Rating: Adult overall
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters in this story
Summary: Xander has a crush. William has a secret
I always think of my life now in terms of before and after.
The "Before" was a time before my mother got sick when we
were still very happy.
My father had died when I was very young, and I really
don't remember much about him so I didn't miss him.
She used to show me pictures of him, though.
She said he was a good man. An honorable man.
My mother and I lived with her father, Grandda, on his large
Grandda was like my father. He was a good man too.
He was very patient and taught me about things on the estate.
How to grow the nicest plants, harvest the biggest
vegetables, and respect the small animals that lived on the grounds.
He was wonderful, but my true heart was my Mother.
Mother was beautiful. Everyone loved her in the village.
They always smiled and waved to her when we walked down the streets.
I was proud to be with her.
Proud to have people know she was my mother.
She was funny, too. Always liked to have a good time.
She went out to parties a lot. Still, she always had time for me,
read me stories before I went to bed.
I think that is why I love my books so.
There were only a few others living in the house, but they were
all like family.
Mrs.Wilcox was my nanny. She raised me and loved me
like a Grandmum. Firm but fair.
We also had a cook, two girls who cleaned, and old Mr. Harvey.
He was the gardener and sometimes drove for us.
It was a wonderful life.
I went to school in the village, and I had friends.
Grandda wanted to send me to a private school but
Mother wouldn't have it.
Said I should be there with her. Always with her.
I was very glad.
I couldn't imagine being any where else.
Even though Mother was out a lot, I always knew she loved me.
I know now that we were rich, but back then I didn't really think much
about it. I guess I thought everybody lived as we did."
William paused, thinking back now it seems like it all
happened hundreds of years ago, yet it felt like only
yesterday that he could feel his mothers
warm breath on his face when she would lean down to kiss
him goodnight, before he went to bed and she went out.
William paused. He was lost in the memories he had blocked out
for so long. He was amazed at how easily they all came
back in a rush.
Everything was still there.
All of it that he thought he had been able to tuck away and not revisit.
Finally returning to himself, William took a deep breath and continued
"Everything felt so normal. I was sure my life would be as it was forever.
Then came a series of events that changed us all forever.
A night that soon triggered "the after" of our lives.
There was a big party one weekend at the Simpsons.
They were a family that were new to the area.
They had moved into a large house at the end of the village.
No one knew anything about them or where they came from.
Just one day they seemed to be there.
New money my Mother called them.
It was said they got their money illegally and had something
to do with drugs, but I don't know if that was true or
just talk around the village.
Outsiders were seldom accepted, but Mother said we should
try to welcome them.
It seemed like she was determined to become friends with them,
something I had never seen her do before.
About a week after their arrival some of the neighbors decided
to have a welcome party for the Simpsons.
Mother of course was eager to go.
She spent hours getting ready. Dressing just so.
Going to the village to have her hair done.
I remember her kissing me good night. I wanted a story before she left
but she said I was getting too old.
She tucked in my blankets and left.
Surprisingly Mother didn't come home from the party that night.
She didn't come in till the next day in the afternoon.
That was very unusual for her.
We laughed and said she must have had a lot to drink because
her eyes were so red and she stumbled around.
After that night she went out almost every evening. She changed.
She spent all her time at the Simpsons.
Even if there wasn't a party. She was there.
She didn't have much time for me, and when she was home she
slept a lot.
Finally one night when she didn't come home Grandda got angry.
He said he had had enough. He said he was going to go get her.
Mr Harvey offered to drive him, but he said he would go alone.
Mrs Wilcox said I was to go to bed.
I wanted to stay up, but she wouldn't allow it.
I was only thirteen. Old enough to be a man among my friends,
but in truth still a child at home, so I did as I was told.
Around midnight the front bell rang and the constable was at our door.
I heard Mr.Harvey speaking to him and Mrs. Wilcox was crying so I
snuck out of bed and hid at the top of the stairs to listen.
I heard them say there was an accident with the car.
Something had happened to cause Grandda to run off the road.
Another car maybe, or an animal but there were no witnesses so
they were not sure.
I heard them say he was dead.
I remember running down the steps and crying and calling
for my mother, but she wasn't there.
I couldn't understand why my mother wasn't home.
Didn't she know what had happened?
Mrs. Wilcox put me back to bed and she stayed with me till morning."
William lifted his eyes to Xander.
He was quickly becoming distraught.
His breathing becoming ragged and deep.
Willow handed him a tissue from her purse and pushed the hair
back from his face.
Xander rubbed Will's back, but made no move to stop him.
He had no answers for William's questions, but he knew for
William's sake this had to come out.
Trying to gain some degree of composure, William continued.
"The next day, Mother came in around noon. I wanted to talk to her.
I needed to know what had happened. I needed to hear she loved me.
I needed to tell her I loved her.
I was afraid. I wanted to ask what would become of us, but I couldn't.
She wasn't alone.
There was a man with her.
A man I had never seen before.
He was short, turning bald, and fat. He was an ugly man.
He scared me.
I couldn't understand why my Mother had brought him to our home.
She said his name was Baxter. Baxter Simpson.
But that didn't tell us who he was or why he was there, only his name.
After that Mr. Simpson was always there.
He moved in almost immediately, and I was never alone with my
Grandda's funeral was quick and he was cremated two days later.
Something I know he would have never agreed to because we
used to always go to the cemetery.
He used to say it was important to go.
To show respect.
We would lay fresh flowers on people's graves.
Aunts, uncles, brothers, great grandparents.
They were all family, he used to say.
They were what made us who were.
Now I didn't know where to go to show him respect.