Never Too Far Away

Written By: Jaden

Edited By My Handsome, Charming, Kind Hearted, LiL' Bro, Chris

Disclaimer: This story involves love, relationship, and "adult" subject matter between teenage boys... so I guess that means your not supposed to read this if your under 18, but really if you are younger than that, I can't stop you. Just Don't Get Caught :)  If homosexuality offends you, then leave, or join the 21st century, and open up to it.

This Is FICTION... any character resembling a real life person is by coincidence, and in the rare event a character is based on someone in real life their name has been changed due to legal and personal protection.  You never know who's lurking around reading this.  So now the little spiel is over so hopefully someone will enjoy this.  Do Not Reproduce this story, and if you would like to have it on your web site, email me & get my permission. Thanks.  This is my first story so try not to crucify me to bad. Copyright Jaden 2002

Songs Used In The Chapter In The Order They Are Used: 

Bette Midler - The Rose
Babyface - You Were There
Sarah McLachlan - Angel 

Chapter 13

A million thoughts ran through my mind as I sped to the hospital.  Kai seemed eerily calm on the phone, almost as if he was in shock, but he didn't tell me what happened or who was in the accident.  I came to a screeching halt when I turned down a side street where a police barricade was setup.  I got out of my car, staring at the scene in front of me.  There were 4 cars.. two that looked to be almost welded together, and one behind each of those that must've stopped before hitting the other two.  I walked forward to take a closer look, but a policeman stopped me.

"Please step back, son."  I heard him, but I didn't, if that makes any sense.  His words went right through me when I finally made out one of the cars.  Jordan's silver BMW Roadster.. or what was left of it.  I must have kept moving forward as the policeman grabbed me and pulled me back.  "I said step back!"  He looked at me with a glare, but as soon as he saw the glassy eyed look on my face he softened.  He looked over at the wreckage, then back at me.  "I'm sorry, son.  You know who's car that was?"  I nodded.

The ground was covered in blood.. everywhere.  I shakily asked the burning question, "I-is he okay?"

He looked down at the ground, then brought his eyes up to meet mine, "I suggest you get to the hospital.  They will need you.  I'll have a deputy escort you."  I nodded in response, but the only thing I was hearing was 'They'.  I got back in my car and waited for the deputy to pass.  I started the car up and followed at a fast pace.

We arrived at the hospital in no time.  I parked my car as close as I could get, yelled out a thank you to the deputy and ran inside.  I burst through the doors and went straight to the reception desk.

"Someone was brought here a little while ago from a bad accident...."  I said frantically.

The pudgy woman behind the desk just looked up at me over her glasses, "Please take a seat sir, someone will be right with you."

"You don't understand, I need to know where.."  She cut me off.

"If you don't calm down I will have to ask you to leave."

"You listen to me lady, you may have nothing better to do than sit here and be rude to people,"  I was cut off by doors opening and a voice calling my name.

"Blade.."  I turned my head to see Kai with his mother behind him.  I started to go to them when the receptionist spoke up again.

"You can't go back there!"  She exclaimed.

I turned my head as I continued toward Kai, "Watch me, bitch."  She gave me a shocked look, then looked at the Mrs. Kimbal who was giving her a stern look.  She sat down in defeat as I came up to Kai.

I nodded at Mrs. Kimbal then looked at Kai.  He was staring at me with an unreadable look.  His eyes were glassy, and he had blood running down the side of his face from a cut above his eye.  He stepped toward me, then put his arms out and wrapped them around me.  He started sobbing as I wrapped my arms around him tightly.  I assumed the worst, but didn't know for sure.  My own eyes started to tear up when I looked up at Kai's mother.  She had a sad look on her face, watching us embrace.

"I'll go get some tissues for you two.  Wait right here, I'll be right back."  Mrs. Kimbal headed towards the reception desk.  I thought I heard her yelling at someone, but my mind was racing so I couldn't concentrate.  Kai released his grip a bit, but still held on to me as he stepped back a bit.

"Kai.."  I reached up and wiped the blood from his eye.  "What happened?  How bad is he?"

His lip quivered and I thought he was going to break down again, but he kept his composure, "It's not good."  My heart dropped and a lump developed in my throat.  "Blade... it's not just Jordan."

"Who-- who else?"  I asked.

He choked back a sob, "It's all my fault!  Jordan called me after your date to tell me what happened.  I got excited and begged him to come over."  He paused, fighting his tears, "He came to my house and we all talked for a few minutes, then decided to go get some ice cream."

"Kai, who?!?"

He sighed, "Jordan asked if anyone wanted to ride with him... It should have been me, Blade."

I put my hands on both sides of his face and made him focus on me, "Kai..."  I was interrupted by a loud commotion coming from the entrance.  I turned and saw a battered and bloodied Marcus walking through the doors.

"I answered all your fucking questions, I've got more important things to do than be interrogated."  He snarled, obviously at the police.  I looked at Marcus, then at Kai.

"T-Tyler.. "  Kai shook his head and started crying again.  Marcus came up beside me and pulled me off to the side.  "Marcus?"  He could tell I was on the verge of bursting out in tears.  "Tyler.. is he alright?"

He gave me an uneasy look, "Tyler wasn't in the actual crash."  I looked at him confused.  "There was an altercation after the accident.  Another car was following the one that ran head on into Jordan's."  He paused, "It was some older guys from from a local college I think.  When Tyler, Kai and I got out of my car to see if we could do anything, so did they.  Except they weren't trying to help their friends... they just were pissed and looking to take it out on us."  I looked at him in astonishment.. that people could be so selfish.

"Is that why you're so bloody?"

He nodded, "Blade, I didn't get the worst of it."  An uneasy look came over his face as he thought about what he was going to say.  I glanced over at Kai who was sitting in a chair with his head down.  "I tried, Blade.. I tried my damndest.. but I couldn't stop them.  Kai handled himself well, but we were outnumbered by 3 people.  Tyler is hurt bad.  Two of the guys did a number on him.  If the cops hadn't shown up..."  He trailed off.

Sadness and anger pulsed through me, "Who did this?  No-- what is the diagnosis on Tyler and Jordan?"  Marcus looked over at Kai who looked back at him.  An unspoken word was said between them.

"What?  What am I not being told?!?"  Before either one could answer I heard another commotion followed by Mrs. Kimbal and some other doctors running past us.  Kai looked at his mother as she ran by.  I watched as she mouthed something to him and nodded her head towards me.  Kai looked at me sullen, then slowly walked over and stood beside me.  He took my hand in his and started leading me in the direction the doctors had rushed off to.  "Kai?"

He looked at me as we walked, "Blade, it's Joey.  He was in the car with Jordan.  The-they're working on him again right now.  That was the rush, something isn't right."  I stopped right then and there.  My head started spinning, everything becoming too much for me.  "Blade?"  The world around me started to fade.  Kai put his other arm around me and steadied me against a wall.  "Focus on me, Blade.  Don't go anywhere.. we all need you now."  I tried to focus my eyes on Kai's face and after a few moments my surroundings started to come back into full view.  He gently tugged at my arm leading me down the corridor.

We came to a halt outside an operating room where I could see a team of surgeons, including Mrs. Kimbal working on someone, who I now knew was my best friend.  Joey was hooked up to various machines, obviously monitoring his status.  I could see blood where the doctors were working, but not much since they kept most of the area out of view.  I watched the heart monitor as it took a dramatic downfall for a moment then went back up.  I squeezed Kai's hand as tight as possible while we watched on.  "He's going to make it.. he has to.. please.."  I whispered.  Ten minutes later Marcus came up behind us looking a lot better than the bloody mess he was before.  He put his arm on my shoulder and waited with Kai and me.  Soon after, Mrs. Kimbal walked out of the room and over to us.

"It looks like he is stabilizing, but there are possibilities for more...."  Suddenly a loud beep came from the operating room.  One of the surgeons yelled out to Mrs. Kimbal.  She turned around and dashed into the room quickly.  I looked at the monitor where one solid flat line appeared.  The doctors brought out the defibrillator and prepared to try and restart Joey's heart.  "Clear!"  Mrs. Kimbal yelled and pressed the paddles down on Joey's chest causing his body to jolt up and back down.  I watched the scene in front of me, with no activity coming back to the monitor.  My body started trembling and my knees went weak.  If Kai and Marcus didn't have a firm grip on me I would've gone down right there.  A second attempt was unsuccessful as well.  Mrs. Kimbal looked through the window at me as I heard another doctor ask if she wanted to call it.  Her eyes met mine, then shook her head at the other doctor and prepared for another attempt.  She intensified the voltage and pressed down on Joey's chest again.  His body jumped with the intensity as a very short bleep came over the machine, then quickly disappeared.  Mrs. Kimbal saw this and a determined look came over her face.  The other doctors had all but given up at this point, but she prepared for another shot at it.  "Clear!"  Everyone looked to the monitor... Nothing.  Mrs. Kimbal looked over at me, then at Kai and shook her head.

"Kai?"  I questioned, tears falling from my eyes.  He pulled me close, and put his head on my shoulder.

"I'm sorry."  I burst out sobbing uncontrollably, as Marcus put his arms around both of us.  Mrs. Kimbal walked out of the room and over to me with tears in her eyes.  Kai and Marcus moved away a bit and let her take over.  She wrapped her arms around me, as I sobbed.

"No.. please.. you can't just stop.. he can't die.. please do something..."  She squeezed me tighter as I pleaded with her.

"Oh, honey.  I did everything I could.  We lost him, Blade.. I'm so sorry."  She said in a shaky voice.  My breath became short and I started heaving.  I pushed away from her and ran to the nearest bathroom.  I locked myself in one of the stalls and lost everything I had eaten.  After the sickening feeling subsided a bit, I leaned against the stall with my arms wrapped around my legs, rocking myself back and forth, with tears flowing from my eyes like two small rivers.

He's gone.He's gone. Joey is gone.  Why did this happen?  Joey had such a bright future ahead of him.  Never did anything bad to anyone.. it doesn't make any sense.  I opened my wallet and flipped to a picture of him.  It was from his freshman year in high school, he had given it to me when we first started hanging out.  The care free look and the genuinely happy smile on his face made me cry even harder.  How cruel could God be to take someone so wonderful away from those who love and need him while murderers, rapist and other criminals run around scott free.  I thought back to the very first time I called Joey, starting our time as best friends...

"Come on, pick up.."  The ringing seemed to go on forever until I heard his sweet voice answer the phone.


"Joey?  This is Blade, you know from hockey."

"Hey, what's up?"

"Well, I'm going to a New Jersey Devils exhibition game tomorrow night and I have an extra ticket.  I thought maybe you'd like to go."

"Who else is going?"  He asked.

"My dad and grandfather, they're driving."

"How much for the ticket?"

"Heh, you don't' have to pay, man.  I'm inviting you to go, the tickets already paid for."

"Really? Yeah, I'll go!  Wait.. heh let me ask my mother first."  He ran off to ask his mother as I waited for his answer.  I heard the receiver being fumbled around until his voice came back on, "She said I could go.  What time are we leaving?"

"Around 6, so we'll pick you up."

"Great, thanks for inviting me."  He gave me his address after that, then we said our goodbyes.

I hung up the phone that day with the biggest smile on my face.  From that day on we were inseparable.  We went everywhere and did everything together.  Even through our rough periods, we always found our way back to each other.  When we stopped talking I think it really crushed both of us inside.  Finding him again in NY was one of the best days of my life, and now fate has decided to snatch him from me again.  I can't get him back this time...

The dam burst again as the full realization hit me full force.  I sobbed and sobbed until my eyes stung from the endless tears.  I heard the bathroom door open and soon thereafter a knock on the stall I was in.

"Blade?  I know you're hurting, but we really need you out there right now."

"H-he's gone, Marcus."  I cried out.

"I-I know, bud.  I think-- think you should come out now.  Mrs. Kimbal wants to know if you want to see him before they uh.."  He struggled for the words.  I forced myself from the floor and unlatched the door.  It slowly opened as I moved past it.  Marcus pulled me into a hug, then led me over to a sink.  I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror as I washed my tear streaked face.  "I know you don't need to be hearing this, b-but Jordan just went into shock and Tyler.. well, it's worse than they thought."  My face couldn't have been more somber than it already was.  I just lost my best friend, and two more friends can still be taken from me.  I fought with my own emotions, that felt like they just wanted me to crawl under a rock and die by myself.

"Go.. go be with Tyler.. I'll be there soon."  He nodded and walked off as I made what seemed like an endless trek to the operating room where Joey was.  When I arrived, no one else was there, but Joey's lifeless body on the table.  I walked in slowly, feeling nauseated again, but fought the feelings.  A blue sheet covered his body up to his neck.  Joey's face was cut up, but had been cleaned well enough that it wasn't too gruesome to look at.  I reached under the sheet and took his hand.  I looked at his beautiful face, once full of life, now devoid of that energy that made Joey who he was.

"I'm sorry, Joey.  I shouldn't have brought you here.. if I had just let you stay in NY you would be alive right now. I should've been there.Maybe there was something I could've done to save you.  You're my best friend in the entire world.."  I paused as my sobbing became uncontrollable again.  I composed myself and continued, "I-I hope you're in a better place, somewhere else where you can light up any room with your energy and love.  This may sound selfish, but I hate you for not letting me at least say goodbye.  You are and always will be my first love, and the short time that you were my boyfriend will always live in my heart as one of the best times of my life.  You've brought so much joy to my life by just being you.  I-I need to ask you for one last favor.. I hope you're listening up there.  Please watch over Jordan and Tyler.. let them be okay.  I-I guess this is it.. you always were an angel sent from above to me, I guess you can show everyone else up there that I was right all along.  Say hello to my dad for me, okay?"  I smiled sadly through my tears, "I love you, Joey.. always."  I let go off his hand, and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead.  I pulled the sheet over his head, then turned around to walk out.  There standing in the doorway was Nikki.  She had tears streaming down here face.  She ran towards me and threw her arms around my neck.  I held her as she balled her eyes out.  She pulled away from me, and I was about to ask her if she needed me to stay, when she just shook her head and gave me a weak smile.  I was just about out the door when she called out to me. 


I turned and looked at her, both of us revealing our tear streaked faces, "Yeah?"

"Here."  She held something out in her hand.  I walked back over to her to see what she was holding.  She took my hand and placed a gold necklace with a charm.. two hockey players.  I had given that to Joey for the last Christmas we had spent together.  It symbolized our friendship, two hockey players connected together, separated by nothing.  "Mrs. Kimbal gave it to me as I walked in-- you should have it."  I nodded at her, with the dam of tears threatening to break again.  I put the necklace around my neck and latched it as I walked out the door.

I asked a nurse passing where to find Jordan and Tyler.  She told me where to go and I rushed off in that direction.
I came to a room where, who I'm assuming are Jordan's parents, were standing outside speaking with Mrs. Kimbal.  She stopped talking for a moment and I approached.  I guess my disheveled appearance startled Jordan's parents as well.  Jordan's mother had tears running down her cheeks, but she also had a smile on her face.  I looked at Mrs. Kimbal and she gave me a look of sympathy, then motioned to me that I could go into the room.

Kai was sitting in a chair next to Jordan's bed.  He was holding his hand, talking to him.  I remained silent looking over at Jordan.  The boy who had looked so handsome on our date just hours before, now laid in this hospital bed, hooked up to countless machines fighting for his life.  He had a bandage on the right side of his head, just over his temple.  A brace adorned his neck as well as his arm being propped up in a sling.  I'm not sure how many tears someone can cry before they run out, but I'm pretty sure I'll have hit that mark by the time things settle down.

"Fight, baby.  Don't give up, I need you.  God, you don't know how much I need you.  I love you with all of my heart, do you hear me?  You have to fight, Jordan.. fight for you.. fight for me.. fight for us."  Kai poured out his emotions to the motionless Jordan.  Kai held onto Jordan's hand as he put his head down and cried.  I walked up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder alerting him of my presence.  He looked up at me startled, then stood up and cried on my shoulder.  "H-he pulled through the shock, but they said there's no way of telling if he'll make it through the night."  The lump in my throat returned at the thought of Jordan dying on us too.  "What am I gonna do without him, Blade?  Every time I find happiness it gets ripped away from me."

I held myself together, knowing I had to be strong for Kai, "Jordan isn't going anywhere, Kai.  He'll beat this, he's a fighter, we both know that."

"So was Joey..."  I flash of pain stabbed through my heart once again.

"Y-yeah he was."  We both cried together, afraid of what may lie ahead.  "I can't lose him, Blade.  It'll kill me."

I lifted his chin up so his eyes would meet mine, "You have to be strong, Kai.  Be strong for Jordan's sake.  When his body is ready to give up, be there, showing him your love, make him see that your love is here waiting for him.  I didn't get the chance to say goodbye to Joey.. to maybe help him through.."

"It's not your fault.  He shouldn't have been in that car, I should have."

I shook the thoughts from my head, "We're not playing the blame game here.  You are Jordan's rock, not me, not anyone else."  He nodded his head in agreement.

"I know.  I just feel so helpless right now."

"You are helping him by being here."  I paused for a moment, then continued, "Can I have a minute alone with him?"  He nodded, gave me one last hug, then went into the hallway.

I sat down in the seat next to Jordan's bed and thought about what I was going to say.  I watched as a machine helped him breathe, it was the first time I noticed the breathing tube in his throat.  "Well, I guess our perfect night turned out to be not so perfect after all huh?  Heh, it's funny.I was on cloud nine when I got home tonight.  You made me so happy with every move you made, even if we did find out we are better of being just friends.  My mother saw us kiss in the driveway.. she was drunk again, and she called me a faggot when I went inside.  She pissed me off, and it hurt me to hear my own mother say that to me, but I had the rest of the days events to suppress the hurt.  Then, I got a phone call from Kai.  I saw the car wreckage on the way here.. I-I thought you were dead."  My thoughts drifted back to Joey again.  The overwhelming sadness caused my sobs to start again, "J-Joey didn't make it, Jordan.  I lost my best friend.I'll never see him again.  You have to fight god damnit!Don't you dare give up on me.  I need you, everyone needs you, but most importantly Kai needs you.  He loves you, man.. more than he loves anything.  You have to pull through if not for anything else, than him.  Please...."  I felt a hand on my shoulder, and turned around to see Mrs. Kimbal, with Kai, Jordan's parents and Marcus standing behind her.  I tried my best to wipe the tears from my eyes as I squeezed Jordan's hand then stood up.

I walked over to Jordan's mother and gave her a hug.  I had never met her before, but it felt like the right thing to do.  "I'm sorry about Jordan.He's going to be okay, I know it."  She pulled away and smiled meekly through her tears.  Jordan's father shook my hand as well.  I was about to say something to Kai when Marcus cut in.

"Blade, I need you to come with me."


"To see Tyler.. he uh, he called out your name.  He's not awake, but he definitely said your name.  The doctor wants to talk to you, and his mother is there waiting."  I just nodded at him, then looked at Kai.  He mouthed for me to go, but I leaned over and gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek first, then followed Marcus out.  We walked down two corridors in silence, when I decided to speak up.

"Marcus.. I'm sorry I haven't welcomed you with open arms so to speak.  It's nothing personal, I guess, well..."

"Ah know, Blade."  He shook off the slip of his southern accent, "I see how you look at Tyler.. I know that you and him were together before.  He told me what happened, about him and Kai.. why y'all broke up.  You still love him right?"

He caught me off guard with his very forward question, "I-I-I...."  He smiled, a knowing, but almost sad smile at me.

"He loves you too, ya know."  I looked at him as he spoke.  I could tell he was trying to comfort me, take my mind off everything that has happened or happening.

"What about you?"  He looked at me questioningly, "Do you love him?'

It looked as if he was going to deny it, but he nodded his head and gave in, "Yeah.  What's not to love?"  We both gave each other sad smiles as we stopped in front of what I assume is Tyler's room.  Tyler's mother came walking out, her eyes blood shot from tears.  She immediately pulled me into her arms, squeezing me so tight I thought I would burst!

"I'm so glad you're here, honey.  It seems like Tyler never stops talking about you, I was wondering why you haven't been around the house lately."  I glanced at Marcus, who winced as she spoke.  "If it wasn't for Marcus over here I think Tyler would have gone mad.  Such sweet boys."  We both smiled, our first real smiles I think since we arrived.  She sniffled again, then pulled away from me.  A serious look came upon her face, "Boys, the doctor spoke to me a few minutes ago.  They-they think there may be internal bleeding, but they don't know for sure yet."

"W-what's that mean?"  Marcus asked, his voice quivering.  Sandy looked at him with sympathy in her eyes.

"It could mean nothing...if it's minor.  If it's more than that, t-they say there's a chance they may not be able to stop it."  She paused, "He has two broken ribs and a bruised kidney.  They said that the possibility of a punctured lung has been completely ruled out, as he's breathing on his own now.

My head spun as the words came out of her mouth.  This can't be happening.  I started to lose my balance as I leaned against a wall.  Fresh tears streamed from my eyes.  How could someone do that to him?

"Oh honey.."  She put her arm around me again, "I know it's hard, but we have to stay strong.  For Tyler, for Jordan, for each other.  Why don't you go in and see him, okay?"  I nodded, and used all the strength and will power I could muster to push myself into that room.

The radio was on, obviously Sandy turned it on for Tyler, knowing his love for music.  I stood in front of his bed and stared at his unconscious form.  To someone who didn't know the extent of his injuries, Tyler would've looked like he had a very minor accident.  There was only a small cut under his left eye.  The rest of his beautiful facial features appeared unscathed, especially in light of what happened.  I walked over to the side of his bed and stood there.  I reached my hand out and ran it over his forehead and through his hair.  I took my other hand and entwined it with his.  He looked so peaceful.It was almost hard to believe he was really just doped up to numb the pain.  I leaned down and softly sang a song that he once told me he was one of his favorites.

Some say love, it is a river
that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
and you its only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
that never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
who cannot seem to give,
and the soul afraid of dyin'
that never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been to long,
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong,
just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun's love
in the spring becomes the rose.

I swatted at my eyes, trying to knock away the tears, not being able to go on with the song.  It brought all of my memories and feelings that I had suppressed for Tyler back in full force.  The good times, the bad times.. everything.  Tyler outing himself and me at the same time, but protecting me by taking the brunt of the impact of that event by himself.  Me turning away from him when he needed comfort.. God, I'm such an idiot.  I was broken out of my thoughts when I felt a tad of pressure being applied to my hand.  I looked down, but I must've been imagining things, as there was no movement from his hand.  I leaned over and gently pecked him on the lips and started to step away from his bed, but was stopped.  Tyler's hand had a grip over mine.He was holding me back.

"Tyler?"  I asked.  His eye lids fluttered a bit as I spoke to him.  "Can you hear me?"  There was no response, and his grip had loosened considerably.  My hopes went down, and I turned to walk out again, this time startled even more so.

"D-Do *cough* n't..." He trailed off, not being to get the words out.  My eyes lit up, just knowing that he was awake and coherent.  I reached over and grabbed a cup of water off of his tray, and gently brought it to his lips.

"Come on, Ty, open up.  Drink this, you'll feel better."  He listened and slowly parted his lips, allowing the water to wash over his very dry mouth.  He drank the whole cup by the time he squeezed my hand to let me know to take it away.  His eyes opened completely, thought I could tell he was having trouble focusing them.  After a couple of minutes he settled his gaze on me.  A smile spread across his face.

"Hey *Cough*"  He winced in pain as he coughed.

I brought my finger up to his lips, "Shhh.  Don't try to talk, Ty."

'I-I'm okay."  He took a deep breath and winced again.  "Owww.. why does it hurt when I cough and breathe?"

"I guess you took quite a beating."

His eyes got distant for a moment, as if he was thinking back to the night's prior events.  "Oh.. yeah.  What's my damage?"

"Two broken ribs, bruised kidneys and uh.."

"Blade?"  He questioned.

"The doctor told your mother there may be some internal bleeding."

His eyes became glassy, "Am- Am I gonna be okay?"

"Yeah you will."  I said confidently, for him and for myself.  He looked at me skeptically.  "Okay, they haven't said if you do or don't have internal bleeding yet, so I really don't know.  What I do know is that you're a fighter and you aren't going anywhere.  You can't leave me, got that?"  I tried to joke with him.  It seemed to have a double sided effect on him.  He smiled, but soon it turned into a forced smile.  Then he got completely serious.

"I never left you."  He said, then looked away from me.  I didn't know how to respond to that.  "I'm not trying to make you feel bad.  I know why you we broke up.It was my fault.  I've messed up time and time again, and pushed you further and further away.  Then Joey came back into your life, and I figured that was it for us."  I winced at the mention of Joey's name.  I closed my eyes and tried to keep the tears from coming.

"Tyler.. J-Joey didn't make it."  My lip quivered as I threatened to break down again.  Tyler gripped my hand even harder when I said that.

"Oh, baby.. I'm so sorry."  He tugged at my arm, pulling me towards him.  I leaned down and he gave me what he could of a hug.  I tried to get back up, but he kept his arm firmly placed around my neck.  "Is Jordan? Is he..."

"He's alive.He's not looking too good though."  Tyler's eyes began to water along with mine.

"I'm so sorry for everything, Blade.  I never meant to hurt you."  He pulled my face closer to his.  Our lips were only an inch or so apart, but as they were about to meet, a voice startled us.

"Oh my god, he's awake!"  Tyler's mother yelled out.  Tyler released his grip on me and we pulled apart.  There was a look of disappointment in his eyes.  Marcus came in moments later.  He looked at me then at Tyler, with a funny look.  Sandy immediately started smothering Tyler in kisses and ranting about how scared she was.

"Mom.   Mom!"  Tyler tried to stop the barrage of affection his mother was giving him.  He started coughing from his efforts, causing him obvious pain.

"I'm sorry, honey.  I'm so glad you're okay."  She looked at Tyler's discomfort, "I'll go get the doctor."  She hurried out of the room.  I looked at Tyler, then over at Marcus.

"Well, I'm g-gonna go check on Jordan, I'll come back in a while, Ty."  The look on his face looked almost pleading, but I was a little shaken up from almost kissing him.  Marcus deserved time with him alone anyway.

"Tell Kai I'm thinking of Jordan and him."  I flashed him a small smile and left the room.

I passed Mrs. Kimbal and Tyler's mother in the hallway, "How's Jordan?"

"Still the same I'm afraid.  Kai's with him while his parents are in the cafeteria.  The good news is he's remained stabilized, which is a good sign."

"Great.  Take care of Tyler for me, okay?  I could really use someone else to be here and be the strong one."  She gave me a sympathetic look.

"I will.  I have good news about that one as well.There's no internal bleeding.  So, if all goes well, he should be up and moving around very soon."  I smiled at her, then continued on my way to Jordan's room, happy to have good news for a change.

I walked into the doorway of Jordan's room and was about to knock on the door, when I saw Kai slumped over in the chair.  He still hand Jordan's hand in his, but he had completely fallen asleep.  I smiled at the scene.  I don't know how anyone could ask for a better guy than Kai–loyal, loving, and willing to do anything for his friends.  If.. When Jordan recovers, he and Kai are going to make it.  They're made for each other.  I went out to the nurse's station and asked for a blanket and pillow.  They happily obliged, then I returned to the room.  I carefully lifted Kai's head up and slid the pillow under it.  I covered him with the blanket and kissed him on the forehead, then did the same to Jordan.  "Sleep well, guys."

I decided to go outside and get some air.  The environment of the hospital, plus what had happened were overwhelming inside and I needed out.  I sat on the curb around the semi circle drop off lane.  I ran a hand through my hair, pushing it out of my face.  I felt so empty, but yet so full inside.  The feeling of loss, with an overwhelming amount of emotion.  I clutched at the necklace now around my neck, thinking back to the day I gave it to Joey...

I walked into Joey's house on Christmas Eve.  I had gotten him the necklace when Nikki and I went shopping at the local mall.  I brought the gifts she had bought him as well since she couldn't make it.  His mother greeted me as I came inside.  Joey and his mother had a love/hate relationship, but she never said anything bad to me, at least not to my face.  We exchanged hellos, then she went off to another room while I waited for Joey to come down stairs.  He entered the kitchen moments later with a big smile on his face as usual.  I put the packages on the counter, not expecting him to open them right then.  He didn't like doing stuff like that in front of people, hehe.. he was afraid he would look too dorky.  He looked at my package funny,

"What?"  I said as I grinned at him.

"Nothing.  Hehe, you proposing?"  I blushed deep red at his joke.  My feelings for him were minimal as far as wanting him as more than a friend, but him saying that made me remember the times I was so smitten with him that I probably would've married that boy in a second.

"Shut up, jerk, hehe."  He punched me in the arm, then picked up the package and shook it.  I smacked his hand, scolding him for doing so, but we both laughed at each other's antics.  He tore the paper open to reveal a small box, which he opened in eager anticipation.  He looked inside and his expression got serious all of a sudden.  "Y-you don't like it?"  I asked.

"I love it.  I'm just a bit taken aback by it, that's all.  I mean I didn't expect you to get me anything, let alone buy something as expensive as this."  He admired the small gold charm.  It was obviously two hockey players connected together, going after the puck.

"I thought it fit perfect, you know.. kind of symbolizes our friendship."

He smiled widely, "Yeah, it does."  He took his necklace off and put the charm on it.  Heh, he always had a problem snapping the clip on his necklace, so I had to do it for him.  He spun around admiring it.  "How does it look?"

"Great.  Merry Christmas, Joey."  He stepped forward and hugged me.

"Thanks, Blade."

He never took that chain off either.  He still had it on when I met up with him in NY.  Fresh tears came to my eyes remembering the good times with Joey.  I don't know how I'm going to be able to fill the void in my life.. in my heart.  I ran my fingers along the charm, lost in my own little world.

"Hey you."  A soft, raspy voice said.  I looked up and standing about 10 ft away from me was Eric.  Seeing my baby bro standing there made the waterworks come back full force.  I stood up unsteadily, and as soon as he got to me I just about collapsed in his arms.  He held me tightly against him, rocking me back and forth.  "Just let it out, Blade."  I could feel his own tears dripping down onto my face, but knew he was being strong for me.  I knew at that moment that Eric was going to be my rock through this, just like Joey was when my dad died.

"I-it hurts so much, Eric."  I cried.

"I know, I know."

"W-why did he have to die?  Why does anyone have to die?  Everyone I need leaves me.  I'm like a plague, everyone I come in contact with gets hurt or dies..."

Eric turned my head to look at him, "Blade, stop.  This is not your fault, okay?  You weren't there, there was nothing you or anyone else could do.  You have no control over who dies and who lives.  J-Joey was a great friend, and person in general."

"I didn't get to say goodbye.."

"Blade, he knew you were there.  Do you honestly think Joey would give up without knowing that his best friend in the entire world got to at least see him one last time?  Joey always was a strong spirited guy, he fought all he could, for as long as he could and deep down you know that."  I sniffled, but didn't say anymore.  I tried to stand up, but Eric stopped me as he got up first.  He then helped me up and hugged me again.  "I'm never leaving you, Blade.  You promised me when you were in the hospital, and I'm returning the promise."

I worked up a small smile for him.  "I know you won't.  I love you, bro.  I don't know what I would do with out you."

"Probably be bored and never have anything to think about when you jerk off."  He grinned madly through his tear streaked face.  I laughed for the first time in what seemed like ages, but really it just been hours.

"You always know how to make me laugh."

"That's because I'm good like that."  He said in his cocky tone.

"Just for the record, you have never been in my jerk off fantasies."

"Hehe, deny it all you want, but we both know it's true."  His grin would not subside.

"You're such a brat."  I paused, "but I wouldn't trade you for anything."

"Aw.. you're gonna make me cry again.  Hehe, wouldn't trade me for anything, huh?  What about a hot steamy romp with Tyler?"  He snickered.  I swatted at him, but he ducked out of the way.

"How did you know what happened?"

"Kai called me a little while ago.  He told me about the accident, the fight, and J-Joey um, yeah..."  Eric struggled with his words.  He cared about Joey too, they always got along.  "So anyways, I called a cab and here I am."

I was about to ask him why mom didn't bring him, when I remembered our little confrontation earlier.  She was probably still out cold on the couch.  "Eric, we're gonna have to talk about something later."  He looked at me curiously.  "Let's go inside."

Eric and I went into the hospital and made our rounds.  We popped into Jordan's room, but Kai was still asleep in the chair, with Jordan's parents sleeping in the guest lounge down the hall.  We went back to Tyler's room and passed Marcus on the way.  He had to go home and let his parents know what happened and get some sleep.  I thanked him for being there and trying his best to prevent injury to Tyler.  Like I said, he's a great guy, I just haven't given him the proper chance.  Eric went into Tyler's room first and talked to him for a few minutes.  I heard laughter, then some coughing from Tyler, so I walked into the room myself.

"Hehe, you didn't tell me I'd kill him if I told him a joke."  Tyler started to laugh again, but forced it to subside before he started coughing again.  Tyler looked over at me and smiled, looking very sleepy.  His eyes were half shut, and I could tell he was on his way to passing out.  Eric noticed this as well it seemed.  "Well, I'll let you two talk for a couple minutes before you pass out."  Eric started to walk out of the room when Tyler called him back.

"Come here, Eric."  Eric tentatively stepped back over to the side of the bed.  Tyler motioned for him to lean down so he could give him a hug.  As Eric leaned down, Tyler kissed him on the cheek and Eric's face turned a deep crimson color.  "Hehe, now we're even for you trying to kill me with that joke."  Eric smiled widely as he walked past me.

"I think I'm in love!"  He yelped out, causing a ruckus as usual.  I laughed at his antics, then took a seat next to Tyler's bed.  I took hold of his hand as he spoke.

"I'm glad you came back.  You know, I think you're singing..."  He started to drift off.  Tyler tried to shake off his sleep, but I stopped him.

"Shhh, get some rest, Ty.  We can talk in the afternoon."  No sooner had I said that, and he was out like a light.  His grip on my hand remained, and I soon felt my eyelids getting heavy.  Before I knew it, I was sound asleep, my restless mind finally giving in.

I awoke the next day to find Tyler's bed empty.  I immediately panicked, and ran out the door.  I almost ran Kai over in the process.

"Whoa, slow down, boy."

"Where is he?"

"Tyler?  Turn around."  He said grinning.  I turned around to see Tyler walking slowly down the hall towards me.  Mrs. Kimbal and Eric were walking on either side of him.  I could tell he was in pain, but the determined look on his face told me there was no way he was staying in this hospital longer than he had to.  He looked up and saw me, smiled, then seemed to try to pick up the pace a little.  Eric noticed this as well, according to the snickering he was doing.  I met him half way, and gently, very gently hugged him.

"I can't believe you're up and about already."  I beamed.

"Yup, you know me, I'm an animal hehe."

"You seem better, how are the ribs?"

"The doctors taped them up, so it's not as bad as Friday night or Saturday morning."  I looked at him confused.

"What do you mean... it's Saturday now, right?"

He, and Eric laughed at me, "Kai said the same thing.  It's Sunday morning."  I slept an entire day without waking up?  Geez.  I guess crying is a tiring job.  Tyler still held onto me as he spoke.  "You should go home, Blade.  Get cleaned up, you stink."  He smirked at me.

"I do not!  If I stink why are you holding on to me?"  It was my turn to smirk at him.  He blushed, then reluctantly let go of me.

"You should go though, I don't know how you're not hurting from sleeping in that chair so long."

"Okay, I'll go.  I'll come back when I'm done though."

He smiled, "You don't have to, I'm busting out of this joint."


"Yup.  Everything checked out okay.  There's nothing they can do for my ribs, they have to heal on their own."

"That's great."  I smiled, then turned to Kai, "How's Jordan?"

He frowned slightly, "Still the same pretty much.  He did squeeze my hand a little while ago, so that's a very good sign."

"That's great.  Well, I'm gonna go home for awhile.  Call me when you get released, okay?"  I said to Tyler.

"I will.  Thanks for staying with me, Blade."  I smiled at him, then motioned for Eric to come with me.  He said his goodbyes to Tyler and Kai, then we headed out to my car.

The drive home was surreal.. odd even.  I had been at the hospital so long, it seemed strange to be going "home".  That's if I still have one.  I pretty much expect my mother to not remember the other night, but who knows with my luck.  Eric broke me out of my train of thought.

"Joey's parents are staying at a local hotel."

"Oh."  The sleeping had kept Joey's death from my mind as well.

"Yeah.. they said he had a will.. that's kind of strange isn't it?  To have a will at such a young age?"

"I guess so.  What did it say?"

"Well, I guess recently he revised it.  He requested that if anything were to happen to him that he be laid to rest here.. close to you."  I stopped the car about a mile from our house.  "He wants you to have control over his service and everything.  His aunt and uncle will arrange everything, but anything you think should be there, you should add it since you knew him the best."  I nodded, having a hard time comprehending everything.  "He, uh, he left you everything he owned, Blade."


"Yeah.  That was one of the revisions he put in when he came over here, according to his lawyer.  He had a life insurance policy that he took out when he became independent from his parents.  It instructs to pay for whatever funeral expense there are with it, and the rest is yours.  I guess he didn't get a chance to put Nikki back in."

I couldn't listen to what Joey's will, or any of it anymore.  I put the car in drive and drove straight home without stopping.  I got out, and went straight into the house.  Eric followed me, but I just shook my head at him so he would leave me alone.  I walked into my room, stripped off my clothes, then jumped in the shower.  I tried to push any thoughts of Joey and funerals from my mind, but in reality I knew I had to deal with it.  It was his request of me.  I'd do anything for him, and I'm not going to let him down now.  As soon as I stepped out of the shower and got dressed, I started making phone calls.  I talked to Joey's aunt first, and she informed me about the arrangements.  The wake would be tomorrow, with the burial following the next day.  They invited all of his immediate family and friends from back home.  I told her his friends here would be notified as well.  Everything was in order and she'd see me tomorrow.  I hung up the phone feeling mixed emotions.  On one hand I want everything to be perfect, but on the other this all seems so trivial.  I mean, Joey died...he died.  Having a funeral to mourn is okay, but in my experience it always ends up being more of a get together than anything.  I sighed and went downstairs.  My mother was in the kitchen and Eric was in the living room.

"Eric, do you think you could help me get phone numbers for everyone that Joey was friends with at school?"

"It's taken care of, bro.  The accident was in the paper, and everyone has been calling the house.  Umm, Matt and I wrote the obituary out for him.. I didn't think you would be up to it."  I smiled meekly at him.

"You're right, thanks."  I looked into the kitchen at my mother, who was smoking away like there was no tomorrow.  I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water.

"I'm assuming you know."  I said bitterly.

"Yes.  I can't believe it."

"Yeah.. there's a lot of things I can't believe lately."  I was pushing buttons to see if she knew what I was talking about.

"I know you're angry, hun, but don't take it out on any of us."  She didn't remember anything.

"Do you remember Friday night?"

She frowned, "No.. why?"

"Of course you wouldn't, you were drunk off your ass as usual.  Forget it."

"Blade, what happened?"

"You kicked me out of the house."

"I would never do that."

"Oh no?  Care to test that theory?"  My temper was getting the best of me.  I was mad at her for what she said to me, mad at myself for being who I am, mad at Joey for leaving me.. just mad at the world.

"Blade, calm down please.  Nothing could be as bad as you're making it out to be.. it's not like you're gay or something."  I froze as the words came out of her mouth.

"And if I am?"  She looked at me with a blank expression.  She didn't say a word, just sat there staring.  "I understand.  I'll be out of here as soon as possible.  You won't have to deal with your disgusting excuse for a son."  I walked out of the room and into the living room.  Eric had tears rolling down his cheeks.  I stopped and turned to him.  I said it quiet enough so our mother wouldn't hear me.  "See what a bigot our own mother is?  I advise you don't plan on coming out to her anytime soon."

"Blade, you can't leave me here..."  He whined.

"I can't stay here.  You know she isn't going to let you go."  I looked into his eyes, which held a lot of sadness, "Eric, you know you can stay with me whenever you want when I get my own place."  A weak smile came upon his face.

I was about to go upstairs when I stopped at Joey's door.  I peered inside, nothing had been touched.  I walked inside and shut the door behind me.  I just stood there and stared at his things.  I picked up a stray shirt that was lying on the floor.  I brought it up to my face.. it still had his scent on it.  That boyish scent mixed with his Nautica cologne.  It was enough to set me off again.  It was almost like he was still there.  I held onto the shirt as I laid down on his bed, which held his scent as well.  I cried and cried until the world around me disappeared.

I was awoken by someone shaking me, what seemed like minutes later.  I slowly opened my eyes, which stung like hell.  I rolled over to see Tyler standing next to the bed in a black suit.

"Hey, sleepy."  He whispered.

"Hey.  Why are you all dressed up?"  I asked.

"The wake is in a couple hours, baby."  I smiled when he called me baby, but then his words registered in my head, and I quickly jumped off the bed.

"You're kidding me right?  No, no, no.. it can't be.. it was just Sunday a few minutes ago."  I scrambled around the room gathering some of the things that I felt Joey would want to be buried with him.

"Blade, calm down.  I know this is rough for you, but you have to relax.  Go upstairs get ready and I'll be down here waiting for you."  I tried my best to bring myself down from the panic I was in.  I quickly ran upstairs and got myself ready.

It only took a matter of minutes, as I took a quick shower just to wake up since I had taken one the previous night too.  I combed my hair back and put gel in it so it would stay slicked back.  Then I had the task of digging through my closet for a suit and tie.  I found a jet black one in the back of my closet.  I put on a white collared shirt to go under it.  After my shoes were tied and I threw some cologne and deodorant on, I descended the stairs.  Tyler was sitting gingerly on the edge of the chair waiting for me.  I had my tie loosely hanging around my neck as I came up next to him.

"Need some help?"  He asked.

"Yeah.. I never could get the hang of these things."  Tyler smiled and started to fix my tie for me.  As he reached around my neck the front door opened up.  In walked Eric and Matt, both in matching black suits.  It was the first time I had seen Matt since Friday.  I nodded at them, and then let Tyler finish up with my tie.  I saw Eric and Matt look at Tyler and I, then exchange whispers, but didn't know what they had said.  Tyler backed away a little and gave it a thumbs up.  "Thanks.  Everyone ready?"  They all said yes, so we headed out to my car.

We arrived at the Whitmore Funeral Home about 40 minutes later.  There were so many cars there, I couldn't believe my eyes.  We got out of the car and headed inside.  There was a long line of people waiting to pay their respects to my first true love.  I took a deep breath and with Tyler by my side, walked into the room.  It was open casket.  Joey's aunt saw me and ushered Tyler, Eric, Matt, and myself to the front.  She said she was sorry to the kids that were waiting, but they just said it was okay, they knew how close me and Joey were.  As we stepped in front of the casket I felt like running away, but I didn't want to cause a scene.  I looked at his lifeless body.  That's all it was now, a body.  This wasn't was the beautiful form he was given to share with us.  The light that once shown in his eyes was distinguished.. never to be seen again.  Tears dropped from my eyes as I said a silent prayer for him–that he be at rest and safe where he is now.  Tyler, Eric, and Matt did the same then we moved along so everyone else could do the same.  We walked down the line of family members offering condolences, but the thing was, I don't know if they deserved it.  They had one of the greatest people I know for a son, brother, cousin, whatever.. and they took him for granted.  I did what I felt was the right thing and sucked up the bitter feelings I was having.  I greeted many of the people in line from school.. including the entire hockey team.  Every single one of them said they'd be there for me, for Tyler, for all of my friends, which meant a lot to me.  After a few hours of being at the wake talking to people, I decided it was time to go home and rest again.  Too much at one time wasn't doing me any good.  I took Tyler home and thanked him, telling him that I'd see him tomorrow.  Eric and Matt went home with me, as Matt was staying the night.  I just went straight to my room, not wanting to be bothered with anything.  I was expected to say something tomorrow, and I haven't a clue what I can say without totally losing it. Eric and Matt checked up on me a few times, but I told them I was fine.  In reality I was being torn apart inside.. tomorrow would be the final goodbye.  I crept down to Joey's room after I had taken my suit off, and slept in there.

I awoke the next day at 10:30 am and got myself prepared for the day.  I grabbed everything that I had planned on putting in the casket with Joey.  I took my hockey jersey, a picture of me and him, and for sentimental value, I broke the hockey player charm in half.  I kept the one with the loop still on it connected to the necklace and placed the other in my pocket.  At 11 a car pulled up to my house.  A limo had been arranged for me and my friends separate from Joey's family.  I guess he really was prepared for everything.  I ran upstairs quickly and grabbed a CD off of my dresser, and a boom box.  I locked the house up and got into the limo where Eric, Matt, Tyler and to my surprise, Nikki were waiting.  I sat down next to Tyler and her.  We both exchanged sad glances, as I offered my hand to her.  She took hold of it, and didn't let go the entire ride there. 

We arrived at the funeral home for the second time in as many days.  As we approached the door we could hear the mourning inside.  My eyes welled up, but I tried my best to hold it together.  I took a deep breath and entered the wake room.  All of the chair were full except a row reserved for me and my friends.  The minister waited for us to take a seat then began her sermon.  She quoted verses from the bible that his family had picked out, and had everyone say a group prayer for him.  After she was finished, she asked if there was anyone who would like to speak.  No one stood, so I leaned over and whispered something to Eric.  He nodded and stood at the same time I did.  He walked out of the room and outside to do what I had asked.  I approached the front of the room and nodded at the minister.

"I don't know what to say at this point.  I've been questioning God's choices lately.  Joey was one of the most important people in my life.  We've been best friends for almost 4 years, and it's meant so much to me.  No matter what, through any fights or problems, we found our way back to each other.  Not even living 3000 miles apart could keep us from being the best of friends once again.  I wish I could say the same now.  Now there's no getting him back.  I loved Joey as a friend, as a brother...with all of my heart.  Nothing can, or ever will, fill the void that has been placed inside of me.  My best friend has been ripped from our world.  I believe that he's watching down on us, smiling that smile that we all know and love, seeing everyone come together to mourn what an unbelievable person he was and always will be in our hearts."

I paused and turned to the casket.  Eric walked back into the room and handed me the things I had brought with me.  He placed the boom box on a chair and handed me the jersey and picture.  "I'm putting my hockey jersey and this picture of me and Joey in the casket with him.. so in someway I'll always be with him."  I took a moment to reach around my neck and unhook the necklace.  I took his hand.. the feel of it cold, and not Joey at all... then placed the necklace in it.  "I-I don't know what else to say with out completely breaking down in front of everyone right now.  Joey would say this was how it was meant to be.. that this was God's plan for him.  So, instead of talking anymore.. I-I thought I would express my gratitude and feelings for Joey through song."

I stepped up to the microphone, as Eric put in the CD and hit play.  "This song is called 'You Were There'... it means a lot to me because it reminds me of Joey.

Time passes, the world changes
But I'm still the same ole' kid
And your jokes still bring me laughter
As if you still were here
And it hurts
When I smile
'Cause my heart still remembers
When you were around

'Cause you were there
When no one was
Just when I thought nobody cared
You showed me love
'Cause you were my friend
You always told me
And I am still here
Because you were there

Tears started to stream down my face as I continued pouring my heart into the song.

So precious, small treasures
A time when truth was innocent
True friendship, was all we were after
A place where kids could still be kids
And it hurts
But I'm glad
'Cause at least I was blessed
To have you as my friend

'Cause you were there
When no one was
Just when I thought nobody cared
You showed me love
'Cause you were my friend
You always told me
And I am still here
Because you were there

You're my best friend
There are no accidents
God has a plan for everyone
And he brought you in my life
To show me what a good friendship was

'Cause you were there
When no one was
Just when I thought nobody cared
You showed me love
'Cause you were my friend
You always told me
And I am still here
Because you were there
You were there, you were there
Because you were there

I choked back a my sobbing as I walked up to the casket and said my final goodbye.  "Joey, you are forever in my heart and I'll never, ever, forget you.  I love you, rest well my friend."  I walked back to my seat and was met by the tear streaked face of Tyler.

"Blade.. if y-you don't mind, I'd like to sing something for him when we get to the burial site."  I nodded at him, and gave him a hug.  The minister finished the service, and then started calling people names for them to go to their cars.  When almost everyone was cleared out, Marcus came walking in.  He gave me a weak smile then moved to the casket to pay his respects.  I had wondered where he was yesterday, along with K...

As soon as I thought it, in walked Kai... pushing a wheelchair with the last person I expected to see there sitting in it.  Jordan was not only awake, but looked a thousand times better than he had the days before.  He was crying fairly hard as Kai wheeled him to the casket.  Out of any of my other friends, Joey and Jordan hit off extremely well.  Besides me, Jordan was the one that Joey hung out with the most.  I could see the hurt in his eyes as he looked over at me.  I walked over to him and leaned down to hug him.  One of his arms was in a cast, as well as one of his legs.

"It's so good to see you, Jordan."

"I-I'm so sorry.... It's my...."  He tried to force out between his sniffling.

"Don't even say it, Jordan.  No blame game, okay?"  The minister let us know it was time for us to go.

I walked out of the room as everyone else said their final goodbyes.  I couldn't bring myself to do it again.  I turned down the offer to be a pall bearer.It just wasn't something I wanted to do.  The drive to the cemetery seemed to take forever.  Just prolonged the agony of this whole process.  Once we did get there, everyone waited for the pall bearers to carry the casket to the burial site, then got out of their car to listen to the final sermon by the minister.  Her words fell on deaf ears for me, my eyes were focused on a silver box that held my best friend's body.  I couldn't force myself not to cry.. it was just too much for me.  The minister finished the sermon and was about to have everyone step up and place a rose on the casket, but I interrupted.

"If it's not too much trouble, my friend Tyler would like to sing one last song for Joey.  They can put their roses on the casket while he's singing if they like."  Everyone nodded as Tyler sat on a chair behind a keyboard he had brought with him.  He plugged in a mic and put his sheet music up.

"I never got to know Joey very well since he got here, but from what I saw of him, he was a genuinely great guy and he cared a lot about his friends.  I wanted to sing this song kind of as a send off to an angel."  The piano cued up as Tyler's fingers ran over the keys with the greatest of ease.

Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There's always one reason
To feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins
Let me be empty
And weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

People walked up to the casket one by one and placed a single rose on top of it.  I watched as my friends, Joey's friends, his family.. everyone bid goodbye with a single gesture.  Kai pushed Jordan up to the front, both balling as they put their roses to rest with the rest.

In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there

I turned my head to watch Tyler.  He put all of his emotions into any song he ever sang.  Tears fell from his eyes onto the keys as he sang for Joey.  Looking at him put a new perspective in my mind and heart.  No more petty differences were going to stop me from going after my true love.

So tired of the straight line
And everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
And the storm keeps on twisting
You keep on building the lie
That you make up for all that you lack
It don't make no difference
Escaping one last time
It's easier to believe in this sweet madness oh
This glorious sadness that brings me to my knees

I watched as the line came near it's end.  I blinked my eyes when I saw my mother and her boyfriend at the end of the line.  They walked up, my mother crying, and placed their roses on top.  She looked at me, with a look of guilt on her face then walked to her car.

In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

Tyler motioned for me to take his rose, and I did.  I made what seemed like one of the longest walks of my life up to Joey's resting place.  I placed the roses on top, touched a single tear on my face, then brought it to my heart, and put a final touch on the casket.  It was my way of telling him I love him, one more time.  Joey will live on forever in my heart.  God Rest His Soul.

THE END... or is it? Hehe, nah, there's still more NTFA to come.  I'm sure I'll be getting a lot of upset reader mail over this chapter.  This chapter was very emotional for me, hard to write even.  Being a writer you develop a type of bond with your characters, losing one of them is never easy.  Joey won't be forgotten, that's guaranteed.  Hope all of you enjoyed this chapter, I felt it was my strongest to date.  Let me know what you thought, take care.  Email me at: