Campbell looked up when Brooklyn came in the door.
“Campbell, it’s almost 9 p.m. You need to go home.”
“You go on and go home. I’m sure Dallas is wondering where you are.”
She sat down and looked at him. “I am not going to leave you alone, Campbell. You need a friend right now, and I’m here for you.”
“I’m fine, Brooklyn.”
“No you aren’t. You come to work and lock yourself in your office. You haven’t been to the site in weeks now. You have been skipping meetings and lunch. You’re closing yourself off to everybody who cares about you, Campbell.”
“Maybe people should just stop caring.”
“Stop that. You have a lot of people worried about you right now. Have you seen your Grandfather? Every day when you come in, he looks hopeful until you go into your office again. Then he is one of the saddest men I know.”
“I’m sorry I’m making everybody so miserable. I’m not exactly happy myself lately, but none of you understand.”
“One of us does, Campbell. Dallas was telling me about your grandfather losing his girlfriend while she was pregnant. He didn’t tell me the details of it. I don’t think his mother told him.”
Campbell listened to what she was saying. He had never known that his grandfather had lost someone he loved. His grandfather never talked about his past other than the one time he told him about his mother being born while he was still in high school. He didn’t even know what happened to his grandmother. Nobody ever talked about her.
“Go home to Dallas, Brooklyn. I’m going to head out now, also.”
Campbell gave his little sister a big hug. “Where is everybody?”
“In Grandpa’s office. Talking about you again.”
He kissed her cheek. “Thanks, Squirt.”
He tapped on the office door before opening it.
Shelby hugged her son and kissed his cheek. “Are you okay?”
He nodded and gave his mom a little smile. “No but yes. I’m still dealing with things and it’s hard, but I’m alright. I actually wanted to talk to Grandpa about something.”
Philip stood up. “We’ll let you two talk. I’m happy to see you.”
“You and Mom don’t have to go, unless Grandpa wants you to.”
Andy looked at his grandson. “That would depend on what you want to talk about it.”
“Aunt Tayler told Dallas about someone you used to date and you lost. I’d like to hear about her, if you don’t mind talking about it.”
Andy hadn’t talked about it in years. If it was something that would help his grandson, he didn’t mind. “Your parents can stay. Your mother already knows about it.”
Campbell pulled one of the side chairs over to the desk. “What was her name, Grandpa?”
“Zalia. I loved her from the moment I first saw her. She tried to tell me she was married though. She was worried about the age difference. She was only a year older than your mother.”
“What happened to her?”
“She was murdered. Her ex boyfriend killed her.”
Shelby felt bad for her father having to relive this. She could see the pain in his eyes. She knew that Zalia was the reason her father never married or even really dated much afterwards.
“My mother helped him. She was jealous of Dad being with Zalia and helped Slade.”
Campbell looked at his mother. “Is that why nobody ever talks about her?”
Shelby nodded. “After the things she did to all of us, we all eliminated her from our lives. The only time we visited her in prison was when your Uncle Kyle was born. We went to get him. She asked to see us. Nakusa refused to see her and waited with Dad and Kyle in the lobby. I did go in to see her, but only so I could tell her that she meant nothing to me and that I never wanted to see her or hear her name again.”
Andy could see that Shelby was getting worked up talking about her mother. He looked over at Philip. “Can you take her out to calm down, please?”
After his parents left the office, Campbell looked at his grandfather. “I’m sorry, Grandpa. I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”
Andy shook his head. “It’s okay. Everybody should know about their family history…the good and the bad.”
“Can you tell me more about Grandma?”
Andy nodded and started talking about Cara from the time they met and those circumstances until the last time he saw her in prison. Andy sat listening and, at times, asking questions.
“Is she still alive?”
Andy shook his head. “She died before you were born. She got into a fight with someone in prison and was killed. It wasn’t too long after Kyle was born actually. A few weeks, maybe.”
Campbell looked at his grandfather. “Does the pain of losing someone ever go away, Grandpa?”
Andy shook his head. “It does not. You just learn how to live with it.”
He looked close at his grandson. “You have lost so many people in such a short time. I would do anything to take all of that away for you.”