“You’ll have to stay in today, and I don’t want to hear a peep!” Jake’s stepfather, Derek, said in a harsh tone, while closing the door of the boy’s room. He didn’t want 5-year-old Jake to bother his guests.
It wasn’t the first time he did that. And that is why Jake learned how to sneak out the window in the street. Luckily, his stepdad hadn’t figured that out, otherwise he would take measures to prevent it.
So this time Jake also waited for the guests to arrive and climbed out the window. He wish he didn’t have to return ever, but he had no other place to live. He was sorry for himself, since his mother, Emma, died a few years before, he had no other relative, but his stepdad. He never had a clue, who his actual Dad was, or even if he was alive. So he went to one place, where he was able to find peace lately.
His mother’s grave was his only solace, besides he enjoyed making it beautiful. He’d collect some flowers from the nearby garden, plucked weeds around the headstone. That’s where he went today. Luckily, their neighbourhood was one of the safest in Virginia.
“That’s me again, mom. I picked up some flowers for you”, started of Jake. He wasn’t a good reader yet, but remembered the way his mom’s name was written, and the way to the grave.
The boy sat on the grass and was telling his Mom everything that happened after their last ‘conversation’, when he heard someone’s voice. “Hello, there”, a woman said, and Jake turned around to see, who was that.
He couldn’t recollect the exact looks of his mother, but it seemed like that woman looked exactly like her. And she smelled just like his Mom, like lavender. “Is it you, Mom?”, the boy was astonished.
“Your name is Jake, right?” the woman asked, shaking her head.
“That’s right. But why do you look just like my mom?” he asked, realizing that that woman was not Emma.
“I’m Marina. I’m Emma’s mother, which means I’m your grandmother,” the woman revealed, shocking the little kid. His stepdad never mentioned he had any relatives.
“But I’m the only one left from the family, Dad says, well, he’s my stepdad”.
“No, you are not. I’m your grandmother and you also got aunts, uncles and cusins. I’ve been meaning to talk to you, but I had no idea I could meet you here. Is Derek also here?”
“No, he is not. But, please, don’t tell he you found me here, he would be angry. Could I move in with you. I really hate the place, where I live now.”
“It’s not for me to decide, Jake, but I will think, what can we do. Come with me now, I know someone, who would be happy to see you”. Grandma Marina offered her hand, and Jake allowed her to take his. He felt that weird connection to the woman, and he knew, that everything was going to be ok, if he went with her. He never felt it with his father.
Grandma’s house was big and cozy, and the first person Jake met was his Mom’s brother, uncle Charles. “You are all grown up. How have you been, young man. We missed you”, he greeted Jake with a smile.
“Why didn’t you visit me?” Jake was confused, everyone seemed so friendly, but why they never tried to have a relationship with him.
“I’s hard to explain, Jake, and you might be too young to know. But I feel like I have to tell you the truth. Your mom fell in love with your stepdad, and was going to marry his. The whole family thought that he wasn’t worth it, so she broke off the relationship with us. Then, she died. We all wanted to support you, to be by your side, but your stepdad decided to keep you away. He’s your legal guardian. Do you understand?”
“I guess so.. and where is my real father?”
“I wish I knew, buddy. All we know, he went to live abroad, when your Mom fell in love with your stepfather, he never wrote to us”, Charles answered. “But on the bright side, you have us. And since now we know, that you aren’t that happy at your stepdad’s house, we are going to fight for you. We want to have you in our lives. How does that sound?”
“Awesome! My biggest wish is to move out of that house. He is not the nicest,” Jake stated.
“Tell me more?” Charles asked with a serious look on his face.
“He locks me in the room every time, when his guests come over, which is often. He yells at me, and sometimes, hits me. I hate him. Please, can I stay with you tonight, I really don’t want to go home!” Jake pleaded, alarming his relatives.
The adults looked at each other and knew exactly what they had to do. They explained the boy that he had to return to Derek’s house for now, but they would be close by with some friends.
‘The friends’ relatives were talking about were police officers, that lived close by, one of them was going to school with Charles, so they were buddies. So they all went to inspect the situation.
When Derek opened the door and saw Jake on the porch, his face went red. “How the hell did you get out of your room, little breaker. I’ll change the lock on your door. Come in, you worthless kid!” He didn’t notice someone was watching him from aside.
Then Charles’ police friend spoke up. “Derek Sanders?”
Derek finally noticed other people, as well as the police car and Grandma Marina with Charles, who were drilling him with angry looks. “Yes?”
“We have to inform you, that we are taking away the kid and pressing an investigation against you for child abuse.”, the officer took Jake’s hand and pulled him to his side.
Derek sputtered. “That’s rubbish. I never laid so much as a finger on this boy.”
“Don’t worry, we will find all the details out during the investigation. For now, this child will be looked after by his grandmother”
But Derek wasn’t backing off. “You need to show me your papers, I was assigned as a legal guardian by the judge”.
Finally, Grandma Marina spoke directly to the man who had stolen her daughter away and let her die in a car accident. “Let the kid go. If you do, we won’t dig too deep into this matter, but if we do, you’ll end up behind the bars, I promise you. We already heard a lot about your paternal love.”.
“Fine! Take him! Whatever!” Derek screamed with a disdainful expression and went back into his house.
Jake moved in with his grandmother, and none of them heard from that horrible man again. Finally, the boy learned what it was like to have a real family who loved and supported him.