Sequel: Folie à Deux

From Under the Cork Tree

Twenty Seven

I slept in John's room for the second night. My body rested in a sea of his smell and his life before he met me. The pictures and posters in his room gave me more of a sense of who he had been. I never paid a lot of attention to them before, but now I was, because I couldn't sleep.

It was only 10PM, and I was sitting up in the bed in a long sleeve t-shirt and cartoon pajama pants. My belly was starting to get bigger, I noticed I couldn't pull the pajama pants over my stomach comfortably, so they were tied at my waist. I let my eyes wander around before getting up and looking at everything close up. He had trophies from little league, t-ball and pee wee football when he was a little boy; he had baseball trophies, ribbons and certificates from school; I smiled, thinking of John as a smarty pants in school was adorable to me. My eyes moved over to the picture frames, and some photos pinned to the wall over his desk; they were mostly photos of his friends, and even a couple of us together, and him drumming.

Looking at these things didn't make me sad, not in the least, I was happy. I felt warm inside, I felt love, but I did miss his touch. At the moment I would've turned to him and hugged him, snuggle into his body and tell him how much I love him. That was what made me sad, I couldn't hug him anymore.

I pushed away those thoughts and sat down at the desk; there was the lamp that was on, a few books, more scattered pictures, some loose papers and a lot of picks. I looked through the pictures, seeing they were from just a few months ago. My stomach knotted upon looking at them; it was he and I bundled in coats in the band's van, and then some of he and the band that I remember taking, and the last few of me that I didn't remember him taking, but I was grateful that he had taken them. The last photo though was one I remember like it was taken yesterday; it was of John and I asleep on my couch just before the band left for some tour in January, Anthony had taken it and woke me up.

The smile on my face grew, causing my cheeks to burn a bit. Touching my face with my left hand, I set the pictures down and looked around the room, trying to get a real sense of who my husband had been. I wanted stuff to tell our baby once they're were old enough to ask about their daddy. Of course, I'd tell them about the wonderful 22 months we had together, and the funny stuff we did, and the spontaneous wedding...I couldn't wait, but I also feared it. I couldn't imagine the day our child would come up to me and ask me where their daddy was or why he was gone, I just couldn't.

I placed a hand over my belly, "Dammit, John."

Just as I cursed, my phone vibrated on the bed. I had forgotten that I had a cellphone, a sidekick that truly was my sidekick. I got up from the chair and returned to the bed, picked up my phone and saw Pete's name.

I answered, "Pete."

He was quiet for a moment, I almost said his name again; "Hey. Hey, Angelus."

"Hi," I murmured, "what's up?"

"I was...uh, just...checking up on ya."

"Oh. I'm okay, Pete."

He cleared his throat, "Did I wake you up?"

"No," I laid back in the bed, "I'm...I'm not tired. I think I've slept more this last week than I have in my entire life."

"Impossible," he muttered in feign disbelief.

I laughed softly, shaking my head, "Yeah, you're right."

"So, how are you and little Angelus?"

I was smiling again, "We're okay...finally eating whole meals."

"I'm glad," he said quickly, "I was worried, all of us were."

"I'll be fine, Pete, you don't have to worry."

"You're my best friend, I took on the worry as soon as I met you."

I couldn't help but to roll my eyes, because how do you not roll your eyes when you talk to Pete Wentz?

"I'll be fine, I promise...I'm in good hands."

He hummed, and then we were silent. A comfortable silence that I had only experienced with him, Rae and John. It made me tear up; it made my insides twist and turn.

I couldn't stop the sob that hiccuped from my mouth.

"Angelus, what--" he stopped himself, "You can cry if you want to. I feel like a jerk for not considering your--your feelings right now."

"No, it's not you," I sobbed softly, rubbing my eyes with my shirt collar, "it''s...everything, Pete. I miss John so much, and I can't believe he's gone."

"Me either," Pete breathed deeply, "I know how much you guys loved each other."

I rubbed my eyes continuously, "I don't know if I can do...if I can continue without him, Pete. How do I? Why should I?"

"Cuz you're carryin' his kid, and I don't think he'd want you to give up so easily, or at all," Pete said.

He sounded rational rather than emotional. I finally understood what everyone was talking about. I had faintly thought they were being selfish and only wanted my baby, but deep down I knew I was only looking for a reason to push them away.

"You know," I began, swallowing thickly, "I've heard the same thing from John's mom, but it makes better sense coming from you."

"Is it because I dumbed it down for you?"

I smiled again, "Yeah, I guess."

"It's true though, Angel," he added, "and you're not got me too, ya'know."

"Yeah, thanks Pete."

"I'm bein' honest, too," he said excitedly, "if your kid needs soccer pointers or how to get over having nudes online, I'm your guy."

I giggled, rubbing my eyes, "You're a sweetheart, Pete."

"I know."

Again, I laughed, shaking my head, "Thanks for making me feel a little better."

"No problem, Angel, you deserve it."

The next morning was the burial. My heart hurt, I could feel it breaking over and over again, falling into little pieces on top of my other organs. This was it, the end of my life, my love would be buried in a grave and I wouldn't ever see him again.

This would be the longest I had been without him since we met.

I would go the rest of my life without him, and I wasn't prepared for it. No one is prepared for things like this. I wish there was a handbook, something to help ease the pain of never being with John again.

I was prepared not to have another boyfriend or husband for the rest of my life, because John was my one and only. John was the only man I was meant to love and be with. I just don't understand why he was taken from me, from our family, so fast.

These were my only thoughts as I dressed for the burial. You could hear thunder clouds, it was going to rain or snow, whichever, and I had to dress for it. I wore black jeans, thermal top, his Iron Maiden t-shirt that we shared, and then my thickest coat. Bobby's fiancée let me borrow some black boots, and I put those on, then headed downstairs. The house was quiet, except for Perry, who was speaking with one of her aunts who was too sick to attend; I sat with everyone for breakfast, not joining the small talk.

The time, minutes and seconds, blended together, and I barely noticed how fast time went by. I didn't eat as much as my baby demanded, but it was okay, I knew I'd be full by nightfall thanks to my mom, Perry, and John's grandmother Johanna. It barely registered in my head that John wanted to name our baby after his grandmother who he was named after. I tried not to cry as we all ushered out of the house; I was led to Big Bob's SUV, sitting with my parents, John's parents and grandmother. Bobby, Mike and their girlfriends followed behind in one of their cars.

Everyone was quiet all the way to the cemetery. As we drew closer and closer, I felt like I couldn't breathe, my heart was beating fast, and I felt these soft fluttering movements in my gut that started to make me sick. I knew I couldn't do it, or I at least needed a moment to gather myself.

I didn't think I could do it.

When Big Bob turned into the cemetery, I gasped, "Stop!" I sucked in a deep breath, "Stop!"

Big Bob almost slammed on the breaks, he slowed to the side; I didn't bother to ask or think fully as I tried to breathe. I bent over, feeling my dad's hand on my back, rubbing up and down my spine as I tried to breathe. I couldn't remember the breathing techniques I had learned at one of those classes I had started to take. Nothing came to me as the air seemed to be squeezed from my body; I could hear everyone speaking, but I couldn't get the words together in my head, I didn't understand what was said. It took a good 15 minutes (as I was told) before I could breathe properly and could understand what was being said.

"I don't know if I'm ready," I spat out shortly.

"It's okay," my dad said softly, "it's okay. You can get out when you're ready."

There weren't anymore words said; Big Bob began to drive, while I stayed tucked near my knees. The ride didn't last very long, it felt like we moved a few feet, then stopped and everyone asking if I was okay. I felt ridiculous, embarrassed for feeling and acting so distraught, but I was distraught. I was heartbroken and it took a lot not to scream, kick, and break things. What I was feeling had no correct words, no proper action, I just wanted to kill.

Soon, I was left alone in the SUV, sitting and crying. The tears were thick and salty, making my eyes sting; my nose burned too from rubbing it too much on my sleeve. My stomach did flips, my head and heart throbbed, I had never felt this way, it was torture.

I managed to stop sobbing and crying, my face was raw and stung. I sniffed, wiping my tears away gently, and inhaled, "Okay. Okay," I said to myself, "you can do this."

I lied to myself. I couldn't do it, but I had to. I had to say goodbye or I'd regret it for the rest of my life.

Finally, I shook off the fresh tears gathering, and swallowed the lump in my throat. I looked up at the ceiling, really, I was looking to the heavens. I wanted John to see me, or God, whomever was up there.

"Help me," I breathed, "please help me...John, God, anyone?"

I sat there with my head tilted back, eyes on the ceiling, waiting for a sign. Then, as I shut my eyes, feeling defeat and more sorrowful tears, my phone began to ring. The ring tone was "Dance, Dance" meaning it was Pete.

I climbed up to the front seat where my phone was in the middle console, and picked it up. I answered, but didn't speak. I couldn't, I was wondering if this was a sign.

"Angel," Pete said my name soft, like a whisper.

"Why are you whispering?" My voice came out thick, I barely recognized myself.

"I'm not supposed to be on the phone," he spoke clear, but still soft.

"Then why are you calling?" I asked with a sniffle.

"Because something made me call you. Are you..." He trailed. "You're not alright, I know that...stupid question."

There was a few seconds of silence before I spoke up.

"We're at the cemetery," I told him.

"Oh," he breathed.

"How do I do this? Really, Pete, how do I do this?" I begged; the tears didn't come, which surprised me.

"I don't know," he said earnestly, "I don't know, Angelus, but you'll do it."

"I'm scared," I confessed.

"You don't have to be scared, got your family, John's, uh, you got me too."

I felt a little better, but it didn't douse the sadness.

"I know. Thank you."

"You're welcome."

I swallowed again, "I have to go...I have to..."

"Yeah. Stay Gold."

I chuckled, "See ya, Wentz."

"See ya, Rush."

I hung up, setting my phone back in the center console, then I flipped the visor down to check my face. Of course it was puffy and red, I was lucky I wasn't wearing makeup.

I climbed out the car, hearing someone speaking a yard away. I looked up, sniffling, looking for the burial sight. My stomach sling shot into my throat when I saw the green tent and my family standing somberly. Slowly, and hesitantly, made my way towards the burial sight, keeping my eyes forward, away from the grave markers and headstones. I swallowed again when I got to the burial plot; a hand took a gentle hold of my elbow, leading me towards the casket and my family.

I didn't know who had led me to the front, where the casket was the only thing in my line of vision. I couldn't keep my eyes off of it; it was a black coffin covered in red roses, and was slick, wet from the snow blowing through the tent every so often. It didn't look real to me, it didn't feel like this was the end.

Then, when the casket began to get lowered into the ground, I felt like I was suffocating again. I could feel the dirt covering me, burying me too, only I was still breathing, just barely, and I couldn't claw my way out. I wanted to scream, but I couldn't, my throat had constricted and I was forced to watch John being buried.

"Please, God, no," I whimpered; my voice sounded mangled, "don't do this, please."

I felt arms around me, smelling the scent of Rae; I had forgotten she was even there at all. She held me tight, telling me it would be okay. I could only shake my head and cry, burying my face into her shoulder, sobbing like a baby. When I managed to let go, I witnessed Big Bob shovel dirt into the hole, and then Perry.

I was suffocating again.
♠ ♠ ♠
I apologize for how broken and vague this chapter is, I wanted it that way. You see how much she's focused on herself and her hurt and losing John than she is on her well being and her child, and of course her friends and family (aside from Pete). And also, I didn't want to make it any more depressing than it is. Googling about funerals is a total bummer, I thought we had enough sadness here.
Anyway, please tell me what you think and/or what you want or expect next :)