It had been months since Travis's funeral and the girls had finally begun to put the pieces back together. Sophia used her guitar to get through the pain of losing her father. She had been writing a lot of songs to express herself. She was getting better and with the help of Aj she was soon playing her guitar like a pro.
This last visit he took her and Brooklyn camping. He took them to the National park hours away from their hometown.
Aj: Let's just get out for some fresh air, see nature. Brooklyn also enjoyed when he came to visit. It was good that he was around to help comfort Sophia. To be there for her while she too grieved for her husband. He had always been a good person to Brooklyn and she often remembered why she fell in love with Aj so many years ago.
She watched them play in the water and fish. A smile formed on her face. After hours of fishing, Brooklyn called out to the two of them to come for dinner. She had just finished cooking hotdogs off the grill when they came to the blanket.
Sophia: Mom you should have seen it. I almost caught the biggest fish in my life.
Aj: Just one more good tug and we would have had him. Next time though
Aj and her smiled at each other and laughed. Sophia looked over at Aj's bag and back at him.
Sophia: Play me something nice Aj?
She handed him his guitar.
Aj: Like what?
Sophia: I don't know, something sweet!
Aj took his guitar and began to play.
Aj: This is my favorite. It was my first complete song. Well, because it was the first one I ever finished. The melody was slow and sweet, just as she asked.
Brooklyn stood up from the blanket and watched him play. It was their song. He wrote it for her when they were young. She stood there as if in a trance as she watched his fingers and heard the words. It had been a long time since she heard him sing that song. His eyes were closed and he had not noticed her watching him. Sophia watched her mother's reaction to the song and then over to Aj. She too remembered the song. It was the song her mother sang to her when she was a little girl. And she remembered Brooklyn singing the song when she was in the garden. When he was done, he changed to a more upbeat song.
Sophia: C'mon mom! Let's dance.
She grabbed her mother and both of them began dancing together.
All three of them were laughing. It was the first time in months since she heard her mother laugh so much.
Aj: Still got some moves old girl!
Brooklyn: Old girl? By night, Sophia was tucked away in her sleeping bag. She was so tired from being up since early in the morning that she was fast asleep before 9pm. Meanwhile, Brooklyn and Aj sat and looked out onto the water. The night was still and peaceful. There was a silence between them, a good silence.
Brooklyn: I really appreciate everything you've done for us.
Aj: I just wish I would have been doing it sooner. Sophia is a good kid. You two raised her well. She smiled back at him and went back to looking out into the lake and the stars. Aj could not help but gaze at her. He saw the girl from high school, gentle and loving. He wanted to touch her hair, her face. He scooted a little closer to her, slowly and cautiously. But just as he was moving closer, his hand touched hers. Startled, she moved her hand away. Aj: Sorry.
She looked over at Sophia.
Brooklyn: It's okay. Um, I should be getting ready for bed too.
Aj sighed as she walked away.
Aj: Smooth move Aj. They knew that this last visit was going to be short. Aj had to get ready to produce another album. Only this time he wanted to change things. He went to his best friend's grave.
Aj: It's been a long time since I last saw you. I need to talk to you man. Aj walked into the kitchen where Brooklyn was busy making dessert. Sophia was out with her friends at the mall getting ready for their first year in high school.
Aj: Can we talk?
Brooklyn: Sure. What's on your mind?
Aj: Well I've been enjoying my visits to be with the both of you and I really appreciate you letting me spend time with Sopia. She really means a lot to me. Brooklyn: You mean a lot to her. More than you know.
Aj was getting nervous and it took every ounce of strength for him to get the words out.
Aj: I want Sophia to come live with me. I want the both of you to come live with me in Starlight Shores. At first Brooklyn laughed.
Brooklyn: Alright, fun is over.
Aj: I'm serious. I want the both of you to come live with me. I've been coming here for months, and I can't watch you struggle like you are. The house, the land. I want to take care of you both. I owe it to Travis. Brooklyn: Now wait a minute. You can't be serious. There is so much wrong with your thinking right now. If this is a joke it is no longer funny.
Aj: I am not joking Brooklyn. I've been thinking about this for some time now. I want Sophia to know more. I want to be with her more Aj: Eventually I want her to know that I am her father. But first, let her live with me. The both of you. I'm tired of coming to visit here and there. She's my daughter and I want her to have the best. I want to see her grow up. I've missed so much of her life and I can't keep doing it. I won't keep doing it. Brooklyn: STOP! Just STOP! How dare you stand here and tell me you want to take my daughter from the home and town she has only known. Because you get some urge to want to be her father.
Aj: I AM her father! Brooklyn: We talked about this. We would tell her about you at the right time. And this is not the right time.
Aj: Then when is the right time Brooklyn? When she graduates high school, college, gets married. We've put this off too long. I want to be there for my daughter every day for the rest of her life. Brooklyn: Look I am not denying that Sophia needs her father. But what you are asking for I cannot do. I will not do. This is our home, if you want to be a part of us, then come visit. And now is STILL NOT the right time to tell her. Why are you doing this? Aj: I love her. And I want to tell her. It is the right thing to do. I AM her father Brooklyn. I am not trying to hurt you or her. I just can't living like this. It is so hard to be with her and spend time with her, knowing she is my daughter, but yet I can't do anything about it. Aj noticed that she was no longer looking at him. Her face went from being angry to frightened. It was as if she had seen a ghost. Brooklyn: Sophia!
Aj turned around to see Sophia standing in the doorway.
Sophia: I realized I left my wallet.
She looked at both parents.
Sophia: Is it true? Is Aj my father? Mom? Brooklyn: Why don't we sit down okay baby. How much did you hear?
Sophia: Everything. Is it true mom? Is AJ my FATHER!?
Brooklyn did know how to respond. She looked over at Aj who was also speechless. Sophia grew angrier as both of them would not answer.
Sophia: IT IS TRUE!! Aj? Did dad know about this too?
Brooklyn tried to stop the tears from falling. She nodded her head instead.
Sophia: You lied to me. Sophia: You ALL LIED TO ME! This whole time I've been living this lie. You've treated me like some dumb kid, telling me that dad was my father when it was him! Oh my goodness! I think I am going to be sick.
Brooklyn: Sophia, we need to sit and talk about this. You have to let us explain.
Aj: Sophia, I- Sophia: Why? Why mother? Why didn't you tell me.
Sophia looked at her but Brooklyn could not answer. She did not have an answer.
Brooklyn: We just didn't think it was something you could handle at the time.
Sophia: So you let me believe someone else was my father. Travis was all I knew, and you took him from me. Aj: That's enough Sophia. Your mother didn't do it to hurt you.
Sophia: You? I have nothing to say to you. Where have you been all this time. Making it big? Living the high life without the worry of a baby? So you come around once every 6years and now you want to be a father. Well you are not! Aj: Sophia.
Sophia: You are NOT MY FATHER! Travis Rodgers is and you are not even half the man he was. He loved me and cared about me. And you, you are just some guy my mom fell in love with when she was young and knocked her up. You left her!
Brooklyn: SOPHIA STOP IT!! Sophia screamed at them both before running out the house. Aj tried going after her but she was too quick and was already down the street before he could get to her. She hated them both. She hated everyone for lying to her. He walked back into the kitchen where Brooklyn was sitting at the table, crying in her hands.
Aj: I'll find her.
Best Friends- Sophia III
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