“Honey are you okay?” Looking up to see his mom in the doorway of his bedroom, Philip smiled softly.
“Yeah, I’m okay Mom. I just…I’m just worried about a friend right now.”
Kate Roberts moved out of the doorway and sat down beside her son, on his bed. “Mimi?”
Philip looked over at her with surprise. “Yeah. How did you know?”
“Well considering the fact that you have been spending most of your time with her, especially since that terrible shooting, and that you just came back from taking her home too, I just assumed…it had to do with her.”
Philip smiled again. Of course his mother would figure it out. She had been staying there at the mansion since the shooting, which had made Philip very happy…except for the fact that he was still concerned about his girlfriend. “She’s really having a hard time with this Mom. I mean not only was she in the middle of it all, but a friend of her died, with her there. I think she even blames herself a bit…because he’s dead and she’s alive.” He got up off the bed, hitting the bedpost with his hand frustratingly.
“Man! If only I had gotten there sooner. I could have spared her from all this. She’d be upset still but…”
Kate shook her head, but her son’s actions didn’t surprise her. Always, since he had been a little boy, Philip had been very protective of the people he cared about…had acted passionately at times. It absolutely killed him to watch people he cared about in pain. She moved to stand beside him, gently moving her cheek against his.
“Oh Honey, I know this is so hard for you. I know how much it hurts you when people you care about are in pain.”
Philip turned on his mother bitterly, though he was angrier with himself than anyone. “But Mom this isn’t even about me. It’s about Mimi and here you are trying to comfort me when…This is so stupid! I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself when it’s her I should be with…HER I should be helping.”
Kate didn’t let the outburst bother her. She knew her son was upset and all she cared about was helping him. After all one of her sons was in a hospital, recovering from a fire that she had had a part in…something she regretted so much. Oh, how she hoped for a miracle for Lucas. Yes, he was starting to get a bit better, but it was all happening so painstakingly slow. She wished he could just come home.
Right now, though, her youngest son needed her. Gazing at his handsome yet troubled profile she tried to find the right words.
“I have no doubt you are helping her Philip, just by being there for her, by being you. Do you know how proud I am of you? You have grown up so much this year. You are becoming such a handsome caring young man that it makes me even a little sad at times. What happened to my little boy?”
Hearing the wistfulness in his mom’s voice, but also the belief in him, a small smile
formed on Philip’s lips. “Oh Mom. I may be growing up, but I’m still your son. I’ll always be your son.” He touched her shoulder gently.
Kate smiled sadly. “Yes you will always be that.” She placed her hand over his. “So you and Mimi must be getting pretty close… I know you two have been friends for a long time, but things have changed, haven’t they?”
Philip blushed a little, but nodded his head. “Yeah. After Chloe, Mom, I thought I wasn’t really going to be that happy again, at first anyway. I couldn’t stay with her though after the island. I had so many things I had to deal with in my own life. I needed to step back from it all. Then Mimi and I…we started getting closer and…but now…I don’t even know how to help her. I mean what do I do?”
“Oh Philip, what you’re doing now is probably enough. Now I don’t mean to change the subject, but I’ve been here long enough and you know how your father feels about me.”
Philip frowned. “You’re getting ready to go, aren’t you? Back to that apartment that you live in. Damn! Why can’t Dad just see…why can’t…”
“Honey…” Kate put her hand on her son’s shoulder again. “I know how hard it is for you, but your father and I…we just can’t live together anymore. It doesn’t work…Philip…”
But Philip stopped her short, though gently, putting his hand out. “No, it’s okay. I know. I have to accept that you guys aren’t together anymore even though I don’t like it.”
“Really, it’s okay Mom. I just don’t care for Nicole living here. At least she’s been gone though. Unfortunately Dad has been too…since this morning. He probably went off to be with her.” He waved his hand at his mom before she could say anything. “Oh I know how he’s TRIED to keep it hush hush, but I’m not some little kid. I know what’s going on.”
“Of course you do Philip. It’s just that your father is very protective of you.” And how his son was just like him in that way. It had even worried Kate sometimes. With two parents who had been involved in…well some shady dealings…it was a relief to see Philip turning out so well. Austin had had to deal with abuse as Billy had too in some ways and Lucas had also had some very unhappy times as well as trouble…like with that disgusting Sammie Brady. Philip seemed to be the only one mainly untouched by the past…even though he had had to face his own trials…finding her with another man (oh how she hated that one), lying about his father’s ‘fake’ death…surviving the island…
“Mom, speaking of Dad being protective, I overhead him talking to someone about the shooting the other day, but Bo said he would handle it. I have the feeling Dad’s getting involved in it himself.”
Kate remained cautious and tried to make light of it. “Oh Philip, it was probably nothing. He was probably giving one of the officers a hard time. You know your father.”
“Yeah, but Mom…” Philip tried to get his mom to listen, but she cut him off, hugging him lovingly.
“Oh Honey, all you need to think about now is yourself. Don’t worry about it.”
Holding onto his mom, Philip let the subject go, but in his mind he knew that she wasn’t telling him the whole truth. For so long they had both tried to protect him from everything, but he wished that they would just start seeing it.
He was growing up and they weren’t going to be able to keep the truth from him forever. They couldn’t keep hiding things from him. He had a right to know. As his thoughts turned to Mimi again though, he forgot about himself. Still holding onto his mom as he felt her hug him back he hoped that she would be okay.
Lying on her side on her bed, Mimi fingered her heart shaped necklace as she thought of Philip. He had tried so hard tonight to get her to feel better. After she had cried he had just silently held her and then when she realized she was probably being terrible company he had brought her home. He hadn’t been totally happy about it. He had let her know that he didn’t care if she wanted to talk or not; he just wanted to be with her. It was such a kind thing to say, but…
She couldn’t help it. She still didn’t feel like herself. There was just this emptiness and this uncertainty that the shooting had brought to her life. She lost a friend and she had come close to losing her own life, not to mention what could have happened to Philip. Spending time with other people, like their classmates seemed…it just didn’t appeal to her now. It also reminded her of how her last year of high school was going to come to an end…with no school celebrations, no seeing Philip’s last games, and no dance.
But why should that matter anyways? In just a couple of days she was going to be attending a memorial serive for a man who had inspired and helped her and others in many ways. Why should one stupid dance matter when a friend of hers, a father, and a husband (even though he had been estranged from his family) was gone? She wasn’t what mattered anyway. It was his family that was going to suffer the most. She was alive and well because of him…
Oh…she felt so completely lost. One minute she was thinking about something like missing the dance and then the next she was thinking how selfish that was when a friend was gone. Then she was thinking that his family was suffering the most. Then she was thinking that what she was doing to Philip wasn’t right. He should go to the dance and have a good time with someone who was fun…not totally dismal like her. And then she feared…feared that if she kept acting this way she would lose him and that…that was just unthinkable. That was the worst possible thought she could ever have because he had become such an important part of her life…him and the center.
The center. Oh how it was still such a troubling subject between she and her father. She had always gotten along with her parents, but this had brought strife in her relationship with her father and she still hadn’t even gone back to the center yet. She had every intention of doing so and when she did…she worried that their relationship would be hurt by it, but she couldn’t let it go. Just like she was unwilling to let Philip go, she wanted to keep the center as part of her life…more so now than ever before. Thinking of the words Leroy had spoken to her just hours before he had died, how he had talked to her about her photography and how important she was at the center too she sat up on her bed and reached in her nightstand drawer. Taking out some pictures she started to work…
Maybe in this small way she could show her gratitude.
Mimi quietly put her flowers down on the casket as Philip silently stood beside her. The memorial service had just ended and now she had one more thing she wanted to do. Feeling the sun bearing down on them, she thought it was fitting at least that it wasn’t a clear day, the weather muggy instead, even though the sun felt pretty strong as it peeked through some dingy looking clouds. Wearing a black dress with her hair back, she looked up at Philip after laying the flowers down near the grave.
“Philip, I have something…for his family.”
Looking down into her solemn jade eyes, Philip, dressed in black slacks and a gray shirt, simply nodded his head. She had been back at school for just a couple of days, but it had been evident right away to just about everyone. She was having hard time dealing with this and instead of reaching out to her friends, she seemed to be retreating more. He had even talked to her mom about it just yesterday and she had said to give her some more time…that it wasn’t just about Leroy’s death, but also about her problems with her father. Belle too was trying to lend as much assistance as she could and was hoping her friend would come out of it soon. Philip felt for some reason though that he was the one being most impatient. He just hated waiting…he wanted his best friend back.
Feeling Philip reach out for her hand, Mimi made her way with him over to Leroy’s two children who were in their early twenties. His wife hadn’t come so they were alone, though at that moment they were talking to Alice Horton who had attended also with Maggie Horton.
“Excuse me Mrs. Horton.” Mimi softly spoke to Alice and then turned to Leroy’s children. My name is Mimi Lockhart and I worked with your father.”
Alice smiled politely at Mimi and Philip. Philip smiled back as Leroy’s children also introduced themselves.
“I’m Tempest and this is my brother David.” They shook hands with Mimi and then Philip who likewise introduced himself, saying he considered Leroy a friend.
“I just…I wanted to give you this. It’s an album of pictures I took of your father at the center. It shows all the wonderful work he did there. I hope you’ll accept it.”
Tempest and David quietly took the book from Mimi and started to look through it, even smiling at some of the pictures. Alice and Maggie likewise smiled at the pictures and Philip felt himself once again admiring the work of his talented girlfriend. In those pictures she had captured the essence of Leroy and who he was, not to mention what made the center so special. He placed his arm around her, feeling her lean into him.
“You ready to go Meems?”
Mimi didn’t answer, just stood there quietly, waiting for him to come to her as she said one final goodbye to Leroy’s gravesite. Over in the distance Tempest and David were still talking to some people, but holding the album. They had thanked Mimi for it, saying it was something they would always appreciate.
Suddenly she felt Philip’s arms wrap around her from behind, felt him rest his chin on her shoulder. Looking back at him, seeing his eyes closed, she sighed. Then feeling his lips graze against her cheek, she smiled a bit.
She once again didn’t answer him, just turned around in his embrace as he stood there with her and held her.
Seeing the affection between the two young people, Alice Horton smiled softly. She remembered when Mimi had talked to her about an argument she had with this young man. Now as they held each other, she saw him completely supporting her as he had been doing since the minute they had arrived at the service. But it wasn’t one sided at all. It was easy to see the growing love these two were experiencing for each other.
Oh, but how Mimi seemed so sad right now for a young lady who had so much to be happy about. Death was always hard, but it could be especially so for the young…so confusing. With this young man at her side though…she should be okay. Remembering the beautiful album Mimi had given Leroy’s children, the wonderful pictures she had taken Alice wondered if maybe just maybe…
“I want to do something.”
Philip looked down at her questioningly. “What?”
“I want…I want to do something special. I…” She struggled to get out what she wanted to say.
“What Meems?” Philip stroked her cheek softly,
“It’s just before Leroy died I was talking to him and he…I just wish there was something I could do to let other people know how special he was and to show the center for what it is. I want his death to mean something. I want to do something…I…”
Philip gently stopped her. “But you already did Mimi. You gave his children that album which is just so totally amazing.”
“I know. I just wish I could do more.”
Philip felt uncertain what to say so he just held her closer to him, feeling her hold him back.
Mrs. Horton once again smiled at the young couple. She was also thinking though, thinking about the tail end of their conversation which she had just happened to overhear…
The baseball team was in their final games now, playing outstandingly well and yet…his mind was troubled. After watching Mimi in so much pain the past days, Philip wanted more and more for her locker room punishment to just end. The last thing she needed was to deal with Jan right now and he wanted her at his games. He wanted to take her to the dance. He wanted…
With a heavy sigh he sat down on a bench outside the front of the school.
Looking up, Philip said nothing at first just staring at the person who stood in front of him. “Chloe…”
“Oh, I broke another nail! Hey Lockhart are you listening to me?” Mimi said nothing though, making Jan shake her head. Not even her insults were getting a rise out of her now. She was just so…quiet and it was annoying the heck out of Jan.
Mimi continued to clean, not paying heed at all to anything Jan had said, absorbed in her own unhappy thoughts. Last night she had returned to the center without her father’s blessings. In fact they had fought about it and the end result hadn’t been pretty.
“Miriam Lockhart, I told you how I feel about this. So my feelings don’t matter to you?”
Mimi shook her head sadly. “Yes, of course they matter Daddy, but I can’t do what you want me to do. Why can’t you just see how important working at the center is for me?”
She continued on angrily, wishing she could make her father understand. “No. Nothing you say is going to make me change my mind.”
“Do I have to remind you that I am your father and I can forbid you to go?” David Lockhart warned his teenage daughter, but he wasn’t really angry with her, just concerned for her welfare.
“You wouldn’t do that! You can’t!”
At that moment Philip came, ready to take her to the center. She watched as he exchanged looks with her mom who had stayed out of most of the argument. Then he moved over to Mimi, standing beside her, lending his support.
With Philip by her, Mimi felt a bit stronger. “I’m going to go now.”
“I said I’m going.” She saw Philip looking at her with concern. He knew how hard this was for her…going against her father’s whishes.
“David, let her go. It means so much to her.”
Mimi smiled at her mom, thankful for her support.
“You just need to understand something Mimi. You walk out that door now, you do it against MY wishes. I don’t want you to go to that center because it is dangerous.”
“Living on the streets was dangerous! You weren’t even there for most of it so how could you know what it was really like?! You were gone!”
“MIRIAM!” Maureen called out to her daughter, knowing how hurtful her words would be to her father. He had hated leaving them…absolutely hated it.
Tears brimming in her eyes, Mimi wished she could take the words back, but she couldn’t. She had already spoken them and in her father’s eyes she saw the hurt. She had seen the shock on Philip’s face too the moment she had spoken them, but then after she saw support in his eyes, felt it in the way he wrapped his arm around her reassuringly.
David Lockhart simply turned away from his daughter and left the room.
“I’m sorry…I didn’t mean it…” Mimi shakily whispered to her mom who looked so sad now. Unable to stay there any longer, Mimi ran out…Philip following after her.
End of Flashback
She had only wanted to get her father to understand, but now…what she had said had been so hurtful. Then when she had gotten home he had been very silent as she had tried to talk to him…tried to appologize. When she was done he simply went to his room, saying nothing to her. She supposed the damage had been done and now…now she was paying the price.
“Do you mind if I sit with you?”
Philip shook his head absentmindedly. Chloe sat down beside him. “Philip are you okay?”
Philip smiled sadly, but said nothing. Watching Mimi argue with her father last night had been pretty awful. She had gotten so upset with him and then said things she hadn’t even meant. It was nothing new to Philip. There had been quite a few heated arguments between him and his father and even some with his mother, but it didn’t matter how many time they had happened; they were always painful. The difference was as much as he loved his parents he didn’t feel quite as close to them as Mimi seemed to be with her parents. The reasons were simple. First his father had been sick for so long and secondly, with his mother, there had been years that he had been away at school. He definitely felt closer to her in many ways, even though he loved having his father back in his life, but still…it wasn’t the kind of relationship Mimi shared with her parents.
He sometimes envied her, having parents that were still together, having a family that was complete. How he would rather have that than all the money in the world…have his parents together still… be a real family. But now, Mimi was going through so much with Leroy’s death and the argument with her father had only made things worse. Last night he had held her in his arms before she had walked into the center to go back to work, but he still felt inadequate. He still wanted to do more. He wanted to take her pain away and sadly he realized he couldn’t do that. He wanted to help repair the rift between her father and herself, but he couldn’t do that. He would just have to be patient, but he hated it…absolutely it. He wanted to do something…
“Philip?” Chloe questioned as he sat there so deep in thought.
“I’m sorry Chloe. I’m not very good company right now.”
Chloe looked at Philip gently. “You’re worried about Mimi aren’t you? She’s having a hard time with the shooting.”
The news of the shooting had spread around the school in just a couple of days, especially since Mimi and Philip’s absence at first and then the evidence of their injuries. Even now that Philip didn’t have a sling on anymore and that Mimi no longer had a bandage on her forehead, it was still considered some of the ‘hottest’ news. “Yeah. I just…I don’t know how to help her. I mean this hasn’t been the easiest time for her. She’s got all this stuff with the center and then to top it all off all around school all anyone seems to talk about is graduation and the dance, that stupid dance and she can’t even g”
Philip stopped himself, feeling like a total idiot, before another word could come out of his mouth. He looked over at Chloe and spoke apologetically. “Oh man Chloe, I’m sorry. I’m going on and on here and you…this can’t be easy…I mean the dance and everything…what happened to you last year…I…I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be even talking to you about this.”
Chloe put her hand on Philip’s, seeing his distress and reacting to it. She had already caught glimpses of Mimi’s unhappiness in the locker rooms. One day she had been in there and Jan had been griping, but Mimi, the girl who usually always had something to say, had said nothing. Now of course her unhappiness was affecting Philip, probably one of the most sensitive people Chloe had ever known.
“It’s okay Philip.”
Philip responded heatedly. “No it’s not Chloe.” He got up off the bench, abruptly removing his hand from underneath hers. “I’m sorry Chloe. Just forget it. I’m sorry I bothered you.” He walked away quickly, heading back inside the school...
Chloe just sat there quietly afterwards, thinking about what Philip had said.
It would almost be better if he had gotten angry with her, yelled at her, but her words had seemed to hurt him so much that instead they couldn’t even talk to each other anymore and that hurt…hurt more probably than if he had thrown her out. That was something she had never feared. Her father had never been like that. He had always been supportive of her. Mimi just wished she could make her father see why working at the center was so important to her and why she couldn’t do what he wanted her to. It wasn’t to hurt him; it was to help herself and others.
With less than a couple of weeks left of school he felt frustrated with his inability to help her and she feared he might give up on her…
Neither knew that…
A rainbow of hope was just waiting to appear…
To be continued…
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