Guiliana, Rose, Ruby, and Kiara make their way toward the group and greet their friends, as well. "What's up with the getup, Renzo?", Kiara asks, while Ruby is complementing Jess on their look. "It's the best I could do.", Lorenzo tells Kirara. "Do you know how expensive formal clothes are? Besides, I'm wearing black, right? There's no rule saying that the clothes worn to a funeral have to be formal, ya know?" Before anyone can say anything to that, Bianca shows up. "We should get going.", she says. "You're right.", Jaxon says as he walks off towards the priest, who is already waiting for them in front of the graves. The rest of the teenagers follow - everyone but Lorenzo and Jess. Lia takes Jonah's hand and ushers him to follow her, so Yujah has some time alone with them. "What about you guys?", Yujah asks. "We'll stay back a bit and gather all the disapproving stares so you can mourn in peace.", Lorenzo says. "We're still here for you and wait until you're ready to leave, whenever that is. However, we're extremely self-aware that a lot of the guests here don't really like us... so we'll be decorating the background for a bit.", Jess adds, before giving Yujah a warm hug. "Okay, you do you... but you'll be there, right? I might need you guys...", he answers. When they let go of each other, Lorenzo hugs his friend, too, and pets him on the back. "We got your back. If anyone tries to pull some shit, we'll raise hell on 'em.", he says, making Yujah chuckle. "Thanks.", he says, before joining his brothers. Jess and Lozenzo decide to stay where they are until everyone else has gathered. Nearly everyone who passes them scowls or frowns, some even leave some remarks. "How disrespectful.", a woman says. "Kids these days.", another man says while shaking his head. When everyone from the funeral party seems to have gathered, they get a little closer, but still stay at the back of the crowd.
three brothers and the Rossi family stand up front with the priest.
Behind them, a group of teenagers - friends from both Yujah and Jaxon
gather, some with, some without their families. Some of Jonah's friends
are there as well, together with their parents, followed by colleagues,
friends, and acquaintances of the deceased and a few teachers of the
boys. After the priest, their father's boss holds a speech - it's
generic and one that the boys would have loved to cancel. A similar
speech is held by their mother's church group leader, as well as a few
other people who knew their parents - or think they knew their parents,
at least. After that, though, aunt Mary comes up front, her words
loving, filled with nostalgia and grief. Different from the others, she
cries from the very start - her speech is filled with raw emotion.
for the first time since his parents' death, Yujah cries. The tears
stream down his face, unstoppable. He feels a hand on his back and
buries his head in Lia's shoulder, who takes her hand from his back to
his head and combs her fingers through his slightly curled black hair
while sloppily brushing her own tears away with her other hand. Jonah
clenches Yujah's hand tightly, as he sobs in Bianca's embrace. Jaxon's
expression is stoic, but he can feel his eyes water as he clenches his
hands behind his back. He does not allow himself to cry, no - he can't.
He needs to be strong, to stay strong. Soon, it's time for the brothers
to take the first flowers to the grave. The mourners each take a flower
and do the same. Then, it's time to let the caskets down. As they gather
for one last prayer, a woman, with a long, black dress that covers her
almost completely and pinned-up long blonde hair and a young boy in a
suit come running. "My darling", she cries, "Josef.", she chokes, tears
running down her face, as she runs towards the caskets. "Daddy.", the
boy says, sobbing. Scoffs, huffs and whispers fill the crowd. Jess steps
in to drag the woman away from the grave, but she frees herself from
their grip. "How dare you?!", she shouts. A group of adults builds a
wall between her and the caskets, as well as Yujah and Jonah, who are
still standing in front of them. Jaxon gets in front of her. "No, how
dare you? How dare you come here?", he says, his fists clenched
by his sides, trembling with anger. Ben walks up to him, standing close -
both as support and to step in, if necessary. On the other side, Jess
and Lorenzo are keeping watch as well. "How dare I? I have every
right to be here! My son has every right to be here! Won't you even let a
child say goodbye to its father?!" Beside her, the boy is crying
loudly. "Daddy, daddy.", he keeps crying. "Let me see him", "Give him
That's the boy's name. It has been a while since Yujah last saw him, but
if he remembered correctly, he should be about nine years old. His
cries hurt him. Enough to nearly go and tell the crowd to let them
through - let him through. But he doesn't. Instead, he tightens
his grip on Jonah's hand and gets down to the confused child, making him
look at him, before placing his hands on Jonah's ears, hoping to shield
him from the insults and shouts from both the crowd and the woman, as
well as the cries from the boy who is nothing but a stranger to Jonah.
After a few minutes, the woman finally leaves with her child in tow.
"Why did that boy call our dad daddy?", Jonah asks Yujah, after he
removes his hands from the child's ears. "That's because-" - "It doesn't
matter.", Jaxon interrupts, "You don't need to know that. You'll never
see him again. There's something wrong with him and his mother, that's
the group of mourners starts to dissipate. Left is only a small group -
the Rossi family, the Clark brothers, and Yujah's group of friends.
"We'll take Jonah back with us. I'm guessing you want to stay a little
longer?", Bianca says. Yujah nods. "Yes, that would be great.", he says.
Bianca, David, Ben, and Jonah leave first, leaving the remaining group
of teens alone. "Well, that was... something.", Ruby says, still shocked
about what just happened, "I mean... I knew they existed, but... I
never thought they'd pull something like that." The rest of the
group silently agrees. "A side piece should stay a side piece, she knew
what she was signing up for when she started having an affair with a
married man. Nobody invited them to the funeral, they should've just
visited the graves after.", Jaxon says. "I agree that Stacy caused a
scene on purpose. She always does", Yujah adds, "but I do think they
technically have a right to be here. Especially Stanley - I felt bad for
him." Jaxon scoffs. "I agree.", Giuliana says, "It's not the child's
fault. I'm not sure if we had the right to deprive him of attending his
father's funeral." Kiara pipes in, saying: "He's a bastard, though - in
the literal sense. And look where we live. I was debating multiple times
if I should just go join Jess and Renzo in the back and watch from a
little farther away because I could see the racism in their fucking eyes
- I swear some of them were this close to calling me a racist slur. If I was his mom, I would've kept him away from this funeral to protect him.
Did you hear how they cursed at his mother and him, in front of his
eyes? It makes me so mad!" Ruby takes Kiara's hand and Rose gently puts a
hand on her back. "I agree. That poor boy might be traumatized for life
now. She should've stayed away and come back at a later date.", the
latter says. Yujah sighs. "I agree, but... she's too selfish for that.
That probably didn't even cross her mind - all she cares about are her
own needs.", he says. "Yup, definitely. She's probably the most selfish
person I've ever met.", Jaxon adds. "Do we have flowers left?", Yujah
then asks. "You mean... from the funeral?", Jess asks back. The boy
nods. "I think so. We didn't give all of them out.", Rose says as she
looks around and leaves for a second, before coming back with leftover
Marco and Denis make
their way through the small town slowly. Marco remembers it and although
some things have changed, it still looks a lot like how it used to. He
looks around cautiously as if danger could be hiding in every corner of
it. It pains Denis to see his lover like that. It takes them a while to
reach the entrance to the graveyard and it seems like the funeral has
already started - a lot of people in black clothes are standing around.
The crowd is so big, that they aren't able to tell where the boys might
be. They stay there for a bit. Denis waits for his lover to take the
first step toward the crowd. Marco swallows hard. His feet don't seem to
move at first. "Follow me.", he says, before taking Denis to the forest
next to the graveyard. From the forest, they can see the mourners a
little clearer and are able to make out a priest, a group of teens, and a
child up front, right in front of two caskets. They assume that the
child might be Jonah and his older brothers are part of the teens
gathered there, as well. They watch for a while. They watch as everyone
brings flowers to the deceased. They watch as the caskets are let down.
They watch as the mourners embrace each other. And as a boy and women
seem to be making a fuss, only to have the adults present make a wall to
prevent them from getting closer to the group in front. They hear
voices being raised but can't make out what they're saying. They watch
how the woman and child get chased away. They watch as everyone leaves,
one after another. Until only the group of teens and a few adults are
left. Denis keeps glancing at his lover the whole time. When everyone
has left, Marco picks up a flower from the side, wordlessly takes Denis'
hand, and guides him towards the graves. Marco crouches down to lay a
flower on his sister's side of the grave. It feels unreal to him. Denis
pauses when his eyes land on a grave that has the family name 'Robins'
engraved. Underneath it reads: 'Beloved parents and grandparents, Johann
When Marco realizes that his lover's attention is elsewhere, he follows his gaze. "That's my parents' grave. I've never visited it before.", he says. As he walks towards it, Denis follows right behind him. There are fresh flowers decorating the grave, which seem to be the same flowers Monica and her husband got - although there was only a hand full, definitely only brought there by a small group of the funeral party that was there before. "It's weird.", Marco says, "Seeing those people I last saw when I was seventeen - my family - six feet under, I mean. It feels... kinda lonely, somehow. Now, I'm the only one left of the Robins' family." Denis steps closer to him, ready to comfort him. "But - I don't really feel all that sad. I don't feel like mourning them, either. I already did that - back when they abandoned me." His lover takes Marco into a loving embrace. Marco leans into Denis, his eyes wet - yet, the tears don't fall. The couple stays like that for a short while, before deciding that it's time to go meet the boys.
every step Marco takes, his heart feels tighter. His anxiety levels
rise with every passing moment that he spends in town. If Denis wasn't
with him, he would have bailed for sure. His hand keeps itching to hold
his lover's - but that would be a bad decision. The worst he could do
was let people in that town see them do something the 'normal',
conservative heterosexual man would never. What they did, hidden in the
forest or in the graveyard, was already risky enough. Luck seems on his
side, though, since no one seems to have recognized him yet. Either that
or they just pretend not to. No matter which it is, it's a good thing.
The homophobia he experienced in his youth is nothing he would ever like
to experience again.
He takes another look at the piece of paper on which he wrote the address to confirm the street and searches for the right number.