A FAMILY AFFAIR
The wake was over. Now all they had to do was wait for the day when Patrick would be buried.
It had been a closed casket affair. Kathy had wanted an open one, but there was only so much the funeral director could do. A shotgun under the chin didn't mess about.
We were in Kathy's house, and I sat at the back of the living room with a bottle of Bud in my hand. It had felt cold when Kathy had given it to me, but now it tasted warm when I had a drink from it.
Some friends had come round, invited by Kathy. She wanted to sit and chat about Patrick, to remember the good times, have a laugh, share a tear. Everybody had loved Patrick, and it was a shock that he had decided to take his own life. He had only just began the journey through his thirties. He was too young to die, they said. Kathy nodded, and looked away at times, trying to keep her composure.
There were faces from the neighborhood, faces that I knew, others that I didn't. There was another face there that I knew. One I didn't like.
Patrick's brother, Sean.
He walked over to me and stood in front of me looking down. 'Who the fuck are you?' he asked me.
I stood up. His eyes were level with mine and I looked right into them. The Bud was now my weapon of choice, should he decide to bear arms.
'My name's Andrew Dempster. I'm a neighbor. Who are you?' I tried not to smirk as I ran a scenario through my mind: the Bud being smashed off a table, the jagged edge rammed into Sean's face.
'I'm Patrick's brother, Sean. Don't you forget that." He turned and walked away. Staggered slightly as he went through to the kitchen. I put my beer down and went through to the kitchen to get another cold one.
I opened the fridge door. Sean was standing by the sink, looking out of the window. He turned when he heard the fridge being opened. The next thing, the fridge door was being pushed hard against my arm. I pulled it back before it got broken.
'You got a problem?' I asked Sean.
'Are you fucking her?'
'What?' I looked at him.
He stepped closer. 'I asked you if you were fucking her?'
'Enlighten me; who the hell are you talking about?'
'Kathy, who the fuck do you think I'm talking about?'
'Get a grip of yourself. I'm a neighbor.' I pushed past him, and he grabbed the collar of my jacket. Fast, but not fast enough. I grabbed his hand, and twisted it hard. He went round and down, falling on his ass. He started making noises as I let his hand go and knelt down beside him.
'You wish you were sleeping with her, am I right? Dirty bastard. She's your brother's wife, and he's not even cold in the ground. Well, I'm only going to tell you this once; if I ever hear you accuse me of fucking Kathy again, I'll rip your arms so badly, you'll need to open your fucking fly with your teeth. Got that?' I didn't wait for an answer, but got up and walked towards the kitchen door.
'You haven't seen the last of me,' he said, without any conviction.
Later that evening, the house was quiet again. Everybody had gone home, including Sean. I was helping Kathy clear up. When it was all done, we were alone in the kitchen. I walked up to her and held her tight. She kissed me hard, and I reached under her blouse and fondled her left breast. My other hand snaked round to cup her ass.
When we parted for breath, she smiled at me. 'I'll get the Champagne. We can drink it in bed.'
'Sounds good to me.' She opened the fridge door. The Champagne was lying beside the bottles of Bud. 'Before you take that out, we need to talk,' I said.
She looked round the door of the fridge. 'What's wrong?'
I picked a carving knife up out of the knife block. 'Sean thinks I'm sleeping with you. He's not going to let it go.' I smiled at her. 'If he keeps it up, he'll need to go the same way as Patrick.'
She took the Champagne out and smiled. 'Let's make it a car crash the next time. The roads round here can be so dangerous.'