Consider yourself one of the family.
We've taken to you so strong,
It's clear we're going to get along.
I laugh along with Amber and Mikey. I can’t believe I thought I had gotten my wallet stolen from me. I bet it was sitting on my dresser all day I just hadn’t noticed before we left for school.
I put the wallet back on the dresser, promising myself I won’t forget where it is. I then throw the lightsaber back into the closet accidentally causing the button to be pushed, lighting up my entire closet with a dim blue glow.
"God, fuck," I say, reaching in and pressing the button to turn it off.
I then walk over to my bed and fall backwards, arms outstretched. I turn my head to Mikey, who is still over by the window, standing there, his arm around Amber. I lift my head up.
"Bro, you okay?" I ask.
He nods, leading Amber over to my bed, the both of them sitting down together. I swear by the end of the week they’ll be together.
“Fuck, today was interesting," I announce, still lying there on my back trying to break the silence that is filling the room. When it’s just Mikey and me I feel like the quiet is alright, but now that Amber is here I focus on keeping the conversation moving.
“Maybe next croquet practice you should try to not murder your foot with the mallet,” Amber offers with a smile, her fingers intertwined with Mikey’s. He’s smiling down at her.
I roll my eyes in reply. Mikey nods, agreeing with the red head. Of course he’d take her side. I’m on my own here.
"Gerard?" he says, looking at me.
I glance over at him, "Hmm?"
"Thank you for being you today,” Mikey says, looking back down at Amber who smiles up at him, encouraging him to go on.
I shift myself into a sitting position, and look at him.
"Bro, what do you mean?" I ask, confused. Was I not myself before? Unless he means....
"I mean," he continues, eyes on me. "I mean, thank you for not being drunk today; at all."
I smile at him, holding in a whimper as I start crying. I’m such a baby when it comes to emotions. Maybe I was given Mikey’s share as well as mine. Mikey wraps an arm around my back as Amber moves off the bed, grabs a tissue, and hands it to me.
All three of us sit there in a comfortable silence until mom walks in, still looking terrified.
"Is everything okay?" she questions, glancing at the ceiling. "Is it...gone?"
I chuckle, trying not to show my face, because it is being drown in tears at the moment. My mom is like me, very sympathetic. If I see someone crying, I start crying too, and its just one big fucking mess. We don’t need every member of my family crying in front of Amber. It might scare her off.
"Yeah, mom, it's gone." I mumble, turning my head to face the wall.
"You missed it though, Gerard had one hell of a fight with it," Mikey adds, still leaning his head on my shoulder.
My mom frowns at my brother’s word choice but there is still a smile set on her face. I think she’s just happy that we’re having people over.
I chuckle again.
In my mirror I can see my mom looking at us, her hands on her hips, smiling widely, “I’m lucky to have you boys as my own," she say, making a square with her hands, as if she’s forming a frame. "Look at you two right now...."
She chokes up, walks over to us laying a kiss on both our foreheads, beaming at Amber, “Dinner in ten.”
"Okay, mom," I call as she walks out of the room.
Once I’m sure she’s not coming back I look over at Mikey. He still looks pretty serious, his hand clasp in Amber’s as if somehow she’s giving him the strength to tell me how he is feeling. At least we’re finally talking and getting to the root of the problem. Maybe if Mikey gets his feelings out he’ll become happier.
"Anyways," he says, as if my mom hadn’t even walked in the room. "What I mean is...and I've been thinking...."
I patiently wait as my little brother tries to find the words to say. This is important to him. In the end I think its best Amber is here. Even though it makes things a little awkward I’m not sure Mikey would be as willing to tell me how he is really feeling without her here. Maybe somehow she is giving him courage.
"I've been thinking. You see, there is drunken Gerard, who is crabby, mean-spirited, and a bit of an asshole…" Mikey explains.
I wince at this. Am I really that bad when I’m drunk? I don't think I am but then again I can't remember anything…ever. I guess Mikey could be right. There is a part of me that wishes this isn’t true, and then there is the part that needs to hear this. Putting on an expressionless face I brace myself for the rest of what my brother has to say.
"And then there's sober Gerard, who is loving, funny, and basically the polar opposite of drunken Gerard."
I nod at him, waiting for him to continue, but he doesn't.
"And...?" I prompt, knowing he has something more to say. Eventually he talks again but he doesn’t look at me, his eyes stay locked with Amber’s. What the hell is coming next that he can’t say to my face? Why can’t I be the one he looks to for strength? Right, I’m not exactly the best big brother a kid could ask for. To tell the truth I’m just glad he has someone who gives him courage.
"Please don't be mad at me..." Mikey says his words barely above a whisper.
Shit, what is going to come out next?
"I promise, I won't be, Mikey."
"Drunken Gerard…he scares me."
Mikey slowly turns to me, his face like stone but in his eyes I can tell he’s scared, bracing himself for my reaction. I guess I really am as bad as Mikey described.
I’m blown away by this; I have no idea what to say to my brother. He is terrified of me when I’m drunk. How could I let that happen? Why didn't he tell me before? The answer is in his eyes…he was too scared.
"Mikey..." I say, tears spilling from my eyes again. "I'm so sorry, I...."
I really can't say anything else. I choke on my tears, and start sobbing into his shoulder, shaking. How could I let this happen to him? My own brother, terrified of me. I can't let things go on like this. I hug him tighter, still sobbing. I’ve got to change…for Mikey.
"Mikey, I will try my fucking hardest to stop," I look up at him. "I am fucking serious this time. I can't do this to you anymore, I..."
I’m at a loss for words. Mikey is also crying. It’s not just like one tear either, he is crying as hard as I am but he doesn’t lean on me. Instead he is in an awkward position, his forehead on Amber’s shoulder; she’s stroking his hair.
I guess mending our bonds as brothers will take a little time. Right now Mikey feels safer revealing his emotions to Amber…a girl he hardly knows. I have to accept this. At least he has someone he is willing to show his insides to.
After a few minutes Mikey speaks, "Gee...thank you..."
I hug him, "I swear to God, Mikes, if I am ever like that to you again, you need to let me know, okay?"
Mikey just nods.
Finally, I unlatch myself from my little brother, using my sleeve to wipe my eyes. I lean over to him take his glasses off and wipe his face. We smile at each other for a second before I kiss his forehead. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to tell me all that. Its best he got it off his chest though. I’ve got to keep my promise. I can’t let him down again. He doesn’t deserve that at all.
"Mikey, I will always be there for you, no matter what..." I announce, breaking the silence.
I notice that he smiles at my words.
"Boys, dinner!" my mom calls from the kitchen, and we look at each other, checking to see if the other looks like they’ve been crying.
Mikey has no signs to show that he was crying…lucky little fuck. I know that my eyes are red and shiny and puffy, and my nose is runny.
"How, Mikey,” I question, putting my hands over my face. "How is that possible?"
He just smiles before sliding off the bed. Mikey stands in between Amber’s lets, there foreheads resting together, fingers intertwined, “Stay for dinner.”
“Of course,” Amber says with a smile.
"Come on, bro," Mikey says, offering me his other hand.
I take it.
He helps me to my feet and all three of us walk upstairs to the kitchen, arms wrapped around each others.
It smells amazing in the kitchen; the smell of an Italian kitchen...always beyond superior to any other. Mikey lets me go so he can sit down with Amber. I just look at the table.
"Mom,” I exclaim. “You made lasagna!"
My mom smiles’, kissing the top of my head as I continue to stare in awe at the master piece that is homemade lasagna...hers is the best. Although I’ve tried many a time to replicate it something is always off.
I sit across from Mikey. All through dinner we, Amber, my brother and I, exchanging smiles, we’ve got each other. Amber is officially part of the family…Mikey let her stay for dinner. No matter what we’ve got each others back. I like that feeling.