As I hear a knock on the door, I look up and see Zoe standing there. I must have gotten lost in my thoughts of Zac.
When I don't answer Zoe right away, she just steps into my room anyway, "I'm sorry," she frowns as she walks over to the bed, sitting down with a photo album in hand. "I mean for saying Junia looks like Kate," she frowns more.
"But she does," I tell Zoe as I look over at her. "Kate is her mother and children are supposed to look like their parents," I shrug and point to the photo album. "What is that?" I ask and reach for it, taking it from her. The moment I open it I am bombarded by pictures I haven't seen since 2010. Pictures I was sure my parents had gotten rid of.
Zoe watches me as I flip through the album, "I kept them hidden away. Kate wanted mom and dad to throw them away or get rid of them but I couldn't," she says as she shakes her head. "You and Zac looked so happy," she sighs. "Even if I do find it weird you two were in love, you look so happy in these pictures.”
I nod knowing we did, "If I had known doing what Kate had wanted would hurt Zac as much as it did, I wouldn't have done it," I say as I stop at one of the pictures and trace the outline of Zac's face. A part of me wishes he were here now so I could trace the outline of his face and just feel his skin one more time.
"Why did you let it stay that way then, I mean once you knew how hurt Zac was?" Zoe asks me and I have to think about that question. It's one I wasn't prepared for.
I shrug, "I didn't expect he'd get bad enough to kill himself. Anyway, I thought she was right. I believed she would do what she threatened to do," I say still believing she would have if I didn't follow through with her blackmail. Her blackmail was the main reason I had hurt the man I loved.
Zoe turns a page in the album and looks at it, "Are you going to change things now?" she asks me. "Are you going to go against Kate's blackmail now that Zac is dead? If you do, I'll stand by you," she smiles at me.
I smile back and just run a hand through my hair, to be honest I don't know if I go against her blackmail now or not. Maybe it's too late to fix the wrong. Maybe too much time has passed. Anyway without Zac, would it really be worth it?
"Thanks, I mean for saying you'd stand by me," I tell Zoe. "But I'm not sure what I will do," I say shutting the photo album, unable to look at the picture she had turned too. "I just know I want to mourn Zac and then maybe I will think of something."
Zoe nods and stands from the bed. "You can keep the photo album," she tells me before leaving the room.
Looking at the now shut album, I stand from the bed and go to put it in my closet. I don't want to risk the chances of anyone finding it out in the open and getting rid of it. Those pictures are the last pictures I have of my happy years with Zac.
After the pictures are put away, I leave the room and head downstairs. Seeing my mother in the kitchen I go in. "I'm sorry," I tell her as I go to stand beside her at the sink where she is doing dishes.
"For what?" she asks me as she turns to look at me briefly.
I look down, "For starting drama with Kate," I mutter knowing this apology is best for now. "I wasn't thinking and I thought maybe given the circumstances that Kate would let me be around the children."
My mother stops doing the dishes and turns to face me, "Avery, Kate is never going to get over what you did, no matter the circumstances. Zac left her for an entire year, to be with you which is morally wrong. Can you blame her for being just a little upset still no matter what the circumstances are?" my mother asks me and I sigh.
"I guess I can understand where she is coming from," I shrug. "Sometimes I just don't think."
My mother laughs, "No kidding," she says looking into my eyes. "Where you even using your brain when you began sleeping with your brother?"
I look down at her words, "I don't regret being openly with Zac in 2010. We were both so happy," I smile as I look back up. "I just wish I hadn't listened to Kate, then maybe we would be happy still."
My mother rolls her eyes and shakes her head, "You would be sinning still if you hadn't listened to Kate," she tells me her tone going harsh. "I take this then as you regretting...." she starts then stops though I know what she was going to say.
"Regretting what?" I ask her wanting her to say it. I want her to acknowledge the giant elephant in the room now. The one I'm sure played a part in Zac's decisions to end his own life.
My mother looks away from me and I see her face turn cold. "It doesn't matter because it's in the past. You went through with it and everything is better now."
Frowning, I move away from the sink and turn to leave the kitchen, heading to my room. When I get there, I am surprised to find my dad standing at the door. Is he here to make me feel worse than mom did. Maybe coming home was a bad idea?
"I heard the whole conversation with your mother," my father says as he looks down at his feet. "She's just upset over losing Zac. Before Zac died she used to say she wished you hadn't followed through with what Kate wanted. She knew you following through with that stopped you coming in too much. That it was too painful for you. Too painful for Zac."
I nod as my dad speaks, "It's still too painful, especially when I'm around Zac's kids now."
My dad laughs some and I watch him look up and into my eyes. "You can say what you really want Avery. It's too painful for you to be around Junia. It's understandable," he smiles sadly before walking off.
I watch him walk away and I feel tears coming to my eyes as I go into my room and lay on the bed. I hate crying but it seems like since Zac died it's all I can do anymore. It's the only way I can keep myself together. Though this time I don't know if I'm crying over Zac or what my dad said.
His words just like Zoe's have me wondering if I should rethink everything. Challenge Kate over what she is doing. Do what Zac wanted me to do for a long time after I gave into her. Grow a backbone.