Match Met Ch. 08byCoCoNiy101©
Of course there will be an epilogue!
Sawyer hadn't heard from Kiana in 3 days. He sat on his couch with his cell phone on the small table before him. He had been in that location for over 15 minutes, considering and reconsidering the idea of giving her a call. He usually wouldn't have had a problem with calling her up, but an indescribable blockade between them was holding him back. In his core he could feel their distance and that scared him a bit. To think he and Kiana were growing apart in some way made his stomach weak. He picked up the phone and dialed her number in a fluid movement that required absolutely no thinking.
The other line rang out for what seemed like hours before it reached the robotic answer machine. Sawyer waited for his turn to speak.
"Hey, it's me. I just wanted to know if you wanted to do something tonight—it's Friday so I know you have tutoring but maybe afterward I'd come get you... if you wanted." Sawyer immediately ended the call with a palm to his forehead.
What the hell is she doing to me? He asked himself before taking a long, hot shower.
Kiana's phone rang and she made no effort to get to it. She let it vibrate out in her purse as she had been doing for the past few days. She sat in the silence of the public library and closed her eyes momentarily. Her feet were tucked under herself on a secluded bench as people functioned around her. She laid her heated head against the big cold window, streaked with rain and fell into a light slumber. But just as she should've known, closing her eyes for even a moment left her heart clenching in pain.
Sawyer pulled up to the Hooters and threw his car into park. After sulking in his apartment for the remainder of the day with hopes Kiana would call him back, he decided he'd be a little more proactive. He stepped inside the restaurant and quickly scanned the room. He couldn't see Kiana around, or her friend. But he'd ask someone just in case. A tall blonde girl strolled toward him with a welcoming smile and even more welcoming chest. She put a hand on her hip and opened her mouth to speak.
"Just one, love?" She questioned in a voice of surprise.
"Is Kiana here?" He asked, hardly looking her in the eye.
"No, she called off today." She said a bit dully. Sawyer had come to the conclusion that something was off. His fresh fury with Kiana had turned into a bit of worry. Without saying another word, he turned on his heel and was back at his car with a new destination in mind.
"Key, you sure you'll be okay? I don't have to work today." Janelle asked quietly. Kiana was putting on her slippers so she could walk Janelle out. She unconsciously shook her head.
"Eric would be pissed if we both called off —you go. I'm perfectly fine." Kiana told her, ushering her out the door with a nudge on her shoulder. She carefully closed it so she wouldn't disturb her sleeping roommate. Janelle faced Kiana in the hall and looked her friend in the eyes. She did look fine, although Janelle knew better. She had mastered the poker face.
"I love you." Janelle told her quietly, brushing a piece of hair off the lenses of her glasses. Kiana looked down at her feet and took a hard gulp. Janelle had shared that bit of information twice in the course of their friendship, but it meant even more now because she was sure there was no one else in this world capable of saying it meaningfully.
"I love you too." Kiana replied. Tears were piercing at her cornea and she desperately needed to be alone.
"It's 8, your shift starts soon." She told her. Kiana led the way down the hall to the front door. The dorm halls were quiet and still which was odd considering it was a Friday night. Janelle opened the front door and the breeze was harsh on Kiana's body from where she stood. Janelle walked out the front door and to her car until another vehicle came to a screeching halt a few cars down from her. He parallel parked quickly and slammed his front car door. She gripped her door handle as steps were pounding up the walkway to the front entrance. Janelle recognized the silhouette and called for it. Sawyer threw his body in her direction and gave her a hard stare.
"What are you doing here?" Janelle asked across the hood of her car. Sawyer wore a t-shirt, sweats and bedroom slippers. It was a clear indication that his visit was sporadic and done unmistakably on a whim.
"I'm going to see Kiana." He said nastily, as if challenging her presence here too. She rolled her eyes and sighed, releasing a cloud in the air. Their genuine dislike for one another was more than evident.
"Did she call you?" Janelle said in a same tone. Sawyer's eyebrows raised in astonishment followed by a huff of offensive annoyance.
"Go ahead and worry about yourself." He said with a smirk, secretly declaring it wasn't any of her business to begin with. Janelle snarled and jumped in her car to pull off. Sawyer walked through the small common room and into the long chain of dorms linked together by a hallway. He could see Kiana's frame entering a room and closing the door behind her. Sawyer was right on her tail and knocked on her dorm. It opened slowly and Kiana stood in its entryway. She wore a baggy sweatshirt and shorts threatening to turn themselves into underwear. As if it were a reflex, she tried to close the door on Sawyer but he pressed a palm against it.
"What the hell is going on?" Sawyer asked her. He took notice of how difficult it was for her to make eye contact with him and it was agitating. His heavy breathing was the only thing heard between them both. Sawyer's anger had resurfaced when he'd seen Janelle. He pressed her chin up a bit rougher than he had planned and irritably searched her eyes.
"You fucking someone?" He inquired, jumping to an outrageous conclusion. Luckily Kiana wasn't in the right state of mind to challenge him the way that comment required. Kiana made a revolted expression and pushed his arm away with a huff. She stepped into the hallway.
"I just need some time to myself." She tried to explain quietly.
"Janelle is time to yourself?" Sawyer was growing frustrated.
"Yes." She said plainly, hoping it would be enough to satisfy him. But of course he stood still, continuing to stare her down.
"Are you pregnant?" He could feel his heart contracting in his chest as if it was being restrained, denying him a whole clench to pump oxygen around his body. His body's functioning capabilities seemed to rely on her answer.
"No." Kiana replied in a monotone voice. Sawyer let out a breath of relief and ran a hand through his hair. After he collected himself he looked at her expectantly.
"Then what is it?" He asked with a more delicate attitude, trying another tactic of persuasion. He put both hands alongside the width of her head. Her face was scorching his palms. She finally looked him in his eyes and Sawyer found himself mesmerized by their chocolate color. But a certain spec was grabbing his attention.
"Is it your dad?" He whispered. She nodded her head minimally, as if she was a little girl.
"I'll take you over there." He stated. In an instant he had her hand captured into his and had begun walking to the front entrance.
"Sawyer..." Kiana whispered, trying to regain his attention. Fright and terror began settling in her abdomen at the thought of visiting that house. Her air filled lungs deepened and it suddenly felt like the walls were closing in on her. Kiana ripped her palm out of his chilled hand. Sawyer stopped walking a few feet from her and turned around. The contorted expression of pure nausea on Kiana's face paired with her light head shaking gave its own translation. Sawyer practically ran to gather her into a tight hug.
"I'm so sorry." He didn't think he could tell her enough.
Sawyer agreed to take Kiana on errands that next day. They were now sitting in the office of her father's lawyer. During his healthier years, he had been in a mild car accident and befriended his attorney. Kiana had no idea whether or not he is associated with his will, but she had to try. Sawyer massaged her warm hand on his lap as they waited for the lawyer to come into the meeting room.
"Good morning." Someone announced behind them. A small black man appeared on Sawyer's left and rounded the length of the table to reach the opposite side. He pulled back the chair and sat down with a languid sigh. His briefcase was placed on the table and he crossed his hands in front of himself.
"Good morning." Kiana and Sawyer said in unison. The man had a thick mustache peppered in grays below light, caramel brown eyes.
"I'm Mr. Williams, you're father's lawyer. May I first say I'm very sorry for your loss. Your father was a great man and you have my condolences." Kiana swallowed hard.
"Thank you." She said quietly in the large space.
The man began rummaging through his briefcase until he came upon a worn, large yellow envelope. It was closed with the metal tab along the top. Mr. Williams slid it across the table and Kiana huffed out a breath of disbelief. Her father's messy script was plastered on the cover, broadcasting her first, middle and last name. Kiana ran her hand along the top, letting the feel of the tattooed ink run under her digits.
"I think everything inside is self explanatory. I'm only the messenger. But if you have any questions you can tell my assistant and I'll be happy to answer anything. Nice meeting you." Mr. Williams stood and reached his hand across the table. Sawyer and Kiana shook it warmly.
Soon Kiana and Sawyer were alone. She couldn't get herself to open the envelope. Her fears were set on the enigma inside. The power over her emotions relied on its contents. Her palms grew sticky under the oak table and she could see the wetness leaving its mark.
"Kiana?" Sawyer cooed. He too could feel her slicked palms in his and her pretty golden face was blushed in grey. He stroked her palm a bit to revive her. Kiana didn't reply, but instead removed her hand from Sawyer's so she could open the thick packet. She took out the sheets of paper inside first. The one on top of the pile was a handwritten letter.
Hey nana, it's your daddy.
You're my #1 girl, so of course I left you all my stuff. Take care of my record collection! I have money for you in a vault at the bank in town. That money is for school, ONLY. Don't you do anything else with that money Kiana—school ONLY. The house is yours to do whatever you'd like. I understand if you need to sell it, that's fine with me. I have a phonebook in my sock drawer with Ohio family inside. Make sure you get a death certificate so you can get the insurance money too. Use that for funeral arrangements.
Honey, I don't know how the hell I died, but I'm sorry I did. I love you and I never want you to feel alone in this world. Your mother and I are watching down on you with smiles on our faces... as long as you stay your ass in school.
Kiana hadn't shed a tear. She put the note on the table emotionlessly and moved on to the next document in the pile. It was a copy of the house deeds. A key was in the bottom of the envelope and she could only guess it was to the vault. A number was branded on its rubber handle. Kiana looked at Sawyer as he skimmed over the letter.
"Ready to go?" She asked normally. He nodded with an uncertain appearance and Kiana stood up and out of her seat. She gathered the folder and led the way back to the car.
Kiana looked at the digital clock on the other side of Sawyer's sleeping body. It read 3:24 AM. She hadn't even realized so much time had gone by since she and Sawyer called it a night. She stayed motionless so Sawyer would go undisturbed but her mind was moving frantically. She couldn't explain the feeling within her, but it wasn't one of grief. It felt as if she was finally at peace now that she knew her father was too. She never knew there was a stomach jerking twinge of sadness in her core until it was no longer there. The presence of angels around her was apparent, even as her head rested on a pillow at the break of dawn.
She had always known her dad was unhappy. Despite what had happened, and where he was mentally, Kiana knew he was aware of what situation he was in. He knew that life wasn't meant to be lived in a bedroom with people carrying you to a toilet. He was miserable and now he was no longer in that state of depression. He was contentedly walking in heaven with his beautiful brown bride by his side. Kiana couldn't stop the smile pulling at her lips. She wouldn't cry for her father—he'd never want that. He'd want her to celebrate his life and show her how much she appreciated her own. Starting with her college degree.
She looked up at Sawyer and couldn't believe how good he had been to her. He'd driven her all over the state of Rhode Island. Kiana had managed to get funeral arrangements together, gather a death certificate, speak to a life insurance consultant and retrieve the 75,000 dollars her father left for her schooling. The unknown savings pile was a surprise to her, but a pleasant one at that. She'd no longer have to worry about pinching pennies each semester, and she'd hopefully be done with all her student loans. Sawyer offered to help Kiana pay for the tombstone, as that had been the most expensive item in relation to the funeral. But Kiana purposed she see if his help was needed before she accepted.
Sawyer shifted a little beside her and Kiana allowed her eyes to drift toward him again. She would've never guessed he'd be such a great consoler. Kiana could see he was anticipating the moment where she'd burst out into tears, but it wouldn't come. She didn't think she'd ever mourn the way anyone would expect. When a loved one becomes a casualty and that casualty alters your life, a piece of you secretly is prepared for the worst. Even if you're hoping for a miracle, you still know reality. Kiana had come to terms with the reality long ago.
A loud beeping noise sounded in the room and Kiana jumped a bit. Sawyer groaned awake and turned to shut off the side alarm. Kiana looked at the clock in doubt; it was 6:30. Sawyer turned to her and the dim morning light shone on his skin. Kiana looked out the window and into the center of the sun which she hadn't noticed was rising. Sawyer ran a hand over her forehead and down her crown. His upper half was supported by his elbow and he gazed into her eyes from above.
"You okay?" He asked, massaging her scalp gently. Kiana sighed and nodded simultaneously.
"You didn't sleep." He stated, pushing his eyebrows into a tight line. Concern filled his eyes and Kiana averted her gazed momentarily.
"Are you working today?" Kiana told him silently, glancing at the clock. Sawyer wrapped her knee around his waist and flipped onto his back so Kiana was lying onto his chest. He could feel her melting into his shape and a moan of relaxation fled her lips. He knew she'd fall asleep soon.
"Don't worry about it." He whispered in response.
The next time Kiana was conscious again, she was in bed alone. The rising sun was now setting and the room was dark. She padded out into the living area and could hear faint talking coming from somewhere. Sawyer's bare back was outlined in flexing muscles and deep cuts under his cute little freckles. A phone was up to his ears and he wore cotton sweats.
"I got a call a few hours ago from the funeral arrangers and they confirmed Wednesday at 1." He was speaking gently. The other person must've just agreed because they began to wrap the conversation up.
"Alright, we'll see you—" He cut his sentence short. A few more seconds passed until he spoke again, this time his voice was much more saddened.
"Yeah, she's doing well... much better than you'd expect." He replied. Kiana felt weird listening in on his conversation while she was the topic. But it warmed her heart to hear him speak in such a voice in regards to her emotional state.
"Okay, see you soon." He hung up the phone and pivoted around. The phone was still in his hand and his eyes were glued to it. Kiana noticed the booklet in his opposite palm that his thumb held open.
"What's that?" She asked softly, scaring him the slightest bit. He captured her eyes and put the phone down.
"I—I went and got your dad's uh, phonebook." He replied cautiously. Kiana was relieved. She wasn't ready to step a foot into that house, let alone rummage through his things.
"Thank you. I appreciate everything." She said, gesturing toward the phone. He had been notifying long distance family about something she should've done the first second Nicolette had called her with news her dad wouldn't wake up from his nap.
"It's nothing, honestly." Sawyer just wanted to be there for her. He didn't want her to feel like she had to be strong, or try and do everything on her own. She was sleeping so peacefully; the first snore he'd ever heard exit her lips had been that afternoon. It hurt him to know her mind was hindering her from getting rest.
"I think I called everyone that would answer. Those who didn't, I left a message." He told her. Kiana shifted on her two feet and crossed her arms over her chest. The baggy sleeves of Sawyer's thermal were helpful in the process of warming her arms. Although her bare legs weren't as lucky.
"Stop thanking me. I did it for myself just as much as I did it for you." He needed to take up opportunities to help. He'd go insane from an unpronounced guilt if he sat by and held her hand until everything was over. That wasn't how he operated, especially not with Kiana. She nodded silently. An awkward stillness fell over them as Sawyer wondered if he was too harsh on her. But shit, he really hated when she treated him like a friend.
"I got you Chinese." Sawyer announced. Kiana turned around and saw the paper bag idle on the counter.
"I'm not hungry, tha—"This time she cut herself off. Without anything else for her to say, she went back into the bedroom to hopefully continue her lengthy nap.
Kiana and Sawyer pulled up to the church. There were few cars parked outside because Kiana wanted to get there 45 minutes early to make sure everything was in place. She stepped out of the VW. She'd worn a knee length black wrap dress over black stockings and black flats. Sawyer was a black button down tucked into deep grey slacks. He escorted Kiana up the steps and into the church. The choir was already seated and warming up at the start of the room. There was one woman wandering through the pews.
"Good afternoon." She said. She wore all black and had short blonde hair. Her smile was warm, a bit too warm for Kiana's tastes. Maybe it had something to do with the man on her arm or even the fact that she didn't have to burry a loved one a few hours from then. Either one, Kiana wasn't feeling her bubbly attitude.
"Hi." She said simply. Sawyer on the other hand didn't see the purpose in giving the woman a cold shoulder.
"Good afternoon." He replied. Kiana busied herself with looking the church over. Her eyes found the open casket and she could go nowhere else. She stared at it, wishing her feet could bring her closer.
"Here's the obituary." The woman said, handing Kiana a copy of the obituary she made a few days ago. It was a thick paper folded down the center. A picture of her dad was vivid on the cover, right above his name. His date of birth and date of passing were there too.
Kiana had no idea why she didn't respond. She just stepped away from the two of them and slowly made her way down the aisle. She could feel everyone's eyes watching her. The choir, reverend, woman and Sawyer were waiting for her reaction. She couldn't get there fast enough, the church seemed 2 miles long in length.
When she finally made it to the start of the room, she smiled. Her dad laid peacefully in the cushioned bed of eternity. She ran her hand over his stiff cheek, taking in his appearance. His long lashes were perfect. He always had few wrinkles, but he looked so young then.