He called out to let his Uncle know he was there then walked into the kitchen and sighed in relief that a fresh pot of coffee was ready. He poured a cup and was lost in thought of how to proceed when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Hey Bug. Heard ya’ but was just in the middle a’ somethin’.” Rob poured himself some coffee and turned away for a moment before he came to sit at the table with Spencer. “Here, Maeve came by wanted me ta’ give that to ya’.” Rob passed over a large legal sized envelope.
Spencer held the envelope in his hands but didn’t open it, yet he set it aside and wanted to settle himself a little first.
“It’s been almost seven months.”
Spencer took a deep breath as he fingered the envelope.
“She sold the house said she left you somethin’ in there.” Rob drank some of his coffee while he watched his nephew. “Said she was goin’ away for a while, that somethin’ ya’ said made her realize she needed to get away.”
Spencer felt hollow as he looked back on the years of his marriage and wondered what they had that held them together for so long other than James. He felt more resigned because he refused to feel broken anymore. Being with Aaron had shown him what real love was. Draining the rest of his coffee Spencer reached for the envelope and pulled out the papers inside. The first was the confirmation of his divorce and that all papers were filed correctly, and nothing was out of place. Spencer thought he should feel something other than the finality of it all, but he didn’t and in a way that made him feel so very sad.
The two smaller envelopes he played with for a few minutes before he finally opened them up. The first was a substantial check that was for his half of the house. He had told Maeve that he didn’t want anything, and he was startled that she had left him anything. The other envelope was a letter. He just stared at the letter for what seemed like an eternity. Part of him didn’t want to open it because deep down whatever Maeve had to say to him would open those wounds that had started to heal over. Steeling himself he finally opened it and read.
I don’t even really know what to say to you anymore. You were right, I buried myself when we buried our son. I didn’t believe that you grieved just as deeply as I did, how could you? You didn’t carry him for nine months inside you. Didn’t feel him grow and change. Didn’t feel the movement and the kicking. But I realized how selfish that was and in ignoring the pain you felt I made you turn away from me. I own up to my part in what caused you to fall into your addiction and I wasn’t there when you were struggling to crawl back out and that’s my guilt to reconcile, not yours.
James had become our whole world for seven years. Our sweet precious boy is gone, and nothing will bring him back. I tried Spencer, I tried to find a cure, to understand what happened but you’re right we’ll never know the why. I wanted to blame God, You, myself but no one was responsible. Just a terrible quirk of genetics. A twist in his DNA and in less time than we knew, he was gone. I also put the burden of being there in his last hours in your lap because I still couldn’t face it. That was cruel or me to leave you like I did to force that burden on you, and I’ll understand if you never forgive me for it.
Don’t hate me Spencer. I’m as lost as you were and I was angry when you started to move on, when you wanted to live again. I wanted to hate you for leaving me behind for leaving James behind. The truth is Spencer I hate myself. It’s going to take a long time for me to reconcile the destruction of our marriage and the role I played in it.
I will always love you and I hope you’re happy with whoever it was you found.
Spencer sat the letter down with a shaking hand. It crossed his mind a second time that It all felt so final. He hadn’t wanted it to come to this but too much had sat between them and though the divorce pained him he at least had someone to go to. He felt sad for his now ex-wife who he hoped could heal and find a better life for herself.
“Spencer, I’m truly sorry.” Rob laid a hand over his and gave him a supporting smile.
“Thank you, Uncle. There will always be a part of me that will wonder what we could have been if we had gotten past James’ death together.”
“Don’t do that ta’ yerself Bug. You have a good thing with Aaron don’t put yerself through what ifs, it’ll drive ya’ crazy.”
Spencer got up and poured himself another cup of coffee and stood in the kitchen looking out into the small backyard as he tried to sort through the confusing emotions. He was thankful that his Uncle had always been patient with him and that more than anything was what he needed. Spencer wanted to go see his mother he knew this was going to be one of the last times that he was going to be able to spend with her. While he felt guilty for leaving her, he knew what he was doing was the best thing for him he couldn’t let his life revolve around his Mom, Maeve or James anymore.
“Rob, can you take me to see Mom? I want to say goodbye to her, then I want to go to James.”
“Are you sure you can leave your Mother behind?”
“In a way I’m not. I’ll be able to meet her before the schizophrenia hits.”
“Yeah Bug, I guess you will.” Rob paused for a moment before clasping his hand on Spencer’s shoulder, “Come on then.”
“Rob.” Spencer stood where he was a moment holding the cashier’s check in his hand. He didn’t need the money, and he didn’t want to take the time to have it converted. “Here, take this. Use it for yourself and for Mom. You’ll be able to pay for a couple of years.”
“Alright.” Rob took the check, though he felt a little uncomfortable taking such a large amount of money from Spencer. “What about you?’
“I’ll be fine. With the money I took back Aaron and I were able to buy an apartment outright. We both decided we wanted to stay in New York. Got a swanky place in uptown Manhattan. You know one of those that today goes for approximately 16 million. We got it for $47,000. Crazy isn’t it?”
“I always liked your place.” Rob shocked the hell out of him as he grinned at Spencer and walked away. Spencer wondered how long Rob knew but for once he was going to keep his curiosity to himself.
The visit with his mother went well. It was a good day for her, and Spencer didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth. He just told her he had to go away for a while, and he might not be able to send his letters right away. Diana Reid just gave Spencer a sly smile and patted his hand then the second shock of the day, she asked how Aaron was doing. He was too stunned to say anything and when she patted his cheek all she said was, a mother knows. Spencer left with a lighter heart than what he had come into the hospital with. He wasn’t going to ask how she knew; he would wait for the experience himself.
An hour later Spencer was sitting cross-legged over James’ grave. There was a sense of peace that hadn’t been there before. Smiling he chose to remember all the good days. The nights when he’d curl up with his son and read to him, days at the beach, or playing at the park. Other nights spent watching their favorite shows and introducing Doctor Who to the wide-eyed little boy. He spent a couple of hours letting go of the pain, letting go of all the bad that had happened. When he was finally ready, he stood and laid a hand on the headstone.
“I will always love you Jamie,” Spencer said quietly into the air. Finally, he knew it was time to go, there was nothing left for him here, sighing softly he turned with tears in his eyes and walked to his Uncle’s car. The two men sat in silence as Rob drove them back to his house. Spencer gathered up his things and put them in a bag he had kept at Rob’s. He went to his darkroom and gathered the photos he wanted and two of his cameras he still had there. The bag was stuffed by the time he was done but it was the last of the things he wanted to take back with him.
“Uncle, I want to thank you for everything. If it hadn’t been for you, I don’t know what I would have done after Dad left.”
“Shutterbug ya’ got nothin’ ta’ thank me for. Yer Dad…well let’s just say if I ever see Will Reid again, he’s going to get a few choice words from me on yer behalf.”
Spencer chuckled as her grabbed his Uncle in a tight hug. He knew that he’d see him in the past, but it was different. He didn’t know how their relationship was going to change, he just knew the man would always be there for him.
“Well, goodbye Uncle Rob.” Spencer moved the dial, grabbed the bag and concentrated on the home he now shared with Aaron. A few moments later he was landing in a dark apartment. Spencer was instantly on alert. He carefully moved through and went to Aaron’s study and turned on the light he checked the calendar. It was a full day after he originally left. His heart pounded in his chest as he felt something wasn’t right. Trying to stay as silent as he could he moved towards the darkroom and looked inside. Seeing that nothing was disturbed he moved towards the bedroom. Turning on the light he didn’t see anything out of place. The bed was made but Aaron did that every morning anyway. Frowning Spencer went back through the apartment and turned on just enough lights to guide him and let him see if anything was disturbed. The dread feeling, he had before he left was there but he hadn’t found anything out of place.
Spencer kept telling himself not to panic. He went back to the study and called his Uncle. Rob didn’t answer and it was late enough that he should have. Taking a moment to collect himself Spencer sat down and pulled out the yellow pages and started to dial the local hospitals. By the time he was dialing the third hospital there was a loud knock on the front door. Slamming the phone down Spencer practically ran and flung it open and stared right at his Uncle.
“Come on kid, we have to get ya’ ta’ the hospital. Aaron was attacked last night leaving a restaurant, hurry and grab what’cha need and I’ll take ya’ to him.” Spencer couldn’t talk he could only go through the motions as he did as his Uncle asked. In no time at all they were out the door and hurrying to the subway with Spencer praying the whole time.