He sucked in another breath and turned to his mother’s coffin. Did she really deserve his regard?
She didn’t look like he thought she would. Death had treated his father kindly, but it hadn’t seemed to touch his mother at all. She looked breathtakingly beautiful with dark hair, a flawless complexion, and rosy pink lips. He had seen many pictures of her and watched every movie she ever made, yet he still hadn’t expected her to look so beautiful. No wonder his father had loved her. No wonder her fans had idolized her.
She had a serene expression on her face, not the expression of a woman driven to murder and suicide. He looked carefully to see if he could spot the place under her jaw where the bullet had gone in, but the morticians had done a good job; the only thing he saw was a faint discoloration.
The diamond and wedding band his father had given her still graced her finger. Everyone always said how much they loved each other, and in the few dim memories he had of them they were always laughing and seemed happy.
When he thought of them, he usually got a warm, safe feeling. He could distinctly remember both of them sitting on the bed with him reading him a story before he went to sleep.
A faint smile curved his lips when he thought of the time he and his mother had sneaked up on his father while he was asleep on the beach. They had poured ocean water from a little sand bucket onto his stomach. He had come awake with a roar and jumped up and chased them down the beach. When he caught them, he had threatened to throw both of them into the ocean. Instead, they had walked down the beach hand-in-hand and found a hot dog stand where his father bought everyone a hot dog.
Other memories clamored for attention, like the time his mother fell and broke her ankle. He could still picture the fear on his father’s face. His mother had bitten her lip and hidden her face against his father’s shoulder. His dad had hugged her and looked as if he was trying to take away her pain.
When they came home from the hospital, his father had carried her upstairs and stayed with her the entire evening. Had some of his father’s aides fussed at him for missing appointments? He thought he remembered his father bellowing at them and telling them to leave him alone.
What in the name of God happened on that mountain where they died?