August 19th, 2017
Exactly One Year Ago, Today... Four friends gathered around the tombstone, Riley resting against Lucas's shoulders, while Farkle gently massaged Maya's shoulders, gazing at the grave, nearly in tears. It still looked fresh amongst the older tombstones, with it's glassy-appearance shining, while the adjacent ones are worn down by weather, and the ravages of time. Luke's will look like that too, but not today.
"We all lost something that day, whether we want to acknowledge it or not." Maya stated, "I lost the ability to walk. Luke here, he lost his life. And his family, they lost their son, their brother, they lost a part of their lives."
A tear slid down her face, "He'll never get to go to his Senior Prom, or ever graduate, or get married, have kids... He'll never get to experience those things. Just because of a careless mistake all of us made, and it'll haunt us forever."
Riley blinked back her tears, while Lucas wiped off his own, and Farkle finally teared up when he heard Maya sniffle.
"Hello?" A familiar voice called out, almost strained.
All four heads turned, and locked on to the blonde-headed beauty. "E-Emma?" Riley coughed out.
Her smile was almost unnatural to their eyes, "It's been a while, hasn't it?"
Lucas gave her a smile, "Been a long year..."
Maya noticed the flowers in her hand, "Are those for Luke?" she asked, already knowing the answer. Emma nodded, "His favorite color was blue," she held out the bouquet, a mix of white roses, and blue hydrangeas.
"They're beautiful," Maya added, "He'll love them."
Emma smiled, "Wanna see the family? They'd love to see you all."
Riley gripped Maya's shoulders, "They want to see... us?"
With a nod, the eighteen-year-old stepped closer, and placed the bouquet against the tombstone, "Be back soon, little bro."
Maya nervously sipped out of the small cup of water, noticing the fresh, clean-cut taste of rich-people water. The sparkling kind. Her eyes wondered across the amazing living room, which had since been turned into a gallery of Luke-centered pictures. But she zeroed-in on the picture near the couch, of Luke on his sixteenth birthday with his brand new car.
"Is your, uh, nanny?" Lucas began, "S-Still working here?"
Emma shook her head no, "She left a few months after Luke passed away."
He nodded, "I'm sorry."
The door leading to the kitchen creaked open, a now fifteen-year-old Ravi peered out to them. "Ravi," Emma motioned him closer, "Do you remember-"
"The people who killed Luke?" Ravi cut her off.
Maya's shoulders sagged, while Riley leaned back into the seat with Lucas, while Farkle looked down at his feet. They knew it, they just weren't used to being called it.
"Murderers." Ravi's voice lingered before Emma shooed him away, "I'm sorry..." she whispered, her sincere voice now hoarse.
"Don't be," Maya gave a weak smile, "He has a right to be mad."
There was a silent pause, all of them awkwardly taking sips of their drinks. "My parents should be down any minute." Emma gazed up at the landing of the stairs, nothing. She blinked and batted her eyes with a clearly-fake smile. "I'll go check on them."
Maya nodded her off, all four friends watching as she disappeared up the stairs. Suddenly they felt like every Luke photo was staring down at them, and they couldn't help feel uncomfortable.
"Mom?" Emma called out, peeking into her parents room, "Dad?"
Christina was sobbing on the bed, continuously dabbing her swollen eyes while Morgan gazed out the window.
"Not now, Em." Morgan coughed, "Not now."
Emma looked down at her mother, "Mom?"
Christina didn't look up at her, she just shook her head no and motioned for her to go away. Once Emma closed the door behind her, she wiped away the stray tears that slid down her cheeks. Her face scrunched up like a small baby's as more tears rolled down her face. She gripped onto the table by the door, letting out a quiet sob before moving closer to the staircase.
It took her a few minutes to stop crying, and another few to get her to go back downstairs. Emma was greeted by a note left on the table, with all the guest's cups of water sitting neatly on the coasters.
"We know we hurt your family. We're not gonna hurt any of you anymore."
Emma collapsed onto the couch, fresh tears flooding down her face. In a sense, she was glad they left. She didn't feel good about it, but they needed time. A year wasn't enough, she wasn't sure a lifetime was even enough. But deep down, she knew that Luke's death was an accident, but it took a lot of strength to talk with the people who were apart of that accident. That was enough for her right now.
Maya pressed her head against the headrest; the day was beautiful, the sun was shining, and the sky was a crisp, ocean-blue. She admired the clouds, they looked almost magical. Artistic, in fact. A smile crept across her face as she closed her eyes. The chatter of her three best friends in the car was enough to send her to her happy place. Funny, for a split second, she thought she caught a glimpse of some freckles...