1454…1455…1456…1457…days since you left me to my own self. You left the demons in my head to get me.
Small deep breath as I glance upon your place of rest. Seeing you, well the grass and a few lilies placed by me, always hit me hard. Your demons got to you before I could make them go away.
“Austin R. Carlile” written across the tombstone in big block letters.
This is tough. I’ve been scared and single since. This is just the hardest. I walk back to my truck.
Travel back to my home in the city seems to take forever. I just want to leave…not only the city, but life. My demons always swallow me when I visit you.
I get back to my apartment and my neighbor, my best friend, and his partner was waiting outside for me. I park and get out. I walk over to him. His arms wrap around me tightly as I cry into his shoulder. He rubs my back and plays lightly with my long blonde hair. I eventually pull away from him. He looks into my eyes.
“I am here and I love you,” Tyler, my best friend, says sweetly.
“Thank you,” I say.
“I made cake,” Cody, his partner, pipes in.
“He made yellow cake with chocolate frosting,” Tyler comments.
“Sounds good,” I say in response.
All three of us walk into apartment of my neighbors. I’ve only been in mine and Austin’s apartment for clothes, but I kind of just live with Tyler and Cody.
“How rough was Truce today?” Cody asks as he cuts a piece of cake from the pan.
“It was super rough,” I answer.
“One day it’ll…” Tyler starts before Cody steps on his foot, “OW, MY FOOT!”
“Tyler you’re right, just not yet,” I say.
“We are throwing a small party at the local bar, all your friends. It’s your birthday tomorrow. I’ll take you out and buy you stuff to wear tomorrow, my treat,” Cody says was a small smile.
“I don’t…” I start before Tyler starts running his mouth.
“I don’t want to hear you say that you don't want Cody to buy you stuff and you don’t want a party…YOU NEED ONE,” Tyler lectures.
“Fine,” I mumble.
“And you need to go back into your apartment,” Cody says lightly, “in the way I mean you need to face those demons and go back into your apartment. You need closure”
Cody and Tyler both know I go down to Austin’s grave during his birthday, day before my birthday, and Valentine’s Day, each say having their own song. Truce covers the day before my birthday. It’s early April. My birthday is tomorrow. Cody loves everything about birthdays, meanwhile Tyler likes making me happy in general. We all eat cake and Cody rambles off his guest list. One name stuck to me. Andrew Glass. What? I didn't know that Cody Carson knew Andrew Glass. I relax back into the chair I was sitting in. I look around their apartment, I was far too familiar with it. I needed to go back to mine. Maybe for my birthday I will move back into my apartment full time. Three years. Three years since I've really lived in my apartment. I'm still paying for it and I haven't lived in there. I knew Tyler and Cody would appreciate it.
"Earth to Ella?" Cody says.
"Fuck sorry," I mumble, "just thinking."
"About?" Tyler prods.
"About....moving back in," I say quietly.
I see their faces light up. I just shrug as they walk over and hug me tightly. They care so much and I know Tyler and Cody are constantly watching me. They're just worried that I'm going to off myself. They release me from the hug and Cody gets a sly look in his face.
"I saw your body language change when I mentioned Andy," Cody comments.
"Shut up," I mutter.
"You like him?!" Tyler asks happily.
"He's attractive, but I wouldn't say I like him," I answer honestly.
"This is the first guy you've even show any interest in any person since Austin has passed, I'm glad," Tyler says.
"Shut it Tyler," I mumble.
"But-" Tyler starts before Cody steps in.
"Babe, just let her…okay?” Cody suggests.
"I'm gonna work on moving back to my apartment this week," I say quietly.
"Good, that's a start," Cody says with a smile.
"Good, I haven't plowed Cody in so long," Tyler jokes.
"Please I know that's s lie," I say in a joking matter.
"Tyler! Ella!" Cody scolds.
We just all started laughing. It was nice when things were feeling normal again. I nod and I get up. I watch their expressions change to worrisome looks. I walk to the door and walk across the hall. I pulled out my keys and I open the door. Tyler and Cody watched in awe. I felt the cold thick air. The living area had a nice thick coat of dust. It's been three years since I've set foot in here. I glance around, nothing has changed. It's exactly how I left it after I retreated to Tyler's. Tyler had followed me in. Cody was horrified to step in, he's a good little house wife, so the dust was horrific to him.
"I'll clean it," Cody states.
I know Cody has been in here without me knowing. Tyler said the thought of all the food I had grossed Cody out. So, Cody had brought some it over and there away most.
"No, don't," I say.
"I'll clean it with you when you slowly move back in here. Give me a day," Cody simply states.
"Fine," I say in agreement.
I glance up at the ceiling fan, the rope never got removed. The main part of the noose was gone, however there was still the top part where it was tied. The chair he kicked out from under him still laid in that position. All the memories started flowing back of when I found him in here. It was horrific. I had nightmares for a good chunk of the time. I then just gave up sleeping and was fragile from being so tired. I know Austin didn't mean to give me all this pain he did. I understand he took his out. I later on that week after found a small box in one of his drawers. It was a ring, the exact ring I wanted. I couldn't believe at the time he thought of spending the rest of his life with me but ended it before we could ever start. I wore the ring for a month before Tyler swooped in and suggested that I take it off and put it back. I did, of course at that time I was listening to Tyler about most things.
"Ella, do you want go back to ours?" Cody asks.
"Yeah, let's start cleaning after my birthday," I suggest.
"Sounds good," Tyler answers.
We leave the apartment. I lock it back up and we walk back into our apartment. I lay down on the couch. Cody frowns on how easy I gave up. I knew maybe walking back in my apartment might give me nightmare. I was right. I fell asleep on the couch. I tried to sleep, but I kept waking up in tears. It was going to be a rough night.
I wake up the next morning. I feel so tired. I groan as I sit up. Cody plops down in front of me.
“Morning Princess! Happy Birthday!” Cody sings.
“GOOD MORNING! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Tyler sings louder as he sits down next to Cody, handing me a small box.
“Guys,” I say as take the box and open it, “Thank you.” The box contains a book.
“Is that the book you've been wanting?” Tyler asks. “Yes! ‘I Was Here’ was the book I wanted,” I answer. “I said it was a lame good morning gift, but Tyler insisted,” Cody remarks.
“It’s perfect,” I insist.
“Get showered and dressed. I will take you shopping and Tyler is going to set up your party at the bar,” Cody sings.
“Okay Okay,” I say as I put the book down on the coffee table.
After I do everything Cody request of me, we go out shopping, like Cody promised. He’s one of the sweetest guys ever. We walk into the Louis Vuitton store. I told Cody that I was not buying anything from here. He responds with a “I’m buying so pick out shoes and purse.” I end up buying a pair of black heels. They are cute. We then go to Nordstrom. I walk around looking at dresses. Cody was too busy talking on the phone with Tyler that I slip to the make up part of it. I was just fascinated with Bobbi Brown highlighter. I pick out two shades. I then got a foundation that’ll match my new skin tone. I return to right where I left Cody. He never moved. I take his arm and we walk to the dresses. I pick out a bunch of dresses and try them all on. I end up picking out two of them. Cody buys everything for me. After we leave Nordstrom, Cody takes me to a place to get waxed. I am terrified, but Cody said it’ll be okay and this is where he goes to get waxed, TMI. I get a FULL body wax then he wisps me away to a salon. I get my hair cut. I let it grow out so long, HOWEVER, I am tall and it works for me. The lady said she was just leaning up my slit ends. I then got my hair colored. I had a huge root growth. She colored it platinum for me.
We get back to the apartments. Cody goes into my apartment to retrieve my make up that I haven't touched in ages. I realized m foundation was going to be so dark. Austin and I were constantly outside at the beach. Cody and I thought ahead and had gotten lighter foundation when we were shopping. I get dressed and Cody smile so wide. I haven't been this cleaned up in a long time. Cody has his sister do my make up. She's surprising good at it. Cody calls Tyler and tells him we are on our way. We climb back into the car and Cody drives us to the bar. We all get out and walk into the bar. Everyone said “SURPRISE!” I was impressed with the turn out. There I see him…Andrew Glass, holy moly. I make sounds of hugging here and thanking everyone who says ‘Happy Birthday’. I notice that all of Austin’s close friends are here, Alan, Phil, Aaron, and Tino. I end up hugging them longer than everyone else. I make sure I got to Andrew last, which I do.
“Happy Birthday Ella,” He says with a smile.
“Thank you,” I say as I pull him into a embrace.
He hugs me back. I pull away gingerly. He flashes me a smile.
“I AM ORDERING SHOTS FOR EVERYONE!” I scream out at the people.
Everyone cheers and Tyler gives the bartender the number of people. Everyone gets a shot and Cody makes a toast.
“To Progress, To Moving Forward, To Doing Something That Was Overdue, To Ella!” Cody toasts.
“Cheers,” Everyone says.
There is a collective silence as we take a few seconds to down our shots. The bar fills with talking and a soft song in the background. I smile authentically, for once. This was the best thing Tyler and Cody ever did for me. I know that seems strange since I’ve been friends with Tyler for so long, then becoming friends with Cody when Tyler got serious about him. I was loving this chill out party and everything seemed to fall into place, which was nice. I still wont forget Austin. He’s always in the back of my mind. I love him too much to forget about him.