Clay moved in with us not too long after the incident with Gemma. I knew she would not be happy to have him living with us since she stopped talking to him when she learned that he went from being Mummy’s friend to Mummy’s boyfriend. I made sure to warn her about being rude towards him and anyone else. She really wanted to have a birthday party since her birthday was coming up and I told her she would not get a party or any gifts if she continued acting mean to others. So as much as she didn’t like Clay, she couldn’t misbehave with him and it made her miserable.
But perhaps she needed an ultimatum to get her attitude in order. She stopped calling people names and she stopped getting into trouble at school. I hoped her good behaviour would continue after she had her birthday party. I shudder to think of what she would be like during her teenage years if she continued being the way she was.
Felix made us all proud by completing his training to travel into space. As per the agreement that Mum made with the planet Sixam and SASA, one member of our family from each generation has to travel to Sixam to collect precious and rare minerals and elements needed for scientific research and advancement. Felix was always very enthusiastic about the idea of space travel ever since Mum made the announcement years ago and since Ethan and I were never interested we gave him our blessing when he signed up for the training.
He even got to meet with Nikki, the alien Mum met on her first trip to Sixam. She even knew who he was before he had the chance to introduce himself as a Sloane. He said she was very friendly and she even answered some of his questions about the native flora.
He returned home with a bounty of items for SASA since he had so much experience as a collector. We all decided to celebrate his return with a homecoming party but unfortunately on the day the party was scheduled to take place, Dad fell ill and died.
He stumbled out of bed that morning. Felix and Louise’s bedroom was right next to his so they heard the fall. I was heading upstairs to wake up Leni since she had extra credit work to complete before school when I heard Felix’s cries and ran to see what was happening. The Reaper, being his usual cold-hearted self ignored our tears and my pleas for him to spare Dad a few more days with his family. Gemma’s birthday was coming up and I knew she and Helena would be heartbroken to lose their dear Grandpop.
He gave us just a minute longer with him before he waved his scythe, taking my Dad away with him as we all stood helplessly. We knew this day would come eventually, we knew it was long past his time to go and yet we were devastated.
We’d all become so dependent on Dad for practically everything. He did all the cleaning, the cooking and the gardening. He was always so happy to babysit his grandchildren whenever we had to work or go out. He was always there to comfort us and give us advice when we needed it. He was our… everything. And now he was gone. At least he and Mum were finally able to be together again. I took over the cooking but every time I look down at something I made I felt sad knowing I’d never get to eat anything made by him again.
Felix took the responsibility of the garden. He couldn’t let any of Dad’s precious plants die when he’d been caring for them for so long. Some of them he started growing back when we were still children.
Perhaps Felix spent too much time in the garden making Louise feel neglected or maybe there existed other issues between them and Dad’s death made things worse, but Felix and Louise started fighting a lot. I tried to talk to Felix but he assured me that everything was fine between them even though it was apparent to everyone that it was not.
I heard them having another fight so I went into Dad’s bathroom to try to eavesdrop on their argument when I heard Louise telling him, “I’ve had enough Felix. Look I’m sorry but you know I’ve always had commitment issues and you said it was ok and that you didn’t care so why do you keep pressuring me to get married to you?”
“Because Dad always wanted to see us get married and he died waiting for that to happen. Jackson’s growing up soon and don’t you think we should be married for his sake? Or at least get engaged? I don’t want to rush you. That’s not what I’m trying to do here. But I don’t see the big deal in making it official. We already live together, we’re raising a child and we share our bills. A piece of paper and some vows won’t change how we feel and who we are.” he responded.
“Yes it will. It will make things… complicated.”
“I won’t have my freedom! I’ll be bound to you for the rest of my life and I don’t want that. I love you but… I never intended to have a baby by you. I never saw us being together for the long haul and I still don’t see us that way. This is getting too serious for me and I’ve been feeling this way for a long time. I think we should end things… I need to move out. I wanted to move out sooner but then your Dad….”
“You’re leaving me! You can’t be serious! What about Jackson?”
“He can stay here with you and I’ll visit him on my off days from work. You don’t work anyway so it’s better for you to be the full-time parent.”
“You mean it’s better because you don’t want the commitment of raising a child! Don’t pretend you want what’s best for Jackson. You’re only thinking about yourself.” He said scornfully. “Whatever, just go. I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want me anyway.”
It didn’t take long for her to pack her belongings and leave. When she left it was as though Jackson knew what was happening because he started to cry. Felix tried to comfort him by making silly faces which worked after a while.
“Can you believe her? How can anyone be so selfish!” He ranted to me after he put Jackson to sleep. I acted surprised as I didn’t want him to know I had heard the whole breakup argument.
“Yeah, I knew she had commitment issues but you work through it when you love someone! I guess she didn’t truly love me after all! Thing is… I truly loved her…” He had tears in his eyes and right then I was tempted to find Louise and make her spend a night in the slammer and bribe a couple of the inmates to smack her around as further punishment. But I was a good cop who couldn’t afford to act on emotions so I kept calm.
“I’m sorry this is happening to you but you’ll get through it because I’m going to stand by you just like you stood by me. You won’t be raising Jackson alone, you got it?”
“Thanks sis.” He said as he hugged me. “You’re a pain in the butt sometimes, but you always come through for me. Thanks and… I love you.”
“I love you too little brother.”
I stayed true to my word and helped out as much I could with Jackson. He’d certainly need a stable maternal figure in his life since there was no guarantee Louise would actually stop by to visit him like she said she would. It had been days since she’d seen her son and not once did she come over or call to check on him. He was such a cute baby, how can any mother not want to stay with him?
I took some time off from work when Dad died but once my leave was over I kept busy with work and received a promotion to Lieutenant. I had the choice of passing over some of my cases to other detectives but there was one in particular that I wanted to keep working on personally.
I busted a scumbag I’d been chasing named Luke Richards for possession of stolen goods. He confessed the whole thing but in doing so he revealed information on Stephan. He said he was dealing the goods on behalf of Stephan who was working for Max Racket, a known mob boss in Twinbrook. He witnessed the hit on Stephan because Racket learned Stephan was quoting merchandise at a lower value to Racket and his gang so that when he sold them on the black market he could pocket the difference. Racket ordered him to be executed and had one of his henchmen, an ex-con who lives right here in Oasis Springs named Elvin Thomas, do the dirty work. I had to check out his story but I believed he was telling the truth.
I felt numb at the idea of Stephan being dead. But more than that, I was enraged that I had to find out about his death from a perp instead of my collegues!
“Why wasn’t I informed that Stephan’s body was found?!” I yelled at my new boss.
Clay applied for a transfer to another precinct to avoid any apparent conflict of interest due to our relationship. The new Chief’s name was Jodi McCormack and she was always so bubbly, even in light of the grim situation and my ire towards her!
“Oh, well Sloane. It got really busy around here. I guess I forgot to mention it to you….”
“You forgot! You FORGOT!” I nearly screamed out. “He was my husband! He was the father of my children. We had a right to know as soon as you confirmed it was him! You got busy so you decided to dump all over proper protocol?!”
“Calm down Sloane. I understand your anger but you recently lost your father and I didn’t want to tell you anything until we were absolutely sure it was his body. The body was completely scorched so there was no way we could get DNA or fingerprints from it. The wedding ring was the only thing we could use to possibly identify him but to confirm, we had to check his dental records. I just got the confirmation… it is Stephan Lin. I’m sorry to have to tell you like this…”
“Oh please, you’re not sorry! To you he was just some scumbag! But to my daughters he was their father! To me he was…” I got choked up thinking about the crime scene photos of the scorched body and thinking about the fact that after all this time he still wore his wedding ring! “I deserved a heads up! Even if you weren’t sure, you should have told me from the get go!”
She kept on typing away on her keyboard as if she wasn’t paying attention to me anymore. I wanted to take that lamp on her desk and smash it against her big head! Instead I left the office and went home. So what if I left early, I couldn’t stay there otherwise I was sure I would release all of my anger on her.
When I got home I took a shower and decided to relax in front of the TV since my favourite show was on. But as I sat down on the couch the tears I was holding in came out like a flood.
I couldn’t believe he was really gone. I didn’t want him in my life, I wanted him in prison. But I never, ever wanted him dead. Especially not the way he died. He did despicable things but I never wanted that for him. As much as I hated it, a part of me still loved him and always will. I hoped I would be able to see him again and that we could make amends and he would change his ways so that Gemma and Helena could get to know their father even if he was in prison for the rest of his life. Now Helena will never have the chance to meet her father. Now Gemma will never get the chance to see him again. Stephan, my first love, was really gone this time.
In loving memory of Sebastian Thompson.
A loving father and grandfather whose talents, physique and kindness were incomparable.