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The Last Letter: Epilogue


I dropped a bag of M&M’s on the grass and tore open mine.

“Guess what?” I asked my brother. “Not going to ask? Fine, be like that. It’s like you’re going all teenager a few months early or something. It’s been five years. You know what that means?”

I popped an M&M into my mouth and chewed.

“It means I’m still cancer-free. It means my risk of relapse is like…nothing. It means we win. But it means it’s going to be a while until I see you. Remember when we made that deal? The night I got so sick? The one where you said if I died, you’d die, too, so we’d never be alone?”

I ran my hand over his stone, tracing the letters of his name.

“I broke it. I just didn’t know I was breaking it. I always thought the cancer would come back and hold up my end of the bargain. But it didn’t. And I hope you’re not mad. Because life is okay. I mean, Rory is nuts. Our little sister is full-blown squirrel. Yesterday, she jumped the banister to the landing. I thought Mom was going to have a cow. And Brandon is such a good baby, so sweet and cuddly, and Havoc doesn’t even mind when he tugs on her ears. And Emma and I have plans for next weekend, nothing big, but you know…plans. Mom and Dad are good. They still get all kissy in the kitchen when they think no one’s looking. Kinda gross, but they’re happy.”

I reached the final letter of his name and sighed.

“Five years. And I still miss you all the time. Well, not all the time, since there’s a bunch of times I feel like you’re with me. But yeah, I miss you. Everyone does. But I’m going to have to break our promise, and I know how to make it up to you: I’m just going to have to be twice as awesome and live for the both of us. Okay?”

I stood up and grabbed the extra bag of M&M’s so Mom didn’t freak when she came out later.

“Just do me a favor. Hang around. Because I’m definitely going to need some help being that awesome if I have to make up for you being gone. I miss you, Colt.”

I kissed my fingers and pressed them to his name, the same way Mom always did. Then I got in the boat and rowed back across the lake.

As of today, my future was wide open.

The cancer wasn’t coming back.

I was going to live, and so was Colt—because I always carried him with me. Some bonds couldn’t be broken.

“Maisie!” Dad called from the porch as I tied the boat off at the dock we’d built a couple of years ago. “You want to head out with me?”

“Yep!” I answered.

I didn’t ask him where to; if Dad was headed somewhere, I was in. Because Colt would have been, and I had a promise to keep.

Twice the awesome.


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