Font size: - +
Finally, Lily was in the care of the paramedics, taken from the dorms and rushed to the docks. Luckily, there was an emergency boat used for cases like this. The mainland wasn’t far and the hospital was right by the shoreline. It would have been no different if we were in any given neighborhood. Her room was closed off thereafter, but I was permitted to grab the painting and take it to my room.
I couldn’t become hysterical, not yet. The police were quick to find me and interrogate me. What did I see? When did I see it? Did I know Lily had any intention of self-harm? Were there any precautions I took to make sure she didn’t try anything? The moment that question was asked, Yukio took my hand and took me back to my room. I was glad he did; I wasn’t going to have the conversation circle back around to somehow blaming me for what happened…not that I could say it wasn’t.
Once alone in my room with Yukio, an hour or so having passed, I placed Lily’s painting off to the side and collapsed on my bed. My head was killing me; everything happened too fast or so suddenly, I couldn’t process any of it. Yukio wrapped an arm around me, comforting me to the best of his abilities. I had never been so grateful to have someone like him in my life. I had no tears left to cry, so I just stared blankly at nothing.
“…I know it would be a stupid thing to ask, but---.”
“I’ll be fine,” I interrupted, but with a much harsher tone than I had anticipated. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to…”
“Don’t worry about it,” he assured me, squeezing my shoulder gently. My heart began to beat faster, maybe even sipping a beat in the process. “I’m here for you, Saige. Just know that.”
“…I’m glad,” I mumbled. “I’m sorry for---.”
“Don’t apologize. If I wanted to ditch you, I would have done it by now. Your drama is my drama now, okay?”
I chuckled to myself, but it didn’t last long. “I guess it is, isn’t it?” My phone went off in that moment. When I checked it, I saw it was Mia. Right, she wouldn’t know what was going on just yet, would she? She was checking, making sure we were still wanting to meet up since we were running late.
“Do you want to?” Yukio asked. “Maybe we should call it a night.”
“No. We need to take this opportunity to get some answers. I would rather take advantage of Mia’s willingness now than risk her going back.”
“Are you sure you’re able? I can go alone if you need the time to yourself.”
“I want to be there. Besides, I don’t think I can be alone right now…not now.” I glanced over at the painting Lily left for me. I didn’t know what to think of it. Of all things…she planned to use her final moments to do that? A manifestation of her final emotions.
Finally, I could sense the aura of the artwork. Anger, hopelessness, fear, loneliness, pain…and so much more. It was a pool of the darkest emotions any human could feel and then some. I never imagined Lily could produce something like it, but I also never thought she was able to do what she had done just to stay in school…she did it all just so she could pursue a privileged education…she didn’t deserve this.
I couldn’t be alone in that dorm, especially in my room, with that painting. “Let’s go,” I told him. He didn’t say anything else, but simply nodded. We got up together and left the dorm. There were students scattered about, talking amongst themselves about what had transpired. They noticed me, talking further. I could hear them.
While some admired my heroism, others just wanted to know what happened exactly. A few kept silent. I passed Rachel and Felicity. They looked worried, Felicity even attempting to run to me. Rachel held her back. Elliot was there as well, but he maintained a distance as he spoke on the phone. Maybe it was with Henry.
Regardless of all of them, Yukio and I continued about our business and walked to the art building. Yukio walked close to me, I could feel him brush against me every so often. Whether he wanted me to or not, and I hoped he would tell me if he minded, I took his hand and held it tightly. I needed the comfort for all it was it was worth.
He was warm, inviting, and exactly what I needed in that moment. To both my relief and pleasure, he held on tightly as well. I guess I had to accept that we were in this together until the end. Between the paintings, Lily, Haruka, and Levi? There was no way we could pretend we weren’t connected in some way. Even if the glaring fact that we were practically strangers loomed over us, it didn’t seem to matter anymore. I just needed a friend.
We arrived at the art building after several minutes. Before we could approached the front door, however, we saw two figures blocking the entrance. Yukio and I drifted to the side to remain out of sight just so we could see who they were. It was dark by the time we made it there, thus their faces were difficult to see. But their voices were recognizable the moment they began talking.