Chapter 1 (Episode -2):
"All The World's A Stage"

"All the world's a stage and most of us are
desperately unrehearsed."

- Sean O'Casey

For a guy who always thought of himself as lucky, Kevin was having a terrible day. At times like these, the saying "the luck of the Irish" seemed like a curse or, at least, brought some truth to the myth about the Black Irish.

He was at the track and, no doubt, he'd lost more money than he could ever pay back on his own. However, he was more miffed about what brought him to the track that day in the first place. It seemed that if he was unlucky with horses than it was safe to say that his luck with girls was tragic.

He hadn't seen Danielle in over a year, but he had a text from her almost every other day. She was cute, interesting, smart, and most of all she came drama-free, acting as a welcome escape from his own trouble with his brothers. That is, up until that afternoon.

It came so unexpectedly, as it seemed that her words shot up from his cell phone like daggers at his eyes. I didn't know you dated Pam. And they threw his world upside down or at least his gambling skills, which were already nil.

The girl he'd invested so much in, having just built up the nerve to ask her out and having her agree and actually be interested in him, was now inaccessible. Off limits. Inappropriate. A sure-fire disaster if he ever conjured one up himself, in which he hadn't even seen coming.

As aforementioned, he really didn't have much luck nor experience with the ladies. He was used to being so nervous around girls that he never said anything more than friendly conversation. And they never made advances toward him either. No, they were truly only after his baby brother, Sean, who despite the fact that all four of the Donnelly boys looked like one another, he was the best looking and had the most girlfriends than any of the brothers put together. Even Tommy, who attracted women with his chivalrous need to earn their affection, seemed to have trouble keeping up with the kid.

"Oh shit," he had said aloud along with several other phrases along the same lines that may have insinuated to anyone around him that he wasn't alone. Nevertheless, he was alone at the time and looked like a crazy person only to himself as a minor afterthought, clouded by his anger and frustration.

There was no use in arguing with her. Though he could easily pin the blame on her for causing him to blow $2,000 that wasn't even his, he knew it was just fate sticking its unwelcome nose in his business once again. It wasn't like he was unaware that his impeccable ability to lose at everything he attempted was bound to interfere in their yearlong texting relationship sooner or later. Unfortunately, sooner than sooner would've been more ideal and saved him from feeling the semblance of heartbreak that he felt in that moment.

The girl was good friends with his ex-girlfriend. The only ex-girlfriend that he'd ever had, which ended badly and caused him to hate the bitch's guts still even after almost three years. He couldn't go out with Danielle now. They had to end it. She'd never date him after Pam was finished putting her worthless two cents into the pot and shitting all over his good name. Not to mention if the girls were friends then they must like each other and have something in common. Why on earth would he want to date someone who was like his ex? It was ruined and so was Kevin's mood. Hence, why he was now stuck with empty pockets and the feeling that he'd been punched in the stomach twice.

He stuffed his phone in his pocket after it became clear that Danielle wasn't giving up her friendship with Pam and wasn't going to respond to his final statement: the last rites to his and her premature relationship. Without a penny on him and nothing meaningful to live for, he hurried home as though moving quickly would make him invisible to everyone around him and, more importantly, those to whom he owed money.

When Kevin reached the apartment and found that not even Ma was home, he was reminded that not only was she at church for at least another hour, but he'd missed dinner and he was starving. It was a free-for-all at feeding times in this place and Kevin knew better than to check the refrigerator for leftovers – a word that barely existed in their household. He knew better, but it didn't stop him from opening the fridge door and staring inside it longingly, clutching his empty stomach.

"It's an appliance, Kevin, not a miracle machine. Stop starin' at it like it's gonna cook somethin' for you." Tommy stood behind him, looking slightly annoyed. "Close the door. You're wasting energy."

Kevin rolled his eyes and slammed the door shut. "Geez, Tommy, lighten up would ya? What is it with everyone and busting my balls today?"

Tommy raised his eyebrows, his features resembling amusement now, of course at Kevin's expense. "Who else is bustin' your balls, Kevin? You tell them I'm the only one who can do that, 'kay?"

"Shut up!" Kevin yelled at the sight of Sean who had just entered the room.

"What?" Sean asked, peering between his two brothers. However, Kevin's eyes were drawn to the hickey on Sean's neck, which was enough to make him unsympathetic to his ignorance.

He shoved passed his little brother into the bedroom they shared, which only until he arrived inside did it become apparent that that move was a rather idiotic one. He spun around, back towards the door, finding Sean at his heels and Tommy still looking to get his jollies in the doorway.

"Would you guys leave me alone?" He asked, throwing his arms up in the air and absently dropping his cellphone on the floor. "Damn." He bent over to pick it up and found his brothers sharing the same stupid grins on their faces when he straightened. "What?"

Tommy crossed his arms and his biceps flexed as he did it, probably unintentional but still making Kevin feel jealous and aggravated. "What's your problem?"

"Nothin'," said Kevin, thinking it best to wait until his brothers found something else to occupy their time before climbing up to his bunk and risking doing something stupid again.

"Nothin'? Really?" Tommy stepped closer, the invasion of space causing Kevin to take a step back. "Where were you today, huh?"

"Out." Kevin stuffed his hands in his pockets, feeling their emptiness and in turn feeling his emptiness.

"You could be vaguer." Sean was laying on the bottom bunk bed, his feet up against the wall and his head hanging close to the floor.

Kevin took one look at his smug face and swung his fist into Sean's shoulder.

"Ow, what the hell?"

Sean retaliated, firing his own fist into Kevin's shin at the same time that Tommy grabbed him by the collar and thrust him painfully against the bunk beds.

"How much did you lose, Kevin? Tell me, right now! Is someone comin' after you? What are you doin' puttin' your family in danger for your own screw ups?" Tommy pulled him forward and slammed him again against the metal bed frame.

"Ahh, let go of me, Tommy! I don't owe no one nothin'!" Kevin lied.

By that point Sean had jumped up from the bed and stood behind Tommy likely appearing just as fearful as Kevin did.

"Tommy, maybe you should let him go." Sean suggested, watching Tommy ensure the soon-to-be presence of a bruise across Kevin's shoulder blades with another slam against the bunk beds.

Tommy waved Sean away, telling him, "Stay out of it, Seanie!" while Kevin used his older brother's one-handed grasp as an opportunity to free himself and send Tommy stumbling backward.

"Both of you should just mind your own business!" He yelled, foolish to think that Tommy wouldn't step in his way when he tried to escape from the room.

"Grow up, Kevin!" Tommy yelled, placing his hands on his shoulders and pushing him backwards. "I'm tryin' to help you get your life together."

"By dislocatin' my shoulder?" Kevin yelled back, rolling his neck gingerly.

"If that's what it takes!"

"Well, it won't work, Tommy." Kevin stepped forward, glaring down at his older brother, hoping that for once he would let it go. "Just screw off! I'm goin' to find Jimmy."

Tommy shoved a sharp finger into Kevin's chest. "You don't need to find Jimmy."

"You don't know what I need!"

"Grow UP, Kevin!"

"Let me go, Tommy!"

Tommy scoffed, stealing a glance at Sean, who was spectating in the doorway, before rolling his eyes back to Kevin. "Are you really gonna make me throw you a beatin' just to keep you in for one night?" His thin lips were quirked to the side, as he studied him, a look of disbelief residing over his features.

"No because it's not up to you!" Kevin was furious that Tommy would humiliate him like this and in front of their little brother to boot.

"It sure as hell isn't up to Jimmy!" Tommy launched his fist into Kevin's cheek, grabbing him beneath the arms before he could hit the floor. He shoved him head first onto the bottom bunk and forced him onto his back.

Kevin instinctively covered his head with his arms, which Tommy gripped tightly, ripping them away from his face. Kevin swung at him, connecting with Tommy's chin, which only made him return more forcibly.

"Settle down, Kevin! Christ, cool it!" He sat on the edge of the bed, poising his forearm over Kevin's throat, his other hand grasping his own wrist, threatening to apply pressure.

"Where the hell is he?!" Came a voice in the distance that suddenly reminded Kevin why avoiding Jimmy should've been the appropriate mission of the night.

He didn't see it until it was too late, when a fist landing right between his eyes literally knocked his lights out.

It might just be the Irish in me, but I think this was one of the best shows I've seen on TV and am still very upset that the show was cancelled. I was watching reruns on youtube and decided to write a fic for it. Hope you guys like it and please let me know what you think!