"Gray! Over here!"
I whipped around to find Rose calling out to me. I smiled. She was the best sister I could have ever asked for.
"You have been a completely different person ever since you started college. You know that, don't you?" I laughed. She skipped towards me by the lockers.
"I only know that I am the sole genius existing in this world," she said childishly, turning up her nose. I shook my head. "Yeah, milady. Now, if Her Highness is done with her self-praise speech, may she please notice that this servant of hers is starving?"
She delivered a horrible punch to my side which made my knees buckle. "Sure, this Queen isn't a tyrant," she snapped.
While we were on our way to the canteen, she suddenly remembered something. "Hey, Gray," she piped up. I eyed her. "What is it?"
"Our school has a reunion tonight. What should I wear?"
I rolled my eyes. "Clothes."
She scowled. "Well, thanks for the information. I was about to wrap myself in a fishing net."
I cackled loudly, and the rest of the afternoon was spent chasing each other down in the hallways. It was really nice to know that I still had her by my side, after losing someone important to me.
That evening, I was in a dilemma. Rose was right in getting concerned over what to wear, because I was total confusion. Finally, I threw something on in frustration, and headed out. Our school was just a short walk away. Rose and I walked hand-in-hand, happily contemplating who we were going to waylay at the party.
Once we reached, familiar faces greeted us, and we were looking forward to a blast. Rose mingled easily with the crowd, while I was left standing. I had to look for my friends... but were there any left after what happened so many years ago?
I silently turned back and went out into the street. My mind was totally blank. The wind was lulling me into a fitful slumber.
"I knew I'd find you here."
I stopped in my tracks and looked up to see who it was.
My first and only love. There he was, right in front of me, smiling as though nothing had ever happened. His beautiful dark hair which he let grow carelessly made him look like a dream in the moonlight. My hands itched to rub my eyes to make sure I hadn't stumbled onto the filming of a drama.
But it was all real. Then the second thought hit me.
Wasn't he... dead?
Tears brimmed in my eyes and I bit my lip. "Is that you?" I murmured. He nodded. "Forgotten me already, haven't you?"
I wiped my eyes. "No... I just can't believe it. You... how did you..."
"Come back from the dead?" he finished with a fond smile which always bewitched me in high school. It worked its charm even now. "I guess I have superpowers."
I laughed awkwardly. Nothing about him had changed. He was just as stupid as I had ever known him to be. I couldn't control myself any longer. I had missed his touch, his smell. I ran over and crashed into him, hugging him tight. He hugged me back, and the old days swam back to me. Our first hug. Our first kiss.
He led me to the swings in the park and sat me there. I gazed at him, still bewildered.
"Alright, spill the beans. You're married," he made a wild guess. I shook my head, chuckling. "My mum tried hard. No girl was willing to marry a gay."
"Attaboy," he said softly. "You're my man."
Now it was my turn to demand.
"You're not dead."
He ruffled his hair. "Ah, long story, Gray. you wouldn't want to miss the party going on inside."
I sat adamant. "I barely escaped your fate those years ago, Jayden. You ought to tell me."
Jayden and I had just started dating, and the neighborhood boys had come to know. They had dragged both of us into a corner, and started beating us up, calling us 'mentally twisted' and 'abnormal'. Jayden had bravely borne the pain, but I couldn't help screaming. Two of them had taken him away to another place to beat him further, but I was saved by my sister who had heard the commotion and brought a few adults.
The search that night was the longest and most desperate one of my life. I had cried my heart out when news reached us that the boys had confessed to tossing him in the river. His blood-washed clothes had been found, but his body was nowhere in sight.
I had been living like an empty shell since then, all for Rose's sake.
That is, till now.
Jayden sighed. "Those brats... they were no match for me. They never tossed me into the river. I scratched their faces. Perhaps they didn't have the guts to say that they lost against a single person."
I stared in awe. "Why didn't you return, then?"
He chuckled. "My parents already weren't well-off. I couldn't be a burden anymore when I had finally found a good reason to leave."
I swallowed a lump in my throat.
"I missed you, Gray."
I nodded and clasped him once more. "Me too."
He offered me his hand. "Star appearance at the party?"
I beamed brightly and took his hand.
We marched right into the school building. Nobody seemed to notice us for a few minutes. I couldn't leave his hand, and he couldn't leave mine. We walked straight to the front, in the clearing in front of the hubbub.
"Hey guys!" Jayden screamed into the mic. Everyone fell silent.
He inhaled deeply. "I'm not dead."
All of the people assembled gasped when they finally grasped who had been addressing them.
"Don't mind what I say right now. I just felt the need to declare it to all of you."
He gazed at me, his beautiful eyelashes getting wet with his tears.
"I'm in love... again."
A missing chunk of my soul had been filled... again. I was not going to let go of it ever.