Chapter 2: Pancakes and Shacks

"I don't think I need to tell you that this is a bad idea." Kasey looked at his sister as he folded one of his pale gray t-shirts. She looked over at him from her position in the kitchen, she had a white bowl perched on her hip and her face was covered in pancake batter. "I mean, it is nice that you're doing something for a change but...well, don't you think this is just the littlest bit impulsive?" Kasey shrugged and placed his t-shirt into the large duffle bag at his feet.

"Isn't impulsive my middle name?" Angela shook her head and placed the bowl onto the kitchen counter taking out a whisk and stirring the beige mixture. The radio was on, as it always was whenever his sister came over.

"I thought it was Meriwether." She replied as she poured the batter onto one of the rust covered pans that were on Kasey's stove. The brunet man scowled at his younger sibling and stood up from his spot on the couch. "All kidding aside. Don't you think Mom and Dad will be just a little miffed at the fact that you went and bought a farm. I mean what happened to being a lawyer or a gynecologist?" Angela crinkled her nose, "Never mind I remember how that didn't work out, but Kasey a farm? Besides whatever happened to...uhm..." She trailed off and Kasey sighed from his spot by the counter, out of all four of his siblings Angela was above and beyond his favorite. (Not that he'd ever let her know that.) But being his favorite did not grant her an all access pass to his personal life.

"I already told you. She left." Angela watched the pancake bubble for a moment before she turned to her brother. She opened her mouth to say something, then thought better of it and snapped her mouth shut. "What Angela?"

"Nothing, nothing. God Kas, who pissed in your cheerios this morning?" She slipped the finished pancake onto a plate and handed it to her older brother. He stared at her back when she returned to her stove, stabbing at his pancake with his fork. She fidgeted for a moment before she turned back to him, "I mean can't you just work things out with her? You know, you've done it before and we were all very fond of her." The words came out in a flood and it took Kasey a moment or two to figure out what the brunette woman had said, when he did his scowl deepened.


"B-but...Why the hell not?" Angela exclaimed, the spatula in her hand dangerously close to coming down on his knuckles. Cautiously, he moved his hand away.

"What am I supposed to say Angie, huh? 'Oh hey Kate, I know you said you were living for good again but if you come back I'll change I promise'." Kasey's voice went flat and he lifted up a forkful of pancake, studying it sullenly, refusing to meet Angela's eyes. "I've said it dozens of times before and yes, most of the time she believed it." He lifted the fork to his mouth and paused, "I just don't think its going to work this time."

"What makes you so sure?"

"Uhm, the fact that I've already tried it." 'In fact,' Kasey thought as he swallowed his bite of pancake, 'She ought to have twenty-eight messages on her phone supporting that fact.' Angela groaned, her shoulders slumping just slightly.

"This is a terrible idea." Angela muttered as she leaned back against the kitchen counter.

"You said you wouldn't say that."

"I thought you would change your mind when I brought Katie up." Kasey shrugged and sawed off another piece of pancake.

"I don't know why you're so worried, Jack was able to do it." Kasey replied as he stood up from his seat and walked back into the tiny living room to continue his packing.

"But that's Jack." Angela said softly as she followed behind him, plopping down on the tiny stretch of couch that wasn't covered in clothes. "None of us want you to be Jack...Well Mom and Dad might but, the rest of us? We don't. And I know Kevin and Molly will vouche for me...Alright Kevin will, but none of us really cared about Molly anyway." She sighed and shouldered against her brother, a small frown pulled at her otherwise cheerful face. "You might have been a bad kid and a really shoddy brother but...we'd still rather have you then Jack." There was a long pause as Angela watched her older brother pack his bags, letting her words sink into his thick skin.

"This conversation is making my mind numb." Kasey said as he zipped up his duffle bag. Angela fidgeted in her spot and moved away a bit as he stood back up.

"Do you know whose picking you up?" Kasey shrugged and shouldered his bag.

"Someone from the Town I guess." He mumbled as Angela rose, he stood on his spot. Unmoving as the brunette woman busied herself with straightening the front of his shirt. When she finally stopped and took a step back Kasey felt full of some odd, brotherly affection he had never felt before. He grabbed the petite woman in his arms and pulled her to him in an awkward, albeit affectionate hug. "I'm gonna miss you kid." Angela stiffened, unused to being on the receiving end of the second oldest man's attention. Kasey lifted a hand and ruffled up her hair before letting her go; an action she had only received once before when she had fallen out of a tree and Kasey had been the only one of her siblings to stay with her. Sure he had told her to suck it up and "be a real man" but he had made her feel better none the less. She looked at her older brother and gave him a small watery smile.

"I'll miss you too Kasey." Angela whispered she watched Kasey walk out the door and called out after him, "And don't come back until you're actually in love with someone this time." Her smile turned genuine as Kasey tilted his head back and laughed.

Kasey could say he's done a lot of things in his lifetime. But riding in the back of an ancient wooden cart that smelled like a too toxic mixture of chicken feathers and horse manure wasn't one of those things. He lay stretched out in the straw, head leaned back on his duffle bags, hands tucked neatly behind his head as he tried, in vain, to patiently answer all the questions that the cart driver asked him.

The wheels hit a bump on the road and Kasey jumped up swearing under his breath as the cart driver looked over at him. "Don't like bumps City Boy?"

"I told you five times already, my name is Kasey."

"Ain't that a girl name?"

"It's unisex." Kasey grumbled, mentally swearing yet again at how screwed over he got in the name department.

"Well, my names' Cain; like Cain and Abel. Only I wont kill you." The broad shouldered cab driver paused, "Unless of course, you're Abel. Get it? Abel?" The man broke into a loud roaring laugh that made the horse give a frightened start. Kasey only sighed as he sunk further into the straw, placing a hand over his face, inwardly hoping that not everyone in the town was this...eccentric.

It was pitch black when the cart finally stopped it's journey. Kasey leaped out of the straw covered bed, yanked his duffle bag out and looked around.

"Where's the house." The brown eyed man asked as Cain stepped down from the cart. The old man looked at Kasey then pointed at the shabby, paint peeled house. Its roof half finished and walls termite ridden and worn.

"'S right there Kasey." Cain said and the brunet boy's shoulders fell in disappointment.

"That looks nothing like the picture." Cain shrugged and went back to his cart. Kasey's eyes were fixed onto the house, all that hope for a new life, a new start seemed to vanish. Cain cleared his throat and Kasey jumped and looked back at the older man.

"Well Mr. Kasey, it was awful nice havin' your company today."

"Yeah...sure." Kasey replied his voice hollow.

"The Mayor told me to let you know that he'd be by tomorrow."

"Yeah," Kasey repeated, same hollow town, same tired look on his face.

"You have a good night now." The brunet turned to look at him again, as a thick, bitter, bubble of replies started to grow inside his throat (Take me back, please take me back, I don't want this, take me back), but he swallowed the protests down and gave Cain a weak smile.

"Yeah Cain, you too." He turned back around and set off towards his new house, and; if he didn't kill himself, his new life.