Extra Chapter: Amaya Tells Her Dad
New Year’s Eve
It’s been five days since Shawn’s official proposal and I can’t say I’ve found myself any less shocked that he’s actually my fiancé. Shawn Matthew Harper, my light that has given me so damn much to look forward to when I feel like crumbling, especially since the days seem to slow down. I’m happy, but still, I feel a sense of emptiness as life is catching up to me.
God, what’s wrong with me? Shawn’s back to having that light in his eyes, Aaron’s back to talking again with a bright smile, but for me, nope, I’ve got my nightmares attacking me like they used to.
Shawn didn’t take much time picking up on it because, in the middle of the night, he’ll pull me as close as he can manage before whispering “It’ll be okay” or “you’re safe” in my ear. It’s so damn sweet of him to try to calm me like he’s always been able to do, but it hasn’t helped me much. Not when all I can think about is the night Mom was gunned down.
That could’ve been me. I could’ve died, taking these twins with me, abandoning my other family and Aaron. Mom shouldn’t have been dragged into all this. I should’ve been her.
“Amaya, are you okay?” Dad calls out to me and then I’m reminded that I’m sitting across from him in the loveseat of his office while he stares me down with the same intense grey eyes I have. “What’s wrong? You haven’t said a word in the fifteen minutes you’ve been here,” he observes.
My legs are pulled up to my baby bump as Shawn’s football sweatshirt not only hides my face from view but swallows me whole too.
“Honey, if you can’t talk to me I can get the twins, call Jonah, or if you want I can get Shawn. Who do you want?” I can hear the worry in his voice as he plops down next to me, reaching out to wrap an arm around me for a side hug.
I close my eyes before resting my head on his shoulder.
“Don’t call Shawn,” I sniffle out with a raspy voice. It practically hurts to get the words out, but I force them out nonetheless.
“Why can’t I call Shawn, is he the reason you’re crying right now?” I quickly shake my head as I clutch onto him for dear life. “Amaya, I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong. I know I’m still new to your life, but dammit, this is killing me.”
“I don’t want you to hate me,” I croak out before he pulls back from me.
“Amaya, look at me,” he commands gently; I don’t follow the order. “Amaya, please just do what I’m asking of you.” I lift my head up to see eyes that are watering right alongside my own. “Nunca podría odiarte.” That’s the first time he’s spoken Spanish to me since I was three, on the night he left.
“You haven’t even heard the secret I’ve been hiding from you, when you do- God, Jonah attacked Shawn because of it!” I rip off my hood before pulling at my hair that hasn’t been combed in a day, but it doesn’t even faze me any. Not when I feel like I’m on some seriously borrowed time.
“Whatever it is seems to be tearing you apart, let it out, Mija. It’ll eat you alive if you don’t, and that’s not good for your babies.” I hate that he has a point.
“M-Mom” -I take it a sharp inhale of air- “she’s d-dead, because of me.”
“What do you mean she’s dead, I- I was with her a few nights ago. Christmas Eve.” I close my eyes tightly, trying to fight my thoughts from killing my last sliver of humanity.
“That’s the night it happened.”
“What happened? How d-did she… go?” I force my hands out of my hair before grasping them together in the front pocket of my sweatshirt. My tears already forcing themselves to stream down.
“I got a phone call from Derrick, h-he told me that Enriquo saw Mom walking in the middle of the night and grabbed her then, he told me where to find them… she was gunned down in front of me. Shawn had to drag me out of that building while I shattered to pieces,” I crack out with my hands in fists at my sides. “I- I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. G-God, I didn’t even tell Aaron yet.”
“I was with her that night, I-I’m the reason she left the house.” His head hangs as a sense of shame breaks through each of us, leaving a somewhat empty feeling for all to see from a grave distance.
If only we saw it coming.
“Why do you think that?” I ask curiously, wanting to know the full story of how she ended up on those streets alone, but even I know she could’ve been taken in the house too. It’d be more than ideal since everyone happens to know where the house in some way or another, but it also would’ve been better since the cops already know the route there for when some shit happens to go down.
Perks of living with a gang leader I guess seeing that no matter what you’re always on the radar of someone, whether it be law enforcement or randos on the street. Rival gangs too. That’s the hard truth of the world around us, you don’t have to personally know someone to have some sort of beef or hate towards that person. The type that gets people killed all the time for something overly stupid. Needless.
That’s part of the reason I wanted to get out of that place, no matter if I was in on something against my will or not, I was making a lot of people angry that I couldn’t even begin to understand the effects of, but now, now people that I care about are dying and I can’t reverse that. I can’t give my mom her life back. I can’t give my father back the love of his life. I can’t bring Derrick back either, but there is one somewhat good thing that came out of this.
I don’t have to worry about Enriquo anymore, I’m free from him, and so is my family, and Derrick made sure that there’s no possible way for him to come back.
“We were talking about what happened in the hospital,” he rasps out before I look up to him with sad eyes, but they’re not pitiful. “We started screaming at each other then she walked out and I-I let her go because I thought she needed air, to cool down, you know, and when she didn’t come back I thought it was just because she didn’t want to speak to me.”
His lip quivers in the slightest. “But now she’s gone. I’m never gonna be able to look in her eyes again,” he sobs out while we hold onto each other for dear life.
“I know, I miss her too.”