Name: John Brockway
Age: 16 years old
Description: John is tall, and still rather gangly. He has dark brown hair and jade green eyes. He has burn scars on his arms and face and walks with a limp.
Short Bio: John is the older son of Bobby and Linda Havis. His brother, Adam, was born about six years after him. John adored his father, very nearly worshipped the man. At least for the first ten years of his life. Then, Bobby was arrested on multiple charges of arson. John didn’t completely understand what was going on, except that his father was gone and his mother said he wouldn’t be coming back.
That scared him, and he wasn’t sure how to deal with that. So, it turned into anger and bitterness. It might have eaten him up, but his little brother needed him. And then his mother started bringing Sam Mitchell around. He wanted to hate the man, didn’t want him to replace the dad he still hoped would come home.
But, Sam didn’t go away. And his dad didn’t come back. His mother had already gone back to her maiden name and changed the boys’ name as well. Nothing was left of his father, except John’s memories and the eyes he’d gotten from him. His mother wouldn’t marry Sam, but it didn’t seem to be for a lack of the man’s trying, and he was always around. John was accepting that this was the way things were going to be.
Until the day shortly before his fifteenth birthday when he saw the man loitering out on their street. Even after all these years, he recognized his father. But, he didn’t come any closer to the house. And when he caught John looking, he turned and walked away. The anger came back after that, along with confusion. His father was out of prison now, but he still wasn’t coming back. And John didn’t understand why.
One night he’d heard a commotion downstairs and started down there. Only to find his little brother huddled halfway down the stairs. He could hear a man’s voice and his mother crying. For a moment he’d thought Sam was there, and they were fighting. He’d heard her and his father arguing years before, but she usually yelled right back at him. She hadn’t cried those times, though. And he’d never heard Sam yell and rant at her like that.
The rest of that night is vague in his memories. Except for the pain in his knee and the flames leaping around him. His attempt to get to his mother and brother where they somehow got trapped behind the couch. And then the firefighters who came and carried them out.
He didn’t wake up until days later, only to learn his mother was dead and his little brother was fighting for his life. Sam was now their guardian, but John could often smell whiskey on his breath. They all struggled to come back in their own ways. But, they’re finally starting to get there.
“What makes you think you can swan back into our lives and tell us what to do?”
“I’m not trying to tell you what to do,” Bobby said.
“It sure sounds like it,” John said, his arms crossed in front of him.
Bobby leaned back against the couch. John looked so much like Linda, but he acted just like Bobby used to. And Bobby knew he’d had a hand in the anger that rode in every line of the boy’s face.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I know I’ve said it several times already, and it doesn’t make anything better. But, I am sorry. I screwed up, and I paid for it. You and Adam shouldn’t have, though.”
“You were out for more than a year before Mom died. Why didn’t you ever come to see us?” There was a hard bite to the boy’s voice, but his lip was trembling.
Damn it. That was a question he never wanted to have to answer. But, he didn’t want to lie. it was never something he enjoyed doing, and especially not to his oldest son. “I signed away my rights when I went to prison. I wanted your mom and both of you boys to have a chance at a better life. And when I got out, I promised her I wouldn’t drag you down.” He saw shocked pain on John’s face now and swore to himself. “Do not blame your mother,” he said. “It was the right thing when she didn’t know if I was going to stay on the right side of the law.”
“But, you have?”
He wished John didn’t have to ask him that, but he couldn’t really blame the boy, either. “Yes,” he answered truthfully. “I have.”
John nodded after a moment. “Good. I’ll see if Adam wants to see you. It’s up to him, though. I won’t make him do anything he doesn’t want.”
“I wouldn’t ask that of him, either.” But, he was glad he was getting a chance of at least being a part of his sons’ lives again. Now, as long as he didn’t screw it up again.
*Note: This snippet technically doesn’t take place in Flames of Renewal, at least not on the page. John only shows up momentarily in the actual story. But this happens around the same time. John will hopefully be showing up in more of the stories, though.