“Mom, I’m going to Damon’s place!” I called out as I grabbed a heavy jacket. It was snowing heavily but luckily my best friend lived only across the street from us.
“Alright, but make sure that you come back by six for dinner! Your father is getting out of his meetings early and you can invite Damon over if you’d like!” Mom called out as I heard her rustling in the kitchen. I took a quick peek of my mother as she put a casserole in the oven.
My mother, Eliza Monroe, was a beautiful woman. She was a tall slender woman, blonde hair pulled back into a messy bun. Though I got most of my looks from my father, I was able to get her grey eyes.
My mother turned and smiled at me.
“Go have fun. I’ll be fine and your father will be home any minute,” Mom rolled her eyes at my wary expression. Though I was the one willing to go to Damon’s house, I was always protective of my mother. My father was the same way, always making a fuss whenever she did anything he found remotely dangerous.
My dad was the head of a highly respected security business. Paranoia seemed to come with the job as he acted like someone was ready to attack one of us at any time. Though my father brought a lot of money from his job, my mother made him stay humble and had us live in a small friendly neighborhood near New York City. It was only a twenty minute drive away.
Mom came forward and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I was almost the same height as her despite almost being fourteen. “You are just as protective as your father. I will be fine, alright Sugar?”
I scrunched my face at the name. My mother had recently decided to call me by that and I hated it.
“Why do you insist on calling me that?” I whined and she laughed as she affectionately cupped my face in her palms.
“Sugar is a great name!” Mom said in amusement. Another round of laughs left her as I pouted once more. She rubbed her thumb against my left cheek and looked into my eyes intently. “We live in a dark and bitter world Xavier. When it seems to consume us, we need that bit of sugar in our lives to make it sweeter, more bearable. It can get us through the darkest of times and can make us even stronger for it. And you, my Xavier, do just that,” Mom sent one finally peck on my forehead before pulling away. I gave her a bright smile which she returned immediately. “Now, go have fun Sugar. I don’t want to pull you away from Damon for too long.” Mom winked.
I laughed as I waved to her one last time before leaving the house.
“Love you Sugar!” I barely heard her call out, but I already closed the door.
I didn’t say goodbye. I didn’t get to say ‘I love you’. I didn’t hug her tightly one last time.
I didn’t protect her.
And I regretted it since.
Whenever I thought about that night, everything seemed like a blur. The world spun off its hinges and nothing seemed to make sense.
I remembered the explosion that shook the entire neighborhood, the ground shaking underneath my feet. I remembered when Damon and I rushed out of his house to see that it was my house coming apart in flames. I remembered how raw my throat felt as I screamed my mother’s name over and over again.
And then nothing.
Everything seemed to fall back together when I stared at my mother’s gravestone, my father sobbing as he whispered Italian words to the coffin in the ground. Everyone had left besides Damon. He stuck by my side the entire time and he sure as hell wasn’t planning on going anywhere. He made sure that no one bothered or disturbed me. Damon didn’t speak to me, just sat next to me as I cried for the loss of my mother. He always knew exactly what I needed and that’s why my father and I let him stay with us.
He was family as well.
I quietly mourned with him until my father finally stood up, coming to me and held both my and Damon’s hand, squeezing them gently.
“I’ll find out who did this son...if it’s the last thing I do,” My father said, his tone monotone, almost dead.
I squeezed his hand back.
I believed him.