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sugar, we're going down

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“You ready for this?”

She closed her eyes and took a breath. In and out, nice and slow, as if she had any more deciding left to do. “I think so.” As if she had any other choice.

“You scared?”

“Yeah.” Barely a whisper, then. She kept her eyes closed.

“It’s alright, Olivia. I’m scared too. But we’ll be right beside each other the whole time. Best friends forever, right?”

A hand on her own, cold and clammy.

“You said it. Best friends forever.”

She finally opened her eyes. Liberty was looking at her, teary-eyed but smiling all the same. She was beautiful, like a star burning bright before it extinguished for good.

“I’ll go first, okay? And then you follow. Think of it like...I’ll be there to welcome you home.”

She laughed. “You think Satan will let us have two stories and a white picket fence?” Liberty rolled her eyes, which made her laugh harder.

“Ugh, I’ve had enough of white picket fences to last me an eternity. Give me stuffy inner city lofts or give me death – wait.” A glance over the bridge’s railing. “I guess we know the answer to that, huh?”

And then she was back to crying. Great. “I’ll miss you, Liberty.”

“I know.” One leg over the railing. “But not for long, right?” Two legs over the railing.

“No.” A hand on her own. “Not for long.” A kiss on the knuckles.

“See you soon, Olivia.” A deep breath.

“I’ll see you soon.” An empty space.

“I really don’t know any more than that, officer. She told me she had something to do before she went home, said she’d catch me later. Then I walked home alone.”

“And that was the last time you saw her?”

Her voice caught in her throat, so she nodded instead. The officer didn’t seem to notice her silence, just frowned slightly before writing something down in his notepad.

Last, he’d said. It still hadn’t sunken in yet. Liberty was gone. She was never coming back. And it was all Olivia’s fault.

A new officer was standing in the doorway. He barely spared a glance at Olivia. “Sorry to interrupt, sir, but the preliminary came back.” The officer sat across from her muttered a small give me one moment please before standing up to meet his colleague. They stood outside the not-quite-latched door talking quietly. She still managed to catch most of the conversation.

“No signs of foul play. No verdict on drugs yet, but she wasn’t attacked. She likely either jumped or fell. Did the, uh – her friend tell you anything?”

“Says she doesn’t have the slightest clue.”

“The mother thinks she knows something. You get that feeling?”

“Hard to say. We don’t have anything to hold her, though, and it’s not looking like anything’s gonna turn up.” There was silence for a few seconds. “You go break the news to the mother, I’ve got to send this kid home.”

“Got it, sir.”

And then he was sitting across from her again, smiling like he hadn’t just told his colleague she was a suspect in the death of her own best friend. “Well, Olivia, you’re free to go. Your step-mother should still be waiting out front.”

“Thank you, officer.”

“Give me a call if you remember anything else, alright?”

“I will. Thank you, officer.”

She saw the other cop talking to Liberty’s mom in the lobby. They made eye contact over his shoulder before Olivia quickly bowed her head. She wasn’t quick enough to miss the woman’s furious whispers, though.

“That bitch killed my daughter, I’m certain of it.”

“We don’t know that, ma’am.”

I know it. And you’re just going to let her walk free?”

“There’s no evidence against her.”

Wow, these floor tiles were fascinating. When the fluorescent lights hit them just right...Dirt encrusted linoleum was a good look for them. A lot better than the grieving rage of your dead best friend’s mother.


The car ride home wasn’t much better. Her step-mother didn’t say a word, hardly even looked at her. Probably too busy thinking about all the rumors she’d have to dodge at work to actually care that a girl she knew was dead. Probably just waiting for it to blow over, like she did for all of Olivia’s “outbursts.”

It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. She’d spent the past ten years of her life being blamed for her mother’s suicide, now she’d spend the rest of it being blamed for her best friend’s as well. All because she didn’t have the courage to go with them.

She was born a coward and she’d die one, too. Just not fucking soon enough.