourself up over it."
"Lucas, you keep telling me this isn't my problem when I don't even know what the problem even is." She answered quietly, "Quite frankly I didn't even know we had a problem to begin with."
Lucas's phone interrupted him before he could say something in response.
He pulled his ringing phone out of his pocket and sighed at the screen.
"You and Alissa can start off with dinner, I have to take this." He said.
"Who is it?"
"It's Jack." He replied as he gave her another quick kiss on her cheek, "we'll talk later, alright?"
Rose nodded and watched Lucas walk up the stairs to the office, picking up the call as he did.
She sighed, for one of the rare times in her life, she was not hungry. She watched Ulla and another younger blond set the plates of food down on the table. Rose leaned against the door frame and thought of what Chanel's apology meant. She thought and thought of what Chanel may be feeling guilty about, but she couldn't think of anything she may have done. She had done nothing except work, study, and drink for the past two years and hurt nobody Rose could think of.
"Miss Lerder? Miss Lerder?" Ulla's voice snapped her out of her thoughts.
"Huh? What? Sorry, I was spacing out." She said, feeling a bit panicked.
"Sorry, Miss Lerder, I not mean to startle you." Ulla apologized, "I was wonder how Chanel is?"
Rose grinned sadly, "she's struggling to cope with it."
"Ah, poor little girl. I destroyed when my parent died and I was thirty." Ulla shook her head sadly at the memory, "I very sorry for the loss, Miss Lerder, poor Chanel not deserve this."
"Thank you, Ulla, and please call me Rose."
Ulla nodded with a smile and gave Rose a warm, kindhearted hug. Rose sighed in despair, it hurt her to know how few people were as kindhearted as this little old lady.
Rose heard loud crying filling the entire living room. Alissa was sitting crossed legged on the couch, texting and laughing at her phone as if she had no care in the world while the baby cried and screamed in her crib next to the couch. Rose was disappointed but a little glad that she was going to give the baby up, she knew that Alissa was not responsible enough to raise a child. Alissa played with the tie of her blue crop top as her other hand continued to text in her phone. Once Alissa finally did look up and notice Rose standing Infront of her, she rolled her eyes and said, "Rose, can you please quiet that thing for me?"
Rose bit her lip in slight disgust at how Alissa called her own baby 'that thing' as if it was a little animal. Rose took the baby out of her crib and began to rock her back and forth. Alissa stopped texting after a while and watched Rose rocking the now sleeping baby while obviously zoning out.
"Hey, is Chanel okay?" Alissa finally asked.
Rose sighed and shook her head, "no she's not. She was really weird when I talked to her."
"How?"
"She apologized out of nowhere and pushed me away when I asked what she was apologizing for."
Alissa tried to fake confusion but failed to convince Rose.
"What's that supposed to mean?" She asked in a faked confused tone.
"I'm asking you. And when I asked Lucas about it, he told me it's none of my business." Rose continued to explain.
Alissa paused for a moment and decided to drop the fake confusion act.
"Maybe Lucas is right, Rose." She said.
Rose stopped rocking the baby and looked at Alissa.
"What bullshit are you three hiding?" Rose asked, beginning to lose her patience.
"Nothing!" Alissa tried to lie again, "if there was something up they'd tell you."
"Alissa, there are no if's, I know something is up. And you're hiding it." Rose struggled to stop herself from yelling to not wake the baby.
"She's just been really tired and shit, the businesses are draining the little money she had, she's been pissed over lying to Jack for me and now her parents," Alissa started, Rose rolled her eyes at the same old excuse they had all been using, "what could we be hiding?"
"Does it look like I know? I'm trying to get it out of you." Rose said as she put the baby in her crib.
"You're being paranoid, Rosie. There's nothing going on." Alissa insisted.
Rose stared deep into Alissa's green, nervous eyes and said, "what's going on? Answer me."
Alissa broke away from her gaze and got up, "I'll go take a shower. Watch Alaya for me, would you?"
Rose was in no mood for games anymore. She sped past Alissa and blocked the door.
"You're not going anywhere until you tell me what's going on!" She said impatiently.
Alissa too now lost her nervousness and patience, "go away!"
"I'm not stupid! I know you're lying!" Rose said again, "answer me!"
"Go ask Chanel herself for fuck's sake!"
"Does it look like she's in the right state to handle me?"
Alissa rolled her eyes and yelled, "if you know she's in a bad state then stop nagging us all with your goddamn curiosity!"
"It's not curiosity, you ass, now answer me!"
"Go away for fuck's sake!" Alissa shouted and pushed Rose away violently.
Rose was shocked at the sudden push. Alaya woke up and began crying as Alissa stormed upstairs. Rose's eyes filled up with tears, she began to regret coming there in the first place.
Why didn't they trust her enough to tell her? Had Chanel done something that bad? Was Rose herself becoming a bad person? Was that why they didn't trust her?
She picked Alaya up and began to rock her back to sleep, thoughts still racing in her mind, one replacing the other.
As her mind was well beyond her and she was completely zoned out. A blood curdling, ear wreckening scream rang through the entire house, loud enough to break glass.
"Help! Lucas! Rose!" Rose heard Alissa scream from upstairs, "SOMEONE HELP ME!"
Rose saw Lucas immediately bolt up the stairs. She quickly put Alaya back in her crib and ran behind him. Screams lead them down the hallway and Rose stopped, her legs were frozen and her blood ran cold in her veins.

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