Jeremiah didn't feel as bad as he should have. Yes, Maddox was the brother he never had
"Let's all say grace, ok?" Anya, Lucky's wife, broke the silence. "Bow your heads." She proceeded to lead in prayer and after a quiet 'Amen,' the food was passed around.
"so what do you do professionally, anya?" Maddox asked to avoid his true feelings.
“Uhm …” She cleared her throat and smiled, “I design wedding gowns. My shop is in Soho close to Ms. Hines’ art gallery.”
"Fantastic, i have a store in SoHo as well." He smiled.
"Oh? What is it called?"
Dante interrupted, "I play baseball for the New York Yankees. 1st Base," then gave the prettiest smile in the room.
Lucky immediately shot his father a look and then shook his head. “Huh?” Maddox asked confused, “you interrupted us to tell me something I was gonna ask you anyway?”
“Well yea …” He was completely sure of himself.
“Lord …” Janine mumbled, “Dante sweetie … Shut the hell up.”
“Ms. Hi-“ He started.
“Mommy-“ Jiselle tried.
Janine only shook her head, “patience.”
“Yea, Dante, shut the hell up,” Maddox looked back to Anya, “it’s called Ames’. It’s a specialty suit boutique. 1 of 10 around the world.”
“You have everything so together. I admire that. The hard work. I’d be lucky to have even 2 shops but I’m working on it. Using you as inspiration.”
Lucky cleared his throat, “what about me?” He kissed her cheek.
“You too,” she blushed.
“You sly dog, you!” Maddox teased Lucky, “nah, but you’ll get it, Anya. Drive will get you there.”
“Thank you,” she smiled and passed the big plate of catfish to Lucky.
Jeremiah looked at Janine to start a quiet conversation, “you’re eating fried food. Thought that was against a new rule of yours.”
“I wanted it too bad. I’m always good when we’re out together, right? Yes?” She answered for him.
“Hardly,” he joked.
Other conversations ensued when Dante interrupted, “is it my turn yet?” He asked like an eager young boy. Maddox never did ask him what he did because Lucky was right … He hated his guts.
“None taken.” Jiselle frowned and sulked but understood.
“I know I’m not your kid, but,” Gigi tapped Maddox on the arm, “is it my turn?”
"Go ahead, hon." Maddox told her.
“Yay! I ran on the Olympic track team and won and individual medal. I’ve also gotten a ton of scholarship offers from schools wanting me to run for them. But I don’t want to move so far away. That’s all!” She took a bite of her corn.
“Nice. Amazing, Gigi!”
“Thanks,” she blushed.
| After Dinner |
The table was being cleared and Jeremiah used the opportunity to get with Maddox. He walked up to him, “a minute?”
“Yea, I guess,” he followed Jerry outside.
They stood on the back porch. Jeremiah had his arms folded across his chest, “this wasn’t done with the intention of fucking with you,” he turned to him and groped the air for words, then dropped his hands, “I like her.”
“Let me say something to you. FUCK WHO YOU LIKE! You are my brother, the one person who knew exactly how I felt about Janine, and listened to me for hours upon days trying to figure what to do. Just because you and me haven’t kicked it in a couple of years don’t mean you can do this shit. Do you think I would do that shit to you, ever?”
He shook his head, “no, man. And I apologize for it. Honestly.” What the hell else was there to say? Nothing.
“Yea … Right … Some brother you are.” Maddox went back inside the house.
On the inside, Janine saw Maddox walk back in so she went outside to sit with Jerry. The twins caught up with Maddox, “daddy …” Jiselle said quietly.
“Yea?” He sat on a chair and put his head in his hands.
“I’m sorry. I still think we can get rid of him …”
“Jiselle,” Lucky stopped her, “there aint nothing wrong with that dude. Leave mom alone.”
“But this is better for all of us!”
Maddox sighed, “let your mom be happy, Elle. I’m too old to play that kinda game.”
Right after Jeremiah walked back inside and left, Janine went to the twins, “you two … Kitchen … Now.” She walked ahead of them.
Lucky rolled his eyes while Jiselle took a deep breath. They both followed her. Janine had already pulled out a wine bottle and glass, now pouring herself some wine, “I’m gonna ask one time …” Taking a sip of the wine, “and refrain from cursing … What was that about, babies?”
“Mom … No disrespect … But shouldn’t you be talking to the man this is centered around?” Lucky suggested.
“Dad wants to be with you!” Elle blurted out.
“Idiot,” Lucky shook his head.
"No." Narrowing her eyes at Lucky, she put her glass down and walked over to him, "don't you ever ... Again ... In your life," then looked at Elle, "interfere with my personal life. That is mine!" That's when she teared up and looked between the two of them, "you don't get a say in that. I have lived my entire life for the 4 of you. It's my turn, ok? I know what you're thinking because it's logical ..." She paused and backed up when a tear fell, "but you crossed a line. That man in there ... You don't ever!" She stifled a sob, then knocked back the entire glass of wine, then stopped, "go home, babies. Goodnight." She gave them a half assed wave and walked off to the stairs to go to bed.
Janine headed towards the stairs but Maddox caught sight of her, “Janine …” He stood up.
Clenching her jaw, she stopped, took some breathes, wiped her face and turned to face him as normal as possible, “thank you for coming to dinner.”
“Thank you … I have something to say though.” He paused, “you never deserved it. Your suspicions were always right. When you felt it, so did I … I fell hard. I guess I’m saying I wish this was different.”
Janine stood there nodding and looking down at her feet as another tear rolled, “so do I. Goodnight.”
Sighing, “goodnight,” he watched her go up the stairs.
“Oh my Godddd!” Gigi literally stomped by them, pointing towards the twins while going upstairs to her mothers room, “you’re ruining my mother!”
Lucky approached Maddox, “well we’re in the dog house.”
“You guys should’ve known better,” he sighed, “good looking out though. I’m heading out, but I’m calling you and your sister about bringing my grandchildren over. Cool?”
Lucky nodded and hugged him, then went to the den to claim his wife and child. Jiselle followed after, crying and holding onto Dante and Carmen. She broke away momentarily to hug her father, then kept on out as everyone left the house.