“Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money. It will take care of itself. Just do your best work.” –Walt Disney
Miami seemed like it just happened yesterday, but here we are on summer break. Brian did as he said he would, he’s moved into Kevin’s. He insisted on paying rent, but Kevin decided to let him work in the diner to earn his keep. I am working there as well, I do prep.
By prep, I mean I am Kevin’s bitch.
“Nick, can you bring in those eggs from the cooler?” Kevin asked. He was cooking today because the fry cook was out sick….and it was breakfast. We were pretty busy and it was Brian’s first day.
“I’m on it Chief!”
“Chief?” Kevin questioned as I smirked. I disappeared into the cooler and came back with the eggs…then I went to work prepping some stuff for lunch. I was halfway through slicing up tomatoes when I heard a loud crash and tinkling glass.
I ran around the corner to see Brian on the floor with the buspan of dishes, some of them broken. I felt bad as he looked sheepishly up at me. Why did Kevin think he’d be good at busing tables?
“Don’t stress so much, it is just your first day.” I said softly as I helped him up. He seemed like all he wanted to do was drown himself in the sink.
“I’m screwing up so bad. Back home I was good at everything.” Brian confessed with a sigh.
“You’ll get the hang of it.” I said. I patted him on the back and he carried the remainder of the dishes to the sink to wash.
By the end of our shift, we were beat. We had planned to shoot some hoops but all we wanted was to flop down on our beds for a well deserved rest.
“Mmmmph.” I said groggily a few hours later, rubbing my eyes. It was 8 and it was our day off, but what the heck was Kevin doing waking me up? Did he have a death wish?
“Time for your driving lesson.” he said. I sighed, he’d been giving me a few lessons and I still wasn’t crazy about the concept. Especially not after what happened with the rabbit.
“I don’t know about this.” I said, sitting in a random parking lot in Orlando.
“Trust me. I made sure we are not near any wooded areas, there’s no way Thumper is going to run in front of the car.” Kevin told me calmly, waving it off. I gripped the wheel and took a breath, putting my foot gently down on the gas.
I was driving. I was driving and it felt wonderful, I circled the lot twice and even parallel parked, did a K-turn and everything I’d need for the test.
“Well?” I asked when we were done. He even let me drive home where Brian was waiting on the porch. I smiled at him sitting there with his basketball.
“I think you’re ready for the test.” Kevin said, patting me on the back.
I almost laughed, Brian was waiting on the porch for me when we got home, a basketball sitting next to him. He looked brightly at me.
“Hey, Buzz.” Brian said as his phone began ringing.
“Howdy, Sheriff. Wanna play some hoops?” I asked, taking the ball from him. He didn’t answer me, instead he turned off his phone and put it back in his pocket.
“Ok, let’s play!”
I couldn’t help but wonder if it was his mom calling.
“Hey, Nick….phone for you.” Kevin said a few days later. I was a bit surprised someone would be calling me.
“Hello?” I said when the reciever was to my ear.
“Nick? This is Jackie.”
I almost dropped the phone. Kevin looked at me oddly but I waved him off and took the call outside.
“How are you, Mrs. Littrell?” I asked.
“I’m doing well but I haven’t talked to Brian since after the accident…is he doing all right? He won’t talk to me and all I want to know is if my son is okay.” she said tearfully. My heart broke a little for them, I still partially blamed myself for them not speaking.
“He’s walking okay now, but in my opinion he really should be telling you himself what’s going on. I’m so sorry for this.” I said. She started crying on the phone and I felt even worse.
“Brian stopped talking to me. Just before Spring Break, he told me he wasn’t coming back. Is that true?” she sobbed.
“No, Mrs. Littrell. He probably just needs some time.”
I hated lying, but I didn’t want to upset her anymore. I needed to talk to Brian. After I got off the phone, I headed upstairs two at a time and ran into him as he came out of his bedroom, the one across from mine. It used to be the guest room. Only one thing seemed to be missing. There was no picture of Bella, no sign he had even lived on that farm.
“Geez, Nick. Where’s the f-”
I didn’t even let him finish speaking, I pushed him into the room and slammed the door behind me.
“You’re gonna listen to me and you’re gonna listen good.” I hissed, pushing him towards the bed. He flopped down and I stood there, my chest heaving from talking to his mother. I wanted to cry myself.
“Don’t you Nick me. You need to call your mom. How long have you been avoiding her?” I asked angrily.
“I, uh…I don’t know.” he said finally, looking at his feet.
“She’s really upset and worried about you. So much that she called to ask me how you were doing. Why won’t you talk to her?”
“She lied to us, Nick. She lied to me. Until a few months ago, I thought I was an only child….I thought I would grow up and take over the farm. I don’t know anything anymore!” he told me in frustration. I could see his eyes welling up.
“How do you think I feel? Kevin lied to me too…..and I feel like I’ve broken up your family. You won’t even look at them or your sheep.” I said seriously, throwing up my arms at him.
“Bella is a goat, Nick!” he yelled, unable to keep a straight face.
We stared at each other and suddenly the anger turned into laughter. We belly laughed so much we were nearly on the floor.
“I’m sorry for making you feel like that, Nick. I just feel so lost, yanno? Like I don’t belong anywhere.” he said on the way downstairs. I could smell the pancakes and bacon, it was only making me hungrier.
“I know you feel like you belong here, and we love having you….but you really need to talk to your mom.” I suggested. He just nodded and sat at the table, Kevin eyeing me from across the room.
“So Nick, I think you’re ready for the test next week.” he smiled, trying to change the subject. That was the last of the discussion, and I shoved my bacon in my mouth. Just because I can.
The day of the driving test I was nervous to say the least.
“You should bring this for luck.” Brian said, holding up his bobblehead I’d given him at Disney.
“Nah, I am just gonna take Kevin’s watch.” I replied, still laying in bed. Kevin came up the stairs and knocked on the door, Brian smirking at me.
“Time to get up. I’ve been calling you for an hour.”
“I don’t feel so good.” I said, pouting and trying to look sick, fake cough and all. He just stood there and gave me the angry brows.
“Nice try, kiddo. Get dressed.” Kevin chuckled before leaving the room.
“It worked when I was 9….” I called after him as Brian laughed at me.
I felt like I was gonna hurl. I didn’t think I’d done very well, I ran over like two cones and I was shaking the whole time.
“Dude you look sick.” Brian said, looking at me when I came back from the driving course. His phone rang but he ignored it again.
“Brian….promise me you will call her today.” I whispered.
“Okay, if you pass the test I will call.” he laughed. The driving instructor came over smiling and handed me the paper, showing I’d passed.
“Congratulations, Mr. Carter.” she said. I looked at Brian, he was pale.
“Oh shit.” he said.
He took out his phone and began dialing…..I guess there were two victories for me today.