One-shot:I lost a brother, he lost a best friend. He knew before I did, if only by a matter of hours. Through thick and thin, he was there for me. We became really close at a funeral. Maybe not...
As I reached the bottom of the stairs, I instantly froze. My stomach felt as if I had just swallowed the pit of a peach whole. I looked around my living room, amazed at the drastic changes from last night. Last night, my parents and sister were ecstatic that Daniel was coming home, but now.... My parents were sobbing in a corner. My grandparents from my mother's and father's side were trying to console them. Jenna, who was only twelve, was staring into space, a look of devastation on her face. And Pete was looking at me in extreme sadness. Suddenly, I had no appetite.
"What's going on?" I asked hesitantly. Instantly, everyone who wasn't looking at me was. My parents beckoned me over to their corner, and I slowly walked over. "Honey, we got a letter today..." my piece of stationary crumpled in her hand. I slowly reached out and took it, reading the first few lines quickly. After I did so, I reread it. And reread it again, and again, and again. It looked as follows:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Levich,
I am deeply sorry to inform you that your son, Daniel Levich, was killed in a suicide bombing on May 30th, 2005. I, his commanding officer and the rest of his platoon send our deepest apologies and regrets. With all do respect,
P.S. Enclosed is a note he managed to write in his last moments on this Earth.
Hey family. If you get this, then I have died. I'm sorry you have to go through this, especially you, Sierra, since it is your birthday. Happy fifteenth! Your present is in my closet, under my box of special items. Mom, Dad, sorry about all this. I love you guys, thanks for raising me. Jenna, sweetie, I love you a lot. Please be strong. Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, I love you guys so much. All the time I spent with you is important. And, to my best friend, Pete, thanks for so many things, man. You were like a brother to me. Watch out for my family, okay? I love you everyone, so, so much. I'll be watching over you.
Love always, your friend and family member,
I clutched the letter tightly, not even noticing the tears that were streaming down my face. I looked over Daniel's handwriting, shakier than usual, spread out across a piece of torn paper, the back of a map. I slowly handed the papers back to my mom, who was staring at me. I turned abruptly, almost knocking Pete over, and started to run. I ran to the door, slammed it open, and ran out. I flew down the street, tuning out the cries of my parents. I ran and ran, until I came to my destination.
I turned into the cemetery so fast I nearly fell over. I slowed down to a frantic jog as I looked over the familiar gravestones. I finally stopped and dropped to my knees in front of one. I traced the letters with wobbly fingers and eyes blurred from tears. It said "Samantha Parkston, October 13, 1980 - January 24, 2004. Best friend, sister, daughter, and all around good person. May she rest in peace."
This was my best friend in the whole world's grave. She had died just last year, when I was still fourteen. Daniel had introduced me to her.... Sam had wanted to go to college, but she didn't have the money. So she signed up for four years, planning to use the money to go to Julliard College like she had always wanted. She was killed during only her second year. Sam loved the arts, drawing, writing, but especially music and dance. She always told me, "I'll either be a ballerina or a punk rock star, God as my witness!" This brought a smile to my face as I remembered her mixed personality. She and Daniel would have made a great couple....
I was jerked from my thoughts as quiet footsteps broke the dead silence. I looked up after a pair of converse broke my view. By now I was crying so hard I couldn't even see who it was. "Sierra?" I heard a very distinct voice question. Wiping my eyes vigorously, I was able to make out the worried face of Pete. I looked away, ashamed of my tears. I never cried, especially in front of Pete. He sat down next to me and did something unexpected; he pulled me into a very tight hug.
I was stiff for only a second before I wrapped y arms around his neck. I felt his warm tears spill onto my hair, as mine trickled down his neck. "It's not fair. He was coming home next week! We were all going to see him and take him out to do whatever he wanted. And he died on my birthday!" I sobbed. My voice was cracked and muffled, but Pete still managed to hear me. "I know, I know. I wanted to see him too. We'll all miss him. He was like my brother, you know? We'll all miss him" he said, in vain attempts to comfort me.
We both sat in the cemetery for hours, until the very late afternoon, probably around three or four. Finally, he let me go, and I looked up at him. I had long since stopped crying, as had he. My eyes were red and puffy and slightly agitated. Pete's didn't look as bad as mine, but it was still obvious he had been crying. "They'll be worried about us" he said finally and stood up. He held his hand out and I took it. He helped me up, but after sitting for so long, my legs were wobbly, and I bumped into him. Pete held me for a second before I straightened up.
We walked back silently, hand in hand. It wasn't necessarily romantic, just comforting. "Hungry?" Pete asked quietly. Truth be told, after all that crying and missing breakfast, I was really hungry. We made our way to a Burger King just down the street and went inside, placing our orders. I got a Wopper and Pete got a Double Wopper. After we gobbled down our order and left, we began conversing.
"How are you doing?" Pete asked me, sounding concerned. "I'm depressed. I'm really gonna miss Daniel. He was more than just a brother; he was like my best friend. And I just lost Sam last year...my life is screwed up" I said, wallowing in self-pity. Pete nodded and I felt him grasp my hand again, this time tighter. It was getting dark now, but we still kept wandering around town, not wanting to go back to my depressing house. Finally, around eight o'clock, we saw my nice two story white home looming in front of us, nearly all the lights on.
Right before we walked in, Pete dropped my hand. I suddenly felt cold, but I turned the knob anyway. As we walked in, I was bombarded with hugs and kisses while Pete managed to sidle past. Lucky. I disentangled myself from my family's arms and cleared my throat, preparing to speak. "I'm going to be up in my room. Please don't interrupt me, I'll be brooding. Pete, you're spending the night" I ordered. He looked slightly shocked, but nodded. "Let your parents know" I mumbled as I passed him. I think he nodded, but I didn't look.
I slammed the door to my room and locked it with what seemed like a deafening click. I walked over to my bed and collapsed on it, just...thinking. What would Daniel be doing right now if he wasn't dead? Would he be eating dinner? Would he be on duty? Questions raced through my head but the last one really stuck out. Would he be thinking about...me...? This last thought brought me to tears, and I was soon trying to muffle my sobs in my blue-cased pillow.
An hour later I had stopped crying and I was exhausted. I slowly stood up and made my way to the closet. I dug around and found a new pillow case, black, and threw it on after stripping the soaked one. I didn't bother to shower; it was late at night anyway; probably around midnight. I stripped out of my shoes, jeans, and band tee. I kept the tights on, deciding they would be my pj bottoms. I searched around my drawers for just a minute before I pulled out a dark blue tee shirt that went down to my knees. It had the happy and sad masks of drama on it and fit my neck and arms well.
I silently unlocked the door and opened it just a crack, peering downstairs. All of the lights were off and no noise was emitting from below. I sighed and slowly tiptoed downstairs, skipping the third to last stair, which squeaked. My socked feet made no noise as I crept across the tiled floor of the kitchen and peered into the living room. As I had suspected, Pete was laying on the couch, but not asleep. He was staring up at the ceiling, apparently deep in thought. I decided to leave him and headed back upstairs. But, curses, I accidentally skipped the first stair, landing hard on the second, which squeaked loudly. As I heard Pete sit up, I dashed up the stairs and to my room.
I shut the door hurriedly and jumped onto my bed, pulling the covers over my head. Just moments after, I heard my door swing open. Apparently, my little faÃ§ade didn't fool Pete for a minute because he walked across my floor noisily. He sat down next to my head and ripped the covers off so he could stare down at me. "What were you doing?" he asked. "Just checking on you" I replied lamely. Hey, I was tired.
"Are you gonna be okay tonight?" Pete asked, concern showing through his eyes yet again. He was so sweet. "I hope so, Mr. Wentz. I hope so" I said very quietly. He nodded and moved to get up, but I grabbed his arm lightly. "Don't leave me now. Everyone else has" I said, eyes starting to tear up again. He nodded and smiled softly at me, like he would a child. Pete slid the blankets back further and climbed into bed with me. The fact that he was only wearing a tee shirt and boxers didn't bother me at all as he wrapped his arms around my waist and buried his face in my hair. I curled up and laid my head on his chest, his heartbeat lulling my exhausted heart to sleep.
Two Weeks Later
I stared at the grave being filled in front of me. This was going to be Daniel's new home fore eternity. I had cried so much earlier, that I had no tears now. I didn't wear all black to Daniel's funeral. He had told me before he left to stand out at a funeral like I stood out in the world. So I had worn black jeans, a black button-up shirt, a red tie, and several gel bracelets, wristbands, chains, and things like that. I really did look different than everyone else. Finally, the priest called me up to say a few words.
"Daniel was my older brother, and I loved him. But he was more than just that. He was my best friend. Whenever I was down, I could talk to him. Daniel holds all of my deepest, darkest secrets, which the world will never hear from his mouth. He was over protective, like any other brother, and he would always go through thorough inspection of any boyfriend or guy friend that I had. Daniel died on my birthday, and in his last note, he told me where my present is. I...I haven't looked for it yet. The reason I look different from the other mourners is because, before Daniel left, he said if the worst happens, to stand out at his funeral like I do in reality. I know if he had the choice, he wouldn't have left this earth. I don't think anyone would. And I'm sure he misses us as much as we miss him. Everyone that's here today and even the people who didn't make it, Daniel loved you all. I just wanted to make sure you all knew that."
After my speech, I walked back to where my family and Pete's family were crowded together. I walked straight to Pete who had been my main source of comfort as of late. I buried my head in his shoulder and began to cry. I thought my tear ducts were empty, but I guess not. He went up next, the last person to speak, and basically said that he loved Daniel, Daniel was an awesome person who loved everyone, and he missed him. After my shaking hands with some people I didn't even know, I made my way home.
When my mother offered me dinner, I just mutely shook my head and went up to my room. I changed into a black silk nightie, and put on a pair of knee-high red socks to hide most of my legs (the nightie went about to my knees). I slowly walked around my room, just looking at everything blankly. Then I sat on my bed looking at things with unfocused eyes, just remembering the day.... My eyes traveled to my bedside table and I saw something that made my eyes tear up just slightly. It was Daniel's last letter and his dog tags. I scanned the letter for the millionth time and remembered, thanks to the shaky script, about my birthday present.
For some reason, I found myself bolting out of my door, down the hall, and stopping at Daniel's door. I hadn't been in here since he had left, and now that he was d...now that he had passed on, I didn't know if I could do it. But then I could just imagine Daniel telling me I was being silly. I breathed in deep, ignoring the sounds of a reception downstairs, just weird people apologizing to the immediate family, and turned the knob.
I slowly walked over to Daniel's closet and opened the door, trying not to look around the room. I shuffled through the familiar smelling clothes until I reached the floor. I picked up Daniel's small box of special items and set it aside to look at later. And, as Daniel had said, there were a few small packages lying on the floor. He must have bought them the last time he had visited and left them here. It was almost as if he knew he was going to die....
I brushed the thought aside quickly, telling myself it was rubbish. I picked up the first package, square and flat. It was obviously a CD. I carefully undid the wrapping and peered inside. I smile as I saw the band name: Green Day. They were my absolute favorite band, and he knew that. I opened the next box and found a pair of black combat boots with red laces and custom made red heartagrams on each steel toe. I smiled, knowing they had cost him a fortune. Where had he gotten the money for all of these things anyway? I opened the second to last package and pulled out a black trench coat. I stared at it adoringly, seeing that there was a small blue rose embroidered on the bottom of the right wrist.
I stopped at the last package. It was small and delicate and I handled it with care. Ripping off the dark blue with stars wrapping paper, I revealed a small velvet box. I opened it with shaking hands and gasped at what I saw. Tucked inside satin cushion was a small, heart shaped locket with an angel on it. My hands shook so hard it was difficult for me to open the latch and peer inside. Instantly, tears started to fill my eyes.
It was a very fancy locket with three compartments. In the one on the left, there was a recent picture of me during Halloween, my favorite holiday. My face was painted white and all around my eyes was black. I was smirking with fake blood coming off of my lip. In the right compartment, Daniel stood in much the same makeup as me, except he had fake vampire teeth that actually looked quite real. The bottom compartment had a picture of both us laughing on a normal day, his arms wrapped around my shoulders. The top compartment was empty, which really tugged at my curiosity. But then I looked down and saw a note on the ground. I picked it up and read what it said.
Dearest Sister of Mine,
Hi! This is your fifteenth birthday, and I'm sorry to say I'm back in the service already. I hope you like the gifts...actually, I know you'll like them, cause I'm a bithin' older brother and know what you like! In the locket, I'm sure you've noticed an empty spot. This is where I want you to put the picture of the man that has captured your heart. I love you a lot! Bye!
P.S. - Don't worry; I'll be there for your sixteenth birthday!
I swallowed my tears and held the locket gently, brushing my fingers over the two pictures inside of it. I slowly folded and re-clasped the locket before hanging the delicate looking but strong chain around my neck. I tucked the jewelry beneath my shirt and grabbed the rest of my gifts and the note before walking back to my room. I slowly shut Daniel's door, then I entered my room and put my new clothes away. When I went back to shut my door, I suddenly was filled with emotion and slammed the door so hard it made the house shake.
I heard footsteps pounding up the stairs and my mom burst in, concern in her eyes as people filled the hall outside the door. "Sierra, hun, what's wrong?" she asked, coming over to sit by my side. But I wouldn't deal with that. I was mad now. Mad at these strange people who barely knew Daniel watched me break down, mad at the military for letting this happen, mad at my mom for letting people see me like this, and mad at myself for not trying harder to get Daniel to stay.
"Get out of my fucking room!" I yelled, swearing very badly. "Sierra, we don't speak like that in this house" she said, but mom was lacking authority at the moment. "No! Get out of my room before I get physical! I'm not afraid to do it! I'll punch someone! And tell all of those people that have no fucking idea as to what's going on to get the hell out of our house!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. The group immediately started to dissipate behind the door as I roughly shoved my mother out. Right before I slammed the door, I saw Pete's sad face staring into my eyes.
I locked the door and threw my pillow against the wall before I collapsed onto the floor, crying. I was so exhausted...physically and mentally. I couldn't take this! I cried on the floor for hours, literally, until I managed to crawl over to my bed and flop down, telling myself I wasn't leaving this room until I was fit to face the world again.
I hadn't been out of my room for two weeks. I was still mourning over my brother and didn't want to face the world. I would sneak out at night to go to the bathroom and eat, when I was sure nobody was awake. They had tried to catch me, but I was as quiet and dark as a shadow. And, of course, several people had tried to get me to come out, including my parents, Jenna, and Pete. I always either ignored them or told them to leave me alone. And each time, they sighed and left.
I was feeling the slightest bit better emotionally, but physically I was really sick. I hadn't eaten enough for a while, so I was losing my healthy look and growing bony. The extreme lack of sun, considering I kept my blinds shut tight with dark curtains over them, was making me look a ghostly shade of pale. I knew I had to leave my room soon, otherwise I could get very sick, even more so than I was now.
That night, during my food raid at around two in the morning, I peered into the living room as I crept downstairs out of caution. I didn't see anything until I reached the foot of the stairs. That's when I froze. I saw Pete on the couch, staring at the ceiling as he did the night we found out Daniel died. He didn't seem to notice me, so I crept quietly upstairs, taking extra caution not to step on the squeaky stair that had betrayed me last time. I was really tired so I closed the door to my room and collapsed onto my bed.
The next morning I woke up to the sun shining in my eyes and warmth at my back and pressure on my waist. I was confused because I didn't let the sun in my room and didn't remember falling asleep under the blankets.... I looked behind me to find Pete asleep at my back, clutching my waist very tightly. This surprised me, but then I remembered I had been so tired last night I had forgotten to lock my door. I could've just kicked myself on the spot.
With caution, I rolled over to try and slip out of Pete's arms. But when I did, he held onto me so tight that I nearly had trouble breathing. I relaxed for the moment and spent my time trying to think of what to say to him when he woke up. I couldn't come up with anything in the short time he was asleep, and when Pete did wake up, it was slowly.
First, Pete moaned. Then, his eyes slowly slid open to portray a confused look upon his face, until recognition slowly dawned on him and he looked down at the figure in his arms; me. "Sierra?" he asked, now fully awake. I nodded mutely, still unsure about the situation. Pete bolted up with me still in his tight grasp. I was forced up with him. The sun illuminated his beautiful eyes that were now filled with worry. Worry about me, no doubt.
"Why don't you come out anymore? Why don't you see us? Why don't you trust us? Trust me?" Pete asked, sadness dripping from every syllable. "Pete..." I said, gently placing a hand on his warm cheek. He grabbed it tightly; as if afraid I was going to slip away. "This is the way I grieve. I don't want anyone to see me like this. I'm supposed to be strong" I said softly. Pete looked at me with a confused face before it seemed to dawn on him. The realization that was haunting me. I was hiding.
"I'll help you get through this. And you'll help me, whether you realize it or not" he said. "Why do you care? You were Daniel's best friend, not mine" I said. I wasn't being scornful or rude; just...curious. But before I could contemplate this thought any longer, seething warmth crashed onto my lips. The warm substance, softer than water, was Peter Wentz's lips themselves. I certainly had not been expecting him to kiss me. But even more so, I was very surprised when I started to kiss back.
I pulled back slowly, the need for breath slowly consuming me. Apparently, Pete had the same idea but didn't want to let me go, so he wrapped his arms around my waist. "I care because...I love you. Two years now. And it kills me everyday, knowing I can't be with you" Pete said, a sad look dampening hid gorgeous brown/hazel eyes. "Peter Wentz" I sighed and ran a hand through his messy black hair. He looked slightly embarrassed now and tried to look away from my piercing eyes. But I wouldn't let him. "Pete" I said sternly, and he looked at me. "I love you, too!" And with that, we kissed again, making a bond with one another. To have and to hold, to comfort, for always and eternity.
Five Years Later
These past few years have been hard, but Pete has helped me through it. Going through the rest of high school was murder. Everyone kept looking at me sympathetically, and I hated it. My friends deserted me after I started to wear my heartagram clothes, saying I had become satanic. I had gotten a heartagram tattoo in red on my left wrist just recently, Pete's birthday present to me. If someone said something to trigger a memory of me and Daniel that first year, I would run out of the room crying.
Pete and his band, Fall Out Boy, had become very successful. Patrick Stump, Andy Hurley, and Joe Trohman, had become like family to me. Pete and I were still together, which always attracted angry stares from little twelve year old girls. I never paid them any mind, because I shouldn't. Pete was twenty-one, they were twelve. Nothing was going to happen. But still, the occasional hate mail still got to me.
I looked adoringly at the bass player of Fall Out Boy. Pete looked nervous tonight, and the air around me was thick with tension. The rest of the guys seemed excited. I sang along with all of the songs. But all good things eventually come to an end, the concert included. Patrick walked up to the microphone, and I expected him to just thank the crowd as he always did. But little did I know, tonight would change my life forever.
"Thank you all for coming out tonight, it means a lot to us. But the show isn't quite over yet. The man you all know, and one in particular loves, Pete Wentz! He has something to ask. But first, will Sierra Levich please step onstage?" Patrick asked. He extended his hand to me, and I grabbed it and swung myself up onto the elevated stage. Patrick winked at me before stepping aside. Pete took his place, and I noticed he had taken his bass off and in his hands he clutched a microphone and something he kept hidden.
"Sierra" Pete started off, sounding really nervous, "we've known each other for a really long time. Hell, I've known you since you were in diapers, and you knew me when I got my first bike!" Pete paused and took a shaky breath, and I was starting to get nervous. Where was this leading to? "When Daniel died, we both missed him a lot. You wouldn't talk to anyone but me, and I would only talk with you. This brought us closer in some twisted way" here Pete paused again and seemed to be talking to himself. "We've been going out for five years, and I don't trust anyone more than you. I love you with all my heart, which is why I must ask" Pete stopped momentarily, and what he did next stopped my heart. He went down on one knee. He revealed what he had been hiding; a black velvet box. Pete cracked it open and I saw several diamonds, all aligned in the shape of a heart. "Sierra Levich, will you marry me?" Pete asked, his tone nervous and eyes hopeful. Tears sprung to my eyes and I collapsed beside him, smiling my watery head off. "Yes. Yes, of course! I love you so much!" I cried. Pete grinned and slid the ring onto my finger. We stared at each other before Patrick decided to break the silence.
"Well, Mr. and Mrs. Wentz" he said, stressing the Mrs. Wentz part and winking at me, "we hope you have a happy life together. And, as congratulation, we'll play your favorite song, Sierra Wentz, "Where is You Boy?"" Pete kissed me, stepped back to his bass, and they began to play their hearts out. I smiled throughout the whole song, just staring into Pete's gorgeous brown eyes. He stared back, occasionally taking glances at my engagement ring. I stared at the diamonds that sparkled with my tears of happiness.
His name is Pete Wentz. My new name is Sierra Wentz. I couldn't be happier, and now the blank spot in my locket has an occupant. I thank Daniel for giving us the courage to get together. I really owe you one, bro. See you soon. Pete's calling, so I have to go. Bye! And remember: No matter what the circumstances, no matter how badly you feel, someone will always love you. Trust me, I would know.