The last chapter. Please enjoy!
Her phone buzzed. It was a Saturday. Who in the world could be texting her? Evan checked her phone. It was Mrs. Murphy. The family wanted to see her and talk to her about "important matters". Evan could tell this wasn't going to be good. It could be about any number of things Evan didn't want to talk about.
But for some reason, Evan felt she needed to go, even though she really didn't want to. Not to mention, Mrs. Murphy wasn't one to give up. If Evan didn't go over there, Cynthia would track her down.
So Evan put on her blue polo, pulled her hair into a ponytail, and mentally prepared for what she knew wasn't going to be a pleasant visit.
Larry, Cynthia and Zach were seated around the table. The same seats they were in when Evan ate dinner here the first time.
"Have a seat, Evan."
She did so. She felt like she was about to get lectured.
"We just have some questions," Cynthia clarified. So it wasn't a lecture but an interrogation. This was not good.
"Why are you leaving the Connor Project," Larry asked. He seemed genuinely puzzled. That was a surprise from him.
"I need some time off. It's too much for me to deal with along with keeping my grades up."
Cynthia and Larry nodded. They seemed to understand.
"Um..." Mrs. Murphy was playing with her fingers, something Evan knew very well to mean nervousness. "We wanted to ask...Who is the person Connor talks about in his letter? And is he responsible for Connor's death?"
Not what Evan expected. How could she even answer this? There was no way she could. They thought Connor was gay and the guy broke his heart. That was only sort of true. But how could she tell them that it was her? That she killed Connor?
"I- I don't know... anyone who-"
"Okay, I have a question." All eyes turned to Zach. His arms were crossed and he was leaning back in his chair. He brushed some hair out of his eyes. "You're pretty clever, Evan. You even had me convinced." What was he talking about? Did he find something out? "You didn't really know Connor did you?"
"What? Zach don't be ridiculous, " Cynthia laughed.
"Do you know how easy it is to make fake emails? And Connor's letter was typed. Anyone could've written it."
The family went silent. Evan didn't know how to feel. They couldn't be entertaining this ridiculous idea.
"You two don't honestly believe that Connor actually cared as much about us as Evan is saying, do you? The Connor in the emails isn't the real Connor -"
"He's right Cynthia, " Larry cut in.
"No, no. That's not the truth."
"Of course it is! Connor was-"
"Connor wasn't what you think he was-"
"He was a bad kid!"
They were screaming over each other. Yelling about what Connor was and whether or not Evan was lying. She could hear the trash they were saying about him. And she hated it.
The family was startled by the usually soft spoken girl screaming so loudly.
"Evan, did you lie?"
Zach had that same emotion on his face. The same one he had when he opened the door that day that Evan couldn't quite pinpoint. She knew what it was now.
He felt triumphant. Like he had won.
But he hadn't.
"Yes," Evan told them. "But not like he says."
Zach's face fell. How does that feel, bitch.
"What do you mean," Larry demanded.
"I did know Connor, " Evan told them confidently. "But everything else was a lie. He hated you. All of you. Those emails were fake. He deleted our real ones because he wanted to keep me a secret from you because he didn't want you guys ruining what he considered to be the best part of his life."
Evan felt the urge to cry but she refused to. There'd been too much crying.
"And you know what, Connor wasn't gay, so stop thinking that he was. And there was a good solid year where he didn't get high at all so stop using that as an excuse for his bad behavior. He acted the way he did because he hated you guys."
Cynthia and Larry were in shock. Zach wasn't so convinced.
"He said he was gay in his letter," the teenage boy scoffed.
"I wrote that letter," Evan's voice cracked. She might actually cry now. "It was an assignment for my therapist. The "he" in the letter was Connor."
She was breaking down now. All her confidence was gone. Words were tumbling from her mouth faster than she could control them.
"We had been together for years." Her stomach hurt. She wanted to throw up. "But I had done something horrible and it hurt him and he broke it off. He had tried to make up with me that first day of school. But he found my letter and he..."
She was bawling now. She was unable to speak but they got the point.
"I- I loved Connor," she managed to say, "more than anyone else in t-the world."
Cynthia and Zach left in a hurry, escaping into the garage.
"Please leave," Larry mumbled and then followed his wife and son.
Evan was about to when she remembered something.
The sketchbook. The last piece of her Connor she had. She ran up stairs and grabbed it, stuffing it in her shirt and then got out of that house as fast as she could.
The Murphy's never reached out again. Zach never tried to touch her or even speak to her again. She was grateful to be back in the background. She could be alone by herself.
Alana ignored her for the rest of her days. The orchard got fixed up but without Evan, the Connor Project died rather quickly.
Jared said hi to her sometimes. He even ate lunch with her one time. That had been fun.
She had been thinking about all this while at the orchard. His orchard. Their orchard. Her back was against the tallest tree, Connor's sketchbook was in her lap. She wanted to look through it. She hadn't gotten the chance to reach the end yet.
This was Connor. Right here in her lap. She began looking through it.
She hadn't seen Connor since the conversation about her arm. She missed him sometimes but she acknowledged that it was probably better for her mental health this way. Still, she missed the real Connor every day. She thought about him every night.
What killed her was that he died hating her and thinking she hated him. She lifted her head until the back of it hit the tree.
She couldn't look through this book. It still hurt to much. She went to close it, but she saw some writing that caught her eye. It was in pen towards the back of the book. Her name.
She flipped to that page. It was a drawing of her. It was pretty good. Her name was written about it in Connor's usual handwriting. The date next to it suggested that it was drawn a few days after they broke up. The next page was another one of her, only a few days later.
Evan kept flipping pages. They were all drawings of her, each more detailed and more beautiful than the last. All of them dated either within a few days of each other or one day after the other. She was flipping so fast, she hardly noticed she'd reached the last page.
It was her. A picture of her smiling a huge smile, her eyes squeezed shut. She looked so happy. It was the most intricate of all the drawings, it looked exactly like her, as if he'd memorized every line of her face.
The date above it made her choke. It was the day he killed himself.
Her attention was drawn to writing at the bottom.
I'm sorry for everything I've done. I love you and I always will.
"I'm sorry Connor," Evan whispered. "I'm so sorry. I love you! I love you! I love you! I love you!"
She cried for a few minutes. He deserved at least that. But she had decided in that moment that she was only ever going to cry for a few minutes.
Connor was dead. It was her fault and she would never move on from that. But she could live with it.
And she would live with it. Until the day she saw Connor again.