They both stood facing one another, looking like they were either ready to hug or tackle each other to the ground. As Mike took a moment to look Kevin over, he noticed they were both very similar in height and weight, which meant if the guy started anything with him; it would be an even fight. It’s sad that Mike’s thoughts always worked that way, but living with his dad, who would frequently come home drunk usually followed by an angrier more drunk man chasing him, had gotten him used to sizing up people.
This Kevin guy looked like he had been in a few fights too. He had that demeanor about him. Maybe it was overconfidence he was picking up, but whatever the case; he knew this guy wasn’t there to buy him a drink.
“Let’s go for a walk” Kevin said after a few moments of awkward silence.
“Do you think that’s wise? I mean you could get recognized”
“It’ll be alright, here let’s just go in there for a cup of coffee” He started walking towards the small but very expensive restaurant located right inside the hotel. Mike looked down at the way he was dressed and hesitated before actually walking in. The most embarrassing thing that could possibly happen to him would be to get kicked out of a place with one of his brother’s friends there to witness it. Kevin picking up on Mike’s uneasiness smiled at him, “It’s alright, they won’t care what you look like”
The Maitre D Greeted Kevin at the door as if they were old friends and quickly rushed the two men past the few people who were dining in the place. They were sat in a small corner table, away from everybody.
As Mike sat across from the man who was handed a huge menu before Mike was, he couldn’t help but notice that unlike his brother, this guy carried his fame in his posture. Not saying he was arrogant or anything like that, but he just seemed more comfortable with the little glances and whispers that he was receiving. He wore his fame like a comfortable pair of sweatpants, while his brother seemed to wear it like an uncomfortable pair of corduroys.
“Mike, are you hungry? You can order anything you want…my treat” Mike looked over to Kevin, even though he was feeling a little hungry since he had barely touched his food at the pizza place, it still felt wrong of him to order a meal and have a total stranger pay for it. Besides, maybe this was a test or something.
“No thanks, I’m good”
“Okay, then can we have two cups of coffee please?” The waiter took the order and was gone in a flash.
Mike started to bite his bottom lip uncomfortable with this whole situation suddenly. “I suppose you’re wondering why I wanted to talk to you.” Mike nodded slowly.
“Okay…” Kevin’s posture shifted a bit, whatever he was going to say; he didn’t want to, “Look, Nick is a great kid”
“He seems like it”
“And he tends to be a little naive most times”
“Yeah so am I, it must run in the family” Mike let out an uncomfortable nervous laugh. Feeling stupid the instant he did it. Kevin did not return the laugh with anything more than a stare.
“Right…anyway, I guess I just wanted to know what it is you want.”
The question caught Mike off guard. “Pardon me?”
“My cousin told me that you went up to Nick on the street and told him you were his brother. I just think that’s a little odd…I mean don’t YOU think that’s a little odd?”
Mike hesitated a moment by taking a sip of his water, “Yeah I guess that could be considered odd, but he is…my brother…not odd” Again he felt stupid, why was it he always said stupid things when he got nervous?
“And you have proof of this?” Mike shifted his weight to one side and grabbed his wallet from his back pocket. Who did this guy think he was? Kevin watched with no emotion showing on his face. It was quite obvious he didn’t trust the stranger sitting across from him at all. Mike fiddled through his wallet until he found his driver’s license. He was thinking of throwing it at Kevin’s face but thought twice about it, instead he calmly handed it over to the man who carefully looked it over.
“Nice picture” He said retuning the card back to Mike, “But that doesn’t really prove anything”
“Sorry I left my DNA kit at home” Okay he had to start getting a little sarcastic.
Kevin snickered, “Do you have any pictures of him as a baby? Maybe the two of you together? Anything?”
“No…my dad threw them all away when we left”
“Oh” It was crystal clear that Kevin didn’t believe a word Mike was saying and it was beginning to grate on his nerves. “I’m who I say I am”
“I’m sure you are who you say you are, but I have a hard time believing that you are his brother”
“And why is that exactly? Not that it’s any of your business anyway” Okay that was clearly the wrong thing to say, but it was too late to take it back.
“I make sure Nick is my business” Kevin answered calmly, almost too calmly.
“Well, Kevin…was it?” He couldn’t help but be sarcastic, he felt so on the defense, “Now, Nick is MY business too and if you’ll excuse me, I’m supposed to go upstairs to meet him”
“I don’t want you to see him until I can speak to his Mother about you” Mike took a deep breath as the waiter came with their coffees. He needed that. He was ready to explode. Kevin paused long enough to smile at the waiter, once he was gone he continued, “Jane will be able to tell me if you are who you say you are, until that time, I don’t want you to see him”
“Who exactly do you think you are? I don’t think you are allowed to make those types of decisions. Are you?”
Kevin took a sip of his coffee; Mike knew it was to collect his thoughts calmly. “I have known this kid since he was going on 13. I have always made it a point to watch out for him”
“And for that I’m grateful” Mike said trying to calm his own feelings down. Kevin nodded, “Anyway, if there is a man that suddenly pops up claiming to be someone he’s not. I make it my business. I have to. Otherwise, no one else will”
“Where is his Mother anyway?”
“Don’t you mean Our Mother? Isn’t Jane supposed to be your Mom too?” Kevin raised an eyebrow when he asked that question as if he had just caught Mike in a lie. “That woman is anything but a Mother to me, but yes technically she is the one that gave birth to me so yes she is my Mom”
“Well, YOUR Mom is in France, she didn’t even think about calling her own son and saying goodbye” Mike instantly was able to tell that there was no love lost between Kevin and his Mother.
“So when is she due back?” Kevin shrugged, “No clue….so right now he is upset about that. I don’t want to add a phoney brother to the list”
Mike sat quiet for a minute resting his chin on his hand. “She will probably deny ever having me” he finally admitted.
“And why would that be?”
“I wish I knew” Kevin nodded and took another sip of his coffee quietly.
“What about your father?”
“What ABOUT my father?”
“Maybe he could clear it all up”
Oh I’m sure he would LOVE to clear it all up for you Mr. Pretty boy but see...he is sitting in prison right now so he’ll have to get back to you on that!
“Dad wouldn’t be able to help”
“And why is that?”
“Oh…I see, well then I guess you’re just going to have to wait”
“He’s expecting me upstairs any minute; he’s probably wondering where I am RIGHT now. Did you even talk to him? He knows I’m his brother”
“No I haven’t talked to him yet”
“Maybe you should, instead of coming down here and acting all high and mighty”
“I would think that you would be grateful for my concern” Mike took a minute to think about that statement and found himself absolutely disgusted when he DID agree. He was grateful. “I am” He admitted, really not wanting to.
“If you are his brother, then I am going to be the first one to welcome you in with open arms. I’ll apologize for seeming like such an arrogant dick”
Mike smiled, maybe in another life and time he would have been friends with this guy. They seemed to be a little similar, “I have to say, if I were you, I’d probably be doing the same thing” That made Kevin smile.
“I would never hurt Nick. I love him” Mike tried to reassure Kevin who sat back and sipped his coffee. Just then the cell phone rang which had both men staring at it; finally Mike picked it up, not exactly sure what he was going to say “Hello?”
“Mike? Where are you?...” Nick was giggling. That really warmed Mike’s heart to hear his little brother giggle again, “You get lost or something bro?” HE looked over to Kevin who sat staring with a very stern look on his face. “Uh…no I didn’t, I’m still in the lobby”
“Oh well get on up here! I want to show you some stuff”
“What kind of stuff?”
“Um…I have a few videos from home and I have my drawings”
“You draw too?” Mike glanced over to Kevin who looked like he wanted to rip the phone right out of his hands.
“Yeah, I just made a picture of you and I”
“Yup…so, come on up and I’ll show it to you” He paused, he didn’t want to say what he was about to say. In fact, just thinking about the words was breaking his heart. He felt trapped, like he had no other choice, especially since Kevin was sitting there staring at him, more like glaring at him. “Look…Nickers…its kind of late and I’m really tired”
There was a pause; he could swear Nick stopped breathing. Mike wanted to just come out and say this son of a bitch Kevin is here just about holding a gun to my head forcing me to say this, but he didn’t really blame Kevin. As much as he wanted to, he just couldn’t. “I think I am going to go home and go to bed”
He heard his little brother sigh, “Uh…okay yeah sure. That’s okay. I guess I’m tired to”
“I’m sorry Nick…” He felt so horrible.
“No…uh…no it’s okay” Nick paused again, “Will I see you tomorrow?” Mike glanced over at Kevin, “Why don’t you give me a call tomorrow and we’ll talk about it, Okay?”
“Yeah, um…okay. Sounds good”
“I love you Nickers” There was another pause then finally, “I love you too Mike” Mike put his hand to his chest, wanting so badly to go up and give his brother a hug. But instead he just hung up the phone.
“You did the right thing” Kevin said.
“Oh did I? Seems like for someone who doesn’t want my brother hurt. You just did a good job of letting me hurt him just now” Kevin looked down at the table, he seemed upset with himself and that gave Mike a little satisfaction, “I know I’m a son of a bitch, but I had to be”
“I’m doing what you asked me to do today because in a way I guess I agree with you, but I’m telling you right now you are not going to prevent me from seeing my brother” Mike stood up to leave, “Mike?”
“I meant what I said. If you are who you say you are then I’m sorry” He was looking forward to the apology that would eventually have to come from this asshole's mouth, he thought to himself as he turned to leave, “But…” That made him turn around, “If you are an imposter, be sure I will do everything in my power to get you behind bars where you belong” Mike didn’t say anything, just turned and slowly walked away.