A new grave
***POV - Melaena
I shift my legs into a more comfortable position where I sit on the freshly-planted green grass covering the small heap of the gravesite, and then I place the red flowers against the newly erected marble tombstone. A few tears roll down my cheek and I wipe it away anxiously with my hand. Fudge-jackets, it’s so unfair. Hatred for Harry, for Darren, for Lucinda … for the whole fudge-upped family … boils through me.
I put my hand against the cold stone that’s now the only indication about the life that was lost and buried deep in the earth underneath. And for what? Revenge? Money? Power?
And in the end, Harry and his family ended in the same graves I’m now sitting on. So all the bloodshed and suffering was for nothing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive them for everything they’ve taken from me, even in death. But in a way, I do feel sorry for Darren and Lucinda, having to live under the burden of revenge, never having a normal life. I may even understand Harry’s revenge, but it should have stopped with him killing Alexander and George. There’s no excuse for him ruining so many lives, for causing the death of my loved ones, for making me suffer. A few tears fall softly onto the grass before I wipe my face again.
What is that saying about the sins of the fathers go over to the sons?
I sigh and take a deep breath. Then I take the letter from my pocket. I stare at my father’s handwriting – I remember it from my past. Our father gave Jackson a key to a safety deposit box and inside was this letter - the truth about what happened years ago. I’ve been holding it for a few days before I dared to read it. And since then, I’ve read it more than a few times, each time thinking how unfair life can be.
To my dear children,
I write this letter to explain what I couldn’t before, and I’m hoping that maybe after you’ve heard my side of the story, that one day you’ll be able to think of me as a loving father instead of as someone that abandoned his children for money. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an innocent victim, but rather the heir of circumstance.
The story is so outrageous that it’s hard to believe, but I promise you with my dying breath that it’s the truth. The whole thing started with your grandfather getting greedy. He secretly bought weapons and drugs for some of the gangs, with the money coming in, placing his men in leadership positions, making those gangs loyal to him.
This went on for years and slowly Alexander ruled more and more gangs. When I went to university, our father kidnapped and raped George Garcia’s 14-year old daughter and she gave birth to a boy, named Alex. One of Alexander’s gangs hid the girl away for months and George could never find her. After she gave birth, Alexander killed her and dropped her body in front of George’s door. Obviously, George never knew found her killer.
You must know that at this stage, neither John nor I knew about our father’s plans or about Alex’s existence. He grew up with one of the gangs, prepped from a young age to be the heir he was born to be.
I was forced into the dark barbaric cut-throat part of the business, and I’m not sure if I’m a coward or a savior, but I truly believe that everything I did was because of love. And believe me, I committed some horrific crimes together with Alfredo, but I can also truly say that we’ve been trying to right them all over the years by doing good. Hopefully, it was enough to get me where your mom is waiting.
After Mel was born, we (your mom, me, and John) decided to get out and away from this life, so we started our own company. John got out first to run the company and I kept on working while putting all my money into it to help it grow. But then Harry found discrepancies and thinking that I stole the money to invest into our company, he told Alexander about it. Alexander, being the thief instead, framed Harry by sleeping with his wife, using her to plant evidence, and then killing her by staging her suicide.
Poor Harry got tortured by George and Alexander. Your mom found out and helped Harry to escape with his two kids. She even treated his wounds and gave him a shitload of money to survive with.
When Alexander started taking interest in Jackson, I knew the time has come for your mom and you to leave this life behind. But then disaster struck. Alexander, not wanting me to leave, had your mom killed. I knew the only way to get you kids out, was for me to disappear and leave you with your uncle.
When Harry killed Alexander and George, I thought everything was over and that I could return to you, but then I found out about our half-brother from Alexander’s will. Alex took over all Alexander’s gangs and secretly teamed up with Harry, and they became a force to reckon with. So, Alberto and I gave up our kids and started fighting a secret war together, keeping Alex and Harry at bay.
But then I got diagnosed with cancer about the same time Darren started targeting my kids, so Alberto and I conceived our final epic battle, one where I would find peace at last while taking out the enemy for good.
So all I want now is for you to have long happy lives, find love and always be there for each other. Can you do that for me?
And like I said, I hope you can forgive me someday. Lastly, I want you to know that I’ve loved you all my life. Oh, and please lay my body next to my true love to rest. It’s time for us to be together again.
Now the tears mix with snot and I have to use my sleeve to wipe my face clean – sort off. I never knew my father and now I never will. For years I’ve blamed him, even hated him, though he was the worst person ever, but it turned out he was a hero and the one who sacrificed most of all.
Startled I jerk my head up. Any beeping sound still shakes me to my core after the two weeks in the hospital. Ok, it was a week ago, but still. I struggle to take my phone from my bag with my left hand still in a cast. Turns out I fractured both my radius and ulna when the car crashed. The rest of my physical scars has healed more or less. The psychological ones will take a lot longer.
Damion: Happy Valentine’s day my angel. Let the hunt begin - backward.
What the hell? What is the man talking about? I love the guy, but sometimes I can still strangle his beautiful freaking neck. I drop the phone on the grass and cover my eyes with a groan. How can he even think about Valentine’s day at a time like this?
Beep-beep! Seriously … doesn’t he realize that I’m in mourning, that I need some time alone.
Damion: Come strangle my handsome neck.
Ug, now he’s just being a dick. How he does that is beyond me, but it doesn’t save his neck. The asshole is invading my prescribed resting time. I mean, he was there when the doctors order me to rest and take things slow.
“Hi, sorella.” I can’t help but smile hearing the voice of one of my most favorite people on earth. I swing my head back over my shoulder and watch him walking closer, his leg healed so much that he doesn’t need crutches anymore.
“I knew I’d find you here.” He falls onto the grass next to me and gives me a careful-not-to-hurt-you hug. I roll my eyes. Since I’ve been released from hospital everybody has been fussing over me as if I’m some kind of freaky porcelain doll that can break any moment.
“So you were looking for me?”
He pulls a face as if I just caught him stealing the last cupcake from the party-platter.
“Eh, yes … and I guessed you would be here. You’ve come here every day the past week.” He stares at the flowers.
“I couldn’t go to the funeral,” I say, “so it still feels a little unreal. I’m just trying to come to terms with it.”
He nods with apprehension and then something triggers my brain.
“Alejandro Russo Grimm, are you following me?” I hit his shoulder playfully with my non-broken hand.
“More like, sticking with my brother while he’s following you … “ he laughs softly, “the guy has got it bad. And you turned him into Ilkay, he’s worried now all the time. But I can’t blame him – what you experienced in the hospital is not something any of us want to repeat again.”
“You can say that again.” I don’t need a reminder of the officially worst day of my life. I shake my head as if to go get rid of the sad thoughts and look at the man sitting next to me.
“It’s valentines day … will you help me to get something for the asshole that holds my heart?” I give him a pleading puppy-dog look.
“Don’t look at me like that!” I keep on staring, trying to make the sad eyes even sadder until he gives in.
“Ug, this is gonna cost you, young lady.”
“Anything … I’ll do anything!”
“That’s a very dangerous thing to say to a guy,” he laughs and then winks at me. “I might just take you up on that offer sometime.” I roll my eyes and stick out my tongue at him.
“But first I need to give you this.” He holds out a white envelope and I take it with a frown. Another letter. The word ‘angel’ is written in thick black letters on the front. I turn it around and pull out the card inside.