Closing the Door, Opening a Window

Final chapter.

"I never would have imagined." Jess whimpered. The tissue box in her hand was emptying rapidly, "I loved her so much, I didn't realise how great a friend she was."

Protecting and supporting his girlfriend in the only way he could think of, Aaron draped an arm over her shoulder. He held her tightly with the tips of his fingers circling around her shoulder. It was a terrible day, the rain drops fell from eyes onto the ground, and the thunder was shrill shrieks from the mourning souls. Yet the sun condemned the aura of emotions; it was bright, many of the guests wore wide rimmed black hats to block the rays.

It wasn't an easy situation to be in. Aaron wanted desperately to speak the words that would bring a smile to Jessabelle's beautiful face, but those words were a myth. He cringed as they stood in front of the cold grey tombstone. It did Tori no justice. She was such a sweet girl, the grave didn't let the world know of her unjust departure.

Out of the corner of his eyes, Aaron could see Ava and Daniel embracing, her head leant against his chest, he could see that Dan's shirt shone with a liquid presence. She was crying, and so was he. Although Daniel was a strong companion, weakness shone through. He didn't try to wipe the tears away, instead let them fall gracelessly onto Ava's beautiful red locks.

"It didn't seem real till now." Jess let out a yelp. And with those words she spoke, her posture collapse. Jess' palms collided with the rough dirty ground and her dress creased as her knees clinked against a patch of grass. She sobbed and sobbed, cursing God's name aloud. Aaron kneeled next to her, he rubbed her back. It was all getting too much, he couldn't contain his emotions, the damn hell he felt, he couldn't defend her much longer.

He inhaled, and as he exhaled, a small droplet rolled down his cheek. He wiped it away quickly on his sleeve, and buckled onto his back. Jess' face turned towards him, and she froze, it was so unexpected. A melancholy sight which, she suspected, would lock as a cold memory all her adulthood. He looked so vulnerable, barely sitting up with an arched back, and his face downcast.

Jess tugged his sleeve, but he wouldn't face her. She tugged it again, without moving his face, his eyes turned towards her, with an upsetting vision. A tear fell out of his right eye, whilst one fell out of her left. She pressed her index finger onto his tear, trailing it down to his neck.

No words were uttered, and no looks were received. Their hands slowly made their way into another's, and the cool and relaxing breeze evaporated their depression.

"I don't like it when you cry." Ava sniffled into Daniel's chest, "it makes me sad when you cry."

Daniel laughed softly, his voice felt like it had been cut out in a macabre fashion, fighting in a pool of claret. The oppressive events had tragically triumphed over his 'manly' strength. The guilty company of his ever-loving girlfriend was the only contention he felt. He almost laughed at himself! He barely knew Tori, never had given her the time of day before Ava walked into Mazda High. But the atmosphere, it just made him want to sin blasphemy!

Usually he'd feel like a 'dickhead' and a 'fruit' if he cried. But at the funeral, it seemed quite appropriate. Looking around, everyone was in tears. Tissues upon tissues were being shoved into pockets (the black and white making an obvious contrast), and embracers were to be seen everywhere.

Tori's family made Daniel's jaw clench. They all sat politely, accepting sorrowful apologies from the concerned. Tori's brother seemed to be living on another planet; he giggled and chased butterflies around the cemetery, pretending that zombies would awaken at any moment. His parents smiled at this act, and they continued a small and private conversation.

Following Daniel's vision, Ava pardoned this behaviour, "they're grieving in a different way. It might not have sunk in yet, they might want to save face, it's not that they don't care." Her hand sat at the crease of his abs, she took a step away from him, letting their brown eyes converse without sound.

"I suppose." He said, his own hands resting on her lower back. He hated to admit it, but she looked beautiful dressed in black. Her singlet number was shapeless, it draped well bellow her knees and seemed a few sizes too big. She definitely was going for discreet. Although he didn't assume it worked- her hair in red ringlets cascaded down to her breasts, and sat divinely. She truly was a fiery Goddess in his eyes.

"Daniel this isn't the time or place to be thinking THOSE kinds of thoughts." Ava said. He could not decipher whether or not she was joking around, feeling offended, or just simply stating a face.

He then realised that his eyes were focused on her chest. With a blush, he only then remembered that his eyes were like waterfalls. Shaking his head free of them, Daniel kneeled in front of her. He wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his head on her chest- just like she was doing previously. This was in a non seductive or sexy way. He just wanted to be susceptible for one moment, just to feel what it's like to be utterly protected.

A small smile crept up on Ava's beautiful face, "It's ok Daniel, I'm always here for you."

Daniel smiled in union, "I love you, Ava."

She never replied.

The speeches and tears slowly ended, and the foursome felt it rude to go back to the 'after party' (so to speak), so they made their way to a local burger joint, taking a seat in the back booth.

None felt too talkative, nor felt in the mood for happiness. Jessabelle and Aaron still had their hands entwined; it had been that way ever since the funeral. Daniel, almost feeling foolish in his 'ludicrous' state, sat with his arm around Ava. They ordered milkshakes each; all chocolates, which ironically resembled the closest colour that could fit the black mood they were in. Sips were heard, Ava almost refused to gulp in fear that the group would hear the noise loudly.

Unlike Daniel, Ava was puzzled but at the same time proud of her boyfriend. He showed a very different and sincere side, she never expected to see a tough player in tears, weak before her figure.

"The speech Tori's father made was really sweet." Jess casually sipped on her milkshake, "I really think it was a nice tribute to our friend."

The other three agreed with nods and lacking-syllable responses.

"This is all so sudden." Aaron stated, "not just Tori's departure, but the whole ordeal. In less than a year, Ava became our friends (and moved into my neighbourhood), me and Dan's friendship returned, Dianna and Dan broke up, Di was seen as a bitch, Ava became our good friends… and we all found love."

"Well three of us." Dan piped in," Ava isn't in love."

Ava bit her lip. She didn't love him; or at least she wasn't sure she did. He meant a lot to her, of course, but love was such an overused word, and Valentines had made it almost transient.

"I never said I love you," Ava looked at Daniel, "because when I do say it, I want you to realise that I'm not fucking around."

Dan smirked, "you certainly enjoy cursing away a romantic situation."

"And you certainly know how to include sarcastic humour into a mourning day!" Ava bit back.

"You two will always be a fighting couple, you know." Jess laughed, "It's the whole love-hate cliché! Face it, you two throw so many fire sparks at each other, you're basically making chemistry."

Ava and Daniel exchanged a delicate kiss, his lips pressed against hers, and he glued in that position for a great time. Only when they both felt embarrassed at being in company, they parted. All had a small smile on their faces; whether if be for love, or for finally being able to start a new journey, it was a small proportion of happiness.

"Let's just hope that Ava doesn't end up naked at a party again." Quite randomly, Jess stated, with a laugh. She gulped down the last bit of her milkshake.

Ava cringed at the memory, "now that was one of the most EMBARRASSING days of my life!"

Everyone laughed at the memory, although at the time, Ava remembered herself in tears. The song "My Immortal" blasted through the radio in her mind, she felt saddened by it. That band was bloody talented, but that song brought back too many bloody unpleasant memoirs.

Killing the group conversation, they privately discussed matters in twos.

Aaron studied Jess' magnificent face- she truly was beautiful. Her oval face was of such tanned and clear complexion, he couldn't recount one encounter when she was blemished. Her nose and cheeks were painted with miniscule freckles, and her eyes were of the lightest brown he had ever seen. They were almost green, and when she really smiled, they did light up in a shade of hidden emerald. He loved her height, even if she was quite short. She was just reaching 5'3, and he was at the 6 foot mark.

"You're beautiful, Jess." Aaron said.

Jessabelle's face lit up, "you're amazing."

The two continued ogling at each other with sweet, reassuring words. They almost uttered nonsense for the mere fact of comforting each other in a time of uncertainty. The conversation with Ava and Daniel, was quite simular, but much less open.

They argued a bit over whether or not the milkshakes were made with skinny or regular milk. Ava, being an educated person on different milk types (and being a typical, weight worrying female), was convinced that she was in the right, and that the milk WAS skinny. Daniel, on the other hand, thought Ava was being an idiot, and that the milk was regular like usual.

"WHATEVER!" Daniel finally threw an irritated hand up in the air in mercy. He placed his hand in his pocket and fished around, past all the soggy tissues, he pulled out a small jewellery case. "I got you something."

Ava looked at the box curiously. She was scared to open it, but excited to see the context inside it. She gave him an odd expression, but smiled all the same, sliding the lid open with a pop. Inside was a beautifully simple ring. It was large, and had a small swirly pattern, silver in colour. What a simple gift, but it made her very grateful and warm.

"It's a promise ring." Daniel explained nervously, "I just wanted to tell you, that, well, I'll try to never leave you, and I really do like you a lot and I really hope you are happy and all that jazz. I hope you like it."

He was blabbering, and Ava liked it when he blabbered. And she did like him a lot. "I love it, Dan." She kissed him on the cheek, placing the ring on her finger with an unsure and overwhelming emotion.

"By the way, it is skinny milk." Ava winked.

The end.

AN: THIS IS THE END! No more, after one and over a half years, I have finished this story. I don't know how to feel- I'm too tired to process emotions… but the story I have worked so hard on, is completed! I hope the end is satisfying, and please tell me your opinion of the end. I love you all, you've been a part of my writing life, and I am grateful for everyone who typed a few little words and inspired me to write all this time.

Thankyou, I will only give review replies to a few people, because I can't exactly say "please read" anymore:

Cat Youkai: I want to thank you SO FRICKEN MUCH! You have been one of the most awesome reviewers! And I can't believe you've been bothered to read this story for SO LONG. I couldn't do that! And some times, your reviews are the reasons I pick up a pen (or word document, whatever) and write. Strange, I don't even know you, but seeing your name continuously on reviews, it just is a great asset. Thankyou!

Kasatriya: Thanks for being dedicated to the amount of crap I type! You have been an all-round review. And I thankyou, keep reading and increasing your literature and writing knowledge- because I can tell you've got such a passion for it. I really thankyou for sharing this fiction-telling experience with me!

CrystalDusk: Ava brought Daniel the elephant G-string, hehe, I thought it worked well. Thanks mate for being a reviewer, I know you have for some chapters, and I am extremely grateful. It's always nice to see the same names in reviews.

Shojogurl: I hope to write a sequal! I really do, I have such great ideas. It's just a matter of time- a lot of time. And, hopefully it's less cliché and less 'teenage typical love story'. Thanks mate! I owe you a whole bunch of reviews and kindness!

Mya Von Dor: you have been very helpful. I'm glad this story has been good enough for you to read. And I really thank you for it, it means more to me… than anything, for people to actually read my work.

Aww I'm getting all upset now! I LOVE YOU ALL! (well, not really, but as my faithful reviewers). And I am grateful for EVERYTHING!

If you want a sequel, SAY SO!

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