Brooks didn’t sleep much that night. Between his impromptu spring cleaning and Cosmo waking up several times; he was exhausted by the time everyone else was getting up for the day.
He tried not to let it show, after all, he didn’t want to ruin his mother’s visit and anything could do that, given the pounding headache he could hear her complaining about. So, keeping his own complaints to a minimum, he headed into the kitchen to say ‘good morning’.
“Hey everyone…” He said as he rounded the corner, trying not to laugh when he got sight of Mike in an old Redskins ball cap. It was obvious he was trying to draw any unwanted attention away from his hair, but he still looked like a tool.
Emily was there too, already dressed in a white shirt and cream-coloured cardigan. Her dark hair was pulled back off her face, into its customary bun, like always. The only difference was the fitted – semi short - denim skirt she was wearing. Brooks had never actually seen her wear anything besides dress pants and those long black skirts that porn stars wore in movies; when they were suppose to pass as naughty teachers.
Either way, her legs were long, smooth and tanned. Oddly enough, he could almost picture what they’d feel like wrapped around his neck…
Trying to shake away the thought, he pulled his eyes away from her legs to see that she was smiling at him, seemingly pleased about something. He didn’t have a lot of time to think about it though, as his mother was already trying to get his attention. “Oy vey! Let me tell you… I think I ate some bad Gebratens last night. Never have I been so sick-“
“Mom, you drank like four bottles of sherry…” Brooks began to protest, but his mother swatted his words away, carelessly, with a hand.
“Your poor mother… I brought you into this world, gave you life, sacrificed my body to make sure you’d be born healthy… and this is all I get, criticism. Do you hear me Janet, my son is criticizing me?” Brooks rolled his eyes and turned to stare at Mike, who was pointedly paying close attention to the Lucky Charms he was eating.
“So, what did you guys want to do today? I have the day off so… I could take you shopping if you’d like.” Emily interjected quickly. Brooks sighed in relief, there was no way his mother would turn down shopping.
“Well I guess since we got all the baby-proofing done, there’s no reason why we couldn’t go… I haven’t been shopping in ages!” Janet said mournfully, as if that was the worse thing anyone could ever go through.
Mike kept his head low, trying to stop eye-contact, as the women all turned to him.
“I actually need Mike’s help with some things so… if you ladies wouldn’t mind maybe… leaving him here.” Brooks said, answering Mike’s grateful smile with a nod.
“Alright!” Esther said quickly, pushing her chair back from the table and standing up. “We better get going; we’ve got lots of things to pick up.”
Brooks cringed softly as they all got up from the table and began searching for their purses. He could only imagine what they’d come back with…
It wasn’t even that he had a problem with his mom spending his money, not at all. In fact, he was glad that she did… he certainly didn’t have a need for all of it. He was more afraid of what she’d end up getting for him.
His mother had a very odd sense of necessities and decoration; which usually resulted in a cornucopia of useless things pilled in his closet. Things he didn’t need… things he would never buy for himself.
All he could do was glance over at Emily and eye her suspiciously; careful to keep his eyes actually focused on her face and not anywhere like, well, her legs.
How was it possible that she had Wednesday off? Why was she always off? She obviously worked because she’d told him that she did, and she had to afford this place somehow.
She’d mentioned to him once before that her parents didn’t have a lot of money, so she had had to work her own way through college. That obviously meant that she wasn’t living here on daddy’s dime. Brooks decided to press the matter as his mother and Janet got ready. “So… not working today?” He asked, trying to sound casual; out of the corner of his eye he could see Mike perk up, his interest peeked.
“Nope, not till tomorrow night.” She said with a nonchalant shrug. “I don’t work days usually… and if I do, I can usually get it done in my apartment.”
“Oh… I see. And ’it’ being…?”
Brooks opened his mouth to say something else but Mike beat him to it. “Touché.” He grinned, earning a snort of amusement from Emily.
Before Brooks could regain his train of thought, she was standing up and walking towards the front door.
“Brooks, maybe you should come with us… get some nice highlights in your hair-“ Esther said, coming towards him. She grabbed onto the short pieces of hair and started tugging on them. He swatted her away.
“Come on mom! Enough with the hair… and you know I don’t like it long… I only do that for the playoffs. I keep it short. It’s easier to manage this way.” Brooks explained, for what felt like the millionth time.
“It looks so much better long… you look like one of those neo-Nazis when it’s like this- doesn’t he look good with long hair, Emily? Girls like long hair now-a-days, right?”
“Of course, women love a guy with a full head of hair, gives them something to run their fingers through…”
Esther nodded, as if that comment settled the whole thing; but Brooks was too flabbergasted by Emily’s comment to even register what his mom was doing. It might not have been overtly sexual comment, but it was the closet thing to one, he’d ever heard her say.
“See you guys later.” Emily grinned, looking over her shoulder as Janet and Esther followed her out the door.
It closed behind them, leaving the two boys alone.
Brooks stood there, running a hand through his shortly cropped strands, as Mike chewed a few more spoonfuls thoughtfully.
When he was done he stood up and dropped his bowl into the sink, before turning around to appraise Brooks. “So… not cutting your hair ever again?”
“Shut up, Mike.”
Brooks waved goodbye to his mom as she and Janet pulled out of the parking lot in their rental car. He shifted Cosmo’s weight on his hip, in order to get a better grip on her.
Mike was beside him, sniffling as his watched them leave; he was a momma’s boy through and through. “It’s gonna be ok Mike… you’ll see her at Christmas.” Brooks sighed, throwing an arm around his shoulders.
“It’s… I mean, whatever… it’s not like I care.” He grunted, trying to pretend that he didn’t care. Brooks didn’t bother arguing, he simply turned Mike around and led him back inside as Cosmo squealed excitedly.
Brooks put her down on the floor once they were back in their apartment, and she took off at full tilt. Her destination was the pile of toys that now took over one quarter of the room; his mother had spared no expense at Toys R’ Us, a few days before when she was shopping with Emily and Janet.
Shaking his head, Brooks watched her go, crawling faster then he thought possible.
“So, what do you want for supper?” Mike said, clearing his throat.
Brooks shrugged. “I don’t know… what is there?”
Mike went into the kitchen and pulled open the fridge, it was empty. He checked the freezer next, and threw a celebratory fist bump into the air when he saw what was inside. “Wicked! Brooks! They made us dinner for like… three weeks!” He yelled excitedly, motioning to Brooks.
Brooks moved in beside Mike and smiled to himself as he saw just how crammed-full their freezer was.
“Well, looks like spaghetti…” Brooks smiled, pulling out two zip-lock containers, setting them on the counter to unthaw.
Mike went to the cupboard to get some bowls out, but was unable to. “What in the fuck…?” He said to himself, tugging on the cupboard harder. “Brooks, I can’t get this to open…”
Heading towards him, Brooks shooed his hand away and grabbed onto the handle himself. He tugged a few times, but it still wouldn’t open. “Oh shit… the baby-proof locks…” He groaned loudly.
“Great! Before we couldn’t wash the dishes… now we can’t even use them!”
“Calm down, Mike, there has to be some way to open them…” Brooks sighed, trying to push one of his thick fingers into the small opening.
It was too big though, and he gave up, shrugging to himself as he grabbed the zip-lock containers and chucked them in the microwave. “Looks like we’re eating out of the tubs tonight.”
Mike exhaled loudly and headed into the living room to see Cosmo.
“Hey Mike,” Brooks called after him, trying to sound casual, “what do you think Emily does for a living?”
“I don’t know… she didn’t say, did she?” He called back, adding a hint of sarcasm in his tone.
“Yah but I mean…she only works nights… or in her apartment… and she makes enough money to live here…” He chewed on his lip as he punched ‘three minutes’ into the microwave. “Works at night and makes a lot of money…” He muttered to himself as he waited for the buzzer to go off.
“You don’t think- nah…” He began, turning around to face Mike, who was looking at him expectantly. “You don’t think she’s like… a prostitute or something?”
Mike laughed. “Yah right, who’d want to pay to have sex with Emily! She’s like not h-… actually… she is pretty hot…” He mused, his facial expression changing from amusement, to deep thought, to shock. “Holy shit!”
“No… no. I was just, no…” Brooks muttered, turning back around and hitting the ‘stop’ button before the annoying dinger sounded. “I mean… no… no.”
“Well, I’d fuck her.” Mike added, as if that settled the whole thing.
“No… she’s not…” Brooks held up his hands and moved them in front of him, as if trying to chase the thought away. “I mean… she’s so…” he moved his hands rigidly, up and down, trying to explain her personality in a single action. “But… she’s like…” his hands began to take on a different motion, one that explained the anatomy of a woman. The shape, the curves… the way her legs were toned and- “holy shit.”
“Well… you know what we have to do now don’t you?”
“What?” Brooks asked, his voice almost airy as his eyes focused far away, on nothing at all.
“We’re gonna have to pay her for sex!” Mike said, like it was such a simple solution.
Brooks spun around, shock on his face. “What?!” He yelled loudly, glaring at Mike.
“Well… we can’t let this go to waste… we live next door to a night walker… hey! That gives me an idea! I know how to figure out if she’s a prostitute!”
Brooks held out his arms, imploring Mike to continue. “Ok so… we put a red light in front of the door and play that ‘Roxanne’ song… if she comes… then she’s a prostitute.”
“You. Are. An. Idiot.” Brooks hissed, breaking up each word so that it would get his point across more effectively. “We’re blowing this out of proportion, she’s not a prostitute… it’s just… it’s been a long day. Forget I said anything.”
“Rooooooxanne! You don’t have to put on that red dress tonight! Rooooooxanne!-“
“Shut UP!” Brooks yelled, his tone and volume causing Cosmo to whimper. “Oh shit… I’m sorry Cosmo…” He sighed, moving into the living room and scooping her up. “Daddy didn’t mean to scare you, ok?” He began to move around the room slowly, lulling her into a sense of security once more. “Mike,” he started, calmly this time. “we’re just being stupid… she’s not a prostitute so, just please forget I brought it up.”
“Knock, knock.” Emily called, pushing the door open and glancing at the two boys. “Sorry… the door was open and I heard yelling, is everything ok?”
Mike stood up and cleared his throat, turning around and walking off down the hall. “Umm… yah, Mike and I were just having a disagreement…”
Brooks turned around and looked down the hall at Mike who was now mouthing ‘she heard the song’, and pointing around him at Emily. “Anyway, you want to come in for a bit?”
“Oh no thanks, I just got a call and I have to run and meet a client. No rest for the weary, right?” She smiled, waving goodbye to Cosmo and closing the door behind her.
“She said client!” Mike called in a loud whisper from the shadows of the hallways.
“I know Mike.”
“That’s what prostitutes call their-“
“Shut up, Mike!”