Cornelia Street: Haze
The days pass in a haze, now. I don’t remember my mornings or evenings. But I do remember memories of brown hair and eyes, of time spent kissing in the backseat of cars, drunk on love and happiness. We thought nothing could ever go wrong.
It’s all gone now.
Everything is gone.
Aelin makes her way through the hallway as the bell stops ringing. It’s packed with kids and teachers alike, all sending frustrated glares to the people around them.
Aelin is used to it by now. Used to the loud chatter of the popular kids and the indignant hum of the other ones below them in status.
She feels more than hears Lysandra approach her cautiously.
It pisses her off.
Everyone is always speaking to her in these soft voices, like she’s some sort of baby who doesn’t know what ‘death’ means. They’re always asking her if she’s okay and how she’s doing and watching her carefully like it’s only a matter of time until she explodes.
Well it is. Only a matter of time, because Aelin is so pissed. She just wants it all to stop, wants people to stop treating her like a ticking bomb.
Lysandra asks, “How are you doing, Sweetie?” Aelin doesn’t answer. She never does when that voice is used.
She hears Lysandra sigh mournfully and feels a twinge of guilt. Lysandra is grieving Sam, too. Aelin could be a little nicer.
But nobody is walking on needles around Lysandra, because she wasn’t in love with Sam. She loved him, sure. But she wasn’t in love with him. Not like Aelin was. Not like Aelin is.
Because, of course, she still loves him. Even after 5 months, she can’t stop choking up whenever he’s mentioned or she thinks about him.
Aelin closes her eyes and breathes deeply through her nose, tears gathering in her eyes. But not falling.
Five months. Five months since Aelin got the call from the hospital, five months since Sam’s time spent in a coma ended. Five months since Uncle Gavriel had to restrain Aelin as she screamed Sam’s name as they pulled the plug and he died peacefully.
Sam had always said he wanted to die adventurously. Like falling off a cliff he was just about to bungee jump from or some freak zipline accident.
Dying peacefully in bed had never been on his agenda. Unless he was dying peacefully next to her, he’d always said. He’d said he’d give up every single dream and fantasy if only he were next to her.
Aelin supposed the initial cause of his death was adventurous enough. A drunk driver came flying down the highway on the side of the mountains and didn’t stop even though Aelin was in the middle of the road.
So Sam pushed her out of the way. The car hit him head on and he spent three months in a coma. Aelin still went to school during those three months, going to the hospital every afternoon and talking to him, telling him when he got back she’d take him for ice cream and kiss him until he couldn’t breathe.
When they pulled the plug after he went brain-dead, she stopped going to school. Uncle Gavriel didn’t make her keep going, so she spent the next two months locked up in her room, only occasionally showering and eating because she was always a clean person that was unwilling to let herself get dirty.
As Aelin enters her last class for the day the bell rings obnoxiously. She sits in the back of the class and zones out, no longer caring about listening or taking notes like she used to. Sam used to tease her for taking notes, saying she was always so precise and clean; saying he loved her for that.
Now she’s lost yet another quality he loved about her. Aelin knows Sam would be disappointed in who she’s become. But she can’t stop.
She can’t stop having nightmares about the truck getting closer to her and then his arms pushing her out of the way. Nightmares about the last look he gave her, it took her a few months to remember what those last moments looked like. But now she remembers, it was a sad smile and ready eyes. He had mouthed ‘I love you’ to her before closing his eyes. It was his final goodbye to her.
Most of her nightmares are of the hospital though. They’re from a different person's perspective, seeing a young sixteen-year-old girl sob and scream until her voice turns rough. Then the person gluteus their head to see a beautiful young man with dark brown hair take his last breath. His eyes are closed and doctors have already left the room. He’s alone.
Uncle Gavriel had soothed Aelin that day at the hospital while she sobbed, but he had had tears streaming down his face as well. Everyone had loved Sam. He was kind and beautiful and generous. Everything Aelin was not. She had always wondered what Sam had seen in her. She was objectively beautiful but she hadn’t seen any redeeming qualities in herself. Nothing compared to the pure kindness of Sam Cortland.
Aelin thinks of him before she goes to sleep and wakes with his eyes a burning hole in her mind. She can’t stand to look at pictures of him, so the nightmares are the only place she can see him anymore.
After school, she goes to the cemetery where he’s buried. Aelin easily finds his name-his tombstone-because of how many times she’s visited.
Tears make their paths down her cheeks as she whispers to Sam, hoping he’s listening in heaven. “I’m sorry I failed you, Sam.”
This is a new Rowaelin High School AU idea I had! It’s inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Cornelia Street” hence the title! It’s a little sad right now (cried while writing it! 😢) but it’ll get better!
Let me know what you think!!!
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