"Fuck!" I wake up to see Rafe sitting up.
"What's going on?" I rub my eyes and sit up.
"We fell asleep. It's almost 10!" I look around and notice the beautiful sun lighting up the town.
"So? My dad's gonna be pissed!"
"Just tell him you woke up early to go see the sunrise."
"He won't believe that."
"You never know."
"Fine. I'll try it. But can we just get going?"
"One second. Look at the ocean."
He stops to look. It's just as beautiful as it was at night, just different. We can see dolphins in the distance. There are a ton of boats of all sizes roaming.
The beaches are starting to get crowded. It's all busy, but in a beautiful way. The way people move around in similar patterns.
It all just makes you realize how small the world is and just how similar we all are.
"Can we go now?"
"I will." I step out of Rafe's car.
"Feel free to use that spot whenever you need it."
"Thanks. I'll definitely be needing it after this."
"Just be honest. Tell her exactly how you feel."
"Thanks." He just smiles before driving off.
I walk up to the back door and into the kitchen.
"Parker! My god!" Grams sits up from the table and nearly runs over to me. "Where the hell have you been?"
"Just with friends."
"Really? Last night Taylor stopped by wondering if you were okay. Then this morning I get visits a Sarah and John B. they were all wondering if you were home and doing well.
What the hell happened? Why are people asking me if you're okay?"
"Can we just sit?" She says nothing but follows me to the table. "I've been holding in a lot of stuff. For a long time."
"What kind of stuff?"
"About... my dad... he..." I can feel my body getting tense.
"No. I need to finish." She just smiles. "He used to hurt me. Beat me. Yell at me. And... when I attacked him... he was beating me and threw my mom's urn."
"Sweetie." She reaches over and grabs my hands. "I know."
"Well, I knew about him beating you. I realized it when you were young. I was visiting for Christmas and you had a lot of bruises. I talked to him about it."
"Yeah. we got in a huge fight about it. That's why I stopped coming. I couldn't stand to see it." She starts crying. "I'm so sorry."
"Grams." I grip her hands. "It's not your fault."
"But I could've stopped it. Tried harder. Gotten you and your mother out of there. I think about it every night."
"You couldn't have done anything. None of us could."
"But..." She reaches for the tears and starts wiping them.
"It's over now. That's all that matters. I've trying so hard to just let it all out and move on finally. And you need to do it as well."
"You're quite wise." She smiles.
"I wouldn't go that far. Just had a good talk last night."
"Sounds like it." She stands up. "You want some lunch? I can make you something. We can watch a movie. We can bake like we did when you were young."
"That sounds amazing Grams... but maybe tomorrow? I've got something I need to do."
"Yeah. Yeah. Of course." She sniffles and wipes her tears, smiling.
"Love you." I go in and hug her.
When I was trying to think of the best way to fix things with everyone, I realized it would be easier to talk to them all at once.
But how to get them together? I doubt they'd all come if I just asked them to. So I texted Taylor, but no response. So I go with my next best hope, Sarah. I text her, and no response.
So then I text Rafe. Ask if Sarah's home. She is. So I get on my bike and head off.
When I arrive I just stand out in the driveway. I don't know what I'm going to say. I don't know what she's going to do when she sees me. Will she listen? Will she run?
"Parker." Rafe comes out the back door. "Hey. How you doing?"
"Nervous. Anxious. Stressed. Other synonyms." We both laugh.
"Sarah's nice. Too nice. She'll at least listen to you."
"Trust me. I know her quite well."
"No prob. Gotta get going. Talk to you later?"
"She's out back on the boat by the way," Rafe says before riding off on his motorbike.
I walk around back, feeling more nervous each step I get closer. I see the boat. I see her. It looks like she's moving boxes. She notices me when I get closer.
She immediately smiles, which makes me feel a bit more comfortable and ready for this. She steps off the boat and onto the dock to meet me.
"Hey." I find my hand shaking as I say it.
"Hey." She walks up to me. "Sorry I didn't answer your text. I just didn't know what to say."
"It's fine. I understand. It's complicated." I take in a deep breath. "Can we talk? Just for a minute."
"Yeah. Of course. Let's talk on the boat." She steps on the boat and I follow behind her.
But just as step on the boat it's like a wave of memories hit me. Seeing where I stood yesterday. Seeing where I exploded. I can feel my breathing speeding up.
But then, just as I'm ready to run away I hear Sarah's voice.
"It's okay. We can go and talk somewhere else." I look up to see her.
"No. It's fine here." I step all the way on. "I've gotta be able to deal with it."
"That's good." She sits down and I go down next to her.
"The first thing I need to say is that I'm absolutely 100% sorry. I am so sorry for snapping at you. At scaring you. For everything I said and did."
"It's fine Parker. It's really fine."
"It's not though. I've held in a lot my entire life and yesterday it just snapped. It had nothing to do with any of you."
"We all know that."
"We didn't really talk after everything that happened. Taylor was the first to leave. Then I left with John B. I've only really talked to him about it. He's fine with you. Really.
I think we were just worried about you. Worried you might... harm yourself."
"Oh, I didn't want you guys to be worried. I'm so sorry about that."
"It's fine. You worry about those you care about. We're all friends. All we care about is that you're alright."
"That..." I can feel tears building up. "That means the world to me. To hear..."
"Well, it's true. And I'm sure the others will tell you the same thing."
"You think so?"
"Yeah. They're just afraid to say anything that will make it worse."
"That's why I came here. I was thinking it would be easier to talk to everyone at once. Maybe have everyone over to hang out and tell my story."
"I think that sounds great. How 'bout we do it here?"
"That would be great." I rub my eyes.
"Just tired. Tired of everything." I look at her and smile.
"I get it. Life isn't easy sometimes."
"It really isn't."
"Maybe you just need to get away for some time. Take a little vacation."
"I would if I could."
"You have any family anywhere else?"
"No. The only family I have is my Grams."
"That sucks. Maybe we can have a nice beach day this weekend?"
"Sure that sounds good."
Sarah walks me to my bike. She tells me she'll text everyone. It's planned for tomorrow night. She's very confident that things will get better and everyone will be fine.
Her confidence makes me more confident. I start feeling ready for tomorrow. Ready to heal. Ready to move on. But there's still just one thought left on my mind.
"Have you talked to JJ?" She looks at me, a small smile.
"Was wondering if you'd ask about him."
"No. Neither has John B."
"Okay. Thanks." I hop on my bike.
"He can be a bit stubborn, but he'll understand. More than anyone else really."
"Hopefully." I ride off.
I bike over to JJ's house. When I get there I just stand outside. I stand there and think about what to say. Where do I start? Probably with an "I'm sorry.".
But what if he slams the door on my face? Do I keep talking? Do I just wait? Maybe he's not even here.
"Fuck." I snap myself out of my head and just walk up to the door.
I knock on it. I hear a slight movement in the house, but no one answers the door. I knock again.
"JJ..." I step back and try to see if I can see him at any of the windows. "I just wanted to let you know that I'm inviting everyone to a small get together tomorrow night.
I wanted to get everyone together to talk. To apologize. To clear the air. But... but something in me really wanted to talk to you first." I take a seat on the front steps. "I"m sorry.
I'm so sorry." I can hear some more movement from inside the house. "I don't think I will ever be able to forgive myself for snapping at you. You didn't deserve that.
It didn't have anything to do with you. I've got so many issues and I'm going to start working hard to fix them. I'm going to work hard so that I never treat anyone the same way I treated you.
" I stand up and step away from the house. "I hope to see you tomorrow. I'm so sorry." I get on my bike and ride off.