73. Family Ties

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Adam's POV

After the ceremony, I looked around for Alicia but she was nowhere to be found. So I stood in a corner and waited for her to return. My eyes glided over all the parents who were here for their children. Near the stage, there was Noah's mother Pamela looking around for him, her fingers laced with Mr. Brown.

He lifted his face and his eyes met mine. I didn't want to show him that I gave a rat's ass about him and his family but now he had caught me staring at them. Embarrassed, I immediately looked away.

"Adam." his familiar voice penetrated my ears after a minute or two.

"Sir." I answered blankly, without looking at him.

After a moment, I felt a pat on my shoulder. His actions forced me to flick my eyes to him and glare. "I want you to know that I'm proud of you son." he smiled, his grey eyes brimming with emotions.

A part of me always wanted to hear him say these words. The child inside me would kill to be able to hug his Dad. But I was not that child anymore. I was a grown-up who had been through so much in his life just because his father figured that it was okay to abandon your family.

"I don't give a damn about how you feel." I gritted and the smile evaporated from his face. Talking to him like that didn't feel as good as it should.

"You are my son, no matter how much you deny the fact." he said.

"I'm not the one who denied it first." I retorted. I knew that at this moment, my face was giving away whatever I was feeling. All the bitterness, jealousy, rage, longing. Everything.

His voice was heavy with grief as he responded, "I hate myself for doing that to you."

"You aren't the only one." I let out a small, humorless chuckle and walked past him. His wife was already staring at us with a worried expression on her face.

I needed to be away from these people. I wanted to run towards Alicia and hug her tightly. She was the only one who understood me, the only one who knew how to handle my foul mood, she was the only one who cared enough.

God, I love her.

...

After the ceremony, I hopped on my bike and drove towards the cemetery to spend some time with my mother. She would be very proud of me if she was alive. She would have loved that I was accepted into an Ivy League School. It was her dream to go to college but she couldn't. She was so young when she gave birth to Adaline and me, that all her ambition got lost in the way of bringing up her children.

With a heavy heart, I then drove towards the rehabilitation centre. Adaline's smile grew wide as I put my graduation cap on her head.

"You did it." she said with a sad smile. After her accident, her condition was so bad that she couldn't continue her studies. Mr. Brown arranged homeschooling for her two years ago but when her health worsened, she finally stopped putting an effort in studies.

"We did it." I said and stooped down in front of her. Moisture welled up in her eyes and she motioned me to move forwards and hug her. So I did as she asked, kissing the top of her head, I enveloped her in a tight hug.

"When are your classes starting?" she asked.

"Two months." I replied and the corners of her lips turned downwards. "Don't worry Addy, I'll take you there once I get a decent job." I patted her head.

She smiled but her eyes looked blank. I knew she considered herself a burden on me but she didn't realize that she was my only family. She was the one who kept me going, she motivated me when I was at my lowest, she encouraged me when I was on the verge of giving up.

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