Things begin to get more confusing when Frank visits Amber's grave.
I only go to school because I have a test. In actuality I didn’t study for it so skipping would have been a better option. Due to the face I’m already seated with no way to escape I suffer through it, occasionally glancing at Emily’s paper. Here’s hoping she actually knows this stuff.
By seventh period I just want to go home. I’m so fucking sick of the staring and whispering. I didn’t kill Amber, she did it herself. Sure, I am her best friend but that doesn’t mean I know any more than anyone else. I wish I did.
Gerard and his girlfriend, Ellie, are in my last class of the day. The three of us huddle in the corner, working on deciphering the French vocabulary sheet. Ellie keeps her head resting on Gerard’s leather jacket covered arm. His fingers play through her hair. This hurts. I wish I had just mustered up the courage to ask Amber out. Would she still be alive is we were dating?
“So is Mikey really planning the party?” Gerard asks after yet another failed attempt to define the last word on our list.
“Yeah, he’s just asking everyone he comes across,” I answer, still partially lost in my private head world. “Mikey’s been working really hard on this Gerard, don’t blow it off.”
“I’m getting laid and I’m getting a party…best birthday ever,” Gerard says with a wide smile.
“Gee,” Ellie squeaks, hitting her boyfriend in the arm, “that’s private.”
I laugh. Everyone is under the impression that Gerard is going to hate the party. It’ll be a nice surprise when people see he’s enjoying it. Glancing at Ellie I notice that she is bright red, trying to hide her face behind a curtain of brown and blue hair. It’s kind of adorable that she’s so shy about the whole thing. Ellie is one of those people that is there to remind others that not all girls are whores. Gerard and her are cute in that awkward ‘very first’ way. Ellie will be Gerard’s first everything and visa versa. I want that.
Final bell rings releasing us from jail. Instead of joining in with the usual rough housing I head straight to my car. How am I supposed to move on and enjoy life when my thoughts are constantly haunted by Amber?
Checking my watch I figure I have two hours till work, just enough time to visit Amber. I’ve not written anything but I can still talk to her. She’ll hear…she knows how lost I am.
The first thing I notice is the envelope is open. Damn kids, why can’t they leave things alone? Sitting down I dump the golden folder over, a DVD and a letter fall out. I did not leave those in there. Flipping the purple paper over I see my name written out in Amber’s scrolling script…Frank; the DVD also has my name on it. This is impossible. Whoever is playing this sick joke had better figure out that I’m not amused…this is not funny at all.
I open the letter, my hands trembling.
I’m sorry I left you on such short notice; it wasn’t very fair of me. I’ll try and explain things to you through letters and videos but I don’t expect you to ever fully understand. Please don’t stress about John…I don’t see him dying any time soon. Keep strong for him. Bring him movies while he’s in the hospital and let him know only cool guys are bald. Amy will be Amy, you have to let her figure this out on her own. Frank, you’re the strongest person I’ve ever met. Go into school with your head held high and to anyone who dares mock you…well you know my preferred method of taking care of things. You keep your ass out of the nurse’s office. I made it to heaven. I have a feeling the other angels are very annoyed by me. I’ve got the loveliest set of pearly white wings. You’d laugh if you saw me. Frank…can I let you in on a secret; I’m madly in love with you too. Gerard is having a birthday party…I bet it’ll be amazing. There’s a key to the lake house in my top desk drawer, take it. You can party in the house. Keep your head up and remember I’m always with you even if you can’t see me.
PS. Yes, I will be your girlfriend.
Shoving the letter into my pocket I grab the DVD and dash towards my car. Screw work.
How can the dead communicate with the living? They don’t…they can’t. This is a sick joke. I shouldn’t have left those letters. How stupid can you be Frank?
The second I get home I rush to my room, shoving the DVD into the player; this is still not happening. It’s a dream…a weird, fucked up dream.
Amber’s smiling face pope up on screen, her red hair pulled back; she waves. “Hi Frank. I’m making these figuring you will never see them. I just think it’s easier to make a video diary if you are talking to someone. So guess what…we’re seniors now! Well, I guess we’re not technically seniors till after prom but whatever. You wanna know something else? Obviously I’m going to say it anyway…I’m ecstatic that you asked me to prom. There’s no one else I would want to go with. My dress is white, longer in the front than the back and it’s strapless. I know you have to wear a suit but I don’t want you to. Frank, will you kiss me? I hope you do Goddammit. I love you Frank…so fucking much.”
The screen goes black, leaving me to stare at nothingness. I’d done much more on prom night than just kiss her. We gave each other everything. It was the best night of my life. Although I don’t understand any of this I accept it. This is Amber’s way of communicating with me. She’s going to answer my questions. I just have to stay open minded.
Remembering a bit of Amber’s letter I get up and head to her house. Mrs. Evans answers the door. I explain that I’d left something in Amber’s room before heading down the hall. Trying to not look around too much I pull open the top desk drawer; condoms, peppermints, a few joints, a pack of cigs and a key great me. I grab the key and cigarettes before reluctantly leaving the room.
“Bye Mrs. Evans, have a good day,” I call as I let myself out of the house.
Mikey will be thrilled. He’s been looking for a place to hold Gerard’s party for almost a month. Amber’s family’s lake house is perfect. Quickly glancing at my phone I realize I have enough time to get to work. How unfortunate. I was almost hoping all this would take much longer than it did.
I arrive at the Quickie Mart ten minutes later. After changing into my hunter green polo I head to the register. There is already someone there, a dark haired girl in black skinnies and a Quickie Mart polo. If they’ve hired someone else to work my station I’d like to know.
“Um,” I start, not wanting to sound like a dick, “I think you might be at the wrong register.”
The girl turns around. It’s Jez, the girl from the nurse’s office. Of all people it had to be her. I don’t mind the girl I just don’t think we hit it off well at school. Luck doesn’t always work in my favor.
“No, register three, I’m right. They said you weren’t coming back,” Jez explains as she check an elderly women out.
“Well here I am.”
The manager walks by, “Iero, register two, I’m glad you’re back.”
I groan inwardly, flicking on the light for my new station. This job sucks. If it wasn’t the only place hiring and my mom wasn’t on my ass about getting a job I wouldn’t work here. The pay isn’t nearly high enough to deal with the shit that goes on.
“So why’d you chose Quickie?” I ask Jez trying to make light conversation. If we are going to work together we might as well get the awkwardness out of the way.
“Same as you, only place that needs people, moms on my butt about getting a job plus it’s in walking distance of my house,” Jez answers.
“Where do you live?”
Her finger points out the big back windows of the shop towards the dark looking mansion. That was the one house that everyone thought would remain vacant forever. It used to be funny to dare people to spend the night in it.
“So your family bought the creepy house on the hill,” I joke, pointing a girl holding a tampon box over to Jez. The only person I’d touch that shit for was Amber.
“It’s not as bad as it looks. Some of the rooms are a little drafty but once we clean it up I’m sure people will be jealous.”
“Hell, all you have to tell them is that you’ve spent the night there…you’ll be a celebrity,” I answer with a smile. It feels good to talk and make new friends. I don’t feel as guilty as I thought I would.
“What?” Jez questions, her green eyes sparkling. “You mean people dare each other to sleep in my house?”
“It was a big thing in ninth grade,” I answer sheepishly. It sounds really stupid now.
“That’s fucking retarded,” Jez laughs.
I nod, “Amber was the only one who actually made it a full night.”
Again I get an eye roll, “Maybe you should see someone. I don’t think it’s very logical to be in love with a dead girl.”
I sigh. She’s probably right. There is something wrong with me. Normally people don’t get letters from dead people…normal people don’t love dead people the way I do. Then again most people didn’t know the spunky red head like I did.
“Don’t take this the wrong way but you didn’t know her. Amber was very special,” I answer before grabbing a chocolate bar off the shelf.
For a few minutes Jez says nothing as if she’s fighting some kind of battle in her head. I really hope I didn’t offend her. I want friends; pushing people away because I’m in love with Amber would suck.
“You’re right…I didn’t but I know you and if you’re still in love with her after she’s dead this Amber girl must be very special.”
The two of us stare at each other, “She was.”
Note: Today this story took an unexpected change while I was typing. It's a huge shocker to even me. Anyway, enjoy this chapter and ponder what the change could be :)