Final chapter everyone! Yes, your sad, i know. But I just wanna say this before I let you go off and read this. One, is that this is over 11,000 words, just this chapter! I wrote this chapter for three days straight! and took like three hours to correct mistakes, i hope i got all of them! Also, more importantly, thank u all who has supported me throughout this story and all of u who have reviewed and stayed with me when I wouldn't update in weeks! Thank u! Because of u this story is finally finish and i couldn't be more happy by the way this story has turned out!
But don't u all die off on me now! I will now be focusing on my new fiction "Few minutes on a Couch" i hope you all review it. It will be updated in the next week or so. Also, "Finding Love" is going to be made, i just don't no when. so look for it people!
Again, thank u and please read my other fictions, i'll be watching u! no just kidding...but seriously.
Anyway enjoy the Last. Chapter.
Have you ever heard the saying "things get the darkest before dawn"? Well, from the very beginning I had thought that the darkness was going to consume me forever, that I would never find the light that would guide me out of the blackness. But, I would like to think that the dawn was slowly rising upon the horizon for me. That I would get a break from the cruel world I had lived in and feel the warmth of the sunshine. For the longest time I had wondered what that sun would be.
Two days after my mother had left, I was probably the most depressed I had ever felt in my whole life. For Naomi to ditch me for her husband-to-be who had caused me so much pain, she was nothing to me now. She was dead in water, floating away from me, and I wasn't going to go swimming after her.
She had called me at least a dozen times in that few days period. But, my dad would always answer the phone since he knew I had no desire to speak to her. I knew when he was talking to Naomi because he would always pick up and said, "What do you want?"
I could hear her sobs through the phone even though I was all the way in the living room. She continued to harass my father to let her talk to me, but he made it clear to her that I wasn't going to talk to her for a long while, maybe I never would again. No, I would talk to her sooner or later, but that was a long, long way down the road. Right now, I hated her.
I had told that to Aunt Mizumi, how much I despised her. How I wished she would just die. I knew no one would miss her.
"Now don't say that," she told me, "you'll learn to forgive her."
"How could I love someone who is so self-centered?" I asked.
Aunt Mizumi sighed, "Judai, a mother should never have to choose between her children and her husband."
"Well she had to," I said, "and she chose Giese."
"You know what I've learned about this Giese person," she said.
I turned me head to face her, "What?"
"I think he wants to be your mama's baby more than her lover. Like your mama is his mama, and that's why she had decided to let him back into her life." Aunt Mizumi continued, "She thought she had to be a mother to Giese as well. I'm not giving her excuses for what she has done, I'm just telling you what I think was going on in her head."
It made sense. My mother had felt like she had to be a mother to both Giese and I. When Giese is a grown man and can take care of himself, but my mother didn't see that. She only saw that poor, puppy dog act Giese would put on for her so she would fall into codling him. But, she should know better.
"It looks like your mama's got some growing up to do."
By the time my mother grew up she'd already be dead. She will never understand what she has done. The pain she has caused this family. "It's all her fault."
"No, it's not," Aunt Mizumi said.
"Well it's certainly not Dad's, now is it?" I snipped at her.
"Don't put this all on your mother," she said, "Your father is to blame, too. It's both their responsibility."
Whoever was to blame here it would be that animal that is probably at my house right now just hamming it up for my mother. Saying how he's sorry and how he'll make it all up to her. Sweet talking her, convincing her to stay with him. But, behind the song and dance he's just hoping he can get his hands on me.
"Dad didn't even do anything wrong."
"He's done a lot of things wrong," she said.
"Like what?" I questioned harshly.
"He tried to hide the truth about what had happened to you."
"He hid that because I asked him to!" I shouted. She didn't understand what Dad was trying to do for me. He knew how I felt and actually gave a shit.
Aunt Mizumi let out an amused laugh, "Like that matters? You're just a kid, he's a parent. He knows what's right and what's wrong and him hiding it is the lowest of the low."
My fist clenched tightly together, "You don't understand…" I said through gritted teeth.
"I don't understand?" Aunt Mizumi asked, completely outraged, "Judai, I've been in your shoes. I know what you're feeling right now. Yeah, your dad might seem like a hero to you, but in the eyes of an average adult he's nothing but a schmuck."
I didn't argue with that. It was true.
"Now don't you go around acting like me or your daddy doesn't know anything because we do. We grew up like that and I only wish I had a parent that cared enough to say something."
"But…I didn't want Naomi to get into trouble."
"I understand that, too," Aunt Mizumi said, put her palm on my knee, "But you can't go on keeping something that big inside. If you didn't tell me about Giese when you did, you'd be back with your momma right now with that…man."
"Yeah, well, now I don't even know when I'm going to see Naomi again!" I stood up from the floor of the porch and started flying my arms around in exasperation while I spoke my thoughts, "I may hate her, but she's still with that bastard and I don't want her getting hurt again! What if he gets out of control and accidentally kills her?" I shivered at the thought, "I'll be without a mother! I don't want that no matter how much I dislike her! I have so many things to ask her about"-more like yell about-"and what good will that do if she's dead?"
"Well…maybe you should let your father call the police if you're so concern."
"Then what good will she be in prison?" I asked, "Conspiracy is her downfall!"
"Then that's her problem, not yours."
"But I feel like it is!" I slumped back onto the porch, "Why does this have to be so difficult?" I asked, groaning all the while.
"If your mother would have said something, then this wouldn't have happened," she said, "She has no one to blame but herself if she whines up behind bars. You should never blame yourself for what happens to your mother. None of this is your fault."
I took a deep breath to calm myself, "But I feel like part of it is. Maybe if I was more open to Giese he wouldn't havedone what he did. Maybe I did deserve-"
"Boy, you better stop where you are," she said sternly, "No one deserves something like that happening to them."
"But I provoked it to happen."
"You could have been a wonderful child with a halo over your head and he would have done the same damn thing. There are people like him, Judai, who are sick creatures who do those kinds of things to children."
Aunt Mizumi said that, but I really did havea hard time believing it. It all started when I gave him attitude. Maybe if I wasn't so judgmental of him he never would have hit me and this never would have started. I may be at Naomi's house right now and Giese would be a good person. Maybe I made him the way he is. Maybe I sent him over the edge with my smart comments and glares. This could have all been avoided if I just accepted him.
But, the other half of me thought that I had done nothing wrong. That Giese was just the way he was. He would have found something I did wrong, just a little thing, and turn it into something huge just for an excuse to harm me. Like breaking a vase then turning it into something terrible, like I was running through the house smashing things and called him a bastard just to mix it up a little. I could see him doing it.
I didn't know. All that really mattered to me was that I would probably never see him again. But, the word probably got my stomach churning. I wanted to be certain.
Aunt Mizumi yawned and stretched her arms out, "It's getting late. I don't want you going to bed thinking about such horrible things."
I just nodded and stood up from the porch. I waited for Aunt Mizumi as she slowly was getting up from her chair. She stood up but only for a moment before she lost her balance and stumbled into the wall. She caught herself on the siding of the house, leaning against it for support from her buckling legs.
"Aunt Mizumi?" My voice was clearly worried, "Are you okay?" I asked.
She was breathing heavily while clenching her chest, "I-I'm fine." She obviously was running out of breath.
No, she wasn't okay. She tripped every now and then from being so weak, but this was different. It frightened me, "Hold on. Let me go get Grey."
I dashed inside the house to see Uncle Grey already sitting in the kitchen with my father. They were having a conversation, drinking beer, when I barged in.
Uncle Grey saw my terrified expression and asked me what was wrong right away.
"Aunt Mizumi doesn't look good, at all."
He spared no time whatsoever putting his beer down and jogging out the screen door where Mizumi still stood, hyperventilating from the lack of oxygen to her lungs. My father was beside me, watching Grey helping her breath.
"Mizumi, I need you to breath, sweetheart."
She tried to, but they were more like wheezes. Uncle Grey insisted that she go to the hospital as a precaution.
She put up her hand as she tried to stead her breathing, "No…no I'm fine. I just need some rest…I'll be better…t-tomorrow."
Uncle Grey eyed Mizumi up and down for a long time before sighing in defeat, "Alright." He scooped Aunt Mizumi into his arms like she was lighter than air. Her withered figure was shaking like a leaf. I felt a terrible feeling wash around in the pit of my stomach. Something told me she wouldn't be better.
Uncle Grey walked inside the house, holding Aunt Mizumilike she was an expensive vase that he was being extra careful not to drop. I glanced over to my father who didn't look back. He was staring at his sister as she was carried to her room. My father's eyes were wide in fear, his face pale. I already knew what he was thinking and what he was scared of.
He didn't stand by me for long. Before I knew it he had disappeared into the house, probably to Aunt Mizumi's room. I followed him, through the kitchen, up the stairs, and down the hall to my aunt and uncle's room. When I walked in I was greeted by the crimson walls of the bedroom. I soon thought it was a bad omen to be surrounded by the color of blood when Aunt Mizumi was like this.
Uncle Grey had already set her into the bed and covered her with the bed sheets that matched the walls perfectly. He brushed his hand against Aunt Mizumi's forehead as she started a coughing fit. She hacked into her hand something red, something the color of her room, blood.
As soon as I saw it in her hand I covered my mouth and let a scream escape from my mouth. Not a second later my dad started pushing me out of the room.
"Go to bed," he hissed.
"Go to bed!" he yelled and then slammed the door shut on my face.
I stood stiff outside the door. I knew what was coming. I just prayed she would make it by morning so I could say goodbye.
I solemnly made my way to bed. I laid there for hours, not one bit tired. I kept myself from crying. I knew this was going to come sooner or later, but I just never really had time to prepare myself for it.
It was this time I had finally realized how helpful Aunt Mizumi was to me. She was the only one I had told about Giese and his crimes without being forced into it. I'd never felt more comfortable around anyone before like I had with Mizumi, not even Johan. If it wasn't for her I'd still have my head buried in the sand. I have so much to thank her for and I don't have much time left to do it.
I woke up the next morning abruptly. I shot of from the mattress and realized that the sun had already risen. I didn't even remember falling asleep last night. I started to panic. Had Aunt Mizumi already…? No, she couldn't have! I didn't even get to see her before she left!
Without a second to spare I jumped out of bed, kicking off the sheets. I tripped too many times to count as I dashed out the door of my bedroom to Aunt Mizumi's room. I felt like I was running so slowly. I felt I would never reach the door at the end of the hallway. By the time I had gotten to it I felt like I had been running for hours by my heavy breathing.
My hands were shaking fiercely as I grabbed the doorknob. I almost felt like I didn't have to strength to open the door. But then I realized it wasn't that, it was me being frightened. Frightened of what awaited me behind that door. But I had to know, so I shuck off my fears and slowly turned the knob, pushing the door open.
I walked into the room and looked nervously over to the lump in the bed. My throat started to become dry. I wasn't sure if the figure was breathing or not. I took a few deep breaths before tip-toeing over to the bedside. But, I stopped half-way, doubting if I could do this or not. If I could face the fact that under the bed sheets could be my aunt, dead. The very thought sent chills up my spine.
I didn't pull the bed sheets down. I just leaned close to her and whispered, "Aunt Mizu?" When she didn't stir I tried again, but shaking her lightly this time, "Aunt Mizumi? Are you awake?"
"Judai?" Her raspy voice was like music to my ears. My body immediately was less tense. I let out my held breath, relieved she was still alive…for the moment.
"Jeez, Mizumi, you scared me last night," I whispered while smiling at her.
"I'm sorry, honey." I saw her hand reach out of the covers and grab onto my hand weakly.
We were silent for a long time. Mostly because I didn't know what to say. The woman was dieing. What do you say to a person that is passing on by the moment? Talking about the weather was out of the question. It would be rather stupid. So, I just asked the first question that popped into my head, which was an obvious one, "So, how are you feeling?"
Mizumi laughed weakly, giving a little cough, "Never felt better."
"I can sense the sarcasm in that."
"You're right. I should be serious with you."
"Oh, no! I didn't mean anything by it!"
She chuckled, "Calm down, Judai. I'm just messing with you."
I hung my head to the ground while Aunt Mizumi tossed and turned in her bed. I didn't want to sound rude to her, but I wanted her to be serious with me. If this was her last moments on Earth then I wanted her to be real here. So, like usual, she reads my expression and figures out my very thoughts. She was something.
"I really shouldn't be joking with you."
"Is it that serious?" I asked.
She nodded. I looked over to the side, biting my lip to keep it from quivering. I promised myself I wouldn't cry, especially not in front of Aunt Mizumi. I didn't want her to be more upset than she already was. Even though she didn't show it on her face, I could tell she was aching inside.
"So, what do you want to talk about?" She asked, that usual smile on her face.
"More like what would you want to talk about?" I let out a low chuckle, "We've been talking about me non-stop for the past few days. It's your turn."
Aunt Mizumi sighed and peered up at the ceiling, "I don't think there's anything left to tell about me."
"Oh come on! There must be something."
She laid there in the bed for a few moments, thinking of something interesting to talk about. Then she grinned and snapped her brittle fingers, "Got one. It's hysterical." She talked the whole time about when she was little and her, my dad, my Aunt Tatsuya, and Uncle Satoru were playing in the first snowfall of the year. My dad and uncle were planning to exterminate the snowman Mizumi and Tatsuya made. Well, when they both left my dad and Satoru took their shovels and started smashing it into nothing but a pile of snow. Well, apparently Tatsuya was so mad that she took this huge stick out of the yard and smacked my dad in the "manhood" and he fell over crying.
"Never messed with our snowmen again!" Aunt Mizumi laughed.
After we had controlled our giggles Aunt Mizumi smiled up at me sweetly and told me that she had something important to ask me.
"What?" I asked eagerly.
"My son, you've met him, haven't you?"
"Once or twice."
"Oh good," she said exhausted, "I need you to tell him that I'm sorry I didn't live long enough to see those grandbabies I've wanted so much."
That comment hurt my chest like a knife just stabbed it, "W-What are you saying?" I laughed nervously, "You're not going anywhere."
"Judai…I've lived longer than expected. I was supposed to die two months ago, but God kept me alive for some reason, and I think I know why."
I think I know why, too.
"You can't leave me," I said, my voice cracking, "You can't leave us! Uncle Grey needs you! Dad needs you! I need you!" My voice was now in desperate pleads, like she could control whether she died or not, "What am I suppose to do without you? You've already helped me so much!"
"Don't cry," Aunt Mizumi said solemnly, "I don't want to pass on seeing you shed tears."
"I can't help it," I said, wiping the tears in my eyes.
"Judai, you don't need me to conquer your obstacles. You're turning into a fine young adult and you need to learn how to handle what life throws at you like an adult." She took my hands in her own and smiled at me, "I may not live for much longer, but I'll still be here."
I couldn't keep back the tears anymore. It was just too hard. I let one slip out, then two, then much more. Soon I was sobbing quietly so Uncle Grey or my dad didn't hear me.
"Thank you so much…" I whispered.
"Don't thank me, honey. I didn't do anything."
"You don't have to be modest."
"I'm not," she said, "I just passed the time at night by talking about pointless stories."
"But, I told you about Giese. I've never told anyone about that. You must have done something."
Aunt Mizumi shook her head, "That wasn't me, that was you. You didn't feel obliged to tell me. You wanted to. So, you see, I've done nothing, you've done it all yourself without anyone pushing you. It was your free will that decided to tell me."
My eyes grew wide. Suddenly my heart didn't ache so much. She…was right. I told her because I wanted to, not because she pushed it, or was questioning me, it was just because I wanted her to know. I never realized it.
"I may have helped, but in the end it was you."
Aunt Mizumi relaxed her body, laying motionless in the crimson red bed. She coughed a few times, but there was no blood. I watched her carefully as her eyes started to lose color by the second.
I gasped and leaned over the bed, "Wait!"
"Judai…" she heaved, "I'm really glad…you came here…"
I gritted my teeth together as the tears poured out of my eyes, "I'm glad, too."
"Please…don't be all too hard on your mother. She loves you more than you know. She's just not being very smart."
"I will," I lied. I knew I owed her at least that much.
She gave one last smile to me, "Be good and be strong…for me…"
I watched as her eyes slid close, no sign of them over opening again. Her hand slipped out of my own and fell onto the bed, lifeless. I stared at her blankly for a long while not knowing how to react. But the tears came flowing down my cheeks soon enough. I knew I couldn't sit there and cry. I had to go tell them, which was probably the hardest thing to do.
It was difficult to pry myself out of the room where my aunt laid dead. I took my time walking down the stairs, thinking about how I would tell them, but I never got anything. I dragged myself into the kitchen where my uncle and father were eating breakfast. A lump formed in my throat. I didn't know what to say.
"Dad…" I squeaked out.
Both of them stopped eating and turned to face me. My father stood up when he saw the tears on my cheeks.
"Judai, what happened?"
"Aunt Mizumi…she's…" I couldn't say it. I didn't have to. My father's eyes grew wide and so did Uncle Grey's. In no time at all they were sprinting up the stairs to Aunt Mizumi's room. I didn't follow. I didn't want to see Aunt Mizumi or their reactions, but I certainly did hear them.
I heard a frustrated scream which came from my father and I knew the bam was from Uncle Grey slamming his fists into the wall. Sobbing soon followed from both of them.
Before I knew it, it was noon. No one had spoken a word to each other. I actually hadn't seen my father or my uncle. My father was down by the shed and Uncle Grey wouldn't leave Aunt Mizumi's side. I didn't dare disturb any of them. I was doing some mourning myself. Sitting on the porch where Mizumi and I sat many of times. Where we had told each other everything.
I just sat there wondering how I was going to live here without Aunt Mizumi here with me. I knew this place was bearable only because of her. I knew I could only live here for a few more days before going completely insane. I'm sorry, living with just my father and uncle didn't really appeal to me.
I didn't know what I was going to do. I had nowhere else to go. I'm stuck here. What if I have to change schools? What if I never see Sho, Ryo or Fubuki again?
What if I don't see Johan again?
It was a cold, bleak Sunday at the cemetery. I was dressed in black dress pants, black shoes, and a white collared button-up, just like everyone else. Today was the day we were to bury Aunt Mizumi.
All this week had been nothing but phone calls to the funeral home to arrange calling hours, which were yesterday, and the funeral, which is today. It took a lot of convincing to get Aunt Mizumi's corpse out of the house and to a funeral home ASAP. Uncle Grey didn't want to let go of his beloved wife.
Things at the house were quiet. Uncle Grey wasn't in the mood for conversation, nor was my father. I thought I was going to go insane from the lack of noise. It almost felt lonely.
At the funeral it was mostly family and a few friends. Most of them I had no idea who they were or have only met a few times when I was little. But those people seemed to remember me. They would have conversations with me and I wouldn't even know who they were, I just acted like I did. When we did talk it usually went like this:
"I haven't seen you in so long! When I last saw you, you were this big!" And they would hold their hand above the ground to show me exactly how tall I was. "Do you even remember me?"
"Ya," I would lie, "I remember a little."
Then they would usually say how sorry they are about Aunt Mizumi's death. I wouldn't say much when they brought it up. Just a simple nod or a one word answer. I had gotten that all day long and I was about to punch they next person who tells me how tall I was when I was five.
Everyone had gotten to the cemetery within a half hour. All dressed in black and white like this was a movie from the 50's. The preacher was standing at the tomb stone waiting to speak that stupid holy crap from his bible. Just bury her. I can't keep staring at that casket for the whole time he's talking, it was too hard and I know how much preachers like to here themselves talk.
We all stood around this little hole and large box either crying or just staring. I didn't cry though. She had told me that I shouldn't cry, so I didn't. I stood beside my father and my cousin, who was Aunt Mizumi's son. I knew I would have to have a talk with him after this.
He was standing next to his fiancée who just announced she was pregnant, today of all days. I clenched my fists when I heard the news. Was God laughing in Mizumi's face? As soon as she dies Nitta (my cousin's fiancée) is baring a child? The child Aunt Mizumi always wanted to spoil, to call him or her, her grandchild. Everyone was laughing, saying how they should hurry up and get married before she starts showing, but I wasn't laughing. I was angry.
After a few minutes of waiting, staring, and crying, the preacher finally took the stage and started speaking about how God would take care of Mizumi and she was in a better place. It's the same old song and dance.
I zoned the preacher out the first five minutes. I was just looking off into space now. I kind of looked like a manikin, face pale, lifeless, eyes unmoving. But no matter how glued my eyes were to that casket I could still see my father looking over his shoulder to see a white pickup truck pull into the parking lot.
I could see his body tense, "Oh fuck…" He mumbled under his breath. He suddenly turned to me and I was already looking past him to Naomi's truck to see that there was more than one person in it. I exchanged glances with my father for less than a second before he nonchalantly slipped out of the crowd.
I didn't hesitate in following him. The preach looked over at us but continued reading out of his bible. Anyone who wasn't sobbing or falling asleep by this long sermon noticed us, too, but I didn't stop.
When we were far enough from the crowd of people I ran up to my dad, "Dad! Wait!"
"Go back," he commanded.
"No!" I protested.
"Judai, please, don't be so stubborn for once and go back." His voice was fierce, intimating, but no matter how scary the situation was I wasn't going to stand around.
We got to the end of the parking lot, Naomi and…him where already there waiting for us. My fist clenched tightly together and my stomach twisted into knots, not from fear, but from rage. That bitch! How dare she bring him here!
My father held out his arm and told me to wait. I did what he told me to. I didn't want to get too close to that trash. My eyes were in slits of anger. I grinded my teeth together, trying to control myself.
I was close enough to hear my father start spitting profanities to my mother, not once acknowledging Giese. He cussed him out, but to my mother. My father wasn't going to waste is time talking to him.
"You got balls to bring that"-he pointed is finger to Giese-"to my sister's funeral!"
"He's going to be apart of the family in a few months. I think he should-"
"Don't you even call him family!"
Giese frowned, "I don't think you have the right to talk to me like that."
"I have every fucking right to talk to you however I want you fucking pedophile!!"
My eyes widened along with Naomi's. Giese stood there silent not really knowing what to say. I couldn't believe he had said that. So much for him keeping what he knew a secret.
"H-He told you?" My mother asked, obviously shocked.
"No, he told Mizumi about that. I found out about the beatings."
Naomi shot a glance at me before looking back at my father, "Giese has done no such thing!"
My jaw dropped and yelled, "Are you kidding?!"
My dad hung his head and started chuckling, "Unbelievable. You're protecting him over your own son. What a pity."
"Giese had only disciplined him!"
"By fondling him?"
I bothered me how he said that so calmly. The whole concept bothered me.
My dad shook his head roughly and looked at my mother like he was trying to set her on fire with his eyes, "There's no discussing this. You're leaving."
Naomi put her hands on her hips and started giving my dad attitude, "I'm not going anywhere! Mizumi is my family, too!"
"You stopped being family when we got divorced. You're not welcomed here."
Naomi bit her lip and glanced over at me like I was going to help her out of this, "Judai, tell your father that I have every right to be here."
"Don't do that," my father hissed, "Don't put pressure on him. You did this to yourself!"
"I was talking Judai, not you!" She snapped. Her angry expression turned softer when she looked back at me. A little smile played on her face, "Judai, honey, you know how close Mizumi and I were. Please tell your dad to at least let me pay my respects."
I hung my head. I wanted to say no. I wanted them to leave. For her to bring Giese here was bullshit. I shouldn't even talk to her. But I remember what Aunt Mizumi had said.
Please, don't be all too hard on your mother.
"Pay your respects then get out," I said while gritting my teeth.
My mother's face fell because of how harsh I was, but I didn't care. She deserved it. My father wasn't all too surprised by my answer, though he wasn't happy about it. Naomi started walking to the crowd of family and friends up on the hill with Giese following. I stopped her before she even got past me.
I narrowed my eyes at Giese, "He stays in the truck."
Giese returned the glare, wanting to say something so bad, but bit his tongue since my father was there. My mother sighed, "Giese, go wait in the car."
Giese hesitated, looking back and forth at me and Naomi. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. He licked his dry lips before he spoke, "You're being pushed around by your own child, Naomi."
"Are you stupid?" I asked, smirking, "She told you to get in the truck. How hard is that?"
Giese bared his cigarette stained teeth. I was surprised that he actually took a sudden step towards me. He balled his hands in and out of fists. He wanted to hit me, but I wasn't worried that he actually would. There were too many witnesses.
"Giese!" My mother hissed, "Go in the car!"
Giese was breathing heavily through his nose while glaring daggers at me. I was returning the favor. My father had walked over to the both of us. He put his arm in front of me protectively.
Gieseglanced at Naomi who told him once again to go to the truck. He continued to stand there until finally he gave it up. He scoffed at me, "Unbelievable. Little brat…" He turned his body around and made his way to the truck without saying another word.
We stood there frozen for a few more seconds until Giese had actually gotten in the car. My father's body relaxed and let his arm flop back to his side. My mother hadn't spoken a word. She just ignored us and went up the hill to the funeral.
While Naomi was walking up to the crowd of people, my father stayed with me. He had put his hands on my shoulders, looking at me cautiously, "Are you alright?"
"Hardly…" I mumbled, my head facing the ground.
"I can't believe she would- why would she- how could she do that?"
"She loves him."
"Then she's a fool."
I shrugged, "What can you do?" Sighing, I looked at my dad with a crooked smile on my face, "But, I really don't care anymore. If she's happy with him, then let her be with him."
"You really think that?"
"Of course, but she'll lose me in the process."
I sighed again, "Really, Dad, it's fine. I'm fine. It's just…hurtful."
"Well then let's stop talking about it. We have enough bad shit going on right now."
I nodded and started walking up the hill to where we were wanted. By the time we had gotten up there, they were already lowering the casket into the ground. I felt guilty for not staying through the whole ceremony, but there are some things that can't be avoided.
I stayed as far away from my mother as possible. She did look sorrowful though. I wondered if she was really upset about Aunt Mizumi dieing or if she was feeling extremely guilty. It felt wrong to smile, but I did. I smiled, hoping she was drowning in her misery. I know that was cruel, but it sounded so good.
Two men in all black started shoveling the dirt onto Aunt Mizumi's casket. It felt weird knowing she was in that big wooden box and she was actually being buried. I tried not to think of it.
People started to disperse from the group and to their cars within a few minutes. My cousin still stood there in front of the tomb stone, staring at it with absolutely no emotion whatsoever. Nitta was comforting him by rubbing his back soothingly.
I felt my heart sink when I knew that I had to pass Aunt Mizumi's message onto him. I had to prepare myself before going over there. I rehearsed what I was going to say in my head over and over until I knew I had it right. Then I had a minute of breathing so I could calm myself down, even if it was only a little bit.
Finally, I was ready. I slowly walked over to him and his fiancée, leaving my dad to tell the goodbyes all by himself.
I stopped a few yards away from the couple. I sighed before speaking, "Laurent?"
Laurent turned towards me wiping his eyes, "Judai?"
"I'm glad you remembered me," I said while smiling at the ground.
"Of course I remember you." He smiled, "Do you need something?" He asked.
"No, I just need to say something. Your mom told me to pass it on to you." I swallowed the lump in my throat and looked up to meet Laurent's gaze, "She said…she was sorry she didn't live long enough to meet her grandkids and that she loves you. She wishes you and Nitta all the best."
Laurent gave a low chuckle, "That woman apologizing for something that isn't her fault." He gave a hurt smile, "Thanks Judai. I appreciate it."
After that he asked me if I was going over to Aunt Tatsuya's for a little get together. "It's just a few people. It's kind of like a small mourning party, if you would call it that. We're just going there to celebrate my mother's years of life."
"I hope you come," he grinned.
"I'll ask my dad." I glanced over my shoulder to see Naomi standing beside my father. They obviously just got in an argument. She made a motion with her hand to tell me to come over towards her. I sighed and turned back to Laurent, "Sorry, I have to go."
"Alright, thank you again. Hopefully I see you soon."
I nodded and waved goodbye to him and Nitta. I made my way over to my mother. She was probably going to give one last ditched effort to come home with her. I almost groaned at the thought of her crying again.
I didn't get too close to Naomi, just barely in arms reach. She had her arms folded over her chest. She was chewing on her lip, then looked me in the eyes, "I appreciate you letting me into the funeral. It means a lot to me."
"I didn't do it for your befit," I snarled, "I did it because that's what Aunt Mizumi would have wanted."
My mother was silent, letting the wind blow her black hair in front of her face. "Well…" she swallowed, probably to keep herself from crying, "Whatever the reason, thank you."
"No problem." I said while getting ready to walk away.
"Wait!" She called, "I have something to tell you."
"Johan called for you a lot while you were gone," she said, "I tried to call you and tell you to call him back but you never wanted to talk to me." Naomi made a face when she said that, "Well, I told him to come here after the funeral because I knew you would want to see him."
"You did?" I asked, totally shocked.
"Yes, it's the least I can do. We'll just call it a little thank you gift for not being so hard on me today."
Now I was glad I had taken Aunt Mizumi's advice. I was going to see Johan. I couldn't believe it. I was so happy I forgot how to smile.
"Thank you Mom, really."
"Well, I have to go tell Dad that we have to stay. So I'll um…see you when I see you." It was the best I could think of because I knew "see you soon" wasn't going to happen.
I turned and started to walk towards my dad who was waiting by his car. I heard my mom say my name and I stopped, not turning to look at her.
"You…you know I love you, right?" She said, her voice starting to break into sobs.
"Don't do this Mom."
"What do you want me to do, Judai?! Just sit back and watch while you leave me?!"
"I'm not discussing this," I said harshly.
"You can't keep running away from me! I'm your mother God damn it!"
"Some mother!" I snapped, turning to her, "You ran away from me by going with Giese! How do you want me to react to that, Naomi?"
"Don't call me 'Naomi' I am your mother you address me as 'mom'!"
"You stopped being a mom a long time ago, Na-om-i." I drew out the syllables knowing it irritated her.
"If that's how you feel then maybe…maybe you just shouldn't see me at all!"
"Exactly what I was thinking," I stated coldly, "I'll have it arranged."
My mom shook her head, letting the tears fly all over the place, "I don't want you to though! I want you to come home with me!"
"Get rid of Giese, then we'll discus it."
"But…I can't…" she whispered.
"Then forget it," I said, "You obviously love Giese more than me, so you should be with him, not me. I'd hate to spoil your good time."
"I don't love Giese more than you!"
"Save it," I growled, "Dad's waiting for me. I hope you and Giese are happy together without me." With that I stomped away from my mother in such a rage I wouldn't be surprised if steam started coming out of my ears. I could hear my mother crying behind me, but I didn't care. I could care less.
I got to my dad's car with a few seconds from how fast I was walking away from Naomi. I was just really desperate to get away from her before I blew up. My father had already knew what I was mad about since he had witness the fight from the hood of his car.
"We're staying," I hissed.
"I'm supposed to meet someone here in a few minutes."
"Who?" My dad questioned, raising his eyebrow.
"Does it matter?"
"Yeah, we need to get to Aunt Tatsuya's in the next few minutes."
"Tatsuya can wait," I said coldly, "I'm meeting with someone."
My dad put his hands up, "Okay, okay."
I huffed and sat on the hood of the car next to my dad while he smoked a cigarette. I watched as the last of family and friends who came get in their cars and drive away. I turned my head when I saw Naomi walking to her truck, patting a handkerchief under her eyes. I couldn't even bring myself to look at her getting in the car with him. It made me furious.
I heard the pickup roar to life and roll out of the parking lot a little faster than necessary. But I couldn't help picking my head up to see Giese in the passenger's seat staring at me while they pulled out of the cemetery. I smirked at him and raised my middle finger and waved it around.
I watched in amusement as his teeth clenched together in anger. I just laughed at him, making sure he could see it, and shook my head at how childish he seemed to me. He'd get his, no doubt about it.
Five minutes passed and my father and I were the only ones in the parking lot. He checked his watch and sighed, "When is your friend going to be here?" He asked.
"Give him a few more minutes, Dad." I said in annoyance.
He sighed again and leaned against the car again, putting his hands in his pockets.
I could barely contain my excitement knowing Johan was going to be here any minute. I haven't seen him in three weeks, which felt like three years. I wanted him to fill me in on everything that happened while I was gone and well…I'll just skip what has been happening with me. I didn't want to ruin the happy moment.
We waited another ten minutes before I heard the similar roar of Jonathan's Mustang engine. The sound was like music. I immediately jumped off the hood of my dad's car and was in the middle of the parking lot in a matter of seconds, waving my hands around so they knew where to go.
I was grinning ear to ear as the Mustang pulled into the parking lot. I was smiling so much it hurt my cheeks. I tried to contain myself from crying and looking like an idiot and actually succeeded. Before the Mustang came to a complete stop I ran to the back door of the car where Johan was sitting. He flashed that beautiful smile of his and opened the door as quickly as possible.
When Johan got out of the car I was already latched onto him like Velcro. I couldn't even speak I was so happy. I ran my hands through his hair, feeling the softness of it made my hands tingle.
"Oh, Johan…" I whispered.
"Judai," he wheezed, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!!"
I realized how tight I was hugging him and quickly let go so he could breathe again. "Sorry," I laughed.
"It's okay, I prepared myself for it."
I was so wrapped up in seeing Johan again I forgot about Jonathan, Emmy and JoJo. I looked up at Johan's parents and smiled, "It's been a while."
"Seems like forever," Emmy said, her eyes watery.
Jonathan nodded, "It's nice to finally see you again."
"Same here," I said.
"Hay! What 'bout me?" JoJo whined.
I laughed and ruffled her hair, "Hey there squirt. I haven't forgot you."
Before I knew it my dad was beside me, introducing himself to the whole Andersen family. They said their greetings and told each other who they were, what their names where. My dad and Johan's parents seemed to get along pretty well. It was like an instant connection. They were talking up a storm within the first few minutes. I would say it was like me and Johan, but that was a really weird comparison.
Johan and I decided to leave Emmy and Jonathan and my father to themselves since they were having such a great conversation. Poor JoJo just sat there listening to it while playing with her fingers.
Johan and I were walking up the Aunt Mizumi's gravesite hand-in-hand. I never really noticed how soft Johan's hands were until today. It was strange how I was noticing all these little things about him. Maybe it was because I haven't seen him for so long that I'm seeing things I haven't taken into consideration before.
"You seem to be walking better," he commented.
"Oh, yeah I guess I am," I had actually forgot about my tailbone still having a week more to heal completely. It actually hasn't been hurting at all.
Johan laughed, raising his eyebrow, "Why are you looking at me?"
I didn't realize I was staring, "Well, isn't it obvious?"
"I don't know." He rolled his eyes while smiling, "Just answer the question."
I leaned my head against his shoulder, "'Cause I've missed you so much."
I could feel Johan's lips in my hair, "I've missed you, too." He pulled me closer to him while we walked the last few steps to the grave my aunt had just recently been buried in. I suddenly didn't feel so great. My smile hardened into a tight line.
"So this is your aunt's grave?" He asked.
"Yeah," I said, "You missed the funeral. It was wonderful."
Johan frowned, "I can sense the sarcasm. What happened?"
Man, I promised I wouldn't ruin the good moment. "My mom came here with Giese."
He gasped, "What?"
"It's nothing. You probably don't want to hear about it."
"Oh, I beg to differ."
What was I suppose to do? Reject his request? I couldn't. I've always told Johan everything, well, almost everything. I was so over hiding things. So I let it all out. I told him about how Naomi, and yes I used her name when explaining things to him, had came to see me at Aunt Mizumi's house saying how she was going to stay with Giese after all that he had done. I've never seen Johan's eyes get so wide before. He really couldn't say anything because there was nothing to say to someone who would abandon their own child.
But, I told him how I had come out to Mizumi and told her about what had happened. I said how good of a person she was and she helped me when I had problems. I told him how my dad and she actually could relate to me about what Giese had done to me. I said everything I could and got it all out on the table.
We spent almost a half an hour talking about everything. Johan had so many questions and not to mention how many times he said, "What?!" He was completely outraged, appalled by Naomi's decisions.
"I can't believe this! Your own mother! God that makes me so pissed!"
"It's okay, I'm over it."
"But it's not okay!"
"Your right, it's not." I said, "But, if she wants Giese more than me then why stop her? I'm not going to waste my time trying to convince other wise. She'll have to deal with the guilt in the long run."
"Wow…I can't believe you're so…calm about it."
"What else can I do?" I asked, "Kick and scream? It wouldn't make things change. I'd rather save my energy."
Johan gave a little smile, "I'm really proud of you. You've grown a lot over the past few weeks."
I glanced over at Aunt Mizumi's grave, "I had help." But, for a split second I thought I saw Aunt Mizumi standing beside her tomb stone, smiling at me. She was watching Johan and I. I could tell that she was just as happy as he was that I had matured so much to actually handle this like an adult.
I may not live much longer, but I'll still be here.
That comment echoed in my mind. She was still here, watching me, helping me learn.
"Judai!!" My father called from the bottom of the hill.
I gasped and quickly looked at Johan, fear in my eyes, "I don't want to leave you."
Johan chuckled and smoothed my hair out of my face, "It's not like you'll never see me again."
I sighed, "I know but…living with my dad now without Mizumi is going to be so weird. More than likely it will be boring. Not to mention we've just seen each other after three weeks! I'm not ready to leave you again!"
"Well…" Johan trailed off, looking to the side, "Maybe…you can convince your dad for you to come and live with me."
My eyes widened, "You're serious?!" I exclaimed, the excitement coming back into my voice, "Your parents will let me?"
"Of course, Judai. They adore you. I think they love you more than me," he joked.
"I don't think that's possible."
"Well, you'll never know unless you ask."
I stared a Johan then over to my dad who was getting impatient from waiting. I bit my lip and changed my gaze back to Johan, "What if he gets upset?"
"Again, never know unless you ask."
I bit my lip and thought about it for a while. It was worth a shot. My dad could come visit me whenever he'd like. Emmy and Jonathan are open arms to me no matter what my situation is. I'd be with Johan. I wouldn't be bored. Oh hell, why not? It's not like he'll shun me for asking.
I grinned and grabbed Johan's hand, "Come on." I dragged Johan down to the parking lot eager at the thought I might actually be living with Johan. That's if my dad agrees. I'll just haveto be very persuasive.
When we got to the parking lot my dad was talking to Emmy and Jonathan while he was waiting for Johan and me. I came to sudden stop in front of the three adults. Johan couldn't stop fast enough and rammed into me.
Emmy laughed, "What's your hurry?"
"Well," I smiled, "Johan and I have been talking."
"About...?" Jonathan droned on the word.
I glanced over my shoulder at Johan who was smiling at me and giving me little nudges to get me to come out with it already. I turned back to Emmy, Jonathan and my dad and took a deep breath, "We've decided that it would be easier for all of us if you let me stay with Johan."
"What are you trying to say?" My dad asked, "You mean living with him?"
Johan and I nodded.
All three of them looked at each other, worried expressions painted across their faces. When I saw the look on their faces my hopefulness boiled down to no hope at all. I'd be stuck with Dad and Uncle Grey, I just know it.
"Um…that's easier said that done," my father said.
"I see," I said solemnly.
"And I don't think Emmy and Jonathan need another kid to take care of."
"Oh, it's not trouble," Emmy said, "We love having him. I just don't know if it would be right to take him from you."
"Well…I really don't see a huge problem with it."
When my dad said that my hope suddenly came back.
"I'm just worried about court law. You're suppose to be with me and if they find out you're living with someone else that is not immediate family, my ass is grass."
"We can look past that!"
"I'm just not sure."
"Wait, wait!" I said, "You could just let me live with Johan for the time being. If the courts find out and they see a problem with it, then ship me back home. Dad, you can see me whenever and give me money for clothes and basic needs. It works out. Come on Dad! Please!"
My dad bit his lip. He was thinking really hard about this since he was always groaning when his thoughts didn't come together. I was just stand there with Johan, our hands folded together like we were praying. We looked so hopeful. I knew my dad couldn't crush this.
Finally after a long five minutes, he sighed, "Okay."
"Yay!!" Johan and I cheered.
"Are you sure it's okay with you?" My father asked Emmy and Jonathan.
"It's perfectly fine." Jonathan said.
Emmy smiled. Suddenly, she gave a little gasp then looked at the digital clock in the car, "Oh, we better get home. Dinner's probably ready, if not it's destroying the kitchen." She turned to Johan and me, "Come on, boys. Let's get home."
Jonathan shook my dad's hand and told him it was a pleasure to finally meet him, my dad returned the gesture. Johan grabbed my hand and started to drag me towards the car, but I pulled my hand out of his without seeming rude, "Wait, there's something I have to do."
Johan peered over my shoulder to my father, still standing there hoping I would come over and at least say goodbye. Johan smiled, "I got you. Take your time."
I turned my back to Johan and walked over to my dad, his arms folded over his chest, towering over me. I didn't look at him in the eye when I spoke, "You're not mad at me for wanting to do this, are you?" I asked.
My dad sighed and shook his head, "No. It's your life and I know you want to be with him more than you want to be with boring old me and Grey."
"It's nothing against you Dad." I assured him.
"So, are you sure your okay? Because if you want me home I understand."
"I'm fine. Don't worry about it." He smiled and motioned his head over to the Andersen's car, "Now go on, they're waiting for you."
"You'll call me tomorrow?"
I gave my dad a weak smile, "Thanks." I gave him one last look before heading over to the Mustang that was already revving to go. Johan held the door open for me and let me crawl in first. Then he followed in right behind me.
Johan slammed the door shut and turned to me, "You ready to start your first night living with the Andersen's?" He asked.
Jonathan stepped on the gas petal and started to pull out of the parking lot. Before we left I leaned over Johan to see my dad waving to me. I waved back, yelling out the window that I'd see him soon. He smiled as we pulled out of the cemetery and sped away.
I couldn't help but feel somewhat guilty I had just ditched my father and it showed on my face.
Johan looked over at me and grabbed my hand in his own, "Are you sure you want to do this?" He asked, "We can always turn around."
"I want to do this Johan," I said, "Don't worry about it, I'll be fine."
I knew what I wanted and that was to be with Johan. No one could take that away from me.
Few Months Later
"Johan! Judai! Come on it's your first day of being juniors in high school! Let's go!"
Johan and I raced down the stairs, book bags slung over our shoulders.
"Jeez Mom!" Johan shouted, "Don't rush us!"
"Well get moving your bus is coming!" Emmy said, pushing us along out the door. We ran down the porch like cheetahs hoping we made it in time before the bus came.
It has been two months since I'vecome to live with the Andersen's. So far it's been going great. The courts haven't found of problem with me staying with Johan, that because they still didn't know. We planned to keep this a secret from the legal system. It's been working out great so far. Not one cop has come by to check on how I was doing with my father, so for now the secret is safe. Yes, it's deceiving, but we didn't really care. We've been through enough stuff as it is. We really could care less about the courts.
On a brighter note my father visits four days a week for about three hours at a time and has giving me money out the ass. I'm not complaining. He and Uncle Grey have been doing fine on their own as well. They can't cook their own food, but other than that they're getting by.
As for my mother I haven't spoken to her. Last thing I heard was that she was in the hospital again from Giese going berserk and smashed her head into a window. When I heard the news I was frightened for my mother, but I felt better when I learned her injuries were minor. But, she's still with Giese, as usual. The wedding is in two weeks and I've already recievedan invitation, the nerve of that woman. As soon as I got it I threw it away. No way in Hell am I going.
Giese has become nothing but an unwanted memory in the corner of my mind. He's nothing to me, just dust in the wind. I don't speak of him anymore and when he is brought up he quickly goes away because we all know to terminate the conversation.
"Dammit! Run Judai! The bus is coming!"
"I'm running! Shut up!"
Me and Johan's relationship is better than ever. I can't really get into details about it since that is a private concept only Johan and I know about. At least we try and keep it private…and quiet. I think you get what I'm talking about. Yes, it took me a while before I had agreed to do such things with Johan. I was still a little insecure about the whole thing, but Johan and I talked for hours about it and after he had assured me that everything would be fine, I went for it. There was no unwanted visions, it was just Johan the whole time. I felt loved, safe.
My life is perfect and I would have it any other way. Even though I've faced the hardships that some adults had never been through I've learned and didn't feel sorry for myself. Yeah, it's not a perfect ending. My mother didn't come through for me and it still with the guy who had caused me so much misery but what are you gonna do? Life just works that way. You don't always get what you want.
I ran up to the bus that was waiting for us with Johan. We were out of breath by the time we had gotten on and didn't think we could make it to the back where Fubuki, Sho and Ryo were sitting. But we toughed it out like men and made it to the back.
They were all laughing at us.
"Don't ever join the track team!" Fubuki shouted.
"Shut up…" I breathed while sitting in the seat across from him and Ryo with Johan.
The rest of the way to school we joked around and said how this year will be the best year of our high school careers.
I sat back wondering if my mom would call me tonight and ask if I had a good day. But the possibly of that happening was zero. She probably didn't even know it was the first day of school.
Then I got to thinking about Aunt Mizumi, who's grave I visited every week. That's another thing that didn't make this story as happy of an ending as it should be. When she died it was like a part of me died off too. I wondered if I would be riding the bus right now if she was still alive, since the reason I didn't stay with dad was because she wouldn't be there.
Oh, why am I thinking about this? It's a happy day I shouldn't be thinking bad thoughts. Yeah, this isn't a perfect ending but at least I'm with Johan and my life was on the road to becoming better.
I grabbed Johan's hand and smiled at him. He did the same, planting a kiss on my lips.
But, this isn't the end, this is the beginning. A chance for me to start my life over in the right direction, with Johan at my side. This part of my life is coming to a close. All the struggles, the tears, the hardships. I could probably face anything and laugh at it like it was nothing.
I wouldn't be scared anymore because I have Johan there to catch me when I fall and a great family right behind me. The sun had finally risen and I was out of the blackness, out of the hollow shell I lived in. That sun was Johan. With all this I knew that this next chapter will be easy and unlike the last one, it will be a fairy tale ending.
Kikuchan: we laughed, we cried and….well mostly cried. But now tis story is at a close everyone!
Judai: take a bow!
Kikuchan: -bows- thank u thank u everyone who supported me through out this story and to all those who reviewed and encouraged me to write this story! I'm so proud of it!
Judai: please sumbit your last reviews!