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Why did it feel like you could go through large parts of your life where basically nothing happened, only to end up suddenly having to deal with all sorts of things at once? His girlfriend had just had undergone surgery to get rid of a large tumor in her breast and had just finished chemotherapy, something that put a lot of stress and strain on their relationship. His best friend, Ollie Zimmermann, had moved back from New York and without a place to stay, he had moved into the spare room in Frankie's apartment, where he had lived before but that was a time when Frankie still was basically a bachelor - before his girlfriend and the little funny farm containing a dog and two bunnies moved in with him.
And now, his brother was back in New Orleans. Of course Frankie was happy, deep inside, he did love his brother and didn't want anything else but to have him back in his life. But a long time had gone by with the basically not talking and a lot of things had gone down. Especially with their mother. Frankie understood that it was hard to comprehend and deal with, but he had been forced to deal with it himself. Without Ian, Denise had no one but Frankie. So he had to give up his life for her, now in the end, it had turned out alright, but it had been hard in the beginning without anyone understanding what he was going through.
So maybe Frankie was a bit... On edge, while he sat by the bar at the Kajun, holding a half empty bottle of beer in his hand, waiting for his brother to arrive. They had met earlier that week, but it hadn't really worked out. Frankie's temper had gotten the best of him and he had wanted to talk about everything too soon, so maybe this was a way for him to reach out. It sure wouldn't hurt to have a brother in all of this but maybe it as too late?
Frankie took a sip of beer before seeing someone in the corner of his eye, and he turned his head only to face his brother standing next to him. "Hey," Frankie breathed out, not sure what to say next.
He was running late. Not that he was too bothered by Frankie waiting on him with how the two left things after their last meet up, but the last thing he wanted was to miss him. He stopped by his place, a complex that charged by the week and was suitable until he found somewhere else, to change out of his scrubs. He made it quick. Throwing on jeans and a t-shirt, he grabbed his phone and keys and headed out on to the street. If there was one thing he missed about the city, it was how close he was to the nightlife and the pub where they were meeting wasn't too far, a couple blocks tops.
Frankie studied his brother standing in front of him. It really was crazy that he looked just the same as when he had left, maybe a bit older, a bit more weathered but all in all... He looked like the guy that had left three years ago. Frankie couldn't help but to blame himself, as he did with a lot of things in life. If he had just stayed in New Orleans he might have been able to get his mother help earlier, causing her disease to not spread as quickly, if he had payed more attention he could have done the same thing with Ainsley, if he had just... Checked in more often with his brother, maybe they wouldn't have drifted apart like this and things would have been like before...? Frankie bit down on the inside of his lip to stop himself from thinking like that, he would drive himself crazy if he did.
He watched as Ian got down in the booth opposite to him and Frankie felt a bit sick to his stomach. He really wasn't a confrontational person, and all though he didn't want this to turn into a fight, he sorta felt it wasn't going to go any other way. They both had too many unresolved feelings about all of this. So to calm himself down, he took a deep breath and a swig of beer. "Uhm... No, I guess not," he hummed, all though he wouldn't want anything else right now. He wished he and his brother was as good as they once had been growing up, and he would love to hear all about his new life... But they had to get through some shit first. "I just wanted to... Apologize for what happened last time, I sorta... Lost it," he started, not sure he believed himself at all but it was a good place to begin.
As a kid, all Ian really had was his brother. He never knew his dad and he hardly got to see their mom, who spent most of her time working to help the three of them get by. For the better half of his life, it was Frankie that took care and looked after him. Ian didn't resent neither his brother or his mom for their loss and the situation it put them in, but he did resent their close bond. He only figured out that he felt that way when he had no other choice but to think about his decisions and what he lost when he dropped everything, including his family, for his own selfish needs. It was a bitter pill to swallow and it made it difficult for him to put himself in his brother's shoes when it came to helping their mom when she needed them the most.
Frankie studied his brother as he started talking, telling him he was sorry as well and that he wasn't sure what to say. It was weird, these two always seemed to have so much in common, they could relate to each other so much and when they were younger it seemed as if they could help each other through a lot of shit. But somewhere on the way, they had stopped telling each other about everything. Frankie hadn't told his brother about his own depression or the self harm he inflicted on himself in his late teens, and he obviously didn't know about the demons that Ian were fighting. It was sad really, how far they had drifted apart.
"Look..." Frankie interrupted Ian, as he seemed to start blaming himself for all of it. It wasn't really his fault, moving back home should be a happy event and Frankie had totally just wrecked it. "... We don't have to talk about that, if you don't want to. I mean... Maybe we do sometime, but it doesn't have to be tonight if you don't feel like it," Frankie shrugged and took a sip of beer, to gather some gusto. "I mean... I am really happy to see you back, so... I don't want you to feel like total shit about all of this," Frankie hummed and looked over at his brother.
He sat still for a bit, not sure where to go next. He so desperatly wanted to talk about everything, ask him why he had been gone for so long and ask if it was because of him, but he didn't want to scare Ian away again. And he was a bit curious, of course. "... Maybe we can just talk about how you been for a bit? I sorta realized on the way over here that I don't know... Anything, at all, about you now," Frankie said and let out a little laugh as how bad of him that was.
The night he finished his last day at UNC, he went out with his roommate and few buddies to celebrate. And the bars they crawled to were packed - Ian was not the only to-be graduate that wanted to get out and have a few drinks to kick off the rest of his life. That was a crazy night and yet no matter how many laughs he had or drinks he took back, he couldn't help but feel that something was off. He just hit a milestone and while it wasn't the end of his work towards becoming a doctor, it was an important milestone to hit. And at the end of the night, at their last stop during last call, he realized what it was that was missing. His family didn't even know what he accomplished.
As Ian started telling Frankie about what he had been up to during those years, Frankie felt a bit more at ease. The whole vibe of the conversation lightened up a bit. Even though they had their shit to get through, he was really eager to get to know what his brother had gone through during those years. He took another sip of beer as he listened closely to what Ian told him.
When he told him he had graduated from med school, Frankie couldn't keep a proud smile off his lips. He knew that his brother had moved away to study but he hadn't really thought that he would ever get through it - as horrible as that was of him to doubt him. His brother hadn't always come across as the kind of guy that would make it through med school, but hearing that Ian had made Frankie really proud. He just wasn't sure if he could show it or not at this point, so instead he just nodded. "That's good," he then simply said. "How was med school? Sounds pretty rough..." He himself had two degrees under his belt, one in Journalism and one in Communications, but they seemed fairly easy compared to anything close to med. He had seen Ainsley struggle through her years of studying, and it wasn't until late last year that she had finished completely.
He laughed as Ian suggested they would get something stronger for them to drink. "Alright, let me buy this round... To celebrate med school and all that," he smiled and got up, ready to walk over to the bar. "What would you like?"
Talking to Frankie as if things between them were good really seemed like the decision to make if he wanted to end up in denial. Maybe in some ways, denial would do him some good if only to distract him from the things that he wanted to clear up with his brother. As nice as it felt to talk to Frankie, to tell him that he graduated medical school, there was something off. It made sense. He had a lot to make up for and there was tension in the air that he was confident wouldn't totally clear until they talked it out. Even then, having that conversation wasn't going to fix what was broken. It was going to take some time and he now realized that it was better for both of them to start off easy.
Frankie couldn't believe how proud their mother would be to hear that they got a doctor in the family. With her getting pregnant in such an early age, getting an university degree was something she couldn't even dream about. Back then, there was no possible way for her to get the best of both worlds. She had to work around the clock to keep food on the table, and she couldn't afford stopping to go to school, getting an education. She would be so proud of Ian, for the short moment of time that she would remember it. But then she would be just as proud when they told her again.... And again, and again. That might be the only beautiful thing about that horrible disease.
"A whiskey?" Frankie repeated, a bit surprised. Maybe because the last drink he had bought for his brother had been a Coke Zero or something like that, nothing close to a whiskey. It sounded so freaking grown up. Did Frankie even drink Whiskeys? "... A whiskey, coming up," he smiled and turned to head to the bar. They had some reasons to celebrate after all, so as he stopped in front of the bartender, he asked for two whiskeys. Ainsley didn't need to know that he had hard liquor that night, a glass wouldn't mess his heart up again, would it?
He walked back to the table as soon as he got his glasses and paid for them. "I thought you were still on that chocolate milk bandwagon," Frankie softly teased his brother as he sat down opposite him again. It had been quite some time since he had offered chocolate milk to Ian, but it was a older brother's job to tease his younger brother, right?
"Yeah thanks," Ian smiled as Frankie walked away.
Frankie took a sip himself, a much smaller one than the one his brother had just taken. He glanced up from his glass and noticed how Ian was already taking seconds. He sure seemed to be able to down that just as easy as he had the chocolate milk, but Frankie tried not to think too much about it. Last thing he needed right now was to start a fight over the his brothers alcoholic habits. Tonight, they just needed to unwind and get to know each other. "Yeah, sure," Frankie laughed as Ian offered to show him his crazy side. "Why not?" he grinned and took another sip of whiskey before leaning back in his seat.
"Well..." Frankie hummed as he was asked what was new with him, then he smiled as Ian asked what he had missed while being gone. Where to start? It seemed as if so much had happened during those years. Frankie figured he could start with what he was the happiest, and the things that came easiest to mind. "You remember Ainsley Evans?" he asked, even though he was pretty sure Ian would remember her. She had always lived across from them here in New Orleans, and since Ian and Ainsley were around the same age they had gone to school together. It would be strange if he didn't remember her. "We're actually dating now, or well... I guess a bit more than dating since she lives with me," he explained, not being able to hold back the smile on his lips.
Where was this Frankie when they met up last time? Ian couldn't help but laugh with his brother, his response like a challenge to Ian that was probably in both their best interests not to take. When things got crazy, they got crazy. Ian's alcohol tolerance was pretty high, but most of his wild memories were borderline black out nights with other things in his system that weren't alcohol. And sometimes, he did get carried away bar or party hopping and woke up somewhere other than his own bed with little idea of how he got there. He used to anyway - now he resorted to going out and drinking rather than get fucked up on a bunch of different things that made him feel hazey.
Frankie really couldn't understand how anyone didn't like Ainsley. She was basically a saint walking the earth. He's never heard her speak badly about anyone, and if she did she would in the end blame herself for whatever she was complaining about. Now, Frankie had always been older than Ainsley, and he had probably always seen her in a different light than anyone who was in the same age group. Maybe people saw her as a goody two shoes, you know, the kind of person that made you feel so fucking bad about yourself - just because they seemed to do everything right. That could probably rub a lot of people the wrong way. Maybe people just saw her as a big nerd, Frankie would never know.
"Yeah, I'm actually really happy," he nodded and gave his brother another smile. He wasn't sure he wanted to go into the whole thing with Ainsley and her ex Declan, who just happened to be an author Frankie had been working with. After realizing he was in love with Ainsley, Frankie confessed... A few times. Mostly while drunk, and mostly in a not so polished way. Luckily, Ainsley seemingly had started getting the same feelings for him and left Declan for him. That made things a bit... Well, awkward, when it came to Frankie and Declan's relationship, so Frankie sent him off to another editor at the same office. It had been really crazy, but at least Frankie had ended up with the girl, and he couldn't be happier about it.
"No one? Really?" he grinned and raised a brow skeptically. "That doesn't sound like Ian Carmichael," he teased. He remembered his brother getting girls wherever he went, with his looks and the fact that he didn't seem to share Frankie's social awkwardness, he was probably a lot of girls Prince Charming around here.
He was a good looking guy, just like his dad, that was adept in getting what he wanted with the right moves. He was a smooth talker with a high confidence and he didn't think there was anything wrong with being self aware of his own features despite being called cocky for it. Having the confidence to talk to women only improved on his game and more often than not, that willingness to put himself out there usually led to him having a good night. Though as easy as it was for him to approach women, whether he just wanted to get laid or not, the idea of being in love meant more. At least it started to - he lost count on how many times he woke up next to someone only to not remember their name.
Frankie couldn't see himself with another person. It really did feel like they were made for each other. He and Ainsley was a lot more alike than Ian and Ainsley, for sure. Frankie had been somewhat of an awkward outside growing up and it wasn't until he got to college where he started coming into his own. And he hadn't really realized that he wanted to be with Ainsley until he came back a year ago. Probably because she had been so young when he left. But now? Damn... He really did love that girl. "I'm sure that will change," Frankie smiled at his brother, sure that ladies would be swarming around him in no time.
Frankie took another sip of whiskey, just as surprised that he was actually sitting here having such a nice conversation with his brother. And he didn't mind spending the rest of the evening, right here, sure to be enjoying several more drinks than this one. .
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