“The way you laugh is the best.” – Pooh (Winnie The Pooh)
For some reason, after Harold had cornered me outside, Kevin told me to pack up. I knew we were leaving tomorrow, just not first thing.
“Bri, do you know why he wants to leave all of a sudden?” I asked as Brian came past my door.
“I dunno, but he and my step dad had a huge fight after you came back inside.” he pointed out.
“He says we are leaving right in the morning.” I told him. I felt a bit disappointed because I wanted to really talk to Harold and find out what it was he wanted to tell me. If he was going that much out of his way, it had to be important.
“Good, because I can’t wait to get out of Kentucky.” Brian said thoughtfully.
“I thought you got along with your family.”
“To be honest, I do but not lately. They’ve been fighting a lot and I just don’t want to be here. Talk to Kevin…I’m sure he will be ok with me staying with you for a while.”
As it turned out, Kevin had already been planning for Brian to spend the rest of break with us. We said goodbye to Kentucky for what I hoped was a long time. I liked the farm, but I decided I wouldn’t fit in there. Florida was my home. Plus, it was just too far away from Disney for my liking. On the way back, Kevin drove the first half. I didn’t get car sick this time luckily……so far.
“Nick, you all right?” Kevin asked. I flashed back to my dream, the hairs in my arms standing up. Brian noticed how nervous I was, I was shaking again.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I lied.
“Want to play a game?” Brian asked suddenly. I felt my heart beating quicker than normal.
“I’m thinking of a person.” he said. I wasn’t even in the mood to play this game.
“Dang, you got it. You didn’t even try to guess.” he drawled. He finally left me alone and I fell asleep. I knew he’d pick Walt Disney….everyone chooses him first. Brian’s just not good at that game.
I pretty much slept nearly the whole way back to Orlando. I woke up half through Georgia, like last time…and Kevin was sitting next to me eating chips….loudly.
“Can’t you eat quieter? You sound like one of those cows I had to milk.”
“Morning, princess.” Kevin smirked. He offered me some chips but I declined. All I wanted was a bed to sleep in, I wasn’t feeling myself.
Ever since the accident I just did not do cars. Not for long periods of time anyway. Kevin knew this too, but he thought we’d save money by driving. He’s such a cheapskate.
Brian and I had a blast while he was at my house. We played basketball, watched cartoons and pretty much acted like 11 year old boys the whole first week. Kevin kept saying how he missed me being so active. One thing still bugged me, I wanted to know what he was keeping from me and Brian. I assumed that it had to do with my dad and Brian’s mom….but I swore to myself there was no way.
There was no way me and Brian Littrell were related. I mean….the guy loves goats. But part of me still wondered if we could be related somehow.
I thought about how to get it out of Kevin when New Year’s rolled around and we went grocery shopping, just the three of us. I loved hanging out with Brian away from school.
“So what do the two of you do for New Year’s?” Brian asked as he pushed the cart around the corner. He stopped and I held the loaf of bread, tossing it.
“Two points.” he said.
“Um, not much. We watch the ball drop and eat pizza rolls until one of us barfs.”
“What do you guys do back home?” I asked. He tossed a jar of peanut butter in the cart and I took it out, making a face. There had to be something wrong with a guy who ate Skippy.
“What’s wrong with that?” he questioned. I took the Skippy and put it back, grabbing for the Peter Pan.
“We only use Peter Pan. Skippy has no flavor.” I replied bluntly. He shrugged.
“I don’t see a difference.” he told me.
“Peter Pan is sweeter, Skippy is bland and Jif is more peanutty tasting. There’s a BIG difference.”
“Peanutty? Is that a word?”
He gave me the oddest look and we both cracked up laughing, but I was completely serious about the peanut butter. I had it down to a science.
“Back home we don’t do anything special. Just my step dad drinks beer and falls asleep in front of the TV.” Brian said with no emotion.
“We city boys are gonna show you how to party.” Kevin said, appearing next to us using his ninja skills. We ended up getting a ton of junk food for New Years and at Brian’s surprise, alcohol.
“As long as you don’t go anywhere you can have it.” Kevin said. New Year’s at the Carter/Richardson’s was pretty swanky for our standards. It really wasn’t anything other than Kevin and I sitting in our boxers, drinking and pigging out on cocktail wieners. Of course I was only allowed to drink once I turned 16, I just couldn’t tell anyone. We only drank at holidays.
Brian was skeptical about the beer at first, he kept looking at his cup as I tossed a pizza roll in my mouth and chewed, careful not to get sauce on myself.
“It isn’t gonna kill you, Sheriff.” I said, taking a swig of my cup. Being at college had increased my tolerance, not something I had told Kevin. Speaking of which, he was already on his third beer. At this rate he’d be drunk by midnight.
“You’re not gonna throw up on my shoes again, are you Buzz?” Brian asked, as I rolled my eyes and drank again. He finally warmed up as me and Kevin were just getting buzzed. No pun intended.
“Who the hell is that on Dick Clark?” Kevin asked as we saw THEM appear on the screen. I was reminded of Crystal as NSYNC showed up performing some song of theirs. I threw a pizza roll, missing Justin Timberlake by a split second. The three of us had fun cat calling and booing the lame acts performing, until we saw someone doing a rendition of 1999 by Prince.
“That is appropriate.” I remarked. I was the only one who knew the words. Brian was half passed out and Kevin was singing Raspberry Beret instead of 1999.
“Hey, is your Nintendo Y2K compliant?” Brian asked me. I cracked up at him. People had been making this big thing about the world coming to an end when 2000 hit, but I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it with. If we were all gonna die together, I’d be happy with my family.
“I think it is. We could play Mario Kart after the ball drops if the world doesn’t implode.” I said. When I turned, Brian was sleeping, cuddling with a couch cushion. Kevin and I were awake and the countdown was starting.
“Kevin….come on, the countdown.” I whispered.
Kevin looked me in the eye and hiccuped. He was wasted. I was a bit disappointed, I was basically alone for the turn of the century.
I snapped to look away from the countdown, watching the big crystal ball inch closer to its destination.
“I need to tell you some- something.” he said, hiccuping.
We were moments away from 2000.
“What is it?”
He was half laying in my lap, as awkward as it was….I wanted him to just spit it out.
“Kevin what do you need to tell me? Kevin?” I asked, shaking him. He stirred. The crowd on TV was going crazy.
I wanted to choke him. I shook him again.
“3…2….1….HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!”
I was watching the TV again, waiting to see if anything would happen….but it didn’t. No bombs, no missiles, no apocalyptic destruction.
“Brian’s your brother.” Kevin whispered suddenly. My eyes went wide.
Maybe I was wrong about the bombs.