Outtake: Godfather #Zeke
We’re back again for another outtake. I picked this one from the pile – it has been there for a while. Someone asking to see ANYTHING about Zeke. Anything at all because he’s an enigma to them. I hadn’t written this before now because at the time, I couldn’t figure out what to write for him, and then this finally popped into my head.
I'm not posting the form to accept more outtake submissions because I currently have 50 to work through alongside some of my own I would like to write. Soon, though. :)
“So, what does this even mean?”
The priest, fully dressed in his robes, and ready to go over one last time how this ceremony was going to happen, turned to give Zeke a look. “Pardon?”
“This godfather thing. What does it even mean?”
The man’s gaze dropped to the bundle of white in Zeke’s arm. Little Cece Donati. He decided to give her mother and father a break after they had their regular mass, and the baby girl cried nearly the whole time. Maybe because she knew in about an hour, she was going to get her forehead splashed with holy water, and wasn’t in the mood.
She looked a lot like her ma, sure.
But acted more like her father.
Even as a newborn.
“Bit late to be asking the purpose of a godparent, isn’t it?” the priest asked.
His arms tightened around the baby. Cece was really the only newborn he could remember holding in … well, ever. He adored her, though. She came from his best friend, and from day one, all he wanted to do was help protect the baby girl.
“I just never really thought about it,” Zeke replied. “What it means, I guess.”
The priest smiled a bit, his hand coming up to rest along the white cap Cece wore for her Christening that matched her baby gown. “It is a great responsibility, Zeke. See, many have turned godparents into something else—a coveted title for their favorite people. And in doing that, they forgot the purpose of a godparent.”
“Which is what?”
Because the priest wasn’t wrong.
Zeke could admit that.
In their culture, picking godparents for a child was as expected as going to church every Sunday. People waited with baited breath to find out who the parents would pick amongst their group of family and friends to do the job. And then once it was said and done, the baby had its Christening, and the deal was finished … the rest was forgotten.
The point of a godparent was lost.
Except at birthdays and holidays in which gifts were given, and someone always thought to mention, that’s from your godparents.
But there had to be more to it than that?
“To be a godparent means a lifelong commitment to the child,” the priest said, running the edge of his thumb down the slope of little Cece’s nose. She didn’t seem to mind the priest’s attention, as she continued happily sleeping away. “Because you see, it is your job to educate this child on her purpose in life where God is concerned. You’re promising her parents, that should something unthinkable happen to them, you will be the person who steps up to continue her guidance in the spiritual aspects. And in some cases, they may even expect you to take an active stance on her religious teachings even while they are around.”
“You are her spiritual guide—that is what you agree to by becoming a godparent. And of course, it is her parents’ right to ask other duties of you, because this is what you’ve agreed to, but that is a case by case basis, and I only step in when asked to help direct you.”
Zeke peeked down at the sleeping baby. “I can do that.”
“Not so scary, hmm?”
Nothing about little Cece was scary.
And he was still learning.
“How about we get this baby Christened?”
“Yes,” the priest agreed, “let’s do that.”
2 years later …
“Pretty,” Cece said, holding up a dandelion she ripped from the grass. “Pretty.”
Zeke didn’t have the heart to tell the girl that her mother paid a lot of money to keep those goddamn dandelion weeds off her grass, and Catherine did not think they were pretty at all. All Cece saw was a flower. Bright yellow, with it’s sticky green stem.
And to her, it was pretty.
“Pretty,” he agreed.
She picked a handful more, and proceeded to dump them right in his lap. Zeke didn’t mind. While she enjoyed herself, he went to work braiding the dandelions into a crown. If there was anything to be known about Cece Donati, it was the fact she was a principessa.
At only two years old, the girl loved everything pretty, pink, or sparkly. Even better if it was a mixture of all those things together. She had a row of shoes that rivaled her mother’s. Her father regularly came home with bags of pretty things just for her. And even Zeke, though girl had more than enough, was known to randomly buy pretty things he saw on his days out just because he knew it would make Cece smile.
Was she spoiled?
That changed nothing.
“Look what I made,” he told her.
Big, happy brown eyes looked up at him, and her lips curved into a wide smile at the sight of the flower crown in his hands. Pleased as could be, she let him put the flower crown in her hair, and then proceeded to sit like a pretty little princess on her throne of gross for him to admire his work.
Zeke could only laugh.
God, he loved this kid.
“I pretty,” she said, in her childish tone.
Zeke nodded. “Beautiful.”
Zeke knew better than to pay Catherine too many compliments, because even if he only meant them in the best way, Cross was a terribly jealous fucker about his wife. Simple as that, and he didn’t like to play with fire.
“Yep,” he settled on saying.
All at once, Cece fell back to the grass, and stared up at the sky. Zeke followed her lead because why not? He tried to spend one day a week with the girl—one day a week that he dedicated most of his time in the day for her. Sometimes, he took her out for lunch and dessert, or to the park, and sometimes, they did this.
Nothing but sit together and play.
Cece loved it either way.
So did he.
He glanced over to find Cece was currently pointing at the sky. Overhear, big, fluffy white clouds filled the blue canvas. “The sky?”
“Yeah, there. What’s there?”
He thought about that.
The most obvious answer was heaven. Whenever people prayed, they looked to the sky as if that’s where the heavens would someday open for them to welcome them home. He didn’t know if that was the case. Was heaven an actual place, or more a state of mind? Was eternal happiness in heaven a thing created by religion to have people check their faith, and what they worked toward, or was it just something to calm people for their fear of death?
As if something worth it was waiting.
He didn’t know.
“Anything,” he told her, “and everything. That’s what’s up there.”
“Oh.” Cece hummed under her breath, kicking her little legs before rolling to her side so she could stare at Zeke. “Go there?”
“Can you go there?”
He had to think about that one, too.
And then, his answer came easily, all at once, and so sure. “You can do whatever you want to do, Cece.”
They would all make sure of it.