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"So the funerals on Saturday" Grandma said that night as we all sat together to eat dinner.

I gulped. Today was Thursday. I still felt totally strange about the whole thing. I hadn't cried once, still totally numb.

I remained silent, as I quickly ate my dinner.


I didn't sleep well that night. And as a result I slept in really late the next morning. When I finally managed to make myself wake up, I was greeted by the sound of a lawn mower.

It took awhile for my sleepy mind to even register what the sound was. Then it took time to work out why anyone would be mowing the moon, (yeah, I dreamt I was on the moon, go figure) then it took it time to register WHO would be mowing the lawn.

THEN I of course leapt out bed searched through my suitcase, uttering many a 'I have nothing to wear!' like statements. Finally being as happy with my appearance as I was gonna get I made my way out of my room.

The first person I saw was Arnold, who was on his way to the tv room (go figure) "Hey Sleepyhead" He teased "Bryans here" He said the latter part in a very annoying sing song voice.

I used my poker face "That's nice" I said casually, as I slipped past him and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water.

I took my time drinking it, then picked up Rose who had just walked into the room. "Hey Rosey Pie" I said to her. "Wanna go outside?" I asked. Please say yes I thought to myself.

She nodded.

We wandered outside just as the sound of the lawn mower stopped. I sat down at the picnic table on my Grandmothers patio and a few minutes later Bryan appeared around the corner of the house. Pushing the lawn mower back to the garage. Hear it goes..

It took awhile for Bryan to notice me but eventually he did.

"Hey Ashley!" He said with a big smile.

"Hey" I said returning it.


"...So we just dropped everything and came here" I finished. Bryan and I were walking around the back yard as he raked up the grass.

"I'm really sorry" He said sympathetically.

I shrugged "It hasn't really set in yet" I admitted.

He continued to look sympathetic. He finished up the last of the lawn and we sat down to talk some more.

I laughed "That cloud looks like an octopus" I said changing the subject.

"It does. And that one looks like an elephant" He said pointing to a rather round cloud.

A few minutes later we were straining our necks looking up at the clouds. The subject of Nichole totally forgotten.


"So did you and Bryan have fun talking this morning?" Mom asked as we sat watching tv later that night.

"Sure" I said elusively, this conversation could get dangerous.

"He's such a nice boy" Mom said almost dreamily. She winked at me.

"Uh-huh Mom. Whatever" having secured the remote I changed to a channel playing music videos.

"I'm outta here" Mom said getting up and leaving the room.

I smiled to myself. Mission Accomplished. If you want to end an arkward conversation with my mother. Just change to a music video station!


Though I didn't want it to. It had to happen. The day of the funeral soon arrived.

"Come on Ashley!" Mom called from the car "We have to go!"

"I can't find my shoe!" I called searching around my room some more.

Arnold soon appeared at the door, went to my cupboard grabbed a pair of shoes and threw them to me. "Problem solved" He said with a smile.

"But they don't match!" I said staring at them.

"Ashley it's a funeral, no one will care" And with that he took my arm and dragged me out to the car.

I always seem to have bad luck with shoes...


I've decided something. I hate funerals. They're such a depressing enviroment you feel like you wanna die. Like sure you've lost somebody and have reason to mourne. But what about the celebration aspect? The celebration of a wonderful life. I guess that doesn't apply so much here. Nichole was barely in her teens..

I think it's starting to set in.

By the end of the funeral I was desperately fighting tears, all I wanted to do was get out of there. Away from everyone. Away from the facts.

We followed the coffin out to the hearse and it was then that I could hold it in no longer. I started to sob, I don't think I've ever cried that hard. Almost as soon as I'd started to cry I felt two strong arms wrap around me and slowly turn me till I was crying against the persons chest.

Eventually I realized it was Bryan. When I was able to stop crying enough to see he led me to the fence we'd sat on the day of the rehearsal for my Uncle's wedding. We sat there while I cried. Everyone else milled around talking about Nichole. And soon we'd go to the reception, but I couldn't even think about that yet.

All I knew is the hearse had just driven away, taking with it my cousin... forever.

Chapter 11

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