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Authors: Therese McFadden

Tags: #friendship, #drama, #addiction, #death, #young adult, #teen, #moving on, #life issues

Chasing William

BOOK: Chasing William
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Chasing William

 

by Therese McFadden

 

Smashwords Edition

 

Copyright 2012 Therese McFadden

 

IBSN-
9781476224527

 

Smashwords Edition, License
Notes
This ebook is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this book with
another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or
it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to
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the hard work of this author.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author
acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various
products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used
without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized,
associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing William

by: Therese McFadden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my “William,” gone but never
forgotten.

 

 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

 

 

 

 


Storm clouds are ahead, but
every cloud has a silver lining.”

Have you ever actually sat down to think
about fortune cookies? I don’t mean the cookie itself, although I
guess you could get into some pretty serious discussions about
whether the cookie or the wrapper has more flavor. I’m not sure
which one would win. I normally just throw away both. Fortune
cookies are kind of like people, in the sense life is like a box of
chocolates. “It’s what’s on the inside that counts” to borrow the
line my mom always likes to use (one which I’m fairly certain she’s
contractually obligated to say through the fine print in her parent
contract). This is the truth behind the fortune cookie. To a world
that doesn’t know any better, it’s just a foreign little dessert
that comes with Chinese food, but to the trained fortune cookie
connoisseur it’s much more than that. Fortune cookies are like a
box inside a box present; you open the thin cellophane wrapper and
think you’ve arrived, but actually, the real present is inside the
cookie. It’s a glimpse into your future. Just like when you wish on
a shooting star or sprinkle on fairy dust, you have to believe it
will come true before it works. Don’t get me wrong: fortune cookies
aren’t for wishing on. They won’t make your dreams come true no
matter how hard you try. Instead, the fortune gives you a glimpse
down your path, tells you what you need to do to make the dream
come true, or gives you some advice or foresight about problems in
the future. Almost like a detailed and accurate magic 8-ball. Some
fortune cookies are better than others, but I’ve seen their magic
work enough to know it’s true.

Chinese food was a thing we shared. We’d
discovered the truth of the fortune cookie together after months of
experimenting, and then used it to stay together when we had to be
apart. I knew well enough to never throw away a fortune, so I
collected them in a box on my desk, pulling one out whenever I was
looking for an answer to a question I couldn’t solve.

The fortune cookies stopped talking to me
the night he died. I hadn’t even officially found out he was dead
when I knew. I just had this feeling. My dad had brought home
take-out for dinner and when I opened my fortune cookie the slip of
paper inside was blank. My dad said it must have been missed in
quality control at the fortune cookie factory (or wherever fortune
cookies come into being), but I knew something was wrong. The next
morning the cop came to the front door to break the news. Three
weeks before I was going to start my senior year of high school the
fortune cookie failed me.

His name was William and he’d been my secret
boyfriend. Not so secret at first, but a painful freshman break-up
with the “bad boy spiraling out of control” had made any future
relationship forbidden. I probably should have listened, but never
having taken a risk in my almost-over adolescence left me thinking
it was about time. So I followed the magic of the fortune cookie
only to find myself at a dead end.

I wasn’t sure what to tell my parents so I
just went to the funeral alone. If there was ever a time to tell
the truth about a relationship this was probably it, but it didn’t
seem right. I wanted to be a little selfish with my memories of
him. Not telling people seemed like one last secret we could share.
At least that’s what I told myself to keep away the guilt gnawing
at the inside of my stomach. Everyone except William himself would
think I was nothing more than that bitch who dumped him freshman
year when things started to get bad. He was the only one who could
prove it was something more, and without that I’d just look like
someone using his death to get attention. I went because I knew it
was the last time I’d ever be able to see him. Screw what the other
people thought. I was doing it for him.

I took hours to get ready that morning. I
tried five different hairstyles before finding one I thought he’d
like the most. I tried on every black dress, skirt, and top
combination I had in my closet. Nothing looked good enough. It was
the last time we’d ever be together. The last time we’d ever be in
the same room together. I had to live up to that. I had to look my
best for him. At least that’s what I kept telling myself. It seemed
to make things easier somehow. Thinking about the funeral as my
last chance to be with him really helped to calm my nerves. It also
gave me the courage I needed to go. I wasn’t doing this for anyone
else. I wasn’t even doing it for myself. I was doing it because I
knew he’d want to see me one last time (at least I hoped he did). I
settled on a dress, a hairstyle, and after another hour of decision
time, make-up and shoes. I felt like I looked as good as I possibly
could. All for him.

Everyone knew who I was the second I told
them my name. I guess I hadn’t been as much of a secret to his
people as he’d been to mine. His mom was the nicest. I thought
she’d hate me, but she kept giving me hugs and telling me to be
strong. It meant a lot to be acknowledged as a real part of his
life. At least someone knew what he meant to me. The longer I
waited, though, the less possible it seemed for me to tell my
people. My parents probably figured it out for themselves, but it
was everyone else who wouldn’t understand. I hadn’t told my friends
about the secret relationship and letting everything come out at
the same time as the news of his death would just make me look like
I was starving for attention. I kept hoping someone would ask me
about him, but no one else noticed. I told myself all my friends
were too busy with family vacations and college visits to notice
but eventually someone would come around. It was easier to believe
than the truth, that no one cared. It was a harsh reality knowing
William was dead but the rest of the world was still turning.

I’ve spent the last few weeks picking up as
many extra hours at work as I can get. I just want to stay busy and
out of the house. Whenever my cell phone rings I think it’s him,
whenever I get on my computer I check to see if he’s online. Just
all of these ridiculous little rituals I realize there’s no point
in wasting time with anymore. Of course it’s just the universe’s
way of kicking me when I’m down. I can’t even turn to my fortune
cookies for help. It’s like the magic only worked with him. Even
though I’ve been trying to stay busy (and this generally keeps me
around people in some sense) I’ve never felt more alone. I’m not
sure how I’m going to face school tomorrow. I guess I just have to
pretend like nothing’s wrong. I should be going back excited about
senior year, talking about colleges, and getting ready to leave
high school. Excitement doesn’t seem possible. None of it seems all
that important now.

My room has become my sanctuary even more
than ever. It’s a safe place to cry without being constantly
bothered or hearing my mother whisper “I just don’t know what to
do.” Like anyone expects her to be able to fix this. I just want
some time to process on my own, to make sense of things, but
there’s always someone mouthing “grief counselor” over my head like
I don’t know what’s going on. William’s dead and unless all these
people with my “best interest at heart” can bring him back I wish
they’d shut up and let me grieve.

The only thing that really seems to help is
Facebook. I know how strange that sounds, usually all Facebook is
good for is wasting time, but it’s keeping his legacy alive. I can
go on his profile and still hear his voice in a bizarre kind of
way, and that’s something I wouldn’t give up for the world. All
these people have been posting goodbyes on his wall, and I tried to
join them, but everything I have to say to him seems too personal
to let the rest of the world read. Not to mention I have something
new to say to him every day. One goodbye just isn’t enough. Instead
I’ve started a new ritual to replace all the ones I lost when he
died. Every night I get on Facebook and send him a message about my
day or about one more thing I wish I’d said when he was alive. It
helps.

I get ready for bed and look at my packed
backpack for awhile. I still don’t know what’s going to happen at
school. Everything seems new all of sudden, even things I’ve done
every day for years. Like my life started over the day he died. I
guess that’s another symptom of grief, how I think about time has
changed. Instead of thinking of it as my senior year, I keep
thinking of it as the first time I have to go to school after
William died. It doesn’t really matter how I think about it in the
long run: tomorrow will still be here in a few short hours.

 

To:
William Davis

Message:
Hey Will! Nothing really
exciting happened today. Spent a lot of time missing you. Have to
go back to school tomorrow. I’m not really sad about the summer
being over. I’m actually looking forward to a change of scenery.
I’ve just been overanalyzing what’s going to happen with people. I
mean, you not being here anymore is the biggest, most life-changing
thing that’s ever happened to me and yet I don’t even feel like I
can tell my friends. How do I just act like nothing changed?
Everything changed. You always gave me good advice. You were
probably better at helping me make decisions about my life than you
were at making decisions for yourself. Can you send me a sign about
what I’m supposed to do? That’s what ghosts do, right? You send the
people you love signs to show them you’re okay and help them get
back on the right path. Where’s my sign? Oh well, sign or not, I
love you. Miss you too.

 


A journey rarely starts at the beginning.”

 

I leave for school early because I’m
nervous. It has been awhile since I’ve been around my friends and
I’m not sure how it will be now that everything changed. There are
a lot of different friend-groups in high school and that’s not even
counting the cliques. There are the groups who are only in it for
the status, the groups bound together by love of a common sport or
hobby, the groups who travel together and will probably be friends
forever, and then there are groups like mine. We were substitute
people, plain and simple. We’d found each other freshman year
because none of us could find a place anywhere else and for awhile
that was enough to keep us close. As the semesters went on and the
future came to meet us the group started to fracture. We realized
there weren’t many common interests, our goals weren’t shared, and
when it came to college we would all start to go our separate ways
anyway. Staying close didn’t seem important anymore and we’d all
drifted into our own worlds over the summer. Still, these were the
best friends I had, so I force myself to believe I could trust them
with the pain of losing William. I have to believe they’d
understand.

BOOK: Chasing William
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