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Rosaline leaned back against Caine and sighed contentedly. His large, strong hands stroked her silky golden hair comfortingly. “You almost ready to go, babe?”
She nodded mutely. But there was somewhere she needed to stop before they returned to the house. “You go home. I need to stop somewhere first, I’ll get a taxi.” He frowned, troubled, a stray black lock flipping into his dark, concerned eyes.
“You sure you don’t want me to come with you? It’d be quicker and easier.” Rosaline shook her head hastily.
“No, no, go home. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me.”
A small smile found its way onto his handsome face. “I always worry about you,” Caine said quietly. Then he leaned in and kissed her gently. “See you soon, love.”
Rosaline smiled and nodded, relieved that he hadn’t insisted on coming. This was somewhere she had to go alone. She watched his departing figure for a minute before gathering her coat and making her way out into the stormy night.
It was a quick walk to her destination. She looked up at the familiar guard, Stanley, waiting at the gate. He recognized her, and the hinges swung open silently to reveal the solemn scene before her. Carefully, Rosaline passed through the gateway until her feet met soft earth. She was surrounded by soft, rolling grass and hills, beautiful, lonely trees….and rounded gray stones.
Sky-blue eyes brilliant with suppressed tears, she wended her way through the maze of statues and headstones, until she stopped at two right next to each other, shadowed by the marble statue of a crying angel. Rosaline knelt on the cold ground and stared at the weathered inscriptions.
May Renee DaVinn
March 5, 1966—June 7, 2003
David Lee DaVinn
August 29, 1964—June 7, 2003
She reached out to stroke her parents names, fingers tracing the small grooves in the bleak gray stone, and the tears previously withheld were released, spilling down her round cheeks in a hot torrent and splashing on the ground.
She visited them every month, on a Friday—the day they were killed. She could still remember the horror of that day, seven years later, although she’d only been ten at the time…
Rosaline was lying in bed, just starting to recover from a bad cold, her best friend Caine sitting at her bedside trying to cheer her up with his colorful jokes. She’d had no clue how he learned words like that at such an age…
She was in a bad mood. Her parents had gone out to a restaurant, on a scheduled eat-out, that she should have been able to attend—if it weren’t for this stupid cold.
Caine’s jokes had just begun succeeding in cheering her up when the phone rang shrilly. Caine gestured that he would get it, and picked up the small cordless phone on the opposite side of her bedroom. “Hello?” She watched as her friends bold face slowly drained, and he bit his lip as if to stop himself from crying out.
“It’s for you,” he choked. Wondering what could’ve so scared her hardy friend, Rosaline accepted the phone and brought it to her ear.
“Hello?” she asked warily, voice slightly rough.
“Hello, miss.” She blinked in surprise. She was sure she’d never before heard that kind, business-like male voice. “I’m afraid we’ve got bad news for you.”
Immediately, Rosaline’s mind began scrambling. Was she or Caine in trouble? Had Fluffy run out of the house and been run over? “What?” she asked urgently, wanting to hear it as soon as possible.
“Your parents got into an accident on Highway 3-89. A car illegally crossed lanes and slammed into the side of their vehicle. They were both killed.” The phone fell from numb fingers and clattered on her polished wooden floor. No. That police man—it must’ve been a police man—was lying. He made it up. Her parents weren’t dead. They couldn’t be dead.
“Rosaline…” Caine whispered, eyes huge in a too-pale face. “I’m so sorry…”
She snapped. They were all liars! “NO!” she screamed. “THEY’RE NOT DEAD! STOP LYING!” She chucked her beloved stuffed pig, Milly, right at his stunned face. He just let it hit him, unmoving. She leapt from the bed, doctor’s orders the last thing on her mind and started pounding him with her small, useless fists. “No, no, NO! MY PARENTS AREN’T DEAD!” He just gazed down at her sadly, and caught her wrists in an iron hold, pulling him towards her. Rosaline collapsed, sobbing, against his chest.
Pulling herself back to the present, she found that she was crying as loudly as she had all those years ago, and she covered her mouth, abashed. This wasn’t the place for that. The dead deserved peace.
Rosaline gently laid a rose, her parents’ favorite flower, across the two graves. Then she collected herself, stood up, and walked away.
As she waited on the sidewalk for a taxi to approach, she reviewed in her mind what had happened after the accident. The few live relatives that she had had refused to house her, but instead of see her go to an orphanage, Caine had convinced his family to take her in, and she’d lived at his house ever since.
With the two best friends living in the same house for a number of years, the inevitable had happened. They’d fallen in love. Around a year and a half ago, they officially started dating, and they were still together. Caine’s parents were happy for Rosaline, because they thought of her almost as a daughter, and didn’t give the couple any trouble—as long as they slept in their own rooms every night. They had broken this rule a few times. Nothing naughty, just lying next to one another, fully clothed, in each other’s beds, for the sake of companionship.
Many kids in their school were amazed that the pair had lasted so long, but in Rosaline’s opinion, the strongest relationships were those that had grown from a strong friendship. She and Caine fit together like pieces of a puzzle, as if they were made for one another. He understood her perfectly, and had helped her through the hard times. Without Caine, she doubted she would’ve survived.
Preoccupied as she was, she almost didn’t notice the taxi racing towards her. She brought her fingers to her mouth and let loose with an ear-splitting whistle. “Taxi!” she yelled. It skidded to a stop a few feet from where she stood, and she climbed in. Once she had slammed the door shut, it took off again.
They had been at a jewelry store earlier that day, searching for a ring. They were only seventeen, but Caine and Rosaline knew how they felt about each other. They didn’t plan to get married for a while, but they didn’t mind being engaged for several years. After they’d selected one, Caine had taken her on a picnic just outside of the city. He would do everything for her, and she would do everything for him.
Except let him come with her on these monthly trips. She knew he suspected where she went, but he didn’t have any proof, and he never tried to ask. Rosaline loved him, and she knew that whenever she was in pain, he was just as upset. She didn’t want him to see her like she always was when she visited her parents’ gravesite—it would kill him.
The taxi screeched violently to a halt, jolting her from her thoughts. She’d arrived at the house. Rosaline tipped the man well, for she was in a generous mood tonight, and walked up the stairs and through the door. Caine’s parents greeted her, and she responded briefly before rushing upstairs and into her room. As she’d guessed, he was standing there, back to her, facing the window.
“Hey,” she breathed. He spun around and, catching sight of her, strode towards her and lifted her into his arms. She laughed, worries melting away, and kissed him on the cheek. Then he set her down and they had a proper kiss.
When they finally, reluctantly broke apart, Caine glanced at the clock. “Time for bed.” He scooped her up and dumped her on the bed, then climbed in beside her. He seemed to realize that she needed extra comfort tonight. He always knew what she needed.
A long time later, Rosaline had thought he’d fallen asleep, when she suddenly heard rustling. Then his voice came out of the blackness. “Rosaline?” he asked tentatively.
She tensed. “Yeah?”
“Can I go with you next time?” So he knew. She couldn’t be that surprised.
She considered it. He didn’t like to see her in pain—but he did like to be there to make her feel better. It was probably hurting him to be here, knowing she was upset, and not be able to help. And couldn’t she use the help?
“Yes,” Rosaline said, squeezing his hand under the blanket. “Yes you can.”
And with that, they fell asleep.