Chapter 4:

Lost and Found

Til Death Do Us Part

What was I doing here? No, seriously why? Did I have a death wish? I stood in front of Mr. Redd’s Acting School for the fifth time this week. Something about this place keeps drawing me back. It could be the trauma. It could be Pavlov’s law. Either way, the thirty-minute drive wasn’t worth it this time either. My boots crunch the gravel as I twist away and back to my car. I throw my bag in the back seat and slam the door.

I haven’t got much sleep. I’ve been staying at Terras, but it hasn’t been fruitful. She makes her special brownies and even those don’t take the edge off. Her two little sisters have been hounding me to play with them and they ask where Drew is. Terra always kicks them out when that happens. The question doesn’t startle me, it’s my own memories that cut through me. Where was Drew? Six feet under.

I buckle my seat and sigh into my hands. The memorial is today. Mrs. Farrow invited me over but one quick look at the time told me I was already late. I turn my phone off and start the car. It wasn’t right to not be there but at the same, nothing could hurt me more.

I tap my finger against the steering wheel and debate. If I go, the Farrows will be happy I came. If I don’t go, I’m sure they’ll understand but will be secretly disappointed. If I go, maybe I’ll be a step closer to acceptance. If I don’t go, I can ignore my reality to binge-watch some stupid show. It’s like a Telltale game but worse. 

A knock on my window shakes me from my stupor. It’s Kristopher. Drew’s acting buddy. Or as Drew liked to say, his archnemesis. Anything Drew did, Kristopher tried to do one better. His dyed blonde hair curled around his face, and his tunic hung loose exposing his, I had to admit, chiseled chest. He points at my window and mouths something. I lower the glass.

“I didn’t think I’d catch you this time.” He says, smiling and leaning closer in. I click on a light and squint.

“Wait, have you been watching me?”

“You’re kind of hard to miss. Especially with the whole brooding look. No offence.” Point taken. I’m not coming back here again. “Why don’t you ever come in? You know everyone wants to see you.”

“They do? Why?” I was acquaintances with a few of the students, meeting up with them after a few shows. Drew would introduce me, and he’d pretend I was his girlfriend. But it was never anything more than casual conversation.

“Well, actually,” he scratches his head, “I don’t know. To pat themselves on the back for doing something, I guess. It’s been kind of tense. Which, hey, I’m sorry about the loss. I know you two were close.” He pats the car door and I nod my head.

“Thanks.” I say. Kristopher could be sweet too. Who knew?

“Could I come in?”

“What?” The question startles me, and my hand reflexively goes to the lock.

“Woah, hey, I’m not the murderer either. It’s cold out here. I was just hoping you could drive to the memorial. Sorry, should’ve started with that.” The explanation cools my racing heart and I unlock the door. No matter how much rivalry the two had, Kristopher couldn’t murder a person. One would hope. 

“Thank you.” He hops in and a trailing scent of something sweet follows him. It’s familiar. I breathe in and turn to him.

“Is that cologne? What is that smell?”

“Oh, this?” He smells his collar. “This is fresh. A gift from the instructor. Everyone got a sample. Hold on.” He reaches inside his pant pocket and frowns. “Oh, right. I forgot to change. I came rushing out when I saw you.”

“You can go change if you need to.”

“No, no. It’s fine. As long as I have my phone. I’ll just Uber back when it’s done. I don’t want to trouble you with another ride.” I shrug my shoulders and start reversing out. Guess I won’t be missing the memorial today.