After the boys were finished with their meals they headed back home.
“So what are we going to do now? Ohhh how about we go to the pool?” Carlos suggested happily.
Logan and James glared at him while Kendall didn’t even paid attention and went straight for the big orange couch.
“Oh. Sorry.” Carlos whispered guilty when he noticed his mistake.
They went to Kendall and sat down beside him.
Logan on his right side, James on his left and Carlos sat in front of them on the floor.
“You still don’t want to talk?” James asked quietly and as careful as possible, knowing exactly how easy you could get Kendall to build walls around him and refuse to show his emotions.
“What is there to talk about?” Kendall asked looking at his feet.
“Kendall, since it happened you never wanted to talk to anyone about it. You know that it’s not good to keep too much inside. We just want you to be okay,…” Logan begun.
“I AM okay!” Kendall yelled, suddenly angry again.
His friends backed off, surprised by his sudden outburst.
Kendall noticed how his friend reacted and calmed himself.
“Sorry guys. I didn’t want to yell at you.” he said looking back at his feet again.
“You have nothing to be sorry about.” Logan told him and patted his shoulder.
“Maybe you should have gone with your mom and Katie. It could have helped to distract you.” Carlos told him.
“But I don’t want to be distracted! That would mean I’m trying to forget about him and I won’t do that. Ever!” Kendall got louder again, feeling the tears starting to form and tried to fought the urge to let them fall.
That didn’t happen at his fathers funeral, not together with his mom and sister when they cried and never since then, so why should he cry now?!
“We didn’t mean it like that buddy. We just meant that it could have been good for you to make yourself forget about that day, not him…” Logan started, feeling uncomfortable.
The blond didn’t answer he still looked at his feed, trying desperately to keep the tears inside.
“Kendall. We just want to help… .” Carlos said, also feeling tears starting to form when he saw how much all of this hurt his youngest friend.
“I’m not the one who need help. My dad was the one who needed help but it came too late… .” Kendall said, voice cracking.
“You know, we don’t even know how it happened. We just know that it did happen…” James told him.
Now the blond looked up at them.
“Has nobody told you?” he asked them unbelieving.
They shook their heads.
“Everyone said if you want to tell us then it would be alright, but otherwise we shouldn’t ask or something like that…” Logan said.
“Oh.” Kendall replied.
Now he’s the one who feels bad. He knew that they all loved his dad too. They were all like a huge family.
When Kendall was in his room with them they never asked about the accident so the thought they just didn’t want to make him talk about it.
He didn’t knew that they had no clue how his dad died in the car crash.
Kendall thought for a moment while biting his nails until it hurts.
“Do you want to know what happened?” he asked quietly.
They all new that this was a big step for Kendall, now they have to be careful.
“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want us to know.” Logan said.
“It is your decision. We’re not pushing you to do something.” James continued.
Carlos just nodded, agreeing with his friends.
“It okay guys, I know that you loved him too. It’s not fair that you never got told something.”
Kendall thought back to what happened that day, a memory he usually refused to think about. He knew it would hurt to talk about it, but it would help him to do it. Also it would be only fair to tell the boys.
Kendall started explaining what really happened before his dad died:
Kendall’s Flashback (2):
Kendall groaned when he woke up, feeling something warm trickle down his leg and a horrible pain everywhere.
He could smell smoke and blood but urged himself to open his eyes.
He blinked several times before he was able to open them completely.
He looked around where he was but couldn’t make out something.
He started to feel panic raise in his chest and tried to calm himself, knowing it would make everything worse if he panicked.
‘What happened?’ he thought, still trying to make out where he was.
And the he noticed it.
He was in his dads car. But something was wrong.
It was flipped over and he laid across the roof in the inside. Obviously his seat belt has ripped cut and he landed here.
He made a move to sit up but a sudden pain in his leg stopped him dead in tracks.
“Ahh!’ he cried out, overwhelmed by this new pain.
He carefully looked down at himself, ignoring the strong and painful throbbing in his head and saw that his leg was not only broken, his flesh was torn and you could see the bone clearly even when it’s so dark.
His leg was twisted and laid uncomfortable.
There was so much blood. He had broken bones before, thanks to hockey, but it never hurt like that.
But still there was way too much blood to be alone from his leg.
He looked to his left, where was his dad? How was he?
He tried to see something through the dark but after a while he was sure his dad wasn’t in his seat anymore.
Kendall felt tears tickle the back of his eye and made little moves to get out of the car.
He needed to get to his father.
Not knowing in what condition his dad was made Kendall’ stomach queasy.
“Dad?” he rasped out. Shocked when he heard his own voice so hoarse and weak.
The blond cleared his throat and tried it again a little louder.
Kendall crawled through his window, not caring if he could hurt himself even more because of the shattered glass.
He fell out of the window and hit the floor hard.
“AAHHHRG!” he screamed out. He was in an unbearable pain, but he ignored it.
He has to find his father.
“Where are you dad?” he sobbed quietly.
“Kenny?” he heard his dad’ voice and almost jumped from joy.
“Dad?!” he called back, trying to make out where he was.
“I’m hear..” he heard him again.
The little blond followed the sound of his voice until he was on the front side of the turned car.
What he saw there almost made him throw up.
There his dad lay. His flesh ripped open with blood running down and covering almost his whole body.
Ken’ face was covered in deep, painful looking cuts and was whiter that the snow.
But the worst part was the huge piece of metal which stung out of his stomach where he had his hands around it.
When the older man saw his little son crawl over the floor, hurt and bleeding it broke his heart which hurts worse than his body itself.
He fought himself to smile at Kendall.
That was it for Kendall, he turned his head to the side and threw up heavily.
The heaves hurt his body to no end, he felt his ribs crack more with every new heave.
“Kendall. Come here please.” his father called for him, wanting nothing more than comforting his little boy and because he couldn’t move he needed to call him.
The blond, panting heavily moved over the few meters to his dad.
When he arrived his body hurt even more, which he thought wasn’t even possible but was proved wrong.
Ken opened an arm as best as he could and Kendall crawled in it, burying his face in his side and started sobbing.
“No, c’mon big man. There is no need to cry. Everything will be fine.” he tried to calm the terrified boy even if he knew he was not telling the truth.
Kendall just started sobbing harder. He wasn’t stupid, he knew that what his father said were lies. But he wanted to believe it so badly.
“Shh. You’re okay. You’re okay.” he stroked Kendall’ sweet and blood covered hair.
Finally the young blond was able to stop sobbing but the tears continued running down his eyes constantly.
“Daddy…”he looked up at him, green eyes meeting green eyes.
It shattered Kens heart when he heard his son call him in such a frighten voice.
“I know buddy. Don’t worry okay?” he said, not sure how to response.
“How could I not worry dad. I-I want to help you.” he pleaded.
Kens eyes started watering.
He didn’t want to tell his 10-year-old son that there was nothing he could do to
stop what’s going to happen.
“Actually there is something important you can do for me.” he told him.
“Really?” Kendall asked, a little bit hope starting to grow.
“Yes. You can promise me something… .” he continued.
Kendall’ face fell again, tears getting bigger.
“Can you promise me something?” he asked when his son didn’t response.
The blond nodded slowly.
Ken looked him deep in the eyes and tighten his hold on Kendall which was still so weak.
“Kendall. I need you to take care of mommy and your little sister when… when I can’t do that anymore.” he started.
“But-but daddy, why won’t you be able to do that anymore?” Kendall asked unusual naïve.
“Oh Kenny, why are you making it so hard for me?” he asked sadly and quiet so Kendall couldn’t really hear.
“Sometimes” he started and took a deep breathe, noticing how hard it was to breath. “people have to leave, even if they don’t want to.” he sadly.
Kendall nodded. He knew what dead was, but he just thought only old and sick people would die. This was new for him.
“And I’m not sure if I can be here long enough to take care of your mom, you and your sister.” he said.
“I don’t understand this, where will you go when you won’t stay here?” he asked.
“I will go to a wonderful place where I’ll wait for you until you join me.” he smiled no longer able to hold back the tears when he saw Kendall’ face.
Kendall knew exactly what his dad was talking about but he didn’t want to believe it.
“I don’t want you to go dad! Please stay with me. Don’t leave me alone.” Kendall pleaded holding tight at his father.
“I’m so sorry, I can’t help it Kendall. I don’t want to leave either.” he said and laid his head on Kendall’, carefully so he won’t hurt his injured son.
“Kendall, we need to call help. Can you please take my phone out of my left pocket and call 911?” he asked him.
Kendall did as he was told and made a quick call but not without crying. He thought he has never cried this much and this long in his life.
They promised him help would come as soon as possible and they should hang on.
They hugged each other again, enjoying the warmth.
They cried together for about an hour or two, none of them saying anything.
Ken could feel that he got weaker by the second. He needed to stay awake, he doesn’t want to imagine what it would be like for Kendall if he died with him in his arms.
But he felt so tired, why wasn’t help already there?
Ken decided to do something. He won’t let it happen that he fade away while holding his son awake so he could see everything.
“Come on buddy. Maybe we should sleep a bit.” he said, trying to smile.
Kendall looked at him.
“You’ll be there when I wake up, right?” he asked quietly.
“I’ll always be with you Kendall. Even if you can’t see me I’ll never leave you, your mom or Katie. I love you.” he said.
Kendall started crying softly again.
That wasn’t the answer he wanted, but he knew that his dad couldn’t give him the answer he wants to hear.
“I love you too daddy.” he said and buried his face in his dad’s side again.
“Good night Kenny.”
“Sleep well dad.” he said.
With that they both fell asleep.
End of the flashback
… the boys in apartment 2J listened to every word the blond said. By now all of them were tearing up and tried not to let the tears fall.
“When I woke up there were paramedics around me. They asked me questions like ‘What’s your name?’, “Where does it hurt?’ and things like that.
I didn’t know what was happening. I just knew that everything hurts
I tried to crawl more into my father, getting away from too much attention but I noticed how cold and stiff he suddenly was…
I looked at him and- and saw that he was dead.” Kendall told them. He talked as if he was in trance. Totally lost in this horrible memory.
“I remember that I started screaming. Screaming at my dad to wake up, screaming at the paramedics to leave…I just…screamed.
They dragged me away from him and put his body in this huge corpse bag.
I wasn’t allowed to stay with him. Then all I remember is that I fell asleep in the ambulance and woke up in the hospital with all of you around me.” Kendall finished his story with a sign and returned to reality.
Logan, James and Carlos just sat there, not knowing what to say after they heard what their friend had to go through in such a young age.
Before any of them could say something the door to the apartment opened and Mrs. Knight and Katie entered.
“Hello boys, how ar- what happened?” she started but when she noticed the looks on each boys’ face got worried.
None of them answered.
“Boys? Oh god, what happened?” she asked dropping her stuff and got to the four teens.
Katie stayed uncomfortable in the doorway.
“Nothing happened mom. I just told them about dad.” Kendall said, not wanting his mother to worry without any reason.
“Oh.” she said and sat down beside her son when James went over and made space for her between them.
“How was your trip?” he asked, wanting to change the topic.
“It was…okay I guess.” she answered him honestly. She didn’t want to lie to her son, knowing he would notice.
Kendall nodded and looked to the floor.
The mood in the room was heavy.
“I told them about the accident.” he told his mother quietly.
Mrs. Knight looked from her son to James, to Logan, to Carlos and back to Kendall.
“Really?” she asked him a little surprised.
“I didn’t know that nobody ever told them how he died.” he told her.
“Because none really did Kendall. You refused to open up, that’s why we got you a therapist. He told us that if you feel ready to talk that you would and we shouldn’t make you.” she admitted.
“Oh.” was all he said.
Then he wrapped his arms around his mother and took in her familiar odour .
“Thank you for everything. I know that it was so hard for you. I love you
mom.” he whispered in her ear, not wanting anyone else to hear the words which only were supposed for his mother.
She smiled. “I love you too honey.”
“So, who is hungry?” she asked everyone with a smile.
Everyone’s mood was better and after a while they all sat together eating.
A few hours later:
Kendall was fast asleep in his bed when he heard a knock on the door and quiet footsteps enter the room.
He cracked his eyes open and sat up a little to see his sister with eyes full of tears standing beside his bed.
“Katie?” he asked worried.
“Uhm…would you-would you mind if I sleep here for the night?” she asked him quietly and ashamed.
He smiled at her, knowing how she felt and made space for her on the mattress.
The other boys were all snoring softly and didn’t even notice that Katie was there.
She crawled under the sheets and wrapped her arms around Kendall’ waist while burying her face in his chest and relaxed by the steady beat of his heart.
“Kendall?” she asked again.
“Hmm?” he responded while stroking her hair.
“Could you sing that song you used to sing when I was younger?” she asked him, feeling stupid for acting so young but needed it at the moment.
“Of course.” he smiled and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
With that he started singing Be Still by the Fray.
He sang this song to her when they were younger every time before she went to bed.
It was the song Ken used to sing to Kendall when he was younger.
Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still and know that I am here
Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still, be still, and know
When darkness comes upon you
And covers you with fear and shame
Be still and know that I’m with you
And I will say your name
If terror falls upon your bed
And sleep no longer comes
Remember all the words I said
Be still, be still, and know
And when you go through the valley
And the shadow comes down from the hill
If morning never comes to be
Be still, be still, be still
If you forget the way to go
And lose where you came from
If no one is standing beside you
Be still and know I am
Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still and know I am
When Kendall sang the last word he gave the now asleep Katie one last kiss on the forehead and closed his eyes, ready let sleep overtake him.
Maybe he couldn’t get his father back, not for his mother, not for himself, not for Katie.
But he could make sure his sister and mother wouldn’t feel alone. He’d be always there for them.
And his father would watch them and make sure they are all okay. Just like he promised.
Life goes on and so do they.