Eric’s P.O.V [flashback]
I sit on the couch in the tiny living room with my sister next to me. It was my 17th birthday and we were waiting for dad to get home so we could celebrate. Today also marked a year since mom had died. Eliza was sitting next to me with her head resting on my arm as she watched her cartoons. She’s 6 years old so she had some kids tv show that I had no interest in. I hear the front door open and Eliza jumps off the couch and runs to the front door to greet our father.
My dad walks into the living room holding Eliza in his arms and smiles at me. “Happy birthday son.” He says setting a small blue bag down next to me. I was glad to see he was in a good mood right now. Sometimes he could be unpredictable and that’s why I keep my eye on him as he holds Eliza. “Go ahead, aren’t you going to open it?” He says setting Eliza down next to me and going over to sit in his chair.
I reach into a bag to find a watch. The watch was identical to the one he and mom got me last year. I frown slightly thinking of her but then I try to force a smile so I won’t upset dad.
It was too late he was mad that I wasn’t happy with his gift. He jumps from the chair and takes it from my hands roughly throwing it behind him. I take that chance to take Eliza’s hand and pull her behind me. I turn around and whisper into her ear, “go into your room and lock the door. Don’t open it until I tell you to, okay?” And with that, she nods her head and runs up the stairs.
“You ungrateful little brat!” I hear as I stand back up looking at my father. He was furious at me over something so small. He walks over to me punching me hard in the jaw. I wince but try to hide any signs of pain. I wasn’t going to give him what he wanted, whatever it was he did. He continued to beat me and tell the whole time and I concealed every scream, every cry of pain for Eliza. She didn’t need to worry about me.
When he was done he walked away and went to his room shutting the door. I did the same going to my room cleaning up then going to check on Eliza. I unlock the door with the key I took from my father and walked in sitting next to her on her bed. “Hey, hey, it’s okay. Dad was just a little upset but everything will be okay.” I said pulling her onto my lap and hugging her tight. She means everything to me. After mother passed dad changed and I knew I had to protect Eliza and that’s exactly what I did.
I wrap my arms tightly around her small, trembling body. I know she has some idea of what happens when he gets angry and I know it scares her sometimes but I tell her it’s okay and that he’s never going to hurt her because I don’t want her to not have her father. She already doesn’t have her mother growing up and she needs to have her father in her life. “Why don’t you get some rest?” I say softly stroking her hair. She nods against my chest, “c-can you stay with me?” She weakly asks. “Of course.” This was common, me spending the night in her room when father acted like that.
I set her down on the bed and walk to her closet to get her some pjs. I help her change and get her settled in bed. I lay down next to her and hold her close, protectively. “You’re safe, I will always protect you,” I whisper softly to her. That night I made two promises to myself. One, that I would always protect my little sister and two, that I would never turn out like my father.
A few years later and I broke promise one. Eliza ended up in the hospital after a car crash she was in. She didn’t make it to the next morning. If I was with her at the moment of the crash I could have protected her but I wasn’t there and she was gone.
I was alone. It was just me because I would never go back to my crazy father and my older brother ran off after our mother died and I haven’t seen him since.
That’s when I broke my second promise. After my precious sister died. I was broken without her. I was mad at myself for not being there to save her. I changed, just like my father had. I became controlling, and when my moods changed it was drastic.
I tried to move on but I just couldn’t. I knew I needed to take care of myself so I started working for this one business and I quickly rose to the top. Somehow my brother found me and reached out and we started working together. As the years went on I became more and more like my father and eventually worse than him. I left everything to build up inside me for so long and I changed. I changed into exactly what I promised myself years before that I wouldn’t.