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With every ring, my desire to hang up grew more and more. I don’t know why, but my Mom was the last person I wanted to speak to. She would probably be happy, grateful even that we had finally found him, but deep inside of me, there was a gnawing in my insides, telling me I was wrong.

Kevin sat across from me and watched so I really had no choice but to go ahead and talk to her. Maybe she wouldn’t answer and I could leave a message.

But when I heard that familiar click on the other end of the line, I knew my last chance at fleeing had run out.

“Hello?” I briefly thought about not answering her and hanging up. Telling Kevin she wasn’t there and that I would try her later.

“Nick? Is that you?” So much for that…

“Hi Mom!”

“Oh my God Nick, what the hell where you thinking? Going off with a total stranger just because they say they are your brother? I thought you had more sense than that”

“Mom it’s really him” There was a pause; like she was drinking in the info that she had probably tried to convince herself wasn’t really there.

“But…how can you be….”

“It’s him. I know”

“Is he…okay?” She sounded like she was crying.

“He’s great Mom”

“And what about your Father?”

“I saw him too”

“Nick, I don’t think you should trust these people” Now it was one thing for Kevin and the rest of the guys to doubt my brother’s credibility, by my own Mother? Our own Mother?

“Mom, I’m tired of having this argument with everyone under the sun. It was him”

“But Kevin said that he had his doubts” I glanced over at Kevin. He knew his name was brought into the conversation. I could tell by the way he suddenly started to shuffle around for something to do.

“He is paranoid” I made sure to say loud enough that he knew I was talking about him.

“But even still…” She paused again, “Are you sure?”

“Yes Mom, it’s him and he’s great”

There was a silence and I found myself biting my bottom lip. I hated our silences, they were never comfortable for me; ever. I knew in her head she was trying to convince herself that this couldn’t be right. She liked her life before this happened. Mike would only bring back the past and if it’s one thing I learned from my Mom over the years is that the past was left buried, under so many layers of oppressed memories that you could never dig your way out of them all.

“Well, I guess we’ll just have to discuss things in greater detail when I come home”

Her tone grew colder. I was so good at predicting my Mother’s every move that sometimes I even scared myself with my accuracy.

“When will that be?”

“Next week”

“Next week? You mean after what I told you, you don’t want to come home?” I happened to glance over at Kevin who was staring at me with such intensity I could see my reflection in his eyes.

“Well, it’s just that these plans have been set in stone for a while and…”

“I thought dad surprised you with the trip”

“He did but that doesn’t mean he didn’t plan way ahead Nickolas”

My full name meant that the conversation was going to come to an end very soon.

“What does dad think of all of this?”

“I haven’t told him yet. It’s best not to say anything until we know for sure”

We did know for sure but she knew that too. I doubt my father would ever know about this conversation, in fact I don’t think he would even be aware of Mike’s existence at all if it wasn’t for me telling him when I was little. I remember that was a huge fight they had. He accused her of keeping secrets. She insisted it wasn’t a secret just not something she thought much about anymore. I almost wish I didn’t remember that.

“Okay…well I guess when you get home then” Kevin smiled sympathetically at me.

“Honey, listen to Kevin okay? Stay away from Mike until I get home”

“Okay” I lied. If she wasn’t even going to care enough to come home, I wasn’t going to stay away. I was only in New York for a little while longer to begin with.

“I love you Nick”

“Yeah…me too” I didn’t feel the need to be all sappy with Mom. I was too mad. She was hurt; her deep dramatic breath she took as she said good bye was supposed to be my hint.

I hung up and cussed her out under my breath. Kevin pretended to ignore it. “So, what did she say?”

“Pretty much what I thought she would. That she is staying in Paris”

“Does she think it’s him?”

“No…she knows it’s him” I was shaking my head. Aren’t Mothers supposed to care about their sons?

“Nick, I’m sorry I called her, but…”

“I know Kevin and it’s okay. Like you said you did what you had to do”

He stood up and ruffled my hair as he walked past me and towards the bathroom; now that I was finally home he was going to get ready to go to sleep.

I still was trying my best to understand how my Mother could dismiss her first born. Would she do that to me one day? Maybe. Then I guess my brother, my father and I could start a rejected by Jane club.

“What are you smiling about?” Kevin asked me as he walked out of the bathroom and headed for the bed. “Nothing”

“I’m going back to bed”

“You never went to bed”

He smiled and I smirked. It was one of those little exchanges that we didn’t let people see very often. Our way of acknowledging how much we secretly cared about each other. Okay well his part maybe not a secret but my part sure was.

“Goodnight little man…well actually good morning. I guess wake me up in about three hours”

“Okay” I said yawning myself. I almost went to sleep but instead I decided to go pay Brian a visit. I needed the company of my best friend.


The walk back to his apartment was spent second guessing his new found relationship with his little brother. In an ideal world, Mike thought, he should have been able to embrace Nick, catch up on old times and start fresh. But this was far from an ideal world. The man snoring from the bedroom as he walked in the door was a stark reminder of that. Mike shook his head as he watched his father sleep; the man snoring away like he didn’t have a care in the world.

He hated waking up this early but when he was troubled he couldn’t sleep and ever since his father had knocked on his door, he had been troubled. Then Melinda bringing Nick here.

“Melinda” He said aloud. Maybe he would call her and invite her out to breakfast before their shifts at work started. He had really started to have feelings for the girl, but for some reason wasn’t acting on them. He looked at the clock and figured it was too early, so instead he put on the radio and was immediately met with his own brother’s voice singing All I Have To Give. He couldn’t help but smile about how odd that was. All the times he had heard this song on the radio, had even caught himself singing along with it more than once, he never knew it was Nick.

“Is that Nicky?” Mike looked over at his father who was standing by the bathroom, in nothing but his boxers, his stomach slightly hanging over them. Mike nodded which brought about a small dance form his father.

“Can you believe my friggin son is that guy on the radio?”

“That’s pretty amazing isn’t it dad?”

“Yeah it is. So want to go to breakfast? My treat” Mike looked over at his Father suspiciously. Smiling at his son’s curiosity he continued, “Oh relax, I didn’t mug anybody. Remember I won money”

“Yeah but didn’t you say that was my money?”

“Okay fine. Then you’re treating. I’ll get dressed”

John glanced over at the credit card he had borrowed from his youngest son. He would pay him back, this was only a loan, he had convinced himself, knowing that today he was going to go on a little shopping spree. He would use that money to buy both Mike and Nick something nice, true it was Nick’s money but still what he didn’t know couldn’t hurt him right? He looked over at Mike and smiled one final time before heading in to get dressed and start the first day of the rest of his life.

Mike’s thoughts drifted back to Nick. He found himself wondering if he had caught hell for not going home last night. “Poor kid”

“What’s that son?” John yelled from the bedroom.

“Nothing” He answered.

Yup in an ideal world he would be sipping on coffee next to his girlfriend Melinda, talking about his father happily in past tense, not meaning he had died or anything but that he had moved on. They would have a romantic breakfast, possibly a bubble bath and then maybe later on that day he would invite his brother over to watch a football game.

Instead he was going to breakfast, after he had already stuffed his face, with his father who was going to end up making him pay for everything. He would have to sit and listen to stupid prison stories and act like he was interested.

“Okay I’m ready when you are…oh and one the way; let’s go shopping I know a great place near Times Square”

“Dad…I have to work today”

“I know, don’t worry it’s close to where you work and then you can go to work and I can head out to look for a job” Mike looked surprised. “A job?”


That made Mike smile, maybe his father was going to change afterall.