Episode 13 ~ Brothers & Sisters Part 1
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Nate slipped up behind Ethan, leaning, arms folded over his brother’s shoulder. “I’m proud of you,” he whispered. Ethan just shrugged.
They’d spent the last hour, sitting by Brooke’s headstone. About once a month the boys each drove into Mystic, Connecticut where the rest of their family lived. When they could, they made the trip together. Since Ethan was taking some time off his schedule was wide open and he could accommodate Nate’s schedule. Brooke’s parents lived in New London which was not far from where they’d grown up. Brooke’s parents were regulars at the Dorough’s restaurant in Mystic. They brought their daughter with them one evening and their two sets of parents decided it would be a good idea to set them up. So, one weekend when Ethan was visiting sans, Nate they had arranged it. Ethan had been pissed and Brooke equally annoyed that they had been ambushed until about 10 minutes after meeting. They both admitted later that after that first evening, they knew they never want to date anyone else ever again. It felt like yesterday and yet simultaneously it felt like a lifetime ago. When Brooke was killed in a car accident, they’d buried her near her family.
Ethan sat pulling at a blade of grass. Nate waited and he would wait for as long as necessary. Watching his brother hurt like this was so difficult.
“So, this girl my grief group asked me out yesterday.”
It was the first words he’d spoken in nearly an hour.
“Whoa,” Nate chuckled. “what did you say?”
“Um,” said Ethan. “I said Um.” managing a small laugh.
“I eventually caught up to her after the group and thanked her but told her I just wasn’t ready.”
“Sure she understood.” insisted Nate. “Is she?”
“Her roommate overdosed on some pills last year. So she’s coping with something different. But yeah she understood. The truth is, I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready.” Ethan said thoughtfully.
“Good,” Nate joked. “We’ll be forever bachelors, the two sexiest sons of bitches in the old folks home.”
Ethan smirked and laughed out loud. It was a very welcome sound.
“Alright,” Ethan reached up for a hand. Nate pulled him up to standing position and hugged him tight.
About twenty minutes later, Nate and Ethan pulled into the driveway of their childhood home. It was still and nearly quiet outside, all but the sounds of chaos, their sister’s kids, from inside the house. There were 4 Dorough ‘kids.’ Erin was the oldest, followed by Kevin and then Ethan and Nathan had followed only 11 months later. They hadn’t even stepped fully through the door when Nate was pelted in the face with a Nerf dart.
“Hey, hey, hey,” Nate shouted. “we come in peace.”
Their nephew, Jonathan ran through the foyer and slid into the kitchen in his socked feet.
“State your business.” he glared, raising the Nerf gun at his uncles. Before he could answer, his younger brother Andrew slid into the room, in a similar fashion, knocking Jonathan down.
“Yo, hot stuff in here. Get your butts outside.”
Their sister Erin, pregnant with her third child, bellowed. The boys scrambled to their feet. “Hi, Tio, hi Tio” Jonathan rattled quickly giving each uncle a hug. Nate, though the kid was nearly 11 couldn’t help but kiss the kid on the top of his head. He was growing so fast and he’d be taller than all of them before long. “Hey Drew,” scolded Ethan, “did you roll in dirt? Get over here.”
“Sorry, Uncle E.” At 8 years old, Andrew was the spitting image of Ethan and Nate at the same age and just as rambunctious. He hugged both of his uncles with his sweaty and very dirty body.
“I swear they have two speeds,” Erin sighed smiling. “Comatose and warp.”
“Or,” Nate said carefully touching his older sister’s belly, “You’re slowing down.” He winked at her. “You taking good care of my niece?”
“Stop, you know it might not be a girl. Don’t get my hopes up.” and then to Jonathan and Andrew, “Go wash up and help your grandmother set the table!”
Dinners at the Dorough house were important.
They always had been, There was nothing more important than family. Sean and Mariajose or MJ , their parents had been very young when they found out they were expecting Erin. At was just 17 and they had married as soon as MJ left high school. While it was not the ideal situation, certainly not what they hoped for their own children, they’d not only made it work but they usually made it seem easy.
They had moved to Connecticut from New York City when they’d outgrown their little apartment with the addition on Kevin. They’d bought a little pub that they’d since expanded 3 times since and had made a very happy and satisfying life for all of them. Erin worked in a hair salon and had married Brett, one of her customers, 13 years ago and had stayed in Mystic. They’d found out, just about a month prior that they were expecting again. At 42, she’d assumed they were done but, not so much. This baby was definitely unplanned but not at all unwelcome. Even Jonathan and Drew were excited. Erin quietly hoped, well not so quietly, that her brothers would eventually marry too and add some cousins to the mix.
So far, it wasn’t looking good.
Kevin had married Kim, a girl he barely knew but who had seemed really nice. Shortly after their wedding, she’d insisted that they needed to establish a life of their own and convinced him to move back to the city. Nate and Ethan were thrilled that he’d been so close but Kim hated it when he went out and became increasingly controlling, refusing to visit family and ridiculing Kevin when he did. He’d tried to make it work, jumping through all of her hoops and seeking counseling. He’d wanted to leave a hundred times but he’d been raised to stick it out. It was only after he’d discovered that she’d been having affairs (plural) the last year and a half of their marriage that it ended.
He’d confronted her and she had actually blamed him.
Kevin definitely wasn’t the easiest person to get along with but as far as anyone could tell, he’d treated her well and done everything she wanted. She took off with bachelor number 3 and Kevin had moved back home. That had been more than 5 years ago but it had wounded him. He said he had trust issues but it seemed that he really had issues trusting himself. With a head for business, he’d expanded the restaurant’s liquor business into liquor catering that supplied most major functions for 100 miles. He was great at it but had bigger plans for himself, if only he could muster up the guts. If there was any void in his life, he filled with mornings at the gym, evenings at their bar, and a difference girl every week. In a small town, you’d have thought the woman would revolt and call him on the carpet but he was so charming, yet unapologetic, he just seemed to get away with it.
Neither of the twins had ever married but they’d come close.
It would be awhile for Ethan, given all that he’d been through. Nate, on the other hand, had been in a long-term relationship with Amy. She was nice enough but not really the warm and affectionate type. They were all secretly relieved when it had ended for good. The Dorough’s were close knit and admittedly a tough group to break into but Brooke had been assimilated immediately. She just fit, as did Brett.
Brett teased them all, insisting they moved like a school of fish. It was true that they stuck together. They definitely had an “all of us mentality.” It probably came from being raised by young parents. At just 22 when the last of their children were born, MJ and Sean had played with their kids. They spent very little money on extras and lots of time together in their small house. When times got tough, it was all hands on deck. There had been no such thing as “women’s work.” or “guy’s stuff.” They were family, like lots of families but more than that, they were a team. When other kids were going on vacation to Disney World, they were working in the restaurant and playing board games, which was their exciting plan for this particular evening as well.