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Complicate Me(62)

By:M. Robinson

For Lucas.

For a past we couldn’t change, and for a future I didn’t know was meant…

For me.

My mom passed away five days later, but not before she had time with each of us. Jacob, Dylan, their parents and Lily. Austin was the only one she didn’t get to say goodbye to. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t hate him more because of it. The days that followed were filled with people coming in and out of my home. It was the home I grew up in, which now seemed empty and cold. There were endless amounts of condolences and preparations for a day that I just wanted to be over already.

The hours seemed to blend together. I had no idea what day it even was. I continued to be in a fog, a daze and stupefied beyond belief. I hadn’t allowed myself to stop moving, I was afraid to. If I stopped moving, I would crash. I couldn’t acknowledge anything, not the house that I grew up in, not the memories everywhere I turned. I moved around in autopilot, trying to avoid flashbacks of anything that I held dear to my heart. I just needed to get through today. My only concern was my baby sister Lily. The day our mother passed, I held her until she couldn’t cry anymore, until she physically passed out from the exhaustion of her tears.

The first time Mason came running into their house yelling for Gama I almost lost my shit. I tried explaining to him that Gama was in the sky. She was in heaven with the angels. He didn’t hear a word I said, and still asked for her every time he was in their house. We decided it was best that he didn’t attend the wake or the funeral, so Stacey left him with her mom, while she attended. She hadn’t said much to me, only that she was glad Alex was here.

I stood in front of the mirror and tightened my tie, studying my face, searching for something, anything. There was nothing. I was so empty, yet the pain was unbearable.

“You look handsome.”

I saw Alex’s reflection through the mirror, and I turned around.

“You never knew how to tie your tie, Lucas,” she chuckled, straightening my tie. Her hand rested on my chest as she smiled up at me. “You doing okay?” she asked, adding to what seemed like the hundredth time someone asked me. It took everything in me not to throw myself on the floor, curl up into a fetal position and never come out.

I nodded because what else could I say or do?

“I’m here. I’ll be here for—”

“Alexandra,” Cole called out from the door. “There you are, I’ve been looking for you all morning.”

She spun to face him. “You would know where I was if you had been here earlier,” she snapped.

I was surprised by her choice of words and reaction, but I had way too much shit on my mind to contemplate it any more than that.

“I got here as fast as I could.” He kissed her forehead, looking at me. “I’m so sorry for your loss, Lucas. If there is anything we can do, please let us know.”

I nodded, noting he said, “We.” He no longer had to prove anything to me. The proof was on her finger.

“Thanks,” was all I could say.

“Are you ready, Darlin’? My cars out front.”

“I’m going to ride with my parents and his dad.”

“And, Lucas?”

“Yes. We’re all going together to the funeral.”

“I thought—”

“Like I said, you would have known had you arrived before this morning. She died five days ago. You remember I was the one bawling on the other end of the phone. You do remember, don’t you?”

His face frowned in a grimace that didn’t seem natural. “I’ll ride with you guys.”

“There’s no room in the SUV, Cole. I didn’t know you were coming till this morning. Remember you told me you didn’t think you could make it? Something about your firm, you do remember, don’t you?” she repeated with the same hard edge in her tone.

They stared at each other for a few moments. Both of them had something in their eyes that seemed familiar yet unrecognizable. Her mom called out our names and I didn’t give it another thought after that. Alex sat beside me in the SUV. We were in the second vehicle behind the hearse that held my mom. I blankly stared at it the entire drive, only looking down at my hand when Alex reached for it and placed it on her lap.

At the church, I couldn’t make myself walk to the front of that morbid room to see her. I tried. I tried like hell. I really did. I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to remember her lying lifeless in a coffin.

I couldn’t fucking handle that.

I stayed standing in the back with Alex by my side. She was with me the entire day. I don’t know where Cole was and honestly I didn’t give a fuck anyway. Lily sang and played This Little Light Of Mine at the cemetery, a song that our mom had been singing to us since we were kids. I felt a lonely tear slide down my cheek as I watched the silver coffin being lowered beneath the ground. I let my mind contemplate what was happening.

I let my mind and body go to a dark place within myself.

Where my mother wasn’t there.

Where Alex wasn’t there.

When the funeral was over everyone once again expressed their condolences and I pretended to give a fuck about what they were saying even though I didn’t. I was over it. Just as I was about to walk away someone caught my attention from the corner of my eyes.


One single rose was delicately placed on her grave. His shoulders were hunched over, and his hands were buried in his face. I had no idea how long the theatrics lasted, maybe a minute, maybe ten. One minute was the same as the next these days. They all blew. Every last fucking one of them blew. There was a girl standing beside him unlike anyone I had ever seen before, wearing a black knee length skirt with a matching black collared shirt. The sleeves were rolled up and I could see tattoos down her forearms. Her hair was a dark shade of purple and from what I could tell her eyebrow, nose, and bottom lip were pierced.

Who the fuck was that?

Austin stood and we locked eyes. He was covered in tattoos. He looked older, taller, and much more broad than I remembered. No longer the boy he was when he left. I hadn’t seen him in five years, I barely recognized the man standing in front of me. Alex walked up to him and he eagerly pulled her into a tight hug, picking her up off her feet to swing her side-to-side. When he placed her back down on the ground, she shook hands with the chick beside him. Alex looked so tiny in comparison to her, but it could have been the fact that the girl wore sky-high heels, while Alex was in sandals. They walked toward me together, only stopping once they were a few feet away.

“Hey, man, I’m sorry I couldn’t get here sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye,” Austin sympathized, but I couldn’t tell if he said it for my benefit or his.

I nodded to keep from saying what I really wanted to.

“She was an amazing woman and a mother to us all, Lucas. I loved her very much and I will miss her every day.”

“You loved her so much that you’re just now showing up,” I snapped, making him wince.

Alex didn’t scold me. I guess since it was my mom’s funeral I was allowed a fucking hall pass.

“This is Briggs, Briggs, this is Lucas,” Austin introduced, placing his hand on her lower back.

“I’ve heard so much about you,” she greeted, smiling. The barbell in her mouth reflected off the sun. I guess her tongue was pierced, too. I wanted to say I hadn’t heard a damn thing about you, but this wasn’t the time or the place. Plus it wasn’t her fault that Austin decided to go MIA.

We met with the rest of the boys back at Alex’s parents’ restaurant where everyone had gone after since my mom made my dad promise that he would throw a party after the funeral.

She wanted everyone to celebrate her life, not mourn her death.

I stood on the beach with my hands in my slacks, staring at the sunset descending for the night to take over.

Tomorrow would be a new day.

Another day without my mom.

Another day without my brown-eyed girl.

“God, when was the last time we were all together like this?” Alex asked pulling me away from my thoughts and making me turn around to face her.

“Five years,” Austin answered, walking up behind her. Dylan and Jacob quickly followed. We all stood together, each one of us with our own demons plaguing us.

“It’s been too fucking long,” Jacob chimed in, tugging Alex to his side.

“Jesus… look at those kids surfing. It seems like just yesterday that was us out there,” Dylan reminisced, looking at the water with a sense of longing. “How have we let five years go by without all of us being together? We used to spend every second together.”

“I know,” Alex breathed out. “I can’t tell you how much I miss you boys. God… Austin, it’s so good to freaking see you.” She strolled from Jacob to him, wrapping her arms around his waist.

He kissed the top of her head. “It’s nice to be home.”

“How are you holding up?” Jacob questioned.

I shrugged. I didn’t have anything to say. Not anymore.

“If you need anything we’re here,” he added.

“I’m going to head out.”

“Do you—”

“I want to be alone,” I interrupted Alex, turning to leave before I could see the worried response on her face that I knew would be there.