If life’s supposed to be a fairytale; where was her happily ever after? Chloe let the hot tears fall down her face. He wasn’t ever coming back, he was dead and that was final. He hadn’t deserved death; if he had he wouldn’t have died at seventeen.
He had been Chloe’s best friend, big brother, enemy and the one she poured it all out to. They were one in the same. They fought because of their similarities. The only differences between Bentley and Chloe were size, gender and age. They had the same likes and character. The sad part was HAD.
“Are you okay?” Chloe lowered her eyebrows and continued to look at her knees. A shaking body and tears; was that even worthy of those three words? She wiped her eyes yet the tears were too fast to stop. She gave up and looked up to find the most beautiful, caring face ever. Her eyes were practically pulled to his. Behind his pure brown eyes was sincerity to his question. She quickly looked away and attempted to dry the tears.
She gulped and began to reply, “I don’t believe I know you?”
“U.S. History class, Presley Baker. I was a good friend of your brother.” His last sentence had been said in a shaky voice that brought her comfort. At least he knew the basis o her tears. Her eyes were still focused on his but they began to blur so she blinked and yawned to clear them. When she opened them he had sat down next to her and his hand was on her shoulder. She couldn’t feel his hand because of her shaking but she could tell they were strong by one look.
“Ohhh, may I ask as to why you are talking to me, not trying to be rude. I really appreciate it.”
“Well for one I hate to see a beautiful girl cry and I see the look behind your eyes. They used to be so clear and happy. Now they hold a mystery. They are clouded and troubled. I want to bring that happiness back to you. I know I can’t replace Bentley but I can be a friend and maybe even more later on.”
“I’d like that. I can’t promise to be a very good a friend although.” It felt as if she was smiling but she could tell by his face that she was still crying.
“I am sure you’d be a great friend…”
“I’m not so sure, after losing my best one…” The tears began to fall again and he put his hand around her waist. Chloe cried harder and leaned closer to him and felt him begin to cry. She didn’t protest him holding her. They both needed comfort after all. A little happiness couldn’t hurt.
Later that night, Chloe stared at the ceiling of her room: a room next to Bentley’s. His room was where she went at night when she lay awake from the tears. His bed, she could fall asleep in. Hers wasn’t comforting enough. His made everything feel so normal. She’d slept in his bed when he was away. Every memory flooded back now; the beach trips, the family events, staying up late to play video games, even mountain trips with him. Even his laughter rang in her ears. Every tear she’d shed for him numbed her a little more. Pictures of him hung in her room. It was her way to say she’d never forget him. It seemed as if everyone else had; except for her, Presley, and her family. Then again the tears blocked her from noticing anyone at her school; until today. It had only been four months; she didn’t understand how they could forget. Classes were no problem for her; she could control her tears there, at least enough to still make A’s and B’s. It was a result of her teachers’ pity mostly.
Bentley and Chloe hadn’t always been best friends. They’d once barely even spoken. Actually Chloe had stayed in her room and him in his. They’d barely associated. It had stayed that way until their parents divorce. They’d become friends after that, they’d gone from one extreme to the other; enemies to best friends. Now he was gone. She had no clue how to deal with any o this. Chloe also knew that she couldn’t let Presley get too close. If she lost him, she’d be far beyond lost.
Late that night Chloe sat in her floor, hand around her knees, gulping back the tears. Her wonderful brother had been killed instantly. Nobody had killed, nor had he killed himself. Some metal, some tires and energy had. The impact of the car to the tree had caused him to die. He died in the place of something else. He’d swerved to miss a deer. A DEER! He’d always loved animals. To a point where he’d died for one; of all the ones he’d killed, he’d chosen to die for one! If she was being honest, she was angry with Bentley. How could he do this? She’d heard that a deer could tear up someone’s car. WHO CARED?! IF IT’D MEAN HE’D STILL BE ALIVE! Chloe battled with the anger and once again let the hot tears all for about an hour. Then she broke down and lay on her cold floor, closing her wearing, burning eyes.
The light gave her a headache as soon as she opened her eyes. She began to sit up until a sharp pain in her back pulled her back down. “Ouch! Why did I fall asleep here?!” She rolled her eyes and laid there until she was bored, which didn’t take long. She stood to her feet slowly feeling the physical pain spread. She grabbed her phone and checked her messages. She saw one from a number she didn’t know. She opened it an all it said was ‘Hey how are you today? This is presley.’ A smile came to her face and she replied. ‘how’d u get my #?’ Chloe waited nearly five minutes with no reply.
She lay down on her bed and grabbed a framed picture of Bentley. His blue eyes held so much innocence. His light brown hair that he’d cared so little about, laid perfect. It was a perfect cut for his face. ‘How can he be gone?!?’ her thoughts screamed for an answer, yet there was only a buzzing. “MY PHONE!” Chloe screamed in a whisper. It was Presley again, a smile spread across her dead face. It read, ‘ 2 be honest, I stole it from your bro’s fone awhile back so I culd get 2 kno u cept I didn’t have the courage until I saw u hurtn.’ Despite the pain she felt; her face still held a smile. She was biting her lip gently now.
‘(: I’m gud, u?’ she replied carefully.
The reply came quickly this time. ‘nt tru. U r terribly lost in all this. U need to cheer up. I am here if u wanna talk. I want to cheer you up. Wuld u like to share how I can do tht?’
Chloe stopped in mid- thought. She no longer knew how for someone to cheer her up. ‘u already do that, without trying. I haven’t smiled since he died but I smiled as soon as I received ur txt this mornin. i didn’t even hav 2 try either. The smile just came. Thank you so much’
His next reply brought another smile. ‘Oh how I wish I culd c tht smile again. Everytime I saw u smile before it made me smile. I wish I could bring full happiness 2 u but I kno I can’t and I’m sorry. There’s a lot of things I wish I could do/ ask but I kno I can’t’
She replied as carefully as possible, ‘ ask away… you make me smile so hard, there’s a few things I wish I could say to you also.’
‘Would you like to be my girlfriend?’
A huge smile spread across her face once again. It was almost like he made her feel like she was someone again. She didn’t think about her brother near as much with Presley texting her. She had someone else to care about. ‘I’d love to be,’ after she sent the text she felt doubts fill her mind. Maybe he was just asking because he felt bad for her. It seemed like he was going to be her prince charming but didn’t prince charming usually mess up in all the stories?
She waited patiently for his reply. When it came her heart skipped a beat. ‘YES! You have no clue how long I have waited for this day, to be able to ask you that. I understand that you are hurting altho. I’ll try to ease that some, I’ll try as hard as I can. wht did u want to say’
‘r u sure u rn’t just askin’ tht cuz u feel bad for me? I feel lyk ur the prince charming I hav waitn for all of my life, I am aware how lame tht sounds but u askd.’
‘no of course not, I rly like u. I dn’t find it lame, I find it sweet, it sure made me smile anyway. I am sorry my wonderful girlfriend but i betr go. Cya at skool Monday.’
‘buhbye. Cya.’ Chloe couldn’t believe she’d barely thought bout Bentley the whole time she talked to Presley. She truly cared about Presley but she felt as if she wasn’t good enough for him and didn’t even deserve to be his girlfriend.
Monday came around and Chloe was actually excited to face the day. She got ready carefully; making sure her appearance was as near perfect as could be. She wanted to impress Presley. After the hour or so of primping, Chloe set out for school. When she arrived she glanced in the small car mirror and checked her appearance. Her eyeliner was a tad messed up. She’d run to the bathroom as soon as she entered the building. That went as planned and she touched up her eyeliner and removed the excess. She was ready to find Presley now.
The bell rang and she realized it was time to go to her locker and grab her stuff before her first class; U.S. History. She smiled wide and picked up the pace. Usually this class brought tears. History had been Bentley’s favorite subject. Now it brought a smile because that was where she’d see Presley. She had fallen head over heels over him, it was official. As she entered the classroom she scanned it for Presley. She saw him and there was a vacant seat next to him. She bee-lined to it and sat down avoiding the looks; a freshman girl sitting next to a junior boy was almost crazy. She didn’t care. “Hey, how are you?” he said when he noticed her presence.
“Pretty good, you?”
“I’m all right,” He said softly. Chloe didn’t know him totally well but she could tell by him voice that the all right really meant horrible.
She looked at him, eyes narrowed, trying to figure him out, “I don’t think so, what is wrong?”
“Well, I have a huge decision to make…”
“You don’t have to share or anything, but what would that decision be?”
“My parents are divorced. My dad wants custody now, so it’s up to me as to whom I live with. I can’t really choose because I love them both. But my dad wants full custody and mom is leaving it all up to me. I’d have so many opportunities in the sport region of life if I lived with him. He’s a coach for a MLB team.”
“That’s awesome! I don’t get it although, how is that a huge decision, seems pretty easy to me.”
“My dad lives in New Jersey and travels a lot.”
“NEW JERSEY?!?!?! This has all of a sudden become a huge decision!”
“Thank you! Now you know how I feel. What should I do?”
“Who am I to tell you what to do? We basically just became friends.”
“If I move, we’ll never see each other again and even though we just met, you are my best friend.” A smile overcame Chloe’s face.
“You are my best friend also; you have helped me so much. I really didn’t know how to live without my brother until you came along.”
“Well thanks that helped me a lot. I really want someone to just tell me what to do. How can I leave you now that you said you couldn’t survive without your brother?” How could I leave you, alone, to fend for yourself? Why’d you say all of that? Sheesh.”
“I AM SO SORRY. I didn’t mean to influence your decision. I was trying not to. Trust me, I want you to be happy and want you to do what you want to do, not as I say. Yes you are my best friend but I know it’s possible to survive without Bentley now, if I try.”
“Well I really don’t know what to do now. I really don’t want to leave you, but all the opportunities. I think I need a proper amount of time to think about all this. I only have about three days to decide. This is so difficult.” Class began before Chloe could reply. She could hardly focus although. She had lost her best friend, her brother. She had finally found a friend that didn’t think she was insane or crazy and he was going to leave her?
How could this happen? She attempted to focus on what the teacher was discussing, but the news made it nearly impossible. Beads of sweat glistened on her forehead. She’d always been the relaxed type, why was she suddenly sweating with the air conditioning on full blast. Nobody would understand why she was freaking out about someone she barely knew moving. She had lost everything she knew, she didn’t want it to happen again. She didn’t really understand, at all. She felt someone looking at her so she looked to her right and sure enough Presley was looking right at her with his eyebrows slanted. She gave him a nervous smile hoping he’d believe it. She yawned and pretended to stretch so that she could wipe the sweat beads off her forehead. He turned back to look at the front of the class. She hoped he’d believed her little act. A girl could wish.
The bell rang releasing all the students from prison, or as some would call it, school. Chloe breathed a sigh of relief because now she could go home and freak out in the silence of her room. She wouldn’t have to worry if Presley would see her and wonder what was wrong. I really hope he doesn’t leave me. Chloe paused on the sidewalk. Wait. He wouldn’t even be leaving me. We don’t have a relationship going on other than friends. Just because I wish we did doesn’t mean anything. He can leave me probably quicker than I could start crying about it. Chloe continued to convince herself that he didn’t care about her. He just thought of her as a friend and as a pity case. She should have seen this coming. Of course people would be nice to her. Her brother died. Presley had been his best friend he probably just needed someone to understand him. Chloe thought maybe she should be a little more understanding and nicer to him. He needed sympathy also.
Chloe pulled out her phone determined to text him first and simply say she was praying that he would make the right decision and that God would show him which to choose. That had been what she meant to do, but she never got around to it. She had a forward in her inbox that she decided to send him instead. It just said ‘you make me smile. Send this to everyone that this is true for.’ After she sent it she deeply regretted it but she didn’t want to send the other message now cause then she’d sound desperate because she’d just sent him two messages in a row, even though one was a forward. She simply convinced herself out of it. Maybe I’ll send it another time. Like as a good bye. She just left it at that and tried to divert her thoughts to a happier subject. Too bad it didn’t work and she began thinking about Bentley and how much she missed him.
Chloe arrived home and quickly dried the tears that had fallen unwillingly. She had no clue if the hurt would ever get easier. She knew she was supposed to give it all to God, but then again he had let her brother die. She didn’t really want to trust Him with something like this. She didn’t think He would even understand since he’d let him die and such. She couldn’t just explain how she felt about what He did.
She walked straight to Bentley’s room and looked around to make sure nothing had been moved. Nothing had even been touched. Her parents never came in here; a dirty sock still lay abandoned in the right furthest corner of his room. She wouldn’t dare move it. He had never liked anyone touching his stuff when he was alive. It was just hurt Chloe more if she moved it and didn’t get scolded by him for it, so she just left it.
She stepped out of his room and closed the door. She walked to her room and sat her book bag down. She ran over a quick list of everything she needed to do before school the next morning. She really didn’t have that much homework, yet she wished to complete it early. She sat down at her desk and pulled her book bag up onto her lap and started pulling out everything she needed. She tackled the math first. Math came pretty easy to her so she finished the problems in about ten minutes. She then grabbed her history book so she could read over what had been discussed in class since Presley’s news had caught her so off guard. She completed all her homework and plopped down on here bed to sort through some thoughts. Her phone still was in her pocket so she pulled it out. She was shocked to see Presley had sent her a message, actually two messages. One was the forward and another was a greeting. She quickly replied apologizing for taking awhile to reply. He said it was totally fine and all of a sudden her whole body relaxed. Her mind turned to mush and she went into a daydream about him. She imagined his eyes, his nose, his lips. Her eyes closed and she swore she could feel him lean into to kiss her, instead she felt a tongue lick her face rapidly. Her eyes flew open and she found her dog sitting there wagging his tail. She let out a laugh then blushed because she was ashamed of herself for even thinking about him that way. She picked up her phone from the floor, where she had dropped it when she had went to her own little world. She tried to control her thoughts and to have a normal conversation yet it was harder than it seemed. She set her phone on her night table and threw herself on her pillow. She let her thoughts wander and tried to relax.
Morning came too fast for Chloe. Everything annoyed her at six a.m. She sat up in bed, uncovered her legs and feet and walked across her room to stop the annoying music that was loudly playing on her alarm clock. She let out a sigh of relief when it stopped. She forced her eyes to stay open and walked back to the other side of her room to turn on the light. She looked in the mirror and her eyes widened at how messy her hair was. She assumed she probably needed to take a quick shower before school this morning. Maybe if I look presentable, Presley will decide to stay. Chloe made her thoughts stop, immediately. She knew how selfish that was to wish away his opportunities. She let out one last yawn before she went to take a quick shower.
It only took Chloe an hour to get ready and she thought she looked good enough to make Presley look twice or at least she hoped. She wasn’t even sure why she cared what he thought. He’d seen her at her worst. He’d found her when she’d had that break down at school. There was no way she could ever look worse than that; so he probably wasn’t expecting too much from her anyways. Chloe couldn’t remember the last time she had ever cared so much about what a boy thought. That probably was because she’d never liked a boy before. Well of course she’d had a little puppy love when she was in elementary school, but this was high school. It was a big deal. You didn’t just tell your best friend to talk to him for you; you actually had to face him. Chloe missed the simple days where there were no responsibilities or worries. It was always you just were friends or you weren’t. You didn’t have enemies or crushes and you most definitely never had to miss anyone because they were dead.
At seven thirty Chloe left for school. When she arrived, she frantically looked for Presley. She hoped to see him before class so she could actually have a conversation. Unfortunately, hoping did nothing for her. She had would just have to wait until class to see him. Luckily, U.S. History was second period.
Her first period class passed by slowly but when it finally ended, Chloe let out a sigh of relief. She practically ran to history. She claimed her usual seat and anxiously looked around for Presley. He didn’t take long to arrive. He sat down next to her and looked over. He had a worried look on his face. “What’s wrong?” She asked him.
“Oh nothing, just still haven’t made a decision.”
“Oh okay.” Chloe thankfully praised God for that.
“Now, class, no more talking. We must begin our lesson, unless y’all want homework.”
“Good, I need a good nap.” Chloe muttered in Presley’s direction. He smiled then looked back at the teacher. Chloe figured she would just have to wait to talk to him more.
Later came and the bell rang, releasing Chloe. She grabbed Presley’s arm as she left the room, determined to talk to him. “What are you leaning towards, like in your decision making?”
Presley turned his head to her, “Ohhh, I don’t know.”
“Sure you do. There’s always a choice somebody wants more than the other. What do you want to do?”
“I mean it’d be nice to go live with my dad, I could most likely get a scholarship in baseball that way. Then my way to college would be paid, but if I live with my mom, then I could stay with you. We could date, and I’d see you everyday. That’d be great. I mean there are pros to each decision. I guess, I don’t know what I honestly want to do.”
“Oh okay,” Chloe said disappointed that he didn’t want to stay with her as much as she hoped he was.
“I know what you’re thinking.”
“ I can read it on your face, you’re like an open book.”
“Oh really now? Then what am I thinking?”
“You’re disappointed that I haven’t made my decision. You want me to stay ,but you want me to the make a decision myself and you don’t want to influence it, yet you already have. You wish I was leaning towards staying here, because then that’d mean I couldn’t bear to leave you.”
Chloe’s eyes widened because of how exact he was. That was exactly her thought process. How could he even know all that? “Wow,” that was all Chloe had to say in response.
“See, I watch you. I watch how you react. I want to stay with you, but I don’t want to be a failure, either.”
“Oh no, I understand. I want you to make the right decision. I just don’t like losing people. I mean we could make it work, even if you left, if we really wanted to.”
“See. Be positive. You aren’t going to lose me, although. I promise.” Chloe smiled and they continued to walk down the hallway to the parking lot. They carried on simple small talk as they waited for their rides. Chloe’s ride arrived first and bid Presley goodbye with a quick hug and a promise to text him later.
The car ride home was shockingly quick. When Chloe got home she pulled out her geometry book and quickly did the problems. She wanted to finish her homework so she could text Presley. She finished about thirty minutes later and grabbed her cell-phone. She texted him a simple hey and he replied with a hi within a few moments. ‘Have you made your decision? ‘ She sent back.
‘You sure you are rushing me about this, aren’t you?’
‘Have you made it or not?’
‘Yes and no.’
‘Care to share?’
‘I’m thinking I’m going to move to my dads… I’m sorry. We can still make it work although, I swear.’ Chloe’s world slowed down when she read that text. She felt like crying but she knew she shouldn’t. She’d told him to make the best choice. His choice didn’t necessarily include her, but sure they could still date if he left. People did it all the time. A small tear ran down her face. She dried it and replied.
‘I really am sorry. It’s final. My mom called my dad.’
‘Are you crying?’
Chloe wiped her tears and texted back, ‘no.’
‘Please don’t lie to me.’
‘Okay, fine, I am.’
‘I’m really sorry. I don’t leave for like another two weeks although. I’m sorry, Chloe. Please don’t cry, please, for me? Smile.’
‘I’ll try my best…’
‘I’m not going to leave you, I’ll always be your friend no matter what.’ Chloe collapsed on her bed, her thoughts wandering every which way. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do, she wanted to trust him, but she didn’t know if she could. So she did what she always did when she was confused, she went to Bentley’s room and cried.
The next day; school went by as slow as molasses. Chloe could barely even make it through her classes. She attempted to ignore Presley as much as she could. She didn’t see a need to get any closer than him, it was better to grow apart. He was leaving her, willingly. He never cared at all. He was just a typical guy. He would do anything to get what he wanted. She wasn’t what he wanted anymore. He wanted a sports scholarship and something new. She had become something old, since she seemed to be over Bentley’s death. That wasn’t true, she still cried every night because she missed him but now she actually had a friend to have fun with. She had a reason to live and that reason was actually choosing to leave her. She just wanted to say whatever and move on with her life, but it never was as simple as that. She had trusted him too much and that was her stupid choice. She scribbled on her notebook paper when she was sitting in algebra: ‘I promise to never ever trust anyone, ever again. They just leave.’ Her eyes begin to cloud and she closed them quickly to stop the flow. The bell rang and she opened her eyes, gathered her books and rushed out.
It was officially time to face Presley. Chloe walked into history class, trying to remain calm and remember that ignoring him would be best. She had to constantly give herself a speech in her head, just to make it to her seat, where he was already waiting for her. She turned her head away from him, and sat down trying to look out the window as long as she could. “Are you avoiding me?” Presley stated.
“Rats,” Chloe said under her breath and turned, “Of course not.” She hoped he would believe her lie.
“That would be a yes. Why are you avoiding me?”
“Do you really want to know?”
Chloe felt her throat tighten up and she swallowed and replied, “It’s not important. Just forget it and us.”
“No. I can not just forget us. I’m sorry. I’m just thinking about my future, I apologize.” Chloe’s looked down & her lip began to tremble. She bit it trying to hold in. Presley’s eyes widen and he looked shocked. “Oh my word, I didn’t mean it. I understand. I don’t want to leave you, trust me. Please, I just don’t know how to explain to you. Don’t be upset. Please don’t give up on us. Please.”
“We’ll talk after class.” Chloe turned to face the teacher as he walked in the classroom. She closed her eyes tightly and wiped the tears away, ran her fingers under her eyes trying to remove all the eyeliner that had smeared. She figured she looked awful, but what did it really matter?
Class seemed to speed by, probably because Chloe didn’t want it to. She didn’t want to discuss with Presley on the way to lunch. The bell rang and Chloe sighed. Presley grabbed her arm and mouthed ‘wait.’ She rolled her eyes and stubbornly stood there as he gathered his things. “It’s time we discuss what you’re feeling on this subject.”
“What I’m feeling? No, how about what you’re feeling, you tell me first.” Chloe said with anger.
“Okay, fine. I am worried, stressed, sad, and desperate and I totally care about you. I am worried because I don’t want to lose you. I am stressed because it’s a change and you’re not going to be there with me. I am sad because I have to leave you. I am desperate because I want to know how to fix this. I care about you because you are the most beautiful, sweetest, nicest, funniest and most perfect girl in the world. Now that I’m out of the way, it’s your turn.”
Chloe smiled, unwillingly and began, “I’m…. mad, confused, sad, upset, distressed, overwhelmed, stressed, angry, happy, determined, scared….” She let out a sigh and breathed heavily, tears poured down her face. “You’re leaving me and you don’t seem to care. You’re so excited to be doing it actually. You never cared about me. I see this now, I just wish I had seen it before. I am just going to lose you…” Chloe stopped herself in her sentence as the tears poured down her cheeks and took off running and didn’t dare look back.
Chloe hadn’t intended to run, she’d actually had everything she planned to say written out and memorized front and back. She’d started to cry and that hadn’t been in her plan so she ran. Chloe had wanted to turn back, but her legs hadn’t let her. The look on Presley’s face had scared her; he had looked in pain; almost like it hurt him to see her cry. His face tore her heart in two and she hadn’t been able to take it. Now, Chloe sat against a wall, her arms hugged her knees tightly to her chest and she placed her head between her knees to hide her tears. She sat alone for about five minutes, until she felt a warm hand on her back. She lifted her head and saw Presley. Chloe just looked at him and smiled. She fell into his strong arms and began to cry harder. He just held her for nearly ten minutes until she looked up into his calm and caring yes. She managed to say, “I’m going to miss you.”
“I know, I’m going to miss you too, but you know what? It’s going to be fine. I won’t let it not be. I want to be with you forever.”
Chloe bit her lip and hugged him, saying, “Thank you, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”
Presley smiled, “You know what I noticed? This is the same place I found you the first time we met. I think God is giving us a restart.”
“Whoa, it is. That’s so ironic.”
“I agree. It reminds me of how I felt about you that first day. I wanted to protect you, and just fix it all. I knew I couldn’t although. I had to be there for you and hurt along with you. I felt it all, every smidgen of what you felt. I loved your brother too, do you not realize that? He was always my only best friend, ever since preschool. You have no clue how much I felt when he died. You never bothered to ask. You just sat there and felt sorry for yourself. You weren’t the only that loved him. I’m not either, but you didn’t try to care about how I….” Presley stopped in midsentence, “Oh no… I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry! Forget everything I just said, I didn’t mean it.” Presley grabbed Chloe’s arm as she tried to stand and walk away. Chloe jerked herself from him and just let the hot tears fall. She did bite her lip although and straighten her posture so he wouldn’t think that hurt her. The truth was, her whole life had just crashed down.
Chloe sat on the bench outside, completely alone. If anyone was there she sure didn’t notice. She knew all of this was going to happen. She hated herself, she’d never cared about anyone. She was so self-centered. Presley was right. Chloe rubbed her eyes and tried to calm herself. He’d told her to forget what he said, but she knew she’d never be able to in her whole life. He’d hurt her, bad, and no apology would cover it up. She finally managed to calm herself, yet she still sat there, staring off into space. Her thoughts wandered to and fro. The only things she knew for sure when the bell rang, was that she hadn’t eaten lunch and that she had to let Presley go. She had to let go of everyone in her life, even though all the memories would keep her hanging on; so much for a restart. Chloe had no choice but to face the world alone.