Cullen hadn’t seen his Dad in months and it didn’t really matter to him. He had his Grandma, Grandpa and Mom to keep him company. Plus his Mom got him a cool new game called Voidcritters and he loved to train his Vulpes, even though he didn’t have any brothers, sisters, or cousins to play with yet.
The last time his Dad was here it was only for about a month and according to what he overheard his Mom and Dad arguing about is that his Dad wasn’t even here to see him age up. Didn’t his Dad love him enough to be here? As that month went on though his Mom and Dad were back to being happy with each other and loving because his Mom knew he was going to leave again and she wanted to make the most of it. His Dad tried really hard to play with him and help him with his homework but he didn’t really know what Cullen liked. He loved the fact that he tried at least.
While Cullen was lost in thought he realized he let the Karate Bunny beat his Vulpes! He looked in shock as his Voidcritters health bar went down to zero.
“Aw man! Stupid Karate Bunny!”
“You shouldn’t call things stupid mon petit.”
Cullen jumped at the sound of his Mom’s voice and looked up to see her smiling sadly down at him.
“Sorry Momma...What’s wrong you look really sad?”
A sudden realization dawned in Cullen’s head and his shoulder drooped,
“Is Dad not coming home when he said he would?”
Clara leaned over as far as she could, she could feel the baby growing inside of her protesting as she did. Cullen reached up and wrapped his arms around his Mom, squeezing her as tightly as his small arms could.
“Listen sweetheart. What your Dad does is for us, so we can live a nice life and not have to worry about anything. He’s going to be a week later than he said but he promised it won’t happen again.”
Cullen dropped his arms and pulled away from his Mom. He nodded solemnly and walked back to his room so he could crawl into bed.
Clara watched as her son, disheartened, left the room. She felt a sudden anger build up inside of her as she marched into the hallway. Why did Claudio have to do this? If he knew he was going to have to extend it he should have said that in the beginning. Now he’s made his son sad all over again.
Two weeks had passed and Cullen was still moping around the house. Claudio was late coming home and ended up arriving back in the middle of the night. Clara had stayed up waiting for them in their room, getting more livid as each hour passed.
Finally, Clara heard the doorknob turn and saw the familiar tattoo’d arm push it open.
“Where have you been.”
“We got caught up at the airport with some fans.”
Clara sniffed the air and recoiled,
“Don’t lie to me Claudio Belle. You smell like a brewery!”
Claudio leaned his head back and sighed, it was more apparent that he was drunk because he started to slur his words together,
“So what, I had a couple juices with the crew and some fans! I still came home the day I said I would!”
Clara put her head in her hand and balled up her other fist,
“You came home in the middle of the night. Not only that but you came home drunk. On top of that you didn’t keep a promise to me or your son on when you were coming home! I’m pregnant, emotional, and constantly hungry Claudio. I already celebrated Cullen’s birthday with only your parents around and now you can’t even be around to watch him grow up! How many times have you told me how hard it was to grow up without a father? Do you realize you’re doing that to our own son!”
Claudio swayed from side to side, trying to wrap his inebriated mind around what she was saying,
“I promise I’ll do better Clara. I promise I will.”
Clara sighed and shook her head before crawling under the covers,
“There’s no point in trying to explain the damage you’re doing to this family when you’re drunk.”
Cullen was up bright and early in the morning and headed downstairs to grab some leftover dinner for breakfast.
“Hey there champ! Did you get a good night's sleep?”
“Yea I did Grandpa. I see you still haven’t let go of the fact that you aren’t 20 anymore.”
Mason burst out laughing and ruffled Cullen’s hair,
“That mouth of yours is going to get you into trouble some day!”
While Cullen was eating his breakfast he saw a familiar figure sit down beside him,
“Dad! You’re home! When did you get home? I thought you were supposed to be here yesterday?”
“I was here yesterday kiddo, I just came home super late because I had work to do before I got here.”
“Oh...well where’s Mom? Does she know you’re home?”
Cullen noticed a pained look on his Dad’s face for a split second before it disappeared into a smile,
“She’s upstairs sleeping still, the baby is taking a toll on her and she hasn’t been feeling well.”
Harley and Mason had both been eating with Cullen when Claudio came in to eat too. Both them knew all too well what was going on between Claudio and Clara but knew it wasn’t their place to try and fix things.
“Claudio why don’t you take Cullen to the park today? Or we can invite the family over for a BBQ and pool party?”
Claudio shook his head and finished up the leftover food,
“I can’t today Mom. I gotta go to the studio real quick to redo some guitar tracks for the new album.”
Mason noticed Cullen’s smile disappeared and he cleared his throat,
“Son, remember that family is more important than anything you’ll do in your life.”
Cullen piped up in a last ditch effort to get his Dad to stay home,
“Come on Dad! We haven’t spent time together in forever! Plus I miss Uncle Coheed and Aunt Margot, it’ll be fun to invite everyone over!”
Claudio ruffled Cullen's hair as he got up to leave,
“We’ll do it before I have to leave again. I promise.”
Cullen looked down at his half eaten plate of food with tears in his eyes and pushed his chair away from the table,
“I don’t think I’m hungry anymore…”
Bonus: Cullen cheated at chess against Grandpa Mason and tried to play it off! (And he grew up with the good trait)