How can you leave me standing
Alone in a world that is so cold?
Maybe I'm just too demanding
Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold
Maybe you're just like my mother
She's never satisfied
Why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like when doves cry
-When Doves Cry
Aiden peeled off his hoody ignoring the sweet, rusty smell of the cocktail of blood smattered across his chest –Titan's –and his own that finally ceased to drip from the gash on his face. He lifted his solemn eyes to the bathroom mirror that hung over the porcelain sink, a sink inhabited by candied spirals of pink hair snaked around the plug hole. He remembered when those hairs were straighter strands procured of startling shades of rubies and fire.
He couldn't wait to forget.
Remembering her was remorseless, and sadistic.
He continued but the closer his gaze came to his reflection, the harder it became, so the slower he went.
The funeral would begin in less than an hour. It was really happening; he was really burying pieces of his heart. He hoped that wherever they were now that they would find the peace that he would never know.
He'd gone too far this time. He could feel it -the compunction –coiling itself around the fractured living thing in his chest and his lungs, making every laboured breath feel like hell had made itself comfortably at home within him. Aiden was far from an angel. He'd done some terrible things, acts physically much worse than...this...but never had they taken a toll on him like this one.
...But he had to do it, the compulsion had been relentless, logical but heartless. If he didn't he'd have lost Heaven forever, in more ways than one. He'd lose EVERYTHING; Jamie, his empire, his DM family, his mind...
He'd already lost so much...too much.
He had to do it.
If anything, he'd granted his mother a kindness. How she'd chosen to exist was no way to live. And plus, wasn't this where she was headed anyway? She'd been on the cusp of an overdose many times...she'd wanted to die, to escape the tragedy that she'd made of her life, and when he'd found that blow in his pocket...well, it was a sign... Wasn't it? It was hardly a murder, more an assisted suicide. She knew what would happen if she took it. She knew she was already on the edge with the heroin polluting her system. The coke was the push she'd wanted. She knew.
Aiden's eyes finally met himself in the mirror and he couldn't help but notice how much emptier they looked than usual, like he'd annihilated the last remnants of goodness inside of him.
He broke the connection and focused on cleaning the wound, his parting gift from Grace Josephine Michaels. It was definitely going to leave a scar. Now every time her son looked at his face he'd be forced to remember her. Maybe God knew that Aiden was going to commit this heinous misdemeanour and made his mother return the favour in advance. He grabbed the first aid kit from the cabinet under the sink and smoothed a medical pad and surgical tape from his dimple to the highest point of his cheekbone. He wouldn't be taking any pictures today.
Six white bulletproof Hummers rolled down Brixton High Street with two hearses wedged between them. White gardenias and roses spelt out the words 'Brother', 'Father' in one, and 'Friend' in the other.
Aiden hadn't known what else to put for Ash's arrangement. Lover was inappropriate and ex-girlfriend would hardly do. Anything else didn't fit. He'd settled for friend even though the rest of the DM family didn't feel the same. They'd rather traitor (a title well deserved), whore or better yet, that she not be honoured at all. He'd told them that if they were incapable of showing respect and love to her then they should give it all to Keegan. Today was sad enough without adding more animosity to the mix.
The procession looked backwards. Yards and yards of pure white flooded the street. White cars, clothes, flowers, ribbons...it was like a morbid wedding. The usually bustling high road was damn near quiet. The community, used to the frequent funerals of the local gang, stood by solemn and respectful, even a little sympathetic. Usually they'd ignore it, but it was different this time. It was Keegan. He was as much a part of the town as the Brixton Market or the Ritzy cinema. His absence was felt like the destruction of a historical landmark. Like the detonation of the famed Strand station.
Aiden hadn't said a word he'd returned to the compound to shower and change back into his white suit, and wisely no one had spoken a word to him. They figured it was the sadness of the burial of his brother and the love of his life, but Dougie knew better.
They travelled in the fourth hummer, driven by Driver, with Heaven, Trish and baby Jamie. The only audible sounds were the low growl of the hummer's engine, a quiet sniffling that Trish was doing her best to control with tears hidden behind large designer shades, and Jamie's occasional cooing. Trish frowned when she'd seen the extra space in the truck where Grace should have been, but the tightness behind Dougie's usually smiling eyes and the dark cloud that engulfed Aiden's aura told her not to ask.
Heaven wanted to ask though.
She had no idea what Aiden had done, but knowing his temper first-hand, she knew it was bad and she couldn't help but fear the worst.
The procession pulled up in the church yard that overflowed with the usually black clad DM members in a blanket of static white. The personification of a flock of doves released to mark the mourning of the dead. They floated out of the trucks in cautious bursts; the soldiers as assigned security. Pawns protecting the royalty.
Aiden hung back, his eyes avoiding watching Mighty, Stone, Dougie and Merkz carefully unload the two pieces of his fragmented heart from their decorated carriages.
It was really fucking happening.
After twenty-five minutes, once everyone and everything was inside, Heaven carefully nudged his hand with the back of hers. "They're waiting for you."
"I know that," he bit back, making her flinch.
She swallowed, "So...don't you think we should go inside?"
Aiden looked up at the Celtic iron cross perched righteously over the church entrance and wondered how quickly he would burst into flames once he set foot on holy ground. Not even God could absolve this sin or make this desolation cease. "I can't."
"You have to."
"I can't," his deep voice quivered, pleading with her, 'Please, don't make me do this.'
Her fingertips whispered comforts across his warm skin, "You can_"
"DAMN IT, AVA-MARIE!"
At the sound of her name she blinked at him and snatched her hand back.
The time for pretending was over. All of his carefully cultivated fantasies died in one fell swoop of his own hand, unwinding, unravelling, undoing, spinning, spinning, spinning and uncloaking reality, forcing him to face that growling creature with its teeth sharpened and ready to swallow him whole into the void that was the pit of its stomach where dreams of peace were damned.
"Once I go in there...they're dead, and it's on me -all of it. I poisoned them. I ruined them. I ruined them. Keegan is gone. Ashleigh -gone. My mother_"
His runaway mouth snapped shut.
Leaves fell from trees in Heaven's autumn eyes and she edged away from him. "Aiden...Aiden, what did you do?"
He hid his face from her and opened the car door, composed his features and closed himself off. He couldn't keep making himself so vulnerable to this girl. He wasn't that person...he couldn't afford to be that person. "I promised you I'd keep you safe." He stuck out his hand to escort her from the car. "I did what I had to do."
She looked at it as if it were covered in red rum then slowly up at his flawed face. Her voice rushed out in a hoarse whisper, "What is wrong with you?"
What was wrong with her? How was she shocked? How was she appalled? How could she fall? She knew what the devil looked like, so why did it disappoint her so every time he revealed his horns?
He continued to hold his hand out without a word. What was he meant to say –'My mother was right, I'm a twisted fuck'? She declined his touch and got out without his assistance, pressing her back as close to the hummer as she could to avoid brushing against him, eluding the weakening of her fickle resolve.
He did this for her; to save her. Such a grave thing was meant to be viewed as endearing but she couldn't stomach the sentiment. He could see it as plain as day all over her exquisitely horrified face. All that he had worked for, to get this far with her, to get this close to her, was unwinding...
"Tell me...tell me what you did."
"I kept my word," he answered stoically.
"She was your mother."
Spinning, spinning, spinning and uncloaking reality...
Forcing her to face that growling creature with its teeth sharpened and ready to swallow her whole into the void that was the pit of its stomach...
Dreams of peace be damned.
Could Heaven finally be coming back down to earth? please let me know your thoughts. Click the heart and comment below.