"Is this really necessary?" Kate grumbled tugging on the blindfold.
"Absolutely," Alex answered quickly. She swatted Kate's hands down when they rose again to fidget with the cloth. "And don't think I won't tie your hands if you attempt to remove it."
"This is ridiculous, I know where we are."
"Don't ruin this," Alex pleaded as she threw the truck's gear into park.
Kate didn't answer and remained facing forward. Alex took her silence as compliance. She jumped out and hurried around to open the door before Kate could change her mind. Alex chuckled with amusement as Kate fumbled out. Kate's annoyance to what Alex had up her sleeve had her standing like a statue, refusing to move further.
"Oh come on, have a little sense of humor."
Kate's arms shot across her body. She was willing to play along, but her lack of control and inability to see where she was stepping had her refusing to move in any direction.
"Come on," Alex encouraged and cupped her elbow. She placed her other hand on the small of her back and encouraged her to move forward. "I won't let you fall."
At first, Kate didn't budge, but a heavy relenting sigh propelled her forward. Slowly the two maneuvered towards their destination. Alex worked to create the safest path and stable footholds. The gradual decline confirmed their location and more questions about what was going on had Kate's mind spinning. It really was the last place she had wanted to be. She had spent months coming to a semblance of closure with the truth finally revealed and Kyle dead. Even though she had verbalized to Alex that they move forward, she found herself at a loss on how to truly do so. All she had for so long was her quest for truth. And now that it was truly over she felt stuck on her next move.
"And stop," Alex ordered.
Kate moved her hands to her hips. "Can I take off this blindfold now?"
Kate quickly pulled the dark cloth down and looked to the horizon. The ocean sparkled brilliantly in the distance. She brought her eyes from the bordering trees to the detail that was in front of them. She felt her heart skipped a beat and her breath catch. She almost didn't believe it to be real. She looked to Alex for confirmation, and the brunette only beamed at her.
"Does it matter?"
Kate felt the emotions overwhelm her and she dropped to her knees to really take in the gift. She ran her hand over the smooth stone. They looked exactly as their original fabrication. She traced the names engraved and choked down the sobs that wanted to escape. The knot wasn't one of pain, but gratitude. She had given in to the fact that the space she had created for beloved boys had been destroyed forever. After letting the initial shock soak in, Kate looked up to her friend. Tears of happiness welled up and ran streaming down.
"I don't know how to thank you."
"Just don't skip a day of reading again," Alex replied and handed her two books.
Kate took the books with shaking hands. Seeing the titles floored her more than seeing the graves restored to their previous grandeur. She could only look at Alex and ask with her eyes how she had managed such feats.
Alex read her and answered in her typical nonchalant manner. "I told you I'd take care of it."
"You really do amaze me sometimes."
"Yeah, it's a gift." Alex shrugged and began to move back up the hill. "Take your time. I'll cruise around with Rontu. Maybe see if we can find the oldest plot."
Kate didn't respond but watched her friend take steps away. Half-way up Alex stopped and pointed to the smaller of the two books. "I really like the bedtime story."
Kate smiled and leaned against Tyler's marker. She set the smaller book down keeping her focus on the thicker of the two. She studied the cover. In the illustration, the girl stood proud and strong overlooking an island in the form of a dolphin. The original Rontu standing guard next to her. Kate couldn't help but smile as she began to read. After she had covered a few chapters she closed the book and tentatively picked up the hardbound children's story. She didn't know how she truly felt about reading it again. It had always been a special moment with Tyler before bed but had become tainted by tragedy. Regardless she forced herself to crack the spine. With each simple phrase and turn of the page, Kate felt a heaviness begin to lift. By the final and significant stanza, she felt there was a possibility she could see the sunshine again.
AN/ I hope you enjoyed the story! Thank you for reading! Feedback and reviews are always welcomed!