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"They'll be here any minute!" I said walking over to Mary-Kate who was sitting on the sofa under a ton of blankets and sniffling. She'd got a slight cold from her date with Ryan. So romantic, getting caught in a bus stop during a storm...

The guys had cell phoned us an hour earlier telling us they were on their way. Marc-Andre, who I talked to, sounded kind of strange. I wondered what was up.

I heard a knock at the door. "They're here!" I flung open the door. I hugged Marc-Andre then Brett. "Where's Matt?" I asked pulling back from hugging Marc-Andre the second time. I figured he must be a little behind them. I glanced down the stairs but didn't see him.

Marc-Andre looked near tears. "Ashley we need to talk"

Suddenly I had a really really bad feeling...


I pulled the folded American flag from behind my back and I looked into her eyes. "I'm sorry." I said softly. This was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life.


Ashley stared at him in shock then collapsed "No!" She cried. Marc-Andre knelt next to her and wrapped his arms around her.

I felt tears forming in my eyes and could barely see Bret walking over to me. He sat down next to me, and I flew into his arms "It's not fair" I sobbed "It's not fair"

"I know" he said patting my back "It's not fair" he said in a choked voice.


It was ironic that Mary-Kate was back in my arms, but all the happiness the occasion was supposed to bring was lost along with Matt. I looked over to Ashley. "He died saving my life. He died a hero."

Marc-Andre took over. "His last words were 'tell Ashley I love her.' He thought of you to the very end."

She only burried her face onto Marc-Andre's chest and cried.


I walked into the girls apartment quietly the next morning. It didn't really matter how quiet I was, since Ashley had Jump, Jump, Jump by True Vibe playing at the loudest volume. I was surprised the neighbors hadn't complained. But then they were probably at work. Ashley and Mary-Kate had taken the week off. Brett and Mary-Kate were both out somewhere, seperately.

I stopped and listened to the lyrics of the song

'Can you feel the joy? Don't it make you wanna jump, jump, jump?'

No, to be honest I couldn't feel the joy. Nor could I feel the sadness. Ashley had been really hiding her true feelings.

Right now she was spinning around the room dancing to the song.

'Jump, jump, jump' she mouthed along with the song as she did that 'move, move, move' she sidestepped a couple of times 'hands to the roof' she threw her hands up. 'When you're feeling down look around just enjoy your life' at that point she spun around and around. So fast and with so much anger, I was starting to worry. Thankfully the song finished and she collapsed on the floor.

I found it rather strange for Ashley to be listening to a song about Joy. But maybe she was hoping to get some, and thus listening to it.

"Impressive" I said

She turned around and saw me for the first time "Hi!" she said with an overly bright smile.

I walked over and sat next to her "How are you doing?"

"Fine" she said quickly "lets not talk about it" She got up and walked over the tv and flicked it over to MTV. "Ugh!" she said looking at the video that was playing "Fly By. Not Blue's best song" she went and sat on the sofa so I got up and sat next to her.

"System up with the top down, Got the city on lockdown, Drive by in the low ride, Hands high when we Fly By" Ashley sung along, totally avoiding even looking at me.

I guess their ARE those stages of grief or loss or whatever. Right now Ashley's in denial/avoidance.

"Ew!" she said suddenly "I can't believe I'm singing along with this!" She grabbed the remote and changed the channel. The next channel had a scene of LA. I don't think I've seen a person turn a tv of faster.

"You wanna go do something?" I asked

"Not really"

I sighed quietly and we just sat there in silence..


I still could not believe Mary-Kate was dating that jerk Ryan. Sure, I hadn't met the guy... but I'm sure he's a jerk! Mary-Kate's kind of mad at me (again) I guess I kinda got a little mad when she told me they were dating.

"ARE YOU MAD!?!" I Shouted "how can you date that loser?"
"He is not a loser! You don't even know him! You're the one who's beinga loser!" She walked out of the apartment and slammed the door. We haven't talked since...

I sighed and took another sip of my thickshake. I was sitting at one of the booths at the local diner. The door bell rung and I glanced up. My heart lept when I saw Mary-Kate there. But it soon plummeted when I saw an unfamiliar guy standing with her. Guess he was Ryan...

The two didn't spot me, so I continued to watch them. Ryan had an arm losely slung over Mary-Kate's shoulders and she had an arm wrapped around his waste. Ugh! It was sickening.

'Please don't get a milkshake for two' I begged silently 'please don't'

Thankfully they didn't. I felt myself rising up out of my seat.

'Don't make a scene' I was now begging myself 'Don't make a scene!'

Chapter 27

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