*** author’s note: Hey everybody, no, my computer woes aren’t over yet, but more on that at the end. I’m popping in to let you know there is a character I briefly have speak under the assumption you recognize him – which most of you wont because it’s been a million years – but his name is Drew and he was briefly in Chapter 13 if any of you would like to refresh, if not, this note should suffice :3 That is all~ Enjoy~ ***
3:01 p.m. | Bayside Academy
Aislyn hears the sound of the school bell ringing behind her, indicating the day was over. She had arrived at the designated meeting spot earlier than planned and decided to kill time by waiting on one of the swings near the school grounds. Maddie and J.D. had yet to appear as promised, and as the sky begins to show signs of incoming rainfall Aislyn decides she might as well see if she can find Mackenzie on her own.
She makes her way up the steps as some kids file past her to head towards their cars and busses. Maddie had mentioned Mackenzie preferred to stay at school for as long as possible, so Aislyn knew it was unlikely that she was among the kids rushing out. Aislyn figures the library is as good a place as any to start searching. She spots a sign telling her it’s located on the second floor and immediately begins ascending the steps.
As she rounds a corner of lockers near the top of the stairs, Aislyn bumps into a boy who was making the same turn in the opposite direction. “Sorry, are you alright?” She asks as she reaches an arm out to steady him. “Yeah, I’m fine…” The boy was considerably shorter than she was, and when he raises his face to meet her eyes, he sucks in an audible breath. Another boy who had been walking with him also stares at her oddly intensely. “Mind pointing me in the direction of the library?”
“Huh?” The boy she bumps into asks, belatedly realizing that she had spoken. “The library, which way is it?” Aislyn repeats with an amused smile. The blond on her left answers, “You’re heading the right direction; just continue to walk down the hall and you can’t miss it.” “Thanks.” She says. Neither boy shows signs of moving, and so Aislyn awkwardly sidesteps around them and departs for the library, confused as to what had the boys so dumbstruck.
“Dude, she– ” “I know.” Drew interrupts, “I know…”
Aislyn eventually sees large double doors at the end of the hall; she pushes them open and finds herself in a decent sized library. A red haired girl, who appeared to be doing homework, rises from the table she was seated at and approaches Aislyn after hearing her walk in. “Hello.” She says excitedly.
“Are you lost?”
“No, I came here hoping to find someone.”
“Oh, who might that be?”
Aislyn hesitates before answering, “Mackenzie Davis.” The smile on the girl’s face falters. “Why are you looking for her?” She asks, and Aislyn wonders what kind of image Maddie’s sister has among her peers. “Well, that’s between me and her.” Aislyn says.
When the girl doesn’t say anything more, she sighs, “I’m a… family friend. I really need to talk to her.” After narrowing her eyes in suspicion, the girl eventually cedes, “She’s over by the computers.” “Thanks.” Aislyn says, wondering why she was reluctant to share that information.
Aislyn walks deeper into the library and spots a single student typing away while a librarian shuffles books on the shelf behind her. She pulls out the closest chair, and takes a seat.
“Are you Mackenzie Davis?” From gazing at the girl’s side profile alone, Aislyn had no doubts that she was Maddie’s sister; there was a strong resemblance in her features, and she had nearly identical hair.
“Yeah, I am.”
“My name is Aislyn; I was wondering if we could talk.” Mackenzie takes her eyes away from the screen for a brief moment to look at Aislyn before returning to her typing. “Have we met before?” She asks. “No, but–” “Then I don’t see what we could possibly have to talk about. Sure you don’t have me confused with someone else?”
Aislyn wasn’t sure what she was expecting, but the current cold front she was receiving wasn’t it. She realizes it probably would’ve been a good idea to go over what she was planning on saying to Mackenzie ahead of time. Since what she needed to do was fairly important, Aislyn glances around to make sure no one is in earshot before deciding to share a portion of the truth.“Look, I know it’ll probably sound strange, but–”
Suddenly Maddie and J.D. appear before her, the fact that they are holding hands doesn’t go unnoticed. “About time.” Aislyn says. “What is?” Mackenzie asks, still keeping her eyes on the computer. “Nothing.” Aislyn feels some heat rising to her face as she’d forgotten herself for a moment.
“Being late is my fault, I’m afraid.” J.D. says with a smirk. Aislyn shakes her head, making sure to refrain from slipping and speaking aloud again. “Don’t tell her anything about me or the fact that you can see me.” Maddie says. Aislyn tilts her head in confusion, Why? She mouths. She knew it probably would’ve sounded crazy, but she didn’t see how she could do what she needed to without sharing some details with Mackenzie. “Because if she knows I’m here, then she’ll want to talk to me and I don’t want to tease her with something impermanent and leave her again. Please, just do what I asked you to and nothing more.” Maddie says grimly. Aislyn can tell that her decision was one made after much deliberation, and nods, not wanting to make this harder than it probably already was.
Beside her, Mackenzie turns to look at her slightly angrily. “Are you planning on lingering around here all day? Because I’m more than happy to move if that’s the case.” She says as she shuts off her computer and rises to leave. “Wait!” Aislyn says as she rests an arm on Mackenzie to halt her. “I’m sorry, let me try this again.” She says. “I’m a friend of your sister’s.” Mackenzie scoffs. “Sure you are.” She says with an eye roll, “I don’t have a sister, not anymore.” “I know, I’m sorry for your loss.” Aislyn says. She glances briefly at Maddie whose expression was unreadable.
“If you really were a friend of hers, you would’ve said that much sooner… Do you know how many years it’s been?” “I do, and again, I’m sorry.” Aislyn says. “Is that all you know how to say? Sorry? I don’t know what your deal is lady, or how you found me, but I won’t ask you to leave me alone a second time, so please leave.” Though her voice was fairly even, the slight shake in Mackenzie’s hand lets Aislyn know she is holding back some emotion.
She looks at Maddie again hoping something she can say will help. “I used to call her Kenny.” Maddie says with a sad smile, she takes a brief pause before continuing “She was obsessed with that show that had a talking bird that was a pilot, Captain… something. Everyday I’d wait outside the elementary school to pick her up with a different pastry I’d buy from a corner bakery; her favorites were the jam filled cookies.” Maddie’s voice begins to falter as she goes on, and J.D. strokes the back of her hand with his thumb.
Aislyn hopes relaying the information will get Mackenzie to trust her. “Your sister used to call you Kenny, right?” She begins. Mackenzie’s hard stare softens just a bit, but she remains seated with her fists clenched in silence and Aislyn continues. “She told me that you used to really enjoy a TV show, that had a bird–” The corner of Mackenzie’s lip twitches as she attempts to suppress a smile. “Captain Canary? I haven’t thought of that show in years.” She says as she lowers her gaze, her mind seemingly drifting elsewhere, and her previously tight hands relax. Aislyn is hoping the last tidbit of info is enough to win her over.
“Do you remember her picking you up after school with a different pastry each day?” Aislyn asks. Mackenzie returns her eyes to Aislyn’s, all traces of her anger nearly gone, and nods, “Yeah, I do. My favorites were–” “The cookies filled with jam?” Mackenzie’s expression is one of pure shock. “How did you know all that?” She asks. “I told you, I was her friend.”
“And my sister told you all of that?”
“She did.” Aislyn says. Mackenzie nods, and Aislyn sees Maddie visibly relax in her peripheral vision. “Okay, I’m interested in hearing what you have to say now.” “Great. Why don’t you gather your things, and I’ll explain on the way.” “On the way to where?” Mackenzie asks. “The bank.”
4:47 p.m. | Sunny-Side Federal Bank
“Davis… Davis… Davis… Ah, yes. Here it is. Box number 626. I’m assuming you have the key?” The bank employee, a Mr. Patel, asks, after conducting a search on his computer. Aislyn nods, pulling out the silver key Maddie had made her retrieve earlier.
Once she and Mackenzie had left the school to set out towards the bank, Maddie and J.D. had opted to watch them from a considerable distance; if Aislyn couldn’t vaguely sense their presences she’d have thought they’d had disappeared altogether.
“Excellent.” Mr. Patel says as he pushes some more buttons on his computer. “And I’m assuming neither of you are a Mr. Rodrick Bell, who is the first person listed as the emergency designation with access to the box. So that leaves Ms. Mackenzie Davis.” “That’s me.” Mackenzie says, wide eyed. Even though Aislyn had explained they were going to pick up something Maddie had left behind for her, Mackenzie must’ve still had some doubts until this moment. “Right, then. Follow me…” Mr. Patel says.
Maddie had mentioned, back when J.D. brought her to Aislyn’s Oldmerrow home, that she had a safety deposit box in which she put several things she wanted to make sure Mackenzie received, without disclosing what those things were. They open box 626 in tandem with a bank guard and find a manila envelope and some velvet pouches inside. The latter were filled with various pieces of jewelry, while the envelope contained a copy of Mackenzie’s birth certificate and a passbook. Mackenzie stares at the contents in disbelief and gazes at Aislyn in a daze as she places the items in her backpack one by one…
5:39 p.m. | Eagle Lane
After finishing up the business at the bank, Aislyn offers to walk Mackenzie home. “I still can’t believe it.” Even after holding the items procured from the box Maddie had left in her name in her own two hands, Mackenzie felt the need to express her disbelief every few minutes. “If you and my sister were so close, how come I’ve never seen you before?” Mackenzie asks. “Did you know all of the people in your sister’s life?” Aislyn counters as they stroll along the roads slick with the rain that had now ceased. “I guess not.”
“You don’t know what this means to me.” Mackenzie continues when Aislyn remains silent, “I’m aging out next week.” “Aging out?” Aislyn echoes. “Of foster care; I’m turning eighteen and once you become an adult you basically have to set out on your own. It’s not easy; homelessness, unemployment, and some shady habits are the common outcomes.” “That’s… pretty rough.” Aislyn says.
“Yeah it is… So how did you know her, my sister?” Mackenzie asks. “I met her in high school.” Aislyn says, “She was witty, confident, and a great source of strength to me for a while.” “That sounds just like Maddie.” Mackenzie says with a smile so wide Aislyn feared she’d split her lips. She was beginning to understand why Maddie didn’t want to interact with her sister directly. The fact that Mackenzie was this happy hearing sheer memories of Maddie would mean she would be ecstatic to know she could talk to her, only to be crushed that she wouldn’t be able to for long.
Mackenzie gets lost in her thoughts once more, and they continue on the road in silence. The break in conversation gives Aislyn the chance to glance around, and she begins to recognize the neighborhood they were entering. It was known for having a high crime rate a decade ago when she had lived here; taking a look at the decrepit buildings, unkempt lawns, and defiled walls around them, Aislyn had a feeling not much had changed in the time she’s been away to change that fact.
“This is where you live?” She asks. “Mmhmm.” Mackenzie answers. “I’m sorry I was kind of mean to you earlier. One of the things you learn living out here is to always keep your guard up.” “Don’t worry about it.” Aislyn says with a sad smile.
“I guess this is goodbye.” “It doesn’t have to be.” The words escape Aislyn’s lips automatically, and she is slightly surprised in herself. Mackenzie looks at her excitedly, and Aislyn can feel Maddie, who had maintained her distance, now standing much closer somewhere behind her.
“I know I’m not your sister… and I’m not saying I could ever do the things that she would’ve done for you, but if you ever need someone to talk to, or anything else, I’d be more than happy to help in any way I can.”
“You really mean that?” “I do.” Aislyn says. “Even though my foster parents do the best they can, with so many mouths to feed, and not enough to fill them with, it’s not like we’re being showered with attention, you know?”
Aislyn turns around and looks at Maddie, wondering if she really planned on leaving without relaying a goodbye to her sister directly. She appeared to have the intent of saying something now, but as she opens and closes her mouth with no sound escaping, it was clear to Aislyn that she was struggling with formulating what exactly to say.
“You know…” Aislyn begins, turning back to face Mackenzie, “I bet if your sister could see the lovely young lady you’ve grown into, she’d be proud.” “I am.” Maddie says in a choked whisper; Aislyn continues, “I believe she wouldn’t want your future to be something you struggled with, which is why she had those things stored away: to help you go out and chase our dreams when the time was right–”
Aislyn’s words are interrupted by Mackenzie rushing up to give her an unexpected bone crushing hug. “Thanks for saying that.” Mackenzie says, trembling slightly as she does so, indicating to Aislyn that she was crying.
The fact that there were people facing far worse plights around her made Aislyn feel guilty for stressing over little things. She envelopes Mackenzie in her arms, planning on holding her for as long as she needed to until the young girl had let all of her pent up sorrows out.
6:17 p.m. | Bayville Cemetery
“Well, I guess this is it.” Maddie says. “I can’t thank you enough for doing all of that for me.” Aislyn shrugs, “It was nothing.”
“It was harder for me to articulate the things I wanted to tell my sister than I thought, but you saved me that trouble as well.”
“I’ll be sure to keep an eye on her.”
“I didn’t want to burden you by making you responsible for her, but I cant express how much that would mean to me.” Aislyn gives Maddie what she hopes is a reassuring smile, she didn’t have any siblings of her own, and wasn’t particularly experienced in dealing with kids or teens, but hoped that she’d be able to be a figure Mackenzie could rely on going forward.
“And you.” Maddie turns to face J.D. “I think you already know how I feel without me having to say anything.” “I do, but you could stand to mention it again.” J.D. says with a smirk. Maddie drops her head and gives a small laugh. “I suppose I can. Thank you, for making these last few weeks special.”
J.D. walks forward and intertwines his fingers with Maddie’s. They gaze at one another without words and Aislyn feels like she’s intruding on something private; she diverts her attention elsewhere to give them a moment. When she hears them pull apart, after their embraces and kisses, she rejoins them.
Maddie nods at both of them in turn and whispers a last thank you before disappearing with that all too familiar light, leaving J.D. standing with his hands gripping the air. This particular goodbye was more heart wrenching than all of Aislyn’s previous ones had been, which she expected since the only other ghost she had opened up to aside from J.D. was Maddie.
Despite not having seen her in years, the pain Aislyn was feeling at saying goodbye to her, knowing she wouldn’t be coming back, was greater than she anticipated. She turns from Maddie’s resting place and looks at J.D. who was now looking at the waters beyond the cemetery, and the thought that there would eventually come a time in which she would lose J.D. like that felt like a physical blow.
The crushing realization causes tears to pool behind her eyes, and Aislyn blinks them back. She didn’t want to cry in front of J.D, especially since he was definitely feeling much worse than she was and doing a good job of hiding it. “Come on, let’s go.” J.D. says with his usual lopsided grin. Taking a good look at him as he walks towards her, Aislyn becomes certain J.D. is masking his emotions for her sake, the exact same thing she was trying to do for him.
As they make their way to the graveyard gates, rain clouds that had caused the disappearance of the brief sunlight begin to empty. Aislyn tilts her chin towards the sky, letting some of the tears she’d successfully kept back spill out, hoping J.D. wouldn’t be able to discern them amongst the raindrops that now clinged to face.
Thanks for reading! Look at me not posting on a Friday/weekend; I’m making progress. Sorry for another somber and slightly lackluster chapter, Maddie is officially gone </3 I’m still working through my computer issues, and have had these screenshots lying around from before in case you were wondering. I initially wanted to take more bank shots, Maddie goodbye shots, and finally introduce those characters I’ve been meaning to, but since it’s already been nearly a month since my last post, I can’t wait around forever and decided to post this though I’m very dissatisfied with a lot stuff. *sigh*
Thanks for all of your advice/help/suggestions on my last S.O.S post, I’ve managed to get the game running but now have this message pop up when I open any save file:
I thought I’d managed to remove the corrupt CC, but I might’ve taken out more than I should’ve and my game is confused. I’m hoping it is something I can easily fix, but I need to allocate more time for it, which I didn’t have this week. So, please bear with me some more. In the meantime, feel free to let me know what you thought, though there isn’t that much to dissect here.