Waking from being asleep, I look around my room and it's now pitch black. Turning my head some, I see the time. Three in the morning. I have slept for so long but obviously I needed it more than I thought.
Feeling thirsty I get out of bed and leave my room in a hurry heading downstairs. Flipping on a light in the kitchen, I go to the cabinets and get a glass, down taking it to the sink and pouring a glass of water.
"Aunt Avie," a small voice says right as I cut the water off. I don't even have to turn around to know it is Junia.
"Yes Junia," I say as I grab my glass and take a drink as I turn to face the little girl. She is in her pajamas and her hair is a messy, which makes me laugh some to myself. She sort of reminds me of a younger version of myself minus her blue eyes.
Junia looks down away from me, "I had a bad dream," she frowns which causes me to frown.
Taking my glass of water, I walk to where she is and bend down, "What happened in your dream Junebug?" I ask using the nickname Zac had given her when he was alive.
I watch as Junia looks up at me with tears in her eyes, "My mommy went away too like daddy," she says her voice quivering. "Then I couldn't see either of them ever again," she sniffles and I feel tears sting my eyes, pulling her into me.
"Junebug, your mommy isn't going anywhere," I tell her like I am so sure. Picking her up with my free arm, I kiss her cheek and sigh, "How about we both sleep on the couch okay?" I ask her as I walk into the living room that is just off the kitchen.
Going to the couch, I sit down and hold Junia in my lap, taking another drink of my water. As I sit here in held the girl, it was hard to believe that I had rarely spent any time alone with her since her birth but really, it was all Kate's doing. She had forbidden me to be around Junia and Shepherd unless it was family occasions. It was something Zac had no choice but to go along with.
Junia lays her head on my chest and I smile some, rubbing her back. Being around her still brings me so much pain but in a way it helps too. "You want a drink of water?" I ask her.
"Pwease," she says and I just smile holding my cup out for her and helping her as she takes a drink from it.
Chewing my lip, I bring the cup back to my own lips and finish the drink off, sitting the now empty cup on the table beside the couch. After doing that I lay down and pull Junia with me, "Let's go to sleep now okay. This time you will have good dreams, I promise," I say to her telling her something my mother used to tell me when she slept beside me after I had bad dreams.
After awhile, I hear Junia's breathing even out and I know she is asleep, so I finally close my own eyes and drift off to sleep beside of my neice.
When I hear someone clear their throat, I open my eyes slowly and swallow hard as I stare into the eyes of Zac's widow. Slowly, I move away from Junia who stirs even against my efforts not to wake her.
"Mommy," Junia grins looking at Kate. I look away not able to stomach how happy the child is to see someone as cold hearted as Kate.
"Hey Junebug," Kate says to her and I can hear the bitterness in her tone that I know is directed at me. "Why don't you go upstairs and play for awhile. "I need to talk to your aunt."
I turn back to look at Junia and watch as she gets up from the couch, running off, which leaves me alone with Kate.
I hear Kate clear her throat again and I roll my eyes, "I made it clear when she was born Avery. I didn't want you around her or her brother. Not unless it was a family function," she says as she crosses her arms and glares at me.
"She had a bad dream," I inform the brunette as I met her gaze and glare back. "I was the only one up and so I thought I would help her get back to sleep. I figured given the circumstances you wouldn't hold anything against me now."
Kate laughs bitterly, "I don't care what the circumstances are right now, I want my rules to be followed," she says harshly and turns to leave but stops half way. "You know, Zac's last few months, he agreed with me on you not being around the kids, especially Junia," she mutters and I'm sure if I could see her face I would see a smirk on it.
Rolling my eyes, I watch her leave and head upstairs. Once she is gone, I start to cry and lay back down on the couch. I'm already falling apart and Kate has just made it worse. I know deep down if Zac was agreeing with her in his final months than he had to have been pissed at what I did. He had to have been pissed and hurt.
"His death is my fault," I mutter as I look up at the ceiling, knowing it is. It has to be my fault.
Hearing someone come in the living room, I wipe at my eyes and sit up to see Zoe looking at me, "When did you come down here?" she asks.
I sigh, "Last night. I woke up to get some water and then Junia had a bad dream. I brought her in here so we could both go back to sleep."
Zoe nods at my words, "I thought you didn't want to be around Zac's kids right now."
"I didn't," I tell her as I shake my head, "But Junia woke up and I just, I didn't feel like waking anyone else up," I shrug as I chew on my lip.
Zoe looks at me and sighs, "I think you are crazy for not wanting to be around Zac's kids," she tells me before sitting down next to me on the couch. "I like being around them now because they remind me of him. They both look so much like him."
I laugh at her words, "I disagree with you on Junia," I say as I look into her blue eyes. "Junia kind of reminds me of myself when I was younger," I confess wondering if Zoe sees it too or if I am just crazy.
Zoe sits there as if she is pondering my words for a long time. "You know," she speaks and then pauses, "you are right. Junia does kind of look like you when you were younger. Though, I also see some Kate in her as well."
When Zoe says what she does, I at least don't feel crazy, "You see Kate in her?" I ask raising an eyebrow. "I...just no," I spit out more harshly than I attended. "That girl looks nothing like that witch," I mutter before standing from the couch and heading upstairs.
On the way up the stairs, I roll my eyes as I pass Kate who is going down with both kids.
"Bye Shepherd, Bye Junia," I call out as I reach the top of the stairs. After I do, I hear the door slam shut and I turn to head back to my room but came face to face with my mother. I can tell from the look on her face Kate has warned her about leaving me alone with the children.
"Avery," my mother begins as she looks at me sternly, "Kate wanted me to tell you to remember your agreement to stay away from the children," she says her voice harsh and cold. "And I am. For everyone's sake right now please do it. We are all suffering and we don't need you adding more drama, god knows you and Zac did enough of that while he was alive," she mutters before walking away from me.
Standing there dumb founded, I just shake my head, even my own mother sides with Kate. Though of course she would, she had been the most devastated when she found out about Zac and I. That we had been lovers. Shaking my head more, I just walk into my room and slam the door.
With Kate getting mad at me and my mother telling me off, I feel worse than I did before. "This is your fault," I say looking at the ceiling. "For getting mad at me and doing something stupid," I spit out though I mean none of my words. I would never really blame Zac. I love him too much.
Feeling tears sting my eyes, I walk to the bed and sit down, my mind automatically going back to Zac and even more of the events that I was sure had lead to him killing himself.
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