Liz clenches the long stems of the calla lilies in her hand, almost crushing them, as her nails dig into the palm of her hand. She has been shot, and almost died, but she'd still had no idea that you could hurt so much that you could no longer feel anything at all. Yet, it must be true, because she's been like that for days - ever since her aunt had come down to the beach, with tear tracks on her face, and nervously bitten lips, to grab Liz up in her arms.
She had known something was wrong. Her aunt was as carefree and fun-loving as anyone that Liz had ever known. That she couldn't hold herself long enough to even tell Liz what had happened was more than enough to let Liz know that something was horribly, horribly wrong.
She couldn't have imagined this. She never would have dreamed - even in her worst nightmares - that she would be standing here, dressed in black, clutching her mother's favorite flowers, and standing over the open graves of both of her parents. She had thought, more than once, about her own death, but never about what it would mean to lose either of them, to lose them both.
She had been so upset, when she left for Florida, and so ready to get away and be anywhere but here that she hadn't even said goodbye. Impatient and slightly, but unintentionally, cold toward her mom, she'd given a distracted assurance that she'd call and see them in a few weeks, and she had been off, without a second thought. She'd barely talked to them even while she was gone, leaving it to her aunt to keep her parents updated. Now, she'd never have another chance.
Her friends are here, all around her. Maria is crying uncontrollably, as Amy holds her close, tears on her own face. Alex is standing between his parents, his arm around his mother, and his dad's arm around them both. All around her, parents are clutching their children, and they clung in return, not wanting to imagine Liz's loss. It almost makes her angry at them all, but she doesn't have to energy to rile herself up.
They are looking to her now, and she stumbles forward, under their gaze, to place the flowers on top of the caskets. She feels a supportive hand on her elbow, and is startled. It's just Michael, standing behind her to make sure that she doesn't fall over. He's also the only other person who is here alone. Though, her aunt is seated behind her, she is too lost in her own grief, to support Liz, even if Liz could have accepted it. Michael is mostly invisible, staying back and inconspicuous, but Liz knows he is there. She's sure that she'll be thankful for it later. Now, it's just something to get her through the day.