Destination: beautiful

One Year Later

"I'm sorry I haven't come to visit you before now. I guess I was just too upset. That's no excuse, and I know it. But I still wanna tell you what happened. I don't know if anyone already did, but I thought you should hear it from me anyway.

"After...you know...everything...well, I had a dislocated shoulder and a slight concussion, and Cody needed some stitches, and James needed surgery on his arm to remove the bullet. Mom was crying like crazy. She was...happy, sad, relieved? All of them, I think.

"I talked to Lieutenant Brooks, too. Told him everything. Then I talked to London, to try and explain myself. That was one of the hardest things I had to do. She said she didn't want to press charges, that she understood why I did what I did...but she doesn't look at me the same anymore. The trust is gone.

"And Maddie doesn't hate me. I apologized for treating her the way I did. I...you know, I don't know why I was so angry with her. She was only trying to help Cody when I couldn't be there for him. I guess I let my jealousy get in the way of reality.

"And James...James has been great...really great. He's always there for us, all of us. And Cody's been trying to get James to ask Mom out, it's really entertaining to watch..."

"Hey, Zack?"

Zack stopped talking and turned around when he heard James' low voice behind him.

"The cemetery closes in about 10 minutes. I'll be over by the gate, so just come on back when you're finished, alright?" James said quietly. Zack nodded, then turned back to the headstone he was kneeling next to as James walked back down the path.

"Dad, I miss you...more than I've ever missed anyone, and I want you to know that," he said, wiping his damp eyes. "I was such a coward, Dad. Everything that happened, it's my fault. If I never yelled at Cody that day...with the whole robbery...and the letters...

"But I've changed, Dad, I've grown up. I've taken responsibility for my actions. And I know I can't change what happened...I want to, believe me...But I can be a better person. And I am a better person, because of you. I love you, Dad."

Taking one last look at his father's grave, Zack stood up and began walking towards James' car.

And for the first time in over a year, he didn't look over his shoulder.