Prologue: 15 year old Zoe goes to her Dad's funeral, some un-expected guests attend.
I walked down the church behind the coffin, with my non-identical twin sister Summer beside me. Both of us were equally as sad by the loss of our wonderful, loving father. Behind us was our Grandmother (my father’s Mum) and Auntie Linda (My father’s sister) who were in town for the funeral and to look after us while Mum's custody of us was finalized. Mum had had a drug problem and depression, whilst she’d been married to my Dad and eventually it had been too much for them to be together. So they had gotten divorced a few years ago and my Dad had been given Custody of us. But now we had no choice but to go back to Mum, who now claimed that she was clean and was back on track, but I didn't believe her. She'd lied plenty of times before.
My mother hadn't walked down with us because he wasn't really any importance to her; she was only here because she had to be for her daughters. She was there, but only when it suited her. She'd be gone again soon enough.
When we got to the front and the coffin was laid down, we all sat down on the front row, Mum behind us. We weren't close so she didn't try to comport me, but she did my sister; they'd always kept close, even when Mum had been at her worst. I looked around the church to see who’d shown up. There was a couple of my Dad's old fishing buddies, his co-workers, our cousins Janice and Katie; I'd never really liked them, they were you're typical I'm too cool for you kind of girls. I almost missed them, but just beside them was my best friend Mia and her Mum. We’d been best friends ever since we were in nappies. Mia smiled at me, and mouthed “You okay?” I nodded in reply and did my best to smile back at her.
My eyes landed on a group of people sat to the back and I nearly gasped when I saw who it was.
Holly Green who'd bullied me alongside her best friend Elicia and Queen bee Alexis for as long as I could remember.
“What the hell is she doing here?” I thought furiously, I didn't need her here of all times; I doubted very much she'd be very sympathetic. My eyes moved over the rest of the group and there was another person I recognised, a boy. Jake Green that was his name. He was Holly's brother of course and there next to him were two middle aged people, a man and a woman. The whole family was dressed in black and looked very respectful, well everyone except for Holly in her short black mini dress. I felt a little sick that they were here, pretending to have cared about my Dad. Miss Apprentice bitch and Mr Popular jock. But I knew I had to get over that and concentrate on my Dad's funeral. A minute later the vicar walked in and took his place at the altar.
"Hello everyone, we are here today to celebrate the life of Daniel Johnson. Daniel was a lovely man and he'd made many accomplishments in his short lived life. He had two daughters, Zoe and Summer Johnson, who he loved very much" More tears came into my eyes and I felt Summer's hand grasp mine and squeeze it tightly. When I looked across at her she was crying too, black mascara running in thick, tear tracks down her pretty face, dark brown hair in a wavy mess around her shoulders. "It was an unfortunate accident that took this wonderful man’s life, and he will be much missed by those who loved him"
It had been a boat accident that had taken my father’s life. He'd been out fishing one Sunday morning, just like always. Fishing and boats made him feel peaceful; it was his passion to fish. He'd always been such a sweet man, who loved a quiet life, but one day it had all gone wrong and he hadn't come back. They'd found his body the next day and that’s when this nightmare had began.
"We have some words from Daniel's sister, Carol" The vicar said and I saw Carol rise from her seat beside Grandma and walk up to the front of the room beside the coffin. She placed one hand on the wooden top and I saw tears run down her beautiful, slightly aged face.
"He was a wonderful brother," Aunt Carol began and took a deep breath to steady herself "He was always so sweet natured and was a wonderful son to our mother, he never disappointed with his grades, unlike me" She smiled, but it was an odd smile because it was a broken, sad smile.
She carried on "I've never seen a Dad as amazing as Daniel, he spoiled our girls and they were very loved by him" Aunt Carol nodded to us and we got up, holding hands, joined her up at the front. A moment later Grandma joined us too and put her arm around me. Aunt Carol took of the top of the coffin and peered inside, more tears ran down her face and she grabbed Summer's hand and squeezed it, before running in tears back to the pew. Grandma patted us both on the arms and went to join Carol back at the pews; she had tears in her eyes too. I gripped Summer's hand tighter and together we took a step forward and took a look in the coffin.
It was our Dad, but not at the same time. He was a lot paler than I remembered, but he looked peaceful. Tears ran down my face and dripped on the floor beneath me. His face, so kind and so handsome, it made me so angry that he was gone. All that would ever be left now was memories. I’d never hear his soft voice again, never be comforted by his warm arms.
I hated this! It wasn’t fair. My poor sweet Dad. My innocent Dad.
I heard Summer crying hard, in loud and painful hiccups beside me. I pulled her into a tight hug. "It'll be okay" I whispered. "Stay strong" Summer nodded, pulled away from me and ran quickly back to the pew. I took one last look at my father, shook my head in disbelief that this was the last time I’d ever see him. I took a deep, strong breath and went to join my family.
The funeral carried on, we sang the usual songs that were sung at funerals and went to the graveside. That was a hundred times worse that the church had been, watching my father’s coffin have mud and roses threw on top of it.
The final goodbye.
When the funeral was over everyone went to the reception for tea and biscuits and to talk about what a wonderful man he'd been. I hated hearing people who barely knew him, talking about him like that. At some point during the torturous reception it was made even worse when the Green family approached me, my sister and mother, who'd just stood there like a statue, through the whole, entire service.
"Hello" Who I guessed was Jake and Holly's mother said to us, "We knew you're father, my husband worked with him once, so we decided to pay our respects" The tall man stood at her side gave us an awkward smile. His face was filled with what looked like pity.
"Thank you" Summer said and shook their hands. She was polite unlike me, who just stood there glaring at Holly, who glared right back through her breathtakingly beautiful green eyes, which was all complimented by her slightly curly chocolate brown hair.
"I'm sure you've met my son and daughter" said Mrs Green. Summer nodded and gave her another polite smile.
"Yes, always nice to see you Shane” Summer said and gave him a quick hug, she whispered a quiet “thanks for coming” to him, before turning to Holly and saying in the most un-polite tone I’d ever heard my sister use. “Holly" Despite everything I nearly laughed at Holly’s face and Summer’s not so innocent smile. My sister was amazing, always sticking up for me. Holly gave Summer a sweet smile, but her eyes were telling a very different story.
"Hello Zoe" Mrs Green smiled at me "How are you doing?"
"How do you think?" I replied bitterly and squeezed by my sister and mother and out of the room. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I heard Summer shouting after me, but I carried on anyway.
Outside it was cold and I could hear the traffic from the streets of London in the distance. I slid down the wall and sat on the cold concrete floor and silently cried.
"Hey" said a male voice and I heard someone crouch down beside me "You all right?"
When I looked up I saw that it was Jake, looking at me with deep, dark brown eyes, nothing at all like his sisters, they were beautiful in a whole different way. Jake was the year above us and captain of the football team. I sighed, I was sick of people asking me that.
Did I look okay?
He smiled sympathetically and pushed his beautiful brown hair out of his eyes. Okay I'd had a crush on him for like ever, but I didn't need Mr Popularity's sympathy. I didn't need anyone’s. "Sorry, stupid question" He said, when I didn't reply, he looked awkward and uncomfortable "Do you want me to go?" He asked, in answer I looked at him and glared.
"What do you want?" I snapped, but he just rose up, his hands in surrender and walked towards the reception door.
"Yeah, guess that's a yes" He paused at the entrance to the reception and flashed me a cute, mischievous grin and said "See you around, Zoe"
When Jake disappeared back inside, I ran all the way home, full speed with my black dress and black semi long wavy hair, whooshing in the cold winter wind. I got out my key and burst through the front door of my house, which soon wouldn't be mine anymore. Soon I'd be sharing a room with my sister, in my Mum's small, two bedroom house. I pounded up the stairs and banged open the door to what used to be my father’s bedroom and collapsed on the bed crying. “This isn’t fair!” I screamed over and over, furiously punching the pillows on the bed. Until I finally gave up; falling into a deep sleep where things weren't so broken.
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