He picks up his keys and phone that are sitting on the counter, and turns to leave. “I’ll call you,” he says over his shoulder and a minute later, he’s gone.
I’m left praying he’s going to get through this without too much of his heart shredded to pieces.
“When do you think the funeral will be?” Erin asks me later that day over a coffee.
“I don’t know. Jett’s discussing it with his family today.”
“Why aren’t you with him?” She seems as confused as I was this morning.
Sighing, I lean my elbows on the table. “He’s pulling away from me and didn’t seem to want me there, so I let it go.” I stare at her for a moment and then add, “I totally understand him needing some space, but I hate that he’s going through this alone.”
She blows out a breath. “God, it happened so fast. I can’t even imagine that. To find out your sister has cancer again and then just days later, she’s dead. No wonder he’s distant, babe. You’re doing the right thing by giving him room to work it through in his mind. I reckon he’ll come to you when he needs you.”
“I hope so,” I say softly as I think about what she’s said.
“Have you decided if you’ll go on tour with the band yet?”
I shake my head as I sip some coffee. “They’ve put their album on hold while Jett was with Claudia so I hadn’t thought anymore about it. I don’t know what they’ll do now but I think I would like to take on the job. Shooting them for that interview in LA was fun, and I love watching Jett perform so it’s kind of a no-brainer.”
“I guess that as long as you guys manage to get along okay while working together, it should be all right.”
She’s brought up the only thing still holding me back from jumping straight in. “Yeah, it’d suck to get out on tour and start having problems because of working together.” Wanting to change the subject, I ask, “Did you ever hear from that lawyer?”
Settling her elbows on the table and leaning her face forward, she says, “Girl, you are so far behind on the gossip that I need to catch you up. That dude called and we went on a date, and let’s just say I’m re-evaluating my thoughts on men in suits. Suddenly the bartender is looking good.”
My eyes widen. “Start talking, and don’t stop until I know it all.”
I park my Jeep in the car park outside the pub I’ve been coming to for ten years, and rest my head back against the headrest. Memories of Claudia fill my mind. I brought her here for lunch the day she turned eighteen because it’s the kind secluded pub I can come to and not get recognised or bothered. It was just me and her and lots of drinks. She shared her dream of giving back to the world with me that day; she wanted to give back as a way of saying thank you to the universe for giving her the miracle of life after her battle with cancer as a child.
Yeah, so much to be thankful for.
Pulling the key out of the ignition, I open the door and exit the Jeep. I’ve come from my parents’ house where we spent all day going over the funeral arrangements and various other things, and I’m meeting the boys here for a drink. My head is throbbing, and I’m exhausted, but I need this time out with the guys.
“Jett,” West calls out when I enter the pub. They’re all here, sitting in the back at the table we usually sit at.
“Hi Dan,” I say to the bartender on my way, signalling to him that I want my usual.
“Sure, man,” he agrees and the look he gives me tells me that he’s been filled in on Claudia’s death.
Better that he knows. Then there’s no awkward moment when he asks me how she is.
I make my way to the back table and collapse onto the spare chair. Rubbing the back of my neck, I say, “It’s been a long fucking day and I don’t want to discuss it. You guys good with that?”
They stare at me for a beat and West and Van nod their agreement, but Hunter shakes his head. “No, that’s not gonna happen. Your sister dies, you need your friends, Jett. And I reckon you need to talk about it.”
I glare at him and mutter, “What exactly do you want to know, Hunter? I’ll give you five minutes and then we drink.”
“Make sure you text us the details. We’ll all be there.”
“Fine. Is that all you need to know or do you also want to know how fucking pissed off I am that she’s gone? That I will never understand the world ever again, because why the hell did they take her when there are murderers and rapists and paedophiles out there that should have been taken instead.” I run out of breath so I stop talking, but my heart rate is running a million miles an hour and every vein in my body is buzzing with adrenalin.
Hunter nods and sits back in his chair. “Yeah, that’s what I want to know.”
I raise the glass of bourbon Dan just put in front of me, and demand, “Now, let’s drink the fuck up and talk about bullshit that doesn’t matter.” I scull half the glass and suck in a breath as it slides down my throat. Feels fucking good.
Five hours later, we’re all drunk, and we stumble outside. We spent all night reliving memories of when we met, the shit we’ve been through together, and talked about our future plans. And then the conversation turned to Claudia and the last hour has been spent reliving our memories of hanging out with her.