Disclaimer: I don't own Charmed, nor any of the characters. The only thing that is mine are the characters and the plot.
The sky outside was bright blue, fluffy white clouds gently gliding across the endless expanse. Sliding into the driver's seat and buckling his seat belt, Wyatt smiled at Chris. "Buckled up?"
Taking Chris's look, which clearly said "Duh.", as an affirmative answer, Wyatt inserted his key into the ignition and twisted the key halfway. Immediately, violent words and a steady beat blasted from the stereo and Wyatt hurriedly turned it off, fearfully checking to see what Chris's reaction would be; the younger Perry detested rap.
Chris shot his older brother a playful glare, remarking to the air, "Guess he's still trying to kill even more of his brain cells."
The elder gave his younger brother an icy look. "Excuse me?"
Feigning surprise, Chris turned from the window to face his brother. "Did I say that out loud?"
Wyatt harrumphed angrily and turned the car on all the way. "Don't act so innocent you brat." Wyatt was now struggling to contain his smile; Chris smiling full out. Both of them laughed as they pulled out of the driveway.
Tapping his hands on the steering wheel to an unsteady beat, Wyatt asked, "So, what do you want to go see?"
Chris shrugged, turning his attention to the changing scenery outside the window. "I don't know what's playing."
Opening his mouth to give Chris a couple of options, Wyatt stopped his drumming as he realized that he had no idea what was playing either. "I'm sure the ticket usher can help us out."
"Sure," Chris responded dryly, turning from the window just so he could quirk his eyebrow in amusement.
Nervously, Wyatt continued tapping on the steering wheel. The brothers sat in silence for a few minutes, until the older felt he had to break the silence somehow. "Where do you want to eat? I know you're sick of fast food, but there's this new restaurant, a girl in my Resource Management class said it's really good, called Charmed-"
Chris paled, wildly turning in his seat to face his brother in a panic, interrupting with a strangled half yell, "No!" The pre-teen took a couple shaky breaths, clenching his eyes shut. "N- Not there, let's, let's just go somewhere else."
Confused by his brother's harsh reaction, Wyatt increased the pace of his drumming. "Alright, how about we go to Tuscanny's then? You like Italian food, I like Italian food, it's close to the movies and it's cheep, it's perfect." Pausing for a moment, he added an afterthought. "I've been craving their cheesy garlic bread too..."
Turning his attention back to the window, Chris muttered, "Sure."
Wyatt sighed and pulled into the turning lane, wondering why his brother had reacted the way he had. Why would a restaurant that Chris had never ate at bother him so much? He had heard nothing but good news about their food, service, hell, even the owner-slash-head cook was supposed to be wonderful, going out to check on her customers to make sure everything was satisfactory.
Besides that, since when was Chris's favorite word "sure"?
The rest of the drive to the Italian restaurant was quiet, the silence punctured only by Wyatt's mindless drumming and Chris's deep breathing as they waited on red lights and traffic. Finally pulling into a parking space at the well known restaurant, Wyatt sighed in relief as he turned off the car and unbuckled his seat belt. "Ready to eat?"
The only response he got was Chris getting out of the car, slamming the door shut. Sighing again as he got out of the car, Wyatt looked at the main entrance. Why had things turned so sour? The outing had seemed like such a good idea, but now he was having second thoughts; maybe Chris wasn't ready to go out yet. That had been Chris's main argument to when he had to go back to school, that he wasn't ready to face people yet. Maybe he should have listened to his younger brother...
Wyatt caught up with Chris inside the restaurant, where he found the youngest Perry filling out a form that was titled, "Make Your Own Pasta!" Grabbing a form and a pen, Wyatt took a quick glance around as he filled out his order. The place still looked the same as it had the last time he'd been there, with his last girlfriend, Jess.
The main entrance let into the cashier's area, which was just in front of the kitchen, with only a small hole in the wall servicing as communication between the chefs and the cashier. Off to the right was the dining area, where people could fill their glasses with any kind of drink they preferred, right next to a large window where orders were placed as they were finished.
Catching the cashier's eye, she flashed him a flirtatious smile and mouthed, "Yours?" while jerking her head in Chris's direction.
Wyatt surreptitiously shook his head in the negative. Wordlessly taking Chris's sheet of paper as he finished, he walked up to the still-smiling cashier. The cashier, a pretty brunette with deep brown eyes, flashed him another dazzling smile. "My name's Alyssa, what will it be today Mr.-" she paused, expecting him to provide his name.
Wyatt smiled gently as he handed her their orders. "My name's Wyatt, and this is my younger brother, Chris," he said as he gestured to his brother, who was looking around the room, having no interest in the conversation.
"Nice to meet both of you," Alyssa smiled as she took a blue highlighter and struck through their choices. She tallied up their orders and inputted them into the computer in front of her, declaring, "Ten ninety five."
Wordlessly Wyatt handed her a twenty and she gave him back his change. The young brunette turned and placed the orders on the ledge of the window, striking the hand bell as she yelled, "Order!"
Alyssa turned back and fished two brown glasses from underneath the counter. "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
Chris took his glass with a quiet, "No, thank you," and entered the dining area to fill it and pick out a table.
"He's really shy," Alyssa observed, settling her arms on the counter and resting her head on her hands.
Wyatt nodded, still staring in the direction that Chris had gone. "Yeah... Our parents just died, and he's having a really hard time getting through it."
Alyssa gasped and shot up to a standing position, putting a hand over her mouth. "I'm so sorry!"
Smiling softly, Wyatt turned to the guilt-stricken cashier. "It's alright, you didn't know." His smile morphing into a sad sigh, he continued, "I'm just worried about him."
"Of course you are!" Alyssa declared, her facial expression changing from guilty to worried. "How are you holding up?"
Opening his mouth to respond, Wyatt realized that he didn't know. He'd been so busy worrying about Chris that he hadn't had time to worry about himself. "I don't know," he answered simply, "I don't think it's sunk in yet."
Alyssa sent a reassuring smile his way, and, with an air of determination, ruffled through her purse until she found a piece of paper and a pen. Writing her something with a flourish, she handed him the slip of paper, saying, "Well, if it ever gets too hard, or if you just need someone to talk to, you can call me, alright?"
Wyatt accepted the paper with a smile and nodded. "I will, thanks."
Turning around, Alyssa peeked through the window. "I think your food's done."
Sure enough, a man's voice yelled out, "Shrimp fettuccine alfredo with basil and parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs with parmesan!"
Wyatt gave the pretty cashier a smile and said, "I'll call you soon, alright?"
"Man, that was good," Wyatt moaned, leaning back in his chair and rubbing his stomach. In the last half hour, the restaurant had gotten more crowded, and the room was filled with amicable chatting from it's patrons.
He and Chris had joked about the various patrons while eating their food, and Wyatt was starting to change his mind. Maybe Chris's dark mood had been a bout of his depression; he had cheered up considerably once he had eaten.
Chris rolled his eyes and swirled his sweet tea with the straw. "You've said that twenty times already, give it a rest, Wy, I got it." The dark-haired youngster drained his glass of it's remaining liquid. "Besides, my spaghetti is a lot better."
Conceding the point, Wyatt nodded; Chris's pasta was a lot better than anything than could come out of this place. Of course, not even Chris could compare to their mother's-
Wyatt flinched and started tapping on the table, trying to end that thought before it ruined the good mood he had been trying so desperately to build up. Chris winced slightly, but recomposed himself; Wyatt knew his thoughts had followed the same path as his own.
Softening his tapping, Wyatt cleared his throat and spoke, "So there's really nothing you want to see? I mean, I figured you'd watch some TV and would know what would be playing..."
A bratty child three tables over suddenly let out a scream and threw his plate of spaghetti across the room, screaming about how he didn't, "want green stuff in his food". Chris snorted as the parents tried to placate him by offering to go and get some macaroni and cheese.
Alyssa came into the room wheeling a mop bucket and a mop, grimacing in Wyatt's direction. Wyatt chuckled and waved merrily at her, laughing even harder when her grimace turned into a glare.
Catching Chris's questioning eye, he jerked his head forward, indicating for Chris to turn around. Chris took one look at the cashier struggling to ask the parents of the small child to "please leave" over his screams of how he wanted ice cream, and quickly ducked back in his seat, clenching his eyes shut, trying not to laugh at the poor cashier's predicament.
Wyatt leaned forward and beckoned for Chris to do the same. "She gave me her phone number, you know."
Sighing, Chris leaned back in his chair and smirked. "Are you gonna call her? You haven't been on a date in a long time. Not since you and Jess broke up, I think."
Shuddering at the mention of his ex-girlfriend, Wyatt answered the question. "Dunno. She seems sweet, and I haven't gone out with a girl in a while..."
An emotion flashed across Chris's face, but his face was impassive again before Wyatt could identify it. "You need to get out more," Chris said quietly. "It'd be good for you."
Forcing a smile onto his face, Wyatt joked, "What, you tired of hanging out with me already?"
Chris laughed, a genuine laugh that lifted Wyatt's spirits. Today might not have been such a disaster after all.
"Of course not, Wy!," he gasped, "I could never get tired of you."
Wyatt smiled, a real smile this time, and stood up. "Well, do you think we should go try and see if there's a movie we wanna watch?"
"Could we rent one instead? I don't really want to go to the movies..." Chris trailed off, lowering his head so he was looking at his feet.
Inwardly, Wyatt cursed. How could he have forgotten? Jon Perry had loved to go to the movies with Chris, it was something they did just the two of them for some bonding time.
Mary had cooked with him, and Chris had taken to it immediately. Together the two of them would spend hours in the kitchen, Mary showing the newest Perry how to cook and bake various dishes.
Wyatt had always been there in the night, when Chris would wake from nightmares sobbing and scared. The older brother would hold him and make him feel safe until the child cried himself back to sleep. During the day, Wyatt had always just poked his head in on Mary and Chris, or gently teased and played with his younger brother.
For the first couple weeks after Chris's adoption, Jon had always felt out of place with the newest Perry. The poor father just couldn't find a way to bond with his newest son, and Chris always shied away from him when he went anywhere near the six year old. Finally, a full month and a half after the adoption, Jon had walked into the kitchen, picked Chris up and placed him on his shoulders, ignoring his protests that his "cookies were gonna burn". Telling Mary they were going to the movies, the duo disappeared until after ten o'clock. When they came back, Chris was nestled comfortably in Jon's arms, a smile on his face. Father and youngest son had made a point of going to the movies at least once every other weekend after that, and they always came back smiling about something that they never deemed to share with the wildly curious Wyatt and Mary.
Clearing his throat while banishing his thoughts, Wyatt nodded. "Sure. Do you know what you wanna get?"
Chuckling humorlessly, Chris stood. "No, not really. You can pick."
Weighing a movie case in both hands, Wyatt asked, "Chris, happy Wizard of Oz, or corny Monty Python and the Holy Grain?" The blond turned around to where his brother stood.
Chris looked pale, clenching his arms to his stomach. The younger boy looked as though he was struggling to stand. "Wyatt," he whispered, "I feel like I'm going to-"
Before Chris got any farther he turned and raced to the bathroom. Cursing, Wyatt shoved the cases back onto a random shelf and chased after him.
Author's Note: Well, sorry about taking so long. Heh. My bad. At least the chapter's done now, right? ducks I'm sorry!
If it's any excuse, I've been really busy with a lot of projects, not to mention school. Yeah, school sucks e.e At least I'm trying though, right?
Also, I'm not abandoning FSC... I just don't know when I'll actually work on it. I can't even read the darn thing without shuddering, I mean, com'on, THAT thing needs to go off and die. I'm kidding. I'm going to finish Adopted, and then I'll either start something new or actually get up the nerve to finish that, I swear.
Well, please don't forget to review, y'all don't know how much they mean to me )