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Second Shot - 29. Chapter 29: Brothers

The family is back together, but at what cost? This chapter you get to see a bit more of Dean and Jason together.

Traffic delayed his father; not surprising for a Friday evening. They were going to be having a late dinner, something Jason regularly did during soccer season. He stopped at the Wawa and picked up some snacks he knew his mother would like in case she was hungry. If she didn't want them, he would take them for Dean to eat.

When he arrived at Peter's room, his mom was sitting talking to Amanda, Tom and some woman he didn't know, but suspected was Betsy.

"Jason." His mother stood up to greet him. For the first time in months she actually sounded happy he was there.

"Jason!" The other woman, blonde, maybe faux blonde, with the figure of an aerobics instructor(which Peter said she was), smiled at him. A little too much make up, but her smile seemed real.

"You mother has been telling us all sorts of embarrassing stories about you." Her thick southern drawl surprised him.

Imagining what his mother might have told them, his face turned red.

"Oh how cute." Her voice was already starting to grate on him. "He's blushing."

Jason walked over and gave his mom a kiss. Amanda stood up, so he hugged her. When Betsy stood up, he knew he had to do the same with her.

"You must be Betsy." Pointing out that they never met and she didn't introduce herself. From the corner of his eye, he thought he saw Amanda suppress a snicker.

"Oh how rude of me," she said. "After listening to your mom, I felt like we already knew each other."

Stepping back, she held out her hand formally. "Betsy Gregory."

Despite the absurdity, he smiled and shook her hand. "Jason Tellerman," he deadpanned. "Please to meet you ma'am."

"Oh please don't call me ma'am." She slapped him lightly on the shoulder. "Betsy, if you please."

"Yes ma'am," he said reflexively. "Sorry, Betsy."

Tom watched the interchange, slightly amused. When it ended, he grabbed Jason's shoulder. "How was practice, Sport?"

Sport? Who called anyone "Sport" anymore. "Muddy. Took me three shampoos to get all the caked-in dirt from my hair."

"I am glad you made sure to wash it out this time," his mother said. "When you were younger, you would come home all muddy and make me all but throw you in the bathtub."

"Mom, do we really need another embarrassing Jason story?"

"Sorry." She didn't sound sorry to him, but he knew she was just teasing.

"Well, Betsy," Tom said, "what say we go eat so Amanda can eat with Erin when she gets off work."

Betsy nodded. "Barbara, lovely to meet you and your son. Amanda, thank you for being so gracious letting me come by."

"I don't know what I did," Amanda said. "But you are welcome. It was good to finally meet you."

When Peter's dad and step mom left, Amanda rolled her eyes. "He will never grow up."

"What?" Jason walked around his mother to be closer to Peter's bed. Some of the swelling had gone away, but it still hurt to look at his face.

"She is fifteen years younger than Tom," his mother explained.

"So?" Jason was only partially paying attention. He reached for Peter's hand, rubbing it slowly.

"Men, you all . . ." Amanda never finished her sentence. When he turned around, she gave him the barest of smiles.

Before he could say anything, his mom's phone rang. "Your father," she said after looking at the screen.

As she spoke to his father, Jason's phone chirped. Dean sent a text saying they were at the hotel.

When he looked up, he noticed his mom staring at him. Her expression was hard for him to read. At first he thought she was uncomfortable seeing him interact with Peter. Despite the steely expression, Jason didn't see the anger he expected. No, she looked upset, or better said, unsettled. What happened that she was bothered?

Her lips quivered for a moment and she gave him an attempt at a smile. She failed, but he knew she felt his pain.

"They're at the hotel."

He nodded, not letting go of Peter's hand. "Yeah, I know. Dean sent me a text."

"Darn kids," she jokingly complained to Amanda. "Always one step ahead of us."

"Are they coming here?" Jason asked.

"No, I'm going to meet them at the hotel. Once your father checks in, we can go for dinner."

"Do you mind if I stay for a bit before heading over?" With his back turned, she couldn't see him stare at Peter's face, willing him to wake up. "I want to sit with Pete for a little bit before we go."

"Take your time, sweetie." She kissed him on the cheek. "Come by when you're ready."

Grabbing her purse and coat, she gave them both a smile before she left.

"Do you mind sitting here alone for a few minutes?" Amanda asked. "I need to step out to get something to drink."

Rather than answer, he gave her a hug. "Thank you Mrs. G."

"For leaving you here alone?"

"No," he kissed her cheek. "For what you said to my mother. I'll spend my life trying, but never be able to repay what you did."

"Yes, you can." She grabbed both his hands. "Peter never shared much about his personal life until he met you. He loves you very much, and I know you love him too. Don't let anyone or anything come between you again. Do that and I will be in your debt."

Jason smiled. "That's an easy one to promise, Mrs. G. I was going to do that already."

"I know, Jason." She gave him a hug and a kiss. "Take care of him and he will take care of you back."

Jason helped her put her coat on. "Would it be weird if I said I loved you? Like a second mom, that is."

She paused causing Jason to fear what he said was inappropriate given where they were. "No, Jason, it wouldn't be weird. It's quite touching."

He noticed she was tearing up. "Sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry. I probably shouldn't have said that."

"No, no, it's really very sweet." She accepted the tissue he handed her. "I'm just rather emotional right now."

"I know this won't mean much coming from me, not being a doctor or nothing, but he's going to fine." If she heard in his voice how fervently he felt what he was saying, she would believe it too. "If my mom can be here for Peter and me, nothing is impossible. I'm not the most religious kid, but somehow I just know he's going to be okay. You getting my mom to see what was important can't go unrewarded. Can't give any reasons why I know this, but I just do. Maybe it's wishful thinking, I can't say for sure, but I feel this as sure as I know the sun is coming up tomorrow."

At first he wondered if he said too much, but when she smiled, he knew he reached her. This was the first hopeful smile he had seen from him in two days.

"Jason," she squeezed his hand again. "That was beautiful. Keep telling him that and he'll be awake in no time. Be back soon."

"Bye." He watched her leave then sat down, glad to be alone with Peter. "Pete, I keep saying I know you can hear me, but I know you can. I'm here Pete and I'm not going anywhere. I love you. I probably don't tell you often enough, but I do. Everything is going to be fine, I just need you to come back."

Jason kissed his hand before putting his head back on the pillow next to Peter's. "I just miss you so much."

*

Amanda gave him twenty minutes alone, not nearly enough, but more than he expected. Jason made it to the hotel without hitting traffic. Riding the elevator to the sixth floor, he realized he had not seen his brother since the day after their grandfather bought the Austin Healey at the auction. This was one of the longest periods of time they'd been apart. Avoiding his mother had other unintended consequences.

Hopefully things were better. So long as his mother didn't regress, Jason wouldn't spend as much time away from home. He almost ran over an older couple waiting to get on the elevator when it reached the sixth floor. Calling out his apologizes, he searched for their room.

Dean answered the door with a smile as big as Jason's.

"Hey, Jase!" He wrapped Jason in a bear hug, pulling him off the ground.

"Damn, Dean, what have you been eating? You look like you've gain ten pounds."

"Jealous?" Dean laughed. "Just been working out more. Tired of being so skinny."

"Whatever you're doing, you look great." Jason put his arm around his brother. "I missed you."

"Missed you too, Jase." Dean smiled. "Mom said you're going to save me from staying with them."

Jason nodded. "You can have my bed. I'll sleep on the couch. Where's dad?"

"Behind you," his father said coming out of the bathroom.

"Hey, Dad."

"Good to see you, Son. You look well." Royce rubbed his hair. "How are you doing?"

Fixing his hair he said, "I'm a bit tired, but doing okay under the circumstances."

The room went suddenly quiet.

"How is he?" Royce's voice broke the silence.

"No change." They all stared at him as he spoke. "Doctor said the swelling in his head is going down, so they are hopeful he will wake up soon. One positive is the bone in his back is getting time to heal without damaging his spinal cord. They noticed some reaction to stimulus in his legs so they don't expect any paralysis."

"That's wonderful news." His mother said. "I was afraid to ask Amanda in case the news wasn't good."

"I have this feeling everything is going to be okay. I can't explain it, but I just know." He left out the part about him mother coming around. Why bring up how she treated him now?

No one spoke until his dad broke the silence, "That's the spirit. Think positive."

"Exactly. Hey Dean, grab your stuff and put it in my car. That way we won't need to come back to the hotel after dinner."

He tossed his brother the keys to his car.

Dean looked blankly at them. "I have no idea where you're parked, Jase."

Rolling his eyes, Jason held out his hand. "Duh, yeah right. I'll show you."

"Why don't you two meet us at the restaurant?" Barbara said. "We'll be there in a few minutes."

"Works for me." Jason turned to Dean. "C'mon, we've obviously been dismissed."

Laughing, the brothers left the room.

"I missed seeing that," Barbara said.

"I think they missed doing it." Royce gave his wife a hug. "How are you holding up?"

"Better seeing my boys together again. That alone tells me you were right."

"Not me, dear, you. You made your own decision, I merely agreed with it."

*****

"Man, dinner seemed endless." Dean shut the car door. Snapping the seat belt, he turned toward Jason. "I mean two hours for dinner?"

"When has dinner out ever been quick?" Jason slowly pulled out of the parking space, shifting into first gear.

Dean laughed. "Too bad mom won't eat at Taco Bell."

Jason tried not to laugh, but the image of his mom ordering a chalupa, broke his control. "Good luck making that happen."

"What's the deal with Betsy?"

Dean's question took Jason by surprise. "What do you mean?"

"Well, when I was in the bathroom, Mom told Dad she was, 'Interesting.' I couldn't hear the rest of the conversation."

"Um . . . well she is interesting." Jason didn't want to say too much bad about her, he only met her for a minute. "She's fifteen years younger than Pete's dad, and she is a bit . . ."

"Slutty?"

Jason shook his head. "No, not that. I was thinking more of a blonde bimbo."

"Oh." Dean sounded disappointed.

"At one point, however, I thought Pete's mom and Mom were gonna bust out laughing at her ridiculous comments." Jason rolled his eyes, but kept his focus on the road. "Oh, and she has this horrible southern twang when she speaks."

He did his best to imitate her voice making Dean laugh.

"You know what they say, Jase, 'You can take the girl out of the trailer . . ."

"But you can't take the trailer out of the girl," they both said together, laughing.

"What does Peter think of her?"

"I don't think he's met her, to be honest. He never said much about her really." He trailed off, wondering if he should go back and sit with Peter. With Dean staying with him, he realized that wasn't going to happen. A deep breath to keep his emotions under control and he turned quickly toward his brother.

"So little bro, what do you want to do with the rest of our night away from the watchful eye of Mom and Dad?"

"Got any booze?"

"Sorry, no drinking." Jason suddenly felt old.

"Why not?" Dean looked as disappointed as he sounded. "I mean, what's the point in not staying with the `rents if I have to be good?"

"A - I don't have any booze; B - I have a game tomorrow; and C - you're underage."

"When did you become a cub scout?"

"Seriously, Dean, cut me some slack here, okay?" That came out harsher than Jason meant. Dean was just being seventeen and away from his parents.

"What did I do?"

"Mom only started talking to me again today." With an effort he managed to hide his frustration. "Are you trying to prevent me from getting to day two?"

"Hey, so long as no one finds out, what's the harm?"

Either Dean didn't understand or he really wanted to get drunk. "Campus narc squads are everywhere on weekends. Last thing I need is for you to get busted. Christ, can you image what kind of shit I would be in if that happened? Mom would blow a blood vessel or ten in her head."

"If she never finds out, it's all good."

"Dean, with all that is going on right now, do you really need to get drunk tonight? I'm just not up for babysitting and that is what would happen `cause I'll be so stressed out something will happen to you. Can't it wait until next time?" Jason suddenly felt all the stress of the last few days. The constricted feeling griped his chest making it hard to breathe.

"Okay, Jase, sorry to bug you about this," Dean apologized. "But you know, Mom is gonna freak no matter when, if I get caught."

Jason could feel his brother's smile. "Yeah, but in a month or two, I can deal with her being mad about something other than my being gay."

Jason pulled into a spot near the steps to his building and popped the trunk. When they got inside, the lights were on.

"Maybe Darryl's back," Dean said hopefully.

Jason almost rolled his eyes. There was no way Darryl was going to side with Dean on getting alcohol, but he let it go. "More likely he left the light on."

As they moved toward Jason's room they confirmed Darryl wasn't home.

"Drop your stuff there," Jason pointed to a clean spot on the floor. "You can use the bed, I'll use the couch."

"Hey, I can use the couch. I don't need to kick you out of your own bed."

"It's cool. I may not get too much sleep anyway. Since the attack, it's been hard to sleep." He quickly turned his back to his brother.

"Bothers you that much?"

Jason nodded. In a soft voice he said, "You should have seen his face Dean. They beat him so bad . . . it was all fat and puffy."

"Jordan was always a bully." Dean's voice was angry. "He used to pick on the freshman players when he was a senior."

"Did he pick on you too?" Jason's finally turned back.

"No," Dean shook his head. "Other guys figured it was because he was afraid you might get mad. He knew we are close."

"Good." Jason had another reason to feel stupid for staying friends with Jordan as long as he did. Not that he needed anymore after what he did to Peter.

"It was so stupid. There was no reason to do what he did." He hadn't meant to say that out loud. When he saw his brother's confused look, he said, "Peter wasn't violent, he never attacked anyone, least of all Jordan. We went out of our way to avoid him whenever we saw him or his 'new' friends."

"I'm sorry, Jase." Dean looked uncomfortable.

"Sorry Dean, I didn't mean to dump that on you."

"No, I asked, I wanted to know." After a long pause he added. "You must really love him."

Jason snorted. "Damn, I never thought I would be having this conversation with you." He smiled and sat on the bed. "I do, Dean, I really do. But it's so weird. I never imagined anything like this when we were kids. I always saw myself with a super model wife, in a nice house with little Jasons running around."

Dean laughed. "Super model, eh? Aren't you full of yourself."

"Hey, a boy needs a dream." Jason shrugged. "Until I met Peter, I had no idea what it felt like to really be in love. Took me by surprise, I guess. In a good way, of course."

"What's he like?"

"Who? Peter?" His brother's interest in his boyfriend shocked Jason.

"Yeah."

Jason couldn't tell if Dean really wanted to know or was just trying to be there for him. "Wow, how do I describe him without sounded stupid and giddy. He's romantic, sweet, funny, killer smile, smart as can be, thinks about stuff a lot, tough as nail, you should see him at martial arts practice, he's crazy. He has big dreams, but likes the little things more than material stuff. Oh and he's totally hot."

Jason raised both eyebrows wondering how his brother would react to his description.

"Sounds like you got a good one bro."

"Okay, why the interest?" Much as he didn't want to offend Dean, his curiosity forced him to ask.

Dean's look caused Jason to hold his breath. 'Don't tell me you're gay, bro. Don't do it,' was all he could think. Dean swallowed then said, "Before you met him, we were tight. Not many of my friend's older brothers treated them as good as you treat me. Then you met Peter and we stopped being so close. I miss us; how we used to be. So I wanted to know who this guy was that has you so interested. That's all."

"Dean, it wasn't that Pete didn't want to meet you, Mom and Dad told me not to bring him around you."

"Really?"

"Yeah." Jason wondered if he was smart to tell his brother. Too late, already done. "Why do you think he never came to visit last summer? When he's better we can all hang out."

"But will he like me?"

"What's not to like?" Jason laughed, hoping to quell his brother's insecurity. Why would Dean even worry about this? "Seriously, don't sweat that. Peter knows how close we are, he's always asking when he's going to meet you the way I talk you up."

"Really?" Dean jerked his head slightly, then smirked. "Can he teach me to be a bad ass too?"

Jason laughed. "So that's what you're really interested in knowing?"

Dean threw of a couple lame punches. "Hey, a dude needs to know how to defend himself."

The smile drained from Jason's face. Staring at a point on the carpet in front of him, he said, "Sometimes knowing when to run away is better. As good as Peter is, he was no match for one against six plus a bat."

When his brother didn't say anything, Jason looked up and saw Dean staring at him.

"Sorry, Jason, I really am." Dean sat on the bed and put his arm around his brother. "I've never seen you like this. You must really hurt."

"When I think about it too much I can't stop the tears. Even though I wasn't there, I can see them beating him." Tears started running down his cheeks as he sniff, drawing short quick breathes. "Darryl said I screamed so loud last night, he thought I was being attacked. In my dream, I was standing there, watching as Jordan laughed, while he and the others kicked Peter after he was unconscious. I was screaming at them to stop, but he just laughed at me and kicked him harder. Told me there was nothing I could do but watch."

Unable to continue, he waited for Dean to say something. When his brother kept silent he added, "All I want is for him to wake up and be okay. I want to hear him laugh again, call me a dork, tell me I make him happy, surprise me with dinner. I want to hold him like we used to do, just be happy together. Sounds dumb, but that's what hurts; and I can't do a damn thing to fix things."

Dean pulled him closer, letting Jason cry on his shoulder. "It's gonna be okay, Jase, you said so yourself. Just keep believing it."

Jason dried his eyes as best he could. "When did you become the big brother?"

"I didn't, but you needed a shoulder and mine was here." Dean's voice was soft and serious.

Jason heard the front door unlock. "Thanks, Dean, I'm really glad you're here."

He gave his brother a hug. Before he let go he heard Darryl's voice, "Yo yo, Dean Tellerman is in da house. How's it going, little bro?"

Dean smiled broadly and stood up. "Hey, Darryl."

"Damn, Jason, what are they feeding little Tellerman these days?" Darryl grabbed Dean's arm and shoulder. "Dude is gonna put a hurtin on you if you mess with him now."

Jason laughed. "He didn't need ten pounds of muscle to do that already."

"What say we go shoot some stick?" Darryl's suggestion made Jason eye him suspiciously. It sounded a bit too planned. When he looked from Dean to Darryl, he got nothing from their expressions. "It's the least we can do to try to get Dean lucky tonight."

Dean suddenly turned away, confirming the two had been planning something.

"Dean already has a girlfriend that he would be nuts to risk losing." Jason decided not to press them to find out what they were doing. Instead he played along. "Besides, unless you're letting him use your bed, he has nowhere to take her even if he did score. Ain't a chance in hell anyone brings a woman to sleep in my bed."

Dean blushed furiously while Darryl laughed, shaking his head.

"Let's go." Dean's obvious attempt to shift the topic from him to anything else was not lost on Jason. "But unless you've gotten better recently, bro, I'm going to kick your ass as usual."

"You're on, little brother." Jason held up his hand and the two shook on it.

Shooting pool is harmless enough, right? Right?
Copyright © 2011 Andrew Q Gordon; All Rights Reserved.
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Yay it's up early :2thumbs:

 

It's really good to see Jason and Dean interacting again. Good chapter and I am starting to see a ray of hope for Peter :)

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On 01/11/2011 10:36 AM, Simonjames30 said:
Yay it's up early :2thumbs:

 

It's really good to see Jason and Dean interacting again. Good chapter and I am starting to see a ray of hope for Peter :)

Thanks Simon, it will be a few more Chapters until we see what happens to Peter - not saying more, just that it won't be right away that we find out. Hope that isn't going to piss off too many people but there are a few things to deal with still.
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Fingers crossed that Peter comes back to us really soon. Oh, and Jason's Mom seems to have come to her senses but I still feel there's moreto her story.

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On 01/11/2011 04:30 PM, Sara Alva said:
Aw, cute conversation with Dean at the end
Dean is most certainly NOT my brother - if that were us, he would tell me to get a gun and go take care of things. :P
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On 01/12/2011 12:38 AM, C.K. said:
Fingers crossed that Peter comes back to us really soon. Oh, and Jason's Mom seems to have come to her senses but I still feel there's moreto her story.
Thanks for reading and commenting - not that I am trying make a shameless plug to read the forum topic, but I explain a bit of how and why I saw Mom make her turn around. There is perhaps more to mom's story but we may or may not see it, depends on what gets cut in the last dozen or so chapters. But I think it safe to say that Barb and Amanda will remain good friends, which should prevent any regression from Barbara. But what do I know :P
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Great Work!!!! Will we find out what will happen to Jordan and his gang? I would really love to see justice done. I didn't think that Royce would have let Barbara stop paying for school, but I wish he could have know what Jason was going through with their demands. I feel, and this is my opinion, He owes Jason some kind of apology. Keep up the good work my friend. Looking forward to the next chapter!

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On 01/12/2011 01:06 PM, montyblk said:
Great Work!!!! Will we find out what will happen to Jordan and his gang? I would really love to see justice done. I didn't think that Royce would have let Barbara stop paying for school, but I wish he could have know what Jason was going through with their demands. I feel, and this is my opinion, He owes Jason some kind of apology. Keep up the good work my friend. Looking forward to the next chapter!
I haven't decided how to deal with Jordan and his friends, by that I mean I know what happens to them, but my plan was to end this well before the trial. Otherwise I would need to write about another year in their lives because that is about how long it would take for his case to go to trial. [i worked in PA in the criminal courts so I can say that with some certainty.] Right now I am thinking of either an epilogue or perhaps a short, stand alone story of the trial - not the full trial but I have a firm idea of some of the witnesses, - Jason and Jordan for sure - but lest I give too much away - I will leave it at that. As for Royce, no I don't think he thinks he did anything wrong. He was trying to strike a balance between wife and son - yes it was difficult on Jason, and he only added to the pressure, but at his core, he never abandoned Jason. And right now there isn't time for a heart to heart between the two for Jason to explain his feelings etc. So no, I don't see that happening. Thanks for your comments, as you can see they got me thinking :)
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More sweetness. It's moving on nicely but I want to know what's going to happen to Peter now please. I suspect he is going to have to give up his martial arts and it's going be difficult for them both to adjust I think. It's not so bad having a broken back really. it sucks sometimes, especially when it's cold but I'm a stubborn son of a bitch and haven't let it hold me back and neither should he :)

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On 01/13/2011 08:08 AM, Nephylim said:
More sweetness. It's moving on nicely but I want to know what's going to happen to Peter now please. I suspect he is going to have to give up his martial arts and it's going be difficult for them both to adjust I think. It's not so bad having a broken back really. it sucks sometimes, especially when it's cold but I'm a stubborn son of a bitch and haven't let it hold me back and neither should he :)
Three things, 1) Thanks - I can't believe you take the time to review every chapter - I try and run out of things to say 2) No comments on Peter's condition - if he survives. 3) I would be more surprised if you said anything could hold you back. You have more energy and drive than anyone I know - no lie. You are prolific, gods I am so envious :P Thanks Nephy for being - well - you :)
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I think you left some hints in this chapter about Peter. Maybe it's wishful thinking...but I have a feeling he is coming out of this coma soon....:D

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On 01/16/2011 06:04 AM, rckclimber27 said:
I think you left some hints in this chapter about Peter. Maybe it's wishful thinking...but I have a feeling he is coming out of this coma soon....:D
Nope, no hints, just wishful thinking on Jason's part - and others. But there are only three options, he gets better, he stays the same or he gets worse. Wouldn't be much of a story if he stays the same so scratch that off, so either he gets better or he dies. And well from their, I am pretty sure what people will conclude - which is not to say I won't surprise you - just sayin :P
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