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Widower's Club

Chapter Text

It was the second phone call that Alexander was never expecting.

Eliza was driving up to her father’s summer home in Connecticut for a weekend visit while Alexander watched the kids at home. She left behind a list of chores that needed to be done by Monday and enough pre-made dinners to last for the next two weeks. Alex had tried to reassure her that he could cook, reminding her of the Carribean dishes he would make when they were first dating. The two then got side tracked by talking about how Alexander had burnt the first meal he ever tried to cook for Eliza, and the two settled on the pre-made casseroles in the freezer.

Alexander and Eliza were meant for each other. They knew it from the first time their eyes crossed paths at a college party, held by Eliza’s elder sister,Angelica. Loud music flooded the room as both Alexander and Eliza attempted to stay as close to the wall as they could. Alexander held a cheap beer in his hand while Eliza was sipping on some mocktail Peggy had concocted for her sister. Eliza noticed Alexander first. She watched as he smiled with his friends and would take only one sip of his can every ten minutes. Little did she know that he was watching as she would clink her glass with one of her sisters as they would waltz around the party like it was their own ball. Eventually, the two winded up standing next to each other. Awkward greetings were exchanged before Alexander asked if Eliza wanted to go get some food at a dinner down the block. She took his arm, and the two fled into the night.

After only a month filled with daily dates, whether for coffee or lunch at the local cafe, Alexander proposed to Eliza. They were seated at a family meal when he asked Mr.Schuyler for her hand in marriage. The entire Schuyler family’s mouth were gaping, including Eliza. After the initial shock of Alexander’s question settled in the room, Philip told him no. They eloped that night.

Money was tough for the newlyweds. Alexander was finishing up his third year at Columbia as a political science major, with the hopes of going to law school going down the drain, while Eliza had just began her first semester at NYU. Every month when they sat down to pay the bills, a new sacrifice had to be made, or an extra shift had to be taken. The Schuyler family excommunicated Eliza from every social gathering, excluding Angelica who came by once a week to check up on her younger sister. Their apartment was not much. A single studio with water damaged ceilings and an air mattress on the floor. Alex had set up a small desk area for him and Eliza to share, although it was mainly used by Alexander since all of his writings scattered the desk. The walls were a musty yellow color that were peeling in some corners. Bars covered the clouded windows, preventing the two from seeing the brick wall right outside. Their neighbors were argued loudly before having even louder sex upstairs, and their landlord was in the apartment next to them. He would come to check up every week to make sure they had not started a meth lab in the bathroom, something the previous owners were guilty of. If they wanted warm water, they would have to wake up at 3 am and would have to start showering by 3;01. Otherwise, it would go back to freezing. It was not comfortable, but it was home.

Eliza had a job as a waitress at the diner her and Alex shared their first date at while Alexander tried to do freelance writing for local newspapers. She would bring home the food that was sent back and put it in their fridge, that only worked half the time. Every night, Alexander and Eliza would sit together on the floor and talk about their days. He would clean the dishes while she would take a cold shower. Afterwards, they would pirate a movie or do their school work before falling asleep on the air mattress.

Once winter hit, Eliza had to talk to her father. The heating went out of their complex, so she called Philip for help. He scolded her for not calling in five months but allowed the newlyweds to stay at his house. The older man drove to pick them up from their apartment and was appalled. The entire drive back to the Schuyler house was filled with tears and promises to never let them return to their home. Alexander and Philip had a deep conversation until one the next morning about where they would be living. He did not know. He was finishing up his senior year and had no job openings. Neither of the men wanted Eliza to drop out to get another job. It was decided that Philip would pay for their new apartment, a two bedroom closer to his home than their schools, and the rest of Alexander’s education. When Alexander left to tell Eliza the good news, she had some of her own. Nine months later, the two had a house, one and an eighth of a degree, and a young boy named Philip.

Every year since their first was filled with more love and support from everyone around them. Alexander got a job working at the New York Post as editor of the politics section while Eliza raised Philip at home. Along came two more children, Angelica and John Church. Alexander was promoted to chief editor under George Washington of the newspaper, and the two uncovered some of the largest corruptions in New York City’s history, like Benedict Arnold’s inappropriate threats to young women and the exposition of ‘King’ George and his local mob. Together, Eliza and Alexander grew. She had already planned out their next house, which they were going to build away from the city, and she had Philip’s college plans setting into motion with visits to Columbia set for the beginning of his sophomore year.

It was never unusual for Eliza to leave town for a weekend to visit her father. After his stroke, each sister moved at most two hours away from his house. Eliza had wanted to move closer, but Alexander’s work kept them from moving. As a compromise, she would leave once every four weeks to visit him. She would always leave around eight at night, so she could get to his house before ten and watch him for the night. A single phone call to tuck each kid in arrived around nine on the dot. Tonight was like any other night.

John Church and Angelica sat in their beds waiting for their father to come in, carrying his phone for the two to say goodnight to mommy. John Church, being eight, wanted to talking to Eliza, even when it was his older sister, Angelica’s, turn. She would push him away from the phone and ask her mom when she would be coming home. Even though Eliza had told her at least twenty times before leaving, Angelica always asked. After they would go to bed, Alexander would walk the phone to Philip’s room.

Now fourteen, Philip had not wanted long phone calls with either of his parents. He grew into a shy teenager with thick curly hair and freckles, which his grandfather attributed to his grandmother. Alexander knocked on the door, only to receive silence in return. He apologized to Eliza before going back downstairs to talk to his wife. They talked for five minutes about a date they had been planning for months before Eliza hung up. Alexander smiled at his phone before unpausing his episode of the West Wing. Soft footsteps on the stairs cause Alex to turn his attention away from his tv to the hallway. Philip stood there in his light blue pajamas.

“Has mom called yet?”, he timidly asked.

“You just missed her. We can call her tomorrow when she gets to grandpa’s”, Alex said. A frown grew on his son’s face.

“Why can I not call her on my phone right now? If you just finished talking to her, that means she is still awake.” The inner lawyer in Philip amazed Alexander. He knew his son was smart from the moment he first held the small blue bundle. With a smile that outshined the morning sun on Nevis, Philip capture his father’s heart from that moment until now.

“We can call her tomorrow. She is almost at grandpa’s. You don’t want to bother them, right?”, Alex replied. He knew Philip has a soft spot for his grandpa and his health. He had cried so much when he had heard that grandpa might die soon. Alexander had to tell his son the story about his own mother dying when he was twelve in his arms. Neither him nor Eliza ever wanted their children to understand the pain felt by a younger Alex that night.

“Can we just call her now? I promise I will make it quick”, his son said. His large brown eyes looked directly into his father’s, a trick he learned at a young age in order to get what he wanted.

Alex broke from that. “ You better make it quick.” A grin spread across his son’s face before he ran to the couch and grabbed the phone. He quickly unlocked the phone. Alex had to change his password to something other than 1776. Best of Wives, Best of Women flashed across the screen and a small time count appeared under it. Philip hit the speakerphone option before holding the phone between him and his dad. Now, they waited.

She did not answer the first call. Alex was not worried. Eliza probably threw her phone into the backseat since she would be expecting no other calls that night, which was common for his wife to do. She did not answer the second call. Worry began to filter its way into Alex’s mind. After hearing the first call, Eliza would have pulled over somewhere to grab her phone. Unless a car jacker got her, she should be fine. She did not answer the third call. Philip began to ask why mommy was not answering. Alex did not know.

“I will wake you up if she calls back. Maybe she was closer to Grandpa’s than we thought, and she left her phone in the car.” The answer pacified Philip as he left to go to bed. Alexander knew it was a lie. Eliza said she had just crossed into Connecticut when he talked to her. Her father’s house was at least another hour away. Alexander called her a fourth time only to receive the same voice mailbox she had set up three years before.

Full panic settled into Alex as he frantically called both Angelica and Peggy, asking if Eliza was on the phone with them. They both replied no and asked why. He said he would tell them tomorrow. After talking to the other sisters, Alex put his phone down. It would only worry him more if he called again. He pressed play on the remote and tried to calm down with another episode of the West Wing.

It was around a hour before he got a call back. Alexander quickly accepted the call, knowing it had to be Eliza.

“Dear, are you alright? You worried me and Philip.”

“Mr. Hamilton, I am sorry to say, but there has been an accident”, an unfamiliar voice said.

Time stopped for Alex. The police officer, Officer Eacker, said Eliza was ran off the road by a semi-truck on the main highway to New Jersey. He said that Eliza was killed on impact while the passenger in her car is being rushed to the nearest hospital. Too many questions filled Alex’s mind while he listened to Eacker talk about the accident. Once he stopped talking, Alexander asked,” My wife is dead?” He was so unsure. She had just called him. They made dinner plans for when she came back. They were going to go dancing.

“Yes, sir. The body will be sent to the coroner to be further examined. She does not look to have been drinking. You can decide what will happen to her afterwards.” Out of all the plans Eliza and Alexander had, funeral arrangements were not one of them. Alex hung up the phone and let it slip from his hand. The possibility of the screen being shatter did not matter to him. Eliza was dead, and she lied to him. She died going somewhere that no one else knew. She died without any family around her. Her final breath was unheard. Her laugh will never grace Alexander’s ear again. He will never get to watch the way her eyes would crinkle when she smiled at the kids or watch the excitement fill her eyes when she met up with her sister. Never again.

A faint whisper came from behind Alex. If the room had not been silent, he would have never heard it. He whipped his head around to see Philip standing at the bottom of the stairs, tears streaming down his reddened cheeks. “Is mommy gone?” They both knew the answer. Neither wanted to admit it. No more words were said. Philip slowly walked to the couch before clamping onto his father. Alexander wrapped his arms as tightly as he could to Philip, not ever wanting to let him go. This all had to be a nightmare. A scary, scary dream. Tears erupted out of both of their eyes as their grips on each other tightened. They just needed to wake up, and everything will be alright.

Chapter Text

It was not a dream. Police came by the next day to deliver the official news. Alexander told Philip to watch John Church and Angelica upstairs. They did not need to hear about their mother’s death from two strange men in navy. Telling the sisters was the second hardest phone call he had ever had. They both drove to the house, still worried from last night. Angelica was in a black jacket over a coral top and black skirt, her usual outfit for when she was going to court later, while Peggy wore a bright yellow sun dress with flowers stitched along the top, perfect for a kindergarten teacher. Alex brought them into his office before he told them. Mascara stained both women’s cheeks as the listened to him recall everything the police had told him: the truck driver switching lanes while Eliza was right beside him, Eliza swerving into the darkness, most likely thinking it was flat land when it was actually a steep drop, the other person in the passenger seat with his wife, and how officers will call him once she had woken up. Alexander had only seen Angelica cry once, which was at his wedding, however, she had only shed two tears then. This morning, she was bawling with her sister. They held each other and slowly sunk to the floor. Words were forgotten at this moment. The occasional questions of ‘why’ or ‘why her’ were asked to no reply. Alexander wished he knew why.

The door to his office opened slowly to reveal John Church on the other side. His wide brown eyes stared at his father and his aunts. The adults all looked over at the young boy, remarking how similar to his mother he appeared with her paler complexion than her sisters and dark brown straight locks. “Daddy”, he said, walking up to his father. In tow, a meek Angie and an embarrassed Philip followed him. Angie looked more like Alex, but she had her mother’s nose and mouth. When John Church reached his dad, he placed his tiny hand on Alex’s arm. “ Did Mommy get to Grandpa’s?”

“When is she coming back?”, Angie asked, now standing next to her aunts. “Why is Auntie Peggy and Aunt Angelica here?”, she added. Her eyes studied the wet cheeks of her aunts, and a realization appeared in her eyes. Her head shot towards her dad, then towards her older brother, who looked at the floor.

“Daddy, when?” John Church begged, pulling on Alex’s shirt.

“She’s not coming home, is she?”, Angie said, stoically. Everyone looked at her. Silence was the best answer. The sobs of his daughter started everyone’s mourning again. On the floor of his office, they all piled together. John Church still could not process what was happening. He should not have to. Alexander held him as tight as he could as they were encapsulated by their remaining family.

Angelica and Peggy left hours later. They were actually going to drive up to their father’s to break the news to him. The police told Alex he would have to go and identify the body at some point in the day, but it would not have to be immediately. He called Aaron.

“Hamilton, I am kinda busy at the moment. Can this wait?”, an annoyed Burr replied. Although they never had a close relationship, Alex would say that Aaron Burr was his best friend. They had met once Alex was hired as an editor for the Post. Aaron taught him the ropes around the office and even offered to buy him a drink. Alex continued to call him sir throughout the day, causing for the two to develop a running joke to today. As Alexander continued to get promotion after promotion, Burr remained in his same position as the one he had ten years ago. A slight grudge lied between the two men, however, they both decided to not let professional difference destroy their bond.

“My wife is dead, Aaron.” Alex cut straight to the point. When Burr said nothing in return, Alex took it as a sign to continue,” She died in a car crash last night. I have to go identify the body. Can you please watch my kids for the next couple of hours? I need someone right now.”

A deep breath was taken on the other line. “God, Alexander. I am so sorry. I will be over as soon as I can.”

“Thank you Burr”

Aaron pulled up on the curb in front of the Hamilton household twenty minutes later. He was dressed sharply in a charcoal grey suit with a white undershirt. His eyes scanned the usually warm house, only to feel the immense depression it gave off. He was greeted by Hamilton, whose eyes were red and swollen with under eye bags. He was wearing the same outfit he had left the office in yesterday.

Aaron suddenly did not know what to do with his hands. Does he comfort his friend or just walk in? He still remembers the weeks after Theodosia died, and the falseness that shined from every single person he had met. Wailing from his neighbors who disapproved of his marriage to begin with and a casserole was his first sign of how things were going to be. A hand on the shoulder seemed the most genuine. It represented how Aaron could be Alex’s shoulder if he needed him.

Alex returned with a soft smile. “Um, Philip is up in his room. Don’t, um, bother him right now. Angie is… is, um, somewhere, probably also in her room. Please do not leave John Church alone for more than two minutes. He still, uh, does not, um, understand everything that is going on. Um, thank you so much.” Never has Alexander Hamilton been speechless. He handed Aaron a key, probably to the house, and got into his car. Aaron watched the man inhaled deeply before reversing out of the driveway.

John Church was sat on the couch watching some cartoon about trains with his knees pulled close to his chest. His eyes were also slightly puffy but not as badly as his father’s. Around his shoulders, a light pink fleece blanket sat, almost like Alexander put it on the boy before he had left. Aaron carefully approached the child. His nerves were calmed after a laugh escaped from John Church’s mouth. The trains had gotten lost on the tracks. Aaron cleared his throat, making John Church turn around to see him.

“Hi, Mr.Sir.” That was adorable. Aaron smiled as he finally reached the couch.

“Hey Johnny. Can I sit here?”, Aaron said, pointing at the spot next to the pink bundle. John Church nodded quickly and moved slightly over. Aaron sat down and stared at the television. Instead of watching the nonsense-filled cartoon, he began to look around the room.

The first thing he noticed was the amount of photographs of the family. At Least ten lined each wall in some different multi frames. Behind the television, a family portrait of the Hamilton’s in matching outfits hanged. Aaron never thought of Alex as the kind of guy to take matching outfit family phones, but he was wrong. They each stood in white sweaters and brown khakis with cheesy grins. Alex’s gaze was not towards the camera but on his wife. Eliza looked so full of life as she held onto Angelica’s shoulders. Right now, Alexander had to be arriving at the morgue to see her, cold and lifeless. Her eyes never to open or be filled with joy again. Her brown eyes looked directly at Aaron. Every photo began to feel like that. She was just staring at him, watching every little move he made. He needed to leave this room.

“ Johnny, do you want to help me find Angelica?”, Aaron asked. The young boy jumped up and held out his hand.

“ I know exactly where she is. She told me not to tell Daddy though. She thinks he will get mad”, John Church said. Aaron grabbed the little boy’s hand, and they began their trek through the house. “ Daddy said he was going to see Mommy. When do I get to see her?”, John Church asked. Aaron did not want to answer this. It reminded him of when his own daughter asked about her mother. All she wanted was to see her mom one last time. His wife was hooked up to so many tubes and had one shoved down her throat. She made Aaron promise to never let Theodosia see her like this. Reluctantly, he kept his promise.

“ Your mommy is going on a trip for a little while. You will get to see her again one day. It is only a matter of time”, Aaron said to John Church. It was exactly what he said to Theo twelve years ago.

“But she takes trips all the time to see Grandpa. Is she gonna be back in time to pick me up from school? She said we could get some ice cream on the way home”, the young boy exclaimed. Aaron’s heart broke a little more after hearing this. Theo knew her mother was sick. John Church could not even grasp that death was a road no one could return from.

“ She is visiting Grandma. You will get to see them one day”, Aaron replied. It hurt, but it was necessary.

“ Really! I never get to see Grandma. I can’t wait to see them again”, John Church said, smiling. He stopped at a bedroom secluded from the rest. “Angie is in Mommy and Daddy’s room.” He then let go of Aaron’s hand and waited. Aaron looked back at the boy before pushing the door slowly open.

Inside the room was beautifully homey. A chesnaught bed frame sat in the middle with white sheets contrasting it beautifully. The white carpet and chesnaught bedroom suite fit both Eliza and Alexander’s personalities, clean and refreshing for hers while strong and bold for Alexander. A large dresser with a mirror sat opposite to the bed with two door on the right of the bed, one leads to the darken bathroom and the other leads to what Aaron assumes is the closet. A large bay window was on the other side of the bed. Books lined the shelves under a reading nook, most likely some of both Alexander’s and Eliza’s favorite novels. Again in this room, photographs of the loving couple were hung everywhere. A single from their wedding was on the left nightstand while a more intimate one was hung behind the bed.

Aaron walked further into the room closer to the closed door to hear sniffling. He opened it ever so slightly to see a small girl laying on a patch of women’s garments. She snapped her head away from the clothes to see Aaron. Her tears had stained some of the shirts. He immediately fully opened the door and wrapped his arms around Angie. She wrapped hers around the taller man and let him carry her into the living room. John Church followed behind them and sat down on the couch before they reached the room. Angie remained curled up to Aaron while John Church also moved closer to the man. Aaron ignored every one of Eliza’s gazes in the room. All he could focus on right now was taking care of the two children in his arms.

--

Alexander had to present his driver’s license to the police officers at the morgue to prove who he was. Eacker, a tall African American cop, led him down he bleak hallway. The occasional sob echoed throughout the building. Probably parents or other loved ones doing exactly what he was about to do. His dimly lit walk to the last corridor on the right scared him. He had spent the entire car ride preparing himself. Maybe she still looked fine. There was no way any accident could cause his dearest to look less beautiful than the day he had first caught a glimpse at the beauty of Eliza Schuyler. Maybe the other women in the car was the actual one to die, and Eliza and her had switched ids before getting in the car. Maybe that is what happened. His wife was just in a coma. Everything was okay. They could go back to planning back-to-school night activities and discussing new books they had read in no time.

Eacker opened the door for Alexander. An older man stood in the room dressed in a lab coat that had the name Seabury along the left breast. He held a voice recorder in his hand and was walking around the room like he was in a trance. “ Body number 435, going to be identified by Mr. Alexander Hamilton, at 6:05 pm. The weather is partially cloudy with a small chance of rain”, he said into the recorder. The man did not even look towards the two men as they entered. He waltzes over to a file cabinet like door and opened it. Alex was not ready for what he saw.

His Eliza was laying on the metal slab. Half her face was raw flesh while the other still appeared to be the her he had kissed goodbye the day before. Her skin was ghostly white, and the remaining parts of her lips had a nauseating blue hue around them. Other cuts scatter her body, but none more prevalent than the way her neck and her shoulders seemed to have a disconnect.

“Spinal damage is most likely cause of death. The victim felt no pain once she left the road. Shattered glass penetrated her body, and a tree branch entered the car through the broken front windshield, causing for half of the victim’s face to be scraped off post-mortem.”, the coroner said into his recorder. Alex looked up at Seabury with fury in his eyes. How dare this man describe the loss of his wife so methodically. No care or compassion in his voice. Only a monotonous description. She was no one to just pass by over.

“ Could you please stop talking about my wife like that? You make it seem like she was no one, but another body for you.”

“You are confirming that this is your wife, Elizabeth Schuyler?”, Eacker asked.

Alexander shot him a look. “Yes. My dearest Eliza is lying dead in front of me”, Alex responded, not being able to turn away from her corpse.

“Wonderful”, Seabury’s voice changed from monotonous to cheery in less than a second. He covered Eliza’s body with a thin white cloth before pushing her body back into the dark hole she was in before. “ If you would like to sign some documents, we can have her shipped to a funeral home by tomorrow morning. Have you already arranged a funeral, or we could cremate her for you here.” This was too much for Alexander.

“Can I call you tomorrow morning? We never made funeral plans before she died, so I must call her father and ask”, he replied, looking at the hole in the wall where his wife was.

“Most certainly. Call before noon. Otherwise, we will have to cremate her”, Seabury said. Alexander looked over at the detective to see him on his phone. After an awkward cough, Eacker looked up and led Alexander out of the morgue and back to his car.

“One last thing, Mr. Hamilton”, Eacker said. Alex just wanted to go home with his kids. Philip and him could comfort each other after John Church and Angie would go to sleep. Alex needs to call Washington to tell him to not expect any of the exposes to be ready by Monday. He also now has to call Philip Schuyler and his daughter and ask about funeral arrangements. Alexander thinks that they might have a family plot somewhere on their massive farm.

“ What do you want?”, Alexander replied.

“ The woman who was riding with your wife just woke up.”

Chapter Text

Somethings are best left unsaid. When Philip was eight, he broke his father’s favorite pen, an expensive ballpoint pen Alexander had bought nearly a hundred refills for. While Philip was crying about the spilled ink all over his Father’s day poem, Alexander locked himself in his office with the pen, trying to find a way to repair the busted barrel. He told his weeping son that everything was okay. It was not. The pen had been a gift from his mother on his twelfth birthday. It was a luxury in Nevis to get such a nice pen. She had to have saved up months to afford it and a nice journal, that now lies in the center of Alexander’s bookshelf. He would never tell Philip that the pen was the last birthday present from his mother. Eliza made him swear by the journal.

When Alexander arrived back at his house, it was nearly nine at night. Burr’s silver Altima was still parked in front of the house, and the living room window had a faded light shining through it. To the average person, everything looked normal about the house. The two car garage was closed, most likely to never have the left side opened again. All the windows were almost translucent due to the amount of time Eliza would spend polishing them during the week. As Alexander approached the front door, he noticed a smudge on the right window pane surrounding the oak door. Nervously, he brought his thumb to his mouth and licked it. Eliza would kill him for what he was about to do. She hated it when he would resort to such an unsanitary way of cleaning. He swiped his thumb across the smudge, making it disappear. A clean window now greeted the world, keeping up with the appearance of a happy home.

After unlocking the door, Alexander walked in and placed his keys on the key holder right beside the door. Everything hook had a laminated label in Eliza’s fancy calligraphy that she would use a special set of pens for. He glanced at the label reading ‘Eliza’s Car’ before ripping it off, taking bits of the seafoam green paint with it. A dull wooden spot with speckles of green was left under the hook now. Alexander attempted to crumble the phrase, but the lamentation prevented him from destroying it. Instead, he hastily shoved it in his pocket. It burned to touch her name.

Aaron sat on the far left side of the couch checking his phone while CNN played on the television.The volume was at barely a whisper as the anchor talked about some political debate highlights. Alexander would probably have to rewatch it for an article. He had work in two days. Alexander walked up to the couch, not saying a word as he sat down on the right side. Aaron looked away from his phone, wide eyed.

“You are home earlier than I expected. I had just texted Theo to not wait up”, Aaron said cooly. He reached for the remote to turn off the television completely, but Alexander’s hand grasped his wrist before reaching it.

“Leave it on. I need a sense that my life is not completely in shambles right now”, he said. Alex retracted his hand before curling up into a ball on the couch. He grabbed the blanket hanging on the back of the couch and pulled it over himself. Alex’s eyes remained wide and glued to the television, almost like he was trying to get inside the news anchor’s mind. A blank stare.

“ I remember when Theodosia died”, Aaron started. Alex snapped his head towards Burr. Someone had to talk. Otherwise, Aaron would go mad. “ I could not accept it. I left the hospital with Theo, and we sat and talked like normal. She didn’t know what was going on. We made dinner and set a plate up for Theodosia. Full course meal, by the way. I made us salads, finger sandwiches, grilled chicken with couscous, and a homemade cheesecake. All were Theodosia’s favorite foods. Theo ate her meal and didn’t want to leave the table until her mommy came and ate the great dinner we had just made. I went into our kitchen and cried after that. You know, Theo fell asleep at the table that night. I carried her up to her room, put her in her pajamas, and tucked her in. After that, I was so mad. I threw the plate we made for Theodosia against the wall, tore down every picture frame of us together. The whole nine yards. I cut my hand at some point. I did not care. It was not until I heard Theo scream at me that I snapped back into it. Our dining room was covered in red droplets and broken glass. My five year old daughter bandaged me up.”

“ Why are you telling me this?”, Alexander interrupted. He had shifted from his fetal position to sitting up and facing Aaron. Aaron sighed.

“ Twelve years ago, I felt like I had no one. I took my anger out on my house and made my child have to take care of me. Don’t do that to your kids”, Aaron replied. A mist had settled in his eyes. Alexander had heard about Theodosia Burr before, but he had never been given the full story. Usually, Aaron would just tell anyone who asked about Theo’s mother that she was no longer in the picture. No longer in the picture had turned out to mean died of brain cancer at the age of twenty-six. Her and Burr had officially gotten married less than a year prior; however, office gossip had said that Aaron and Theodosia had been seeing each other since he was seventeen and she was twenty-one.

Aaron took his hand and placed it on Alex’s knee. The younger man flinched slightly. “ You have people Alex. I know you. You bottle feeling up until they explode. If you are going to explode, don’t do it in front of your kids”, Aaron said, looking directly into Alexander’s eyes. Alex watched as an idea flashed through Burr’s mind. “ You should come to brunch with me and my friends next Wednesday. They will be the perfect people to talk to about this.” The certainty in Burr’s voice was uncanny.

“Do they just love hearing about a guy complain about his wife dying or something?”, Alexander spat at Aaron.

“ We are all widowers, so ya”, Aaron said calmly.

“Widowers?”, Alexander asked.

“ Men who have spouses who have passed.”

“Oh, shit”, Alex exclaimed softly. Aaron swiped out his phone and rapidly tapped the screen. A small buzz went off in Alexander’s pocket. An address to a popular French restaurant popped up. He remember going with Eliza there once before they got engaged. He ordered water and the cheapest thing on the menu in order to keep the bill low. A broke college student had no place at Cafe du Fromage, but it seems Aaron and his friends do.

Aaron began to collect himself and stood up. As he approached the door, Alex spoke again. “ The woman who was riding with Eliza woke up.” His words were precise. Just as chilling as when Eacker told him earlier that day. Aaron halted in his tracks.

He turned around. “ Did you know her?”, he asked, not wanting to trigger Alex.

“ Maria Reynolds, she was...is a clerk at some craft store in town. Her and Eliza had been friends on Facebook for four years”, Alex said coldly. He didn’t describe to Burr how he had sat in his car looking up every piece of information about Ms. Maria Reynolds: how she was recently divorced, how she dropped out of college two years prior, every selfie she had ever posted on Instagram, her last tweet being ‘ going on a trip this weknd w/ the misses #werkforlove #cantsaynotoher’ , her love of the color red. Maria was the type of woman Eliza spent her last moments with, and Alexander did not know if they were even good moments.

Burr moved back into the room. “ Are you going to visit her?” Alexander quickly shook his head no. “ It might bring you closure”. No response. “ Just text me with what you decide to do. I can always bring the guys around if you need a different person to talk to”, Aaron said. He went back up to Hamilton and wrapped his arms around his friend. He whispered into Alex’s ear,” Please don’t be stupid. I am here for you”, before leaving the house.

The words rang through Alexander’s head as he walked to his room. Something was different when he entered. Every photograph of Eliza in the room was gone. Not just the photos, but the frames as well. Along the back wall, a lone screw protruded from the wall. Now, she was gone from his safe haven as well. God has a cruel sense of humor. A folded piece of paper rested on the nightstand. ‘It was the hardest for me seeing her face everywhere. Come to lunch anytime - Burr’.The note found itself in the garbage can along with other miscellaneous perfume bottles and a hair brush.

Without changing out of his clothes from the day, Alexander tried to fall asleep, but every time his eyes closed, her face haunted him. It was no longer the cheery facade she wore. It was the corpse. Eliza’s eyes were sunken in as she said goodbye to Alexander that night. If he were to check the drawers, her nicest lingerie would probably be missing, along with the money he had found a few weeks prior. He should have known it was not from selling things at a consignment sale. She was unhappy, but why would she not have told him. They told each other everything, or at least, Alexander told her everything. They were best friends. They had three kids together. What if this had been going on for a while though? The worry found itself deep in Alexander’s mind. John Church had been a surprise for both of them, but was he more of a surprise for Eliza: a spawn of her promiscuous habits.

Luckily, sleep overcame Alexander quickly. He no longer had to think of the legitimacy of his son.

--

The funeral was said to be a beautiful ceremony filled with every person Eliza had ever met or touched in some way, shape, or form, except for Alexander. He could not bare to see her again, even if she was in a closed casket. Peggy drove the kids up to the Schuyler estate that morning and back down after the service. Philip bursted into his father’s room afterwards in a desperate flurry. Tears still cascaded down his cheeks as his collapsed beside his father.

“Is it my fault Daddy?” Philip had not called his father that in many years.” I made you call her twice. I made her check her phone. I am the reason she crashed”, his son sobbed into his shoulder. Alexander held Philip as tight as he could. The thought was unimaginable.

“ It isn’t your fault son. I promise you”, his voice broke from crying the entire day,” You are perfectly fine. Your mother loved you and would never blame you. I will never blame you for anything. It isn’t your…” They both crumbled even further into each other’s arms. The door opened even more to reveal Angie and John Church. They both climbed up the bed and wrapped themselves around Philip and Alexander.

“Is everything going to be alright Daddy?” John Church asked into the back of his father’s shirt. Alexander took a deep breath. Would everything be alright? Their entire lives were just changed. His three children were now motherless. He was now a widower. It all seems so hopeless at the moment. Alexander then began remembering his time in Nevis. After his father left him, he was no older than Angie. His mother was able to get them through though. She held him like he was holding his kids. She would stroke his back and sing him to sleep when times got hard. They made it through.

“ Yea, we are going to be alright”, he replied, squeezing his son’s small hand.

Burr would know what to do right now. He would know. Alexander knew he should text his friend but decided against it. Not right now. Maybe tomorrow. Right now, he needed to be there for his kids. Soft snores filled the room as each Hamilton went to sleep. Alexander glanced around at his kids and sighed in relief. Everything was going to be alright.

Chapter Text

John Laurens never asked for much. He hated using his Dad’s money for school, but he did anyway. He asked Martha Manning out to please his dad. When Martha asked to come back to his place, he did not say no. He begged Martha to keep the baby, even though she did not want to. When Martha wanted to go out on her family’s boat one afternoon, John asked her to stay home with him and the baby. She said no. He did not ask to be a single parent at twenty-six.

He did not finish medical school, but he did get a nursing license. His Dad was supportive of taking care of little Frances until John was offered a chief nursing position in New York when his daughter was five. They packed their bags and left South Carolina for good. In New York City, John met his best friend Lafayette when the younger man came in with a broken wrist. They began talking about Lafayette’s newest boyfriend, and how he wanted to leave the rough man. That led to the two into becoming roommates, and John met Lafayette’s kid, Georges.

The blended household matured together. One summer day, they were all in Central Park when they met Aaron Burr. He was with his daughter Theodosia, who had began playing with Georges and Frances.The parents talked for hours about their work life, kids, and any topic under the sun. It was not until Georges came up to Lafayette that the dads realized it was night time. John and Lafayette got Aaron’s number and planned a lunch for the following Wednesday.

It was then that they all realized that they had one striking thing in common: they are all widowers with children. Aaron was expressing his doubts as a father without his wife, also name Theodosia. Lafayette chimed in on how raising Georges was a hard shift for him after Adrienne died. He had went from travelling for work constantly to moving all of his business onto video calls he could take out of his home office. John told his friends about losing Martha and having Frances put him in a state of depression he could not get out of until he moved away from South Carolina. After many tears and heartfelt compliments about their parenting skills, the men decided to meet up once a month to talk more about their issues.

Less than a month later, Lafayette sent an SOS text in their group message about his friend Thomas who just lost his wife. They all met up and helped the Virginian go through the grief. Thomas’s wife, Martha, was murdered by her sister on a family vacation. While the Southerner was telling his tale, John felt the urge to help these men more than ever. Once Thomas finished, John decided that they all needed to meet up once a week instead and support each other no matter what. There was no objections.

It has been three years since the official first meeting of the Widower’s Club, as it is affectionately called by Lafayette. They got their title after Georges showed his father the Breakfast Club. John introduced Lafayette to his old friend from college, Hercules, who was immediately caught in the French whirlwind that is Lafayette. Georges loves Hercules, partially because he taught the young Lafayette how to plait their hair properly. Within that, Hercules brought along his cousin James to one of the summer barbecues, and Thomas wanted nothing more than to know the quiet man.

John sat back and watched his friends all fall in love and grow up while he just stayed with Frances. He had moved on from Martha a long time ago, but part of him felt like Frances never crossed the same bridge. He would never force the young girl to forget her mother, but he also wanted her to experience life with him.

Nursing helped John the most with the grieving process. Helping others is his passion. Whether it was with opioids or just a good talk, every patient who left Laurens care felt like a new person. The head of the hospital tried to persuade the young man, now only thirty-six, to continue his time at medical school, but John refused. Frances need him.

He completely forgot it was a Wednesday when he got Aaron’s ‘where are you text?’. He was talking to a patient who had been in a car accident a few week prior.

“ Well, Maria, I got to take my lunch break. Your charts look normal, and I think your concussion has gone away. You should not have to come back for any more check-ups.” The poor girl. She was driving with her girlfriend for a romantic getaway for their four year anniversary when a semi pushed them off the road. Maria froze in her seat after seeing her girlfriend dead beside her. It took the police three hours to get her out of the car, but luckily, she only had a concussion and some minor scarring. Sadly, the woman did not think herself as lucky.

“Thanks John. I just don’t know how I can forget about Eliza”, she replied.

“ Time is the only thing that works. Just don’t do anything stupid for the next couple of weeks. You can always come back here if you need to talk. Just tell the receptionist to page me”, he then stood up and hugged the woman. She had a few tears cascading down her face as she left the examination room.

John clocked out for his lunch break and did not have time to change out of his scrubs. He pulled his hair into a high ponytail before sprinting to Cafe du Fromage. The hostess gave him a concerned look when he entered the cafe covered in sweat and breathless. He waved her off before walking to the back room where the group usually sat.

Cafe du Fromage was a small cafe in the middle of the city. It was at the bottom of some office building, but most people came for the cafe. Large window panes covered the walls as small black metal tables dotted the inside. A pastry counter was at the front of the cafe, where patrons could choose from different croissants and cakes. John’s personal favorite was the carrot cake. Further behind the pastry counter, an actual restaurant area was. Larger booths and tables filled the room. White table cloths and candle sticks were in the center of each table while diners ate finer French cuisine. Even further though, private rooms meant for business launched lined a hallway. John prefered these rooms, because they allowed the men to talk about whatever without the judgemental looks from older couples and waiters.

When John arrived at the room, his usual spot next to Lafayette was taken by probably the most beautiful person he had ever laid eyes on. Black silky hair rested on his shoulders as his wide brown eyes looked intently at Aaron Burr. He occasionally cracked a smile, but otherwise, he seemed sad. Must be a new widower.

“ Y’all started without me”, John stated as he fully entered the room. All heads turned towards him as Lafayette frantically waved to his friend. John took a seat by Aaron, mainly just so he could stare at the new guy. He could not be any older than thirty.

“ Mon ami, we could never start any fun without you”, Lafayette said with an exaggerated wink. Thomas and Aaron laughed at the Frenchman’s joke, all remembering how he tried to offer up the idea of a foursome to the group before he met Hercules. They all said no, and he still tried to bring it up any time he could. The new guy oddly smiled like he did not get the full joke. How cute.

“ Who are you?” John asked. The new guy perked up his head towards John before opening and closing his mouth slightly almost like he did not know exactly what to say.

“ This is my friend Alexander. His wife passed around a month ago, so I invited him to join us”, Aaron replied smoothly. Alexander. Such a beautiful name. He should never have faced such a tragedy. John would do anything to make the man smile. As he kept staring at the man, he noticed the bags under his eyes and the constant shakiness of his hands. The glass of wine trembled as is reached his lips, allowing the crimson liquid to flow into his full lips.

The group settled into casual conversation after Aaron introduced Alexander to the table. Lafayette went on a tangent about how the school was not letting Georges wear a skirt to class, causing Alexander to ask how old Georges is. Turns out, Alexander has a son that was almost fifteen, which was how old Georges is. They also go to the same school. The two discussed how terrible the school board was even though it was the best school in their area. John watched the passion flood into Alexander’s eyes as he talked about his son and the inequality in schools. He also mentioned his other children, Angie and John Church. Three kids. Wow. It has to be so much harder for him without any help.

A waitress interrupted the group to ask what everyone wanted to eat. While Thomas went on to order the most expensive item on the menu, which was lobster tail and filet, everyone else went with their usual meals: pear and kale salad for Lafayette, a ribeye with a baked potato for Aaron, and salmon for John. Alexander froze when she asked him for his order.

“Um, I don’t know….um”

“He’ll have the fettuccine alfredo with grilled chicken and mushrooms”, John rattled off. The man looked shocked at John, but the waitress just nodded before leaving. “Sorry if that is not what you want. I just know it's a pretty decent dish for your first time here.” Alexander smiled before looked back down at the table.

After a couple more minutes of chatter about their weeks, Alexander spoke up. “ How do you guys deal with the loneliness?” Everyone went silent. Aaron glanced between each of the other men, waiting to see who would go first. Thomas coughed into his napkin while Lafayette took a sip of his wine. John would have to go first.

“ I remember when I got the news about Martha. I was only twenty-six at the time, and we had only been married for around six months. I didn’t really start missing her until I realized I had no one my world like me anymore. I had Frances, but that was pretty much it. I kinda just moped around until I got a job offering here. The loneliness won’t go away in a day. Hell, it's been ten years, and I still feel it. But, focus on something or someone that makes you happy. Realize they need you as much as you need them, and everything will work out in the end.” Everyone was looking at John as he spoke. Lafayette had heard him giving a different version of this speech to Georges one night a couple of years ago and crying through it all. He admired that his friend had grown so much.

Alexander looked astonished at John Laurens. His eyes were filled with a mix of emotions no one at the table could identify. “Thank you”, he whispered. Aaron patted John on the back.

“ No one could phrase it better Mr. Laurens.”

“I mean, who would?”, John joked. The table resumed its mostly cheery atmosphere. John occasionally looked over at Alexander as the man grew more and more comfortable with the group. As soon as everyone’s meal arrived, the talking stopped except for small comments on how well done the meal was. Aaron announced it was two o'clock, causing Lafayette to jump out of his seat.

“Merde, I forgot I have to pick up Georges early today. Au revoir, mes amis”, he said, leaving forty dollars on the table and dashing out. Thomas also said he needed to excuse himself. His excuse was the life of a senator. Aaron also said Washington needed him to finish an article, leaving John and Alexander at the table.

John could have stayed there for hours, but a buzz in his pocket alerted him of an emergency at the hospital. His receptionist wrote : Maria, again. John then called her, apologizing to Alex while he dialed the number.

“ Hey, is it Ms. Reynolds again? I thought I saw her earlier today”, John noticed how Alexander perked up when Maria’s name was mentioned. John pulled away from his phone, “ I’m sorry. A patient needs me.” Alexander nodded and looked down at his phone, also buzzing. He took the call. The man on the other side of the line sounded older, and he spoke rapidly.

Alexander put down the phone before throwing some money on the table." Well Laurens, we seem to be going to the same place. I'll drive." John tried to hide his smile as they walked out of the restaurant together. He did not hide it at all when he started walking the wrong way and Alexander grabbed his hand, pulling him to his car.

Chapter Text

Listening to his dad handle the phone call with the police started everything. Then, there was the funeral. Since Alexander did not go, Philip had to be a pallbearer. John Church did not know why his mom was going in the ground. Angie clung to either one of her aunts. Philip is too old to cling the the skirts of his aunts. He stood isolated as his mother, his rock, was lowered at a painfully slow pace into the earth. Peggy placed a hand on the eldest shoulder, but it felt weightless. Everyone was sad, but Philip was devastated.

Even though he knew she was gone, Philip did not want to accept it. After the funeral, he tried to go out with his friends, pretend like everything was alright. It was not. They all noticed his fake smile and called him out for it. They just gave him pity-filled glances and tried to comfort him. What was the point? Everyone is going to die some day, so why would Philip have to suffer with people who do not truly care about his happiness. All his friends want is their old friend back, but that Philip is gone.

First, Philip rearranged his room: ripped down all the poetry posters him and his mom bought whilst Pinteresting, emptied his closet of the bright accent pieces, replaced them with dull colored sweaters, and covered his writing desk with clothes. Along the walls in Philip’s room, his mom and dad put in a built-in bookcase, which was quickly filled with different poetry novels throughout the years. Philip began adding his own soon afterwards. Now, he tried reading his happy hymns about spring’s bounties, but no rhyme or reason could fill the void in his soul. He sat in the midst of the shredded posters and cloths and wrote, documented the pain. Tears began to fall and stain the page, but Philip no longer wanted defined words. Everything around him was crumbling. Why not the paper as well?

Philip also gave religion a quick try. No amount of prayer could save Eliza. It was too late. She had no chance of returning to hold her son one last time. Philip recalled his father saying that he would blow them all away, but it was Eliza who did that. She destroyed the family like a hurricane raging through the Hamilton household, leaving the broken family behind. No God could save them now. The damage had been done.

His poems moved from cursing the world through odes to tearful pantoums about how his life is pointless. His pen marks shifted from aggressive slashes to shaky loops. When Philip would have to walk to the bathroom down the hall, he would step on the leftover bits of the memories him and his mom shared. Why did he destroy them? There was no reason to. Wet streaks stained his cheeks constantly.

Returning to school did not help. With no friends, Philip became an outcast. Almost everyone had heard what had happened and would not smile at him as he walked down the hallway. Even the kids who have hated him since elementary school tried to apologize. Fuck them. Fuck everyone. No one could understand the suffering plaguing the boy now man. He had to be a pillar for his family to hang on to while everyone else leisures on with the joys of life.

It was a Tuesday afternoon when Philip walked into his Chemistry class. His day had been filled with meaningless classes that the teachers gave him participation grades in just to pass him. Mr.Frederick, Philip’s chemistry teacher, sat back at his desk when the boy walked in. Since no one talked to him anymore, Philip showed up first to every class. It did not help his grades. He moved towards his table and sat his stuff down, waiting for the bell to ring and tell the other students to join him. Mr. Frederick was whistling to himself while printing something.

“ Hey, Hamilton. Come up here”, Frederick said, signalling at the same time for the boy to return to the front of the class. Great, another teacher who wants to ask the boy how he feels. Philip huffed before getting up. “ Don’t be a dick Philip.” Mr. Frederick was Philip’s favorite teacher before everything happened. He had been teaching chemistry for fifteen years before Philip had him, so the man had perfected lectures down to a bad pun to see who was paying attention. Speckles of gray threaded themselves through his hair and were only visible when a person walked real close to him.

“What do you want, Mr. Frederick”

“Sit down son”, Mr. Frederick said, motioning to the stool beside his desk. Philip sat in the awkward chair, that never allowed anyone to get comfortable, before turning his attention back to his teacher. “ Your grades are slipping.” Philip was right; all anyone wants is to tell him is how he needs to get over it or take some time off. How dare he? Mr. Frederick interrupted Philip’s thoughts with,” We are having a group project soon. I already emailed your partner, and they are completely cool if you need to take it easy at the beginning. All I’m asking of you is to help them with the experiment data; otherwise, you are good.”

“Who is my partner?” Philip asked immediately after Frederick had finished. His teacher laughed and shook his head. Frederick began opening his mouth, but the bell rang, silencing them both

“ You will see with your classmates”, Frederick smiled, grabbing the piece of paper off his printer and hanging it on the front board.

Philip’s eyes scanned down the list until he reached his own name. Philip and Georges. Not Georges. Anyone but Georges. The Devil must have it out for the fourteen year old. First, the death of his mother and now working with Georges Lafayette.

Philip rushed back to his seat and hid his face in his hands. It had to all be one sick dream that he would wake up from any minute now. A deep, dark abyss waiting to suck the poor boy in trapped him in the prison of sleep. He had to be sleeping. His eyes glanced up, scanning every classmate who walked into the room. Before the final bell rang, Georges waltzed in and saw everyone surrounding the front whiteboard. Philip could not see their face but could tell it was most likely covered in disappointment. If it was a dream, they would make a large scene, exclaiming how no one would ever want to work with someone as lowly as Philip; however, Georges was walking towards him. It was no dream.

“Hey, Philip, right? It seems like you and I are partners”, Georges said while wiggling his eyebrows. Georges is the most gorgeous person Philip had ever laid eyes on. No one person should have such a defined jawline, flawless curly hair always in a braid down their crown, and warm chocolate eyes; however, Georges did. They put their stuff down at the desk beside the desk where Philip normally sat before rolling up the navy sleeves of their button down. Even their forearms were crafted by the heavens.

This was truly hell.

--

Alexander was walking straight into the seventh level of hell with John Laurens as his guide through the sickly hospital. Neither spoke a word to each other as they entered the building. Eacker said Eliza’s death might not have been accidental. He needed to see Alexander at the hospital right away to meet with Maria. Alex’s presence might make her change her story, make her feel guilty. Fear ran through Alex’s veins as he drove closer to the hospital. Anger was running beside it, but fear was more prevalent. He would have to lie to his kids about the entire encounter, again. He already was not telling them Eliza was driving with Maria but adding that Maria might have murdered Eliza would have been worse.

Once they arrived, Alexander thought John would go off in a separate direction, but he took a left with Alexander. They walked in silence until Eacker came into view down the hallway.

“ Mr. Hamilton, I am glad you came by, and I see you have met Mr. Laurens” , Eacker said in his bellowing voice. He looked tired like he forgot to sleep the night before. His appearance did not rival Alexander’s, who looked like his body had felt the warm comfort of a dream in months. There was an awkward tension in the air as the three men let what was about to happen settle. John did not know the true purpose behind Eacker’s sudden interest in Maria; all he cared about was his patient. Still, he motioned towards the door, and all the men turned towards it.

The slow burning drowning feeling weighed Alexander down as he pushed the door open. Anxiety was the sea, and he had no lifeboat. Constant waves crashed against his feeble body, blinding him from the next attack. He would look towards the sky to only be met with flashes of crimson streaking among the clouds like gashes around a once flawless canvas of blues and whites. They laughed and mocked the poor drowning man as he flailed his arms into the dewy air, signalling for any form of help. No one saw. No one listened to his pleas for forgiveness and help, for water entered his lungs as the sounds attempted to escape.

Each step he took after the door opened dragged him under the waves and further into the abyss. The red gashes grew brighter and more frequent along the seafloor as Alexander walked past the safety of the wall hiding the door. Once he caught his first glimpse of the siren that is Maria, he knew what was pulling him deeper.

She laid across the hospital bed, draped in a scarlet dress that hit her knees. Her hands were folded on top of her stomach as her hazel eyes darted across the room in search of something worth staring at. Once Alexander appeared from behind the door, Maria’s eyes stopped onto him. They widen and became terrified; she knew who he was.

The two did not stop staring at each other. She had pulled him into his seas of worries and now, knew not what to do with him. It was not until John floated between the two did they break eye contact. John stood beside Maria and began whispering into her ear. Her arm shot out to grasp at anything in the room before latching onto John. Even though she could swim perfectly in the rough waters, she clung to the only lifeboat, making Alexander feel even more alone in his drowning. Even Eacker remained close to the door, almost invisible in the abyss.

“Ms.Reynolds”, Eacker spoke. Even though the phrase was directed towards Maria, everyone turned towards Eacker. He opened the door and pretended to leave yet he remained in the corner of the room. Alex no longer felt as alone. He recalled his true purpose before walking to the hospital bed beside Maria’s.

Goosebumps lined the nape of his neck as he was finally less than five feet away from the last person to see his wife alive. Every emotion Hamilton could be facing raced through his mind. She could have killed her. He could kill her and get revenge for what she did to his family. She could also be suffering like him. He doubts it though. Maria could never comprehend the betrayal, the misery, and the guilt all at once. She would never feel the way he felt.

“ I loved her, you know”, Maria said. Loved her? Maria did not know Eliza like Alexander knew her. Maria had never seen Eliza the way Alexander did. “ We helped each other become better people. What we did, I know it was wrong, but when I was with her, I stopped caring what the world thought. She loved me.”

Rage began boiling inside of Alexander. “She loved me”, he retorted.

“ She did love you, yes, but she died loving me.” Pain flooded Alexander’s body after those words flew like venom from Maria’s mouth. She was truly evil. She is the devil.

Before Alexander was going to respond, John interrupted,” Maria, that’s enough.” His eyes flickered over to Alexander before continuing,” You both lost Eliza. Don’t cause each other more pain.” He spoke like a Southern angel, rescuing Alex from the depths of the raging sea. Maria’s face soften as she began playing with part of her dress like a child who was just scolded.

“What were her last words? Do you remember?”, Alex asked after a few minutes of silence had passed. A small smirk grew on Maria’s face.

“ She was actually talking about you and the kids. How much she loved all of you.” The room returned to the stillness as everyone let the words sink in. Tears welled in Alexander’s eyes, remembering how his wife would always brag about the kids anytime they were with anyone else, even her sisters. Her last thought was probably a flash of Philip’s smiling face as he carried John Church on his back with Angie following behind them. Alexander looked over at Maria to see tears streaming down her face as well. This woman also loved his wife, maybe more than him.

Out of nowhere, an arm wrapped around Alexander’s shoulders. He looked over to see John holding him. A tear rested on the edge of his water ducts. Maybe Alex was not alone in his ocean. There was a lifeboat in the no so far distance.

Chapter Text

John held onto Alexander as Eacker and Maria left the room.Her eyes held an apology in while she said nothing. The words laid on the end of her mouth which was gaping at the sight of her confidant comforted the cause of her problems. She stood frozen in front of the two before following Eacker out the door. He did not say goodbye either. The two men remained alone on the hospital bed in complete silence with an occasional inhale from Alexander breaking the tension. The longer they stayed there, the tension shifted into calm. John’s shoulder was soaked with wet spots from his friend’s tears. He knew he should get back to reality, but Alexander kept him there. It was not until his shoulder began to ache that John realized how long they had been sitting in the room.

A light buzzing came from Alexander’s pant pocket. He slowly pulled out of John’s embrace, leaving both men slightly colder. “Shit!” Alexander exclaimed as he rushed to his feet, wobbling a little bit from his legs falling asleep. “ I forgot I need to pick up my kids. Thank you so much, John Laurens”, he said, rushing all his words together. He then patted his pockets until he figured out what he needed, grabbed a piece of paper from his front pocket, and looked around the room for something. A pen on the table at the front of the room caught his eyes. Suddenly, a tiny slip of paper with random numbers was in John’s hands. “ Call me later. Or text me. I don’t see you as a texting guy so call me”, was what Alexander Hamilton left John with before he bolted out of the room. John looked down at the small piece of paper and smiled. He got Alex’s number without even having to pull out the pickup lines.

--

It had been almost a week since Alexander last talked to John, and he was getting a little nervous. He had no idea why. It was not like the freckled man held some part of Alexander that broke off in the hospital room, how John felt like coming home after a long day, or that for those fleeting moments, Alexander forgot all about his wife and could only see the future. None of that. Alex definitely did not sit in his car while waiting for Philip to come out of school staring at his phone to get a text. He also had not had his phone off silent the entire week and had it go off during an interview with a senator. That would be crazy.

After getting to caught up in a new assignment from Washington, who is finally giving his favorite reporter some actual work, Alexander was exactly thirty-three minutes late to pick-up Philip from school. His son sat on the front steps of his school talking to another kid that looked his age.Philip’s back faced his dad, but Alex knew it was his son. His curly hair was tied up in a high ponytail. In all honesty, Alex was shocked to see his son smiling as he spoke to his friend. Maybe it was a more than friend. If Alex had not sent his son a text, Philip probably would have never looked towards his father. The smile quickly faded from his face as he looked to have said goodbye to his friend. The person stood up to hug Philip and gave him kisses on both cheeks, causing for a blush to spread across Philip’s cheeks. Maybe it actually was a more than friend. Once a flustered Philip got in the car, his dad knew he had to ask the question.

“So I see you got a little friend?” A blush rose to Philip’s face. “ What’s his name?”

“ Their name is Georges, and we are just partners on a project for chem”, Philip responded while shuffling through his backpack. Georges? That name sounded familiar.

“ You know, in my day, I did not just kiss any of my Chemistry partners on the cheek. Only the special ones”, Alexander began. Philip’s cheeks grew redder as they drove out of the parking lot. He frantically looked through his backpack before finding a pair of headphones.

“ Their dad is French or something. It’s what they do, I guess”, Philip said. After he put in his headphones, Alexander knew the conversation was over. French? That must be Lafayette’s kid. Alexander would have to ask Aaron for the Frenchman’s number later, so they could talk about this. They drove to Christopher Jackson Middle School to pick up Angie. She now had practice until four thirty.

Angie did not originally want to do soccer; however, her school let out earlier than Philip’s, causing a problem for Alexander. He sat his ten-year-old down and bargained with her to join a club. She is strong willed, like her aunt by the same name, which will be a great quality one day, but it is not when Alex just needs his daughter to play some sport. He suggested dance while Angie wanted softball. They somehow compromised on soccer. She made a better lawyer than Alex had ever hoped.

When Eliza was alive, she never let Alexander forget about picking up the kids. She would set up reminders the night before on his phone for every five minutes to not let him get caught up in work and forget. She would also send him little text messages throughout the day until he would be pulling up to Philip’s school. His oldest son knew Alexander would turn every alarm off except for the last two and always sent his father a last minute warning. In the recent weeks, their only form of communication had been the reminder text to pick him up.

Angie bounced out her school to the car, dragging John Church behind her. He would be walked up from the elementary school by his teacher and watch Angie’s soccer practices. They buckled up in the backseat, getting dirt all over the seats and floors.

“ How was your day darling?” Alexander asked his daughter. She launched into a dramatic retelling of her day with John Church interjecting his own parts. From what Alex heard, she got a B on a spelling test, and some other girls tried to take the ball from her during practice. John Church ate macaroni.

Halfway home, Alex’s phone buzzed from its place in the cupholder. He reached for it, but Philip snatched it before he could reach it. “Philip, give me my phone”, Alexander said.

“No Dad. You’re driving”, his son responded while reading the text message.

“Are you going to at least tell me what it says?” Philip remained silent as he put the phone back in the cup holder. He looked out the window with wide eyes.

Once they got home, Philip bolted out of the car and into the house while Alexander helped Angie and John Church out of the back seat. He pulled out his phone to read what the message had said:

Unknown: Hey Alex! Its John, John Laurens, remember from lunch last week. i had a lot of fun talking to you and was wondering if you and the kids want to come over saturday for a bbq, just let me know!!

Why was Philip upset by that? It was just John asking if they wanted to go to a barbeque where all the kids could meet. As Alex walked into the house, he saw Angie sat at the dinner table working on her homework, and John Church sitting beside her, coloring something. Their shoes sat on the floor below them as Angie swung her legs occasionally bumping the table up, causing for John Church’s crayon to jerk up. Alexander ran into the kitchen and grabbed some paper towels. He went back to the dining room and put the paper towels under John Church’s drawing.

“Thanks Dad!” he said, looking up from his picture of what looks like their house. He had already drawn Angie and Philip but has not drawn Alex or himself yet. There was a women above the house looking down at the family.

“Who’s that John Church?” Alexander asked. Angie looked over from her homework to see the drawing.

“ It’s Mommy, duh. She isn’t here anymore, but she’s still here. My teacher said that Mommy will always be watching me, so I drew her watching all of us”, the youngest Hamilton responded. He then went back to coloring, leaving Alex speechless. He stood up from the table and began walking out of the room. He turned around to see Angie wiping her eyes before going back to her work. His kids were doing so well. They were handling the entire situation better than Alexander ever would.

In Nevis, Alexander was left all alone after his mother died. Only his half brother to comfort him, but he left soon after. Just like his father. Alex could not have just been back to his carefree self in a month. He wallowed for ages all while working and writing. Philip was handling it more like how Alexander did. Speaking of Philip.

“Do you two know where your brother is?”

Angie looked up again. “Check his room. He seems to always be in there now.” He was not going to argue with that. Although he would never tell his son, Alexander had gone through Philip’s room after he was dropped off at school some days. He would check for sharp objects and lighters. The medicine cabinet now had a lock on it and so did Eliza’s craft room. Alexander knew the signs of depression and asked Aaron about it at work. Burr told Hamilton to just be supportive and gave him a checklist of things to keep hidden. Luckily, Philip had not mention his missing shaving razor.

Philip’s door was shut when Alexander got to it. He knocked and waited for a response. Some light mumbling responded. He pushed the door open to see his son sitting on his bed staring at the ceiling. “Hey buddy. Do you want to come downstairs and help with dinner?”, Alex asked.

“No. I’m busy”, Philip responded, not moving from his spot on the bed.

“Busy doing what exactly?”

“ Homework.”

“Where is it then?”

“I don’t know. Over there somewhere”, Philip said, motioning over towards his desk and backpack.

“Well, until you find it, you can help me with dinner. I can’t do this all on my own”, Alexander said, raising his voice slightly at the end.

Philip shot up and glared at his father. “ If you need help, why don’t you ask John. It seems like you are having no trouble moving on from Mom while we have to suffer along”, he shouted at his dad. Alexander took a step back in shock. Never had Philip yelled at him.

“Wait are you talking about?”, Alex began taking steps towards his son.

“John! You are already going out to lunches with someone, and Mom hasn’t even been dead for more than a month. Did you even care for her? She loved you so much, and you are acting like you never cared!” Philip yelled as tears began streaming down his face. Alexander took another step forward as Philip got off the bed.

“You do not know what you are talking about, Philip”, he started. He reached out to touch his son, but Philip flinched away.

“ I don’t? I know that Mom is gone. All you do now is work and not care about me. I know you are having lunch with some guy named John. I know he wants to meet us. How long have you been seeing him Dad? Did Mom know?”, Philip paused. Alexander looked his son in the eyes and saw nothing but rage. He always had a temper, but it never came out in front of people. Only in private. “ Answer me! Did Mom know?”

“ Your mother had been cheating on me”, Alexander yelled back. All the anger in Philip’s eyes turned into confusion. He straightened up and stared at his dad.

The room was filled with tension and silence as the two looked at each other. It was not until Philip collapsed to the ground that Alexander made a move towards his son. “ What?” Philip whimpered.

“ Eliza… your mom had been having an affair for the past four years. Please don’t make that see your mom in any other way. She loved you so much, but she made a mistake”, Alexander took a deep breath in. “I meet John in a widower’s club thing, and he was there when I met the woman your mother had been seeing. He has a daughter around Angie’s age and just wants to help us in any way he can” Philip sat gaping at his father. “ I have been trying to be strong for you and your siblings, and it has been so hard. I am worrying constantly about you. I just want for you to be happy Philip, and there is no way that you can be happy if you do not find peace with this”, Alexander’s voice began to crack. “ Eliza’s not coming back. That does not mean she never loved you. It does not mean that she would not want for us to continue living. I know it is hard at first, but you have to remember that she would not want you locked up in your room crying over her. She was a strong woman who never stopped for no one. She needs you to be strong. I need you to be strong.” Philip wrapped his arms around his dad as they sat on the floor together.

As they sat, Alexander began to notice the shreds of paper on the floor and ripped posters on the wall. He really had been oblivious to his kids. He was so worried about getting things back to normal that he completely forgot that he had three other people relying on him now. Philip slowly began to stop crying and just held onto his dad.

“ I am going to try to be strong Dad. I promise.” The two looked at each other and got up off the floor.

“ Do you want to help with dinner, or do you need a minute?” Alexander asked.

“ I’ll be down in a minute to help. I got some cleaning up to do”, Philip said with a smile. It was a genuine smile. It has been so long since Alexander had seen that so close. He nodded and walked out the room. After Alex closed the door, he pulled out his phone and scrolled to John.

Alexander: We would love to come.