I have not been home for almost ten years. Not that I hadn't wanted to go home but bad blood and words I wish I hadn't spoken kept me from returning to the place where I had grown up. The place where my mother planted flower's every spring, where my Father built a tree fort us, and where my twin brother and I would play for hours in the wet forest surrounding our house. I can still remember the last time I was home, I raged at the three people that meant the most to me. I said things to my twin that were unforgivable. I never imagined that ten years would go by without any word from them. I had accepted the fact that I was out of their lives, that time would not heal all wounds. Therefore, I was shocked yesterday when my parent's phone number was flashing on my caller id. My hand hesitated over the phone, not sure if answering was a good idea. "Edward man up and answer the call, you know how much you miss of the honey know as your mother's voice." If I had only known why my Mother was calling I would have ran from that phone so fast and I would not have turned around. It was because of that call I am now on a red eye flight to Seattle. It was also because of that call I have guilt churning in my gut so thick that I am sure that it is going to spew forth and manifest into its own being. The guilt is because of the last thing I said to my twin ten years ago. "I hate you Elijah, you are dead to Me." and now those are the last things I will have ever said to him, the call was my mother sobbingly informing that Elijah was killed in a car accident on the way to Seattle.
"Sir would you like anything to drink?" the flight attendants nasally voice broke into my thoughts.
"Vodka if you have any, please," I said without looking at her. I ran my hand through my already disheveled hair. I saw her too tan hand place two-miniature bottles of the clear liquor on the tray in front of me.
"Is there anything else I can do for you?" she purred leaning closer to me; I was almost gagging on her cheap perfume. I turned my head to her, taking in her over-processed blonde appearance. Why is that every blonde bimbo thinks that they are God's gift to me. I definitely did not.
"I am positive that there is not anything else you can do for me," I sneered grabbing the little bottle of heaven sitting in front of me. Cracking open the lid, I put the bottle to my lips and forced the burning alcohol down my throat.
"Well if you change your mind, just push that little button right up there and I will come running," She said leaning over me to point to the call button and pressing her prominent cleavage into my face. Seriously, could this chick not take a hint? I turned to her and gave her the "don't fuck with me" look and stated, "Believe me, I won't change my mind."
She promptly backed off, her face flushing a little and stuttered, "Of course sir, please enjoy the rest of your flight," She then turned tail and fled to the flight attendant station, I am sure to cry about what an asshole I am. I really did not care. Maybe if I had been on this flight for another reason I would have taken that plastic blonde into the tiny bathroom and fucked her three ways from Sunday, but not today. I wanted to sit in this chair and get so blindly drunk that I could not feel this guilt anymore, I want to be numb. I knew I would have to face reality soon, my mother insisted on meeting me at the airport. She refused to let me get a rental car and drive home. I didn't argue with her, she just lost a son. Now she was getting one back in the lieu of the aftermath. Maybe she wanted to be there because my face was a spitting image of Eli's and for a moment, she could pretend that I was him.
However, we all know that I am not him, never could be. I hope that my parents wouldn't be too disappointed when they realize that. I hope that they don't regret calling me home when they realize that a twin face doesn't make me him. I need more alcohol. I really did not want to flight attendant Barbie to come back here though. I guess getting shit faced was out the question. It is probably for the best though; do not want Mother to have to deal with my drunken ass.
Once my flight touched down in Seattle, I sat in my seat until everyone else was gone. I knew I had to get off, my Mother would know that my flight had landed and I really didn't like the idea of her standing all alone in airport, there are too many weirdoes around. I pulled myself out of the seat and grabbed my bag from the overhead compartment. "Well here goes nothing." I thought as I made my way out of the terminal and into the busy lounge area. I went through security and fought my way to the baggage claim area. That is when I saw her, the same caramel hair, a new gray tinge to it though. Her watery green eyes were frantically searching the crowd until they landed on me and then tears burst forth and she was running. Once she reached me, she threw her arms around me holding me so tight. I dropped my bag and wrapped my arms around her, picking up her dainty shaking frame and squeezing her to me. I was home, she still smelt of cookies and vanilla. Her arms still felt safe and warm. I did not realize how much I missed her until now. I should have come home sooner; it should not be because of this reason.
"Oh Edward," she crooned into my neck "I have missed you so much."
"I missed you to Mom," I whispered back, feeling a tightness building in my chest.
I set her back on the ground, so I could get a good look at her. Her hair definitely had gray mixed in with the caramel, there were new lines around her eye's and mouth that were not there ten years ago. Besides that, she looked the same. She reached her hands up to my face, pressing them into my checks. She seemed to be looking for something, I knew what it was. She was not going to find it. After a minute, she sighed and dropped her hands. I reached out entangling our fingers together; I wasn't ready to give up contact. She seemed surprised by this touch but it didn't let faze her. She squeezed my fingers and said, "How was your flight?"
"It was fine," I said leading her over to the baggage claim. By then only my bag was left on the conveyer belt. "Where's Dad?"
"He's at home with Grams and Pops, their flight landed earlier today," she explained, "He didn't want to leave them alone."
"Oh" was my genius reply. I really did not know what else to say. I did not want to bring up Eli in this crowded airport. I wanted the details, but they would have to wait until we were home.
"You ready?" I turned to my Mom, there were fresh tears running down her face.
"Are you okay Mom?" I asked sweeping my fingers under her eyes, trying to stop the tears.
"I'm sorry Edward, I promised myself that I wasn't going to do this here, but I just forgot how much you two looked alike. Not that I am comparing you two," she added quickly "It's just hard. I know it's you but it's just, you know." I understood what she could not say, she was use to Eli.
"It's alright Mom." I said wrapping my arm around her shoulder "Let's go home."
The ride home passed quickly. Mom kept to safe topics.
"So are you still in New York?" she asked after we were on the highway.
"Yeah I am., I replied staring out the window. I'm not sure I am ready for all of this.
"What are you doing there?" she asked squeezing my hand.
"I'm just composing music and playing in an orchestra," I left out the part that the orchestra I played in was New York's finest and that I was their lead piano player. I'm sure she already knew that though. If she knew I was in New York, she knew where I worked.
"That sounds nice," she said simply "I really miss listening to you play."
"While I'm home I play for you," I amended
"Are you leaving a girl behind back home?" she cringed when she said the word home. Home would never be New York.
"Not really," I sighed, another thing I really did not want to get into.
"What does that mean?" she said using her Mom voice. I ran my hand through my hair for the hundredth time today and told her "I was seeing a girl named Maggie, but it wasn't working out. So we called it quit a few weeks ago. She is pretty certain that we can work our problems out, but I am not." I hope that was enough of an answer for her.
"Well the right one will come along Sweetie," she said squeezing my knee.
Seriously, I missed my mom. The rest of the car ride was a quiet affair. Both of us lost in our thoughts, I am sure that hers were also about Eli. My mind was on repeat of the last time I saw his face, the hurt and the anger there. I could feel my stomach churning again. I decided that I needed to move to a safer memory, or else I was going to lose the vodka and peanuts I had on the plane. I picked out a memory that was safe and reminded me of a time that Eli and I were friends, best friends.
We were sixteen and dad took us to a car lot, telling us he would only buy one car that we had to share. We spent hours on that lot arguing about which car to get. I really wanted the silver Volvo that shined like a nickel in the sun but Eli wanted this ugly green Trans Am. After hours of arguing, we decided we would decide this maturely, rock, paper, scissor style. We kept tying, some weird twin thing I guess. Finally, Dad had enough and refused to buy either, so he bought this ugly black 79' Chevy truck and we were pissed. However, after a few days we loved the hell out of that truck. I am pretty sure that we both lost our virginity in that truck. We named it Blackie and even worked out a driving schedule.
The tightness in my chest was spreading to my throat. I could feel tears burning the back of eyes. I blinked furiously trying to stop the tears. I did not want to break down here, in my mom's car. I wanted it to happen in the private. I did not want to add to my mother's grief. I did not want her to try to console me; I deserved to feel this pain and guilt. I need it to consume me. My parents have the right to grieve and move on, not me I will carry this sadness with me until my last day as a monument to my twin.
As we passed the sign telling me that we were now in Forks, I closed my eyes and took a deep breathe. Nothing has changed here. The buildings look the same in inky light. It was even raining. We quickly passed through town and were on the dirt road that led through the forest to my childhood home. Even though things hadn't changed in town, I knew nothing of my family's life here. I didn't even know where Eli lived, what he did for a living. I didn't even know if he was with "her" anymore.
My jaw clenched on its own accord. I really didn't want to think about that, the reason I stayed away for so long, the reason I now have to live with this guilt. The hatred starting building in my gut for her, I could feel it seeping through my veins, burning a path of fire. I wanted to blame her, I wanted to find her and lash out at her. I want to pour all this guilt and sorrow into her. I want her to know that it is her fault that I will never see my brother again, I never get to hear his voice, see his eyes full of life. I never get to apologize for everything. He'll never know how sorry I am.
Before I could let the rage really start flaring my parent's big white mansion came into view. The sight of my childhood home wiped all the angry thoughts out of my head. My mother sighed next to me as she pulled into the garage. She turned to me and said "I know that you have a lot of questions about, well everything. But can we wait for that conversation until the morning?"
I looked at the clock realizing that it was after two in the morning.
"Of course Mom," I said as I opened the car door. After I gathered my bags from the trunk I made my way into the house. It smelt the same, a mixture of vanilla, honey and wood polish. I took a deep breathe letting the smell sooth my soul.
"Are you hungry?" my mom whispered as she passed me.
"No, I ate on the plane," I whispered back, Vodka and peanuts count right.
She gave me a look like she didn't believe me, but thankfully she didn't push it.
"Well I guess if you aren't hungry, we should get you to bed," she said slipping into mom mode.
"Okay," was all I could reply to that with, I am tired.
We made our way up the stairs, trying to be as quiet as possible. Just as we hit the second floor, my parent's door opened and my father's blonde head poked out. Well more gray then blonde now. He smiled sadly at my mom, and then turned his eyes to me. What I saw there took my breath away, forgiveness. I knew that I didn't deserve it but it made the tightness in my chest spread. He walked out of the room and stood before me awkwardly. I knew he wanted a hug and secretly I did too. I dropped my bags as quietly as possible and opened my arms to him. In two seconds flat my father had his arms wrapped around me tightly.
"It's good to see you son," he said softly
"You to Dad."
He squeezed me tightly for another second and then let go. Awkwardness filled the hallway. I shifted from foot to the other.
"I was just taking Edward up to his old bedroom," my Mom said breaking the silence that had befallen us.
"You must be tried, it's what five am in New York?" My Dad said to me looking concerned.
"Something like that," I said running my hand through my hair again.
"Go get some sleep, we'll catch up in the morning," he said making his way back to his bedroom. "Goodnight Edward." he added as he closed his door.
"Night Dad," I said, even though he could not hear me anymore.
I picked up my bags and proceeded up the next flight of stairs. The only rooms up here were mine and Eli's. Mine on one side and his on the other. As I passed his closed door I stopped for a second. I knew that he couldn't have possibly lived here still, but the urge to see his room was over-whelming. My Mom had stopped and was staring intently on the door also, almost like it was a snake that was ready to pounce and bite her. I would have to wait to make an excursion in there. I walked the last few feet to my door.
"We haven't really changed much in here," my mom explained as she opened the door.
"You didn't have to do that Mom."
"I couldn't bring myself to change either of your rooms," she said a sob escaping her throat. I dropped my bags in the doorway and wrapped my now free arms around her. She held onto me for dear life. I held her for about ten minutes, letting her get it out. Finally she pulled away, looking up at me with a sad smile she said "I am so sorry, I didn't mean to do that."
"Mom, do not apologize for crying." was all I could say. I needed her to go, I wasn't going to hold my composure much longer. She wiped her face with her sleeve. "I put fresh bedding on the bed for you; there are clean towels in your bathroom. If you need anything else you know where it is still."
"I'm sure I do." I picked up my forgotten bags and set them onto my black leather couch.
"Sleep in as long as you want. Your Dad is leaving for the airport again in the morning, His brothers family will be in then," she said making her way to the door.
"Are Alice and Emmett going to be with them?" I asked hopefully, I hadn't seen my cousins in years.
"I think they are coming with their families," She replied "Well I am going to get to bed before your Dad comes up here and lectures me on keeping you awake."
"Okay Goodnight Mom," I said grabbing a pair of flannel pants from my bag, they would work for tonight.
"Goodnight Sweetie," she said shutting the door.
Alone at last, I looked around my room for the first time since I walked into it. My Mom was right they had not changed anything. The walls were still Midnight blue; the carpet was still the plush gold. The books I hadn't taken to New York with me still lined the shelves and all the pictures that I had left behind in my anger were still there. Eli's face smiled out at me from everywhere. Him and I standing next to "Blackie". Us in our football jersey's after the homecoming game. Our arms slung around each other at graduation. If we only knew that was the last picture we would take with each other, I'm sure we wouldn't be smiling as big as we were. I left two weeks after graduation. As I looked down the row of pictures we kept getting younger and younger. Us in our tree fort. Down at first beach in our matching neon green swim trunks. In the bath tub. Finally us two days old lying in Mom's arms. That's all it took the tears starting flowing, soon they turned into gut wrenching sobs. It hurt so much, as mad as I was at Eli I never stopped loving him. Pictures were all I had left of him. I grabbed the closet one to me. We were about 10 in the picture. We were wading in the creek that was behind our house trying to catch tad poles. Mom had snuck up on us taking the picture. We splashed her relentlessly for doing it but she just laughed and said that we would appreciate it one day. She was right.
"God Eli, I am so sorry," I sobbed to the picture "I should have came home along time ago, I shouldn't have left things the way they were. I love you brother, always have, and I always will."
I set the picture back down on the shelf and blindly made my way to my bed. I flopped down onto the mattress, curling up in a ball I cried until I had nothing left. I felt like such a girl but I couldn't control it. I don't know how long I stared at the ceiling before I succumbed to sleep.
I woke the next day to the sound of voices floating up the stairs, groaning I rolled over and buried my face in the pillow. My head hurt from the emotional break down I had earlier this morning. After a few minutes I decided that I better get up and go down stairs. I rolled off the bed and made my way to the bathroom. After a hot shower I felt marginally better. I didn't bother looking in the mirror though I was sure my face looked like I didn't even sleep. I put on the first shirt and jeans I came across and made my way down stairs.
Once I was down there I could hear my mom's voice coming from the kitchen. My stomach growled at that exact second, I guess eating nothing but a bag of airplane peanuts over a 24 hour period wasn't going to cut it. I walked into the kitchen and about walked out again when I realized that my Aunt was comforting my mom. She had her arms wrapped around her and whispering into her ear. I felt like I was intruding. I tried to slip back out unnoticed but that didn't happen. "Edward Anthony," my mother said pulling away from my Aunt Carmen "You better get back in here and eat something. I heard your stomach from the hallway."
I walked sheepishly back into the kitchen, after pecking my mom on the check I sat down at the breakfast bar.
"Hi Aunt Carmen," I greeted my Aunt. It had been ten years since I had seen her last but she looked the same. Tiny frame, black shoulder length hair and sparkling blue eyes. She made her way over to where I was sitting and wrapped her tiny arm around my shoulder.
"Edward, it's been to long," she said affectionately squeezing my shoulder.
"It has." I said feeling awkward I knew I had a lot of explaining and apologizing to everyone about my absence. I have every intention of fixing my mistakes before I go back to New York. It was going to be hard, but it was the right thing to do. Eli's death has taught me that.
"I'll let you and your mom have some alone time," she said removing her arm and walking towards the door.
"That's not necessary Carmen," my mom said turning from the pancakes she was cooking.
"Yes it is," Carmen stated "I have some things to unpack anyways. We'll talk more later." she directed at my mom. Mom just nodded, if anyone could sympathize with mom it was Aunt Carmen. There oldest daughter Irina died when she was seven from leukemia. I knew that she would be a great support for my mom.
"Here you go," My mom said setting a plate of pancakes in front of me "There your favorite, Banana."
"Thanks Mom, they smell awesome," I said applying the butter and syrup. "But do you think that I really need ten pancakes."
"Well you look on the skinny side," She defended herself. I knew that wasn't the truth I was actually about fifteen pounds bigger then I was when I left home. It was all muscle but it was still bigger. I knew that she was just trying to pre occupy herself. It was easier to be in mom mode then it was to be in sad mode.
"Whatever you say" I laughed.
Mom fussed around the kitchen for a few more minutes, cleaning up the pancake mess. I ate in silence the only sound to be heard was my fork on the plate and mom's rag wiping down the counter. Finally she sighed and threw the rag into the sink. Turning to me, her eye's already welling up "I think that we should talk about Eli's death now."
"Alright," I choked on the bite of pancake in my mouth, coughing I reached for my glass of milk.
"Are you okay?" my mom rushed to my side. Clearing my throat I said "I'm fine, you just took me by surprise that's all."
"We don't have to do this right now, if you don't want to."
"It's fine Mom, really. I'm ready."
"Okay let me go get your Dad. He should be here for this." she said making her way to the door to call my Dad.
A few minutes later they both walked in, with the same expression of total grief on their faces. I could feel my throat starting to tighten again. They sat down in the chairs opposite of me. My Dad cleared his throat "Eli was here that weekend, he was living in Seattle but he came home to help me get some things done before it started snowing. He left later then he wanted to on Sunday because your Mom's car was acting up and he wanted to get it running properly for her before he went back."
Mom interrupted him there and said "He told me that he didn't like the idea of me breaking down on the side of the road all by myself. I told him that he was being silly that I could take into the shop the next day, but he wouldn't listen." Tears were running freely down both of their faces at this point.
"Yes well he was very protective of you" my Dad said "Anyways he stayed to fix the car, at around 6:30 he took off in a hurry to get home. They had dinner plans that night. She had already called him numerous times trying to get him to hurry." My dad gave me a pained expression; I knew then that he was still with her. The news no longer angered me, I was just sad that I let that keep me from him. "The last thing he said to us was that he loved us and that he would call us the next day" then he was gone. About fours hours later she called telling us that about fifteen miles away from their house a drunk driver swerved into his lane, killing him on impact."
My Dad barely got the last part out before breaking down into uncontrollable sobs. My mom wrapped her arms around him, joining his breakdown. I could feel my own coming on; I didn't fight it though I let the waves of sorrow take me out into the sea of grief. The sounds of my own broken sobs joined those of my parents. I buried my face into my arms and wept for Eli, for all the time I had wasted, for him being so close to home and not making it, for the guilt my parents would now carry with them because of him staying later then planned. It wasn't their fault; nothing or no one could make Eli do something he didn't want to. After a few minutes I felt my mom's arms wrap around me followed by my Dads and that's where we stayed for another hour crying and holding onto each like survivors after a horrible wreck. I finally pulled myself away from my parents. I needed to know everything else now, what he did for a living, am I an Uncle? Things I should have already known, but didn't
"I have some questions about everything," I said wiping my eyes on the back of my sleeve.
"Okay," my mom said doing the same.
"I have missed out on so much the last ten years, I don't even know what Eli was doing with his life, where he lived, if he has any kids. I guess I just want to know all the details."
"Well after you left he took a year off from school and traveled the country. He said that he needed to clear his head. He was gone exactly twelve months before he showed up at our door and got back to his life. He never talked about his time away with anyone. Us or her. After he got back he attended WSU becoming a psychiatrist, he had his own practice in Seattle. He really loved his work. They got married about six years ago in a small ceremony in our backyard. They lived in Seattle and she is pregnant with their first child." My mom listed off. Her voice cracking in the last sentence.
Scrubbing my face with my hands, I tried to absorb all the information my mom just dealt me. He was a doctor, which didn't surprise me. They were married, also didn't surprise me. The part that did was the baby. Not that I didn't think that was a possibility, it was just hard to think that he would never meet his child.
"When is the baby due?" was the first thing out of my mouth.
"In two months," my mom said looking down at the counter "Its a little boy." she started sobbing again.
"Why isn't she here?" My anger was starting to come back. She was his fucking wife and she wasn't even with his family.
"I think she wanted to give you time to adjust to everything before she showed up," My father explained. Fuck that, she was a coward just like she always was.
"Fuck that," I repeated out loud
"Edward," My mom scolded "I know this is hard for you, but she just lost her husband and the father of her child. So when she does show up I expect you to be civil. I'm not saying that you have to go out of your way to be nice or anything. We don't blame you for the hard feelings that you have towards her. Just don't add to her grief. Please for me."
I just nodded. I didn't trust myself to say anything out loud. I pushed myself out of the chair; I needed a moment to myself.
"I'm going to go to my room."
"You don't have to," My mom said, fear I didn't understand was in her eyes.
"I just need to take a moment to absorb everything; I will come back down later," I promised
"You're not going to leave?" My mom whispered. That explains the fear.
"I'm not going anywhere Mom. I just need a minute to myself," I hugged her into my body and dropped a kiss onto the top of her head. "I promise."
"Alright, do you want me to come get you when your cousins arrive?" My dad asked as I made way out of the room.
"Sure," I said.
I made my way up to the third floor in a daze. I found myself standing in front of Eli's door. I wasn't sure how long I had been there. I rested my hand on the knob, it was now or never. I used the last of my will power to turn the knob and open the door. The room was wholly Eli. From the Black carpet to the Swimsuit model posters on the wall. His Seattle Seahawks comforter was till on his bed. I flipped on light switch and shut the door behind me.
Unlike my room a lot of his personal items were missing, only a few pictures remained on his shelves, mostly repeats of what I had in my room. I turned to his bed and laying there in the middle of his pillows was Patches his over loved teddy bear. I walked over to the wall and turned off the light and made my way back to the bed. Laying down I grabbed patches and hugged him to my chest and got lost in thoughts of Eli.
A few hours later I heard the door creak open and the light flipped on. I lifted my head up from the pillow to see who was interrupting my alone time.
"Eli!" came the shocked feminine voice from the door way.
So there you have it folks, Chapter one. Let me know what you think. I am without a beta, so I apologize in advance for any grammar or spelling mistakes. If your interested in the job PM me. Now go ahead and review, you know you want to!