Bruno sat behind a desk at Vogel Automotive with a pile of paperwork in front of him.He gave a long sigh as he pushed it away, scattering it everywhere, and not caring.
Three years, three long years he had been pushing paperwork from the desk that he still felt should belong to his Bruder Leo. He knew Leo was happy in South Dakota with his Geliebte (beloved), but he and Leo had always been close and….
Great, now I sound like a whinny child whose favorite toy has been taken away from me! Bruno though with a sigh.
I just miss my Bruder, and I hate doing all this, he thought as he glared at the papers he’d scattered! I hate it! I hate coming to work to do it, and I want out. I just haven’t figured out how to wiggle free of it…yet!
He pushed his chair back and stood up to go stare out the window just as his door opened. Pasting a smile on his face, he turned. He then quickly moved around the desk to embrace his Mutter.
“Mutter, what brings you here?” He asked her as he stepped back.
“Ich bin gekommen um meinen Sohn zu sehen. Er glaubt, seinen Schwermut hinter einem Lächeln vor mir verbergen zu können. Aber ich sehe die Traurigkeit in seinen Augen und es schmerzt mich, wenn er an dem Tisch zu arbeiten versucht, der seiner Meinung nach noch immer der seines Bruders ist. Dies ist so, ist es nicht?” Mutter questioned. (I came to see my son. He thinks he can hide his melancholy behind a laugh in front of me. But I see the sadness in his eyes and it pains me when he tries to work at the table, which in his opinion is still that of his brother. This is so, is it not?)
“Du kennst mich zu gut Mutter (You know me too well Mother),” he answered. He then gave a heavy sigh as they both took a seat on the couch.
She switched from German to heavily accented English then and said, “That is why your Vater and I have made the decision to once more move. Our house and the others have been put on the market. A man comes next week to clear out the inventory here for us.”
Bruno felt his eyes widen at this news.
“How did I not know about this? Vogel Automotive is sold? We’re moving?” He sputtered out his questions in shock.
“You did not know because you are never around anymore. Although, when you are, you are so busy drowning in your sadness, you don’t hear what goes on around you.” Mutter sighed and lay her hand on his knee. “Sohn, we had a buyer for the dealership come to us months ago and make an offer. Today the paperwork was finalized, and the place is sold.”
“Where will we be moving, and who all will be going?” He asked her softly.
“Everyone of course. Nothing here is the same without all my baby birds, and I don’t like it! So, if Leo can survive South Dakota, then the rest of us can also! She told him, patting his leg before standing up. “Now, go start your packing, we leave in a week.”
After saying that, Mutter turned and walked out the door leaving Bruno sitting there speechless.
Two and a half weeks later, Bruno stepped out of the family jet along with his youngest Bruder, Felix, and looked around.
“So, this is South Dakota?” Felix joked as he waited for Bruno to start walking.
Bruno just snorted and walked down the metal step towards the waiting limo. He and Felix had been the last to come because they had volunteered to supervise the final sale and close out of Vogel Automotive. This had put them behind in their own moving plans, but here they were, finally!
Bruno had only been in South Dakota a handful of times to see his Bruder Leo, though he did call him weekly.
He had come for the ‘after wedding’ party of course and met Camilla’s family. Then, two years ago, he had returned for the birth of his niece Heide Roberta Vogel. Cutest little girl, and everyone had spoiled her rotten before she was even a week old. Even her cousin Derek, Falco’s son, thought the world of her.
He and Felix had gotten a place here together because Felix was the restless one. He was always traveling somewhere doing something, so he saw no use in having his own place. Although truth be told, Bruno thought his restlessness had increased lately and wondered if a woman was involved.
“So, Leo seems to like it here. Do you think we will?” Felix asked as he nervously fidgeted with his phone. Then, before Bruno had a chance to answer, he asked, “What exactly are we going to do here anyway? Do you know?”
Looking out the window at the passing scenery, Bruno shrugged. “Who knows what Vater will decide. Although, I think I did hear something about an auto parts store.”
Felix snorted out a laugh. “Are you kidding me? An auto parts store! Why in the world would he…?” He flung his head back against the seat and let out a groan. “Auto parts.”
“Better than a pizza place,” Bruno snickered and waited for Felix to take the bait.
Felix brought his head up and narrowed his eyes. “I like pizza! What I don’t like is dirty, filthy parts of an automobile!”
Bruno laughed. Felix was the “pretty boy” of the five boys. He was almost OCD about the cleanliness of his house, and his body, and did not like getting his hands dirty.
The girls all swoon over Felix, just as they always had Leo. He was actually the oddball in the family because of his light brown hair and green eyes, which he had inherited from Vater. The rest of them had Mutter’s dark brown hair and blue eyes.
Bruno sighed softly, making sure he kept a straight face as he said, “That’s just what I heard Felix, but with Vater, who knows. Maybe you’ll get your pizza place. People might find it a bit odd though.”
Felix frowned. “Why?”
Bruno snickered as he said, “Because, whoever heard of German pizza?”
Felix hit him, but he just laughed.
The look on Felix’s face had been worth being punched in the arm!
Ten minutes later, Felix and Bruno were stepping out of the car in front of their new home. It was a small house with a fenced in, and immaculate, yard.
Bruno took in a deep breath. The air was so dry here compared to Florida.
“Welcome home Bruder. Shall we go in?” Bruno asked.
Felix just shrugged and headed inside leaving Bruno to follow.
Everything should have arrived yesterday.
So, walking inside Bruno paused to look around. Boxes were everywhere, lined up all along the short hallway and he cringed at the thought of all the unpacking to be done.
Following the hallway, Bruno found the living room to his left. Further up, and to his right were stairs leading up to the upstairs bedrooms. A couple of steps more and then a door which opened into a half bath.
Continuing to go straight, he found the kitchen. There was also a small dining area with French doors opening out to a large deck, and a fenced in backyard.
“Not bad, eh Bruder?” Felix asked from behind him.
“Nein, not bad,” Bruno told him, looking around at all the boxes labeled kitchen. “We have quite the mess to straighten up though, don’t we?”
Felix chuckled. “That we do, but after being up most of the night, I just want to pick a room and put my bed in it. Mutter said there are three bedrooms. Two upstairs, master downstairs. I thought you might like the master since I’m gone quite a bit.”
“That’s fine. Did you see our beds anywhere?” Bruno asked as he turned.
“They probably just put them in random rooms,” Felix replied.
So, with Felix leading the way, they headed for the master bedroom. They found most everything in that room.
Felix groaned. “Maybe I’ll just sleep on the floor!”
Bruno laughed and patted his back. “Look, let’s get your mattress to your room if nothing else. That’s all you really need anyway. Then you can sleep a bit and worry about this later.”
Felix looked around. “What about you?”
Bruno shrugged. “I’m fine. I think I’ll set up the TV and watch it for a bit. Now, let’s figure out how to get your mattress.”
He then glared at the boxes as if that would make them move. Why had they put the mattresses in the very back? Did they not realize they would need them first?
So, giving a hiss of annoyance, Bruno and Felix began moving boxes.
Finally, thirty minutes later, they had the mattresses out.
Felix put his mattress his room, along with his nightstand and bed-frame they had managed to find in the process of everything.
Telling Felix good night, Bruno went back downstairs. He then began trying to make sense of the chaos in the living room.
He completely dug the TV out, along with the Blu-ray, the DVD’s, the game consoles along with the games that went with it. Just as he got them all of those things put away on the entertainment center, he heard a noise behind him and turned.
“Why are you still up?” Bruno questioned. “Did I make too much noise?”
Felix shook his head. “Nein, I couldn’t sleep. We don’t need much sleep anyway, and who can sleep with the thought of this?”
Bruno laughed. “Ah… OCD kicking in?”
Felix nodded, looking sheepish. “I began thinking about all those boxes, stacks and stacks of boxes.”
“I’ll finish what I’m working on here then and you start in the kitchen,” Bruno said. “It might be nice to be able to find the stuff to make coffee within there if nothing else.”
“Alright,” Felix agreed, turning toward the kitchen.
At one o’clock in the morning, they flopped down on the couch with a sigh.
“Well, I’m glad that much is done anyway,” Felix said with a groan.
“Ja,” was Bruno’s brilliant reply.
Felix raised his arms up, about to put his hands behind his head. Instead, he paused and frowned. “Whew, I stink!”
Bruno took a sniff of Felix and wrinkled his nose. “Ja, you do,” he agreed. Then getting a whiff of himself he muttered, “but then, so do I.”
Felix looked at Bruno, and Bruno looked back at him.
“Shower?” Bruno asked.
“Shower!” Felix agreed.
So, jumping up they both went to shower off the smell.
After his shower, Bruno decided to just go straight to bed. His room was still a disaster area, but he really didn’t care. He didn’t even have sheets, so he pulled out his comforter and laying it across the bed, he stretched out on it.
Raising his voice slightly, he called out, “Gute Nacht Felix.”
A minute later, Felix answered, “Gute Nacht Bruno.”
So, with a smile on his face, Bruno slept.
“So, are you going to go see Leo today?” Felix asked as he stepped out on the porch.
Bruno glanced up from where he was half laying on the back-porch swing, coffee cup perched on his chest.
“I’m thinking about it. Although, I should probably finish my room. Then I might actually be able to find some clothes to wear,” he grumbled, “and my sheets.”
“Late nights and early mornings do not look good on you Bruder!” Felix teased as he laughed. “You act way to human sometimes.”
“Ja, I know,” Bruno agreed with a yawn. “Oh, and before I forget, Vater said one of us needs to go pick up our supply today.”
“Good,” Felix said. “I haven’t had a drink in a couple of days and the mailman was looking pretty good when he left this package for you a few minutes ago.”
Bruno sat up then puzzled. Who would be sending me a package? Only the family knows where I’m even at! So, he asked, “Package?”
Felix handed it over.
Bruno stared at the plain brown box. He hadn’t ordered anything either, and the address was unfamiliar. So, turning it in his hand, he lengthened a nail and cut through the tape. Opening it, he looked inside to find a book.
“What is it?” Felix asked.
“A book,” he answered.
“A book?” Felix snickered. “Whoever sent you a book doesn’t know you at all, do they? If they did they’d know you don’t read!”
Picking up the book, Bruno found a paper under it. It read: Thought this might be useful to you in finding a woman since I’ve found mine. After all, South Dakota needs a good “playboy”. —Dean
Bruno snarled at the note and who wrote it! He then flipped the book to look at the title. “Even Playboys Need Love, by Dean Bram.”
Felix began to laugh then. “Oh Bruder, when are the two of you going to sort out your differences?”
“Never!” Bruno hissed. “He just wants to rub my face in the fact that he’s found his Geliebte and I haven’t!”
Felix didn’t say anything, and Bruno glanced over at him to find him looking down. His face was sad.
“Dean has waited a very long time for his Geliebte Bruno,” Felix said as he looked up, his green eyes emotion filled. “We will find ours, won’t we?”
Bruno put his arm around his Bruder and sighed. “I won’t lie and say ja, we will, because only the fates know the answer to that question. I will say though that I hope we do and…”
Bruno looked out across the yard. “I have this…restless feeling as if my beast is right on the surface and wanting out. It started the moment the jet landed and has grown stronger. I think that maybe meine Geliebte is here.”
“Mm…well then, I hope you find her,” Felix said softly.
“I hope you find yours to Felix,” Bruno said just as softly.
Then, standing up, Felix left Bruno to his thoughts.
After Felix went back inside, Bruno finished his coffee and sat watching the birds flutter through the trees. He then glanced down at his watch before heading inside to dress and calling a limo to come and pick him up.
“First thing I need to do after seeing Leo is to find a car!” He muttered as the limo pulled up in the driveway.
It was only about a ten-minute drive to the big building downtown that read ‘Smythe Enterprises’ on the side of it. Bruno had to admit, it was a sight to behold.
“Just drop me off in the front,” he told the driver. “I’ll call if I need you later.”
“Yes sir,” the driver answered as he pulled over.
Getting out, Bruno stood for a moment, taking in all the sights, and all the people around him. This town was much busier than the one they’d left. He shook his head and wondered how his Bruder did it every day, being a vampire with so many walking blood bags around him.
Bruno shuddered because he knew Leo struggled with the beast inside more than all the rest of them put together.
So, straightening his shoulders, Bruno pushed the door open. He then stepped inside the cool building and took a deep breath. With that breath, he felt his beast stir as he caught the faint scent of…something! Something good!
“Sir, can I help you?” A woman asked.
Bruno turned to look toward the woman standing behind a long counter, and with a smile headed her way. He told her, “Yes ma’am. I’m looking for Leo Vogel, he works somewhere in this building.”
“Do you have an appointment with Mr. Vogel?” She asked him.
“Ah, no,” he said with a frown. “I didn’t know I would need one to see him.”
She gave a light laugh. “No, you probably don’t but it’s protocol to ask. If your answer had been yes, I would have called upstairs and told his secretary that his next appointment was here, so she could prepare him.”
“Oh. Well, can you tell me what floor I can find him on then?” Bruno asked her.
She cocked her head and studied him for a moment. “You know, you look an awful lot like him.”
Bruno chuckled before saying, “We get that a lot, but I like to think I’m the better looking one. Although, I suppose Camilla would disagree with that.”
“Yes, she probably would. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two people more in love than those two,” she told him with a dreamy sigh.
He snorted. “Just wait until you meet my other two Bruders, they’re just as sickening!”
“Mm… I hope one day to find love like that,” she said. Then straightening suddenly, she cleared her throat and said, “Anyway, you’ll find his office on the fifteenth floor. His and Mrs. Camilla’s is the only two there.”
He gave her a big smile. “Thank you.”
Then, turning, he made his way past the security guard, who gave him a nod, to the elevators. He quickly pushed the floor number and the elevator opened allowing him to step inside.