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My story starts when I knocked on the door to my boyfriend’s apartment at 11:59 p.m. It was a Friday night; I knew Aaron would still be up. I wanted to comfort me; to tell me everything was going to be okay, even if it was a lie.
One of his roommates, Jase, who was his best friend and who had become a close friend of mine as well, answered the door.
“Faith,” he choked out, clearly shocked to see me.
“Hi,” I tried to smile, not quite succeeding, as I greeted Jase, and walked past him into the living area.
“What are you doing here, Faith?” Jase asked.
His tone caught me off guard. He sounded nervous; he didn’t want me to be here.
“I really need to talk to Aaron. Is he here?” I felt moisture pooling in my eyes, so I bit my lip to keep from bursting into tears.
“Um,” he mumbled, not looking at me, “I don’t think now is really the best time. Maybe you should come back in the morning.”
“It’s really important,” I insisted as he put his hand on my lower back and ushered me towards the door.
What in the world was the matter with him? I dug in my heels, refusing to budge.
“Jase, what is your problem? Why are you practically shoving me out the door?” I asked, questioning his bizarre behavior, as I stepped out of his reach.
“Nothing, it’s just not a good time for visitors. It’s midnight after all,” he chastised me as he glanced at the clock hanging on the wall by the door.
“But,” I began.
“Look, it’s just not a good time, okay?” He said between clenched teeth, cutting me off.
“I don’t know what’s up with you, but I really need to talk to Aaron. I’m just going to see if he’s awake.”
I turned away from Jase and walked to Aaron’s room on the far side of the apartment. I was about to knock on the door when my hand was suddenly yanked away.
“Let go,” I snapped at Jase who held me, imprisoning my arms, from behind. I wasn’t in the mood for this. My control was stretched to its limit and I knew at any moment the flood gates could burst.
“Trust me Faith,” he urged. “Whatever it is, it can wait until tomorrow.”
“No,” I whispered as a single tear escaped, sliding down my cheek, “it can’t.”
“Please,” he begged.
“I don’t understand…” I trailed off as I heard Aaron’s voice through the door, followed by a high pitched laugh, which was undeniably female.
That was the straw that broke my proverbial back.
My knees buckled beneath me and I went limp in Jase’s arms.
And then my world went black.
When I opened my eyes, I was lying on the couch. Jase hovered over me; his brow furrowed as he frowned down at me.
“Are you alright,” he asked, the question full of worry and concern.
I stared at him blankly, biting my lip fiercely, not wanting to give in to the hysterics bubbling just beneath the surface of my control.
The expression on my face must have been something to see because Jase grabbed hold of my face and said, rather forcefully, “Faith? Please tell me you’re okay. Faith, talk to me!”
Right at that moment, as he forced me to look into his eyes, the crushing grief subsided. I knew I could confide in him about the tragedy that had broken my heart.
“No,” I whispered, “I’m not okay.”
I couldn’t stop the stream of tears that flowed, unchecked down my face.
“Don’t cry,” he begged as he wiped my tears with the pad of his thumbs, “I can’t stand to see you cry.”
“I … I can’t… he-lp it,” I stuttered out, my breath hitching.
“Faith, listen to me. Aaron’s a jerk. He’s not worth your tears. You deserve so much better than that idiot,” he said vehemently, shaking my shoulders to emphasize his point.
“It’s not about him,” I clarified.
“I couldn’t care less about Aaron right now,” I yelled, lashing out at Jase, “not when my brother, my TWIN, just died!”
“What?” He breathed, obviously taken aback by my declaration.
The tears came in torrents then as heart-wrenching sobs racked through my whole body. “He’s gone Jase and he’s never coming back. I want him back. Why him; why did he have to die? WHY?” I screamed the last question as my control on the crushing grief disappeared.
“I’m so sorry Faith. I’m so sorry,” Jase chanted, gathering me into his arms. “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.”
I pushed at his arms struggling to get free as I shouted, “It’s NOT going to be OKAY. MY BROTHER IS DEAD! How will it ever be okay again?”
He ignored the fists I pounded against his chest and just held me closer, tightening his hold. “Shh,” he crooned in my ear.
I ceased my silly struggling and lay my head against his chest. “I -- just -- want -- my bro…brother – back,” I whispered brokenly, my strength depleted.
“I know you do.”
The door to Aaron’s room was thrown open, making us both jump as it crashed into the wall.
I was blocked from Aaron’s view the way I was nestled against Jase’s body.
“Damn Jase,” Aaron complained, “what’s with all the screeching out here? Can’t you keep your girl quiet?”
My whole body stiffened in rage; my hand itched to slap him across the face. I knew violence wasn’t the answer though, and that it was just as wrong for a girl to hit a guy no matter how much he deserved it. I looked into Jase’s eyes and immediately felt calmer, content just to be in his arms.
I had an epiphany.
In that moment I realized why I didn’t care that Aaron had cheated on me, why I knew I had been able to trust Jase with the unbearable news of my brother’s death.
I loved him. I’d loved him all along, since the first day Aaron introduced me to his roommates. I needed him. And nothing else, especially not Aaron, mattered.
As I focused my attention back onto his face, which was seething with fury, I saw him glaring at Aaron. I cupped his cheek with my hand, trying to bring his attention back to me.
Jase let go of me and stood, hands clenched into fists, then slowly turned to face Aaron.
“Faith,” Aaron choked, eyes bulging out of his head, as he caught sight of me, “what are you doing here?
I didn’t realize it was you. I thought … wait, what were you doing just now with Jase?” He asked sharply.
He actually dared to accuse me of unfaithfulness. Boy, did he have some nerve.
“That’s none of your business Aaron,” Jase spat at him.
“The hell it isn’t! She’s my girlfriend, bro.”
“No,” I interjected, shaking my head, “I’m not.”
“Don’t be absurd.”
“Me, absurd, are you freaking kidding me right now? I mean, how stupid do you think I am, Aaron?”
“What are you babbling about?”
“I know everything Aaron. I know about you and your “friend” who’s tucked away in your room right now.
“Thanks a whole hell of a lot Jase,” Aaron snapped. “Why did you have to go and tell her everything? What happened to always having each other’s back?”
“I heard you and your “friend” through the door,” I announced, defending Jase. “He didn’t tell me anything. Jase just found out too…” I trailed off as Aaron’s words fully penetrated my thoughts.
I slowly got up from the couch and looked at Jase, completely forgetting Aaron’s presence.
He wouldn’t meet my gaze.
“You knew,” I accused Jase, squeezing my eyes shut, trying to hold onto my sanity. “That’s why you were acting weird earlier, why you told me ‘It’s not a good time.’ You knew he was cheating on me and you never said anything. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t know if you’d believe me,” he sighed.
“I guess we’ll never know will we?” I snapped. “I need to know how long.”
“I don’t know how long it’s been going on.”
“How long have you known, Jase?” I clarified, angrily.
He sighed. “A month, I’ve known a month.”
“You’ve known for a month!” I exclaimed, my eyes opening wide. “And never in the past four weeks did you see fit to tell me anything. I thought we were close. How could you do that to me?”
I saw his eyes flash with anger. Then he got right in my face and exclaimed, “Don’t you blame me for this Faith. I’m not responsible for what he did. Don’t displace your anger onto me.”
“I haven’t done any of that! But I have every right to be angry and hurt that you didn’t respect me enough to tell me the truth.”
“Not respect you. Not RESPECT you!” Jase exploded as he bent over me, “I love you, dammit, and you know it!”
“What,” I said flabbergasted by his words. Tears overflowed from my eyes again. Shaking my head I said, “It doesn’t change the fact that you knew.”
I forced myself to turn and walk out the door.
Knees shaking, I stumbled my way towards my car which was parked across the street.
My vision, already blurry from all the tears, became even more unfocused as heavy rain pounded down on me and blew directly into my eyes. My breath came in hitches and I was on the verge of hyperventilating.
I dug around in my purse looking for my keys. My hands were shaking so bad that I fumbled my keys when I found them and dropped them on the road.
Bending down, I felt around on the ground for my keys. It was dark out; I could barely see my own hand in front of my face.
I didn’t see the car fly around the corner, speeding recklessly in my direction, until I heard my name being shouted.
Reflexively, I looked up. It was Jase and he had a horrified look on his face.
Headlights flashed in my face and I automatically turned towards the light. The car was too close and it was going too fast. I knew there was nothing I could do. There wasn’t time to do anything, not even think.
“Faith,” he yelled again, “Faith!”
I turned my head back towards Jase. If I was going to die, I wanted his face to be the last thing I saw. Our eyes met and our gazes locked. He was running towards me; he was trying to save me.
“Jase,” I cried out to him, “I love you!”
And then everything went black --- again.
Just as I thought I was going to drown in the darkness, I saw a blinding light.
It was a bright, white light that called out to me.
“Faith,” I heard my name being called from a distance.
“Jase,” I called frantically.
“No,” the voice said, “it’s me, Sam.”
“Sam,” I whispered, shocked.
I opened my eyes and sure enough, it was my brother. “You…you’re dead.”
“I know,” he said solemnly.
“But… If you’re dead… how are you standing right in front of me,” I asked Sam.
“You’re in transition. That’s why I can talk to you and why you can see me.”
“Are you saying I’m --- dead?”
“No, you aren’t. Not yet. But you will be if you don’t hold on.”
“Hold on to what, Sam? I don’t understand.”
“Your body Faith,” he said vehemently, “you have to hold on to your body.”
“How will that keep me from dying?”
“It doesn’t work that way. Nothing can really keep you from dying, but your body keeps you alive. As long as you are connected to your body, then you are attached to the world of the living until your time comes. It’s not your time Faith. You have to hold on.”
“Tell me what to do Sam,” I begged.
Pointing to my heart he said, “You already know.”
You have to go back now before it’s too late,” he instructed.
“What about you, aren’t you coming too?”
“No,” he quietly, “I’m not.”
“Why,” I asked, stuttering.
“When I died,” he answered matter-of-factly, “it was my time.”
He proceeded to fade into nothingness right before my eyes.
“Sam,” I screamed, “Sam?! Stay. Please, stay. Don’t leave me. I’m scared.”
But he was gone.
I wanted Jase.
I pictured his face and I imagined his arms around me. Drawing strength from his embrace, I ignored the light and fought my way back to my body.
“No, no, NO!” A voice roared in anguish.
Faith! Don’t you leave me! Don’t you dare DIE on me, do you hear me?” The voice shouted.
I knew this voice, but it was filled with pain.
It was wrong for this voice to be so agonized. I had to make it right.
“Oh, God,” the voice moaned, “no. I love you Faith. Please, please, please God --- don’t let her die!”
I pushed myself all the way back into my body and held onto the need to make the pain in the voice go away.
Air rushed into my lungs and I gasped as if I’d never experienced the sensation before.
“Oh, Faith,” the voice cried, but this time in relief. “Sweetheart, it’s Jase. Can you hear me?”
“Please open your eyes.” His words were frantic and filled with tension.
I struggled to resurface.
Everything hurt; my whole body felt bruised.
“Thank God!” He exclaimed as my eyes blinked open.
I felt his warm, solid hands touch my face and it was like a balm to my soul.
His eyes were red and puffy and I could see tears streaming down his face.
“Don’t cry,” I tried to say. Nothing came out though.
“Shh,” Jase soothed, “don’t try to talk.”
I raised my hand and held to his face, wiping away the tears that continued to flow.
“Jase,” I managed to whisper this time before he cut me off.
“Please Faith, don’t worry about me. The paramedics are on their way. Just stay still,” he ordered as he took my hand and gently laid it by my side.
“I have to tell you something. It’s important,” I breathed.
He leaned down close so he could hear and I wouldn’t have to try so hard.
“I love you, Jase. I love you more than anything,” I started.
“I love you too, Faith,” Jase said, his voice full of emotion, interrupting me.
“You’re everything to me. Sam made me realize that it doesn’t matter,” I finished.
“What doesn’t matter,” he asked, confused, “and what do you mean Sam made you realize? I thought…” he trailed off, obviously not wanting to upset me.
“It doesn’t matter that you knew.”