Ste: Part 4, a short story by Ax. Date added: 2012-06-02. Times viewed: 327.
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- Intro: [Ax]
Ste: Part IV
I got home around midnight, and to my surprise, the back door was locked. I phoned my brother, knowing he would be in, if a tad early. After a brief conversation which consisted of a few direct statements, my brother came downstairs and unlocked the back door just a crack. I pushed the door fully ajar to see him making his way back through the kitchen.
"Hey" I shouted. He turned around and took a few steps towards me. "How's your night been? You're in early" I say, desperately attempting to make conversation.
"It's been pretty uneventful, had a little fire down in the woods with my boys, cooked a few burgers and shit" He said expressing his disinterest in elaborating.
"Ah" I say "Sounds fun" I smile. "Something mad happened tonight" I explain.
"Oh aye?" He says seemingly interested.
"Well we were at the pub right, the queens, and Ste comes in bloodied up to fuck!" I explain.
"Who?" He asks
"Ste, you know, Ste from up on the top road?" I explain, “His mum never let him eat at our house when we were kids, because she insisted he was allergic to fucking everything.”
"Oh yeah" He says "I made him eat a peanut that one time and he was fine. What happened to him?" he asks
"Some lad in a balaclava battered him" I explain.
"Who was it?" He asks
"Ah, don't ask that, you're guess is as good as mine, either some random prick just out kicking off for nout, or..." I explain
"Or who?" He asks
"Well, we reckon somebody's got a serious problem with him, because his car was done over not long ago and all" I explain.
"That's mad that" He states.
"None of your mates have heard out have you? Do you know anyone else who's been attacked like that lately?" I ask him
"Nah, not for a while" He states "There was that whole thing a while back with those fellas in the car, bricking random fuckers, but that was months ago, can't say I've heard out".
He turns to leave.
"Wait" I say, "I've got a bottle of whisky upstairs, do you wanna sit on the roof and just tan the whole fucking thing?" I ask generously.
"Really?" He asks, seemingly confused. He chuckles warmly, "Go on then, twist my arm."
As we sat out on the roof, I looked out at the sun fading into the horizon, as the lights across the city begin to burn brighter.
“So, how are things going with you?” I ask genuinely,
“Pretty good.” He answers plainly.
“Tom served one of your mates the other day, over in Warby, got a bollocking off his manager.”
“Yeah, she’s a right miserable fucker. Refused to serve me a while back, even with my ID.”
“Eh?” I ask, in surprise.
“Yeah, she thought I’d pinched yours”
“No way, was Tom there?”
“Nah, she knows who you and I are, she’s just a dick.”
“Yeah, I mean I know we look similar, but we’re obviously different. For a start, you’re six inches taller than me” I laugh.
He takes a sip of whisky and hands it to me.
I put my nose above the rim and inhale deeply.
“You definitely got the looks in this family I reckon.” I state sincerely.
He chuckles lightly.
“Nah, we’re both a pair of handsome cunts” He smiles.
“So” I ask, “You got any lovely ladies in the wing then?”
“Been seeing this girl from Marbrook, bit of a trek away, but she’s a nice girl.”
“Oh really?” I ask, “Marriage material?” I say in jest.
“Fuck that!” He responds, “Went to her house for the first time yesterday. She’s directing me on the phone right. ‘At the top of the road’ she says. So I get there, and there’s this huge stately manor-type monstrosity sitting atop a hill, surrounded by fields full of horses.”
“Never, she posh like?” I ask,
“Not really.” He responds, “So I say on the phone, ‘Is your house behind the fucking mansion at the top of the hill.”
I laugh lightly.
“Her dad mind, he’s a right smug twat, a real yuppie, well-to-do-dick-head” He says sarcastically, “And for some reason, he dislikes me.” He laughs.
“Ah fuck him, you’re ploughing his daughter, he’s bound to hate you.” I say reassuringly.
“Yeah, can’t expect him to approve” He says non-chalantly.
As we pass the halfway point on the bottle of whisky, our conversation deepens. It’s like meeting an entirely new person. It turns out he’s had quite a few interesting experiences, some funny, some sad, some exciting. Throughout my life, I’ve slept with four women, but my brother has surpassed this quite substantially. He also seems to be quite a lot braver than me. I even begin to feel a little envious of the camaraderie that he seems to share with his friends. All at once it occurs to me that, through all of his experiences, I had lived under the same roof, and yet at no point had he ever burdened me for advice, or even told me what he was up to. I’d like to argue that he had been distant, but the truth was that it was I who had failed him as an older brother.
“Listen, I want to tell you something.” I say sincerely, handing him a cigarette and a lighter.
“When we were growing up, I know I wasn’t the best brother.” He explains.
“Ah you were fine, don’t worry.” He says casually.
“No” I say affirmatively, “I should have been an older brother to you. We went through a lot of shite when we were kids, all the shit with dad.” I say, briefly remembering the traumas of childhood we both endured.
“But I was never there to help you out. I suppose I was too busy trying to make myself happy, and taking out all my anger on you whenever I was sad or angry.” I state.
He looks at me blankly, wondering where I am going with this.
“But I had no excuse, I should have been an older brother to you. You should have been coming to me when you were upset or stressed, or angry, I should have been the one taking the brunt for you, a support figure, someone you could look up to, not another aggressive bully.”
“Hey, hey” He says, gripping my shoulder, “You were a good brother, it was a bad time, you were just a child too you know, you can’t be held responsible for acting like that back then. Seems like aggression was all we were ever taught back then” He says warmly.
“Yeah, but you know what?” I say, turning to face him.
“You turned out great without me. Look at you!” I say, “You’ve got great friends, you’re strong, you’re brave, you’re confident and smart, you’ve got no trouble with the ladies.” I compliment.
He smiles at me.
“I wish I had your confidence, you’re a good guy, and you should be proud of yourself.”
“Thanks man” He says.
“That means a lot to me”.
That night in a drunken state, I talked to my brother properly for the first time in years. It was strange seeing how this timid young boy who I used to slap around when I was frustrated had grown into such a confident and witty man. I even built up the confidence to tell him about my ex-girlfriend, Amy. Surprisingly, I felt relieved, like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I usually felt angry or sad whenever I talked about it, but something about talking to my brother made me feel better about myself, like I was ready to get over it. By the time we clambered back in to the house, and I went to bed, the rain came pouring down. Drops splashed in through the window where the securing lock had broken, and some splashed lightly on my face, as they do from time to time. Despite this, I slept better than I had for years.
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