where neither seraphim nor raindrops go

"And I never thought this life was possible
You're the yellow bird that I've been waiting for
The end of paralysis, I was a statuette
Now I'm drunk as hell on a piano bench
And when I press the keys it all gets reversed
The sound of loneliness makes me happier"
Poison Oak by Bright Eyes

chapter last edited April 26, 2009

I don't go back to school for another week, at which point my aunt, who has temporarily become mother to both her niece and sister and brother-in-law, forces me to wake up early for zero period and drives me to my school.

I stand on the curb for a while, debating whether or not to go inside. It feels odd to be wearing real clothes again. I've been wearing only my pajamas for the past week.

I finally go inside, shuffling through the hallways until I reach the door to the physics classroom. I wonder what's happened since I've been gone, what my classmates (friends?) will think once I show up again… What my brother was thinking when he was holding the knife…

I pull the door open to a classroom full of bubbling people. All talking, all at once. The noise makes me dizzy, and I suddenly wish I was back in my room, the bookcase turned over, blanket thrown across the window, stereo on as loud as it can go. But I'm not, and I force myself to close the door quietly behind me and head for the seat in the back. It's where I sit.

Nobody notices my arrival until the teacher takes roll call and I have to muster up a disinterested "here" for the sake of my already tarnished attendance record.

The person who sits in front of me twists around in shock. "I thought you'd died," He says, raising both eyebrows and then turning back to the front of the class.

I laugh humorlessly, once, and don't say anything in response. I hadn't died, but someone else had.

After the class is over, my friends corner me and demand to know where I'd been all last week. It occurs to me suddenly that I hadn't called any of them once while I was gone. They don't know what's happened.

"I was sick," My voice sticks in my throat as I say it. It's a lie, obviously, but they don't know. They don't know the truth, how could they tell? But they accept it anyway and I move on to my next class.

I don't question the need to lie about it. Maybe I don't want people to feel sorry for me. Yes, that's it.

They won't find out the truth, anyway. At least, not for a while. People don't generally come to my house, and they won't ask about him. He's supposed to be away at college anyway. It's fine for now.

But it's at lunch that this plan all falls to hell. We're sitting in our usual alcove, everyone's chatting and talking and having a good time, when I notice him.

He's far away, by the big hallway next to the library, and he's kind of glancing around awkwardly. I understand that. He's never been here before. But what's he doing here now?

Unfortunately, he catches sight of me. I turn my head as he begins walking towards me, mind racing. What's going on? Why is he here? He can't have transferred to this school- he graduated the same time my brother did, at a high school in a different town. But he's approaching us, and I don't think any of my friends notice he is until he's standing in front of me. I still don't look up, as if in doing so he'll forget that I'm sitting directly in front of him.

"Mia." He says. His voice is deeper than I remember. I haven't spoken to him in years.

I squint up at him, faking surprise, putting on a show for my friends. I don't want the sympathy, I don't want them to know… "What are you doing here, Jason?"

He blinks, as if he wasn't expecting that curveball, though I thought it was perfectly reasonable. "Mia. You…"

"Mia? What's the matter?" One of my friends asks, and I turn my head to look at her. "Who is this guy?"

"Somebody," I say, standing up and grabbing his arm with the intention of dragging him away, where we could talk privately. He's taller than me, bigger, built with muscle from playing soccer all the time. I can't pull him anyway. "Jason." I grit my teeth, looking up at him.

"Mia. I just wanted to see how you were doing." He says quietly, eyes looking straight into me, through me.

I try to forget for a minute that I used to have a crush on this guy, that he was my brother's best friend for years before they grew apart, that I'd sleep over at his house on some nights, just like my brother, that we were friends also, that his presence is welcome here, really, that I'm actually really crying inside because of stupid, stupid Vincent…

"I'm doing fine," I bite out instead, pushing those stupid thoughts of stupid Vincent and stupid Jason out of my head and into the gutter. My fingers grip his arm tightly, and my palms are sweaty. It's hot out, of course.

"Are you sure? You're not acting like it."

"I'm fine," I repeat, ignoring the stares from my group of friends. They've gone quiet, watching the both of us curiously, waiting for the drama to unfold.

Of course, one smartass has to pipe up and say something like, "Is that your boyfriend, Mia?"

Jason and I both ignore that. But he furrows his brow, staring down at me. I always hated the way his big brown eyes were able to do that. Pin me to one spot. Just like that.

"Mia." He says again, and I'm beginning to hate my name. "How the fuck can you be fine? Your brother is dead. And you-"

"Shut up!" I cry, pressing my hand into his chest, palm flat and then shoving him away. I grab my bag and sling it over one shoulder. "God- fuck."

"Mia?" People are asking- my friends. Friends? Ha. If they were friends, I would have told them. But… I shake my head, picking up my book also.

"Fuck you, Jason. I was doing fine. But you just have to fix everything, don't you? Why couldn't you have fixed him?" One of the straps on my bag slips down my shoulder. I back away. "Dammit."

He looks away, to the ground, and I run away.

A/N: A word about the song featured at the top: if I could have included all of the lyrics without looking like a n00b, I would have. As it is, I just took the last stanza and achieved minor n00bosity. If you have the time, look up the song. It's beautiful, it deals with death, implied suicide, and grief.

The next chapter's kind of short, so I might either post it soon today or just post two tomorrow.

Review please? :)