Facade

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Daddy issues

THEA’S POV

The atmosphere remains somber as we sit in silence. I had planned on telling Lily everything but I ended up dragging the guys as well.

Jason sits with his arms crossed over his chest seeming to be deep in thought. Cole remains stoic but I can see the concern in his eyes as he holds Lily’s hand as a comforting gesture while she looks near tears after what she heard.

Since when are they a thing? What’d I miss?

Xavier seems nonchalant about their sudden affection so I’m guessing either he knows or he’s simply good at hiding his surprise. Knowing him, it’s probably the latter.

Flynn looks sick. His pale skin ashen further, blue veins eerily visible as if his skin is transparent. Dark circles around his eyes have worsened over the past couple of days. His once bright green eyes now look dull.

He looks like shit. No doubt he feels like shit as well.

Amidst everything I discovered, it completely left my mind about how bad he’s had it. His father is in jail—he’s my father too but I never knew the man.

“Mom just filed for divorce yesterday. She doesn’t care anymore,” Flynn speaks up. “It’s as if she finally found a valid excuse to leave him. It wouldn’t matter to her that he’s innocent.”

“What about you?” Xavier asks him before I could. His pale green eyes flicker between us before he sighs.

“I’m relieved.” That’s all he says as if he doesn’t have the energy to speak anymore which is so unlike him considering he never shuts up.

I guess it took him a while to register everything. He looks more devastated than when he first unraveled everything.

Since I’m sitting between him and Xavier, I clasp my hand with his hoping to bring even an ounce of comfort.

Flynn shoots me an appreciative smile that doesn’t reach his eyes.

This is the most serious we’ve ever been. Usually, there’s always laughter at this table in the cafeteria but today nobody can muster even a smile.

I cannot afford to lose track of though right now. We need to come up with a way to gather evidence against Beth.

Pain shoots through my chest as I think about her. She’s been like a mother to me and to think...

I stop myself from going further. Wallowing in sadness won’t do any good.

I need a plan.

*****

I visit my parents’ grave before I head back home. This time, I’m not alone.

I glance down at my hands, intertwined with Xavier’s, our fingers clasped together.

We both sit on the grass and face the headstones reading their names. Alex’s right next to them.

Surprisingly, the first person I wanted to introduce Xavier to wasn’t my mother. It was Alex.

I’ve never been one to talk to them as if they exist in the soul right around me. For me, it’s easier to think they’re dead...because then it’s easier for me to ignore every negative feeling towards them, however fucked up that is.

Alex is the one I’ve never had any hard feelings for. I was angry at him for leaving me alone but that anger has dulled over time. Now, it’s more like a distant ache rather than full-on rage, if that even makes any sense.

“I would’ve loved to meet your mother and brother.”

I smile up at him. “Not Mr. Scarlett?”

“Nope. You hate him, so I hate him.”

I let out a laugh which makes him smile slightly. “What about your father? Have you talked to him after everything that happened?”

When I see the smile wipe off his face, I regret asking him immediately.

“No. We never contacted each other again. Elijah is our guardian and more of a parent than our own could be. Dad didn’t bother to keep in contact with us and so Lucas and I didn’t try to either.” He looks up at the sky and sighs. “Maybe he’s still grieving. Maybe he’s moved on. I don’t know and neither do I want to. I’m glad he’s not a part of my life anymore.”

His eyes meet mine again. “Does that make me a bad son?”

I shake my head. “I get what you mean. Parents are humans too so it’s inevitable they make mistakes. That doesn’t mean we have to tolerate or forgive them for that.”

I wonder if that’s me talking about myself. David being innocent didn’t make me want to suddenly have a father in my life. I’m fine the way it is.

I lost my family and I’ve moved on. I lost my aunt and I’ll move on again. It’s what I do...moving on. I don’t like dwelling on a certain topic if it brings me grief. I’d much rather forget about it.

Sometimes I’m afraid I’m simply burying it—the pain. Like when snow falls and piles on, hiding every possible surface underneath.

Perhaps it’ll melt one day and I’ll have to actually deal with it instead of simply burying it.

I just hope it will be later than sooner.

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