Chapter 31

6K 359 145


"The answer is in his eyes when he dares to look at me again, and even though I still see his pleading apology in them, all I feel is pain."


When I said it would be a day to remember, this was definitely not what I imagined.

Because when I arrive at my grandmother's house, I see both my parents' and my brother's car parked in the driveway. A sigh escapes my throat; I was really hoping to spend a day alone with Grams, although I can't deny that I love spending time with Mom and Dad.

It has been a little tense with Max ever since Pops's death. I don't know what his issue is, but he has been avoiding me like the plague. He was more surprised than the others when I said I'd move back home for a few weeks. My brothers were thankful for that; it meant that I could spend time with my mom and we helped each other through everything.

But Max somehow behaved differently after that. Maybe he feels guilty for saying those things back then, although I told him countless times that I forgive him for that. He was grieving, and Max being Max, he just acted on impulse. It doesn't make it better, but I at least know where he was coming from.

"Grams?" I call out into the garden when I hear some voices from that direction.

"Oh, you can stay there, sweetie. We'll drive right away. Max said the penguin show is on at noon! We need to see that," she says while walking around the corner of the house and into my sight.

My parents follow right after, and all three of them give me a quick hug. Dad ruffles my hair like I was two years old, and I quickly pull away before both my mom and I roll our eyes at him.

"Don't gang up on me now," he says, and I give him a gentle shove.

"You know they always do," Max's voice makes me turn around, and he shoots me a quick wave as he loads three baskets full of food into the trunk.

"Should I have packed a suitcase? There's no way we're eating all of that," I comment, pointing at the baskets that now disappear in my parents' Jeep.

Dad laughs and pulls me into his side, whispering into my ear, "I already asked that question. These two said you can never be prepared enough."

I can't help but laugh at his words, Mom and Grams ignore us though, they just get into my parents' car. Dad shoots me another wink before getting into the driver's seat, and before I know it we're all on our way to the zoo.

It's close to noon by the time we find the penguin enclosure, and Max just excuses himself to the restroom while we are still standing in line, patiently waiting.

"He has changed, hasn't he?" my grandmother asks, and I look at her with a raised brow. "Who?"

"Max. Something has changed that day..." Grams says, obviously still having issues with talking about the day her life changed so drastically.

My mom suddenly turns around, furrowing her brows as she looks at the two of us, "Yeah, he has. I thought it was just me who saw it."

My father shoots me a look, one that asks if I want to talk about this. We haven't told them exactly what happened, what Max said to me that day. It wasn't necessary, and as I said, I know he was just grieving.

"Maybe he just still hasn't come to terms with it all..." I suggest, giving Grams's hand a tight squeeze.

"Maybe..." she says, "I know I never will." Her level but emotional voice makes me feel in awe of her. She's always so in control of herself. Even after Pops's death she stayed strong, even though we all told her to let go if she needed to.

CrossroadsWhere stories live. Discover now