Chapter 5.33

Posted: May 18, 2015 in Generation 5
Tags: , ,

5.33

I was a mother now…

They say that when you hold your baby for the first time, your whole world shifts, and your priorities change. But I hadn’t had that yet. Three months later, and my entire world hadn’t imploded on itself and been resigned to just Luca, and diapers, and baby bottles.

I still cringed at changing diapers, and pulled unenthused faces over story time. I dreaded watching kids shows, and felt my temperature rising to the shrill sounds escaping the little devils mouth. And boy, could he scream, and cry, and wail… And some of the god awful sounds that the kid could make, I shudder just at the memory.

Regardless of the time or day, or the exhaustion in my limbs. Sometimes it seemed that Luca was born just to prove how bad at this I truly was. It seemed that he was born just to hate me, and he did. But that was stupid, the kid was three months old, and it wasn’t like the little brat could smell fear…

Right?

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Of course not. That would be stupid.

I watch the swing rocking back and forth while Luca balls his hands into fists, and screeches. The sound pierces my ears, as hot little tears roll down his face. He was clean, fed, warm, dry, everything was perfectly okay and yet the little bugger insisted on screaming. Non stop. All day. Until of course, Cassiel came home to him, to us.

He knew, he already knew… I suppose it was for the best. Panic momentarily coils into the pits of my stomach, Arkin would be back. For me. And where I was going, Cas, and Luca, they couldn’t come with me, and perhaps… Perhaps I wouldn’t be coming back either. No this was for the best, that the kid had chosen Cassiel over me. Because where I failed as a mother, Cas excelled as a father, the second he entered the room, the little brat’s eyes were on him.

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“It’s for the best.” I say to myself, reinforcing that mindset. Somehow I find my hand stroking the warm fabric of Luca’s blanket to silence the anxiety running through my veins. His heart beat was soft, and steady beneath my touch, even despite his sobbing. “Where I’m going, I don’t want you comin, not now, not for a while, not ever.” As I said it, I didn’t imagine Arkin’s fangs, but ice, and darkness, I imagined his tiny face, contorted as his shrill wails echoed through empty forests, I imagined dark shadows stalking his warmth in the night. Luca’s golden eyes flare open, as if to tell me that he understands, but he doesn’t: Because he’s just a baby, and he won’t remember the sound of regret in my voice.

“If I can give you Cas… If I can keep him alive, and safe, promise me that you won’t hate me later on.” I withdraw my hand, and sigh. There was every chance that I was going to survive this, and that there would be a world after it all happened. That like always, the sun would shine, and humanity would rebuild, a brighter, better world. “It’s better this way, because I’m not… I’m not mom material.And he’s…” I can see Cassiel in my mind. “He’s perfect, he’ll love you in all the ways I can’t.” I can’t live like I’m dying, like I’ve got an expiration date because then Cas will know, he’ll know and he won’t let me do what I need to do to protect them both. “And it’s for the best that I don’t. So don’t hate me cause I’m bad at this, I’m tryin’ the best I can. Sometimes though, that’s just not enough.”

 I rock back on my heels, cradling myself in my arms for comfort. My eyes droop as I continue to watch him screeching, and despite it, I want nothing more than to close my eyes and lay down to sleep. For a whole week. My body jolts as I hear the front door click open, followed by heavy slow footsteps to the doorway to the room. My body relaxes and I breathe a sigh of relief at the sound of Cassiel’s warm voice. The sound even stills Luca. “What are my two favourite people doing?”

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I take a moment to gather myself, my body feeling heavy as I stand. I quickly wipe my eyes, and hide the forming tears that had almost begun to fall. “Oh, you know, the usual. Him screaming, and me slowly losing my mind.” The laughter that escapes my lips afterwards sounds fake, and forced, even to my own ears, so I fake an even bigger grin. I throw myself into Cassiel’s arms, burying myself into his neck, savouring the warm scent of sunshine on his skin.

“Hey, are you okay?” Cas whispers as his lips caress my forehead, I melt into his neck for another long moment. It amazes me how well our two bodies fit together, like two pieces of a puzzle. Even if our union was the work of something bigger, I’ve decided that I don’t care. I’ve decided that all of that other shit doesn’t matter when we’re locked into an embrace. This is what matters. As I look up to face him, a wide smile bubbles on my lips, cracked only by exhaustion.

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“It’s just been a long day…” I murmur against him, brushing my hand against his face. I wonder if I’d miss those golden eyes when I was locked in a world of eternal darkness, I was kidding myself if I thought I wouldn’t. Even here, in reality, in the warmth and light, he was the only light I needed. “I’m just glad that you’re home.” This time I laugh for real as Luca screams again, reminding us that he’s still here.

“We’ll finish this off later.” Cas grins, wide and bright, as if the exhaustion of the work day meant nothing when compared to his kid. Releasing me from his hold, he reaches down, scooping up the bundle of blankets into his arms. His eyes crinkle, a warm grin covers his face, serenity. Cas would be okay, in the end he’d be okay.

“When will that be exactly, tonight? Tomorrow? Next week?” I give him a knowing smirk, but it doesn’t quite reach my eyes.

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*

As I walked into the room, I felt my stomach flip momentarily. It was the second anniversary of my father’s death, and my family was sitting quietly, almost awkwardly in what used to be their living room. One that my father’s laugh would so boisterously fill, or my screaming arrogance would encompass. It seemed a different lifetime ago, like I had died and been reborn a thousand times since then.

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I remember the way my father would sit, shoulders hunched forward, and breathing tense when he thought that no one could see him, when he didn’t have to be strong. I was already forgetting the strength of his voice, and the warm determination in his eyes, time was ravaging my memory of him, stealing pieces of him with every passing month. One day, I was afraid that I would remember him only in photos, and his voice only in recordings.

I watch my mother, sitting lonely and forgotten on the sofa. Swallowed up by the pristine fabric. I couldn’t help but notice that age, and grief had stolen her beauty. Deep lines had formed on her forehead, and cheeks, and the colours she wore hung loosely on her pale, thin frame. I was glad that Sampson had seen to her before I’d arrived, otherwise she’d be in black again, her hair knotted, and face heavy with shadows.

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There wasn’t a lot that we could do for her, I’d found, because she believed that she needed the pain, or it would be an insult to his memory. Only by reliving him, constantly, could she remember him. Only through reopening the wound, could she keep his memory alive. But some ghosts deserve to be buried, I’d found out. Sometimes the only way to respect their life was to move on from it, an act she was incapable of.

As a tribute to mothers lack of attention, Sampson had invited his boy toy, barely under the pretense that they were just friends from the same squad. Sampson wore home guard all over him, from his soft demenour to the shaking in his boots, but somehow the hunk of muscle at his side wore mercenary proudly all over him, even on the uniform that he wore today. In the beginning it was understandable that she hadn’t taken the time to really notice anything about him, but now, two years on..

They’d gotten lazy too with the whole charade. Not that they exactly had to pretend around mother. I was almost sure that they could start a heavy make out session right in front of her and she’d barely process the information, much less act on it. Congratulate him, yell, scream, whatever, anything. I don’t even think Sammy would care if she was disappointed at this point, I think he just wanted a reaction. So he let his eyes linger longer than they would if it was anyone else, and their hands would seek comfort with each other.

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And she never soaked it in. Not today, not two years ago at the hospital when they met, or the funeral, or the dozens of times they’d met between now and then. It bothered me, more than I ever thought it would, because she was our mother, and she always noticed everything. The small things, the cuts on our knees from falling over on the playground, and the meaningless glares that siblings gave. But now she couldn’t look past her own pain, and grief. She couldn’t see what was right in front of her. That her son was begging for her to see him, clearly, as he saw himself, he was desperate for her to accept him.

Somehow though, it was my fault. By changing fate as I had, I had changed my parent’s fate as well. Arkin was meant to kill the cure, my grandfather and Cassiel both. A few months later, my mother was meant to follow, outraged by the loss of the cure, terrorists were going to put a bomb in the cars of politicians sympathetic to our cause. One of them was meant for my mother. But instead, my father had been killed by Arkin before he’d launched a desperate half baked attack against us. We kept the cure, and mother had never left town again, never spoken up again, and would hopefully never be a target again.

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But if dad were here, things would be different. He would have moved on, not to say that my mothers death would have been easy, for anyone. But dad would have done what needed to be done to move forward again. To make this family feel whole. Sammy wouldn’t be dangling his love life in front of anyone, desperately waiting to be noticed. Not that I cared, of course. It was just Sammy…. I didn’t. But I did. And I missed my father. And I loved Cassiel, of those three things I knew way deep down inside of myself.

Waking up again, feeling things again, it sucked.

They don’t tell you that, that when you decide to heal yourself, to feel, that you decide to feel the good and the bad. That you leave yourself vulnerable and open, to the broken pieces of everyone around you. And you collect guilt, and remorse, like honey catches flies. And somehow, it didn’t matter, because you lived with it, and it was worth it. Somehow.

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“Daaaa!” Luca squawks running through the room, before tripping over his own feet. I expect the water works to start as I watch his limbs squirming, and groping the floor awkwardly. When he finally manages to push his face up from the ground he flashes a lopsided grin and giggles again, obviously happy to have all eyes on him. And for a brief moment, everyone in the room smiles, even mom. “Gahh vrmm. Chi bo?” To say that he talked was an overstatement, but he made noise. A lot of it.  “Kah bo ta!”

I reach down, scooping him up into one hand, dangling him by the ankle. Luca squeals again, a train of giggles on his lips as he squirms. “Say hi to everyone, kiddo.” I say, lifting him into my arms properly, so that I can trace my fingers down his neck, tickling the sensitive skin. I hope by doing so, his bubbling energy will continue to fill the room, and everyone will stop being so bleak, and act like normal people again.

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“Gam gam.” He squeals from in my arms, throwing his head back to escape the onslaught. Despite the loud childish giggles, the room remains tense as I knew it would. “Unc niiii! Sha bow too.  Amps.”

“You know, you don’t have to be here.” Mother says quietly, her eyes trained on me like a hawk, not even glancing down at the child in my arms. Her soft voice is almost harsh, and cold. Of course today, of all days, she wanted to wallow in self pity. She didn’t want us to help her, to be here.

“Of course, Miss Vivian.” Sammy’s boy pipes up in a diplomatic voice. I was surprised that even though he wasn’t officially a part of the family, that he spoke as though he already was. That just by being with my brother, he was willing to deal with this… Deal with my mother. “But it’s a very important day. Your husband was a great man, and an excellent father. And Vivian, his kids miss him too. Sam misses him too. What better way to celebrate the man, and his life, than all being here today, as one.”

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She gives him a hard glare, before nodding curtly. “Fine then, be that way, but don’t expect me to go out of my way.” She understood, but she just didn’t care. At least she wasn’t going to make today harder than it already was. “I was going to go down to the grave today after lunch, you can stay til then, but after that, I want to be alone.”

A part of me wants to go to her, and to wrap my arms around her neck. I want to hold her for a moment, and to tell her all the things that dad had told me before he’d moved on from this world. I want to tell her that he looked at her like she was his world, and that all the things he did was for her, and us, his kids. But she would never understand my words, or the ways that I knew them. And I was too weak to go through with it. I wanted to be that type of daughter that could comfort her, but my words always fell short, and my touch was always too cold.

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“You know, I was thinking…” I begin slowly, feeling my cheeks darken with awkwardness, and shy embarrassment. It was a stupid request I was about to ask, and yet I felt compelled to. “That maybe today, we could take a new family photo.” I watch my mother’s reaction carefully, we hadn’t taken one in years, even before dad’s death. I never wanted to be included in them, and everyone was always busy. There were a million reasons that we had all neglected each other, and it was too late to change that, the past, and how we were.

But I wanted a new future, and I wanted Luca to have a better childhood than I had, even despite the world outside of these walls. The book I was editing, and adding onto, the Ravenwood Legacy, it would be decorated with our lives, and faces. I wanted Luca to remember who I was, to remember my face, and know what I was willing to do for him. For us.

“I mean, it’s kinda lame, but-“

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“No, it’s a good idea.” Nick says, his eyes burning with some strange intensity. The look in his eyes made me feel something, like he somehow might be proud of me, like the last two years have actually meant something. The smile on his face, is slow, but steady. “Things are changing, the trials are going well-” Cas pulls a face, like the mere mention of the trials are to be kept under lock and key. “- We’re starting to take back some of the territories that we lost to the war. And lycans aren’t deemed an unnatural species… Yet. So there’s a lot to celebrate. We’re all still here, we’ve got new additions to the family, a baby, and we’ve still got hope.” He turns to my mother, and looks at her softly. “Dad would be proud of how far we’ve all come.”

We can all see what she’s going to say next, that it isn’t right to do without him, because we aren’t a real family without him. Her face twists for a moment, switching from face to face as though she thinks that we’re ganging up on her. And maybe we are; Because we’re sick of seeing her in so much pain.

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“After you get your silly photo out of the way, and we’ve eaten, Larka, would you mind coming to the cemetery with me?” Her request shocks me, because not only is she agreeing to the photo, but she’s never let anyone go with her. Her delicate hand sits atop her cheek as she watches us quietly. With a sigh she takes a step forward. “Lets just get this over with.”

“I guess I’ll take the photo, if you’re all ready.” Sampson’s boy says slightly stiffly. He might feel a part of this family, he might even act like it, but it’s still not official. Sam’s jaw stiffens as he moves over to the fireplace, to stand by mother, but he doesn’t speak up, because now isn’t the time to mention it.

“No.” Nick sighs, as though even he’s sick of it. With a roll of his eyes, he continues. “It’s been two years, you’re basically family now, you too Cas, get over here.” As he sets the camera up, we all stand awkwardly around each other. “I wouldn’t have this photo any other way.” He says thoughtfully, looking up at us. We can’t change the fact that dad isn’t here, but we can live with it.

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“So this is our family now…” I say quietly, looking down at the photo after we take it. It was a mixture of sadness and awe. I was sad that my father wasn’t here, smiling bright, and warm. And I was sad that mother looked so robotic in the photo. But this was us, broken, and fractured, lost, and alive. This was my family. Hot and cold, hard and soft, and full of love.

There was a storm raging outside these walls, but we were brave enough to face the storm and survive it.

We were going to be okay.

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We could heal.

We could move on.

We would survive…

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Comments
  1. Hey I was right that Luca was going to be a boy. Was he by any chance named after Lucian?????

    But it is nice to see that Larka has somewhat grown and that she is becoming closer with the rest of the fam bam. And even though she was apprehensive when Luca was first born it seems as though she has settle into being a mother now. (I hope)

    It is nice to see Viv and Larka getting along…ish.

  2. xweaverofdreamsx says:

    I don’t know if this story is still active, but I’m catching up! It’s beautifully written, to the point where I sometimes forget this is a blog, not a book and I go to “turn the page” like I do on my e-reader >_< I hope you are still posting!

  3. yimiki says:

    Long time no see ^^
    Wow, the story has progressed a lot in the time I was away. Is it still ongoing? =)

  4. Elizabeth Schnell says:

    Amazing! I started reading this even though it hadn’t been updated in two years hoping I would see a note at the end to part two of the legacy. I throughly enjoyed it and am subscribing in the hope that it will resume.

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