Drea and I co-ran the F.R.O. meetings for the next few months. It was going really well, she and I got along great and we were both very passionate about the subject. After learning about everything the scientists have done, I wanted to break free too. In school they taught us about the scientists and the times before the discovery of supernaturals, but they always sugarcoated it. I learned more about our history here than I ever did in twelve years of school. I had no idea how much the older generation suffered.
We were planning a large meeting with every member of F.R.O., not just us board members. We had to plan carefully, there were a lot of us and we didn’t want to draw unwanted attention from the scientists. I didn’t even want to think about what could happen if we got found out. It wouldn’t be pretty.
“Well, I think we should wrap this up for today.” Drea clapped her hands together and smiled. Everyone slowly filed out of the small conference room one by one, and it was driving me insane. I was itching for the next part of our co-directing. My favorite part. As soon as the last person left, Drea made her way over to my stool.
“Will the boys be home?” Drea whispered after she kissed me. “I’m not sure, I think Maple might be going out with some friends, not sure about Carrot though.” I shrugged. “Well, there’s two floors, I doubt he needs both of them.” She smirked.
“Well, we should probably go claim a floor, the first one has too many windows.” I offered her my arm, and we left HQ excitedly.
“Pst, Carrot. Wake up.” I urged my half-brother awake. I wasn’t entirely sure how he’d fallen asleep so fast after our meeting.
“What do you want.” He mumbled. “I”m too tired for this.”
“Why? You fell asleep before me last night.”
“What do you want?” He asked, ignoring my question.
“Um, can Drea and I use the room?”
“Again?” He rolled his eyes when I nodded. “Fine, but I’m cranking my music this time.”
“Thanks man, I owe you one.”
“Lucky for all of us, I’m not a screamer.” He mumbled, probably thinking I couldn’t hear him. As soon as he left the room, I pulled Drea into it.
We didn’t waste any time making use of the second floor and the second floor bathroom.
This week I had to go to the cemetery alone, Maple was working overtime at the studio in hopes of getting promoted. I didn’t mind that much, it wasn’t that big of a deal.
The cemetery was pretty deserted when I got there. Not many people were buried here, most people preferred to be cremated or buried on their own property. Maple and I usually had the place to ourselves.
But it wasn’t completely deserted, I realized this when I glanced over at Chrissy’s grave and saw Hero looking miserable. I wasn’t exactly on the best terms with the man but I couldn’t just walk away without doing anything.
“Hey, mind if I sit?” I asked as I approached him cautiously.
“Her cat died today.” He mumbled.
“Her cat, Atlantic. He died today. He was older than you.” He wiped his eyes and took a swig out of one of the many beer bottles scattering the ground.
“He was old, it happens. Are you ok?” I didn’t really know what to say, I’ve never seen him so upset like this. Not even when Chrissy died.
“He was all I had left of her.” He sobbed. I felt awful. He really did love his wife, and their only child turned out so awful, it must’ve been so hard for him.
“I was such an awful father.”
“That’s not true. You didn’t do anything wrong.” I tried to comfort him, but I wasn’t very good at it.
“But I did. It’s all my fault.”
“You can’t blame yourself for something your daughter did. You did the best you could, there’s nothing you could’ve done differently.” I tried to be convincing, I didn’t entirely believe what I was saying but I couldn’t kick him while he was down. I honestly never really thought about how this all effected him. I don’t think anyone really thinks about the murderers side of the family, and how it effects them. People usually only think about the victims side of the family.
“My daughter killed two innocent women. I must’ve gone wrong somewhere.”
“That’s not your fault. You didn’t tell her to do that. She wasn’t sane, and if it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine. I should’ve told someone she wasn’t stable. I should’ve gotten her the help she needed. If it’s anyone’s fault, its mine.” I admitted. I’ve been over it a million times in my mind, and it should’ve been obvious to me. She wasn’t sane, she needed help. And instead, I made it so much worse. It really was all my fault.
“I’ve always known she was unstable. She did things as a child, horrible things. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I didn’t want to believe there was something wrong with the child Chrissy and I created. If I had accepted that, and gotten her the help she needed, this wouldn’t have happened.” He started sobbing again, and chugged the rest of his beer.
“Hey, why don’t we go back to my house? I can make us some hot coffee, and we can talk there.” I felt horrible for him, he was no longer the strong army man I once knew. He was a broken man who had lost everything he loved, and I knew I couldn’t leave him out here alone.
“Yea, that sounds good.” He smiled at me through his tears. He tried to stand up on his own, but he was much drunker than he realized because he fell right over. I helped him onto his feet and wrapped my arm around his shoulder.
“Shouldn’t we pick up the bottles?” He mumbled as I guided him out of the cemetery.
“Nah, if we do, then what will the teenagers who work the night shift clean?” I joked, making him laugh.
“How you feeling?” I asked Hero after I got him to my house.
“Alright. Thanks for this kid, I’ve been having a hard time lately and this really means a lot.”
“No problem, you’ve always been like an uncle to me.”
“Why aren’t you mad at me?” He sighed and placed his chin in his palm.
“Because this isn’t your fault.” I couldn’t be mad at him anymore after seeing him like this. He needed support right now, not hate.
“I just told you why it was my fault.”
“I know you think that it’s your fault, but it isn’t. I know it’s hard to admit there’s something wrong with someone you love, and I don’t blame you for any of this. You shouldn’t blame yourself for this either.”
“It’s so easy to blame myself. It’s a lot easier than blaming her. I don’t want to believe my only child is a monster. It’s hard to believe that the tiny baby I once held in my arms became a cold-blooded murderer. If I tell myself it’s my fault, it’s a lot easier.”
“I don’t know what it’s like to be a father, but I do know what it’s like to blame yourself for something that’s not your fault. But what happened is neither my fault or yours. We didn’t do anything wrong, we didn’t know how bad she was. That’s not our fault.”
“I’m so sorry, River.”
“I’m sorry too.”
“I’m glad the two of you could talk, I think you both need it.” Drea and I were taking a walk up to the lake, she said we should go outside more. It was a little strange but I went with it.
“Yea, it really helped.”
“That’s good.” She smiled. We walked in silence for a while, until she stopped me right next to the lake.
“River, I need to tell you something.” She blurted out nervously.
“Is everything okay?”
“Just promise me you won’t get mad. I-I really don’t want you to be mad at m-me.” She started to sob.
“Hey, it’s okay. You can tell me anything. I promise I won’t get angry.” I assured her. I was nervous too, I had no idea what she was about to tell me, and I really hoped she wasn’t going to end things between us. I really liked what we had, and I didn’t want that to end.