Zayne comes back to school earlier than expected, after Thanksgiving break ended he was right there in that classroom ready to get back to life. He has stitches in his arm that people stare at but soon they'll be gone.
Since his suicide attempt, Zayne has been living life more. He's been going out more and coming over more, he's trying harder in school too.
By Christmas, his stitches are gone but scars remain. Every now and again I see them and get scared all over again, but I pull myself into reality and see how much better he's gotten.
His parents have him in therapy, and he admits that he's glad to be here, he's even glad it happened. Without this event, he wouldn't have seen just how much he was losing with his life, without this he wouldn't have finally won in the battle against the ignorance in our school.
Christmas day his family and mine are gathered in my living room exchanging gifts. Arriana got face masks, makeup, and cute little throw pillows. My mom got a special notebook for her recipes and dad got a new personalized briefcase. Mrs. Daveen got a photo album filled with the pictures of Zayne, me, and Arriana that we never really showed anyone. Mr. Daveen gets a check to pay to fix his station wagon, more than just the paint.
I got Zayne a Stitch onsie and he got me a new journal. He slips the onsie on over his clothes and I see the equality ring I got him for his birthday still hanging on his neck, I reach for mine, feeling it rub on my fingers.
Time keeps moving forward, and Zayne keeps improving. It takes awhile for him to repair his muscles enough to play the violin again, but he does it and is playing by New Years. He plays all types of music including "No Matter What" by Calum Scott and "I Wouldn't Mind" by He is We. Each time he plays I'm mesmerized, more so now that he's had to fight for the strength to play again.
Days turn to weeks, weeks to months, and we move past Valentines Day when Zayne and I actually went on a real, nice date for a change. Easter comes along with chocolate kisses and real ones too.
The school year drags on and no one is ever caught or tied to the attack or the vandalism. Conrad never says a thing to Zayne ever again, no one ever speaks out against him. Instead Zayne builds a bubble that people have become aware not to touch. Inside his bubble is me, Arriana, my mom and dad, his mom and dad, Tempe, and Caira each of us ready to defend him at a moments notice. His bubble stays impenetrable all year and he keeps getting better.
Prom comes along, causing Arriana to shove Zayne and I into tuxedos and make us drive her and her friends. We ended up having a lot of fun that night, it's easier to appreciate when we know we easily could have lost this chance. Grad night is the same, our school sent us to Six Flags and it turned out being so much fun, I make a promise with Zayne that we'll all come back as a group before leaving for college.
As the end of the year draws closer, Zayne and I start applying for college. I end up getting accepted to and choose to go to Parker University in Dallas, where I'm going to study Business. Zayne gets into the University of Washington in Seattle on full scholarship. Neither of us are happy about being that far apart but we know we could be much farther apart.
Graduation comes along and Zayne and I accept our diplomas together and enjoy our final night as high schoolers.
Over the summer Zayne has less to do, since I started working more, and he starts having days that are harder than others. His mom and dad try and find stuff to do with him to keep him out of his dark place.
Fourth of July, Zayne and I watch firework shows and talk about long distance relationships. We promise each other that we'll come home for every holiday and call each other constantly. Later that same month we're packing up to leave.
Come early August, Zayne and I say goodbye to each other and our families as we head off on to start a new chapter in our lives. For me it hurt, being so close for family but so far from him. The day he left it took a lot not to jump into that car with him and forget the world.
Part of me is scared of him falling into his dark place again with no one there to pull him back. I have to trust he can handle it, and he'll have to trust that I'm here for him no matter how far the distance.
I watch him drive away and fight the tears as I turn to go back into my house and finish gathering my stuff to leave.
I tell myself it's not the end, that it'll work out.
It has to.
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