I rushed to his bedside and clutched his lifeless hand. No response. Of course not, I shouldn’t have expected that in the first place. I should’ve known better. His hand was so cold. So pale. I clutched it like it was a lifeline, like I could keep Liam here, on this earth by just clutching his hand. I couldn’t cry. I had ran out of tears. This was all my fault. I wanted to rage, I wanted to punish myself. I wanted Liam to punish me, to hate me. To tell me off for all those years I had wronged him. God, Liam. I am so. So. Sorry.
‘Liam. Liam. I can’t even begin to apologize. I messed up. I seriously messed up. I… I am so sorry. If it hadn’t been for me you’d still be here. You’d still be going about your day like any other. Shit. Liam. I- I’m so sorry.’
I knew that way up there our parents were watching, grieving, ranting. Hating. Not on Liam, no. Liam had tried so hard all his life. He had been the good one, despite his choices in life. I was the failure. I couldn’t handle it. I messed up. I destroyed this family. All that our parents worked for, blown away in mere seconds. By me. What had I done? Why? How did I get so egoistical. How had I lost sight of all that was and is so important. I messed up, and Liam was paying for it.
I stared at Liam’s face, it was littered with tiny cuts yet he still looked as handsome as ever before. He was so handsome. So innocent. To see him lying here, so broken. So unlike the Liam I knew. It broke my heart. No, that couldn’t even begin to describe it. It shattered my heart into a million pieces. And it was all my fault. Oh god.
I felt a warm hand grasping my shoulder, but I couldn’t manage to take my eyes off Liam.
‘Julie. It’s been two hours. You need to get home and sleep.’
‘Yes, you need to. Liam would want you to.’
‘You know nothing about Liam! You hear me? Nothing!’
‘I know that you not sleeping isn’t going to help anyone. Least of all Liam.’
‘I can’t leave him.’
‘You need to.’
Before I could protest any further I felt two arms hoisting me up. Jack carried me out of the door. I wanted to protest, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t. I was too tired. Within moments I was fast asleep. The movement of his rhythmical steps lulling me into a far away dreamland where there was no Liam, and no pain. Finally. Silence.
The next morning I woke up with a pounding headache. I was tucked deeply into my soft sheets. For a moment I felt warm and safe, until I remembered what had happened. Liam. As quick as I could I untangled myself from the sheets and raced towards the kitchen, however the sight that greeted me in the living room made me stop dead in my tracks. Jack. I had forgotten all about Jack. He was still sleeping. His legs slung over the side of my couch. The couch was too small for him and I could almost feel his back pain. He stayed. He stayed with me. I know I should thank him for it. He had been too kind the past few hours. He had helped and done way more than he should’ve. He had repaid his debts twice over. I sighed. I knew I couldn’t just leave him like this. As softly as I could I hurried towards the kitchen. Orange juice… Croissants? Yes. I owed him breakfast at least. Breakfast, and a note. The oranges I had bought just days ago were as ripe as could be and I made quick work of squeezing them out. It would be good for him. And for me, I mused as I chucked back one of the two glasses. I put the croissants in the oven and got some paper. What should I write to him? A thank you? I should at least tell him where I went. And how grateful I was.
‘Jack, thank you. I can’t even begin to thank you. Words can’t describe how grateful I am for your help. I left some breakfast on the counter. I’m going to see Liam. Again, thank you. Take your time. You know where to store the key. Thank you, really. I’ll see you soon.’
That would have to do. I got the hot croissants out of the oven and piled them on a plate. I grabbed the jar of peanut butter and chocolate paste. He could find the rest in the fridge. I carried the note and the orange juice out to the living room and quietly set it on the coffee table. I hurriedly changed clothes and got a sweater. Sneakers. Jeans. It would do. I wanted to get to Liam as fast as possible.
My car keys were sitting neatly in the box next to my door, and I thanked Jack yet again for the good care he had taken of me and my stuff. The car was exactly where I had parked it yesterday and within moments I was on the road again. High time to get my thoughts in order again.
Liam had been in an accident. A bad one. It had happened and there was nothing I could do about it now. I had caused it. I had caused all this pain. I would dedicate my life, everything I had to making it up to Liam. I would be the sister I never was. I had to be. Even if it was already way too late. I had to try. For Liam, for our parents. For me. It was selfish, yes. But it was all I could do. I don’t know how I came to this conclusion. It was the only thing I could do really. What where the other options? Wallow in self pity? I was already doing that. Give up? Give up and do what? It didn’t make sense. Nothing made sense but this was what I had to do. I felt that this is what I needed to do. It wasn’t to write a stupid novel, it wasn’t to become successful. No, it was to become the person I needed to be, for Liam. For myself. I had been so utterly stupid. I had been oblivious to it all. Egoistical, mean. I was done with that. This was the change my life needed. Not the going out, not finding a story to write. But taking the time to make my own life. Write my own novel. God I sounded like a hipster. This was bad, but it was true. I needed to quit whining and start taking action.