* 10: Goodbye My Love *
It would be over a year until anyone would find out that Courtney would receive life in prison without parole for first degree murder. Jack, who fell prey to Courtney's persuasions and black mail, would receive 25 years to life for being her accomplice.
But, it was still a year before that and today was the day for Christina's funeral services. The snow had again fell the night before, leaving the cemetary in a glistening white blanket making it almost look like heaven itself. It had been flurrying almost all morning as the temperature stayed in the 30's. The only good news for the day was that it was supposed to be their last snowfall in a long time.
The church was only a few feet away from the cemetary as mourners gathered around the stairs and in the snow. More people had shown up than expected and they ended up filling all the pew's, lined the walls and the vestibule of the church.
Everyone took turns saying something about Christina. Her mother and father, Maddie and many other family and friends. JC was the last to stand beside her coffin. He looked at the picture of her that sat on a tripod and then looked to everyone in the church.
"When I moved here almost a year and a half ago I never thought I'd meet someone like Christina." JC started with a quivering voice as tears welled in his eyes. "Most of you probably don't know much about me because I was only with Christina for about 6 months. And you all probably wonder how we were so important to each other in that short amount of time. I gave her everything of me. I gave her myself, my love, my house, my business and my ring." he added as he held up the engagement ring that he gave her. "The first time I looked in her eyes I knew she was the one that I wanted for the rest of my life. She felt the same way because we knew we were ment to be. I have never felt anything like I had when I was with her and I didn't want to let go." JC let a tear drop as he took a deep breath. "Our life together had just started and now I have to let go. I have to let go of something that I love so much and that emptiness in my heart will burn in me everyday." He paused one last time as he looked to Maddie who was wiping away her tears and then looked back to the coffin and put his hand on it. "I love you, Christina. I always will."
Everyone took turns paying their respects as the coffin was lowered into its lot beside Christina's brother. JC didn't know most of the people that were there but he did get to say hello to Lance and Joey and also to Kelly, Abbie and Joni who kept to themselves in the background without causing any more pain to anyone.
As everyone started to make their way home, JC and Maddie stayed behind as they filled the lot, just so that they could hold on to her somehow and linger around a little longer. After a little while they were both alone in the cold, silent, white cemetary.
"I'll drink that Panther for you tonight Christina." Maddie said softly as she layed her rose down on the fresh dirt.
"So what are we gonna do now?" JC said into the cold air.
Maddie stood back up and turned to him. "We are going to be very lonely."
JC looked to her with sullen eyes. "You probably feel worse than I do. You lost Chris and now Christina. Jack was one of your best friends. You've known them all your life and in one way or the other you have lost all of them."
"Now all I have is Justin and he is never around anymore. His rich, snobby fiancee and her family is now where he belongs." she paused and looked to JC. "And you are going, too."
"Well, just for a little while. I'm gonna stay up home and get away from here for a bit. But, I am keeping my house here and I do need someone to house sit while I'm gone." JC smiled a bit as he hinted to Maddie.
"Oh, no, I couldn't take care of that house by myself plus I don't have that much money to keep up with the bills. It's a lot more upkeep than an apartment." she shrugged off the idea but was actually interested.
"I can send you money for the bills. That's no problem. Plus, I don't feel like dragging the dog along with me and I don't really want to give her away." he paused after she didn't say anything. "Please, Maddie. You could have the whole house to yourself and the dog can keep you company."
"I dunno, JC. I mean, I would feel weird since it was Christina's house."
"It'll be fine and I'm sure Christina would be happy if you took care of Asia for her." JC added as he started to slowly walk away from the grave.
Maddie followed still unsure of this new proposal. "I'll have to think about it."
"You can do it Maddie." a voice called out from behind them.
Maddie and JC turned quickly to see Christina standing by her headstone. She was as white as the snow but her face was like the color of a peach.
"Christina?" Maddie asked as her mouth dropped.
"Oh my God!" JC said after her.
"Please take care of Asia for me. I know she misses me and you would be good company for her."
"Uh, um, okay." Maddie studdered, not sure exactly what to say.
"Chris told me to tell you that he still loves you and to be strong." she smiled. Maddie looked away quickly as the tears instantly tugged on her heart.
"JC. Come closer." Christina said in her angelic voice.
"Christina?" he said, still not believing that he could see her. As soon as he was close enough she placed her transparent hand on the side of his face. He shuddered under her touch. He could feel her warmth as if she were actually there physically. It was her touch that he missed and longed for, if only he could keep her like that forever.
"JC, I can't stay too much longer." she said as her eyes gleamed into his. It pained him that he couldnt touch her back but knowing he could feel her was enough.
"Christina, don't leave again. Please." he pleaded as he let a tear drop.
She looked at him consolingly as she placed her other hand upon his face. He breathed out hard, making a cloud in the air as her touch he craved so long invigorated him. "You know I can't stay."
He sniffed lightly as he looked beyond her eyes. "I know. Unfortunately, I know."
"I will always be with you. I'm sorry that I can't be with you physically. It aches me to know that I can't. It hurts me too. More than you know."
"I know you will be here. It's just hard to understand because you're not really here." JC replied.
"It'll be okay, I promise. Things will get easier day by day."
JC didn't respond right away but thought back to when he thought her saw her during the investigation. "Was it you that I saw in the mirror that day and did you leave my initials in the bathroom mirror?"
"I tried to let you see me but I wasn't strong enough to stay long enough yet. And, I did leave a J and a C on your mirror but it wasn't your initials."
JC looked at her strangely. "It wasn't?"
Christina stepped away from him slightly. "No. The J was for Jack and the C was for Courtney."
JC looked away for a second in disgust. "I'm sorry, Christina. I didn't even realize."
"It's okay. That is why I helped Lance find the bracelet. It was the only thing that could help to finding the truth."
"And the candle. I knew that was you." he smiled lightly.
Christina smiled back but didn't say anything more on the subject. "I have to go now."
JC sighed once more. "I understand."
Christina leaned into him and kissed him with her transparent lips. To him the touch was warm and it was real. She melted into his lungs as he breathed in leaving his chest in an icy tingle. He could feel her inside every part of his body.
She broke away quickly as the light surrounding her grew weaker. "I love you, JC."
"I love you, too." he said softly as she disappeared.
"C'mon, JC, we should get going." Maddie finally spoke from behind him as she stayed silent to let him have some time with Christina.
"Yea, we should." JC replied as he turned around. With silent smiles they joined hands and walked together down the lane back to the church.
* Through Christina's eyes on the other side *
As the last snowflake falls for a long time I watch them walk away. With closure in his heart I can finally smile for the first time in a long time. I feel much lighter now. The burden of the snow no longer holds me down. I feel so free that I could fly away. I still long to stay with him but now this is my home and I can accept that. I'm so happy that Maddie could see me. I wish to laugh with her like we used to. She can be rest assured that I will join her for that drink tonight.
As I watch them drive away from the church I can feel myself becoming an angel. I can feel the warmth in my body that I missed for so long and I can see Chris now which makes me so happy.
I can feel JC's love surround me and I know he can feel me, too. His thoughts envelope my mind and I can always be linked to him no matter where he is. I can see him smile and I know he can hear me.
Yes, I know you can hear me, JC. I will always be with you. No more tears now.
Goodbye my love....goodbye.