Chapter 26: Amaya
“Mr and Mrs. Harper, can we talk, privately.” Jesse and Jared stand, taking the hint before Jesse walks over to the bed, holding her arms out for Aaron. He glances up to me, I nod towards her before he nods to me, placing a kiss on the cheek, going with her the next second. They make their way out of the room.
“What’s up?” Mrs. Harper asks and I can hear how tired everything is making her, the world slowly beating her down in ways that I couldn’t ever imagine. Her hazel eyes have deep bags beneath them and I wish I could take it all away.
“Wait, before you say whatever you’re about to say, I’m sorry for earlier. You’ve been through enough and I just had to go making things worse.” Mr. Harper hangs his head in shame at his actions.
“You don’t have to apologize for that. Yeah, I’m going through a lot, but I should’ve known years ago.” I place my head on my pillow, staring at the ceiling.
“What’s running through your head?” Mr. Harper asks; I can feel his eyes on me.
I sit up straight so I can bring my legs up in criss-cross position. “N-Nothing,” I stammer out.
“I’ve known you since you were just Aaron’s age, I can tell when something’s wrong.” She reaches out to remove a strand of hair from my line of vision. “I can’t help if you don’t allow me in.”
“It feels like my mom can break me in some ways that I wish that I could just forget. Sometimes we have bad times but then it seems like those are behind us and then it’s back to the terrible times we go. I can’t forget how she allowed him to hurt us. I want to say that I forgive her, hell, I already have, but I lied. It’s gonna take more than a few sorrys to make this go away.
“I want to forgive and forget, but I can’t. Fourteen years with a lot of abuse and gang work to look over. A big part of me feels like I’m never getting over that.” They each nod in understanding, but neither say a word to me. I wish Mrs. Harper would say something, I already know what Mr. Harper thinks. “Please say something.”
“You sure you want my input, because unlike my sons, I’m not going to be light.” I heed the warning before she blows out a breath. “This isn’t the type of thing you should try to forget, sweetheart. Your mom did something very unforgivable and she knows her actions were wrong. You can’t take back the fourteen years of being forced to abused, forced to fight people, and hidden injuries.
“If you and Jonah were taken out of that situation earlier it might’ve even been possible to avoid Jonah nearly being crippled for the rest of his life and-”
“Yeah, about that, you said he was shot? When the hell did that happen?”
“A gun was pointed at Shawn and-”
“A gun was pointed at Shawn?!” Mr and Mrs. Harper shout in unison.
“You didn’t know about this?” I point to Mrs. Harper who shakes her head. “That damn son of yours doesn’t know how to listen in the points when it’s most important,” I mumble out. “Derrick was holding a gun to Shawn, I tackled him to the ground and then somehow he was able to get to his gun and that’s when he shot Jonah. I ended up shooting him in return, but he’s still alive.”
“You shot someone?” Mr. Harper’s voice is full of shock.
“Yeah, but he’s alive still, as I said. I did what I need to, and though it wasn’t a fun experience, I know that if I was placed under those same circumstances again, I’d pull that trigger.”
“Anything else I’ve missed that’s important to be able to follow along?”
“Derrick is Jonah’s dad.” His eyes go wide.
“Dad cheated on Mom, got another woman pregnant with Jesse and Jared, that resulted in Mom cheating also, ending up pregnant with Jonah,” I catch him up before placing a hand under my chin. “I think you’re caught up now.”
“Alright, back to what you were saying…”
“Right, whatever happens between you, Jonah, and your mother is up to you and him. Nobody can make that choice for you, that’s why Shawn hasn’t said a word when the subject would come up.” I’ve heard some of his thoughts about what he feels about my mom, and honestly, I can say I felt some of the same things.
“I’ve heard a small bit of it, but I just- I don’t know.” My head drops down.
“You do know, honey. No matter what, she’s you mom and that’s never going to change. You love her even when she has hurt you. I’ve been there before,” Mr. Harper looks down at his hands, knowing she’s speaking of him, “and it’s not a pretty place. Sometimes, we have to make a choice between continuing to fight, or letting go.” I don’t know if I can let go or not. I need someone to tell me what to do, this is too hard.
“Thanks,” I mumble out.
“No need to thank me, just think about what I said.”
“Okay. Now getting away from me, there’s something else we have to talk about. It’s about Shawn.”
“What about him?” they ask in unison.
“Did Xavier tell you about Jake Bryant?” Mrs. Harper shakes her head, Mr. Harper does the same. “Well, Shawn and Jake had a conversation where he said- he- he-” I start stuttering, not knowing how to find the right words.
“What? You don’t have to protect us?” Oh, but I do.
“A few weeks ago he implied that he was thinking of killing himself.” Both of their eyes go wide. “That made me start thinking about how shitty I’ve been to Shawn when he didn’t deserve it and I-” I sniffle “-I would take everything back if he could, but what if he never knows how sorry I am? Then this,” I grab the sonogram from under my pillow, “doesn’t help anything.” I hand it to them, not looking either of them in the eye.
“This doesn’t surprise me.”
“Me either,” Mr. Harper adds in before I give him a look, “what? I’ve seen the way he looks at you.”
“Yeah, that has something to do with why I’m not shocked by the news, another reason being that Shawn already thought it was a possibility and he told me.” I can feel the confusion taking my face hostage. “The night that he got drunk off his ass and ended up performing in Rupture. I could go over what he said but I’d rather forget.”
“Yeah, he can sing, he’s also pretty good at guitar,” I answer for her.
“Alright, now look a bit closer at the picture.” They do as instructed and only then do their eyes go wider than those of a puppy begging.
“Now that, that’s a surprise. There’s two in there?” Mr. Harper looks at my stomach, still allowing his shock to be clear.
“You’ll be able to handle things, if that’s what you’re scared of.”
“No, I’m not scared of being able to take care of this situation, I’m scared of the God forbid circumstances of Shawn not making it. The last time we saw each other’s faces we had this heart-to-heart moment where he was scared of dying and then we were talking and I realized how much of a damn idiot I was for leaving him… for the second time. Yeah, I was trying to keep him safe, but it didn’t change anything.
“When he was supposed to come home on Sunday we were gonna talk about things and now that we’re here I’m full of regrets. This shit hurts in ways that I’ve never felt before. You guys shouldn’t even be here right now.”
“Why’s that?” Mr. Harper deadpans
“Shawn is sitting in critical condition right now, you guys should be with him right now and- and everywhere I go I bring along this damn baggage and people end up hurt.”
“People always end up hurt, it doesn’t always end up happening because of us. Take this whole Shawn situation for example, he and Xavier each got jumped while he wasn’t in a relationship with you, now why did you break up with him?” Mr. Harper asks with a raised eyebrow. “From what I’ve heard, you guys seemed pretty happy. There was something else that pushed you to make that decision.”
“I thought that I was protecting him by placing some distance between us.”
“Did it change anything?” he asks with crossed arms.
“No, it didn’t.”
“That, right there, is my point. Walking away from people you love doesn’t change anything. If there’s a problem it still finds a way to make trouble, the question is do you face it head on or do you run away from it and not look back. Knowing it’s going to come but not knowing when.” Mr. Harper blows out a breath.
“When it comes to those scenarios you’ve got to spend as much time with the people you love if there’s a threat before it’s too late.”
“And it’s not too late for you,” Mrs. Harper says with a small smile. “You can’t give up on Shawn, none of us can. If you start believing he’s not gonna make it back, he won’t. I know it’s hard to hold faith, but remember he’s never lost it in you. None of us have.”
“Why do you still stay here for me when I’ve hurt Shawn so much?”
“Do you know what I see when I look at you?” Mrs. Harper asks. I shake my head before she moves closer to the bed, taking a seat right beside me. Her arms pull me in for a hug that I relax into, my head falling on her shoulder in the process. The smell of cherry blossom takes over my system.
“Well, I can see one of my future daughter-in-laws even if you can’t see it just yet. I see the young girl that I once helped and tried to protect as I would my own two boys. Believe me when I say I know a lot runs through your brain throughout the days, including you not feeling worthy of the love everyone tries to offer you.
“Some people hurt others because they’re scared and don’t ever plan on it but sometimes, it just happens. We can’t just abandon those that have hurt us when you see them hurting and needing someone, anyone to be willing to reach out to them. Love is a complicated thing that can really, really hurt occasionally, and as my sons can’t stay away from you or let you go, it would seem I can’t either. You’re like one of my own.” She weaves her slender fingers through my hair in a manor meant to calm me.
“Wouldn’t that be incest?”
“Oh you’ve got jokes now?” I can feel the small rumble of her chest as she chuckles at me. I’m glad I was able to make her laugh even on one of my worst days. She needed this.
I glance over to Mr. Harper, noticing how he’s now got a smirk on his face, looking more and more like Shawn.
“It’s good to see you’re feeling a bit better.”
“Kinda, but only because I’ve made the decision to get through all of this with a head held up just a few moments ago. I also have to get myself cleared to leave this place in the next 24 hours or so.”
“Why?” Mr. Harper’s voice leaks of curiosity.
“I made a promise to Xavier that I’d be going to school with him on Monday, and I don’t plan on breaking it. I’ve also got to find a way to fix things between us.”
“You don’t have to worry about that. I think you’ll be out sooner than you think, good luck with him, by the way,” Mrs. Harper offers as she squeezes me a bit closer.
“Thanks.” Now all I’ve got to do is think of what I’m going to say to him.