Chapter 37- Lights (Light and Dark)

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Without a word, Noah runs up and hugs her. She tries to steady her breathing, but with every breath filled with his scent, she falls apart even more. Soon, she's sobbing into his arms.

"I... can't believe... they're gone." She gasps, the words fading against his chest.

"I know, I know. They may be gone... but... that doesn't mean you have to forget them."

"What if I want to?"

"Then that's your choice." Noah whispers, holding her tight. Everyone else gathers around them, unsure of what to do. Sidney motions for them to back away and follow him.

"Come on, let's give them some space." He says gently, walking back towards the pile of ashes.

"I want to help, but I don't know what to do," Poppy mutters, defeated. "Like what can we do? It's not like we can just bring her home and her family back."

"I never even knew that she didn't really have a family," Riley kicks at the ashes. "If I did, maybe things would've been different."

"Nothing we say now will change a thing." Alex picks up a handful of ash and throws it, watching it scatter in the wind.

"Maybe words can't change the past, but our actions can change the future." Sidney kneels down and starts to dig through the ash. "Just because we can't stop what has happened doesn't mean we can't do something about what happens next. She doesn't have to go through this alone."

"Well, of course she doesn't. We're all here for her... but I don't know how to show her that." Alex points out, at a loss.

"I have an idea of something we could do." Sidney steps forward, a gleam in his eye.

"What?" Riley eagerly asks.

"Let's try and see if anything survived the fire."

"By digging through the ashes? Seems kind of disrespectful, like disturbing a body or something," Alex comments. "Are you sure we shouldn't just let it rest?"

"She made us come to try and see what's left. We should honor her request. Besides, you're disturbing the ashes of a trailer, not the ashes of a person."

As everyone begins to sift through the ocean of ash, Alex whispers to himself, "I feel like I'm disturbing the ashes of a memory."

Riley wades through it as if it's mud, a look of disgust on her face.

"I know we're doing this because Jordan asked, but I don't like it."

"Yeah, I agree." Alex glances back at Noah and Jordan. Jordan is sitting down now, a tired look in her eye.

"I don't know what to do," She says, her voice getting caught in the wind as it drifts towards them.

"I don't know if there's anything you can do," Noah replies, gently putting a hand on her shoulder. "But that said, I'm sure there's something the rest of us can do."

"Like what? You guys can't just bring my family back. You can't bring my trailer back."

"That might be what you want right now, but maybe that's not what you need."

"How would you know what I need?"

"Lucky guess?" Noah shrugs, brushing dirt off of his pants as he stands up. "I'm going to leave you alone for a little bit so you can think, and you know, process."

"Think about what?"

"About what you need. About what's happened. About anything at all. I don't know what you should think about. That's up to you."

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