The Hardest of Goodbyes

Chapter 3

As Dom stood next to his sister holding her hand, the only thing on his mind was Jack. That little boy was still so small and so innocent. He didn't have a clue what was going on. He was all ready to go to the funeral but Mia had to explain to him he wouldn't be able to go. A funeral was no place for a two year old little boy. But yet Dom wished he was there. He swallowed hard before looking down at his sister. She was staring straight ahead not moving. No tears fell down her face. Her hand was in his, but he didn't even feel her shake. She was trying so hard to keep it together, he could feel it. She was hanging by a string. He had to toughen up. He had to be tough for her...for everyone. He nodded his head at the pastor who stared straight at him. He brought Mia's hand to his lips kissing it softly before moving towards the head of the coffin. There were flowers everywhere and one big picture of Brian hanging there. He cleared his throat as he stood up there in front of everyone. He had to hold together.

"Brian O'Connor was a friend, a father, a husband, but he was also my-brother. He was the best friend anyone could ask for." Dom bowed his head. A small smile came across his face. "I hated him the moment I met him. He was this tough guy who thought he was the best driver in the world. He came into my world and he destroyed it, but he also put it back together. He was there for me when I thought I had lost my way. This world that we live in, it hasn't always been pleasant for us but we did what we could. In the end it always came down to family. That's what Brian was. He was my family. He was the husband of my sister, the father of the most beautiful little boy. He lived his life like it was the last moment he had. He loved hard. He did everything with his whole heart. He didn't deserve this-he is supposed to be here now." He stopped to gather himself. "Thank you everyone for coming. Brian would have loved coming here and showing your love for my brother. So thank you so much." Dom hit his hands on the podium before walking away. His heart felt heavy at that moment. It was weighing him down as he felt a hand come in his. Letty. She laid her head on his shoulder.

"That was a beautiful speech." She replied softly.

"How are you? Are you okay?" He put his arm around her shoulders.

"Not really. All these emotions I am feeling, they are real but I don't have memories of it, you know. It confuses me. I want to be here for you...for Mia and Jack…"

"Thank you for being here, Let. It means the world to me."

"We got in this together, Dom. We took down Shaw and we survived that. As much as I want to remember, I wouldn't change being here with you right now."

He closed his eyes bringing her into his arms. "Its so hard." He whispered. "I can still see him in my eyes like he is just going to come walking through the door.

"He is gone, Dom. This time its for real."

The sun had began to set as Dom walked down the driveway towards the street. He had a Corona in his hand. The house was full of people, the whole act of being okay was beginning to take a toll on him.

"You come out here to get out of that bullshit too?" Roman asked. Dom hasn't noticed him perched on top of the side wall.

"How the hell did you get up there?" Dom asked with a laugh.

"It took some practice. I busted my ass a few times."

"What are you doing out here?" Dom took a sip of his beer looking down the street.

"That same damn reason you are out here. Its too stuffy in there."

"It will die down. We just have to get through this week and everything will die down."

"How's Mia?"

"Doing very well at hiding how she is feeling. She is going to explode. I just don't know when you know?"

"I think we are all on edge." There were silent for a few minutes as they both sipped on their beers. What else was there to say? Everything has already been said.

"Brian was crazy man. He always has been."

Dom nodded his head but didn't respond. "He loved his life though."

"He loved that woman and little boy inside that house more." Dom mumbled. "I think Mia doesn't realize that."

"How could she? Brian was always all over the place. He didn't mean anything about it, he just wanted to save his family. Thats all. He was willing to pay the price, but we all were ready. It was just his time man. We were lucky."

Dom nodded his head. "You still blame yourself for what happened?"

"You said it yourself, Rome. You were in the car with him."

Roman nodded his head. "We can go over this a thousand times but it is not going to change that Brian died and I didn't. Trust me man, it plays in my head every time I am awake. It doesn't change. Not when I am awake or when I close my eyes. We have to let this go or we arent going to make it."

Dom heard a noise as he looked up the street again. His mind had to be playing tricks on him. He shook his head before turning back to Roman. "Like I said Rome, we just need time."

"I don't think time is going to heal this one Dom."

The noise came again. "We are going to go crazy here."

Dom's head shot towards Roman as he jumped off the wall landing on one foot. "What are you saying Roman? We leave here?"

"Would it be so bad?"

"We just got back."

"You are telling me that you can stay in that house...with all those memories. You are going to make your sister live downstairs where she built a home with Brian, who isn't coming home. He's not coming back, Dom…" Dom grabbed Roman by his shirt slamming him up against the wall. "Is that what you think? You think Brian is just going to come walking through the door like nothing ever happened? He died. Hit me, Dom. If that will make you feel better then hit me."

"Stop." Dom demanded.

"I was in the car with him, Dom. Do you not think that i wished it was me instead of him. I keep thinking that he is just going to show up and tell me it was all just some horrible nightmare-he's not Dom. He isn't going to come around the corner in some suped up car ready to race you. I was ready to die for this team, Dom. I was ready. Why wasn't it me?"

Dom shook his head letting Roman go and slowly walking away. "I've been thinking the same thing about me, Rome. Everyday."

Dom walked down the street to what use to be his garage. The name was still up there along with a for sale sign. He knew no one had the balls to buy that place that made him. He slung the door open kicking it as hard as he could. He was a grown ass man, he wasn't supposed to be feeling this way. He walked past the desk, knocking everything to the ground. What was he supposed to do? Brian was gone. He was fucking gone and there wasn't a damn thing he could about it. He knew this life. This was his life. Death surrounded him and he let it go each time. But this one-damn this one was hard. It was the hardest its ever been and he couldn't take it. He picked up the wrench that was on the ground throwing it towards the window. The window shattered instantly, his rage took a hold of him. He began throwing whatever he could just to release the pain. Just to make the pain go away. His breathing was becoming heavy as he fell to the ground on his knees. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He didn't realize the tears streaming down his face until he turned around. Mia. Her hands were by her side shaking.

"I am so sorry." He replied.

"Oh, Dom-I know." She whispered rushing into his arms. The sobs escaped his mouth as he held on to his sister tightly. "Its okay...its okay." They didn't speak to each other as they both cried in what use to be the best thing to happen to them. The garage was a symbol of them, of who they were. When it was gone, they were gone. They had ran so much from their life leaving everything they loved behind, not even looking back at it. And now they found themselves in the midst of it wishing they could take it all back. All of it. Just start over.

"I remember the first time he walked into this place. He looked so lost and didn't have a damn clue what he was doing." Dom chuckled wiping his face. They stood in the middle of the garage looking around. He could still place where everything was. The office where Mia would do the paper work, the tool box filled with every tool you could possibly use to work on a car….he could see it. It was so clear to him.

"He loved it here though. When you went to jail the second time, he wanted to keep this running for you...but then he got the bright idea to bail you and flip a bus." She laughed. "He loved you, Dom. You meant the world to him."

"I feel like i let him down."


"Getting him involved in all of this."

"He would have been involved no matter if you said no or not. That was who he was. He loved this life. He loved racing, he loved being apart of a team, and having everyone to call his family." She swallowed looping her arm through his. "I loved that man more than anything in this world. I don't know what i am going to do, but don't you dare think for a second that i blame you for any of this. He made his choices, Dom."

"Roman thinks we should leave."

"I think Roman might be right."

Dom nodded his head wrapping his arm around her shoulder. "I promise you Mia, that little boy is going to know who is father was. He will never forget him."

"I know you wouldn't let that happen, Dom. He is lucky to have you. We all are."

"Lets go home." He kissed the top of her head as they moved to the door. "I have to get me another ten second car."

She smiled closing her eyes and picturing-Brian sitting on top of the car on a hot summer day. Dom was just finishing the Supra, Letty was putting the detail, as she stood there mesmerized how they all worked together to get it done so quickly.

Fourteen Years Later…

The once little boy came running out of the house with his uncle and mom behind him. "Slow down!" Mia yelled.

"Hurry up, we are wasting the day!" The boy yelled. Dom chuckled putting his arm around his sister.

"Yeah mom, hurry up!" He mocked kissing the top of her head. "He will only be sixteen once, lets go!"

"I don't need you interfering with this. I am already dealing with Roman and Tej." Mia rolled her eyes. "Having a teenager who loves cars is going to be a nightmare."

"It's always been in his blood." He gave a soft smile. "But we will see who's blood really runs in him when we go pick out this car today."

"I just think its too soon."

"It will always be too soon. He is your son, you will never be ready for him to grow up."

"I know you are old and everything but for real, can we move it?" The boy appeared in front of them.

"Listen here mister, I know its your sixteenth birthday but I do not have a problem bending you over my knee." Mia warned him.

"Jack, why don't you go get the car started. I will let you drive us to the lot." Dom tossed the keys to him. "You sure you don't want to come?"

"I'm sure." She smiled. "Just let him pick something out nice. Do not influence him. He is after all his father's son."

"We will see about that." Dom kissed the top of her head before turning away.

"Bye mom, we will see you in a few."

Mia waved. Dom knew she was having many thoughts go through her head about leaving her son to go buy his first car but Dom never turned around. They had moved to San Diego the following month after the funeral. Mia had bought her and Jack a house, with Dom and Letty living right next door to them. He never thought he would sell his father's house, but he did. They had to move on from that place, it was the only way they were going to survive Brian's death.

"Uncle Dom…" Jack cut into Dom's thoughts.

"Yeah man?"

"Would you be mad at me if I wanted to get a car just like my dads?"

Dom smiled shaking his head. "Now why would you think that?"

"Because you have been trying to push muscle on me since the day I was born."

Dom began to laugh shaking his head. "I was trying to get you to realize its the best cars out there."

"But my dad drove some of the best cars too."

"He did."

"So I wanted to look at some that he would like to drive and I just didn't want to upset you."

" would never upset me about choosing something your father would have chosen."

Jack smiled as he continued to stare straight ahead at the road. "Something else on your mind?" Dom asked.

He shook his head. "Can we talk about it later?"


Dom didn't press the thought any longer. He knew the boy. He would eventually open up sometime. There were so many characteristics of Brian in Jack, he saw them almost everyday. It was what made life easier for him, the more that Jack grew up, the more Brian came out in him. It gave Dom peace. He knew that everything was going to be okay. The car came to a stop in a parking space at the car dealership.

"You ready?" Dom asked.

Jack took off his seatbelt nodding his head. "Don't worry about money Jack, you pick out what you want and its yours."

"Mom will be so mad if she knows you told me that."

"It will be our little secret."

Dom could see in the boys eyes that he was ready to break down. He had recommended they drive to the beach to let off some steam. Dom stayed behind Jack watching how he drove the new car. He was perfect. A natural. The ride was short and sweet as they parked next to each other.

"So birthday boy, how has your birthday been so far?" Dom asked putting his arm around his shoulder.

"Perfect." Jack whispered.

"Why don't I believe you?"

Jack was silent for a few seconds. "I just wish he was here you know. I just wish that my dad could have been here to see me get my first car. I love you being here with me, I do, but-"

"It would have been better with your dad."

Jack nodded his head. "It makes me so mad sometimes when I think about it." He shook his head. "Its selfish of me, I know but I just want to scream at him. Why did he have to go?"

Dom nodded his head. "I was the same way when he died. I was so angry all the time. I didn't understand it at all. But death is a part of life Jack. We can't stop it. It was just your dad's time to go."

"I just miss him so much."

"I know you do buddy. I know you do. We all do."

"Will you tell me the story Uncle Dom? Just tell me again what was my dad like when you first met him?"

Dom smiled. He had told this story so many times but he loved telling it. It had its funny moments, its fighting moments, but it taught Jack the true meaning of family. It taught him the true meaning of ride or die.

"It was hot summer day and this blonde guy comes rolling into the diner that we owned back in Los Angeles...he was real buster. He thought he could take on the king of the street…." The story went on as they continued to walk down the beach. The sun was shining bright as Dom looked up. He doesn't know how he spotted it out everyone who was on the beach but there it was...bright green sitting at the top of the hill. The Eclipse. Sure it wasn't the same one his father had, but Jack knew what he was doing when he saw the car. That was it. They didn't need to look at anything else. It was the same color as the story. Dom stopped in his footsteps taking a deep breath. "Lets go take a ride."

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