Lex and Lu(9)

By: J. Santiago

Pete watched as Lex made his way from the Jetway of the plane into the small Sarasota airport. Of course Lex was not alone as he walked toward him. He guided a beautiful woman, his hand resting in the small of her back, around a row of airport chairs, toward the baggage claim. He looked completely engaged, leaning down so that he could hear what she was saying. With a wink and a mischievous smile in Pete’s direction, Lex was merely killing time, Pete knew. Following at a safe distance, Pete let his brother do his thing. Which he had to admit was pretty impressive.

Although he had lived in England for the last six years, Lex didn’t have that pallid look of those in his adopted country. He had inherited his mother’s olive complexion, which served him well. He definitely looked European, though. Something about the cut of his clothes, jeans and a T-shirt hinted at a sophistication that couldn’t be mistaken for American. When his companion’s luggage arrived, Lex made sure she was all squared away and pushed her out the door with a haste that Pete was sure the woman would find offensive. But Lex being Lex, she just beamed at him as she left the airport. Task complete, Lex found his brother and drew him into a guys hug. The one where they clasp hands first and then one-arm each other. It was all either one of them could handle.

“Bro, thanks for picking me up. Caroline was going to have a limo pick me up, but I said that my brother would be honored to do it.”

“Was that after she wiped your ass?” Pete retorted, so pleased to have Lex with him.

Eyes sparkling, Lex bent low to Pete’s ear and said, “No, right after she sucked my dick.”

Pete couldn’t help it; he cackled in the baggage-claim area. “I’m sure she would love to hear you say something like that.”

Lex smiled, then shook his head. “She’d kick my ass. So please don’t tell her that I even joked about that.”

“You’re a prick.”

“Yes, I know. But all of your good-natured humor brought out the wicked in me,” Lex replied with a smirk.

“Like that’s hard to do.”

“True,” Lex said. “Let’s go.”

“Where’s your luggage?” Pete asked.

Lex nodded his head toward the empty conveyer belt where a lone bag continued to circle. “Right there.”

“We could have been out of here ten minutes ago if you weren’t flirting with that girl.”

“Woman, that was all woman. And she kept me from thinking about the reason why I am here. Totally worth the ten minutes.”

“Point taken!” Pete said.

Gathering up the luggage, they strolled through the sliding glass doors toward Pete’s car.

“So you drove straight here last night? That’s a hell of a drive.” Lex said.

“Yeah, I know. But I just needed to get here. Somehow it didn’t seem real to me. And I thought if I was here, I would know he was gone. Hard to explain.”

“Does it seem real now? ’Cause I’m struggling with that.” All hints of his smile fled. “I just can’t quite get there.”

“Maybe after we see that body?”

Lex stopped in midstride. “We’re going to see the body? And why are your referring to dad as the ‘body’?”

Pete stopped and turned back to look at him. “He’s gone. All that’s left of him is his body.”

“Is this your idea of a good bedside manner? Is this what they teach you in med school?” Lex replied, annoyed.

“Look, I need to see him. You don’t have to come with me, but it just doesn’t seem possible to me. I need proof.” Pete continued walking to his car.

Overwhelmed, Lex scrubbed his hands over his face, picked up his bag, and followed his brother to the car. Pete opened the trunk for him and he put stuff away, still reluctant to continue this conversation with his brother. Pete got in the car, but Lex hesitated, leaning on the trunk, trying to figure out if he wanted to see his father’s body. It seemed like too much—coming home after such a long time and going straight to the morgue. He didn’t think he could do it. But he knew it was what his brother needed. And Lex always looked out for his brother.

Opening the door and folding his large frame into the front seat of Pete’s Nissan 300X, he leaned his head back and breathed deeply. “Is that bar still there, on 301, or is it 41?”

“Which bar?”

“The BiHi Hut?”

“Yeah,” Pete smiled. “How do you know about that place? You weren’t old enough to go there when you left.”

“Ha. Like that stopped me. I need a drink if we’re going to do this thing.”

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