― twenty-four: rest in peace

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[ CHAPTER 24 : REST IN PEACE :when i was young i'd listen to the radio. waitin' for my favorite songs. when they played i'd sing along, it made me smile. those were such happy times and not so long ago. how i wondered where they'd gone. but they're back again, just like a long lost friend. all the songs i loved so well.]


          "PARKER!" LEO CALLS AFTER her as she juggles the 1977 Arcadia High yearbook, and History of Arcadia in her weak arms. Her feet carry her to where Milk, Liam, Nico, and Cameron all eat lunch. She's not sure whether or not she wanted to go there, but that's where her body took her. Her mind is numb, her face is blank, and her body is slightly shaking. Maybe it's anxiety that's causing her feelings of distress. Or maybe it's just pure panic. Whatever it is, it's making her brain spaz and her thoughts jumble together in a sealed box which she has no access too. Making things ten times harder than it should be.

          All of them sit there, focused on their food. Milk is trying to make conversation, everyone but Nico ignores her. Cameron looks frustrated. Liam looks annoyed. And Parker stands there with an itch telling her to go. Go home. Go home and talk to Rose. Just go home. Home.

          "Can someone drive me home?" She blurts out.

          The four look up at her, the conversation between Milk and Nico now nonexistent. Only stares. Each one of them different from the other. But Parker doesn't even have to look at Cameron to know what she's thinking. "I told you, be prepared. You looked at it, and you weren't prepared. I told you, I told you, I told you." That's what she'd say to her if there wasn't three other people in the room with them. 

          Nico straightens up in his seat, eyebrows furrowed, and eyes narrowed on her. "What's wrong?" Parker can barely look at him. His voice is too kind, too concerned, and too caring. The guilt is overwhelming her. She understands why his sister decided to commit suicide, because not everyone can survive the massive amount of guilt that transcends anything. Even if it's not the same type of guilt, it's still there. That feeling in the pit of Parker's stomach. Her conscience screaming at her to spill everything. To say everything. To apologize. To understand that she is a horrible person playing with someone's feelings, lying to their face, daring to hide secrets, and pretending like everything is perfectly fine when it's not.

          "I need to go home." Parker mumbles.

          Nico rises to his feet, his hand reaching into his jacket pocket, quietly pulling out his car keys. He doesn't say anything, just grabs his trash and throws it away before walking towards her, looking as if he's ready to drop everything and take her anywhere. It's strange, and overwhelming―the way he cares. The way even Leo cares about her. How do you care for someone like her? Someone who flips her emotions around and barely seems to be the same person every day? 

          But, if Parker could choose who to drive her, Nico wouldn't be that person. 

          "I wouldn't do that, Parker, you will regret it." Cameron sneers.

          The way the blonde maintains eye contact, and shakes her head, makes Parker feel like something will take place if she goes home. At the same time, she needs to see her grandmother without her parents interrupting. What's going to happen by talking to Rose? The woman's her grandmother. Is there something wrong with that? Is it not allowed? "What will happen?" Parker questions, her arms crossing over her chest just as Leo comes jogging out into the area. He looks between everyone, but doesn't say a word. Just stands beside her, puzzled.

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