Reluctant Brotherly Love
Egan woke up to unfamiliar voices. She looked around and found Gerard sitting in the chair by the window, same as last time. She smiled upon seeing him; she couldn’t help it, he inspired that response in her. He smiled back and it suddenly felt like her eyes were glowing. She felt better now, after having that good cry and a nice nap. However, she had to pee like a mofo, and she was preposterously hungry.
“Want a cheeseburger?” Gerard asked.
“Like you wouldn’t believe. Gimme gimme.” She stretched her arms out and wiggled her fingers greedily. Wonderful man. Beautiful, saint like man, she thought as she chewed. “So, whatcha been up to?” she asked, swallowing hugely. Bad idea; the food became painfully lodged in her throat .
“Watching you sleep.”
“Seriously? That’s kinda sociopathic.” She managed to cough around the still-stuck food.
“Nah, not really. I’ve been talking to some people. Letting them know where I am, what’s going on.”
“Who do you have to tell? Frank already knows what’s happening—it’s his fault after all—and you don’t talk to anyone else.”
“You’d be surprised.”
“I’m sure. Hey, have they got any alcohol here?”
“I’m almost positive you aren’t supposed to have any of that.”
“I meant rubbing alcohol. I’m supposed to clean this tattoo regularly, and I’ve basically ignored that rule since I got it. And that was like, what, a week ago?”
“I’ll ask. Speaking of tattoos and where you got them, you never did get your nails done.”
“Oh yeah! Shoot, I really wanted to, too. But get enough greasy food in me and I’m out like a light. Man, now I’m gonna be sad about that all day. Thanks Gerard. Way to be a pal.”
“Sorry for bringing down the non-stop party we’ve been having ever since you were admitted into a freaking hospital, discharged from the hospital, then minutes later readmitted to said hospital.” He smirked and Egan smirked right back at him. “Tell you what. We’ll do that when you get out.”
“It’s a deal. I’m gonna stick with red. What color’re you thinkin’ ‘bout for yours?”
“I’m a sucker for a nice lilac/teal combo.” Egan was impressed. Gerard could hang. “Hey, see that lady out there? Blond hair?” He pointed out the door to a group of people.
“Yeah, what about her?”
“That’s my mom.”
“You finally brought the family!” She squealed. “Hi mama!” she called to Donna, who had her back turned to Egan, talking to Frank and another unfamiliar young man. Donna turned and laughed at Egan frantically waving, then waved back. “You’re right. She probably will adopt me.”
“There’s a possibility. She’s already said she thinks you’re adorable.” Egan frowned slightly upon hearing this. “What’s wrong?” Gerard asked, noticing the expression. “I thought you wanted her to like you.”
“I do. But I never said I wanted her to think I was…cute. All my life I’ve been cute.” She said the word as if it were disgusting. “People look at you and think ‘Mini person! Awww!’ and they start to inadvertently coo and speak to you in a high voice and it’s just abhorrent. I thought the tattoos gave me at least a little edge. But it seems I was wrong. So I’m back at square one again. Perhaps if I get my tongue split…” she mused.
“Oh, that’s just disgusting. Don’t do that. It wouldn’t change a thing anyway, she’d still think you’re cute.”
“I hate my life.”
“Suicide Hotline number.”
“Smart ass. Get outta my room, go get your mother. I like her better than you.”
“Whatever you say.” Gerard returned momentarily with Donna.
“Mom, this is Egan Ghirlandaio. She has troubles with her mouth, so just ignore that portion of her and focus on how cute she is.” Egan shot him a look and as Donna stepped forward to hug her she mouthed “Fuck you”. Gerard flicked her off with both hands and laughed silently as Egan plotted revenge. Donna let go and stepped back to stand next to her son again.
“I’m so glad to meet you! I’ve heard about you from Frank, he raves about finally finding someone who appreciates his humor, God knows it’s hard to find someone who can. He’s all I’ve been able to go on though, since my darling firstborn here never calls me, and, much as I love Frank, he’s not always reliable. So forgive me if I’ve been misinformed about some things.”
“Eh, even if he lied, there was probably some truth in it and he just didn’t know it. What’s he said?”
“You stole his wallet?”
“Oh, yeah, that’s actually completely true. Gotta make a living somehow.” Egan smiled to let Donna know she was joking. Luckily Donna could hang as well. She’d raised two sons and kept up with three other boys whom she considered family too.
“You were a conman?”
“I prefer conwoman. It’s an equal opportunity line of work.”
“You were a thief?”
“Pick pocketing, as previously mentioned, and a damn good burglar.”
“You were a drug addict?”
“We have that in common.” Gerard piped up.
“I could drink a 350 pound man under the table.”
“And I can see he wasn’t lying about the tattoos.”
“I’m up to seventy.” There was a pause. “So, you think I’m cute?”
“I think you’re adorable.”
“I really wish you wouldn’t.”
“I retract my first statement.” Turning to Gerard, Donna smiled and said “Well, I love her. I think you should marry her.”
“That’s the plan.” He said back. Donna looked as if she had choked on her own spit. Her eyes were bugging out a bit and her face was taking on a fuchsia tint.
“What?!?!” she screeched. Gerard was smiling in an evil way.
“I’m just playing, mama. Breathe.” She did as he asked, taking huge gulps of air. Gerard continued to smile. Egan, who had been knocked flat by his announcement, but had managed to keep her composure better than Donna had, was trying to mask the heart palpitations she still had from his words. Her mouth hung open, giving her the appearance of a deceased fish. Gerard glanced her way and she snapped it shut sharpish. Around this time Frank wandered in, followed by the man Egan didn’t know.
“Ay, you’re up! Good, it’s time you met the family.” Frank said, to which the unfamiliar man speedily replied “I’m not claiming any relation to you.”
“That hurts bro,” Frank said,” It hurts right here.” He thumped the vague area where his heart should be. “But it’s okay,” he said in a completely changed tone as he hugged the significantly taller man,” I know you love me little brother.”
“I’m not your brother and I’m older than you.”
“That,” he proclaimed,” is neither here nor there.” Then turning to Egan,” Meet my brother, Mikey.”
“I swear we share no ancestry,” the Mikey dude said, leaning forward to shake Egan’s hand. “She’s my mom, and Gerard’s my brother, but I don’t always claim him either.” Egan giggled. He was nice. He pushed his glasses up, which had slid down his narrow nose when he leaned forward, and Egan giggled again. He was definitely dorky, but that was just fine with Egan. Dorks rocked. The world was built by dorks. Where would modern civilization be without the computer? Besides, dorks were adorable. They were awkward and shy and sincere and ridiculously sweet. They got that chivalrous streak from all the Dungeons and Dragons and super hero comic books. Yeah, she decided, she liked this Mikey kid. Her attention was brought to the present when she heard Gerard say “Better watch it Frank.”
“I’ll be fine.” Frank replied back. He was somehow balancing on the back of what was apparently a deceivingly strong chair and trying to change the channel on the TV suspended in the corner of the room.
“You’re gonna fall, and it’s gonna hurt.” Gerard said.
“What better place to fall than a hospital? And I’m not gonna fall. I have superb balance.” He bragged.
“Aw, let him try,” Mikey said, deciding to put in his two cents.” I wanna see what happens.” And because Murphy’s Law never fails, Frank fell off the chair backwards right onto Egan.
“This seems familiar,” he said.
“We met this way, if memory serves.” She replied while patting his head. “Though I believe the roles were reversed. You could have used the remote.” She dropped it onto his chest.
“Nah,” he said. One could almost hear the swagger in his voice.” Not really my style. I prefer danger. It’s the reason why I’ve been hurt so much."
“No, that'd be your stupidity man.” Said Mikey.
“That,” he repeated, ”Is neither here nor there. Now hug me brother!” he hopped off the bed to chase Mikey as well as he could around the semi-crowded room.
“Better stop it,” Mikey panted, skillfully evading capture. He’d had practice avoiding Frank. “I’ll have them take you to the children’s ward.”
“I’ll drag you along with me,” Frank threatened, not ready to abandon his efforts to hug Mikey. “Now take it like a man.” He made a spectacular dive at Mikey who made an equally spectacular dodge, diving sideways and rolling under the bed. Frank dropped to hands and knees and shimmied under the bed after Mikey, who rolled right on out from under it and clambered on top of the bed. Frank followed and Mikey pulled a move that will amaze me until the day I die. He placed his hands on top of Frank’s head, who by now was standing, and leapt over the top of him, legs spread wide. You wouldn’t think his skinny bod could pull it off, would you? He landed on all fours, cat like, and as Frank made to chase after him again, Donna finally intervened and grabbed him by the back of the T-shirt. Frank struggled half-heartedly, knowing he was licked but trying to save face anyhow.
“Gerard,” she barked, “Up.” Gerard rose to vacate the chair in front of the window he had recently sat down in. “Frank, sit. Mikey, other chair.” Her voice was that of a seasoned mother who was familiar with the ways of boys. Then she turned to Egan and was all apologetic smiles. “I am so sorry.” She said sweetly. However, when she turned back to Mikey and Frank, her tone was another thing entirely. “You should be ashamed.” She said slowly. “I have raised you both better than this. Yes Frank, both of you,” she said when he opened his mouth, seemingly to protest. “You are in a hospital. It is the same as church. You are both old enough to know better. I can’t even believe I’m having to say this to the both of you. I thought you had better sense than this. This girl is sick. Frank, you of all people should be doing your best to allow her to recuperate peacefully. Now, do you think you can act like polite, respectful young men for the rest of this visit?” They both nodded ‘yes’ sullenly. “Alright. You may get up now.” She turned to Gerard. “I think I’m going to head home now sweetheart. It’s getting late. Stop by sometime, huh? I wanna see your handsome face. I’ll make you dinner; you look thin.” She pinched his side gently, displeased with the lack of give. “And call me. I miss hearing your voice. Bring this one by some time too,” here she gestured to Egan with her chin,” She’s got moxie.”
“Why does everyone keep saying that?” Gerard asked. “She’s a softie. Not scary at all.” A look from his mother prompted him to backtrack. “But yeah, I’ll bring her by ma. We’ll come see you soon, okay?”
“Alright. I love you.” she said hugging him. “Love you too, Egan. Mind if I give you a hug?”
“Have at it.” Donna was a good hugger. She didn’t let go right away like most people did. She let you take a deep breath and let it out again, really relax into the hug. And she knew exactly when to let go.
“You two,” she pointed at Frank and Mikey, both still sitting with arms crossed and scowls on their faces,” I’m not so sure about.”
“Love you too mama.” Frank smiled, dropping the scowl like a bad habit.
“Yeah, love you mom.” Mikey said. Donna gave each of them their hug in turn, then walked out, waving as she went. When he was sure she was a safe distance off, Frank pounced on Mikey, whacking him on the head.
“You got me in trouble!” he said, whacking Mikey on the head again. He yelped when Mikey swung back at him, clipping him on the ear.
“You fucking got me in trouble, idiot!” Mikey stood, dumping Frank from his lap.
“I’m sorry man.” Frank said, looking down.
“Yeah, me too.” Mikey apologized.
“I think we should kiss and make up.” Frank voiced while grinning slyly at Mikey.
“You’ve lost your mind. Stay away from me!” Mikey cried, darting through the door and down the hall.
“Aw, come on!” Frank cried, chasing him. “Gerard does it!”
Author's Note: Finally, someone new makes an appearance! Actually, two someone new's! Yay! Hey, I was thinking, and I decided, if it isn't too much trouble, if when you review, would you please tell me a few of your favorite lines? That's assuming you have any, I guess, but as Frank likes to say "That is neither here nor there." So read, rate and review because if you do we're total besties for, like, ever!