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Painting My Heart - Chapter Seven

It's a bit short but it's all in preparation for the next chapter!
"I love you Nevaeh." He wrapped his arms around her, squeezing tightly. If only she'd realized it was the last time he would ever hug her. The moonlight spilled down over the clearing. The flames from the bonfire sent flickering shadows across the grass and the laughter stilled as Jonah neared the edge. "Don't ever forget that, little sister."

"Jonah!" Nevie sat up, out of breath, whipping her head from side to side before she realized where she was. It was only a dream. No. It was more than a dream. It was a memory. She laid back down and curled up as tears streamed silently down her face. It wasn't just a dream.

'Dear Diary,

I had that dream again. You know the one. I thought they'd stopped when I started hanging out with Colby and Alyss. But it's back. And it's worse than ever.

Maybe it's because of Cameron. I saw him at the mall a few weeks ago and now, it just seems like everything I say and do with Alyss and Colby is under false pretenses. I don't know if they know. I know that a lot of people from school know. It seems like after it happened everyone knew. Not how, but that he was gone. But if they don't know, somehow, maybe they didn't hear about it, then I don't want them to know. I don't want to tell them. At least not yet. I feel like as long as they don't know, or at least, don't act like they know, then I can be anyone when I'm around them. I don't have to be 'that' girl. You know? To them, I don't have secrets, I'm not abnormal. I'm just a normal girl that does whatever random crap they come up with.

If they know, they might treat me differently and I can't handle being treated differently. That's the whole reason I didn't go back to school last year; the reason I finished sophomore year at home being tutored. I hated it, but I couldn't stand the looks everyone gave me. Like they actually cared about me and my loss. None of them cared. They hardly knew me. Or him.

Ugh. I thought I'd already dealt with all these feelings. All these confusing thoughts making me hate that I'm still alive.

I want to still be normal. I just want everything to be the way it was, but it can't be. Is it wrong of me to pretend like this? To let them think I'm perfectly fine? I don't know. I wish this could just be easy. Or just that it never happened to begin with. Then all of this would be fine. He'd still be here and I wouldn't feel this way.

But then maybe I wouldn't have met Colby, or Alyss... I don't know how to feel about all of this. I can't imagine life without them now. But I couldn't imagine life without Jonah, and look how that turned out.'

A teardrop spilled onto the page, blurring the last word slightly. Nevie closed her eyes and rubbed at her cheeks. She slammed her diary shut and shoved it into the top drawer on her desk. Alyss had gone home for the weekend and once again Nevie was sitting here, alone in the big, empty house. It was so hard being so alone. She stood up as the memories threatened to come back and she knocked over her chair in her haste. The noise startled Moon Shadow, who, until that point, had been curled up on her bed, napping in the stream of sunlight that poured in from the window.

Nevie kicked at her chair angrily before roughly running her hands through her hair. She tried taking a few deep, calming breaths but it just wasn't working. She turned and swept her arms across the flat surface of her desk, knocking the little jar of pens and pencils, the books and other objects onto the floor. She was sobbing as she sank to the floor.

It was as if as slideshow of memories was engulfing her. The first memories she had of him, they were both so young. His eyes were so full of life back then.

Memories of swinging on a rope swing, swimming in a muddy looking lake. Every memory she had of him was running through her mind. She clenched her eyes and shook her head as she rocked back and forth on the floor, trying desperately to rid herself of the memories.

As a last effort she stood up and reached for Moon Shadow's leash. "Moon Shadow! Come on! Want to go for a walk?" She knew she needed to get out of the house and he perked up at the word 'walk'.

She walked aimlessly down a few streets until she found herself at the cemetery gates. She stood there, rooted to the ground, as she stared at the gate. Just inside there, mere yards away, he lay in a box in the ground. She spun around quickly. She couldn't handle that. Not today.

A few tears trailed down her face as she headed down the street towards Colby's house. They'd planned on meeting in an hour or so anyway. Maybe he wouldn't mind if she showed up a little bit earlier.

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Colby stood in his shed, staring at a painting. It wasn't his best, but it wasn't the worst. In the swirls of orange, yellow and gray stood a black, cloudy figure. It wasn't hard to see that it was a little girl clutching a teddy bear. A crumbling, burning house stood in the distance. It was one of the few depressing pictures he'd painted and he shoved it aside as a few stinging tears welled in his eyes. It landed on the floor, face up, with a quiet thud. He turned and punched the table a few times before leaning over it, trying not to cry.

Emma watched from the doorway as her son struggled with his emotions. She bit her bottom lip as tears formed in her own eyes. She walked over slowly and touched his back, gently. He turned and their teary eyes met. She felt more of her heartbreak at the guilt in his eyes. "Colby, listen to me. It wasn't your fault. You have to understand that." He didn't respond and she pulled him into a hug. "I love you, Colby."

When he finally spoke, his voice was muffled and slightly hoarse. "I love you too, mom."

She left a little while later to head to work and he sat on a stool, trying to paint something new, but it was like he was blocked. Nothing would come out. The few streaks of paint he'd managed to get out lay on the canvas, almost taunting him for his lack of ingenuity.

He was so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he didn't hear Nevie walk until she was right beside him. "I didn't know you painted." He jumped, dropping the paintbrush and palette onto the ground. "Oops. Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you."

He shrugged as they both squatted down to clean up the mess. "It's not a big deal. I was just a little lost in thought, didn't hear you come in." He stood back up and set the paint splattered palette on the shelf behind him. "But yeah, I paint. A lot. Just not usually for anyone's eyes but my own."

She turned her gaze slowly around the room, glancing briefly at each painting before her eyes landed on the orange and black one on the floor beside her. "What's this one?" She reached down to slowly pick it up.

"Nothing. It's just a painting." He brusquely pulled it from her grasp and shoved behind a few paintings in a corner. "Come on. Alyss is going to be here in a few minutes." With that he gently grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the shed, leading her into the house.

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Alyss stuck her hand up, interrupting what Colby was going to say next. "Actually, I agree with Nev. There is no way I'm dragging myself up a mountain, no matter how small it is. I could get sweaty."

"Hush, Alyss, nobody wants to hear your opinion on sweat. Nev, have you ever gone hiking?"

"Well, no... not exactly."

"Then how can you know if you'd like it or not? Come on, please, please, please come hiking with me?" He stuck out his bottom lip, adding in perfect puppy dog eyes so she was completely unable to say no.
"Alright, alright. I'll go hiking."

Colby grinned and jumped up from the table. "Yes! Alyss, are you coming?"

Alyss frowned. "Ew. No. I'll just stay here with Moon Shadow, if that's alright, Nevie. I will not spend my relaxing summer hiking and getting all gross. You two have fun though. If you can."

Nevie searched her room for some sneakers and changed into a pair of comfortable shorts and a lightweight baby blue t-shirt. "This better not kill me." She muttered as she waved goodbye to Alyss and climbed into his truck. He chuckled.

"You're not going to die, Nev, I promise. It's just hiking."

"Exactly." She sighed but smiled. "Alright come on, let's get going."

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Just hiking. That's what he had said. He'd promised she wouldn't die. But as she sat on the dirt with her knees pulled up to her chest, staring at the cliff drop off, she wasn't so sure. "Come on, Nev, talk to me. What's wrong?" They'd reached a clearing near the top of the small mountain and he'd led her towards the edge to show her the view when she froze. A look of recognition crossed her face and she had dropped to the ground as tears welled in her eyes.

She could feel the tears streaming down her face now and she was sniffling to keep her nose from running, but she couldn't find the words to explain what was wrong. "Are you hurt? What happened?" Colby was frantic, wondering what on earth could be wrong with her. She continued to stare at the drop off as more tears made their way from her eyes to her chin.

She hadn't realized. They'd taken a different path. If only she had known where it had led, she would have refused to go. "Please Nev. Tell me what's wrong!"

"I can't." She finally choked out a few words, and kept repeating them as she rocked back and forth, shaking her head, as if she could rid herself of the memory. "I can't."

The cliff brought back the one memory she had wanted to forget. His face flashed to the front of her mind. Him, Cameron and the three others they'd been with. She bit her bottom lip and continued to rock as the scene played out in front of her.

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Flashback

It was a perfect night. The moon was so full and bright, shining down on the same clearing. They had a bonfire going, there were drinks and joints being passed around. Nevie had succumbed to smoking pot and Jonah, who sat only a few feet away, was trying something new. She started to wonder how many drugs he actually did, but the thought drifted away as everyone started to laugh about something. It wasn't the first time she'd smoked, and she figured it wouldn't be the last.

But as the night wore on, the partying got harder until Jonah stood up abruptly. Everyone stopped laughing as he walked towards the edge, muttering something about the worthlessness of life. He stormed back over to Nevie and hugged her. "I love you. You need to remember that."

End of Flashback

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"Nevie!" Colby was shaking her now, yelling her name, scared to death, not knowing what was going on. "Nevie!" She turned to face him then and he saw the fear and guilt in her teary eyes. "Talk to me, Nev. Please!"

"He jumped." She whispered. "He jumped and I should have stopped him."

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Comment Replies

Anne: Well, I am definitely glad you caught up!! Haha don't worry! That kiss is on its way!

Carly J: Thank you so much!! The questions won't be answered just yet. I need a bit of the mystery to continue, but all shall be revealed soon!!

Haha111: Haha, I love writing about them all!! A lot of ideas come from me and my sister... We're just about as crazy as Alyss and Colby except we never actually do the ideas we come up with! Lol! Which is why I decided Alyss and Colby would do everything they thought of! It's so much more fun that way!! We have done a few of the ideas, like the gummy bear castle one, haha it didn't work out at all!
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Published: 4/22/2013
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