Prologue

"Hailey I love you."

I looked down upon him, only seeing a blur of color instead of his face. If only I could hold them back, I didn't want to feel the stinging again. Never again.

Hmm, it's funny you can stop breathing, you can hold back a sneeze but you can't fight back tears. I think it's God's way of reminding us were not in complete control…

Sometimes I wish I could be in control, be able to decide who goes and who stays. Maybe the tears would stop then…just maybe my heart wouldn't crack under this pressure.

"Hayes…"

"Yeah John I know, I love you too…" my voice came out as if I had never used it before. The burning moved down my cheeks now, probably burning holes into the bed sheets. Biting my lip I felt his hand slowly move over mine, grasping it softly. All I could do was hold on tighter; I couldn't let him go not yet.

" Hailey…I'll be ok."

" I won't be…I can't do it John. It's inhumanly possible." His face weary and tired shone the impossible. A smile. He smiled. He managed a smile, when I could barely keep my head up to meet his eyes.

"I know you'll be fine."

"I don't want to be fine, not ever again." His smile wavered a bit, making my heart pound against my ribcage. It was the will of God…right? Yet, why would God's will be so hard to accept, why can't he make it easy. Or it is not humanly possible, can God not prevent the hurting until we die. Does he hurt because we hurt. Like how I hurt because he hurts. Because John is in pain…

"Haye…Live for me please."

I could only look up at him, meet him eye to eye. Breathe with him, feel the heat of his body clashing with mine. Live for him. I can't even manage to live without him. How am I suppose to live for him. How am I suppose to live for someone that it pains me to think about. That makes my heart sore, as if it had been running a race.

Looking into his eyes, I could see they weren't the same. Clouded with pain, darkened by tragedy, softened with a new found wisdom. Could I really live for him, live so his eyes could once again shine, shine brighter than the sun.

"Yeah John I will."

He nodded, with a smile, closing those eyes. I gasped I don't know why, maybe because just a moment after a beep resounded through the room. Or maybe it was the fact, that it would be the last time I'd ever see those eyes.

Chapter 1

It's been two months since he died; at first I couldn't even bring myself to say it. Instead, I locked myself in my room; the one place where it seemed time could not reach me. I could stay there for as ever long as I need, and time would seem to stop in midair. Hanging over my head, but never really affecting me.

Unfortunately, the world around me kept moving. No matter what I did, it kept moving. My friends, well I haven't talked to them since the funeral. I suppose you could say I missed them, on occasion. They have their own lives to experience, and I well…I have this pitiful existence. Frankly, it pains me to think about leaving my room and returning to the place that I had so hoped to avoid; School. The one place, that held the most memories, memories of laughter, regret, and even love.

Just looking at my fragile self in the mirror, I could tell I wasn't going to be able to handle it. My skin had become pale, and now I was almost skin and bones. My curves that I had been so proud of were diminished, and what was left was covered. Large bags cupped my once fiery green eyes, from lack of sleep, and my hair lay on my shoulders. It had seemed to have lost all of it's luster. I couldn't even tell you the last time it was washed.

The worst change of all, is the constant neutral look on my face. As if my emotions had seeped through my skin, leaving me empty and loss. You have no idea, what a horrible feeling it is…to feel emotionless. It's almost as if the world has reverted to black and white and time has simply slowed it self, while you move at a normal pace. The world, seems to just stand still as if waiting for you to scream, and even if you want to scream…you will never be heard. Your voice is just an endless beep…

Turning around, bright red numbers flashed 5:13, it seemed that I hadn't gotten any sleep again. What can I say, I had more than enough on my mind. I sighed…looking back into the mirror. No matter how much I didn't want to admit it I needed a shower. Grabbing a towel on my way, I stripped myself of my clothes, and turned on the water. Instantly, warm water rushed over my face, sending a soothingly feeling through my body. I guess I must have forgotten how good a warm shower felt, because it almost took me by surprise. I must have scrubbed the first layer of skin off my body as the water poured over me.

I stepped out of the shower, my feet touching the cold tile hesitantly. It had at least been a good 30-minute shower; I don't exactly know why I stayed in there so long. I suppose I might have been trying to scrub that constant unfamiliar feeling I had. The feeling of not being the same person you were, just a few moments in time ago.

With the towel tightly wrapped around me, I sort of cradled myself as I walked to my room. Taking a look into my closet, my normal clothes were clearly pushed to the far corner that was almost impossible to reach.

I went through a slight wardrobe change, tends to happen when your life drastically changes. Instead, of clothes that were cute and flattering to my body, my clothes were limp against my skin. Snatching a shirt and jeans I quickly slipped them on, the best way to describe how I looked was a blob.

My clothes absolutely consumed my body, the large black shirt making my complexion look even more like glass, and the jeans well they did nothing for me. Looking in my unforgiving mirror once again, I pulled a comb through my wet hair, pulling it up into a somewhat messy bun, strands escaping my head from every which direction. I applied a bit of black eyeliner, and then as I always did I grabbed my backpack and headed downstairs. Forgetting about grabbing a banana before I left, I kissed my moms cheek, and left as I had always done.

Chapter 2

I sat perfectly still in my car, merely staring at the place that held three years of memories. I swear I could feel my lungs compressing under the immense pressure of my beating heart. My head was spinning, I should have grabbed that banana, but the past is the past right? Of course, using that philosophy I should be able to move my rigid self out the cold leather seat. All that I could do is let a sigh escape my lips.

Stepping out of my car, I decided I wouldn't look back this time. I was sure that if I even took a glance at my small green beetle, I would never return.

My converse padded onto the familiar green grass of Hill Bridge Private School. Hundreds of kids idly stood around, talking about their summers, like always.

You must understand something about Hill Bridge; it is full of kids who are untouched by life. It's as if money has sheltered them from the harsh breath of the world around them. Their lives are full of "I wants", and "I haves"; it is hard to find a thank you in between. Sadly, I had been a lot like them, untouched by anything; living as though the world was perfect. Death and Love changed that all; I don't know if it was a good thing or a bad thing, but I know I'll never be the same.

The last thing I wanted to do, was stay out on the grass, it would be false hope to believe that I would be able to be one of them again. Instead I merely stared at the front doors, ignoring the stares and whispers the best I could. Most people would have thought the stares would give me some kind of comfort, you know the stares; I'm so sorry stares.

I didn't falter in my pace as I reached the door, although I was contemplating on whether I should run towards the safety of my beetle. Instead, the almost silent click of the door tickled my eardrum as I stepped in.

The stares seemed to have followed me; it was like I had some kind of disease. And all they could do was stare at me from behind a glass, if you ask me; they are a bunch of cowards. Simple enough to say, the stares were like piercing daggers, and they weren't letting up. So I did the one thing I knew would make them turn, if I looked up. It was almost funny to see their eyes divert, once I met them.

Keeping my head up I began to walk slowly around the little groups of friends. Honestly, I had no idea where I was going to go; I knew where I was supposed to go. Where I would have gone if he were still here; the one group that everyone wished they could be in.

Turning slightly I looked over, every one of my old friends stood there, looking at me just like everyone else. Their stares hurt the most. It was as if I was a sideshow freak.

I didn't wait for any of them to speak, this time I let my pace quicken. I couldn't handle their stares, not now, and probably not ever. All I could do was run, and the moment I was out of their sight I did. I sprinted down the senior hallway, the blue and white paint merging together, my feet pounding against the tile floor.

My body ached, I couldn't run like I had before, I was feeble. I stopped against one of the walls sliding down. There was the sudden cold rush as I reached the tile; the colors of the small hallway were slowly fading into the creeping black. I closed my eyes, to ease the throbbing in my head. The only comfort that I had was that I couldn't cry anymore, I had wasted all my tears.

Sagging against the bare wall, I heard quiet steps fill the hall. Burying my head deep within my knees, I attempted to conceal myself from the mysterious person. If it were a teacher they most likely would excuse my behavior as "depression." This is what I had been diagnosed with when my mother dragged my to a "psycho" therapist. The woman was incredibly annoying, and just being in her company made life absolutely unbearable. Frankly, the only good thing she did for me was giving me a solid excuse to "dismiss myself."

The echo of the footsteps slowly dissipated, as I retracted my head from its invisible shell. To my dismay the very eyes I had seen in the mirror every day since his death were there too met my gaze. If Aaron had been female, I would have sworn that I was staring into a mirror. Of course, Aaron was not nearly as pathetic looking as I. The contour of his body had not changed from its lean muscular exterior and his shaggy brown hair still settled in front of his stormy blue eyes.

His dress was a bit unusual, no colorful polo shirts or pre-torn jeans. It would seem that he reverted back to what he had been before he was thrust into the whirlwind of John and me. I could never comprehend why he changed his clothing style to fit in with our "click," I had always prefers his worn jeans and black t-shirts.

Shaking off the initial shock of the encounter, I lowered my gaze to leave the swirling feeling of emptiness his eyes provided. A soft groan resounded from the proximately of where he was standing.

"You can't even look me in the eye," he spat out hatefully into the air "how pathetic, Hailey." I winced as the words danced near my ears, hurting any part of me that could still be damaged.

Its not like I hadn't expected this, he was John's best friend, and well he had pinned me for his death. He couldn't have had made it more obvious than at the funeral, the memory is still vivid in my mind…

It was time for everyone to go up to the open casket to give his or her last respects. The mere thought of seeing John's pale lifeless body placed neatly into a little box made my stomach sink. Carefully I maneuvered myself out of the uncomfortable wooden pew and slipped into the side of the church, the pillars shadowing me from the rest. Once hidden my body began to shake uncontrollably once again. I'd been like this ever since I had literally been escorted out of John's hospital room. I'd say it was more of dragged out considering I had lost the feeling in my legs. Apparently, mental pain can have just as much of an affect externally, as physical pain can.

Arching my convulsing body against the smooth stonewalls trying my best to fill my lungs with the stale church air. Shutting my eyes in my first moment of peace in almost three days I suddenly felt a constricting pressure around my neck. Frantically my eyes flew open as my body was thrust up higher onto the wall the pressure around my neck increasing double-fold. My eyes fluttering down to the face of my attacker, the shock of my face was evident. There lay one of my best friend's, his eyes fierce, distant, and oh so scary.

Trying to find my voice through my slowly compressing windpipe I clawed at his hands for a few moments stopping as he began to frantically mutter over and over again. Straining against the closing darkness the words seeming muddled and unclear, finally made sense. Forcing the dry wells of my eyes to spark once again, water began to trickle out slowly. Closing my eyes as I flung my glove covered hands to my ears; I felt my mind slowly slipping as I landed on the floor. Louder clearer voices suddenly filling the air…

Honestly, I wish his brother hadn't stopped him. As for what he kept muttering, well it was simply "You killed him…Hailey. Killed Him," over and over again. Those words haunted my dreams for weeks on end.

"Hailey" His sharp tone stabbed my ears like a knife, "what are you now a mute." I shook my head fiercely placing it down away from the fire that had suddenly been set a blaze in his eyes.

"Don't look for my pity…you killed him Hailey" he said his voice filling the room suffocating me as he had that day "Face it you're a fucking piece of shit." Hot tears welled in my ears as a whimper escaped my lips. It was as if he had kicked me like a dog, a dog on its last breath. I would call it cruel, but it most aspects I totally agreed with him, more than I would like to admit.

A harsh laugh trickled over my skin, leaving me numb in all prospects. "You manage to shed tears," he said as he drifted away towards the other end of the hall. I watched him, wondering who had changed more. I had a fleeting thought that perhaps he was hurting a lot more than I was, and that brought another warm rush of water to scar my torn face.

Jumping slightly as the large metal doors clanged together in his wake, I made a whimper sound again. I didn't know who I was angry with more at the moment, myself for being broken or the fact that John wasn't really the only person that died that day. Burying my face in my hands I screamed letting every ounce of air escape my lungs. Rocking back and forth as the sounds ricocheted of the walls, the floor, and everything in between.

I didn't quite know I'd become so angry, it mere moments, but I welcomed the emotion with open arms. Whether I was angry with Aaron, God, or just myself I let the feeling wrap around me somehow sheltering me from my reopened wounds.

Not knowing where I was suppose to go or when I was suppose to go, I let my new form of strength carry me back to the comfort of my tiny beetle. I had known this morning, as I had known two months ago that I was just not ready for school. Seeing people in the flesh was just as bad as reopening a healed scar. Emotions gushed out just like freshly spilled blood, and pain, the pain was just inevitable. Clutching my steering wheel in both confusion and rage, I waited in the filled parking lot in order to sort my thoughts. I didn't know why I was angry, I had agreed with Aaron…or had I? His anger was so frightening, so disorientating. We should have been sitting in that hall together comforting each other, trying to grasp the pain. But…

I shook my head; I needed to get as far away from the school and Aaron as possible. Switching into reverse, I made the gas petal feel my anger as I pulled onto the highway.

Some would say I was going on a trip to find myself, but I believe that would be completely in accurate. I had no intention on trying to find my old self, because I knew exactly where she was, dead and buried. The Hailey everyone once knew was rotting in the back of my mind, her replacement. Her memories were the only thing that kept the two of us attached, her horrible memories that shredded me in and out. Horrible in a sense, that I dreaded the reel of happy images of my previous life to play through my head. A personal viewing as punishment for taking the old Hailey's place.

Staring straight ahead, the tree's blurring as my beetle on the threshold of speeding whizzed past them. The dark clouds above began to relieve themselves, as tiny raindrops exploded on my windshield separating instantly to go their own ways. My eyes blinked rapidly, the silent road, the tiny raindrops making their marks on the windshield; it was all so familiar, so terribly familiar…

"Your Not Even Listening!?" I screamed my eyes welling up as I stared at the stone next to me. Stiff from the tension in the air he managed to release a sigh, and his head turned towards mine. His blue eyes as dark as the thundering sky, he studied my face slowly before letting out an exhausted voice "Hayes…" Before, another word could be uttered; a strong bright light blinking through the sheet of rain diverted my attention. My stomach dropped, what he was going to say didn't matter anymore because what he did say was just what I needed to hear. If only I had time to respond..

Seething pain suddenly erupted through my head, my eyes burning in their own hell as I threw my hands up to my temples attempting to push the terrible memory out of my mind. My eyelids pinching each other instantly, my body rocking as my car swerved on the slick asphalt. But I kept in my position hot flames dripping down my cheek. Furious beeps screamed over the thunderous booms of the storm, my car rearing to the right, and coming to an abrupt stop as my body hit the steering wheel.

Shoving myself off the wheel, I lay my head onto my seat, the pain worsening greatly from the impact. "Shit" I muttered solemnly allowing one eye to open to observe the large streetlamp that had conveniently stopped my car for me. I suppose it was better than hitting another car, but still my beetle was smoking… Throwing my hands to my head as I shook it profusely, feeling a slight oozing wetness spreading between my fingers. Groaning I removed them from my face a browning red was smeared all over them. Wonderful…

If there were ever a time when rain had been so cold it would have been this frozen moment. My car now a smoking dot as I trudged along the side of the road seemed like a lost cause. Unfortunately, I had obliterated my cell phone a little before my return to school, so here I was on a journey towards the nearest piece of civilization. I don't exactly understand why I was walking, since calling my parents meant seeing that absolutely brainless woman of a shrink. Well, actually the moment my mother gets wind that I left the school campus she will be dialing the number. A truly hopeless situation.

So when I saw the tiny park, with it's rusted swing set, it would seem perfectly understandable that I stop there instead of continuing. Sitting on the blue seats, my butt squished in my jeans, my shoes covered in soaked sand. I really couldn't tell if I was swinging or not, but I don't suppose it mattered. I think that's what most people don't get, about people who've lost everything. Everything that mattered. They don't care. It doesn't matter if they are on time to dinner, if the candy is sour or sweet, whether their shoes match. All of it is trivial to the loss that they experience, nothing matters more. I really could've sat there for hours, letting the rain numb any part of me that wasn't already lifeless, if I hadn't heard a tiny voice suddenly spring out of nowhere.

In my brooding I hadn't noticed her, her tiny blonde head bobbing in the cold rain. Her pigtails sticking to her deathly pale cheeks. Tiny teeth chattering as she made a great effort to pull herself up on to the swing, her legs being splattered with sand in the process. No I didn't notice the big-brown eyes staring at me helplessly, and the sniffle of her small nose. I didn't peel away from my thoughts, until her timid voice sprang from her throat.

"Are you running away too?" she asked so bluntly it took me by surprise. I chose not to answer in hope that she would just decide to leave, but she persisted. "Well I am, my mother didn't even notice! It was great.."