I open the door to Adam's room, scared of what I'll find, scared of how Adam will react. I peek around the door, finding Adam in bed asleep and Tom sitting in a chair next to him. I walk in and want to say something as Tom stands up and puts his finger to his lips. He guides me back out of the room and softly closes the door behind us.
"Sorry, we'd just like him to sleep a bit longer. He's been in and out of conscientiousness but not really lucid." Tom sighs and then sits down in a chair near the door. "How are you holding up?"
"I don't know, it's all a bit to much to be honest. First the whole Dave thing and then Jack and then Adam. I'm not sure how much more I can take."
"How are Kevin and Chris?"
"Back at our grandparents. We try to keep them out of this mess as much as possible."
"Why do you keep hiding this from them? They deserve to know."
"I know, but I would rather not expose Kev to it for a while yet and Chris chooses it herself mostly. She knows she can come home but she rather stays with Kevin at our grandparents." I sit down next to him.
"Do you think it's because of last year?"
"Yeah, maybe. It must have scared the crap out of her. Yeah, maybe she just rather ignores it until it's safe again. I don't know. I don't know what a girl that age would think."
"You were a girl that age once." Tom puts his hand on my shoulder.
"My biggest problem was how others would see me. The worst thing that happened to me was a guy making fun of me. Not finding my own brother half dead on the kitchen floor." Tears flow down my face. "I feel so bad for her. What that girl must have gone through these past couple of years."
"What do you mean?"
"She was the one that saw the marks on Vic first. She saw her own big brother covered in marks that another man had made on him. An older and much stronger man. They used to be so close those two. All three actually, Adam used to be a big part of her life. He used to be her other big brother. From the moment Vic and Adam broke up everything went downhill for her." I look up at Tom. "I know it's not their fault, but to her it probably did feel that way. First Adam went away to go to university and then Vic got together with you know who. She basically lost the only two male figures in her life. Must have been really hard on her."
"What about you?"
"Me? I did miss Adam a lot but on the other hand, we did keep in close contact."
"I mean male figures in your life. Did you have any?"
"My dad from time to time, but other than that, not a lot."
"And now there is Steve."
"A bit, yes. He is there for me and also for Kev. But I don't think there will ever be anything more between us. He has a boyfriend and everything. Though one day he will probably make an amazing dad to some kid. He is great with Kevin." I sigh, my eyes focussed on the floor.
"We will all get through this. You'll get your brother and your best friend back, I will get my boyfriend back and Kev will get his uncles back. We just have to fight for it for a little bit longer." Tom wraps his arms around me and pulls me close.
"But I'm so tired of fighting. For the past eighteen months I feel like I've just been fighting, fighting, fighting. For Vic, for Adam, for Jack, for everybody." I whisper, tears not stopping. "For everybody but me."
Tom kisses the top of my head. "Maybe you need to take a break. Some time away from this all."
I shake my head. "I can't. I need to be there when Vic needs me, or Chris, or Kevin." I sigh. "Maybe I do. But I just don't have the time for it."
Tom moves and then holds a set of keys in front of me. "If you need to take care of everyone else, I'll take care of you for a bit. Go back to our place and take a good nap. Give me your phone."
"I can't, what if they need me?"
"Then I will tell them to call the home number. But you need a break from the world before the world breaks you. Now give me your phone."
I understand what he is trying to do, what he is giving me, and although I don't like it, I really do need to get some rest. I hand him the phone and grab the keys and the same time.
Tom smiles at me. "I'll see you in a few hours. Now, you go get some rest. We'll get through this."
I stand up to leave as Tom stands next to me and hugs me close for one more time. I walk though the corridor and as I am about to turn the corner I take one look back. Tom is staring after me, hand on the doorknob, waiting for me to leave before getting back to his boyfriend.
I wake from the smell of fresh toast and fried eggs. Footsteps come near and as I open my eyes I see Tom smile down at me. He puts a plate on the table in front of me.
"You could have slept on a bed in the guest room you know." Tom kneels next to me.
I sit up and feel the blanket slide off me, I hadn't grabbed that. "Thank you."
"Don't mention it. How are you feeling? Any better rested?"
I sit up a bit, my body relaxed and rested. I feel like I've slept for the first time in weeks, which is probably not far from the truth. "Yes, thank you. I really needed that nap apparently. How long have I been asleep?"
"A few hours. I was planning on waking you right about now, seeing as Kev will call in a bit. He missed you when you didn't come pick him up." Tom sits down next to me. "You need to take better care of yourself. Try to at least eat properly and get enough sleep."
"I just feel like I've got so much to do. All at the same time. I can't seem to find the time to do anything."
"I know what you mean but you still should." Tom hands me the glass of orange juice from the table. "And if you don't take care of yourself I might ask Steve to do it for you." He winks and I smile at him.
Like that would ever happen.