Val stood in front of her house numbly. She was all cried out and now she just felt emptiness inside. The house was just as she had remembered it. It had three floors and was very large. There was a circular driveway in front and two roads led from the driveway to circle the house around and ended up in the garage out back where Val knew that her parents kept all of their cars. The house was painted a creamy color and there were trees and flowers everywhere. The high glass windows on the first floor reflected the sunlight and it shined onto Val’s face. The two balconies on the second floor, Val noticed, had new French doors and new curtains. In the distance, not too far away from the house, Val could see the stables and the tennis courts. Suddenly the massive oak front door swung open and Jeffrey Terent, Val’s butler and a person who was like a grandfather to Val, ran out.
“Valerie!” he exclaimed and enveloped Val in a huge hug. “How are you holding up?” he asked his eyes full of sympathy and concern.
“I’m okay.” Lied Val. The truth was that she wasn’t even close to okay. Her life was completely shattered and she didn’t know how she would ever be able to go on. She wished Nick was there but she knew that he wasn’t because she told him to stay with the tour. She knew that he really wanted to be with her, but she also knew that there could be serious consequences if he missed a large part of the tour. No matter how much he argued, in the end, Val won and Nick stayed in Europe.
“Come on, let’s get you inside.” Said Jeffrey and motioned for two other guys to take Val’s bags into the house.
Val stepped into the house and felt a wave of memories wash over her. This was the house she grew up in and where she led a wonderful childhood. She looked at the high ceilings and the walls covered with pictures of her and her parents. She began to fall apart again even though she thought there were no more tears inside her. Jeffrey saw that Val was about to break down crying and he gently led her up the carpeted stairs into her room. Val walked into her room and saw that her parents didn’t change anything about it. It still had her four-poster bed right in the middle of the room. All the furniture was cream colored and the silk curtains gently moved in the breeze. Trophies from Val’s schools and various competitions lined the shelves and above them were pictures of her with the trophies. A framed picture of Val and her parents on her 18th birthday was standing on the nightstand. All of Val’s books were standing neatly on the bookshelves, which she insisted on when she was only 8 years old. Val went up to the window and looked outside. She saw the pool, its’ water sparkling in the sunlight. She saw the stables in full view and saw the horses getting a workout. The tennis courts stood empty and unused. Val smiled at the memory when she told her parents that she wanted to take tennis lessons when she was 13 and her parents built the tennis courts the very next week. Val turned around to face Jeffrey, who was getting misty eyed himself. Val took a deep breath and composed herself.
“So when is everyone arriving?” she asked in her bravest voice.
“Tomorrow all day.” replied Jeffrey. “They’re all staying in the guestrooms, oh and Mr. Siden, the family lawyer, wants to talk to you as soon as possible.” Added Jeffrey.
“Ok, I’ll talk to him later today.” Said Val nodding her head. She knew that there were so many things that had to be taken care of in the next few days.
Jeffrey nodded. “Hang in there kiddo.” He said with a sympathetic expression and then left. As soon as he did, Val sunk onto her bed and closed here eyes. Silent tears started to pour and Val was unable to stop them. She heard her cell ringing and tried to wipe away her tears, but was unsuccessful.
“Hello?” she said crying.
“Baby are you crying?” asked Nick sounding very concerned.
Val nodded. “Yeah, I can’t help it. This house reminds me of everything that I shared with my parents, I can’t believe that they’re actually gone.” Sobbed Val.
“Please, why don’t you let me come there and be with you?” pleaded Nick. He couldn’t stand hearing Val in so much pain and being powerless to do anything cause she wouldn’t let him.
“Because you have a tour to do and I don’t want you to lose your job because of me.” Answered Val still crying. She knew that Nick was someone she needed there with her badly but her rational side told her that he needs to be on tour.
“I won’t lose my job. I can’t bear to hear you in so much pain.” Said Nick his voice cracking.
“I know but you can come see me in a week, that’s when you guys have a three day break, if I’m not mistaken.” Said Val trying to sound uplift, but once again, unsuccessful.
“Yeah I know, but a week is so far away. You need me there, I know you do, so don’t even try to convince me otherwise.” Said Nick stubbornly.
“You’re right, I do need you, but I’ll only feel worse if you have to miss one concert or more.” Explained Val.
“I just don’t know how to make you feel better.” Said Nick in frustration.
“You’re helping by talking to me.” Said Val.
“I wish I could hold you and make everything alright.” Said Nick wistfully.
“I wish you could too.” Said Val sadly.
“I love you.” Said Nick.
“I love you too.” Said Val.
“Hang on, Brian wants to talk to you.” Said Nick giving the phone to his best friend.
“Hey Val, how is everything?” said Brian sounding very concerned.
“It’s going…bad.” Said Val her tears flowing faster.
“I am so sorry and so are the other guys. What can we do to help?” asked Brian.
“There’s nothing you can do. The only thing that would make things alright now is my parents being alive again and that’s not gonna happen so I have to work things out on my own.” Said Val.
“Ok, but remember, we’re all only a phone call away.” Offered Brian.
“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” Said Val truly thankful that she had friends like that.
“No problem, and we’ll all see you soon because we’re coming with Nick to visit you in a week.” Promised Brian.
“Ok, I’ll see you then.” Said Val.
“Ok, so hang in there, and I’m putting Nick back on.” Said Brian and handed the phone back to Nick.
“I’m sorry hun, but I have to go get ready for the show.” Apologized Nick.
“It’s okay, I know how that goes, I’ve been there.” Said Val sadly realizing that this is the first show of the tour that she’s going to miss.
“I miss you onstage and off.” Said Nick.
“I miss you too.” Replied Val.
“I’ll call you as soon as the show is over.” Promised Nick.
“Okay, I’ll be waiting.” Said Val. They then hung up and Val lay down on her bed hugging the picture of her and her parents to her chest and crying.

*~*~*

It was a week later and the relatives have all come and gone. The funeral had also passed and Val could barely remember anything from it. The only thing she did recall, vividly, was the image of her parents’ coffins being put into the ground and the realization that she’ll really never see them again hitting her. Since then she’s been walking around in a state of complete numbness. She couldn’t eat or sleep. She tried to sleep a couple of times, but the image of her parents’ coffins haunted her and she woke up soaked in sweat from nightmares she couldn’t remember.
Val was sitting at her desk when she heard a knock on her door. “Come in.” she said quietly.
“Val?” asked Nick as he came into her room. Hearing his voice Val immediately turned to look at the door.
“Nick?” she asked in disbelief. “I can’t believe you’re finally here!” she exclaimed and ran into his arms.
“I’m here, I’m here.” Kept repeating Nick hugging Val as tightly as he could. It was when they parted that he had really looked at her and gasped in shock. “Val! You look terrible!” he exclaimed. And he was right; Val did look bad. Since she didn’t sleep, there were bags under her eyes, and her usually cheerful eyes, lost all their sparkle and became very dull. She looked like she lost at least fifteen pounds and her clothes hung on her thin body. “When was the last time you ate something?” asked Nick.
“I don’t know.” Replied Val sitting back down.
“You’re so thin, you look like you’re about to break.” Said Nick his heart breaking in two.
“I’m not going to break. I’m fine.” Insisted Val.
“No you’re not and please don’t try to convince me that you are.” Said Nick sternly. “You need to eat something.”
“I can’t.” said Val turning her face away from Nick.
“Yes you can.” Said Nick. He walked towards Val and stood in front of her. “Look at me.” He said kneeling down so he could be at her eye level. “You can’t do this to yourself. Starving yourself to death is not going to help you get over your parents. You have to let go and try to get on with your life.” He said gently. Val tried to say something but Nick put his fingers on her lips. “Don’t tell me that it’s too painful and it hurts so much, I know it does. But Val, you’re one of the strongest people I know, and I know you can get through this if you put your mind to it.” said Nick.
“But Nick, they were my parents! How can I possibly get over that?” asked Val her eyes filling up with tears. Nick took her in his arms and rocked back and forth.
“I don’t know how, but I know that you can.” He said reassuringly. He then felt Val go limp in his arms and looked at her and saw that her eyes were closed. “Val?” he asked with rising alarm in his voice. “Val??” he asked again. “Oh my God!” he exclaimed and picked her up and carried her out into the hallway. “Someone call an ambulance!” he yelled.


chapter 6 chapter 8