Protecting David-The Brothers 13
Sometimes, like now when I’m all alone and away from my dads and my brothers, I start to feel like maybe none of that is true, like it was all a dream. That maybe I really am all alone.
The snow was coming down fiercely now and everything on the street looked soft and rounded and white and very cold. What light there was seemed to cause the falling snow to form a type of wall, and all that I could really see were the spot lit snow flakes coming almost straight at me in front of my car. My windshield wipers were barely able to keep up with it, and small glaciers were forming at the edges of the glass. The drive wheels of the car were slipping, and my hands were gripping the steering wheel so hard they hurt. It felt like someone had shoved their fist into my guts and was twisting them.
Suddenly, off to the right I started moving past what looked like a line of wrought iron fencing that was now coated in the wet snow. That triggered something, and I remembered the pictures that I had seen in my dads’ photo album, then there was a large fir tree next to the driveway and I remembered a tree from the photos. There was also a mailbox, but I didn’t see a number or a name, but this seemed familiar in the way a thing can be when you’ve seen a lot of pictures of it, but never seen the thing in real life.
I was pretty sure this was it. I had never been here and had only seen pictures of the house, and now seeing it in the middle of a snow storm, it was tough being sure, but it felt right.
I stopped the car on the street while I thought about it. There seemed to be a dull light glowing from somewhere inside, but there wasn’t a light on at the front door. I turned the wheel to pull into the driveway, and when I stepped on the gas the wheels spun in the snow for a second and the engine raced, but then when I eased off on the gas the wheels caught. The driveway hadn’t been plowed and the snow was deep there, and had drifted higher still in a tall wave that was directly in front of the garage door. If this wasn’t the house, I was pretty sure that I would have a lot trouble getting out of here.
When I stepped out of my car, my feet sank into the deep snow pushing up my pants legs and immediately getting into my shoes. This would be just great! My feet were cold and wet, the rest of me was just a pathetic mess, and I was probably totally lost. Now all I needed was for whoever owned this house to tell me to get lost. When I started to move, my feet slid on ice and I immediately fell forward flat on my face and sank into the wet snow.
By the time I had gotten up and pushed through a snow drift and made it to the front door I was basically wet all over. There was a small glowing button to the left of the door and I pushed it. I could hear a soft chime from inside the house.
A few seconds later the spot where I was standing was suddenly lit up like a stage from an overhead light, and I could hear a heavy sounding bolt being turned in the door.
And then Nick was yelling, “Oh my fucking God! Chris! What are you doing here?”
We both had to work at getting the screen door open, and with him pushing and me pulling it acted like a snow plow as it swung open and cleared a semi-circular spot.
I felt like I needed to explain everything as quickly as possible. “I had some trouble and I was gonna fly home, but then I didn’t and I thought about you…and, and here I am.” My voice didn’t sound normal, but more like a ten year old.
He looked like the best thing I had ever seen, and obviously I had caught him as he was relaxing and maybe even getting ready to eat. He was wearing light gray sweat pants and a white tee shirt. The foyer of the house was warm and I could smell pizza.
Even though I was wet all over and dripping water and snow, Nick hugged me and I could feel the stubble on the side of his face. His feet were bare. Through the thin tee shirt I could feel the muscles of his back. He smelled like soap.
He pushed me away from him and started unzipping my jacket. “Kick off your shoes. We gotta get you outta these wet clothes.” He stopped and looked at me hard. “Are you okay? You’re not hurt or anything?”
I almost started to cry, but instead I just said, “No, I’m fine. Well, now.”
Then he stopped, laughed and said, “Right.” Then, “You know, David’s stuff would probably almost fit you.” He pulled my jacket off of my arms and opened a small closet door and hung it up. Then he grabbed my hand and pulled me gently towards a hallway.
“C’mon, I know there’s a story behind all this, but getting you dry and warm comes first.”
Down the hallway he reached into a room and flipped a light switch. It was a large bedroom with a king size bed in the middle of a wall to our right. He was still holding my hand. An image popped into my head. My dad had told me that when he was a little boy he used to come into David and Mark’s room in the morning and stand next to the bed watching them sleep. It was almost like I could see him there now. I remembered the pictures of him when he was little with his hair so blond it was almost white. It was weird because I had never thought of him like that before.
Inside the room Nick let go of my hand and left me standing in front of the bed while he ducked into the bathroom and came back with a large fluffy white towel. When he got back to me, he looked down at my pants and said, “You better lose those. Just empty your stuff out onto the bed and I’ll put them in the dryer.”
I must have given him an odd look because he laughed and said, “I’ll get you a robe.”
He went to a closet and pulled out a white terry cloth robe. “David and Mark have a full set of clothes here, but it’s all getting pretty old. They don’t seem to get back here much.”
I started to unbuckle my belt and Nick watched me with his mouth slightly open, and then he suddenly said, “Ahhh, I’m gonna put the pizza back in the oven for a minute or two. Are you hungry?” He started to turn to go.
I wasn’t hungry at all, but for the first time it occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten anything all day, so I said, “Pizza sounds good.”
He stopped in the hallway, looked back at me and said, “You look like you could use a beer too.”
I don’t know why, but that seemed to trigger it all and, with my soaking wet pants almost down to my knees, I started to cry. It just all seemed so lame. It was like one long drawn out catastrophe, my whole fucking life.
Nick got a startled look on his face, but in like two seconds his arms were around me and my face was pressed to his chest. This was just so stupid, even for me.
My head was under Nick’s chin, and he said softly, “Adam?” I nodded against his chest while his hands rubbed my back.
He said softly, “I figured it had to be.”
He held me like that for a minute without either of us saying anything. The crying stopped with a shudder as quickly as it had started.
Then Nick seemed to stand up straighter and he pushed me slightly away. He said softly, “You ever drink beer while you were taking a bath?”
I laughed and shook my head no.
“It can be very effective.” He pulled me gently to the bathroom and pushed me towards the closed toilet. “Sit.” I sat.
He turned and started turning on the water for the tub. Then he looked around until he found some sort of liquid soap and poured it into the steamy water which immediately erupted into foam.
He looked at me. “I’m gonna go get us beer. You get naked and get in.” I must have gotten an odd look on my face because he added, “You’ll be in the tub and I’ll be sitting where you are now. Then you can tell me the whole story.”
I actually felt myself smile in what felt like forever. I took a deep breath and said, “You sure can be bossy.”
He grinned and said very quietly , “I’m a very gentle dictator.” Then he laughed and pointed at the tub. “No excuses! Get in there.”
When he walked out of the room I pushed off my wet boxers and then stuck my toe in the water. It seemed too hot, but I decided to ignore that. As I slid into the hot soapy water and leaned back my body seemed to melt. Nothing was really better, but everything sure felt better. In a few minutes I heard Nick coming back and I made sure that my dick was covered with foam.
Nick knelt next to the tub and handed me the beer. “Lemme see you drink some of that.” I took a big swig of the beer. Nick nodded his approval and sat down on the closed toilet.
“Your clothes are in the dryer and I found a pair of David’s chinos that will still probably be a little big on you, but oughta work. They’re on the bed. It’ll look like you’re wearing your father’s clothes, but you kinda will be.”
He looked at me for a moment and then said, “How do you feel now?’
I drank some more beer and then said, “Better. I’ve never been to Milwaukee and I just knew where this place was from looking at a map a few weeks ago and from stuff my dad told me. Then with all the snow I was really getting scared.” I looked up into his eyes. “I guess Adam left me.” My stomach started to lurch at the thought of it and I thought I might puke, but then it settled.
He inhaled and exhaled and then said. “Tell me what happened.”
“I don’t know, not really. Everything was fine. But then this morning his brother showed up and everything went crazy. He saw us…me…and he started to yell at Adam. They had this big argument. It started in our room and then they went outside and Adam never came back. I went to get coffee to, you know, to get outta Adam’s room for a while, when I came back his brother was there.” I could feel the tears starting again, felt them running down my face. “He said a lotta shit to me and told me to get out and stay out, that I hadda take my clothes or he’d burn em. He said that Adam hadda decide what he wanted his life to be like, and he finally did. I kept thinking that Adam would come back, you know, but he didn’t and then I kept trying to call him. I musta called him like twenty times, but he never answered. And then I just had to get away and I started driving, I felt like I was lost and my cell phone was dead….”
I felt Nick’s arms around my shoulders and I laid my head against his arm while I cried. I mumbled against his arm, “He shoulda come back.”
Nick kissed my forehead and said softly, “Yeah…he shoulda.”
I said, “Maybe I shouldn’t blame him, maybe…”
Nick went tense and said, “What? Whadya mean?’
“They’ve been giving him stuff, a new car and money. Maybe…”
Nick put his big hands on either side of my head and gently held it. His eyes were like granite. “That’s crap and you know it! The least, the very least you should be able expect from him is some guts! I don’t wanna hear any crap about how difficult it is for him to do the right thing. That’s bullshit! You deserve better than that! You are better than that!” He looked so intense.
My body shuddered and the crying stopped, hopefully for the last time. I looked into his eyes, he amazed me. He was so confident.
I whispered, “Don’t you ever worry?”
He laughed and let go of my head and shook his head. “Not much. It really is a waste of time. I plan and then I execute the plan. Your granddads taught me that. Well, David taught me to plan and Mark taught me to execute.” He grinned. “Mark doesn’t get the credit he should. He’s a better businessman than most people think.”
I said softly, “Did you ever have a boyfriend? I mean, like a relationship?”
He nodded and said, “Twice, once when I was a senior in high school and the second time when I was a sophomore in college. The first one lasted ninety days and the second almost a year.”
I rested my chin on the edge of the tub. “You were in love?” For some reason that notion captured my mind, to think of him in love was somehow awesome.
He nodded. “I thought so.”
I sat up. “But you weren’t?”
He looked down for a second and then reached over and rearranged some bottles of stuff that were sitting on the tub.
“I guess not.” And then like he didn’t want to keep talking about this, he got up and said, “And now it’s time for us to eat. You’ve burned up a lot of calories today with anxiety, and you can make yourself sick if you don’t eat. You’ve got the bathrobe or you can rummage through David and Mark’s closet and see if anything else fits. David’s stuff is in the closet on the left and Marks on the right.” He grinned. “There’s not a chance in hell that Mark’s clothes will fit you though.”
While Nick went to the kitchen, I went to the granddads bedroom and found a pair of navy blue sweat pants that were way big on me, but they had a draw string. Then I found a ‘Special Forces’ tee shirt in dark green and put that on. It looked like I was wearing the ugliest dark green dress in the world over my dads sweat pants, but it was all clean and dry.
When I walked into the kitchen, Nick leaned against the counter, smiled, and slowly shook his head. “You know, you’re just cute enough to pull that look off.”
I shook my head and walked over and looked at the pizza. “Nobody is cute enough to pull this look off, but thanks. I never thought of myself as cute, more like nerdy.”
He walked behind me and squeezed my shoulders. “Believe me, you’re cute. Want another beer?”
“Sure. But I may fall asleep on you.”
“That wouldn’t be the worst thing. Besides, stress does that. You’ll be coming down from that.”
We divided up the pizza and Nick pushed a salad over to me, saying, “I know green stuff is against the college boy code, but give it a try.”
Then he took a sip of his beer and said, “Want me to call the plane in for tomorrow?”
“No! I mean…God no. It’s not supposed to come until Friday and I don’t wanna ask them to change anything.” Then I got to thinking that he might not want me to be here. “Is it okay if I stay here till Friday? Then we could both fly back like normal.” The whole idea that a jet plane would be flying from Denver to Milwaukee just to pick me up gave me the creeps.
He grinned at me and then looked down at his plate. “Of course it is. I can’t think of any body I’d rather be with.” Then he looked up at me almost shyly and nodded his head. “Well, I mean…yeah, you know, yeah.” Then he grinned and looked down at his plate again and shook his head slightly. “We’re fine.”
We ate in silence for a moment and then, he said, “Did you call your dads?”
I looked up and choked down a huge bite of pizza. “Oh shit! No…my phone was dead…the battery. I guess I gotta call them.”
I must have had a weird look on my face because he laughed and said, “You know them better than I do, but I don’t think I’d be afraid to tell them anything.”
I shook my head. “I’m not scared…it’s just embarrassing.”
He leaned forward and said, “Chris, you’ve got nothing to be embarrassed about. You’ve got stuff to be angry about, but not embarrassed. Your dads will see that, too.”
“Besides, I gotta call Mike and tell him that he’s just coming here, not to Madison, too.” Mike was our pilot and a total stud…not that that matters.
I sighed. “I wish I was more like my brothers. They don’t worry about stuff. They just do whatever they want.”
He shook his head and grinned. “They are a trip…and a little exhausting.”
I grinned back at him. “They’ve got a man-crush on you.”
He looked surprised. “You’re kidding. Right?”
I shook my head. “Nope. You’re right up there with rodeo cowboys.”
He laughed. “Well, I’m flattered, I guess. They seem like nice boys.”
“They are nice. They spend a lotta time driving me crazy, but basically they are nice. I mean apart from doing whatever they want…they’re not mean or anything. They’d never do anything to hurt anyone.” My mind flashed on that guy that attacked me in high school. “Well unless somebody was a real jerk.”
Nick had finished eating, and walked over and put his dishes in the dishwasher.
“If you’re gonna call your dads, I’m gonna send a few emails and then go to bed. I’m in your dad’s old room at the end of the hall, so you’ve got your granddad’s room. There’s a phone in the living room, here in the kitchen and in their bedroom.”
He walked over behind me, wrapped his arms around me, and kissed the back of my head.
“I’m sorry about Adam, Chris, but I’m glad you’re here.” He laughed. “I was getting lonely.”
I put my hands over his arms and held him. He really made me feel safe.
He said, “Oh. What about tomorrow? You wanna just stay here or come with me?”
Staying here alone didn’t sound all that good. “Where do you have to go?”
“I’ve got a meeting in the morning and then that’s it. Wanna come? You could just hang out, then we could go to lunch and go shopping. Whadya think?” He had dropped his head down so that it was right next to mine and his arms were still around me.
I didn’t want to be a pest. “It’d be okay? I wouldn’t get in anyone’s way?”
His mouth was right next to my face and his voice made my spine vibrate. “It would be fantastic! You won’t be in anyone’s way.”
“I’d like to do that then.”
“Cool. We’ll have a great time.”
Nick took off for bed and I went into the living room, sat on the couch, and called my dads. Larry answered.
His voice was tentative, “David….Mark?”
I said, “Dad, it’s me!”
“Chris! Why the hell does the caller ID show David’s old number?”
“I’m at their house in Milwaukee. With Nick.”
“Wh…Why?” Then, “Oh God, you didn’t go there to hit on him? I mean it’d be okay and all, but….”
“No!” Then I told him everything.