Lisbon had just settled into her office for the morning when she heard her phone's shrill ring from her desk. She definitely hadn't had enough coffee yet. Looking at the caller ID, she sighed and picked up.
A voice came immediately before she could speak, "Hey Sis. It's Tommy."
"I know, I have caller ID," she said, her tone blatantly full of annoyance.
He laughed, "And good morning to you too, sunshine."
She immediately felt a small stab of guilt. Despite his actions, he was her bother. And now that she thought about it she hadn't even spoken to him in at least over a year.
"I'm sorry. Good morning. How are things?" She asked her tone light, hoping the subject matter would stay that way too.
"Things are… well… the same as they always are," he laughed again as he spoke, though she could hear the bitterness behind it.
She sighed, "Your new job isn't holding up? Paul said that you said it was a guaranteed thing?" Despite making neither of them making an effort to speak to one another directly over the past year, she had always made sure to keep tabs on Tommy.
He sighed into the phone, "I know… I mean, I thought it was. It's just- not working out."
"-I've got a few other things lined up Reese, don't worry. It'll all work out."
She looked around slightly embarrassed at the childhood nickname, "Don't call me that, nobody calls me that anymore."
"Jake still calls you Aunty Reese, and you seem to like that," he shot back jestingly.
Her face softened into a smile at the mention of her nephew. She missed that kid. "Hey let me talk to him. He must be getting so big," she smiled again.
"Yeah… he's growing pretty steady. Listen… the reason I called. I need to borrow some-"
"-Tom", she whispered harshly, careful to not draw attention from the bustling workers outside. "We just gave you 500 dollars for rent, what did you spend that on?"
He let out a breath; "I'm not going to lie to you Reese…" he trailed off.
When he didn't say anything more she scoffed, leaning back into her chair. Of course that's what he did with the money.
"I wasn't going to Reese, I swear. But Janet left again … we had a fight. I don't think she's coming back. I just needed to relieve some stress…"
Her eyes widened slightly, anger beginning to boil.
"I seriously can't believe you! Jake's getting old enough now; he's going to realize what you are. Do you really want him hating you as much as you hated Dad?" It hurt her to throw that in his face, but she hoped it might wake him up.
"And what exactly am I Reese!" he began to yell, she could hear him knock something over in the background. Temper was another thing he'd inherited from their father.
"Are you drunk right now? Where's Jake?" She swore to God, if that boy was in the house right now…
"No!" He spat angrily. "He's at school! I stayed up and saw him to the bus, even made his lunch! I'm perfectly capable, and he's happy!"
She fell silent, rubbing the bridge of her nose. She needed him to be okay. Jake needed him.
She softened her tone in an attempt to diffuse his anger, "I know he's happy. He loves you T. I'm just…. worried…"
"Well then help me please. I just need a few hundred this time, that's all." His tone was still angry, but she could hear the defeat laced in his voice.
The last thing she ever wanted was to become an enabler for another drunken family member. She was smarter now than she was when she was younger. She was stronger. She could say 'No'. But somehow she felt her ability to say 'No' was lost when she saved his ass from some serious drug charges years ago. And then when she started sending him monthly checks.
She sighed again, shaking her head. "Tommy, I don't know."
Despite this, she couldn't bear the thought of her nephew without food or clothes or shelter… without his Dad, regardless of his habits and practices.
"Okay, I'll do it on my lunch break today-"
"-Thank you Reese, seriously. It won't happen again. I'll get you back in a few months when work picks up I swear. What do owe you now, about a grand?"
He owed her much more than that.
"Yeah… somewhere around there," she lied, rolling her eyes. Seeing Jane at the door, she hurried him off the phone.
"Listen, I have to get back to work. Tell Jake to call me tonight, and I want you to email me some new pictures of him."
"Okay, I will. Love you Reese."
She hung up the phone and looked up at Jane, who was now staring at her smiling.
"What?" She said, narrowing her eyes at him skeptically.
"Oh, nothing," he smiled, turning around towards the door. Then as if he had forgotten something he spun around, a finger pointing at Lisbon, "Sorry, which brother were you on the phone with?"
"Excuse me? I wasn't talking to one of my brothers," she avoided his gaze, her eyes darting around the room.
"How did you-"
"C'mon, don't act surprised that I know these things."
"Were you listening in on my phone call?" She shot accusingly.
"Of course not. I only heard the last little bit when I was waiting at the door for you."
"Well then you probably already know who I was talking to, so why are you asking?" She huffed. Yeah, she definitely hadn't had enough coffee yet.
"I was just trying to make conversation… Make sure you're okay," he said, a little too serious for her.
She sighed again for the millionth time that morning, emerging from her seat to get some more coffee. She thought him of all people would understand that she was fine and she didn't want to discuss any of her personal or family issues, especially issues pertaining to her Father. It's not like she went around asking him about his wife, or…
She stopped at the door, her thoughts interrupted by a ringing from her pocket.
She pressed the phone to her ear, "Lisbon."
"Agent, we got another case for you Downtown. 2 Dead, one missing. We'll text you the address".
"Okay, thanks." She hung up the phone and looked at Jane, "Get your coat, we've got another case."
A/N- Hi all! Thanks for the reviews last chapter, very appreciated! I hope you're all enjoying so far, let me know what you thought of chapter 2... Should I make the chapters longer? Thanks :)