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Chapter 20: I need no sympathy

Maria strapped on her black left heel, continuing to sit on the bed long after she was supposed to walk out the door. Pulling her out of her dark thoughts was Elena, dressed her in black beanie, and a dress that had black fishnet tights underneath, despite the freezing cold weather.

She said everything with out saying a word.

Maria held both her arms out for Elena to join her, and the teen did just that. Elena sat with Maria, both staring blankly at the wall.

“Is grandma coming here, or meeting us at the funeral?” Elena asked, not making any eye contact.

“She’s coming here first.”

“Tilda is coming. Her and my dad got along really well. I hope that’s okay. I didn’t want to talk about the funeral early which is why I didn’t tell you.”

Maria wrapped her right arm around Elena and pulled her in for a side hug, Elena then resting her head on her mother’s chest. “It’s okay.” Her heart broke even more when she felt Elena start to let out shaky breaths. She knew that Alex’s death was going to be the hardest on Elena. In the beginning, and for ninety-nine percent of her life it was always the two them and Bonnie. A life without him for her was a hell that she was now forced to live in.

Maria turned her whole body towards her and held her both arms while Elena cried into her shirt.

“It’s okay, El” she said, doing her best to keep her voice from shaking. “I miss him too.”

After a couple of minutes, Elena pulled back. “You’re not going to leave, right? Now that... are you going to leave?”

Maria held her cheek and used her thumb to wipe away a tear that was falling. “I am never going to leave. I am your mother. And,” she stopped before continuing, trying gain ahold of her wobbly voice, “even though I won’t get to marry your dad, I know he would want us to be together. So I am not leaving. I will never leave you.”

Elena leaned over and hugged Maria again, burying her head in the crook of her neck just and Maria did to Alex. “I love you... mom.”

Maria wrapped her arms around her, holding her close, for she was the only left of Alex, and she didn’t want to lose him, or another thing she loved with all her heart again.

Bonnie stayed at the house, as did Enrique, Adam, and Austin after the funeral, mostly to comfort Maria and the kids. But Maria went off on her own into the bedroom that had remained a nursery.

She looked up at the ceiling, eyes glassy, just as they had been the for the past two weeks.

“Hey...” She started, letting herself fall apart again. “I’m sorry I haven’t talked to you like I promised. The last two weeks with out you have been really hard. I miss you. I really, really miss you. Elena does too. She’s been sleeping in my bed lately. I don’t mind the company though. Natalie doesn’t really understand what’s going on, which is hard because she is always asking where you are. I don’t know what to tell her. I keep saying that your gone, but I’m not sure that’s enough. I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before. Gio is doing good though. He is sleeping and eating and he is happy. Your mom’s helping me out a lot with the kids. So have Enrique, Adam and Austin. I applied to my old job back at the middle school. I start working next school year. I enrolled Natalie in school again, and surprisingly she says she has fun. I’ve been letting Elena stay home these past two weeks. Like I said, she’s been having a really rough time.” She suddenly felt tears run down her face and wiped them quickly away. “Enrique and Adam took your uniform shirt and they put in a case and hung it up at the station to honor you.” Once again, she let herself fall apart. “Things haven’t been the same without you around. They just haven’t. If you were here, I know you would ask me if I’m okay. And if you were here. I would say I’m okay, and you would say I’m not and make me tell you so you could make me feel better. But you’re not here. And I am not okay.” She paused for a few seconds, taking a few deep breaths. “I wish he would have taken me instead. I don’t know if I’ll be able to live without you.”

After she finished speaking, she heard the door open and Bonnie’s honey coated voice call her.

“Maria, Giovanni’s getting fussy.”

Her heart broke when she connected the dots. Bonnie had always said Alex’s full name, and she said Gio’s full name too. She didn’t understand why, but she wasn’t sure whether to feel comforted or even more sad.

Maria mustered enough energy to get out of bed and walked over to Bonnie who was still standing there, now with her arms open.

She felt her composure slipping away, but knew that she had to save it for later where no one could hear her cry. Right now, she needed to look like she was okay. For Elena, for Natalie, and Gio. She had no other choice.

Bonnie waited until Maria pulled away, not knowing how long of a hug she was in need of. When she did pull back, Bonnie put her hand on Maria’s cheek and looked at her with eyes identical for Alex. “You’ll be okay, dear. He wouldn’t want you to be sad.”

She knew that, but that didn’t make her feel better. It only made her feel worse because if he wanted her to be happy and she was sad, that meant she was dishonoring him. She couldn’t live with that guilt.

Instead of saying anything, she nodded, mentally preparing herself for facing everyone she had grown close with over the past few months, and the people she had grown even closer to in the past week.

But nothing could prepare her for the way they looked at her.

They pitied her. They felt sorry for her, and felt bad for her.

She felt suffocated with all those sympathetic eyes on her. She couldn’t live with everyone looking at her like that, and in the back of her head. She knew that they couldn’t gawk at her like that if she wasn’t here to gawk at.

If she was dead, they couldn’t look at her at all.

Maybe that was best.

Maybe, that was the solution to all the problems she had yet to face.


Hello everyone. This may be the end of this story, but it is not the end of Maria's. There has been a lot of controversy of the ending. I want to let me audience know that i put a lot of thought into my decision and did not make it lightly. I promise you there will a much more full filling ending at the end of the sequel, When the Paint Dries, which has the first five chapters up now. Even after finishing and being done with this story, getting the comments about the ending really made me second guess my choice, but I stand by it, and as I said previously, this is not the end of Maria's story. I wanted to thank you so much for reading and finishing this story. So I hoped you enjoyed, and reviews and comments are appreciated.


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