Two months before
I looked out onto the New York skyline as the winter storm continued to rage on outside.
In a lot of ways, New York’s winters reminded me of Chicago’s. Yet, it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t home. I missed home.
I missed my friends and my family.
I missed my brother.
But how could I go home?
New York was where I was exiled: My escape away from my all my wrongdoings, away from the hurt I had caused a little girl with big brown eyes, whose only sin was having been born to a careless mother and an absent father.
But that little girl held my brother’s heart, and I didn’t know how to be in the same city as her, let alone the same room.
I didn’t know how to face my brother, even if he had forgiven me. Yet, New York had never given me the peace I thought it would. It only made me yearn for something more.
“You need to come home, little brother,” Max had said on the phone last night.
“Why is that?”
“Because I need you. I don’t know what to do anymore. Grace is lost to me. That shouldn’t really matter, but I’m afraid she might be lost to Olivia, too. And when that happens… I’ll need you by my side.”
There was this desperate pleading in his voice that I couldn’t ignore. Selfishly, I had hoped that by telling myself my brother needed me, I could end this self-impose exile and come home. That everything would be okay.
Everything was different now.
I wasn’t that hot-headed boy I once was. And Grace had changed, too.
And perhaps she was different because of me, because of my actions. I needed to face that head on.
But could I do it?
Could I face everyone I had hurt by my own selfish actions?
I pressed the intercom on my desk and a soft familiar voice came through. “Yes, sir?”
“Candace, I need you to book me a ticket to Chicago.”
“And when should we expect you back, sir?”
I hesitated, but only for a second. “Never. I’m going home.”