Calum didn't come over the next day and Zoe was kind of relieved. He did text her though, but she never answered. Jenn had called her to ask if everything was okay. Zoe lied and said she was fine. She just needed some time to clear up her mind. She needed to figure out what she wanted.
It was 1pm when she got out of bed. She didn't want to get up and live. For now, she just wanted to sleep and never wake up. When she walked downstairs, she heard rumbling in the kitchen. She knew it was her grandma. The old lady came over last night and saw Zoe's cuts. They talked about everything and gran understood. It was the first time they got along so well. Zoe found it a bit strange. Gran never cared this much about her granddaughter.
Zoe walked into the kitchen and greeted her grandmother.
"Have you slept well, sweetheart?" Gran asked as she started making pancakes.
"Yeah, fairly well, gran. Thanks." Zoe said politely and sat down at the breakfast bar.
"Have you talked to Calum yet?" She then asked while Zoe scrolled through her Twitter feed. There didn't happen that much. Luke and Yasmine had been tweeting each other back and forth for what seemed like hours. Ashton had tweeted Jenn "@JennXKing I will get you to marry me, I'll do whatever it takes. You'll be Mrs. Irwin one day." They didn't seemed to have problems with dating someone of a 'lower label'.
"Zoe?" Gran made her snap out of her thoughts.
"Yeah, no. I haven't talked to him yet." She answered, remembering the question her gran had asked.
Gran shook her head and finished the pancakes. Zoe put her phone away and started eating this delicious made brunch.
When she was done, she helped her granny with the dishes and ended up on the couch watching TV. Her gran sat down next to her and watched whatever she was watching along. She gave a lot of comments to what the characters said or did. Zoe giggled at her cute little grandma. She wished they had been getting along forever.
The doorbell rang and gran got up from the sofa to open, leaving Zoe in a bit of peace for a couple minutes. It didn't last long though. She heard Calum's voice ringing through the hallway. Her head snapped up from the pillow she was lying on and tried to focus on what they were saying.
"Is she alright?" He asked.
"Yeah, she's okay." Gran answered.
"Can I-Can I come in?"
"I think you can, honey. Come on in." Gran sounded. Zoe sat up straight as she saw her boyfriend and her grandma appear in the living room. That's when she noticed she was only wearing her pyjamas and her hair was a mess. Calum's gaze fell onto her wrist. She had forgotten to put on some bracelets since the bandage was gone.
"Baby..." He mumbled and walked over to her. Gran left into the kitchen, not wanting to be a little bugger. Calum sat down next to her. Zoe looked down at her lap as he took the scarred wrist of his girlfriend.
"Why? What happened? Why didn't you tell me?" He rambled and traced every scar with his finger. Zoe shrugged, not really wanting to explain it. Calum placed a finger on Zoe's chin and made her look up. Her eyes were dull, just like that night they met.
"Tell me, Zoe. Please? Don't let anything out. Just tell everything... please?" He pleaded, tears starting to form in his eyes. She didn't like seeing him hurt and it was all because of her.
"Sophia was here last night. She told me I-I shouldn't date you because you are in a lower label than I am. She--" Zoe swallowed away the tears and tried to hold herself together. "She said you were ruining my reputation. She said you were the reason why I was losing my friends." Calum rested his head in his hands and rubbed over his face before looking up again.
"And you believe her?" He asked, sorrow in his eyes and voice. Zoe looked down again. She didn't want to see him sad. She knew it was her fault, which made it only worse.
Zoe stayed quiet and Calum knew exactly what that meant.
"Zoe..." He started and grabbed her hands in his. "I love you, okay? I have never felt this way before. I know you don't like it that you lost your friends and I get it. I get it if you want to leave me and go back to your friends. You can do that if you want, but just know that I love you and that I will be here for you whenever you need me. I don't care what people say when we're together, baby boo. I really don't. You know I wanna be the one to hold you in your sleep or when you cry to comfort you. I just want it to be you and I forever, but if you don't want that, that's fine. I just want you to know that I want us forever. Happily ever after, you know." He told her softly. Zoe let his words sink in. She sat there in silence, repeating all the words in her head whilst looking at her hands in his. Hers fitted perfectly in his, as if they were made for each other. Calum sighed and let go of her hands as he stood up from the couch.
"I'm gonna go. I love you, Zoe. I really do. If you have figured out what you want, you can call me. I will always be yours." He said before leaving the house. Zoe's eyes started to water and she closed them. She really didn't know what to do about this.
That's when she heard a loud bang coming from the kitchen. She got up from the couch and ran into the kitchen. She saw her grandmother laying on the ground, surrounded by a puddle blood. She must've hit her head on the counter when she fell. Zoe scurried over to her side as the tears started to stream down her face. First Sophia, then Calum and now this?
"Gran? Granny? Please." She muttered desperatly, hoping her gran would hear it. She got up and ran to the living room, grabbing her phone. The first one that came to her head was Calum. She dialled his number and he answered almost immediately.
"Hey baby. I'm glad you--" He started, but Zoe cut him off.
"Cal, please come back. Gran fell in the kitchen and she's bleeding and she doesn't wake up. I don't know what to do. Please help me." She cried into the phone.
"I'm on my way back, baby boo. Don't panic. Call an ambulance. Now." He told her and hung up.
Zoe called the ambulance and told the guy on the other line what happened.
"Calm, down. Miss. Where do you live?" The guy asked.
Zoe gave him her address and he told her they'd be there as quick as possible. Zoe hung up as the doorbell rang. She ran to the door and opened it. She immediately flew into Calum's arms and sobbed into his neck.
"I'm so scared, Calum." She cried. He softly pulled away and took her into the house, closing the door behind him. They walked into the kitchen and Calum saw gran lying there. He didn't know what to do either. He knelt down next to the old woman and listened to her pulse. He didn't feel anything.
"Shit." He muttered while Zoe looked at him, tears still streaming down her cheeks. The bell rang and Zoe went to open. Five guys ran in as Zoe directed them to kitchen and she followed behind. Calum stepped aside and held Zoe closely watching the guys put Zoe's gran on a stretcher. They took her to the ambulance. Zoe and Calum could drive along to the hospital.
Once there, Zoe and Calum had to wait in the waiting room. Calum tried to comfort her a bit and after a little while, she had fallen asleep on his shoulder. That's when the doctor came in, a blank expression on his face. Calum softly nudged his girlfriend awake. Her eyes fluttered open and she shot up when she saw the doctor.
"What happened?" Zoe asked. Calum slowly got up and walked over to Zoe. Both of them looked at the older man in white.
"She lost a lot of blood, she had already passed away before we could even do anything. I'm very sorry, m'lady. My condolences." The doctor said. That's when Zoe broke down. Her grandmother was her mom's mom. Her real mom's. It was the only thing that was left of her and Zoe had just lost that.
"Can we please see her?" Calum asked. The doctor nodded and led them to the room.
Gran was laying on the bed in the pitch dark room, a bit of sunlight came through the window and fell right on gran's pale face. She was in the clothes that she was wearing all day. Her hands were folded on her belly and her eyes closed. She looked very peacefull.
Zoe bit down her lip and walked over to her gran's side. She softly stroke a loose strand of her white hair behind her ear. Her face felt so cold. Zoe wasn't used to that. Her gran normally felt so warm. Another tear escaped her eye as a nurse came in. She handed something to Calum and told him what it was. Zoe couldn't hear what she said. All of the memories she had shared with her grandmom flashed before her eyes.
Calum put a hand on Zoe's shoulder, making her turn her head. He had a piece of paper in his hands. He had a sad expression on his face as he handed his girlfriend the paper. Zoe looked at him confused whilst she unfolded the white piece. She recognized her gran's handwriting.
"My dearest Zozeeboo,
When you read this, I won't be able to hold your hand or comfort you anymore.
I know there's someone in the room who can right now and I know he's going to be by your side for the rest of your life.
You know that too.
I'm writing this letter because I can feel my life coming to an end.
I feel like this is the end of my path.
You're asleep on this very moment.
I tucked you in, just like I used to when you were little."
Zoe stopped reading to wipe away the tears. She sat down on the chair next to the bed as she remembered her grandma tucking her in a day ago after their talk.
"You're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen.
You might think I'm saying this because I'm your grandma, but believe me that's not the reason.
I mean it and I'm very proud to say that I have a beautiful granddaugther.
I can still remember the day you were born as if it was yesterday.
Joe stayed with us and your parents rushed to the hospital.
He was very nervous when we walked through the hallways of the hospital when your mom had given birth to you after what seemed like hours.
Joe was skipping through the hallways, asking tons of questions.
"What if my sister doesn't like me?" or "What if she's a bad girl?".
He was more nervous than I was.
I knew my daughter would give birth to a beautiful little girl and I was right.
Your mom and dad were so careful with you, you were so small and fragile.
And also a bad sleeper. You would keep them awake every single night.
But they loved you and they still do.
They're in heaven, keeping an eye on you.
They're proud of you, Zoe.
You're a woman now, so I think it's time for the letters."
Zoe's eyebrows knitted together in confusion and quickly continued to read.
"When you were about one year old, your mom got the idea to write you letters every year.
She would give you them when you were sixteen, so you'd have sixteen letters.
She had just written letter number 4 the day your father killed her and himself.
I put all of them in a box and I wanted to give them to you when you turned sixteen, just like your mom wanted, but Elise took them away and put them in the attic.
So when you get home, go ahead and read them.
That's what your mom wanted."
Zoe wiped away the tears as she sobbed. Calum had taken a seat next to her and rubbed circles on the small of her back.
"My sweet Zoe Ella Valentine,
I want you to live your life to the fullest and start dancing again.
I know it's your passion, you always had it in you.
When your dad had given you your first tutu,
you ran around the house in it and showed everyone your dancemoves.
Your pirrouettes were the most precious.
You were so good at it."
Zoe smiled at the reminder of her dancing past.
"I have to stop here now.
It's getting late and I'm getting tired.
I love you, Zoe.
You're my only granddaughter and you were my everything.
I know we didn't get along the past few years,
but I want you to now that Elise didn't want me around.
She can be such a little slut.
Okay, bye Zoe.
Lots of love, gran."
Her eyes went to the end of the page where a 'p.s.' was written.
"P.s.: Calum, dear. Take good care of my granddaughter and stick to your promise.
I will be watching you from above.
You're a good guy and I know you're going to be good to my Zoe."
That's all it said. Zoe let the tears fall down on the page.
"Where did they find this?" Zoe asked Calum who was still rubbing circled patterns on her back.
"She had put it in her bra." Calum replied and Zoe laughed softly.
"Typical gran." She mumbled with a small smile and got up from the chair. "Goodbye, gran. Rest in peace." She whispered and placed a kiss on her pale, cold cheek.
The doctor arranged some things with Zoe about the funeral. They were sat in his office. There were pictures of his family on the cupboards and a lot of doctor-y stuff was hanging on the walls.
"Are there any other relevants to your grandmother?" He asked.
"Uhh, yeah. Uncle Nicholas is her son."
"Can you call him, please?"
Zoe nodded and took out her phone.
"Wait. Can you break the new to him?" Zoe asked, not wanting to tell her uncle the bad news.
The doctor put it on speaker so they could hear it as well.
"Hello, Zoe?" Nicholas' voice sounded through the phone.
"It's Dr. McCloud, sir. I have some bad news about your mother."
"Oh, is she alright?" Nicholas asked. He lived on the other side of Sydney, so Zoe didn't see him that much. Only on family parties and with Elise being her 'mom', that didn't happen anymore.
"I'm very sorry, sir. Your mom has passed away."
Nicholas breath hitched in his throath. He couldn't believe it.
"Is Zoe with you?"
"Hi uncle Nick." Zoe said softly.
"Are you alright, bumblebee?" he asked. He always called Zoe 'bumblebee' and she didn't know why.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"Did you tell uncle Cedric and Elise already?" He asked then.
"No I haven't called them yet, but we needed to tell you first."
"I will be over at your house tomorrow with the kids and Riani so we can arrange the funeral. Now you call uncle C and Elise. Stay strong, bumblebee. It's going to be fine." He reassured her. Zoe nodded, forgetting he couldn't see her.
"Okay. See you tomorrow, Uncle Nick." She said.
"Bye bumblebee." He said and hung up. The doctor handed Zoe her phone back.
"You can come back tomorrow with mister Nicholas to arrange everything with us, but you'll have to leave for now. Get some good night rest." The doctor told her with a small smile.
"I will, thank you doctor." Zoe said and shook the man's extended hand. So did Calum.
Both of them left the hospital and went to Zoe's house. He made her a good cup of tea while Zoe went to the attic. She needed to read those letters. She found a small pink box with butterflies on it and her name written in a beautiful handwriting. She took the box with her into her room when Calum came in as well. He smiled when he saw what she had found and sat down with her on her bed. He handed her the cup of hot steaming tea and she took a sip from it before placing it on her bedside table. She opened the box.
There were five envelopes in the box. Zoe was confused at why there would be five when she was only four when her mom died. Zoe opened the first envelope. It said: "Zoe Ella Valentine" and a small number 1 written in a corner. She unfolded the pink paper and started reading. Calum had placed himself behind her, leaning against the wall as she sat in between his legs. He read along and Zoe didn't mind. He put his hands on her upper leg and softly rubbed circles on them and placed kisses on her hair every now and then.
You're growing up so quickly.
You're only one year old, but you have taken up so much space in all of her hearts already.
Your daddy and I took you and little Joey to the park today. You had just learned how to walk and together with daddy you explored the nature. You wanted to pat some ducks, but they were faster and ran away from you. You were very sad about that.
After an hour or so, you were getting tired and fell asleep on my lap. I think you were dreaming about something very special, your little feet didn't stop moving.
I think you're going to be a little dancer, I just knew it.
Being a ballerina myself, I could say that.
I love you, my little Zozeeboo.
Zoe folded the paper again and put them in the envelope again. The tears were stinging in her eyes and she blinked a couple of times, trying to get those drops to go away. It only made them roll down her cheeks. She wiped them and grabbed the second letter.
"My sweet little princess,
Another year went by and you're such a beautiful little princess.
We had your little birthday bash yesterday and everyone came to see you.
Uncle Cedric, Uncle Nick and Aunt Riani with little Aiden and Brad, grandma and granddad came over as well. They were all so happy to see you. You and Brad get along so well!"
Brad was the same age as Zoe and Aiden was from the same year as Joe. It looked like Zoe's mom and her brother played a little game "Who can get two babies first?".
"We took you and everyone to the zoo.
You ran to every animal, but those penguins fascinated you the most. Those black white animals did catch your attention. You were waddling around like a little baby penguin and you shouted: "Zoe penguin, Zoe penguin!". You were a cute little penguin.
I love you, sugar plum.
Zoe wiped away some more tears as she took the third envelope.
"Are you alright, baby boo?" Calum asked worried.
"Yeah, I am." Zoe answered softly and sniffled.
"Take a break, babe. Drink a bit from your tea." Calum handed her the cup and she took a sip. The beverage was already cold, which made it the worst tea ever.
"It's cold." Zoe mumbled.
"You're the one who left it standing." Calum mumbled and pecked her cheek. He put the cup back on the table as Zoe opened the third letter. All of them said "Zoe Ella Valentine".
"My dearest little penguin,
You're three years old now and such a blatherskite.
Your little mouth never shuts up.
You like to talk to everyone you pass, even if it's a strange man in the grocery shop.
You made a little friend there as well.
I almost lost you because of that.
Jenn's mother and I talked and you two would play together in the store.
I wasn't paying attention, so you two waddled away.
A guy brought you back and said you were in the private part.
You two are bad girls.
Jenn comes over to play a lot.
You two danced around the living room all day today.
I'm planning on sending you to a dance school together."
Zoe stopped reading for a second. She knew Jenn since she was three? She didn't know that. She thought they only met in high school. That's when it donned to her. Elise pulled Jenn away and her own grandmother and her family.
"Elise... She's the reason why I don't see my family." Zoe mumbled. Calum stroke her hair over shoulder and leaned in to look at her. Those wet puffy cheeks made him want to cry. Zoe shook her head and continued reading.
"I'm not going to make this letter any longer, sweetie.
Or else you will spend days on reading all sixteen of them.
I love you heaps, Zoella.
Zoella? She was the one who called Zoe that? Zoe thought it was Joyce, but she probably had that from her mom. Zoe took the fourth letter and opened it. She drew in a deep breath and started reading.
"My dearest daughter,
Four years and you're a little ballerina.
Daddy bought you a tutu for your birthday.
You didn't want to take it off and you ran around to everyone, showing your moves.
Those pirrouettes were really good.
I knew you had it in you.
You and Jenn are the best dancers in your class, believe me.
You also had a fight with Jenn.
She had pushed your little doll into a puddle.
I had never seen you this hurt.
You had named her Ariel, after the little Mermaid.
It was your favorite movie ever.
You needed to watch it every day before you went to bed.
If you didn't, you couldn't sleep.
You really were obsessed with that movie.
You said you wanted to marry prince Eric.
Now that you're sixteen when you read this,
I hope you have found you prince Eric.
And I hope he treats you like Eric treated Ariel:
like a princess.
If you don't have found your prince yet,
He'll come around, I promise you.
I have to go now, honey.
Your dad's yelling at me.
I love you heaps, bumblebee.
Zoe read the last words again and again. "Your dad's yelling at me." This was written right before he killed her. Zoe noticed a black stain on the paper. A teardrop and her mascara that had come off with the tears. Zoe held in her breath and breathed out heavily a few seconds later. She then took the fifth envelope. It felt heavier than the others. She opened it and a disc fell out. Zoe was confused. A note was in the envelope as well. "Put in the DVD player." It said and Zoe did.
Her dad and mom appeared on the screen, smiles on their faces. Her mom was lying on the hospital bed, a bundle of blankets in her arms. Her dad sat on the bed next to her, a little guy on his lap. He had a finger in his mouth as he looked at the bundle in his mom's hands.
"Can I hold her?" the tiny voice of Joe asked. Zoe's mom handed the little blanket burrito over to her son and his dad helped him by supporting his small arms as he carried a small Zoe.
Zoe teared up and Calum soothed her by rubbing circles on her thighs.
"She's as pretty as mommy." Joe said with a giggle.
"She is." Her dad said and looked at his wife with love. She leaned over and pecked his lips.
They loved each other so much, what happened to them?
The screen went black for a few seconds, then a one year old Zoe appeared on the screen. Her dad held her tiny hands in his large ones and helped her as she stepped forward. Everyone cheered with every step she took. Joe was visible on the screen and he looked at his little sister with pride.
"That's my little sister!" He shouted and threw his hands in the air.
Zoe giggled and so did Calum. He loved seeing this.
The screen went black again, but then a two year old Zoe came on. This was filmed in the zoo. Zoe and a little guy were walking hand in hand as they talked.
"Zoe! Bradley! Look at the camera!" Someone said. It sounded like Zoe's mom.
Little Zoe and Brad turned their heads and smiled at the camera.
"Do you like each other?" Zoe's mom asked and the two nodded.
"Give each other a kiss." The voice sounded and Brad pressed a kiss on Zoe's small lips.
Calum stirred behind Zoe.
"You're not jealous, are you?" Zoe asked.
"What? No." Calum lied and Zoe could see that.
"He's my cousin, Calum and we were 2." Zoe reasoned. Calum leaned in and pressed a kiss onto her lips. The faint taste of cherry lingered on his lips.
The screen went black again and a three year old appeared with a doll.
"What's her name, honey?" Zoe's mom sounded.
"Ariel." Zoe answered with a smile.
"Like the mermaid?"
Then a little girl with curly hair and blue eyes came on.
"Hello, Jenn!" Zoe's mom said and the small girl waved shyly.
"You and Zoe are friends?"
"The bestest!" Jenn shouted out and hugged Zoe.
Zoe awe'd and so did Calum.
The last part was their first dance performance. A small Jenn and Zoe were on a big stage dancing. They looked so blissfully happy.
Why did Zoe not remember her and Jenn being friends since they were three?
That's when the video ended. Zoe cried for the rest of the night and fell asleep in Caum's arms. This was definitly the hardest day of her whole life.