ben.

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 "Everything looks really great Mrs. Hemmings."

Mrs. Hemmings looks up at me as she finishes up the last bit of the kitchen and more people seem to appear from outside by the minute. I can tell she's stressed out about this welcome home party they're having for Jack. I've been helping her set up in the kitchen as Luke, Jack, and Mr. Hemmings cooked on the grill.

"I hope so," she sighs as she places a dish towel down and sighs.

"Trust me, it really does," I say attempting to shoot her a comforting smile. "I'm sure Jack's super appreciative of it all."

Mrs. Hemmings just shoots me a soft smile and doesn't respond to this as she occupies herself with something else. I want to know what she's thinking and why she's acting so weird when it comes to her own son.

"Are you happy to have him home?" I try.

She shrugs her shoulders and keeps her back to me, "It's been a long few years so I know Luke is very happy his brothers back."

But that doesn't answer my question.

"And you?" I ask.

She pauses seeming to know it's inevitable and she has to answer. I wonder what's running through her mind and if she's pissed at me for trying to get it out of her. However, every piece of me encourages me to push it out.

Her attention turns to me and she leans over the counter to look at me as she says, "It's tough Addison, I'm not going to lie. It's tough believing your son to be a certain way for years and then being told it was a lie all along. I feel angry, guilty, shocked, ashamed, probably every negative emotion you could experience. I'm still trying to process it all."

I just watch her carefully considering I know she wants to continue.

"Jack is such a sweet boy and is so forgiving. He walked through the door without an ounce of grudge inside of him. It's hard to accept that we failed him as parents and I'm still trying to make sense of how this could happen."

I hear the guilt in her words and I want to pull her in for a hug just to comfort her. It's obvious that she's too ashamed to go on as if nothing happened. She doesn't know how she's supposed to act and she's still trying to figure it out.

I know I can relate to the Hemmings family and I hope I can give Mrs. Hemmings comfort in that so I continue to hold her gaze as I decide to speak up.

"I have a brother who actually did get himself in a lot of trouble growing up. He has the best personality but the worst friends you could imagine. My parents would give him money and my brother would spend it on drugs, bailing himself out of jail, pretty anything illegal. Eventually, they got sick of him and gave up on him. They've pretty much disowned him and haven't contacted him or gave him a dollar in years," I say as Mrs. Hemmings watches me so intently.

I tuck a loose strand of hair behind my ear, "I see all the problems he's causing in my parents lives but I look at it as a cry for help. Even if what he does angers me like no other, he needs me and I need him."

I can tell her eyes are getting slightly foggy and I know I'm hitting deep for her.

"He will always remember that my parents gave up on him but at the end of the day, they're his parents. He loves them more than anything in the world and will always need them," I say hoping to get my message across. "It's scary letting people back into our lives but if it's someone we need, it makes it a lot easier."

Mrs. Hemmings seems to try to process all my words as she bites the corner of her lip and looks off.

"The past is the past and there's nothing we can do about it. All we can do is hope to make tomorrow a better day and be there for the people we need the most. Truth is, if you were ever to lose Jack, you don't want to remember your relationship as being like two enemies."

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