Sera stood in the cemetery with a wistful smile on her face. It was an odd sensation, viewing her own funeral.
Only two were in attendance: former FBI agent Jeff Robertson and Catholic priest Father O’Cleary. Two of only three true friends she had made in her short life. The third, Hannah Smith, watched from a respectful distance, trying to give Sera some space. Hannah had died a few months ago, so she knew what Sera was going through.
The ceremony was brief. Father O’Cleary gave Sera more kind words than she felt she deserved, and even stoic Jeff shed a few tears. “I’m sorry,” she whispered to the two men. “I’m sorry I caused you so much trouble.”
No one heard her, save Hannah. The young forensic scientist moved closer and put a hand on Sera’s shoulder. “Hey, you know I would have been here, right? I would’ve been bawling my eyes out. Snot all over Jeff’s suit and everything.” She grinned, and Sera couldn’t help but laugh at her friend’s ever-present humor. Even in death, Hannah looked on the bright side of life.
Since her own death, Sera had had plenty of time to talk with Hannah about her double life and the burden she’d carried since the age of seven. Despite the role Sera and her father had in Hannah’s excruciating, tortuous demise, the young woman understood Sera’s pain and was always willing to offer a sympathetic ear. After all, they had nothing but time now; holding a grudge would be a terrible waste of eternity.
Once Father O’Cleary was done with his eulogy, Jeff knelt down and placed something in a small glass case embedded in Sera’s tombstone. The marker had seemed oddly opulent to Sera; why would Jeff shell out extra money for someone like her? The case couldn’t have been cheap. She stepped closer to see what he had put on display for the visitors that would never come. What she saw nearly brought her to tears. Nearly, because she couldn’t cry anymore. Death was funny that way.
Sera knelt next to Jeff and reached out to touch the gravestone, momentarily forgetting that she couldn’t touch things now.
Encased in the smooth, clear glass was her mother’s rosary.
Jeff had taken it from the scene of Sera’s battle against her father. The wooden beads shone, freshly polished, and the crucifix glistened in the sun’s early rays.
Jeff stood and cleared his throat, wiping tears from his eyes. “I don’t know if you’re here, Sera. I know you went to join Hannah and your mom; I saw them waiting for you when you passed. I just–I don’t know. I just want you to know that despite what Harrow did, you were a good person. Don’t ever think otherwise.” He paused. “Hannah, if you’re here, you two take care of each other. I know that might sound silly considering where you are, but just…just take care of each other. And Hannah–” His voice caught, strangled by grief.
Father O’Cleary put an arm around Jeff and squeezed. The priest hadn’t known Hannah, but he was a good man and supported all of God’s children, even atheists like Hannah. Sera liked him. The priest had been there for Sera’s final moments. He had literally saved her soul, and she would be eternally grateful for that.
“They’re here, Jeffrey. They can hear you. Go ahead; say what you need to say.”
Sniffling, Jeff tried to compose himself. Sera could see how difficult it was for him. The only other time she had seen him this upset was during Hannah’s funeral. She stood up and leaned in close to Jeff’s ear, whispering words that he would likely never hear.
“It’s okay, Jeff. She’s here. Tell her now, while you have the chance.”
Jeff’s eyes widened, and if Sera hadn’t known better she would have sworn that he looked right at her. She nodded in encouragement, forgetting that no one could see her.
Looking out into the distance (just past where Hannah stood), Jeff smiled at where he thought she might be. “Hannah, I love you. I have loved you from the moment I met you. If you were still here, I’d make an honest woman out of you–not that you weren’t always an honest person to begin with. You know what I mean.” He chuckled. “You’d tease me for that one. I’ll miss that. I’ll miss your smile and your laugh and your brilliance and…I’ll miss everything about you. I do miss everything about you. Every second of every day.” Fresh tears fell from his eyes, but his smile remained. “Wait for me, Hannah. I’ll see you again one day.”
Sera turned to face her friend, and the expression on Hannah’s face both lifted her spirits and broke her heart. Hannah had loved Jeff so much–she still did–but her life had been cut short before he could tell her how he felt. Hearing him finally say the words that were in his heart clearly moved her.
Step by step, Hannah inched closer to Jeff. She reached out with a shaking intangible hand and tried to wipe the tears from his cheek. “I love you too, baby. Stay good. Stay pure, like you always were. You’ll go the right way in the end. I’ll meet you on the other side of those pearly gates.”
“It’s a date.” Jeff’s response was so quiet that Sera wasn’t sure she had heard him. Once again she felt as though her soul would cry. She’d never know the love that her two friends had, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was her friends’ happiness. In that moment, separated by the veil between life and death, Jeff and Hannah were closer than they had ever been. Sera’s heart surged with joy.
After a few more moments of reflection, Jeff and Father O’Cleary turned and walked away from the grave, leaving Sera and Hannah alone.
“Well, Sera,” Hannah said. “Are you ready to go home?”
Sera took one last look at her final resting place and grinned. “Race you there.”