I love each and every one of you… but I have to give a special shout out to Jay… for keeping me on track and being able to see inside my brain when I can’t find my way around the damn thing =)
Brooks was excited to be home. He was happy to be away from Boudreau, happy to be back in his own space; and a tiny little part of him, somewhere deep, deep down, was happy to see Emily again.
When he pulled up out front of the apartment building, he could hardly contain his eagerness to get up the stairs and crash onto the couch, and chuck his suitcase somewhere out of sit. At least until the next road trip.
It was lucky for him that Mike also felt the same way about being home, so he didn’t question Brooks as they jogged up the stairs together.
He did however give Brooks an know-it-all grin, as they rounded the last set of stairs and Brooks came to a complete halt.
Emily was standing in the hall with Brooks’ Xbox in her hands, as she tried to juggling a pair of controllers and a few games on top of it. Brooks didn’t know why his heart was palpating so badly; he assumed it was the thought of losing Fable 2 to a girl that looked like she was about to drop. “Umm… what are you doing?
Emily gave them a sheepish grin before she nodded back towards their apartment door; which was wide open. “Watching Janet and Esther rip through your living room.” She giggled, before turning around and heading towards her apartment.
Brooks and Mike watched her disappear through the door, before returning a moment later, empty handed.
“Where did you-? Why-?” Brooks sputtered before he finished his ascent of the stairs and jogged into his apartment. “Mom?” He asked in disbelief as he saw his bother holding a glass of sherry; her free hand on her hip as she watched another woman stick child proof locks onto a cabinet.
“Brooksie!” She yelled, so enthusiastically that she sent a giant gob of the red liquid onto the floor. “Oh shit… well, what can ya do? I’m sure you’ve got a rug somewhere…” She sighed before rushing over to hug him.
“Hey Esther!” Mike yelled happily as he followed after Brooks, coming to a stop behind him.
Brooks’ mom let go of him and moved to embrace Mike. “Oh my! This must be the little dear!” She squealed, dropping her hold on him and slamming her glass into his chest. “Here take this! Let me see you- oh, she’s just- Janet look- she looks like me! Lucky little girl. Hello Cosmo! I’m your Nanny Laich!”
Mike’s mom, stood up and headed towards them, and it was then Brooks noticed the glass in her hand. His eyes focused in on two empty bottles of cooking sherry in the sink, and he sighed at Mike. “Oh look at her!” Janet yelled, causing Mike to jump.
He looked back and forth between to two women, confused at his mother’s sudden appearance; Mike had a hard time remembering that his mother had another name besides ‘mom’.
“Where did you come from?” He asked, as she pushed her way next to Esther to study to baby.
“Shh Mike! You’re gonna wake her!” She yelled, before she stretched up onto her tip-toes and grabbed his hair in her hands. “Oh no, what’s this? How many times do I have to tell you to get rid of this thing?! You use to have such nice hair and now you look like you had your hair cut by a weed-wacker. Why is there nothing on the sides? And what is that suppose to be? You kids… I don’t understand it. I was saying to Esther just this morning, I said ‘Esther these kids-‘.”
Emily suppressed a snort as she appeared behind Mike, apparently she’d been hanging around outside to give them some privacy. “Oh Emily!” Esther said excitedly, flagging her down with a free hand. “Come look at my little granddaughter! Isn’t she just the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen?”
Emily only smiled and nodded, before carefully taking Cosmo out Esther’s arms. Apparently she could also tell that they were intoxicated, and Brooks was grateful to have his daughter in the arms of someone a bit more stable at the moment. “She sure is… I’ll just go put her in the crib.” Emily said quietly. She headed down the hallway and Brooks watched her go.
“She’s some catch Brooks! I always knew you’d end up with-“
“Whoa!” He said loudly, snapping his head back around to look at his mother. “No! I’m not… we’re not-“
“Esther where did you say those hair clippers were? I need to do Mike’s hair… this is just awful! No wonder you don’t have a girlfriend!” Mike didn’t bother to correct her; he just shook his head sadly and shot a reproachful look at Brooks.
Brooks and Mike both watched Janet head to the bathroom as she prattled on about Mike’s hair, in the same tone that Esther was using to give Brooks a life lesson on women. They finally found each others eyes and headed towards the couch, plopping down on it and trying to figure out a way to get their mother’s to calm down.
“Mom! I don’t want to!” Mike complained as his mother cornered him in the kitchen, waving the clippers like a weapon.
“Michael David Green!” Janet shot at him, causing him to cringe more than the image of those clippers coming anywhere near his head.
Holding his arms up in front of him in self-defence, he moaned miserably. “Aww, mom!”
“Janet, are you really sure that you should be doing that tonight?” Brooks asked slowly as he moved into the kitchen behind her, picking up one of the several empty bottles in the sink. “I mean, you can always do it tomorrow…”
“Oh no, no… I’m good now. Come on Mike, sit down like a good boy.” Janet cooed, motioning for Mike to take a seat at the table. He looked over at Brooks, his eyes pleading for a hero.
Sighing deeply, Brooks moved over to him. “Hey Janet… I don’t think Mike really needs a hair cut, how about you give those to me?” He tried three more times with that approach before giving up and deciding on another method. “You know what Janet, you’re right… he needs a cut bad, that faux hawk is pretty bad. Let me do it though.”
Janet smiled in agreement, handing the clippers over to Brooks who quickly ripped the cord out of the wall and began to wind it around the clippers.
Janet was almost as intoxicated as Brooks’ mom now, so she didn’t even really comprehend what had just occurred. She looked around confused, as if trying to remember why she’d come into the kitchen in the first place.
Brooks gave her a quick smile as he moved past her, catching Emily’s eye before heading towards his room and carefully stowing the clippers under his bed; away from any other intoxicated mothers.
He was coming out of his room, planning on going into the living room to chat to Emily for a bit, when he saw his mother ambling down the hall ahead of him. Something was clutched in her right hand, but he couldn’t make out what. He sighed and followed after her, hoping that she didn’t have some kind of embarrassing baby pictures or what have you.
Of course, it wasn’t like he could do anything about it. He could scream at his mom till he was red in the face and she still wouldn’t hear him; he loved her to death but she had the worse case of selective hearing he’d ever seen.
When he actually got into the living room and saw her drop down beside Emily on the couch, he cringed. His mom was holding the latest issue of Playboy in her hands. “Now here’s a question…” She began holding it up in front of Emily, who blushed scarlet and began to giggle in a high-pitched, awkward tone. “I understand his father reading these… cause he’s old and my boobs hang down by my ankles-”
“-but really! He’s rich, he’s good-looking… why does he need this? He should be out with real women, not hiding in the bathroom with his nudey mags!”
“Mom! I don’t hide in the bathroom and read porn! It’s just… it’s just in there!”
“Oh it’s just in there!” She laughed, slapping Emily lightly in the arm. “Yah, and Auchwitz was just a summer camp!”
Brooks threw his hands over his and groaned. It wasn’t that he had a problem with his heritage, or he didn’t understand just how horrible WW2 had been, but his mom had a tendency of brining it up at the strangest times; usually to get some kind of reaction from the people around him. “God mom! Please don’t start with the concentration camps… you weren’t even there! And I highly doubt that Emily came over here for a history lesson, so please… can we not do this right now?”
“Don’t you patronize me Brooksie! I know people, who knew people!”
“Oh my god…” Brooks didn’t know what else to do. His mother was taking a deep breath, and he knew he’d never shut her up once she got on a roll. Instead he grabbed Emily and pulled her off the couch, leading her out of his apartment and down the hall.
“I am so sorry if she offended you-” He began to apologise, but Emily started to laugh and he stopped, staring down at her like she was crazy.
She tried to say something but couldn’t manage it as her laughter became louder. “No… no…” She finally sighed, getting her emotions under control and waving a hand at him. “Don’t worry about it, I’m not at all… I just… she’s something else.” Emily smiled, taking a deep breath and exhaling it slowly, trying to keep herself from bursting into hysterics again.
“Anyway, you probably don’t want to leave Mike in their with them, alone, for too long… and I should get some sleep. Big day tomorrow.” She added, as she reached out to open her door.
“Why what’s going on tomorrow?” Brooks asked, confused as to why she was talking to him like her day had something to do with him.
“Because tomorrow we’re baby-proofing and spring cleaning your apartment.” She shrugged casually, closing the door behind her and leaving Brooks in the hallway; his mind racing over the amount of things in his apartment that he didn’t want his mom or Emily to see.
It was going to be a long night.