By: Skylar Heart
One girl on the run again, five broken hearts to mend.
The anniversary of Poppy’s death is hard on everyone, but no matter how much she tries, Mia feels like she can’t stay at the coast any longer, that her being there only brings more pain to Mal, Dylan, Tom and even Jake. So, without telling anyone, she leaves, returns to the city by herself, leaving the guys behind.
The guys are broken of heart and soul, struggling to make sense of the last week, of the last day, struggling to survive.
In their time of need, their time of pain, new alliances are formed, new plans are made. Specifically a plan to create a place where Mia can feel loved and at home, no longer scared, and where they could all live at the same time.
But that would require that Mia returns to them, to the coast, and that turns out to be harder than expected, or is it?
29 January 2020
Pages: 106 pages
Available in the Netherlands/Belgium:
As part of a collection
I can’t believe Mia just left. Today of all days. Just… Walked out on us. After everything we went through today, it’s hard to believe and even harder to understand…
As the bus taking Mia away is driving off, Jake is holding onto Mal, both men looking devastated, gripping onto each other.
I can still see the bus go down the road. Every second, I expect it to stop and for Mia to step out, telling us that she didn’t mean to leave. But I also know that that isn’t going to happen… Somewhere, I already know that that isn’t going to happen. She’s really gone, she really left, again.
I step closer to Mal and wrap my arms around him too. The sobs wracking his body the worst I’ve felt in years, his breathing more like a wheezing.
Oh, fucking hell… Why? How?
I hide my face in Mal’s neck, maybe if I don’t look around, I’ll forget how I’m falling apart on the inside, how we’re all falling apart.
“Mia…” Mal’s voice is weak, almost a whine. “Why?”
“I don’t know.” That’s Jake, his arms around Mal tightening, but his voice is also rough.
When Mal and Jake reached the bus, and Mal pounded on the side of it, trying to get Mia’s attention, Jake had just stood there. His gaze like he somehow expected it but at the same time like he had hoped she wouldn’t do it, almost like he was disappointed in his own hopefulness that she would have stayed.
The rain starts up again, heavier now, and I know that we have to get inside, or we’ll all catch a cold on top of everything else.
“Come on.” I tug on Mal. “We need to get out of the rain.”
“I don’t want to.” Mal pulls his arm out of my hand, his voice going louder, rougher. “Why should I? What does it…” Then his eyes flit to Tom and Elly as he goes totally still, his eyes growing, and when I look at them, my heart drops.
Tom’s crying, but not just that, in his arms, Elly’s also crying, looking so confused, so sad. Oh, fuck.
We all move at the same time, Jake taking Elly in his arms, holding the girl close, as Mal and I wrap our arms around our friend. Fuck. No. I don’t often see him like this, this lost and broken, the last time I saw him like this was the day of Poppy’s funeral…
“Let’s get to the house.” Jake’s voice is quiet. “Out of the rain. And maybe it’ll make more sense.”
I nod, and this time Mal moves with me as we try to guide Tom up the muddy path.
Like it wasn’t bad enough that it’s the day we lost Poppy, or just the total pain we’re all under, but why did Mia have to leave too? Why now? Why today?
When we reached Mia’s grandma’s house, things didn’t make much more sense than before. Mia had left a note on the kitchen table, saying that Jake and Mal could stay here for a while, and that she’d be back with her parents in a couple of weeks, that they were going to sell the house. But nothing more than that, no explanation of why she left, just that Jake and Mal could stay here…
I give Mal a soft kiss on the side of his head. He’s on the bed in the back room, together with Elly. They’re curled up tightly together, their bodies sometimes shuddering from a cry. I wish I could help, but right now, I can’t do anything for them, not when I don’t know what to do myself.
Then I carefully get up and close the door to the back room behind me before I go to the kitchen. Jake is making coffee, again, and Tom is sitting at the table, his head in his hands, his whole stance stiff.
I want to wrap my arms around him, but I’m not sure that it’s a good idea right now, so I sit down in the chair next to him instead.
Tom fell apart, he really fell apart when we got back to the house, like all his energy had left him or something. And now he’s locked inside his own head, which can take a while to get out of.
“Coffee or tea?” Jake’s voice is quiet, and when I look up at him, his eyes are also full of pain, but he’s keeping himself strong, he’s trying to not fall apart like the rest of us. He’s looking after us before he lets himself express his own pain.
“Coffee, thanks.” I swallow hard, and then something breaks inside me and a sob escapes from my lips. I don’t even know where it comes from, how it was this close, but it’s there, making it hard to breathe and the tears make it hard to see. I was able to hold up so well, until now.
Tom’s arm comes around my shoulder and he pulls me close to him, holding onto me tightly, and I grab hold of him. “I know,” Tom whispers and my heart hurts even more.
No. Just, no. I can’t believe she’s gone. That she would just leave without telling us.
“I don’t…” I force the words out, but nothing more comes. I don’t want this to happen. I don’t want her to be gone. I don’t want to be here anymore, I want to go back to last weekend. I want to go back to that happy place, not this big mess.
I thought things were going okay today, that we could do this, that maybe we could survive today and tomorrow, but now I’m not so sure anymore. Now I’m not so sure that things will be okay, at least, not for all of us together anymore.
If Mia isn’t here, then Jake will leave too, and then it will just be the three of us again, maybe. But even the chance of that happening is getting slimmer and slimmer.
Mal has changed these last couple of days, something is different about him. He won’t accept to stay on the sidelines anymore, he will want his own life, he will want something, from me, from Jake, from the person he decides to be with. And I’m not sure I can give him that.
I’m not sure I’m even the same person I was almost two weeks ago. Having Mia here, going through all of these problems, these emotions. It made me remember that I had plans, I used to have plans for my future. I wanted to do things, go places, and my life has been on hold for far too long.
And Tom… I’ve not seen him as lively in years as I’ve seen him this last week. He seemed to finally be able to see a future for himself, for him and Elly, and now that’s falling apart.
We’ve all changed, and I don’t know who we’ll become, if we can still stay here, stay here together.
“I’m not going anywhere.” Jake is suddenly next to us, and his arm around me is steady, strong. “I’m not leaving.” He’s quiet for a while. “And Mia will come back. I know that she will. She can’t…”
But we all know that she can stay away from here. She’s done it before. The question is how long she’ll stay away this time. And with her track record, that could take years, decades. Elly could be a teenager by the time she returns.
Though, somewhere, I’ve got the feeling that it won’t take that long this time. Somewhere, I’ve got the feeling that things are different this time. I just don’t know how different, or if I’ll like it.
I don’t like not knowing…