Chapter 9) Filling in the blanks, one piece at a time

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Sitting in the Simmons’ living room felt so wrong, I’d expected to feel comfortable and safe but I felt like a stranger treading around everything. Looking at all the photos scattered along the various worktops made me feel awful. Every photo was of Mum and Dad or of Luke, my younger brother who didn’t know who I was. None of me. Sat in the armchair next to me Josh sat staring into space. He didn’t look happy-I don’t know why though he had nothing to be angry about in this situation.

The silence was reaching the stage of awkwardness when my mum and dad walked in the room, Luke clinging on to my dad’s arm for dear life.  The sat on the sofa opposite mine. Sitting alone on this big sofa while they comfortably sat together on the other wasn’t helping me feel any better.

“Luke might be a bit funny around you for a while” my dad informed me.

“No wonder, it’s not as if he had the slightest clue of my existence until about 15 minutes ago. Why was that exactly?” I questioned letting the hurt in my voice show.

My mum heaved a sigh, “you have to understand, we lost you, we lost our baby. We didn’t think you would come back. You see, we know who took you and we didn’t want to constantly remind ourselves of the little angel we may never see again” tears were slowly gliding down her cheeks.

Although I was hurt that they didn’t tell my little brother about me I kind of understood that I was completely oblivious to the pain my lack of presence caused them.

A smile crossed my dad’s face “You know Avery…” he addressed my mother “… I always thought that if she came back she would go to Josh first”

“w..w…what?” I asked the tone of confusion thick in my voice. Why would I go to Josh first? I only just met him a few days ago.

“Wait? You don’t remember him? I mean you and him were two peas in a pod. The best of friends”

Josh leapt from the armchair and charged out the door.

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After sitting with my parents talking for hours I decided to go back and see Josh. My parents did offer me the spare room telling me all my old stuff was in there in boxes but I would feel like I was intruding as much as they were parents I didn’t feel like family around the 3 of them yet. I still felt like an outsider.

I softly knocked Josh’s front door. I heard the thumping of feet coming down his staircase before the door swung open. I’d never seen anyone this upset in my life. Josh’s check were tearstained his eyes were red and puffy from crying and his over all demeanour of defeat almost had me in tears. Without words he pulled me close to him and held me tight. I could feel his silent tears soaking my shirt. I didn’t care.

I noticed a picture in his hand and pulled away from his grip slightly and gently pulled it from his grip. It was a picture of me and a little boy I was assuming was Josh on a swing set which I noticed to be from the park down the street.

“That was the day I told you I loved you” he whispered.

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