A/N. I thought of this song for some reason today. And then I realized that it's actually a perfect sequel of sorts for "Broken Angel". It might help if you read that first but you don't have to. Anyway, this is inspired by the song, "I'm Not Who I Was" by Brandon Heath. Look it up and give it a listen! I don't own anything.
Logan pulled his car over to the curb and turned the key in the ignition, switching the engine off. He gripped the steering wheel in shaking hands and rested his forehead on his folded arms. He took several deep breaths, exhaling slowly as he fought to calm himself down. "I can do this," he whispered to himself just as his cell phone vibrated in his side pocket. Sitting up, Logan carefully drew the mobile device out and looked at the screen to see that he had a new text message. He flipped it open and smiled very slightly when he saw the words.
You'll be okay, buddy. We're here if you need us. -Kendall.
Logan's hands were steadier as he typed out a reply message. Thanks, bro. His thumb hovered over the Send button, debating whether or not if he should add anything. But for the time being, it seemed to sum up his feelings. There was always time for more talk later. He sent the message and then closed his phone, putting it back in his pocket, exchanging it for the bouquet of flowers and piece of paper that sat on the passenger seat.
He climbed out then, shutting the door a little harder than necessary because despite Kendall's encouragement, his nerves were still shot to pieces. He had no doubts that what he was doing was the right thing and that he was ready for it, but that really didn't make it any easier. He took of his sunglasses and surveyed his surroundings. "Nothing's changed much," he murmured to himself.
The trees were a little taller and more full. But that was all. The graveyard had been very well kept. The grass was trim and there were no weeds. With all of the flowers, it was actually a very beautiful place. Logan hadn't been to the graveyard in years and it was comforting to see just how little had changed.
He had changed though. He had changed so much. It had been ten years since he had come to the cemetery to say goodbye right before he moved to LA. At sixteen, he had been young and naïve, hopeful for his future. He had dreamed of becoming Doctor Logan Mitchell and even as he was a part of Big Time Rush, he studied hard, determined to achieve his dream.
But something had been holding him back and confusing him. Or rather, someone. His father, Ryan Mitchell. Logan's relationship with his dad had been complicated for most of his life. It had started when his mother died and Ryan began to bury himself in his work as a lawyer, growing more and more distant with each passing day.
To his credit, Logan had tried to keep their deteriorating relationship from falling apart altogether. He really had done everything. He played hockey and despite his small size, became one of the best players on the middle school and high school teams until they moved to LA. When that didn't work, he appealed to to his dad's fondness for academics. But ten years of straight A's and making honors and even getting his name in the newspaper had done nothing to get Logan noticed by the one person he wanted so badly.
Logan reached the spot in the cemetery where his mother and father were buried side by side. Sinking to his knees on the grass, he laid the flowers in front of his mother's tombstone. "Hi, Mom." he whispered, tears clouding his vision. "Sorry I haven't visited in so long." He wanted to keep talking to her like he had done when he was younger. He wanted to tell her everything that had transpired over the past ten years. Somehow though, he was certain that she already knew. Besides, as much as he missed her and as much as he ached to talk to her, Logan knew he had come for a different reason. "I miss you," he said softly, bringing the one sided conversation to an end. "Even with everything that's happened, you're still my mom. I love you."
Straightening up, Logan glanced to the side where the second tombstone sat. He had never even seen it before. He hadn't gone to his own father's funeral. Of course, there had been a very good reason for that, but Logan surprised himself when he suddenly regretted not coming earlier. Gripping the paper in one hand, he shifted slightly away from his mother and focused on the man who had caused so much pain in his life. "Hi, Dad."
It felt strange, saying that word after so long. Even while he was in LA, Logan had talked to his mom when he was by himself. But never to his father. After all that had happened, the ultimate betrayal that had nearly killed Logan, he didn't want anything to do with Ryan. But Logan had discovered that putting his past behind him without dealing with it, had only been hurting him more in the long run. So here he was, determined to set things right. "I wrote you a letter," he began again, clearing his throat. "I guess I'll just read it then." He glanced again at his mother's grave. "You can listen," he told her. "But I've already told you everything. This is for Dad." Unfolding the paper, Logan settled into a more comfortable position and began to read.
Ten years ago, I wrote you a letter. In it, I told you everything. I told you how much you had hurt me after Mom died. I told you that my friends' parents seemed more like my parents then you. I told you how much I missed you and how much I needed you. I told you how I tried everything so hard to get you to see me.
I tried to excel in hockey and school and when good attention from everyone else didn't open your eyes, I went through that little rebellious stage. I didn't care if you yelled at me or punished me or even hit me once or twice. I just wanted you to acknowledge me. To look at me. To talk to me. I wanted you to care about me, just a little bit.
You never did. When James dragged us into that ridiculous mess with Gustavo and Kendall dragged us into an even bigger mess by getting him to sign all of us, I wanted you to say no. I wanted you to say no to me moving to LA. It was so far away and for some reason I thought that you wouldn't want me to go. I thought you would miss you. I knew that despite everything, I would miss you. I wondered what would happen if I didn't ask you. If I just brought it up that I was moving to LA, what would you say? Would you be angry that I was so disrespectful?
But you didn't even hesitate. In fact, you agreed so quickly that I was sure you were glad to get me out of your life. Except I never really was in your life to begin with. Not for the past ten years anyway. Okay, maybe eight. Maybe you started to pull away and it wasn't until I was around eight that I realized how far away you were. But still. How did me moving to LA make any difference? It's not like we talked anyway.
Even so I called you. I missed you, and I have no idea why. Not at first. Then I realized that I wasn't missing you just because I was in LA and you were in Minnesota. I was missing you because you were never home anyway. Even when you were home, you weren't. Physically, yes. But emotionally? Mentally? You were always at work, as far away from me as possible. I know it hurt because I reminded you of Mom. But it would have gotten better, Dad. Instead, you only made it worse for both of us.
I don't remember when it was exactly that I gave up on you. Maybe it was when you didn't send me a card or even call me for my seventeenth birthday. I was never really sure if you had forgotten or you didn't care or if you were just ignoring me. But I think that was when I gave up. I think the literal distance between us was the last straw in our relationship.
Then it happened. I got sick. Cancer. I was so scared, Dad. I didn't want to die. I was only seventeen. I had so much ahead of me. I was angry too, because what had I done to deserve something like that? I was a good friend, a good hockey players, a good students, and even a good son. And Kendall and James and Carlos. They didn't deserve it either. But we were a team. We did everything together. Even fight cancer.
But then you showed up. I guess you kind of had to. Which makes me wonder sometimes. Did you come against your will? Were you threatened by Child Protective Services or something? Deep down, I know that's not true. I know you came because you wanted to be with me. And that's what changed everything for me, even if it was briefly.
I was suddenly glad I was sick. I was glad I was dying. Because if that's what it took to get my dad back, then it was well worth it. You were worth everything to me even if I would up being worth nothing to you. I wasn't really that scared anymore. I had my dad with me. You would protect me. At least that's what I thought. I remember how when you first showed up, we talked for hours about everything, as if you were trying to make up for lost time. And that was okay with me. Better late than never, right?
Then I woke up one day and you weren't there. You left me. With nothing but a stupid letter that changed everything all over again for me. I wasn't scared or angry like I was when I first got sick. I wasn't safe and comforted like I was when you first showed up. I was suicidal, Dad. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill myself.
In that short letter, you made me question everything I had once been so sure of. You took everything back from the day you first came to LA and we had that long talk. I stopped believing that I was a good person and started to believe that I was worthless. Do you blame me? Here I was, at that most vulnerable stage of my life and you left me. How was I supposed to believe otherwise? You told me not to blame myself, but how was I supposed to believe a man who didn't want anything to do with me?
I was alone then and for some reason, there was a pair of scissors sitting on the table by my bed. Since I couldn't think of another reason, I thought it was because maybe it was supposed to end that way. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out of everyone's lives. But something held me back. Not you, you were the one who pushed me close to the edge. My friends. My friends saved me.
They showed me what it was like to be loved, and more importantly, they showed me that I was meant to be loved. By them, their parents, and even by you. I saw it in their eyes. I saw how scared they were when I was sick and tired and dying. It was impossible not to believe them when I saw how much they suffered. If they didn't care, if they didn't love me, then it would be easier for them. But it wasn't easy at all. It was just as hard for them as it was for me.
Kendall had always been our leader. He always took care of us and protected us. This time, he couldn't protect me. He didn't know what to do, Dad. And James. James was practically suicidal himself. I'm sure that even you would remember how passionate he was about everything. Up until I got sick, he had never had to deal with anything serious. And then, when I did get sick. It was like he took all of his passion and exchanged it for fear and that nearly destroyed him. Then there was Carlos. He had always been the sunshine of our group and my caner cast a dark cloud over him. He never laughed or smiled after I got sick. He was scared. All of my friends were like completely different people.
But they weren't. They were the same. They changed, and maybe not all of it was for the best. But they learned a lot. So did I. We all learned a lot. We learned to stop depending on ourselves or each other to get through certain places in our lives. We learned to do everything together, no matter how big or how small it seemed. As hard as it was, it was all worth it in the end.
I got a new family. The Knights adopted me. But that only made it official. I had never thought of them as anything less than my family. After all, I spent more time at their house with them then I did at our house with you. After Mom died, the Knights, the Diamonds, and the Garcias became my new family. The adoption just, like I said, made it official.
But it still meant the world to me. Because I was almost eighteen, legally an adult. So to know that Mrs. Knight went to all the legal trouble of taking me into her family like that, made everything so much more real. I couldn't doubt her love, or the love of anyone else after that.
I thought about you a lot. I never told anyone just how much I thought of you, but you were on my mind night and day. Especially those few times that I was alone. That's when I did most of my thinking that would scare anyone to know about. I wondered where you were, what you were doing, and even how you were doing. I wondered if you ever thought of me and if you knew anything about me. It probably wouldn't have been that hard since I was "famous" and the news was covering everything that happened.
Over time, I grew angry at you. I don't need to go into detail since I've already told you everything. Even now, I believe that my anger was and still is, justified. You abandoned me when I needed you the most and you nearly drove me to doing the unthinkable. Taking my own life. Dad, I wanted you to come back but I knew you wouldn't. And even if you did, Kendall and the others wouldn't let you near me. Honestly, the only reason I wanted you to come back was to tell you that I never wanted to see you again.
Then you died. And here's the funny thing, Dad. You saved me. I would have died if it wasn't for the kidney transplant surgery. I did die and I could have seen Mom again, but deep down, I knew I couldn't leave my friends. Not if I had the choice. You choose to leave me and I wasn't going to do the same to the people who had kept my will to live. Even though you did wind up saving me, I wonder what you would have done if you had the choice. But I'm putting that behind me.
See, Dad, there's a point to this whole letter. I'm getting to it now because I had to give you a little history, an explanation for what I'm about to say. I wish you were alive so that I could tell you this in person. It hasn't been easy. It's taken me years to reach this point, but here I am.
I forgive you, Dad. I forgive you for everything you've done to me. I'm 100% serious. I was hurt, angry, and bitter towards you for most of my life. I kept all of that hidden for years and years until certain circumstances in my life forced me to rethink things.
I married Camille. Remember her? Like Kendall, James, and Carlos and the rest of my family, she stuck by me through absolutely everything. Even though it hurt her because she had lost her dad to the same disease and seeing me so sick brought back all those horrible memories for her. I was afraid to fall in love because of what had happened with you and Mom. But she wouldn't let the past stop her and so I knew I couldn't let my past stop me.
We've been married now for four years and I have never regretted it or been afraid. Being a husband is one of the most amazing experiences ever. I can almost understand why you did what you did when Mom left. But Dad, there were others that cared about you. There are others who care for me if God forbid, I lost Camille. I know that would be incredibly painful and it wouldn't be easy. But I also know that no matter what happens, I'll never be alone. And that's worth holding on to.
One thing that's scared me more than anything is the thought of being a father. You know what they say about bad genes. What if that happened to us as a family? What if Camille and I had a child and I would up abandoning him or her for whatever reason? What if I was as weak and as cowardly as you were? Do you see how much you destroyed, Dad? No one should have these thoughts. Parenthood is allowed to be scary but not this scary. I wanted joy to.
But like I said, I'm different now. I don't hate you. I'm not angry or bitter towards you. Yes, I am still hurt but I don't think that pain will ever go away. That's okay though. You know why? Because throughout everything, my friends and family showed me what it was like to be loved. They taught me more about love than you ever did.
For so long, I was trapped by my feelings towards you. I couldn't move past my resentment and that was hurting my relationships with others. I was afraid of being hurt or hurting someone. So I held them at arms length, afraid of commitment. But they never stopped loving me. They taught me that life isn't about being afraid. It's about giving love out. You can't be loved if you don't love.
So I've forgiven you. I'm moving on. I wanted to let you know that I'll never forget what you did or didn't do, but I'm not going to let it hold me back from living my own life and having my own family. I realized that I could never truly have a happy life until I forgave you. Like I said, it wasn't easy. There was more damage than even I knew.
I got help. I met with a counselor and talked with friends and family. I told them everything and they were so supportive. It was terrifying to admit such weakness but I think that meant I was stronger than I thought. I humbled myself to admit that I needed help, that I couldn't this alone. And they helped me. I could never have done it without them.
I forgive you, Dad. I wish things could have been different between us. But you can't change the past, especially since you're not here. Still, I have this sense of peace in my life now that I've forgiven you. I'm not so afraid anymore of relationships and love. I wish more than anything that I could tell you this in person, but this is all I have to offer. I forgive you and I love you, Dad. I never really stopped. Thanks for eight great years.
Logan finished reading the letter with a sigh. "I hope you don't mind if I keep this," he said with a wry smile. "I might need it as a reminder. I really have forgiven you, Dad. But there might be a setback every once in a while." At least that's what Brandon, his therapist had told him. Since his father was gone, Logan should hang on to the letter and read it whenever the pain resurfaced. It made sense to Logan.
He sat there quietly for a few more minutes before rising to his feet. "I have to go," he said softly. "Thanks for listening though. I'll be back soon. I'm going to be visiting more now." He let his fingers trail along the rounded tops of each grave marker. "Bye, Mom and Dad. I love and miss both of you now."
He turned away then and as he did, he felt the peace return to him. There wasn't a trace of doubt in his mind as he walked down the familiar path. He had done the right thing. Nothing felt unfinished. It was done. All of it.
As he drove away, he kept the radio off, giving himself silence to think over everything. Nothing about this process had been easy. It had been incredibly difficult. But it had been necessary. For himself and for those around him.
Logan smiled as he pulled up to his new Minnesota home. Kendall, James, and Carlos sat on the front steps, waiting for his return. As he pulled alongside the curb and stopped the car, he saw them sit up straighter, watching him in concern. He got out and walked slowly over to them, smiling so they could relax.
"Hey," Kendall was the first to greet him by standing up and locking him in that familiar hug that had always been a source of comfort to Logan. "Are you okay?"
Logan returned the embrace and then let go so he could hug James and Carlos too. "I'm fine," he said honestly. "Actually, I'm great."
"Everything went okay then?" Carlos asked, releasing Logan very reluctantly.
Logan nodded. "Perfectly," he said softly.
"We're proud of you, Logan." James told him, keeping a hand on his shoulder. "All of us."
"Thanks, Jay." Logan told him gratefully. "I couldn't have done it without you guys. Thanks for everything."
Kendall pulled Logan away from James and dropped an arm over his shoulders as they walked to the front door. "You're worth it, Logie." he said, smiling when the childhood nickname made Logan blush. "Always believe that, little bro."'
Logan shouldn't have been surprised that Kendall could, in nine short words, remind him how much everyone cared. Tears blurred his vision so he stood back and let James open the door and walk in first. Carlos went next and then Kendall gave him a gentle shove forward.
"You're back," Camille said, standing up quickly. She crossed the room over to Logan, hugging him gently. "How did it go?"
Logan hugged her close, taking the time to wonder at how much he had been blessed with in his life. "I love you," he told her quietly.
"Daddy!" A pitter-patter of small feet broke Logan and Camille apart and everyone smiled as a little three-year-old boy darted into the room and launched himself at Logan.
Logan braced himself and lifted the small child into his arms. "Hey, Scotty!" he greeted, happily. He smoothed back the tousled dark hair and looked into the brown eyes that were so like his own. "How's my best buddy?"
"I missed you," Scotty said solemnly, wrapping his arms around Logan's neck and clinging to him tightly.
"I missed you too." Logan kissed the little boy on the forehead and smiled. "I'm home now."
"Good," Scotty said, his eyes lighting up in happiness. "I'm happy now."
Logan laughed and walked over to the couch where he sat down, keeping Scotty close to him. "I love you, little man."
Scotty nestled even closer to his father, tucking his head under his chin, looking perfectly content. "I love you too, Daddy. You're the best daddy ever in the whole wide world."
A/N. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!