Wednesday Briefs: Second Shot – The Senior Year – 4
Jason grabbed the cutting board and took the zucchini from Peter. “How do you want them cut?”
“In half and then in quarters.”
Searching for a knife, Jason heard his brother’s heavy footsteps.
“Hey Pete, Bro. What’s going on?”
Dean sounded as tired as he looked to Jason. “I’m trying to help Pete make dinner.”
Peter nudged Jason. “Actually, you’ve gotten much better at this since we met. I’ll make a cook out of you yet.”
“Please do.” Dean shook his head and opened the refrigerator. “I’ve had to eat his cooking when we were younger. I’m lucky I survived.”
When his brother stood back with a beer, Jason put the knife down. “What are you doing?”
“Getting a drink.” Dean twisted the top off and showed them the bottle. “Did you want one? There’s four left.”
“Dean,” Struggling to keep calm, Jason turned to Peter who nodded slightly. “Put it down.”
The confused look on Dean’s face told Jason all he needed to know. “What?”
“That’s a beer and you’re only eighteen.”
“No shit on both counts. Who are you? Dad?” Tilting the bottle back, Dean took a long pull on the bottle.
Resisting the urge to snatch the bottle away, Jason grabbed the edge of the counter. “Dean, I’m serious. Put the beer down.”
“What the fuck? It’s a beer and I’m in the house.”
Darryl appeared in the doorway, his lips pinched tight. He locked eyes with Jason and shook his head. “What do you think your doing, Dean?’
“Whoa, what the hell is this? I can’t have a beer in my own house?”
“No!” Darryl and Jason spoke together.
“Coach has a zero tolerance for underage drinking. ” Jason’s stomach twisted as he could see where the conversation was headed. “You weren’t supposed to drink last night and you did.”
“Holy shit, when did you turn into an old fucking man?”
“Dean this isn’t a joke. I didn’t ask you to live with us to make it easier for you to drink.”
“It’s one beer.” Dean gripped the bottle tighter. “I’m not getting drunk.”
“Right.” Jason leaned against the counter, arms crossed at his chest. “Just like at Easter when we were kids and you were only going to take ‘one bite.’ Next thing the chocolate bunny was gone and you had a stomach ache.”
“Whatever. This is different.” Dean looked like he wanted to go, but Darryl still blocked the doorway.
“We talked about this before the party. ” Darryl said. “You agreed you wouldn’t drink, remember?”
“What is the big fucking deal?” He slammed the bottle on the counter hard enough to slosh beer everywhere.
Darryl stood his ground when Dean tried to leave. “Listen up, Dean. You’re part of the team now. Today, next week, next month, whatever, you get caught drinking; you’re off the team – period. Coach won’t care that you’re Jase’s little bro or Raymond Henry’s grandkid. If you can’t live without a drink, then quit now.”
“What’s up your ass?” Dean glared at Darryl, clenching and unclenching his hands.
Jason moved between the two. “Dean, calm down. The reason is if you get kicked off mid-season you affect the whole team. I don’t get why this is such a big deal. You knew before you moved in we weren’t going to let you drink.”
“Fuck off all of you.” Dean pushed his way passed Darryl who started to follow.
“No, D.” Jason held his best friend back. “I got this.”
“Yeah.” He nodded. His brother, his responsibility.
Resisting the urge to look to Peter, Jason followed his brother upstairs. Dean’s door slammed before Jason got there. He knocked twice.
“Dean, let me in.”
“Go away, Jase, I’m not in the mood.”
“Tough shit, little bro, we’re talking now or I’m calling dad and telling him you’re not working out.”
He didn’t want to, but he would. This needed to end now. The door flew open and Dean walked back into the room and flopped on his bed.
“Look, I know you’re pissed, but I’m not doing this to be a dick.”
“Sure sounds that way. ”
“I don’t get it.” He slapped his thighs and shook his head. “You knew this was the rule when you moved in. How many times did Dad and I tell you?”
“Jase, it’s one fucking beer! Why are you making a big deal of this?”
“Why are you?” Jason didn’t mean to snap at his brother, but he hadn’t signed up to be his Dean’s babysitter. “If it’s one fucking beer, why is it SOO important?”
Dean opened his mouth, then took a deep breath instead of speaking. Jason kept his focus on his brother for a sign he understood the situation.
“Look, if you wanna be a student athlete, there are rules. If coach kicks you off the team, I doubt you’ll make pro. Just saying.”
“He won’t find out.” Dean’s voice lacked the angry defiance of a minute ago.
“I’m not taking that risk. If you live here, the ‘no drinking’ rule is not optional.”
“No, Dean. I’m serious. Mom and Dad will kill me if you get caught drinking.” He tried his best to lose his angry tone. “I want you here, but it’s not fair to put me in that position.”
Dean tossed a soccer ball up a few feet and caught it. After several more times, he smacked the ball hard. “I’m not trying to get you in trouble, but I can’t believe it’s that big a deal.”
“You’ll see.” Jason held out his hands until Dean threw him the ball.
“So you never broke the rule?”
“Well….” Of course he had. “Only on special occasions and between last night and today, you’ve already used up your occasions.”
Dean finally cracked a smile. “Okay.”
Flicking the ball back to his brother, Jason returned the grin. “So, we’re good?”
“Yeah, no more drinking.”
Jason could hear the unspoken, ‘for now,’ but let it go. None of them were saints, but hopefully Dean realized he needed to reign in his wild side. “C’mon. Another house rule; you need to help with dinner. Otherwise you get stuck cleaning up by yourself.”