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"Shed a tear cause I'm missin' you, but I'm still all right to smile
-Guns N' Roses.
The breakfast table was oddly silent that morning. No one spoke but both boys picked up on Kirsten's uneasiness and Sandy's nervous buzz. She couldn't seem to stop moving her hands twisting her wedding bands, then she placed them on the counter, or they fidgeted with her coffee cup.
Ryan pulled a Sandy and raised an eyebrow.
Sandy himself, looked amused amongst his own inability to stop his leg from moving up and down.
Seth tried to ignore it and kept slurping his juice and reading the arts and leisure section of the paper that he had claimed that morning.
Sandy broke the silence, "Boy's you get the BMW, until I come back."
Seth had an elated grin, and shot Ryan a look that said 'Sweet!'
Sandy caught the look he cast and rose from his seat.
"First off. Just because I'm gone, does not mean you can run all over your mother. And Seth, the car is for school only. No parties, No drinking, No drinking parties with strippers, No Vegas and NO LA. In fact, you won't be going anywhere other than school, so don't ask."
"Yes father, while you're out running with the cribs Ryan and I here, will be passive and calm, graciously awaiting your return."
Sandy raised an eyebrow. "I mean it Seth. Don't you give her any grief, or I will ground you when I come back. If I call and I even hear the slightest tension in her voice, you are grounded for a month. No ANDS's IF's or BUT's. It's a done deal."
Seth gave him a look that simply stated 'duh.'
"We got it. No trouble," Ryan spoke for Seth, who always had trouble with serious conversation.
"Good," and he handed him the keys to his car.
Seth was about to protest when Ryan shot him a look. He bobbed his head in his Seth like way, biting his lower lip to keep from opening his mouth.
"You guys better get going, you're going to be late," Kirsten spoke up as her hand unconsciously rubbed her tense shoulder.
"That's mom speak for get the hell out of the house!" Seth smirked before hitting Ryan in the shoulder. He got three dark stares from the three people standing there. His dad narrowed his eyes.
"Got it dad, no grief. Check." He nodded, serious this time.
"Okay," and Seth let his dad pull him into a hug.
He pulled back and reached for Ryan, "Have a nice flight," was muffled into his shoulder.
"Thanks kid," Sandy patted his back until he walked away, following Seth out the door and Ryan glanced over his shoulder and gave a small wave to Sandy, which he returned with a goofy smile and nod of his head.
He watched them go until the door closed and sighed. He groaned inwardly at flying back to New York.
He honestly did not want to go back. He didn't want to go back to the yelling, the screaming, the satire, the fighting, and the busy streets, the gunfire, the street fights. He left that twenty-odd some years ago with a vow to NEVER come back. And here he was flying back to the place he hated, flying back to the place that if he hadn't left he would probably be dead.
He knew that.
His brother, he knew his brother had to be in some sort of a mess up, whether with the courts or with some gang member-ish thing. He knew that had to be the reason and Kirsten felt that something wasn't right either. She knew his little brother was in trouble too. And her main concern was that he would get mixed up in it. He could only wonder about what would happen once he got there.
He flopped on the couch and groaned. Why the hell had he agreed to this?
He glanced at the clock, sighing as there were only three hours left before his dreaded flight to New York. He had to be at the airport two hours in advance. That left him one whole sad little lonely hour to stay here in the place that was Home.
Nothing better then riding around the country, heading back to New York, and having jet lag. New York and jet lag just don't mix well at all.
His wife drove the Rover to the airport, her hands held a tight knuckled grip on the steering wheel. She barely smiled at him at all. She looked more somber than he felt, if that was possible.
She said nothing as she watched the airport workers check his bags for him, and gave him his boarding pass and she wordlessly grabbed hold of his hand tightly as they walked up to the security checkpoint where she could go no farther.
"Well," he gulped, his Adams apple bobbing, "This is it."
She gave him a fake smile. "Maybe it won't be so bad."
"Yeah honey, and maybe cows really do fly."
She shrugged and frowned before reaching up over his shoulders and pulling him close. "I miss you already," she only half joking.
"Well at least you can hog the bed!"
"I do no such thing," but she appreciated his humor. She pulled back in time to see one of Sandy's reassuring smiles.
"I love you," he whispered and she returned the words of affection with passion. He kissed her deeply until someone shouted, "Get a room!" and she pulled back, blushing, but she tucked her head underneath his chin, her face burrowing itself into his chest.
He gave her a lazy grin, "Every chance I get."
She nodded her approval. "Go, go on, you're making this too hard already," he murmured as he leaned up and kissed her forehead.
"Hurry back," she leaned up and kissed him again, deeply, but quickly and hugged him one last time as she turned and headed out of the airport. He watched her go before stepping in line.
He placed his carry-on in one of the small containers, along with his wallet and cell phone, on the x-ray belt, and prepared to step through the metal detector. He hated these things. He gave the guard his boarding pass before stepping through the metal detector.
It beeped and the light above him went red.
"Sir, empty your pockets."
He did as he was told and stepped through it again.
It beeped yet again.
The guards now turned their heads towards him, he thought one even snickered.
"Sir take off your shoes and your belt please," he handed it to one of the security guards and walked around and stepped through the metal detector again.
Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. The only thing he was collecting was smirks from other passengers and the guards' undivided attention.
"Sir, please remove your suit jacket, your tie and any other metallic items, such as jewelry, your watch, things of that nature."
So Sandy stripped down, no suit jacket, there was nothing in his pockets, no shoes, no watch, no tie.
They asked him to step around again and he did and it still beeped.
Now he was frustrated. "Sir, please step this way.
He stepped into the little box they had taped off as one of guards made him un-tuck his shirt and then proceeded to pat him down. It was rather embarrassing. The guard found nothing in his pat down and then proceeded to run the metal detector stick over him, waiting for it to beep. He stood there, legs sprawled, and arms stretched out while his hair was askew from them running through it.
Now he knew he definitely didn't want to go to New York as this had to be a sign.
Finding nothing they handed him his stuff and he proceeded to get dressed.
Again, for the second time that day.
Finally finishing he started walking towards his terminal, which was on the opposite end of the airport. 'The complete end of the fucking airport.' He shook his head and smirked, it figured.
When he finally managed to board the plane, he was hot, sticky, his shirt was clinging to him because he had to run to make it on time and for some reason the airport and the people who zoomed on carts where no where to be found. He ran a hand through his hair, making it stand up again. Self conscious, he patted it back down.
He sighed when he finally sat down in the leather seat of first class, the flight attendant a gorgeous redhead offered him something to drink. He graciously accepted it and groaned when he felt the plane pull away from the gate.
He really, really did not want to go to the Bronx. At least when he was growing up, he ran around with the kids controlling the neighbor hood, now? He figured he was going to get robbed or worse. And who knew about the trouble his brother was in.
Why did he agree to this again?
He had a long flight ahead of him, and he was groggy now from the sudden dash of running through the terminals. He thought of his gorgeous wife as he closed his eyes, the way she smiled and the softness of her lips pressed against his. It gave him a little comfort, a small peace of mind amongst his unrelenting thoughts.
'It will be over before you know it,' he thought to himself. It wasn't a comforting thought at all.
He could only pray it would be and his dread was all for nothing.