Chapter 10 - Part 2

After about a minute, she had an idea.

 

“Maybe there is a better way to do this,” she said, pulling him from the room by his hand. He followed her lead back to the living room and she made him sit on the sofa. She also took the bottle and set it down on the table before disappearing into the kitchen briefly and returning with two tumblers.

 

She poured some whiskey into the tumblers and handed him one. He watched quietly as she sat down in front of the TV cabinet and began to search for something. She found the DVD she had been looking for and put it on.

 

It began to play, and she retreated to sit beside Myles and collect her own tumbler from the coffee table.

 

The room was silent except for the voices coming from the screen. She lifted the glass to her lips and took a sip as the video from the last vacation the brothers had shared played across the screen. In silence, they sat side by side, transfixed with the memory of a time not yet tainted by loss. 

 

The waves crashed on the beach as Dylan contemplated surfing for the first time. Her heart ached at the sight of the indecision in his young features.

 

Man, I’m not sure this is a good idea,” he said nervously at the person who was filming.

 

Come on, little bro,” Karsyn said, coming into the view to the side. He was holding a surfboard over his swimming trunks. “It’s not that difficult.”

 

Dylan threw him a glare but followed his confident older brother into the sea.

 

She gave Myles a sidelong look and watched him tip the glass back.

 

Karsyn had made it effortlessly on the surfboard and was already paddling out, but Dylan was struggling to get on his own board—when a wave swept over him, taking him with it. The board bobbed on the surface of the water, and only when the water withdrew did Dylan come spluttering to the surface.

 

No way.” He was insistent as he made his way back to the shore with the board. Disgusted, he threw it down on the sand and stalked off in a huff.

 

She smiled. It was so Dylan to get mad because sometimes things didn’t come as easy as it did to others. He had been a perfectionist.

 

“He refused to try again,” Myles murmured softly. “We ended up going back to the house not long after that.”

 

She hadn’t gone with them that day. Instead, she had spent the afternoon at the vacation house with their father, playing cards.

 

A few more clips from the vacation played, before one of her and Karsyn appeared on the screen. It made her heart sore to see him press a flirty kiss to her lips. It felt like a lifetime ago.

 

Get a room, you two,” Myles quipped before the video moved to him sitting beside her with a grossed-out look on his face.

 

She remembered they had been playing cards. She had been on a winning streak—none of the boys had been able to beat her, no matter how dirty they played.

 

“It’s a good thing we hadn’t been playing strip poker, or we would have been down to our birthday suits.” 

 

She laughed. He was right. 

 

There was a close-up of Dylan smiling into the camera and he waved before it ended. The screen went dark. In some way, it replicated the suddenness of Dylan being alive and then being gone.

 

She drank a bit of the whiskey to help ease the suffocating pain while Myles was quietly drinking his own beside her.

 

“Maybe it would be easier if we kept the memories of him alive in us so we don’t let how he left this world define who he was,” she murmured softly.

 

She felt the warmth of his gaze before she turned her head to meet it.

 

“You might be on to something.” His hand reached for hers and she allowed him to link their hands together.

 

The darkness lit up as another clip played on the TV. In silence, with their alcohol to ease the pain, they continued to watch another clip. It was heartbreaking to see both Dylan and Mr. Shaw talking and joking. 

 

She held on to the memory of both of them. It was how she wanted to remember them. The pain of losing Dylan had ripped something irreplaceable from Mr. Shaw, and his fate had been sealed with the death of his son.

 

Myles shifted to put his arm around her and she leaned her head against his collar bone, snuggling closer into his embrace. The alcohol warmed her and loosened all the angst. The silence was filled with laughter and voices from the grave, giving both of them a closeness to the people they had lost.

 

“I always thought he would be the one to settle down, get married and have a bunch of kids.” 

 

“Really?” she murmured, unable to look away from the screen where Dylan was wrestling with Myles playfully outside.

 

Boys will be boys,” Mr. Shaw said off screen.

 

“Yeah. He was the one who missed the whole traditional family unit.”

 

Out of all the brothers, Dylan had been the most sensitive. Maybe that’s why he had struggled with day-to-day life. He had always taken things harder than Myles and Karsyn; they had been able to deflect things that he hadn’t been able to. 

 

“I think he missed not having a mom.” She remembered talking in depth with Dylan about how growing up without a mother had affected him deeply.

 

Myles was silent for a few moments. “I can’t miss something I can’t remember having.”

 

She looked up at him. “Do you have any memories of her?”

 

“Not much. One thing I do remember is how she smelled,” he said wistfully.

 

“What did she smell like?”

 

“Like sunshine and lilies.”

 

It was a reminder of how lucky she was to have both of her parents.

 

“Did you speak to Karsyn today?” she asked softly. She still worried about him, even if it wasn’t her place to.

 

“Briefly. He was in a mood and I didn’t have the patience to deal with him.”

 

She knew firsthand how difficult Karsyn could be at times.

 

“Maybe it’s his way of dealing with the anniversary.”

 

“We’re all struggling.”

 

She couldn’t worry about Karsyn when she had her hands full with Myles.

 

“Did you ever see Karsyn settling down and doing the whole kid thing?” she asked softly. 

 

“When he was with you, yes. But not now.”

 

She settled into a contemplative silence. 

 

Myles shifted to pour more whiskey into their glasses before they watched another home video. In silence, continually they drank and reminisced about the loved ones who were no longer with them. 

 

She had lost count of how many glasses she’d had. She thought it was two, but it could have been three. It didn’t really matter, all she knew was that she’d had more than she should have.

 

She pulled away from Myles as the last home video ended. Her limbs felt slow and heavy. 

 

He set his empty glass on the table. He raked a hand through his hair and let out an emotional breath. She put her hand to his back and rubbed it affectionately.

 

“I need to go to bed.” It was late and she had work in the morning.

 

When she stood, the room felt unsteady. Hands steadied her and she realized Myles had moved to stand in front of her. His hands held her arms.

 

“Thanks,” she murmured, looking up at him with a relieved smile.

 

“You’re…” He left the sentence unfinished.

 

The way his eyes held hers… She wouldn’t have been able to look away even if she’d wanted to. His eyes dropped to her mouth, and she wet her lips nervously. He made her feel something new, something dangerous—something that in that moment felt so right.

 

She leaned closer but then stopped, not sure if it was the alcohol or her own choice. What was she doing? She was about to pull back, when Myles reached out to trace his thumb across her bottom lip. Her withdrawal halted.

 

Before she knew what had happened, his thumb was replaced with his mouth as he kissed her. It took her by surprise and she stood there, unmoving, trying to comprehend what was happening. His mouth moved against hers. She linked her arms around his neck and kissed him back.