Kinsley finally lets go of me and steps back. We all head outside and I get into the car with Ash and Kins while Ax and Ez follow behind.
When we get there, my father is already there, doing what he needs to, I guess. I stand there and look at him, like I’ve never seen him before. I don’t know this man anymore. Well, I guess in reality, I never knew him at all if what I read in my mother’s files are true.
I stay away from him for most of the time, opting to stay with my friends who are now more like family. If I get closer to my dad right now, I’ll probably kill him.
When it’s time for the actual service, I sit at the front of the church and stare at her beautiful face. Her casket is open. Today is the last day I’ll ever see her face in the flesh and the ache inside me burns brighter with that thought.
I don’t pay attention to anything the priest is saying because I can’t take my eyes off her. I get to my feet and walk over to the casket, not caring if the service is still going on. I want to be closer to her. Just watching her from my seat isn’t cutting it.
I bend down to place a kiss on her forehead before whispering to her, “I promise you that I’ll make them hurt and suffer the way you’ve been suffering silently for so long. I love you, Mom,” I say and then place another kiss on her forehead before standing up again.
Instead of going back to my seat, I stand there at the head of the casket for the rest of the service. I’ll keep my promise and make them all pay for the pain and humiliation she felt for the years when she was alive.
When the service is done and everyone has viewed her body, they take her to the cemetery that’s at the back of the church. I grab a handle and my brothers—Asher, Axel, and Ezra—all grab one as well. The four of us start walking with her casket for the burial.
When we get there and her casket is over the grave, the priest says his final prayer or whatever. When it’s time for them to lower her down into the ground, my knees weaken and I fall to my knees as the pain in my chest takes over. My brothers all grip me and rub my shoulders as I sob for her and for what I’ve lost. Death is so final and so soul crushing for everyone who has to live without that person for the rest of their lives.
When I’ve managed to pull myself together, still on my knees, I happen to look up. There on the other side of the grave, right in front of me, is her. It looks like I don’t have to go anywhere because the lamb that’s ripe for slaughtering has come to me.
I harden myself and prepare for all that’s coming in the next few weeks. The old Knox is gone and I hope people are ready for the new me. Someone is about to wish that they never existed.
Today’s Monday,and I have exactly one more week to do nothing before school starts again. I can’t believe that summer ended so fast. It was like I blinked and it was over.
But that’s fine because this school year I’ll be a senior, which means soon I’ll be off to college. I can’t wait. For my whole high school life, I’ve had perfect grades. I know that when the time comes, I’ll get into the college I want. The idea of being on my own as an adult is scary but I want to experience it.
Feeling hungry, I get up off my bed and make my way down to the kitchen to make something to eat. Hopefully Mom comes home soon. She’s been working late all week, and it feels like I’ve barely seen her.
When I step into the kitchen though, I’m surprised to find her here already. I stop short. She’s just standing in front of the window, staring out the back as though she’s lost in thought. She didn’t even let me know she was home already and I find that weird. She always yells up the stairs when she gets home so that I know.
“Hey, Mom, you okay?” I ask as I step further into the kitchen. She doesn’t answer for a minute and when she does, her words flip my world on its axis. At the time though, I didn’t know those simple words would change the trajectory of my whole life and not for the good either.
“I have some news!” she announces casually. “We’re moving!”
“What?” I shriek. I’m stunned by her words. I must have heard her wrong since we’ve never had any plans on moving anywhere and this is all coming out of left field for me.
“What do you mean, we’re moving?” I finally ask incredulously. I’m so out of my depth here. Granted, maybe it’s because things haven’t been the best for us in a while. But this was home and the thought of leaving the only place I’ve ever known is not the best feeling.
Plus, how could she be making us move when my senior year is about to start? I’m an introvert at heart. I’m not sure I’d do well when it comes to somewhere new. Wanting to experience college and starting a new school senior year are two different things. I mean, from what I’ve read, college is much more relaxed than high school. It’s a new experience for everyone and high school cliques aren’t typically prevalent there.
Adding in the fact that I like things to go a certain way because it’s what keeps me sane. I love a good routine even though I’ve read that experts says it’s not good to have the same routine every day. The slightest change sometimes makes me feel like my world is falling apart. Sorry for the dramatics here but I just—I’m still reeling from my mother’s words.
“Exactly what I just said,” she says, sighing as she finally turns around to look at me. I notice she looks tired, but it’s not enough for me to stop my complaining for a minute.
“But Mooom! Senior year is about to start for me! I can’t just leave my school now and be the newbie at another school this late!” I whine. Starting a new school in your senior year is like committing social suicide.
“It’s not like I have that many friends to begin with but still, not the point. Any high schooler in my position would freak out like I was currently doing right now. Everyone knows how crazy it is to transfer this late to a new school.
“I’m sorry sweetheart, but this is important. The CEO called me to let me know I’d need to transfer. They have an opening in his Riverside office and it needs to be filled immediately. Plus, this will be a huge opportunity for me!”
“We’re moving to Texas?” I ask, just to be sure I’m hearing her correctly. “Like in-the-middle-of-nowhere Texas?”
“It’s not in the middle of nowhere. It’s a very populated town in Texas and they’re big on football and other things. You’ll fit right in,” she tells me, rolling her eyes playfully.
“Because I’ve always been sooo into football,” I grumble. Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes. “Plus, when have I ever fit in anywhere, Mom? I’m like the poster child for being a complete nerd.”