Okay, the summary sucked so here's a new one.
When Nina's mother lies to her about the death of her father, Nina gets furious. She becomes violent and unruly, to the point where her mother has to call in the son of an old friend of hers. Kai's dark and mysterious and Nina is automatically interested. But when she makes the wrong choice and decides she's not worthy to keep living, can Kai bring her back before it's too late?
Also, on a side note, this story is subject to change. A lot. As I go back to chapters and rewrite and edit them, the chapters here will definitely change. As you may have noticed, this chapter is entirely rewritten. I hope you enjoy.
To speak falsely or misleadingly. To deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression. To lie.
Prevaricate. That's just what she did. That's what she always did. She lied. Lied to her own daughter. And what's worse is that she lied for months.
Maybe that's the reason I'm standing here, dazed. Here at my father's funeral. I look up at the sky as a drop of rain falls onto my forehead. I don't even bother to wipe it away as it slides down my nose. The sky today is gray. As gray as my eyes and as stormy as I'm feeling. My stomach twists into knots inside of me and my throat closes up like I'm about to cry, but I have no more salty tears to let go. The sky shall cry for me today.
I can't help but feel guilty. The last time I saw my father was five months ago when he left on that business trip to Hawaii. I had wanted to go but he said I couldn't because he'd be busy the entire time and my mother needed someone to keep her out of trouble. A small smile plays on my lips as I remember him whispering that into my ear the day he came by my house in a taxi to say good bye. He said it would only take two months and then he would come back home. The last time I spoke to him was over the phone three months ago when he told me that he would be coming back soon. I could hear his wide grin through the phone when he said he was in a rush to come home for my birthday. But he never made it.
I should be crying right now. That's what people do at funerals, right? They cry and they scream up at the heavens for God to return the life that was taken. I should be on my knees, grieving for my lost father. But I'm not. All I feel is anger towards myself and my mother. His death could have been prevented. It didn't have to end like that. My birthday was not that important.
My mother is standing up at the front of the plot where he'll be buried. I can't figure out why though. It seems to me that she never even loved him, never wanted him to be around. Not like I did. I should be the one up there speaking for him. I should be the one telling everyone how great he was, about all the amazing things he did, about how lucky I am to have known him. Sadly, all my screaming at my mother left me hoarse to the point where it hurts to speak now. I think she is happy about that.
I can still remember, clear as a whistle ringing in my ears, when I found out he was dead. I had to hear it from Aunt Elle, who isn't even anybody's aunt really. She's just some nosy old gossiper whose only family moved off to Siberia or something. Which, when you think about it, Siberia is not a nice place so the only logical explanation for them moving is that they wanted to get away from Aunt Elle. Apparently, my mother decided that Elle deserved to know the truth more than I did.
The phone rang. I forced myself up off the couch, soda can still in hand, and into the kitchen. On it's fourth ring I yanked the phone off it's hook and mumbled into the receiver, "Hello?"
"Nina, is that you, dear?" It was Aunt Elle calling for the fifth time this week.
She probably wanted Mom, who was out getting her hair done. "Sorry, Aunt Elle, but Mom isn't in right now. Can I take a message?"
She laughed and it sounded almost sad. "No, no, my dear. I'm here calling to ask a question."
A question? She would probably ask if we wanted to go to some national knit-off or something, which Mom would have to come up with some excuse as for why we were too busy. "What's up?"
"I was just wondering when the funeral was going to be."
I took a swig of my soda while I tried to think of what she was talking about. No one had died recently that I could think of. "Funeral?"
She gasped so sharply that I almost asked if she was having a stroke or something. "Your mother never told you? My, my… That's not right."
I was starting to get worried. What was she talking about? "What's going on, Aunt Elle?"
There was a long silence and I had to listen closely to make sure she was still breathing into the phone. "Nina," she finally whispered, her voice breaking. "I'm sorry to tell you this, when it should really be your mother but she's too stubborn to listen to an old girl's advice… Anyway, Nina, I'm terribly, deeply sorry. But on your father's flight home three months ago, his plane crashed. He's… He's dead, dear."
Both the phone and the soda fell from my hands, crashing and spilling together on the linoleum tile.
When my mother had come home that day, I flew into a rage at her. For three months, she lied to me, telling me that "his trip was extended." She said that she was going to tell me in a few days and that the funeral would have been arranged after I knew. When I asked why she hadn't told me straight out, she said it was because I wasn't mature enough to handle his death. But she's wrong. She doesn't know anything about me.
"Nina?" someone calls me out of my nightmarish thoughts and I look up, groaning painfully as I realize it's my mother. "Would you like to say a few words about your father?"
I simply glare at her without a sound. What does she expect from me? To just be okay with everything? It's not that easy, Mom. Turning on my black heel, I march off in the opposite direction. If I can just walk out of here right now…
"Nina," the witch calls behind me. "If you'll excuse me for a moment, I need to handle this."
I stop, waiting for her to come up to me and lose it. Actually, for once in her life, let he calm façade disappear.
Gently, a hand falls onto my shoulder. "Nina, baby." I shake her hand off in frustration. She sighs and pushes her golden-blonde hair behind her ear. I'm surprised it's not in her usual ponytail today.
"What?" I spit, narrowing my steel eyes at her coldly. My throat burns but I try to ignore the pain. "What can I possibly say that you haven't already lied to them about?"
She rolls her eyes at me. "I can't believe this. Nina, would you please just get over yourself and say something nice for your father? He's your family, too."
I burst out laughing so that my stomach cramps up and she frowns at me, making the wrinkles in her weary face more prominent. "Too?' What do you mean 'too?' He was never your family. He was mine, all mine. My family, my friend… And you lied to me and kept his death from me! What gives you the right to say he was your family?"
She replaces her hand on my shoulder and her grip tightens to the point where her freshly manicured nails dig into my skin. She is angry, but still calm. She's always calm. "Can we not do this today, Nina? I really just don't have the patience for this right now. Get up there and say something already."
Brushing her hand off my shoulder, I decide maybe I'll say something. But not for her. No, for my father. If anyone deserves a few words from me, it's him. I clear my throat and push past my mother, walking confidently up to the front of the plot.
"Hello, friends, family and others who are here mainly out of respect for my father," I greet the group of people, earning a scowl from my mother in the back of everyone. "I am Nina Lothario. I am, well I was, Richard's daughter. Richard Lothario was a great man who was sweet and kind. He had a great heart and he was an amazing father to me. He was full of wisdom and strength, and he was always there for me when I needed him most."
Memories come flooding into me like a ton of bricks, making fresh tears spring forth. Memories of my father and I, good times and bad. The first memory makes my breath catch in my throat.
"Bella, why are you doing this to me?" my father yelled at my mother.
I sat in the closet on the other side of the kitchen wall, pulling my knees up to my tear soaked chin. I could hear the entire argument and it tore me apart.
"I can't live like this, Richard!" my mother cried. "I refuse to live in a loveless marriage!"
I tried to block out the yelling but it intruded into my thoughts anyway. I can't see, but I know what they're doing. Father would push himself from the table and toss the divorce papers around, scattering them over the kitchen, and Mother would just sit there amiable as ever. I wish they would stop arguing.
"Fine!" he finally growled, probably turning around and preparing to walk out of the room. "You can have your divorce but I'm taking Nina!"
"The court won't let you," she told him nonchalantly. I could almost picture her smile. "Not after they look at your record."
My father was outraged. "What? That's garbage. I've been sober for five years now. I've never even had a drop of alcohol since then! I've been sober for five years, Bella, and it was all for Nina's sake. And you're saying that I don't even get a right to my own daughter?"
I wish they would just shut up. Stop arguing, stop screaming… Just stop.
The next thing I knew, I stood in front of the kitchen door, fists clenched at my sides.
"Richard, it's over between us. I'll let the courts settle the rest."
There was a loud thud, as if my father had slammed his hand down on the table. "No! Don't you try to-"
"Stop it!" I screamed, throwing the doors open.
I shake my head, trying to clear my mind. I can't be thinking of that right now. "Richard was my father, but he was also my best friend. I trusted him with all of my secrets and pains. Actually, I think I trusted him more than my own mother. He was always there for me, when others just turned me away."
I threw open the front door and walked in, immediately slamming it behind me and not even bothering to wave goodbye to my mother. Father stood in the doorway to the living room, dish towel in his hands. "You okay, Nina?"
"Do I look okay?" I asked harshly. "Obviously not or you wouldn't be asking me that stupid question. So, no, I'm not okay."
He shook his head knowingly and tossed the dish towel on the arm of his favorite chair and came over to give me a hug. He wrapped his strong arms tight around me and I could smell the familiar cologne on his shirt. He kissed the top of my head as he smoothed my tangled hair. "You want to talk about it, pumpkin?"
I gave a small nod and he walked me over to the old worn out couch where we always watched movies together. I could feel the tears welling up as I choked out the first sentence, "My boyfriend dumped me."
"Elliot?" he gasped in fake shock. He had always said that Elliot was no good for me. But he didn't gloat. "Oh, Nina, I'm sorry. You're too good for him anyway. Someday you'll find the perfect guy who doesn't use you like that. Can I get you some hot chocolate?"
I laughed and rubbed my wet eyes. "Is that your remedy for everything, Dad? Hot chocolate doesn't help everything, you know."
He just shrugged and tousled my hair. "Almost everything. You sure I can't get you something? I hate seeing you like this."
I kissed his cheek and grabbed the remote off the table, flipping the television on. The channel was still set to our favorite station, Fresh63. "Positive. You don't have to worry about me." I grinned as a sentence popped into my thoughts. "Hey, you know my birthday is in a few months, right?"
It's evident I'm crying now and I don't think I can keep talking for much longer. I don't need their sympathy, so it'll probably be best if I vamoose out of here soon. "Richard did not deserve to die the way he did. He deserved so much better than everything he had. He should have had a better wife, a better job, a better life… But he's gone and there's no sense in dwelling on the past. Richard Lothario will always be missed in my heart, if no one else's. Thank you all for coming today. I know he would have loved to see you all, if it had been any other occasion." I wipe my eyes and walk back to my mother, who is not happy to see me right now.
My mother has her arms crossed in front of her chest and her face is set into one of the most serious frowns I've seen on her yet. "Nina Elise Lothario, why is it that whenever you talk it has to be something bad about me?"
I shrug and point to my throat, which could use a tall glass of water right about now. She seems to get the point and starts off towards the parking lot. "Come on. I'll take you home."
That's not my idea of fun but I oblige and follow her anyway. It's going to be a long drive home.