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 paper 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 whiny child who had his favorite toy ripped away from him. Bruno groaned at his thoughts. I just miss my Bruder, and I hate doing all this. 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, seine 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, saying, “That is why your Vater and I have decided to once more move. Your Vater placed our home on the market to sell, and a man comes next week to clear out the car lot inventory.”
Bruno felt his eyes widen at this news. “How did I not know about this? Vater sold the car lot, and 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 your Vater completed all the paperwork for the sale of the business. Vogel Automotive is no more.”
“Where will we be moving, and who all will be going?”
“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 and 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 closeout of Vogel Automotive. This caused him and Felix to be late getting moved, 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 returned for his niece’s birth, Heide Roberta Vogel. The 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 a home of his own. Although, Bruno thought Felix’s 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, as long as I can use a fork to eat it. 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 his house’s cleanliness, body and did not like getting his hands dirty.
The girls all swoon over Felix, just as they always had Leo. He was 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 already arrived. 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, he 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?”
“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 there.
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 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 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? Hissing annoyance, Bruno and Felix began moving boxes.