'So,' Dean said, 'what's it going to be? Door number one or door number two?'
'Door number-none-of-the-above Dean.' Where this confidence was coming from, I had no clue but all of a sudden it was oozing out of me. I think it was because he once again, was trying to sacrifice his life for mine. Hadn't he changed at all? Didn't this past year teach him anything? He could survive without his burden of a brother. He could live a normal life with normal people in normal suburbia and stay safe. What more did he want? He had it all and he was willing to give it up or – worse - screw it up because of me? I had to make him realize; he brings me into the mix and all things good change. If he wasn't willing to save himself, then I had to.
'Why not?' He asked again with a frown so intense I wondered if it was going to cause permanent indents in his forehead. Man he was pissed and upset, even hurt but I was convinced, pretty soon; once I got through to him, he would calm down and realize this was all for the best.
'Because neither option will work.'
'What the hell do you mean? Both of them will if you give them a chance.' He tried.
Studying the ceiling and holding his breath for what seemed like an eternity didn't seem to work. He closed his eyes and breathed out before glaring at me again. 'So once again, you get your own way and I don't have a say. You get to make the decision for both of us and I just have to deal with it because that's the way you want it.'
'What?' That was stupid. In fact, that was probably the stupidest thing I had ever heard him say.
'This decision of yours affects me too Sam. How come I don't get a choice? How come you get to make that decision for me?'
'You always go on about how you don't like being told what to do, or have decisions made for you but aren't you doing the exact same thing to me right now?'
Where was Bobby? I needed Bobby. He would know what to say to this, because, honestly; I had no idea. It sounded like he had a point. It even sounded like he was right…but how could he be when these two options would turn his life to crap?
'You can't go giving me ultimatums Dean, especially ones that screw with you.' That was good. That was a good one. Yes, confidence was coming back. 'What do you want me to do? Choose to mess up your life or …let's see, choose to mess up your life? How can I choose because either way both options mess up your life!'
'According to you.'
'Not me. You.'
'Dean.' I sighed eyeing my phone. I didn't like where this was going and was happy to admit I needed help. My brother was stumping me at every turn. Less than half an hour ago I was completely sure this was the best thing for all of us but the arguments he was firing at me were implanting major doubts.
'This has nothing to do with Bobby. Don't even think about bringing him into it.' He said obviously reading my thoughts. 'This is you and me Sam. That's it. You and me.'
'What do you want me to say?' Feeling myself weaken was a lousy sensation but it was happening. I could feel every ounce of my strength deflating right in front of him.
'I want you to think about what I want as well – and then with that in mind, I want you to think about what you want.'
'I told you-'
'You told me your idea was the last thing you wanted.'
Dammit. Freaking hell.
'Can I please call Bobby?'
'I don't know. I can't answer these questions.' Now everything was stressing me out. My mind was blank, I needed help, I didn't know what was right or wrong anymore and I wanted this conversation to end.
'And then –' He continued, 'I want us both to decide on what to do next.'
Sounded good, I had to admit.
'Together.' He finished.
'But I can't move in with you guys. I can't do it.' I already knew that. Of all the uncomfortable and awkward situations to be in, let alone live in. Dean goes to work and I'm stuck at home with Lisa and Ben? I think not. Seriously, I think not.
'Okay, I understand that.'
Was this my brother talking? Maybe he had changed. He didn't seem to fear words like he used to. I was constantly expecting him to stop me from saying any more, shut me...or himself down like he used to.
Wouldn't you know it…the one time I was silently begging him to, was the one time he didn't.
'So me moving in with you and Bobby?' He questioned.
'Means you lose Lisa and Ben. You don't want that.' And before he could argue, I added; 'And I don't want that either.'
'You want a coke?' He asked me standing up and moving over to the fridge.
'A beer.' I said happy to not receive the same look Bobby would give me at the mere suggestion. Awesome. Maybe a beer would get me thinking properly.
'You don't have any.'
Beer, we both needed beer. The last thing on my mind when I left Lisa was beer – which was kind of weird - but I was so pumped to tell Sam the news he despised so much, it didn't even register. What a frickin downer. Stupidly, this was the last reaction I expected, but then again, stupidly, this was the last idea I expected to confront when I stepped into their room with two full plates of food.
'Want to get some?' Sam asked me.
'Yeah, let's go.' I didn't know whether he meant to a store or a bar but I was keen regardless and led the way out to the Impala.
'Should we call Bobby and tell him we're going out?' He asked as he clicked in his seat belt.
'Nope.' Bobby was a second father to us, that was true but there were just some things brothers needed to do on their own; especially at our age. We were grown men, not freaking teenagers and even though sometimes - lately - Sammy was acting more like a teenager than a grown man, we still didn't need to tell Bobby.
I was here and that was enough.
So both of us – together – with a case of cold beer sitting pretty on the back seat, decided to go for a drive. And just like old times, we stumbled upon a deserted look-out on our way to destination nowhere.
It was a still and clear night which was exactly what we needed to chill the hell out and get our senses working again. This Lisa and Ben thing weighed heavily on both our minds. Sam was right; I didn't want to lose them but I was willing to if it meant I had to. And Sammy was my 'had to.' He was always my 'had to.'
I wasn't torn, that wasn't the point. Leaving them would be hard but leaving my brother would be harder. It was as simple as that. If only this massive lead ball in my stomach would get the hell out or dissolve or something. The decision may not be difficult but the actual breaking away from them was. Even thinking about that conversation affected me in ways I couldn't quite comprehend.
'What are you texting?' I frowned when I jumped up next to him on the trunk and handed him a beer.
'Just telling him he can go back to the room. He's probably driving around aimlessly.'
'Nothing wrong with that.' I shrugged.
I leant against the back window and took a swig. It was a full moon. Tonight a full moon meant a brighter night. Back then…
Awhile ago it would mean a whole lot worse and I caught myself pondering what evil sons of bitches would be out living it up, ending innocent lives in all kinds of gruesome ways right as we sat here dealing with ourselves instead of saving others.
I glanced at my brother who continued to sit forward choosing nowadays to study the dirt rather than the stars. So much had changed. Too much had gone down and God knows we had paid. We were still paying.
A clump of hair fell into his eyes and for a second, in the moonlight, I saw the eight year old kid I used to take care of. And that was the point. It was always the point, the one thing that would never change; our one constant.
No, we weren't teenagers anymore – or kids. We were men but I would always look after my kid brother because the moment I didn't, the second I didn't...well we all knew what had happened...and be damned if I didn't regret that every single day of my life. My brother could change, that was fine. I would probably fight it all the way, but as long as he was here and I was there to have his back – and vice versa – we would be okay. I was sure of it.
Sammy wasn't talking so I had to start this up again. Taking another swig and watching him do the same, I prepared myself. Maybe being out here in the open would stop the arguing. One could only hope.
'Best case scenario?' I asked him.
'Everyone's happy.' He answered quicker than I expected although still concentrating on the gravel underneath us.
'Wow, Sam. Deep.' The next swig was a longer one. If only I had the answers to this. Did he expect me to? It was easy to have the opposing opinion but having the solution; not so much.
'You tell me then.'
'You really think you would be okay with just Bobby and you?'
Getting the wrong impression immediately, he glanced up at me a little hopefully but a little terrified as well. 'That's not what I meant. It was just a question.'
With a shrug he took another sip and then another. 'I'd be more okay back at his place.'
'That's fair enough.'
'Lisa doesn't like Sioux Falls does she?' He laughed. I didn't.
Would she? I mean she was up for moving. Why not to Sioux Falls? It's not like I had a job holding us down here and hers wasn't so great either but there was Ben and his diabetes, not to mention his friends, school and baseball team. And also Caroline; her sister.
'Dean, I was kidding.'
'I could ask.'
'Now you're talking about uprooting Lisa and Ben – and for what? Me?' He shook his head and ran a hand up and down his thigh. 'That's not fair on them.'
'I could ask. Check.'
The second he glanced back at me, I could read his sad eyes. He was thinking exactly what I didn't want to. The only thing he could see happening was him leaving and me staying. It made me take another gulp and check out the stones to my side, then the trees with leaves that didn't seem to move. Yes, it was a clear and still night, nothing was shifting - especially not my brother.
'Dean, we can visit. We don't have to live together. You don't have to revolve yourself around me all the time. It's your turn to enjoy life for a change. I want that for you. You want that for you. And I have Bobby. You don't have to worry about me when you know I'm in good hands with him.'
I wondered how it happened that he was so much stronger than me, that he was the one who could always pull away, even after everything he had been through, even when he was at his weakest. But when I looked at him again and saw the tears falling from his eyes, I knew I wasn't alone. He was feeling the same as me.
'You need me.' I reminded him one more time.
'Maybe.' He laughed a little. 'But you have a phone right?'
I nodded wondering if I was going to throw up now or later. I didn't know who I was trying to help here; whether it was him or me but once again, I felt myself going against every one of my instincts and I hoped to God I wouldn't regret this decision as much as I regretted the last one.
'Just do me a favor.' He said.
'No more Walmart.'
'Deal.' I sort of smiled.
(To be continued…)
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