Chapter 13

She slowly stopped and just sat there, shivering in the winter wind. Her cell phone rang in her backpack and she opened it slowly. "Hello?" she rasped.

"Lexie?" her dad replied, sounding worried.

"Yeah." Lexie grunted, playing with the sand.

"I just got a call from the school saying that you cut," her dad sounded more worried then angry.

"Dad, I really don't feel like being there when no one cares." Lexie snapped back.

"Lexie, don't-"

"Do you know what my friends said to me? Do you have any idea?" Lexie interrupted, her angry finally surfacing. She stood, her anger warming her. "Oh that's right. THEY DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING! They didn't even look at me!" she half complained, half wailed.

"Oh sweetie." her dad breathed.

"Do you know how that makes me feel? DO YOU?" Lexie demanded. She realized she was crying again. "It makes me feel like crap," she whispered.

"Honey, come home," her dad said quietly.

She tried to get a grip as she whispered, "Okay." She walked numbly back over to the Jetta and drove home. Her dad met her on the front walk and together they walked inside.

"Alexandra?" a female voice called from the kitchen. It wasn't Laura.

"Mom?" Lexie demanded. What was she doing here, AGAIN?

"Not now, Abby-" Lexie's dad began.

Her mother appeared in the doorway of kitchen. "We need to tell her, she needs to know!"

"Tell me what?" Lexie looked between her estranged parents.

"I have custody of you now. You're moving permanently to Hawaii," her mother said briskly. "At the end of this month."

Lexie stared blankly at her mother. Realization set in and she burst into tears. "I'm not living with someone I barely know!" she sobbed at her mom.

Her mother softened for the first time she had been in California in Lexie's presence. "Honey, I know that this has been a difficult time for you but I feel now, more then ever, what you need is to have a relationship with your mother."

"WHAT I NEED IS SOMEONE WHO CARES!" Lexie shouted at both her parents. They both fixed her with looks of pity. Lexie felt so pathetic that she ran upstairs and locked the door to her room, sobbing. She cradled her picture of Ryan and murmured, "It's okay, Ryan, I'm here," he smiled back at her, locked in time, and she shut her swollen eyes, sobbing softly.

A few weeks later, she sat on her bed. Her dad poked her head in. "Hey, need any help?" he asked, gesturing around to the boxes of her stuff. Lexie shook her head, playing with Ryan's ring that she had in her palm. Her dad silently came in and sat down next to her on the bed. "You thinking about him?"

"Mm hmm." Lexie grunted back, twirling the ring. Then she shut her hand determinedly. "It's not going," she said flatly.

"Hmm?" her dad asked.

"It's staying here." Lexie whispered. He put her arm around her and she sniffed; though the tears had dried.

A week later, Lexie stood at the airport. "I'll miss you, honey," her dad hugged her.

"I'll miss you too." Lexie replied.

"Bye, sweetie." Laura gave her a hug too.

"Alexandra." her dad called when she turned to go through the gate. She turned. "Don't hold this against your mother," her dad said quietly. "She means well."

"I know." Lexie replied. She went in for another hug and then turned her back on California, boarding her direct flight to Maui.

She sat alone on the plane, staring out the window, thinking about Ryan. Had she done the right thing, leaving all the pictures of him in California? She thought about his class ring on her dresser at home. She sighed a heavy sigh, twirling the sapphire ring around her finger, which she kept on no matter what, Ryan or no Ryan, and continued staring out the window until she fell asleep.

She arrived in Hawaii, tired and cranky, 5 hours later. Her mother greeted her at the gate. "Hi, honey!" she said cheerfully. Lexie let her mom hug her. "Come on, I'll take you home." Lexie nodded. They went out to the car, which was a green BMW. "This is my baby," her mom joked.

Lexie half smiled. "It's nice," she said softly, her voice raspy with sadness. They climbed in and Lexie stared out the window at the kids who were strapping their surfboards on their cars and sighed through her nose, running a hand through her hair.

Her mother glanced over. "Do you want to listen to the radio?" she asked. Lexie shrugged and her mother flipped on an oldies station. "Here it is!" her mom said cheerfully 45 minutes later as they pulled up to a modest looking one story. Lexie climbed out, looking at the house then went to the back where her mom had popped the trunk. She hauled out her suitcase and walked up with her mother to the front door.

"Here it is!" her mom sang as they walked inside. Lexie made an effort and came up with a half smile.

"It's nice." Lexie replied. It was a nice house but she wanted to go home, to California.

"Here's your room," her mom opened a door. Lexie walked in and set down her bags.

"Are you hungry, do you want anything to eat?" her mom asked from the doorway, apparently concerned.

"No, I'm fine." Lexie said quietly.

"Oh." a silence hung in the air for a few minutes. "Well I'm sure you have a lot of unpacking to do, I'll leave you to it," her mom walked into the kitchen. Lexie looked around her new, sparely decorated room. "Something's gotta go." she muttered under her breath. "Either that bedspread or me."

Later, as Lexie unpacked her things, her mother came into her room. "Lex, I gotta go do some work at the firm." she said carefully.

Lexie stared out her window, her back to her mother, and rolled her eyes. "All right, bye, Mom," she replied in a monotone voice.

"I'm sorry I have to leave you on your first night here," her mom said, her car keys clinking in her hand.

"No, it's fine." Lexie continued unpacking, setting a picture of her dad on her nightstand.

Her mom paused and Lexie glanced at her. Her mother was staring sadly at the picture of her dad. Then her mom looked up and attempted a weak smile. "Bye, honey," her mom said softly, leaving. Lexie didn't even reply, just turned back to her boxes. When she heard the BMW pull away, she turned around and sighed, sitting on her bed. She decided to explore her house more, now that her mom wasn't there, hovering and treating her like a puppy that had lost her home.

She left her room and went into the small kitchen, looking around. The overhead fan was on, blowing a cool breeze over Lexie. She hadn't even realized that she was hot. She sighed and walked over to the sliding glass door, where there was complete darkness in the backyard. She stepped out and was hit with a cool, light breeze. She glanced over at the hammock swinging in the wind and sat down in it, rocking slightly. She realized as her eyes adjusted to the darkness that the house was directly on the beach. She felt the breeze push back her hair. "Ryan would have loved it here," she whispered to herself. She felt a tear drop and realized with a jolt that she was crying. She bent her head, whispering to the wind; "I miss him so much." she let out a choked sob. She lay down in the hammock.

Slowly, the pain took a break. It moved to the back burner where she didn't think about it that much. The following day, her sadness and tears filled with resentment. Not disrespectful resentment like at Mr. Summers for being such a pain. but angry resentment at her mother for uprooting her up from California and moving her to Hawaii.

Hawaii. she hated Hawaii. She thought she'd never make that statement, that no human being could ever make that statement, but she just had. So she was filled with resentment mixed with pain.

Lexie knew, even in her pain, that Ryan would always be with her. She knew that she could never forget him and that someday, even 10 years from then, she would still think about him. She couldn't resurrect him but she knew that she would have memories of him loving her that could stay with her a lifetime.

Ryan was gone and she wasn't. She knew she had to accept it. If she didn't, she would melt into depression and into the depths of no turning back.

She asked herself out loud, pretending to be a psychologist, "How does one accept the death of a love one?" She answered herself in a whisper, "You don't. you live every day for him and think of him always but you accept it. You accept that he's gone and that he'll always be gone. If you don't, you'll live in the past forever."

She accepted Ryan's death. Painfully, she accepted it. but the point is:

She did.

The End