Extra Chapter: Aaron Speaks to Shawn
I sit at the island in the kitchen with an entire pack of Chunky Chips Ahoy! Cookies in front of me, munching away at them and drinking a glass of milk since I couldn’t go back to sleep. Amaya’s sleeping soundly in my room so I didn’t want to risk waking her up, she seemed pretty tired earlier which was even more reason to get out of there. I don’t want to accidentally wake her up.
I hear the shuffling of feet, glancing towards the stairs where I find Aaron watching me with his hands shoved into his small sweatpants. There’s a fight that rages on behind his eyes and I can see the contemplation behind those eyes that match my own, part of him wants to stay while the other wants to leave.
“Can you come here?” I request, trying to make his decision a bit quicker, it’s killing me.
He doesn’t say anything but instead drags his feet over to me before climbing up and into the seat next to me. Those hands go out in front of him, palms flat on the marble island top.
I can’t help but take him in. This boy that looks like me when I was younger but with his mother’s hair. The boy whose heart I managed to break unintentionally. I love him so damn much, even though I still don’t remember him.
“Am I the reason you don’t talk anymore?” Aaron only stares at me, watching as I watch him. “I can’t help the fact that I don’t remember, Aaron, and I don’t want that to impact you.” His eyes slightly narrow before he makes a motion with his hand, looking like he’s writing on air.
I stand from my seat to go into a closet across the room pulling out a blue pen and two sheets of lined paper. I go back to sitting beside him, placing the items down in front of him.
His hand starts to write away before he flashes me the paper. It doesn’t matter.
“What do you mean it doesn’t matter?” He sighs out, tapping the pen to the island three times, then goes back to writing.
‘Wanna know why I don’t talk?’ I immediately nod. ’First time I stopped was ‘cause it didn’t help me last time. You were in the coma. Uncle Avier was hurt. I was too.’
“What happened to you? Can I help?” Aaron quickly shakes his head before he’s writing again; his lip tucks between his teeth.
‘No, you can’t help. I was there when it happened. I saw. I heard. Man forced me to watch. When I tried to look away he hit me.’ He lets out a whimper as he watches my face reading his words, my anger apparent on my face most likely.
“What do you mean he hit you?” I growl out the words before he looks to me, lightly striking my face.
‘Harder than that,’ he mouths out.
“I’m sorry, Aaron… I’m so sorry I couldn’t help.”
‘Don’t be sorry,’ he writes down.
“I should be sorry. I wasn’t able to protect you or-” Aaron quickly stands from his seat to throw his hands over my mouth with sad eyes before shaking his head.
He lets go, going back to the paper and pen to write more words. I sit there impatiently waiting to see what he plans on telling me without a word.
‘Doctors think I’m part broken. Told Mommy this t-word to say it. I feel that. Broken. Not always, but I do feel it.’
I feel my heart clench in my chest at that. Here Aaron sits telling me he feels broken and I can’t help but blame myself for that, but I feel it too. I can tell he hasn’t told his mother this which doesn’t surprise me seeing that we both seem to be hiding secrets of our own. I might tell him about mine seeing that he’s opened up to me.
“You aren’t broken, Aaron, but something you are is a survivor. You’re going to be okay, it doesn’t take much for me to see that. This entire family has been through a lot, but we make it through and you are so much stronger than you realize. Right now, if I were you I probably wouldn’t be able to get out of bed, but you continue on fighting.
“You still have a voice even if others can’t necessarily hear it. You don’t have to be silent. Let people know when you need help and even if I have my memory crisis, I’m going to be here for you. Just have Amaya call me and I’m there. Alright?” Aaron flashes me a small smile before nodding his head.
“Since you came clean to me, I guess it’s time I come clean to you,” I start while taking two cookies out of the pack and placing them down in front of him. “Up until a few hours ago, I thought people would’ve been better off if I stayed in that coma.” Those eyes widen before his jaw drops, those eyes filling with tears.
I probably should’ve just kept that to myself.
Aaron stands from my seat and I think he’s going to leave, possibly never speaking to me again, but instead, he throws his arms around my neck.
“No, I-I wouldn’t be,” he cracks out.
Did he just talk to me?
He holds me in a death grip, melting away in my hold. For a moment, I’m frozen, relishing the fact that he’s in my arms again before I finally wrap my arms around him too.
“I th-thought you were gonna die,” he sobs out while burying his head in my shoulder; I begin to rub his back in soothing circles. “I didn’t want to never see you again. Then had dream, you said you might have to say bye soon. I don’t want you to leave. Please don’t leave me.” I find tears of my own falling before I kiss the top of his head.
“Hey, I’m not going anywhere, I’m here to stay.”
“Promise?” Those big green eyes land on me, tear stains beneath them.
I unwrap an arm from around him to bring my hand to his cheeks, wiping away his tears. “I promise that I’m here to stay. I’m here for you and your mommy each. Okay?”
We stay sitting there for a solid ten minutes and I start to think he’s fallen asleep.
“Daddy” -my heart flutters in my chest- “thanks for caring,” he yawns out.
“I’m always going to care.”
Then it’s nothing but silence, this time, I can’t help but feel content with where I am, knowing that Aaron and I are going to be alright