Viscaria

By @UnmaskedDreams

Viscaria

By @UnmaskedDreams

When tragedy strikes, the hardest part of moving on is learning to forgive yourself.

Chapter 24

Incandescent

Incandescent — “intensely bright, brilliant”

Five months after camp

       “Congratulations on graduating with honors, Lyss,” Ellen greeted as she followed Alyssa to the kitchen.

               Alyssa grinned at her as she pulled out ice cream from the freezer. “Thank you.”

               “Your parents told me you’ve already been accepted to medical school,” she told her.

               Alyssa nodded as handed a bowl of ice cream to Ellen. “I have. I start next month. I’m thinking of pursuing psychiatry.”

               “Kade would have been a brilliant doctor,” Ellen said, sadness in her eyes.

               Alyssa smiled sadly. “He would have been a wonderful paediatrician.”

               Ellen studied her. “You are not doing this because of Kade, are you?”

               “A part of it, yes,” Alyssa admitted. “But, this is my way of remembering him. This is my way of making sure his memory lives on.”

               Ellen smiled, tears in her eyes. “Thank you.”

               “Hey, Alyssa, your mom said –“ Will froze as his eyes fell on Ellen, his knuckles turning whit as he crushed the bouquet of viscaria in his hands.

               His eyes never wandered from Ellen’s and he swallowed hard. “Good evening, Mrs. Cruz.”

               Ellen briefly glanced at Alyssa before smiling warmly at Will. “Good evening, Will. It’s good to see you again. How are you?”

               “Good, Ma’am,” Will answered formally, still tense.

               Alyssa moved quickly towards Will and exchanged the bouquet of viscaria for a bowl of ice cream. “Thank you for the flowers.”

               He smiled softly at her. “Congratulations.” He set the bowl of ice cream on the kitchen counter and turned to Ellen. “Mrs. Cruz, I would like to apologize –“

               “I’m going to stop you right there,” Ellen said firmly. “You have nothing to be sorry for. My son made his own decision.”

               Will swallowed hard.

               Alyssa slipped her hand into Will’s and laid her head on his shoulder in a comforting manner.

               He gazed down at her with an emotion she hadn’t seen thrown in her direction for a long time.

               “Well, I will leave you to talk,” Ellen announced with a knowing smile.

               Alyssa smiled at Ellen.

               Ellen pinned Will with a hard stare. “You better take care of this young lady. I’ve only just begun to see the light in her eyes return. And they’re brighter than they have ever been before. I don’t want to see that light disappear anytime soon.”

               Alyssa blushed.

               “I will,” Will told Ellen solemnly. “I promise.”

               For brief moment, sadness was alight in Ellen’s eyes before it disappeared when she smiled. “I believe that’ all Kade would’ve wanted. That’s all we want.”

               Will met Alyssa’s gaze. “That’s all I want, too – to see the light in her eyes grow brighter.”

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