fifty-one

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Harry stayed in the hospital for twelve days.

Even though I tried, I could never tell him the truth about what had truly happened at my apartment with Callie that afternoon.

I'd only told him we'd had an argument, that she'd said a bit too much while the police was right out of the door and got arrested. I couldn't find it in me to tell him she had a knife, especially because he was still hurt in those first days so I didn't want him to freak out, and then it'd always seemed to be too late.

Before I knew it ten more days had passed and I'd never told him, and I knew that if I had then he would've just gotten mad at me for not telling him sooner. So I never did.

I got to talk to Indigo, but it was a quick call over the phone. She told me not to worry and to stick with what she'd told me, because she would've found the best way out.

I wasn't sure if I believed her, but I didn't have a choice.

I didn't get to deal with the reality of what had happened that night in the woods until the stress and suffocating foreignness in my chest disappeared about three days later, and then I was crushed by it.

I was crushed by it and I hated myself because of that, because I wasn't supposed to be. I was supposed to be happy that Joel was dead, after all the pain he brought us all. I should've been happy, because he was a murderer. He was a murderer, and he'd almost killed Harry too. I should've been happy he was gone forever.

But I wasn't.

I wasn't, because when I'd first walked into my classroom on the first year of school, he'd invited me to sit on the empty seat next to him. I wasn't, because he'd spent so many afternoons at my house when we were in middle school and high school. I wasn't, because he'd always been there for me when I was upset. I wasn't, because we'd been best friends.

We'd been best friends for so, so many years.

And then I'd skipped a party.

All it'd taken was one party. Would it have been different, if I'd been there? I didn't know. But I hadn't been there, and he'd drifted away, just like everyone else.

But Indigo had come back. He never had.

He'd let himself be taken away by the craziness of everything that was going on and for months, I'd still considered him my best friend, not knowing the reality of what was going on. He'd sat next to me, acting like nothing was out of the ordinary, like I was seeing things that weren't there.

And then I'd found out everything, we'd drifted even more apart, I'd sneaked into his home, and then that night had happened.

He'd killed two people, one intentionally, he'd threatened us all for months, he'd tried to stab Harry multiple times, he'd kidnapped me, he'd shot Harry, and deep down I was still aching, because he'd been my best friend. I'd cared about him for so many years.

And while I knew that the person I used to be friends with had gone away long before he'd died, I still mourned that loss. I'd never allowed myself to do so before, I'd just pushed it aside because it hurt too much to deal with it.

But now it was real, it was definite. There was no coming back, not ever, not even by accident. It was over. Done. Erased, maybe, one day. It was the end. It was the end, and only in that moment I was starting to understand what it truly implied.

The past few months had been absurd, and the worst thing was that I couldn't even tell if I considered them negatively. They'd been both the best and worst period of my life.

Best, because I'd gotten to meet Harry and I'd gotten to fall in love with someone so annoyingly adorable that I hadn't even known existed until then. Worst, well, because of everything else.

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