"Chase! Chase, wake up," he said, attempting to rouse his son.
Weird, he thought when he felt the scabbing skin. He glanced down in confusion and saw the gleaming tattoo there on his arm.
Ace grabbed Chase's shoulders and forced him to focus on him. "Who? What happened? Is everything okay?"
Ace bit his lip. Ah, now everything made a little bit more sense. Chase would never do something like this without his brother prodding him along. "Well, let's wait on killing him. You guys have your graduation ceremony today," Ace said hesitantly. "Let's get some coffee in your belly and see how we feel afterwards."
Devon hopefully glanced over at his brother, hoping to see forgiveness in his eyes.
Chase stared straight and headed inside.
Ace sighed as he followed the boys inside with Tracy on his arm.
After the ceremony, the boys didn't seem like they were in the mood to go out to celebrate, so everyone headed home in a somber mood.
Once inside, Devon broke the silence....
Devon threw his hands up in the air. "Well, how was I to know you were going to go ape-shit insane with one drink? It's not my fault you can't hold your alcohol!"
Chase crossed his arms and huffed. "You never take responsibility for your actions! Everything is just a game to you!" he said, shaking his head with distaste. "Why don't you grow up, Devon!"
Devon crossed his own arms and scowled. "You just want everyone to be as miserable as you are! Just because you don't know how to have fun doesn't mean nobody else should!" Devon yelled back.
"BOYS!" Ace finally interrupted, stepping between them. "That's enough out of both of you! Let's take a break and let our tempers cool off!"
Devon balled his hands into fists, itching to argue back, but inevitably stormed outside, kicking a stone. Angrily, he pulled out his phone and made a phone call.
Cornelia stroked Devon's shoulder. "Chase is just mad and needs someone to blame. You can't control his actions, only your own."
Cornelia's comforting hand made his frustration float away and suddenly he was smiling again. God, how could he live without her? He pulled a guitar string he had in his pocket out and wound it up a few times into a circular shape.
Cornelia gasped as Devon slipped the hastily-made ring on her finger. She eagerly nodded and launched herself into his arms.
Devon squeezed her back, relieved beyond words that she'd accepted. "I was kinda worried you'd get mad cause of the ring," he confided. "But I promise, as soon as I hit it big, I'll get your diamonds or pearls or whatever you want!"
Cornelia gazed down at the ring with a smile and said, "It's perfect. I wouldn't trade it in for anything!"
Devon slung his arm around Cornelia and tugged her towards the stairs. "Come on! Let's go tell Dad!"
Chase sat down on the couch... long after his father and Tracy had gone upstairs to bed... long after Devon and Cornelia had left...
It still didn't feel real. Devon had moved in with Cornelia. He was gone...
His anger at his brother fizzled flat in his heart. He already missed Devon like crazy.
He'd never felt more alone in his life...