Interacting with @mskennedy615
Jess wasn't a stranger to funerals, she didn't try make herself too familiar with them either all the same. As far as funerals went, the service was beautiful, the weather was forgiving for this far south when everyone was dressed in black and it was the middle of the summer.
Leith didn't shed tears, but she knew he held them back tightly, the tense set of his jaw, she couldn't but notice. When had her boy become a man? It had happened before her eyes and she'd never really seen it, even when his voice broke, when he shot up in a particularly rapid growth spurt, not even when he grew out some facial hair ... Those had all been physical changes but he was still the same placid child at heart. That child had been pleasant, but empathetic, easily moved to tears when any person or animal was in pain, a sensitive soul, hardened now, putting on a brave face as society told him men ought to. He'd had his silent sob in the quiet privacy of his bedroom, and perhaps he'd shed another tear or two again when he was away somewhere quiet with his thoughts.
The church was largely empty as they'd arrived a little early. Jess sought out Nicky, offering a supportive shoulder to cry on, volunteering to take care of the restaurant in Nicky's absence if she ever needed to take a day or even a whole weekend off."You helped me and my family out, and you're a dear friend. Anything you need, any time, you know where my house is and you're always welcome"
Comforting Nicky gave Leith a chance to have his own quiet parting with Olivia ... a chance to say some goodbyes to the girl who had practically been a big sister to him when he was starting school.
Leith wasn't exactly one to pray ... or be religious ... God hates fags was the message he'd heard from those hardcore folks. It seemed a bit hypocritical to pray to a God that hated him, especially if he was praying for his friends sake ... He didn't know what happened after death, but he didn't want to screw it up for Olivia if there was a better place to go to.
"We're going to find the motherfucker who did this to you. I promise.""Damn right we will."
Leith bristled a little ... just thinking
about what happened, how those kids had found her- It was enough to make his skin crawl. No one deserved this, much less Olivia.
He took a minute to gather himself, taking in a deep breath and exhaling, before turning to Shauna. "Sorry for your loss"
Leith shuffled a little awkwardly. "Sorry for your loss" was just a basic funeral courtesy ... but it felt so hollow, repeating the same words everyone said at every funeral ever, even though they had good intentions and offered sympathy. Leith just wished there was some way to show just how much he meant it. Just how much he was saddened to lose her. "She musta meant a lot to ya' ... She was good at that ... Lovin' people and bein' loved by people."
Shauna's dad owned the garage Leith worked in ... really, his family owed Shauna and Olivia's parents a bunch. Leith's mom worked in Nicky's restaurant for ages, Nicky had been the most understanding boss anyone could ever ask for, certainly cut her a lot more slack than she deserved sometimes, others would have fired a moody young single mother who stressed and snapped. Nicky wasn't like that. She'd been sweet to Leith and encouraged Olivia to play with him and help him with his homework. And Shauna's family ... well, when Leith was a rebellious teen, full of frustrations and anger, well, he put Leith to work in the garage. He learned a trade, worked out his frustrations, and when he finally came out and calmed down, he had a nice little job going.
Leith felt he sort of owed it to Olivia and Shauna in a way, his mom was kind to their parents, he wasn't exactly sure what to do, but he could be good and helpful to Shauna at least. "How you holdin'up?"
he asked, wondering if it was a totally dumb question or if he was being helpful or just annoying...