2 chapters in 2 hours, I must be feeling bad for leaving this story for so long. This one is a little lighter and from Wallowski's POV. It's a story based in grief but we all know Gill wouldn't want them to be sad forever and I could sit and write sad chapter after sad chapter but we'd never reach the end.
The elevators doors ping open and instead of being met with deafening silence I can hear the gentle buzz of an office once again filled with life. It's like stepping back in time to a time where her light filled the wide corridors as chatter and laughter fills that air. My feet carry me on autopilot until I round the corner and come to a stop in the doorway to the kitchen area. The doors onto the terrace have been opened wide to allow the first warm air of spring to fill the space. There's music playing from a device in the corner and there are Ballons in blue and gold everywhere. Immediately I know they're from Gillian. I know as just 48 hours before i'd been stood in line waiting to collect the exact same ones to drop at their house for Emily. There isn't much I know about the contents of the parcels she's left with me, but I had known about this one. There was just too much time between her passing and the date of the colleage acceptance letters being issued for her to pre fill the box with the helium balloons. So she'd let me in on the specific details so that when the right time came I could take the delicately wrapped box and lid and stand in line to collect her order and pull together her surprise. I hadn't know about these though ballons though, and I can't help the smile that creeps across my face. It's beautiful. The colours fill the room and cast beems of sparkling light into a place that has for so long seemed dark and cold.
Somehow, with just helium and some colourful plastic she's put warmth and life and everything else she brought to the table back into the offices and their lives. There's a cake overed in white frosting and sprinkles with 'Congratulations Em' set in the centre that I have a sneaking suspicion is another gift from their dear departed friend that I hadn't known about. It's too her to have come from anyone else. I let out a sad sigh when I realise what this is. It's a party. She's planned a party for Emily, for all of them, even though she knew she wouldn't be here to actually see it. Here to celebrate. But then I think back to that night that seems many moons ago, where she poured me a glass of wine that I didn't want and revealed her secrets to me. I think at how despite how small she had seems as she spoke, she had come alive when she spoke of what she was going to give him. What she was going to give them. And I finally see exactly what she had seen when she had make her plans. I finally see the futures she knew they would be able have.
She may not be here to see it but her gifts are working. They're all here. Together. Laughing again. Living again. Eli is twirling Ria round the small space to some tune that I almost can't make out over their laughing. Emily is animated in a way I don't remember seeing her before. She looks like a typical teenager instead of the girl I know has become so much older than her years. One hand is flying about as she laughs and tells Heidi and Anna about the balloons that had arrived at the house yesterday. About Berkeley. The other hand is dipping in and out of the frosting of a slice of cake. Her eyes light up when she bring the sugar to her lips and my mind flashes back to a time where I had overheard Cal teasing Gill about her love of all things sugar. The similarities between the two women despite their being no blood relation shouldn't really come as a surprise. And yet it does. It catches me off guard as I imagine how it would be if Gillian was stood with them, her and Emily moving in perfect unison.
A small movement in the corner of my eye catches my attention and I turn to see Cal, stood alone in the breeze from the outside. I run my eyes over him, expecting to find him with his hands shoved deep in his pockets, his head down and his mind a million miles away as i've found him most times since she left. But instead I find him staring directly at me. He looks younger than he did two days ago. His features are more relaxed and he seems more open. I'm under no illusion that I am not looking at a completey open man. Understand that parts of his mask will always be inplace. That parts of his face have always been and will always be reserved for Gillian, but it's clear that a weight, however small, has been lifted from his face. That he's allowing himself to enjoy this momen. Allowing himself to see past his pain and enjoy the chatter and laughter as she would have wanted him too. He nods his head slightly in my direction before turning his attention back to the group in front of him and the reprieve from grief they have all unexpectedly but pleasantly found themselves in.
I accept his nod for what it is. A gesture of thanks for my part in this. A small token of acceptance of my role that I know a few days ago he would not have been capable of giving. I appreciate the gesture but even if he can't see it, his thanks are not needed. Because being here witnessing this small miracle is all the thanks I need. If anything, it is me that needs to give thanks. Because being here surrounded by her generousity and love for these people is an honour. And as Emily turns and offers me a smile that reaches her eyes and calls me to join their group I send a silent thanks to the woman who I barely got to know grateful that, even if only for a while, she has let me be part of this. Let me be a smal part of their lives. And hers.
Thanks for reading. I know chapters and stories with Wallowski can be hard to swallow considering how much she almost ruined for Call & Gillian, but I hope that you still enjoyed. Reviews always appreciated x