Jojo looked around the cemetery. The jerk wasn't even there for his son's funeral. Well, he didn't deserve to be there, he didn't even deserve to have Derek. It was his fault that she was even there.
She stared at the mound of fresh dirt that had just been put over the grave. She couldn't stop the tears from flowing like waterfall. He was her best friend. He promised that he would always be there for her. She fell to her knees and grabbed the dirt. She didn't care that her family and boyfriend were watching her, waiting for her to say good bye. Well, they could wait until the end of forever, but she wouldn't say good bye to him. Ever. She got up and wiped the dirt from her hands. She walked past her family and got in the car, not a word to anyone.
They drove home in silence, each feeling the pain of loss. To Jojo's parents, Derek had been like a son. To her brother's, he was a brother. To her boyfriend, a team mate and a friend. To her, and irreplaceable person that she had always taken for granted. Now that he was gone, there was a huge void inside of her that no one would ever be able to fill. When they arrived home, she was the first one out of the car. She pushed past the people that were waiting for them. She ran upstairs to her room and locked herself in. She slid down the wall and cried.
Rain pattered on the window. Fitting that it should rain on such a dismal day. Someone knocked on the door.
"Who is it?" Jojo asked.
"Trace." A male voice responded. It was her boyfriend. She got up and unlocked the door and let him in, then closed the door. He looked at her. "Hey, are you going to be alright?" he asked.
"Yeah." Jojo lied. She didn't know if she was going to be alright.
"Need a hug?" he asked. She nodded. Trace wrapped his strong arms around her, taking away some of the edge. She cried into his chest. She pulled back after a few minutes.
"Why wasn't it me?" she looked up at him. "I was there. I was in the same car. Why didn't I die too?" she searched his eyes for answers.
"I don't know." He said softly. Which only made her cry more.
"I got your shirt all wet. Sorry." She said.
"Its fine. It'll wash out." He smiled. Jojo moved away from him and sat on her couch; he sat next to her and just held her hand. Soon she fell asleep, her head on Trace's shoulder. Jojo's mother came into the room. Trace held his finger up to his mouth. Her mother, Roxanne, smiled and left.
"Jo," Trace said. She woke up a little bit. "Want me to leave?" he asked. In response she hugged his arm tighter and snuggled close to him. He let her sleep, knowing that she was more comfortable there than she would be on her bed or even stretched out on the couch. The doctor had said that she would be tired, especially after the funeral since it would be emotionally stressful on her. But, sooner or later he would have to go. He shifted a little and she woke up.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep." She said.
"It's alright, Jo." He replied.
"I kinda want to be alone right now…"
"Want me to go?"
"Could you?" she said.
"Yeah, of course." He walked to the door, then turned around. "Gonna be okay?"
She nodded. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay," he said. He left. He went downstairs, Jojo could hear him talking to her parents. About ten minuets later she heard the door shut. Her mom came up to her room.
"Hey, sweetie. How are you?"
"It hurts, mama."
"I'm sorry, Jojo. Anything I can do?"
"Could you get me some aspirin?"
"Sure." Her mother left, and Jojo lay down on her couch. By the time her mom came back, she was fast asleep. This time she didn't wake up until the next day.
She woke up to the smell of chocolate chip pancakes. She changed into jeans and a t-shirt and went down stairs, expecting to see Derek sitting at the table, laughing along with her brothers. But he wasn't there. And he would never be there again. She sat down at the table and just stared at the food. She was too depressed to eat, but she would. To make her family happy. She took some pancakes and put them on her plate. She poured a small amount of syrup on them, like she always did. She took a few bites then put her fork down and pushed her plate away.
"Are you alright, Jojo?" her father asked.
"Just not hungry." She said.
"You never turn up chocolate chip pancakes, Jo." Her oldest brother, Jack, said.
"Look, I'm just not hungry, okay?" she said as she pushed herself way from the table. It was Monday, and she had school. It would be torture with out Derek, but life went on. She went to her room and took a shower, trying to wash the hospital smell out. She got out of the shower and got dressed. She put a band aid the cut on her forehead, but there was no way to cover the part of her head where the doctors had to shave her head. She put on a beanie and walked downstairs.
"I'm ready to go to school." She said to her brother, who was waiting.
"Lets go." He, Brain, said. They walked outside and got into the car. Jojo was silent as she stared out the window. Brian looked at her. "It's okay to hurt, Jo." He said.
"I know." She said, tears welling up in her eyes. They reached the school and Jojo got out of the car. She walked past Trace and his friends and didn't even bother to stop.
"Jo!" Trace yelled after her, but she didn't stop. "I'll talk to you guys later." He told his friends. He ran after her. "Jo?" he said when he reached her locker. She turned around to face him, she had tears streaming down her face. "Hey," he said softly, bringing her into his arms. "It'll be okay."
She pulled away. "How can you say that? You have no idea if it's going to be okay or not." She said. "You have no idea." She said, and then walked away. She knew that people were staring at her, obviously they hadn't heard what happened in Phoenix last weekend, and if they did, they didn't know it was her and Derek. She went to her first period class and sat in her seat. She looked over and saw Derek's empty desk. No more would she pass note to him. No more would she race him out of the room and get caught in the doorway with him. But it wasn't long before it was filled up. In fact, only a matter of seconds. Some new guy sat down. Funny thing, he looked like Derek. Just a little. He looked over at her, and Jojo looked away. "Sorry." She muttered. She stared at her science book, not looking up when the teacher called her name, blocking out all of the noise around her. Finally the teacher stood by her desk.
"Earth to Jojo." He said. Jojo looked up.
"Huh?" she asked.
"I asked you what biology meant."
"Oh…its…uh, the study of life."
"I'd like to see you after class." He said.
She nodded, staying silent. She let herself blank out, staring out the window, for the rest of the class. She was brought back to the real world only when the bell rang. The other students left the class, but Jojo stayed where she was. Mr. D let all of the other students leave before he approached Jojo.
"Are you alright?" he asked, seeing the faraway look in her eyes.
"You seem…different." He said.
Gee, what was you're first clue? She thought bitterly. The fact that I look like I haven't slept in weeks, or the blatant look of depression on my face?
Keeping her thoughts silent, she waited a moment, then nodded.
"What happened over to weekend?" he asked.
At that moment, the suddenness of Derek's death all came back to her. She bolted from her seat, not even stopping to grab her bag, and ran from the room. She ran into Trace and a few of his friends. He hugged her close to him, not caring what they thought.
She cried into his chest, but stopped soon after. She looked up at Trace. "My book bag is in the science lab. Can you get it for me?" she asked.
"Of course." He said, and went to go get it, leaving Jojo standing with two guys from the football team. She knew them, but not well. She'd hung out with them a few times, but never without Derek or Trace.
"I'm sorry," Kyle said to her, softly. "Derek was a great guy." He said.
She could only nod. Trace returned a few moments later with her book bag. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and walked her to her next class. She sat in her normal seat, but still couldn't concentrate on the teacher.
Two week later and things weren't any different. She still cried when someone mentioned him, or something reminded her of the friend she had lost. She became more and more depressed, she hid from everyone and everything. Even Trace.