A Sacrifice For Friendship
by DS Bauden
"Where the hell are they?" I screamed in frustration.
We arrived to Billy's home, if you wanted to call it that, and found it vacant for the most part. I didn't see any sign of Annie or Billy. There wasn't even a trace that they had even been there at all.
"Now what?" Betsy asked.
"I'm not sure. Where did they usually hang out?" I inquired.
"Well, Billy usually liked to hang at Forest's. It's a bar on Sheridan not too far from here. We can go over there and see if anyone's seen them. Sound good?" She suggested.
"Yeah, let's go. Anything sounds good right about now. I'm really worried about her. What time is it?" I asked as she checked her watch.
"It's a little after one o'clock. Don't tell me you gotta be somewhere." She said with her hands on her hips daring me to say yes.
"No, I just don't want her with him too long, is all." I lied. I knew that if I didn't get to her by 10:44 P.M. Annie was going to die by Billy's hand, or by his driving, I should say. "Where's this Forest's anyway, are we close? Can we walk?"
"Yeah, we can walk there. Let's go." She started off.
"I'm with you." I trailed after her.
We jogged up Sheridan Road looking for Forest's Bar. All I could think of was, 'Forrest Gump has a bar?'. I knew she wouldn't get the joke so I didn't let it out.
"There it is, Frankie. I don't see loser's truck, either." She slumped.
"Doesn't matter, maybe someone has seen them. Let's go inside." I offered.
"K." She followed.
We walked into the dive smelling nothing but stale beer and smoke.
"Gee, I think I'd like my wedding reception here." I said sarcastically.
"Don't say that too loud, someone might take that as a marriage proposal." She laughed.
"Ew. I don't even want to think about what kinds of creatures come here." I grimaced.
"No kidding. There's Barney, I think he actually owns this place. I can't believe someone would be proud to say that out loud." She smiled and motioned over to a heavy-set man wearing jeans that were too tight with a red flannel shirt and a slipshod beard. He was sitting at the bar with a crony of his. He was absolutely the ideal man to run this establishment.
If you want to call this an establishment. Yuck.
"Hey, Barney, right?" Betsy attempted to get this man's attention. He mustn't have heard her since he made no movement at all.
"Hey buddy! I gotta thirsty lady with me!" I tried my version of the script.
"Yes, ladies, how may I help you?" He drooled, as he looked us up and down. I thought I was going to lose it.
Count to ten, Frankie. He's just your average scumbag.
"I was wondering if you'd seen Billy and his lady, Annie today?" Betsy tried.
"Billy? Who's that?" He suddenly became stricken with amnesia. He looked at his buddy and started laughing. I lost the few patience I had left.
"Look you fat fuck! I need to find Annie and you are going to help me! Got it?" I hissed in his face.
"Or else what?" Oh he asked for it now. I grabbed him by the top of his shirt and looked into his eyes with the iciest glare and the most feral smile I could form with my lips.
"Or I'll stuff what little balls you have left in that blender over there and make you serve them on ice! How's that for an or else what?" I could hear him audibly gulp and felt him nervously adjust under my grasp.
"I... I saw them about a half-hour ago. He threw back a few while his girlfriend bitched at him about some punk named Frank." I smiled at this news. "I guess the bitch cheated on him. I'd a slapped her ass around too!" He shot off. That earned him an elbow in his gut and I grabbed his throat by his shirt collar.
"What do you mean, too? Did he hit her in here?" I spit through my teeth as I held on tightly to his throat.
"It's not like she didn't deserve it. She cheated on him!" He argued.
"And how many times has he cheated on her?" I spat back as if it really mattered. "You know what? Don't answer that, just tell me where they went." I snarled.
"I don't know. He didn't say. He just grabbed her and they took off." He said quickly.
"If you are lying to me I swear to everything holy that I'll make good on my threat." I said through gritted teeth.
"I swear!" I could see the perspiration on his brow telling me that he was telling the truth.
"Well do me a favor, if they come back, you tell Billy that Frankie was here." He looked at me with a new awareness. "That's right, Annie's Frankie. You tell him that I'm looking for him and if he's done anything to her, I'll kill him with my own hands. You got all that?" I shook him as I finished.
"Yyyyeah... I got it." He sputtered.
"Good." I turned to look at Betsy who hadn't closed her mouth since this all began. "Close your mouth, Bets, you'll catch more than flies in this place." I said as I dropped the fleabag back on his stool and slung my arm around her shoulder escorting her out of the bar. I could hear Barney saying something under his breath about me being lucky he was in a good mood to his barmate.
"Jesus, Frankie!" She squeaked. "I almost peed MY pants in there. Where did you learn to be so intimidating?" She questioned.
"It comes with the 'Being Tall' instruction booklet. It's a prerequisite." I smiled at her awestruck face.
"God, it worked on me and it wasn't even directed at me." She breathed out.
"Well, that was a waste of time, but I do feel a little less tense. I should send Barney a thank you card." I smiled.
"Oh please, like he can read!" She laughed and I immediately joined in.
"Alright, Betsy. Where else can we look? Should we go to the café and see if she checked in at all?" I queried.
"Yeah, why not. Let's hope she at least called."
"Let's go." I said as we headed towards the diner.
We walked down Sheridan Road trapped in our own thoughts. We finally reached the diner after what seemed like an hour's walk. We opened up the door to the diner finding Doris taking orders at the bar.
I smiled at her and waved. "Hey, Doris. Have you heard from Annie yet?" I asked filled with hope.
"Yeah, she called about, what, fifteen minutes ago and said that she wasn't gonna make it since she was sick." She relayed.
"She was sick?" I asked again.
"Yeah. It ain't like her though. I think she's playing hooky with that boy of hers. She didn't sound too convincing. We like her though, so we let it slide." She weakly smiled.
"Any idea on where she would've gone today? Did she mention anything?"
"Well as a matter of fact she did leave me a message to give to you. I thought it was odd, but let me find it." My heart raced with the anticipation of what she could have said. "Here we go." Doris said as she found the piece of paper in her apron. "It says, 'Tell Frankie thanks for coming to the beach party I was filled from the keg to the core'."
"That was it?" I asked puzzled.
"Yep, that's all she said. She sounded like she was trying to whisper that part, so I may have written it down wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's what she said." She reaffirmed.
Betsy and I looked at each other and neither of us knew what the hell she was talking about. We had no clue.
"Well, thanks anyway, Doris. If you hear from her again, please call Betsy's room at Mertz Hall, ok?" I said while Betsy gave her the phone number.
"Maybe, she went back there. Let's go back to the dorm and see if anyone's seen her." Betsy suggested.
"Alright, we haven't done anything else worthwhile." I grimly stated.
"Come on, Frankie, we'll find her, don't worry." Betsy reassured me.
"Yeah, but will it be too late?" I said too loudly.
"What does that mean? Frankie, you don't think that Billy's really capable of killing her do you?"
"All I know, Betsy, is that ANYTHING is possible. Trust me on this one." I strongly said.
"Okay. Let's hit it. Bye, Doris." Betsy waved.
"See you later, girls." Doris said as she continued to help her customers.
I was trying to figure out what Annie was talking about in her message to me. It didn't make any sense to me at all. It was all I could think about on our way back to the dormitory.
"What the hell was she talking about, Betsy?" I asked again.
"I don't know, Frankie. You guys don't speak in some special code do you?" She smirked.
"Don't be a smart-ass. No, we don't. We hadn't reached that point in our relationship yet. That came today, apparently."
"We'll find her, Frankie. Have faith in your connection. You guys have a stronger bond than anything I've ever seen before." She touched my forearm as she spoke to me during our hike. "I've been Annie's friend for quite some time, and I have never seen her take to anyone the way she has taken to you. It's love, Frankie. I don't know if she's told you that yet, but if she hasn't, then it's coming soon. I can feel it. I guarantee it." She smiled.
"Yeah, she has." I shyly smiled. "I love her too, Betsy. Which is why it's making me crazy that I can't get to her. I really fear that Billy's gonna do something that's gonna be detrimental to the both of them." I explained.
We walked the rest of the way in silence. We went up the steps into the building and into the foyer towards the elevators. We walked up to the security desk and went to sign me in again. I noticed that Annie had signed Billy in.
"Bets, what time is it now?" I panted.
"It's after two."
"Fuck," I cursed under my breath.
I only have eight hours to find her before it's too late.
It appeared that Billy had been signed in about twenty minutes ago and that we had JUST missed them leaving.
"Dammit, Betsy, we just missed them!" I spazzed and looked at the security guard. "Hey, do you remember which way this guy and his girlfriend went?" I asked pointing to Billy's name.
Wait... isn't Billy spelled A-S-S-H-O-L-E?
"What is this, a daycare center?" He looked at me with indignation. "I have no idea. If they left here then they aren't my responsibility anymore." He stated complacently.
"I bet your supervisor would disagree since your badge says campus security, you pompous ass!" Betsy chimed in.
"Watch it, lil lady or I'll..." He was cut off.
"Or you'll what? Write me a ticket? Go on, and I'll slap a countersuit on you faster than you can eat that pastry. This IS your job to know if the people you are letting in here are safe enough to be in here. My friend happens to be in grave danger. Her boyfriend is crazy! Most of all he is probably high on something and drunker 'n hell and could quite possibly be trying to KILL her! Write THAT on your damn ticket!" Betsy shouted. I was very proud of her for sticking up for Annie like that. She was a good friend.
"Our elevator is here." I said trying to diffuse this situation between them without actually starting to laugh at this man's change in demeanor.
"Good. I was starting to get agitated down here." She glared at the security guard.
The doors closed and Betsy breathed out a long sigh. She looked up at me and smiled hugely.
"I did it! I was intimidating!" She beamed, obviously very proud of her accomplishments.
"Yes, yes you were. Good job. That stupid cop wanna-be was a real piece of work." I said.
"Yeah, but still he was intimidated by me!" She excitedly screamed.
I smiled and shook my head as we waited for the eighteenth floor to arrive. The car finally reached our floor and we walked out. We walked over to Annie's room and jiggled the doorknob again. It was still unlocked. This time the room had changed some. It looked like she had thrown some of her clothing around as if she was packing.
PACKING?!? Where would she be going? Where did you take her you bastard?
"What the hell? Is he kidnapping her?" Betsy asked. "It looks as if she was moving or packing or something."
"I know. I have no idea. He obviously was taking her somewhere. God damn it! What was she trying to tell me? I know there had to be something in that message from Doris! THINK, FRANKIE, THINK DAMMIT!!" I screamed at myself.
"Frankie, try to calm down. You are only going to add more stress to your head. Take a deep breath and let's try to piece together all of what she said to you." She soothed.
I took a deep breath and agreed. "You're right Betsy. I do need to calm down. I can't think when I'm like this." I took another couple of breaths and tried to again figure out her message.
Tell Frankie thanks for coming to the beach party I was filled from the keg to the core.
Betsy went to her room and grabbed two glasses of water for us. I graciously drank the offered liquid and let it quench my thirst. It felt great going down my extremely dry throat.
"Ok, let's break this apart." I began.
"Alright," she agreed and grabbed a pen and paper off of Annie's desk. "Let's write it down so it gives us something to stare at." She smiled and wrote down Annie's message. "Sometimes you have to have the puzzle in front of you for it to make sense."
"You're a very smart girl, Betsy. I totally agree. Now the first part is for Doris to tell me which she did. So let's forget about that part. Let's just focus on the meat of it." I suggested.
"Deal." She said as she pondered Annie's words again.
We sat this way for over an hour. The keg, the beer, filling her to the core. It didn't make any sense.
FUCK!! I'm starting to get really annoyed!!
Betsy could sense my agitation and got some more water for us. She also brought in some vanilla wafer cookies. She knew the way to a woman's heart. Sugar.
"Thanks, Betsy." I said as I checked the time on Annie's clock. "Shit, is that right?" I said pointing to the clock.
"Four fifteen, yeah." She confirmed after looking at her watch.
"Jesus, time is just not on our side, right now." I groused.
"Do you mind if I turn the radio on? This silence is making me a little uneasy." Betsy explained her request.
"Sure, go on." I said as she got up and turned on the small radio on Annie's desk.
Betsy started whistling as she sat close to me and I just looked at her hoping she got the message.
"Oops, sorry. I can't help it, I love Elton John." She said softly stopping all sounds.
"Yeah, me too. Annie told me she liked him as well. Where were we when that would have come up?" I thought for a second and remembered out trip together to the liquor store. "Annie was singing Bennie and the Jetts on our way to the liquor store. She had the most beautiful voice. I should have made HER sing at the bonfire."
"Yeah, she does. God, Billy was such a prick that day. I remember when she came back without you, he actually hit her in front of all of us. What a fucking dick. He was just trying to impress his friends at her expense, God I have such contempt for him right now."
As Betsy was retelling her story I almost came out of my skin.
"That's it! The beach party! The keg!" I started to stutter I was so excited. Betsy looked at me as if I was crazy.
"Frankie, what the hell are you talking about?" She asked confused.
"Annie and I went to get another keg for Billy and his friend, COREY! Tell Frankie thanks for coming to the beach party I was filled from the keg to the CORE! That's where Billy was taking her. To Corey's house!" I exclaimed.
"Jesus!! That's it!!" She excitedly said.
"Where does he live?" I asked hoping it wouldn't be far.
"Corey lives a little ways from here. He's not a student anymore, but he's fuckhead's best friend!" She added.
"Do you have a car, Betsy?" I kept my fingers crossed hoping she had one.
"Yeah, it's parked in the south lot. If we hurry we should get out there in about an hour or so." She stated.
"An hour? Where the hell does he live?"
"Western suburbs. I'll have to fish out his address from the directory. It's been awhile since I've been there. Billy used to take us all out there to party when Corey's parents would go out of town." She clarified.
"How juvenile." I sarcastically said.
"How Billy." She corrected.
"Touché." I answered as I watched her leaf through the same directory that found us Billy's address. "Is it in there?"
"Gotcha! He lives in Elgin. We just gotta jump on 90 and take it west till we get to Rte 31. I'll get us there, don't worry, Frankie. We'll get her in time." She reassured me.
"Let's hit it!" I said as I jumped to my feet.
"Let me grab my keys and my purse and we'll be outta here." She said as she went and grabbed the items from her room. "Let's go." She said as I met her in the hallway waiting at the elevators.
We jumped onto the expressway only to have the cars stopped bumper to bumper in Cubs traffic. God I hated the city sometimes.
"Fuck! We're not gonna get there for like three hours if it stays like this." Betsy whined.
"Isn't there another route we can take?" I asked desperately.
"No, unfortunately, this is the fastest way." She resigned.
"Dammit. Hopefully this will break up at the junction." I said filled with hope.
Hang on, baby, we're coming. Please hang on.
After two and a half hours on the tollway we finally reached Rte. 31 leading us to Elgin. Betsy maneuvered the car through the steady city traffic on the two lane road. She took a right turn on a dirt road and I immediately felt my stomach go into knots. We had to be close.
She turned left next to a small shed painted like an old red barn and pulled into the driveway.
"I do believe this is it. Let me recheck the address, but I'm almost positive, this is Corey's place." She said as she checked the directory.
"Time check, please." I said to her tapping her wrist.
"Almost seven thirty, God that took long." She breathed out.
"Shit, we don't have much time left." I said unknowingly.
"Frankie, is there something you aren't telling me? Time for what?" She asked.
"I just have a bad feeling is all." I lied.
I got out of the car and ran to the front door and rang the bell. I waited for a few minutes and rang it again. After no one answered I started to knock loudly on the big wooden door.
"Hello? Is anyone home?" I yelled.
Betsy had caught up to me at this time and started to look inside the windows to see if anyone was home. "I don't see anyone. Let me check around back. He's got a porch back there where we used to hang out."
"Ok, I'll keep trying up here." I said as she walked towards a large fenced in area. She opened the gate and walked towards the back of the house. I continued to ring the bell and knocked hard until I felt the skin on my knuckles start to rebel.
"COREY?! Can you hear me?" I pleaded to the door. I shook the handle but it was locked.
Please let someone be home... please!
A car pulled up behind Betsy's Ford and a familiar faced male came out of the car. It was Corey, if I wasn't mistaken.
"Hey, you're Corey, Billy's friend right?" I interrogated.
"Yeah, who wants to know?" He quipped.
"My name is Frankie, and I'm..."
"Oh, YOU'RE Frankie. I suppose you are looking for Annie." He said as he put his arms across his chest.
"Yes, Corey, I know you don't know me very well, but Annie's in danger, grave danger." I tried to sound convincing.
"Danger from what? Billy? You're crazy." She said as he pushed his way past me.
"Please, Corey, you have to believe me. I know for a fact that Billy's been drinking a lot today and he's probably been smoking some too. That's no way to be driving around. He could get them killed. I'm sure he told you about Annie and me, but still, think about the potential here. Your friend could die today." I passionately said the last part hoping to jar some kind of feeling from this doped up idiot.
"Gee, I guess I shouldn't have given him those J's for the road then huh?" He said as he was scratching his head.
"The road? Where were they going, Corey? Please tell me. If you have any feelings for your buddy, you have to tell me." I pleaded.
"Well the only reason he came up here was to get some dope from me. He scored what he wanted and he bailed back to the city. Something about taking that bitch of a girlfriend back to the scene of the crime. I don't know what the fuck that meant, but I knew he was pissed." He recalled.
I can only imagine the beach was the place in question.
"BETSY! Let's go!!" I screamed. "Thanks Corey, there's hope for you yet." I looked towards the fence and screamed again, "Betsy we're outta here, let's go!" I saw a glimpse of her running towards the gate. I opened it for her and we ran back to the car. "Bye and thanks again." I stupidly waved at the idiot waving back. "Fuck, Betsy, we have to make some serious tracks."
"I'm on it." She said as she pulled around Corey's car towards the street. She put it in high gear and screeched her way to the main road.
"Frankie, it's already after eight o'clock, if we hit any traffic going into the city we might not get there until around ten or so."
"Shit! Well we just gotta make sure WE get there safely. Go fast and I'll watch for cops."
"You got it." She said. What a team we were. I liked Betsy a lot. I wondered if she was still around in my time.
Note to self: look up Betsy Carter in phonebook.
Betsy drove east on 90 and traffic was pretty smooth until we started getting closer to the city.
"What is it with the traffic today? It's a fucking Monday for Chrissakes!" I pouted loudly.
"Oh shit, that's the problem, it's Memorial Day." A lightbulb went off in Betsy's head.
"OH FUCK! No wonder! God, I hope it's better than it was getting out of the city." I kept my fingers crossed.
"Let's hope. Don't bank on it though. This is the time when everyone comes back from the weekend out." She stated truthfully.
"I know. Let's just do what we can." I breathed out. I would rather run back if I knew it would be faster than this."
It was after ten by the time we got back into the city. I knew approximately where the accident was going to take place and when, I just needed to make sure it didn't happen. I needed to make sure that no one got hurt, and now that included Betsy.
"Betsy, I want you to do something for me. I want you to pull over and let me out here." I started to say pointing to the side of the road.
"Why? What's going on?" She asked a little alarmed.
"Nothing. I want to hang out by the diner and see if she came back or called. I want you to go to the dorm and see if they are in there. Can you do that?" I hoped her answer was going to be yes.
"Yeah, if I see anything I'll call you at the diner and you do the same if you hear anything. Here." She scribbled down her number on a matchbook and handed it to me. "Don't lose it, I don't want people to think that number is for a good time." I looked at her funny. "It's on a fucking matchbook, Frankie. It might as well be a bathroom wall!" She said outraged.
"Ok, Ok! I get it!" It took me a second, but I did get it. I laughed in spite of my anxiety and got out of her car. "Hey, one more thing, can I borrow your watch, please?" She nodded and gave me her wristwatch. "Thanks for driving all over the place, Betsy. I really appreciate it. You're a good friend. I'll talk with you soon." I smiled.
"No problem, Frankie. I'll call if I hear anything." She said as she drove away.
I walked into the diner and found Doris still there. "Thank God, you're still here. Anything more from Annie?"
"I was just on my way out. Ten thirty and I'm done! No, I haven't heard from her since this afternoon. You mean you haven't heard anything from her since then, either?" She asked with wide eyes.
"No, we've been on a wild goose chase looking for her and Billy. I think Billy could do some serious damage to her, Doris. I mean in the most extreme possible way." I stressed the word 'extreme'.
"You think that lil bastard would kill our Annie? Why would you think something like that?"
"Because he doesn't know when to stop drinking and driving and one day it's gonna be the death of him and anyone accompanying him. Literally." I spat.
"I see your point. Well I wish you luck in finding her. She's gonna show up, darlin. Don't you worry." She said as she patted my shoulder and walked towards the exit of the diner with me.
I walked back outside and started to walk down Sheridan Road. I knew I would see his truck drive by the campus, I just needed to make sure I could stop it in time.
God please let me be there in time.
Ten forty. God, baby, where are you?
My answer was coming all too quick when I noticed Billy's truck swerving down Sheridan approaching the campus exits. I ran into the street hoping that he'd see me and stop.
No such luck. He made eye contact with me from many yards away but I could see in his eyes that he wanted to hit me. I heard the engine of the truck accelerate and knew he wasn't going to stop. I waved my arms over my head urging him to stop when I saw Annie in the passenger seat grab the wheel just as his truck would have collided with me sending him and the love of my life into the oncoming lane.
It was like slow motion when the impact with the other car happened.
"Noooo!" I shrieked in horror as I watched the front end of the truck crumple from the violent contact it had made with the oncoming vehicle. The smell of burning rubber and oil fouled the air when everything became deathly quiet.
I ran to the truck to see Billy's smashed form against the steering wheel. There was blood all over his head. If I didn't know who he was, I never would've been able to I.D. him. I immediately ran to Annie's side and noticed that she had been thrown out of the cabin of the truck and onto the pavement. She was still somewhat conscious when I timidly approached her.
This was my fault. Jesus! This was my fault, she was swerving to avoid hitting me.
I saw her laying on the ground and I couldn't help the tears that started to bleed down my face. Her body looked so lifeless until she coughed.
"Annie!" I started out of my reverie. "Oh, baby!" I cried as I slumped down and held her bloody body to mine.
I felt her face burrow into my neck and then felt the tiniest of kisses being given to me. My breathing hitched as I felt the tender offering.
"I... love.. you... Frankie..." I felt more than heard Annie say. Those were the last words I heard her speak to me.
I lowered her head to look into her eyes just one last time. The beautiful green eyes that I had grown to love so much were now the loving brown eyes I had known my whole life. I rubbed the tears from my own eyes to make sure I wasn't seeing things.
I tried to speak, but I could not. I held the body that was my angel at one time, and it now belonged to my one and only true friend.
The hair and body were still Annie's, but the eyes were hers. I would never forget them as long as I lived.
I took several breaths after I realized she was smiling at me. The voice I thought I had lost returned in a meek childlike tone.
"Crystal? Is... is that you?" I couldn't believe the amount of tears pouring from my eyes.
"Yeah, babe, it's me." She coughed.
"Oh... my God... why? How... why... are you doing this?" I just couldn't understand.
"I told you once that if I could feel love, feel passion and desire just for a moment, that I could die happily. Well I have, Frankie. I knew as soon as I felt your love for Annie. I can feel it now within this body. It is the most incredible feeling I have ever known. This body is so tired." She almost whispered. I was crying at her words, because I now knew what she had done.
"You're leaving me, aren't you?" I sobbed.
"Yes, babe. I am. I told you I would tell you my plan when the time was right. Well, there's no better time than the present."
"Oh, Crystal." I clung tightly to her, knowing the double analogue of that phrase.
"Which reminds me. The present. You have someone waiting for you there. You need to go back." She smirked at me.
"What about..." I stuttered.
"Nonnie knows all about this. She helped me. When I told her that I wanted to take Annie's place she knew why I was doing it. I think that's why she asked you if you were willing to risk anything for Annie. She needed to know how important she was to you. She's okay with it, now. She wasn't at first, but she knows me and knew your worth to me. You have always been there for me, Frankie. Through everything, and for that I'll always love you.
"Nonnie knows this is going to be a strange transition since my physical form will still be there. Well most of it. Annie got to keep these." She motioned to her eyes and I smiled a weak smile at Crystal. "No one knows the spiritual realm like Nonnie and she knows that I'll never really be gone. I'll always be with you, Frankie. Always."
"Oh, Crystal. You are the most incredible person I have ever met in my life. I'll be forever grateful for this. I love you. I'll always love you."
"I know. Now go, they'll be here soon. I can hear the sirens. Go now. Please. Go to sleep, Frankie." She smiled one last smile before she lost consciousness.
"Crystal?" I cried and stared at the now closed lids of my best friend's eyes. "Thank you, Crystal." I sobbed and held her as long as my body could hold out. I could feel my body going into shock from what I had encountered. Dismissing all of the glares from the onlookers, I placed a final kiss on Crystal's mouth. I laid Crystal's lifeless form on the ground and rested my head on her shoulder one last time. I closed my eyes and said a prayer of thanks to the one person that knew me and loved me like no other.
Good-bye my friend.
To Be Continued...Part 13
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