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Epilogue

Leah

I stared at myself through the mirror, my eyes meeting the faded scar on my stomach, the tips of my fingers tracing each faded letter. My teeth sinking into my bottom lip, my vision getting blurry by the tears that were threatening to spill. I let out a shaky breath, tucking a strand of my curly hair behind my ear as I blink away the tears.

Thirteen years; it's been thirteen years since the incident, the memory still fresh on my mind. Every day my mind still replays every scene I had with him, taunting me, forcing me to never forget about him or what he did to me. I stare down at my hands, glaring over the faded scar on my wrists.

I wish I could say that after I left the hospital everything went smoothly, no bumps, potholes, nothing in my way but that's not how it went at all. My parents and I ended up cutting ties, they told me they wanted nothing to do with me... that I wasn't thinking straight and I was too messed up for them to keep in contact with me. My heart broke, I had to stay with Mia until I could afford my own home.

Mia had to force me to leave, to go out. She told me I needed to be strong not for me but for the both of us and I am thankful for having someone like her in my life. I'm glad I had the chance to hang out with her one last time until— I shake my head ridden my mind of the thought.

After that, I started visiting Novalee González's grave when I have the chance, sometimes I leave flowers or random items to thank him for what he had done. He lost his life to save me and I will always be forever grateful, I only wish I had the chance to meet him in person... to actually thank him.

The sound of my oven's alarm went off, indicating that the cake I had put in there minutes ago was finally finished. I throw one last glance at myself in the mirror and head out the bathroom door, my gaze falling on the picture frames hanging all over my walls, memories those days rushing back, a small smile forming on my lips. My finger drums against my arm as I walk through the halls until I was met with the doorway to my kitchen. The smell of the chocolate cake hitting my nostrils.

I couldn't contain my happiness at the delicious goods, I practically skipped towards the oven, wanting to grab the hot pan without any gloves on. My stomach growled, I almost rolled my eyes. This cake isn't for me, stop being greedy; I scolded myself as I threw on an oven mitt, bending down slightly as I opened the oven, the warm heat from the oven caressing my face as I grabbed the caked filled pan and settling it down on the kitchen island. Kicking the oven door closed, I threw off the mitt and inspect the cake.

I had recently started taking a baking class, it was a hobby until I made my first cupcake. I started my own small "business". I had made my own sigh and left it outside, made quite a few dollars from it and I love it, honestly. I wanted to wait until it cools off but I didn't have enough time for it. I moved quickly towards my cabinets, pulling out a small container of chocolate frosting. The sound of my bare feet quickly moving back towards my cake could be heard throughout the kitchen, causing a giggle to erupt from inside my chest.

Once I was finished frosting the warm cake, I took a few steps back to admire it, It's not the best but I'm sure my client won't mind it one bit. I grabbed the frosting, my eyes landing on the small smear of frosting that had managed to get on my hand, I couldn't stop myself from licking the delicious goodness off of my skin, humming in delight. I felt my heart skip a beat when I heard the shuffle of footsteps coming down the stairs, natural instinct kicked in. I knelt behind the island, placing my hand over my mouth to keep whatever sound that threatened to escape my lips. My heart was beating loudly, each beat making my nerves spike up.

I heard them sigh as they approached the kitchen island, my hands were shaking slightly as I counted in my head... one, two... three. I jumped out, screaming loudly "Surprise!" to my son— Hayden. He jumped back, his hand pressed against his chest as he stared back at me with his green eyes, his brown-blonde hair covering them slightly as he gasped for air.

Before he could yell at me, I ran around the island, wrapped my arms around his shoulders and pulling him tightly against my chest, pressing a soft kiss against his forehead.

"I told you I didn't want to celebrate my birthday this year." My thirteen-year-old boy whines, his lips forming into a pout as he tries to escape my death grip.

"And I told you that I didn't care!" I playfully glared down at him, brushing his curly hair away from his face, a blush creeping on his tanned skin as he averted his gaze from my eyes to the cake sitting proudly on the island, waiting to be devoured.

"I made your favorite!" I exclaimed, removing my arms from his shoulders, gripping his forearm instead and dragging him closer to the cake, my eyes not leaving his baby face.

He extended his arm, the tips of his fingers almost reaching the frosted cake. I quickly grabbed his hand, pulling him away from the cake. He groaned when I placed my hands against his full cheeks, his eyebrows furrowed, his lips peeking out.

"I still have to sing for you before you can have your cake." I smiled softly as he tried to pull away but I held him in place as I screamed out the birthday song, swaying our bodies side to side. His hair falling over his nose, his nose twitching causing him to jerk his head slightly to move the strands of hair away. I smile softly down at him, pressing another kiss against his forehead.

"I love you, you know that right?" He pulled away, rubbing his forehead as he looked away, his eyes landing on the cake again. "Yeah, I know, mom." his green eyes met my own, a smile forming on his lips. "Can I have cake now?"

"You don't have to ask me twice!" I exclaimed as I scurried next do him. I hand him a knife, encouraging him to cut a piece of cake. His eyes were strained on the blade in his grasp, a distant look in his eyes causing me to furrow my eyebrows. I placed my hand on his shoulder, his eyes jerking towards mine as if I had pulled him out of a trance. He quickly gave me a reassuring smile, cutting into the cake, placing the piece on the disposal paper plates I had bought for today.

The frosting on the cake melted everywhere but it was good nevertheless, he enjoyed it and told me to save the rest in the fridge for later. He knows how to make me feel proud of myself, sometimes I wish my parents would treat me the same way he did. He always tells me how amazing I am, how good of a mom I am... he doesn't judge me like my parents did and it makes my heart expand in my chest, each day my love for him grows, making me so happy that I ended up keeping him.

My parents were so angry with me when I told them I wanted to keep Hayden, they threaten to kick me out and never speak to me again and I took that choice. I have already killed a lot of people, I wasn't going to let this innocent baby lose his life because of what his father did. He doesn't deserve that, not one bit.

I sighed softly, placing the frosted covered knife in the soap-filled sink, the suds tickling my skin as I tried to clean the metal blade. I wanted to spend the day with Hayden, maybe watch some movies until midnight but he said he wanted to hang out with his friends and will probably be back tomorrow morning. I frowned, my mood went down quick but I still told him he could go. I so badly wanted to tell him no, to say with me but I also didn't want to deny him his freedom, after all, it is his birthday.

The front door slammed shut, making me jump and graze my arm against the blade, a painful hiss leaving my lips.

Great, thanks, Hayden.

I grabbed the towel that sat next to me, pressing the cloth against my arm as I made my way towards the window. That kid will be getting an earful tomorrow when he comes back, I have told him plenty of times not to slam the door shut and what does he do? Does the same thing I told him not to do. I glared at his retreating form, my eyes squinting at his choice of clothing.

It has been warm where we live for the past month, going out there with thick clothing was a death sentence, so why is he wearing a black hoodie? I shake my head lightly, trying to ignore the feeling growing in my chest. He has his reasons, maybe they're going to hang out at night? It's cold at night. I try to reassure myself, my hand shaking slightly as I push the strand of hair that fell over my face... a sudden presence making my heart leap in my chest, dropping down in my stomach afterward.

"Miss me? Sweetheart, " the voice that I didn't want to hear spoke, each word sending chills down my spine.

No, no, no... you aren't real, you're dead...

I turned my body my eyes strained on my feet, I couldn't look up— I didn't want to look up. I remember vividly the officer showing me pictures of Ezio- Nicholas, his blonde hair and blue eyes took me off guard. I knew there was always something off about him but I couldn't point it out, plus every time he would be close to me, I was constantly in fear, my brain would automatically shut down when his hands were on me.

"You and I both know why he's leaving... he's just like me, you know." Ezio's voice came out breathlessly, causing goosebumps to rise on my skin. He will never be like you, I raised him right... I taught him right from wrong, he knows. He would never, ever be like you.

I felt his hand on my hip making my body flinch back, my back colliding with the window, my eyes jerking up to meet his only to be met with the empty hall. My legs felt like jelly, all I could hear was the blonde rushing to my head, my lungs screaming at me for air. I gripped my throat, wheezing with each step I took. I need to go to the bathroom... that's where I put my stuff, my brain was trying its best to send me signals but my legs were getting weaker and weaker.

I don't know how or why but I managed to reach the bathroom, my hands tightly gripping the edge of the sink as I try to support myself, my shaky hands opening to cabinet until my fingers were met with my inhaler, taking a big gulp, I finally let my body hit the cold grown. Tears streamed down my face, sobs bouncing off the walls as I laid there. Even in death... he still finds a way to haunt me.

But he is wrong, Hayden will never be like him... just because he has your face features doesn't mean he got your psycho genes, fucker.

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