The fire crackled, clouds of smoke appeared from the green leather arm chair, the doors then opened.
"Excuse me sir, your wife is off to see Master Damien, will you be joining her?" Reginald asked.
"Not this time Reginald, I'm expecting a very important phone call, please tell her to go on without me".
"Yes sir, will you be needing anything else?" Reginald asked.
"No Reginald, thank you" Reginald left the room and slid the doors closed. He pulled up his sleeve to glance at his watch and then looked up at the clock on the wall, its golden pendulum swinging back at forth as the hands ticked, he smiled wickedly and took another drag from his cigar. a phone began to ring "Yes?" he asked answering. "Its done" a harsh voice said "Wonderful" he said smiling and taking another puff from a cigar before hanging up.
The car smoothly glided around the winding curves, Brian sat in the backseat, staring out of the window, lost in thought. He pulled his phone from his jacket pocket, he scrolled through his contact list and came to Vicki's name, her number and picture popped up along with it. He looked down at her smiling face, running his thumb over the picture.
The car pulled up into the driveway, it came to a stop and a man stepped out. He crossed over to the other side and pulled open the backdoor.
"Welcome home sir" he said.
"Thanks" Brian said grabbing his bag. He looked up at the house, the silence was unsettling at best. He looked confused as the driver set his luggage on the ground. "Oh here, thanks again" he said tipping the driver.
"Thank you sir" he said "Have a good day" he said.
The driver returned to the car and drove off, he slung his bag over his shoulder and grabbed his other luggage. He used his foot to open the door and stepped into the house.
"Hello?!" he called "I'm home! Anyone here?!" he asked pulling his bag from his shoulder and setting it in a kitchen chair. "Boys?!" he called out going into the living room noticing the TV was on, he picked up the remote and turned it off. "Hey guys?!" he called out before going to the steps and stepping on the picture frame that lye on the floor "What..." he said to himself, he looked down and grumbled, he then picked it up and set it on the coffee table. He walked down the hallway, passing their smiling faces, hanging on the walls in old pictures. "Bradley?" he asked knocking on the door to Bradley's room "Bradley it's me, I'm home" he said again as he knocked.
"Bradley J." he said once again, opening the door to find the room empty. He looked around confusedly before shutting the door. He knocked on another door futher down the hallway "Harry?" he asked opening the door. he opened the door and saw books open on Harry's desk. A lone pencil lied on the floor, he picked it up and set it on the desk, he looked at the notebook where an incomplete sentence sat on the page. He looked around the room in confusion and left, shutting the door behind him.
He went down to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, he looked down to see the puddle on the floor. "Oh...guys! come on!" he grumbled, grabbing a towel from the counter and bending down to clean up the mess. He felt his back pocket begin to vibrate and pulled his cellphone out "Hello?" he asked answering.
"Hey" Nick said as he sat in a large leather chair.
"Hey, what's up?" Brian asked him, still mopping up the puddle of water.
"Just wanted to see if you were home yet" Nick said leaning back in the chair.
"Yeah I just got here a couple minutes ago" Brian said to him.
"Boys there?" Nick asked.
"Nope, just me I guess they went out for the night" he said, wringing the wet towel out into the sink. "These kids" he said irritated "They leave a half eaten pizza sitting on the table, the broke one of the pictures on the mantle and didn't bother to pick it up" he said.
"Giant puddle of water on the floor, left the TV on and didn't bother to bring in the mail" he said.
"You expect anything less?" Nick asked.
"I expect better than this" Brian said "What's going on there? you finish the last track?" he asked.
"Almost, actually I called because I was hoping Neilson was home" Nick said "He's not answering his phone".
"Well he's not here but I can give him the message when he comes in" Brian said to him.
"Please do, anyways we should be home in a couple days to finish up recording...This Is Us is more than halfway finished" Nick said sitting back up, the chair creaking in response.
"Thank god for that, alright I got to finish cleaning up here, I'll talk to you later" Brian said hanging up. He picked up the pizza box from the kitchen table and shoved in into the refrigerator. He swept up the pieces of glass lying on the living room floor, throwing them into the trash.
He pulled the trash bag from the garbage can and tied it shut, slinging it over his shoulder and taking it outside. He pushed a button, the garage doors lifted, he opened the lid to a large black garbage can and threw the bag inside. Something out of the corner of his eyes caught his attention, he turned around to see Bradley's sleek black mustang convertible parked safely. He looked at it confused for a second before brushing it off and going back inside, hitting the button to close the garage doors.
He went upstairs, he knocked on Neilson's bedroom door and then pushed it open, he looked around at the empty, messy room. He stuck a piece of paper on the desk, looking around before leaving the room, spotting a picture of him, Bradley and Natalie on the desk, he picked it up and chuckled before setting it back down and leaving the room.
He retreated back downstairs, stretching himself out on the couch and groaning, he grabbed the remote and pushed the button, the TV turned on.
He drifted off to sleep, finding himself plagued by the past.
The bitter cold stung his face as he stood outside, snow blanketing the ground beneath his feet, crunching slightly. The moon shone brightly above him, the stars twinkling brightly in the winter sky, a soft breeze blowing across his face. Vicki came outside, bundled up in her winter coat.
“Hey, I was wondering where you disappeared to” she said approaching him from behind “What are you doing out here?” she asked wrapping her arms tightly around herself “You okay?” she asked.
"Yeah I was just thinking that's all” he said “Birthday boy asleep?" he asked taking a seat on an old glider.
"As sleepy as a three-year-old pumped full of cake and sugar can get" she said taking a seat next to him, they smiled at each other.
“Three years old” he said to himself.
“I know, time goes fast huh?” she asked.
“Yeah” he said “I feel like I haven’t gotten to talk to you since I’ve been back" he asked.
"Yeah I know, we’ve both been so busy” she said.
“So how's school going?” he asked.
“Oh, you know...it's college, it's challenging at times but I'm getting through it". "What about you guys? What’s going on with you?” she asked.
"We're shooting our first video in August" he said.
“Seriously?” she asked “That’s great!” she said hugging him.
“Oh, thanks” he said. .
They sat there in an awkward deafening silence “What happened to us? This used to be easier” he said “We used to be able to talk for hours” he said sadly.
“People grow apart...it happens" she said shrugging her shoulders.
“I just…I never thought it'd happen to us" he said.
She nodded "I think we both know what's happening...it’s just that neither of us wants to be the one to say it" she said to him as a tear began to fall down her cheek.
"We just don't fit together as good as we used to" he said to her.
"Doesn't make it any less painful” she said.
He looked at her with tears in his eyes, he pulled her close and held her tightly. “I love you so much” he said sniffling, she nodded sadly, tears trickling down her cheeks.
Their heads rested together “I love you too” she whimpered.
“You know that…all I want is for you to be happy” he said as his voice trembled, she nodded once more, tears falling from her eyes “And I just…I don’t think I can give you what you need or deserve right now” he said as tears built up in his eyes and trailed down his cheeks "You know I'm always going to love you" he said sniffling.
She nodded “I know, you were my first real love” she said “You’ll always be in my heart” she whimpered. He pulled her into a hug, they wept on each other’s shoulders, letting the feeling of heartbreak and devastation consume them both. “So this is it?” she asked sadly.
“Yeah…I guess so” he said giving her a tearful smile.
“We’re still friends right?” she asked.
He smiled “Always” he said.
She smiled sadly “I'm going to check on Bradley" she said walking away.
He held her hand tightly in his, not wanting to let go. They looked at each other sadly when he finally let go, she turned and went back inside as he sat there by himself, his head hanging down, tears falling from his eyes as he sat there by himself in the dark and wept.