Felix had been busy experimenting on his guitar when suddenly his mobile phone rang. It was the special ringtone he only used for important people, like his bandmates and close family. So he put his Fender down and fumbled for his mobile.
“Fe?,” asked a nervous-sounding Will.
“Oh hi Will, what’s up? You home already?,” Felix answered, relieved that his little brother was on English ground again.
“No, erm. Listen, Fe, could you pick me up from the airport?”
“You’re still at the airport? I thought you didn’t want us to pick you up? You said you were old enough to…”
“Yeah I know what I said. But please, can you come and…pick me up? I tried calling Hugo but he is not answering his phone.”
“Uhm yeah. But…I don’t understand? Did something happen in NY? Are you okay?,” Felix asked, unable to hide his worry.
“I’ll tell you later, okay? It would be just really…nice if you could pick me up!,” Will said and there was an urgency in his voice that made Felix nervous.
“With the car? You know how much I hate driving through London, right?”
“Yes, I know! But please! And try to bring Hugo!” Will’s voice was shaking.
“Okay, Will. We’ll be there in an hour or so.”
“Thanks so much, Fe! See you in a bit! I’ll be waiting at the car gate.”
“Alright, Will, see you th-”
But Felix couldn’t finish his sentence as Will had already hung up. Shaking his head Felix put his mobile back into his pockets and went searching for his jacket.
In the little kitchenette of the studio he found Orlando eating a piece of cake.
“Hey Lands, have you seen my brother? The one that is supposed to write an album with us right now, not the one who is waiting at the airport, demanding to be picked up like a little child…”
Orlando looked at Felix and swallowed before he answered.
“Hugo? He went to get himself a piece of cake too because he was jealous that I didn’t bring him any. I said he couldn’t have any or else he would get too fat for his La Shark t-shirts but I think he didn’t get the joke…,” Orlando answered.
“Oh. Why didn’t he ask me if I wanted cake… Uhm Lands, can I borrow the car?,” Felix asked, trying to not make it sound like a big thing.
“You…you wanna take the car? To…pick Will up from the airport? Maybe I should drive?,” Orlando suggested and while Felix was flattered that Orlando offered this to him, he didn’t feel sure about it.
“I don’t know, Will sounded a little bit…stressed. I think it’s better if we just pick him up and save the reunion celebrations for later.”
“Okay, if you’re sure. You coming back here afterwards or staying at home?”
“I don’t know yet. I’ll probably drop Will off at his flat and then…yeah. You could give me a call, if you need me here, okay?”
“Yeah. See you!”
Felix nodded at Orlando as he left the studio and went to their car. Just when he had started the motor Hugo walked around the corner.
“Hugo! Get in! We have something to do!”
Looking confused, Hugo jogged over to the car and opened the door on the left side to sit down next to Felix.
“What is this, Mean Girls?,” the middle brother asked a little out of breath.
“I wish it was…Apparently our little baby brother missed us so much that he desperately needs to be picked up from the airport by us,” Felix explained.
The brothers stayed silent for the most part of the one-hour car ride to Stansted Airport. Both of them were deep in thought about why Will had called and pleaded them to pick him up.
Two weeks ago when their youngest brother and two of his new band mates had set off to New York to properly record some of their demos for LSA the youngest brother had been the happiest and proudest person to walk the earth. Looking forward to recording in a prestigious studio and being able to see their good friend Matt again, Will couldn’t say goodbye to his brothers fast enough. Of course Felix and Hugo had been a little bit hurt when their youngest brother had left them so carelessly just because Matt had offered him to record at his friend’s studio but deep down they knew that they would have acted the same in Will’s place. They remembered how excited they were when Bloc Party, their teenage idols, took them on tour in the USA in 2007.
So maybe Will had just missed them. Like they had missed him. It was a bit unlikely because Will had been without them quite often already. When he was only 22 he was already touring in Australia with Kate Nash.
So what could have caused their little one (who was actually the most grown-up and mature one) so much stress that he needed to be picked up by his brothers?
A few hours ago Felix would rather have expected Will to call in order to tell him that Matt was coming back to London with him or that he was staying in New York! The two of them had been so optimistic about their extra time in New York.
They found a parking spot surprisingly quickly even though Felix was very picky about parking spots since parking was not really one of his strengths. He just hoped that no officer noticed him because he wasn’t wearing his glasses.
Will spotted them first. Immediately he dropped the cigarette he was smoking. He left his suitcase and almost ran the last few metres towards his brothers, who welcomed him with open arms. Hugo was the first to embrace his brother and hold him close.
Felix waited patiently before his brothers parted and Will hugged him, too.
“Thank you…,” Will mumbled into Felix’s ear. The older one pressed Will closer to his chest.
“It’s good to have you back, you know. We missed you,” he answered.
“Yeah. It’s good…to be back.”
“And man, you’re so skinny, you could change clothes behind a lamp post! I thought the American food would make you…”
“Fe, can we just go home?,” Will interrupted him.
“Of course, the car is waiting!,” Felix said and Hugo went to pick up Will’s suitcase because the younger one surely would have forgotten it.
On the drive back Hugo sat next to Will on the back seat but they didn’t talk. They knew Felix couldn’t concentrate on driving if they’d talk to loudly. Hugo kissed Will on the lips but the younger one seemed lost in his thoughts and barely responded the kiss even though they hadn’t seen each other for two weeks.
Hugo and Felix had mentally prepared themselves that this wouldn’t be a reunion made of hungry kisses and demanding touches. They had told themselves that Will would come back as a different person. Grown up, with a lot of new interesting friends and a bright future. But the Will that was currently sitting in the back of his car reminded Felix more of a 19-year-old version of his younger brother. Quiet, introverted and somehow looking…lost in the world.
Will hadn’t told them where to go so naturally Felix headed for Will’s flat. Felix was just about to take a turn left towards Clapham when Will spoke up.
“Fe? Could we maybe drive to your place?,” Will asked quietly and earned confused looks by his older brothers.
“No…Uhm your flat maybe?”
“Uhm sure,” Felix said and drove them to New Cross, where he had just gotten himself a tiny flat all by himself after he had been thrown out of his old flatshare.
It took Felix some time to find a parking spot somewhere near his flat and then it took some more time to get the car into that spot without damaging the other cars but in the end Felix managed and wore his proud grin all the way up to his flat on the fourth floor.
Felix unlocked the door with a warning.
“I haven’t been home the last four days, so it’s kinda a mess…” But his brothers didn’t care and walked right into the living-room to sit on the couch. After he had made them coffee the oldest one joined his brothers there.
“So tell me Will, how was recording?,” Felix asked to get the conversation going and hopefully to find out what was bugging Will.
“It was absolutely amazing! At first I was afraid to touch anything in case I might break something but the staff there was really nice! We managed to get four songs done completely. You should have been there! I’ve never seen such expensive equipment! And I learnt so much about production, I might be able to teach you something, Hugo!,” Will said with a wink and the brothers smiled happily as their youngest one was still able to make jokes. Maybe he had just really really missed them or was too lazy (or too broke) to take the bus home.
“You can put the new knowledge of yours to use when we’re recording the next two songs next week!,” Hugo said with an encouraging smile on his lips.
“Yeah man, he’s been watching recording tutorials on Youtube all day and night long. Soo boring without you here!,” added Felix. “But tell us more Will! How was Big Apple treating you?”
“Great actually. I mean, it was still cold as fuck over there but still. Except for that bloody driving on the wrong or ‘right’ side of the street, that still gets me every time! I’m fine when we’re on tour, I can manage to adapt then. But when I walk out of the studio, I don’t expect the cars to come from the other side, you know.”
“Will, please be careful or else we’ll forbid you to smoke weed…,” Felix said jokingly.
“And did you go partying with Matt’s rich friends? What kind of drugs to they take?,” Hugo wanted to know.
“Yeah I did go out. It wasn’t anything special really. I felt kinda young. It’s probably because you can only go partying if you’re 21. That’s crazy man. The shit I’ve done when I was barely 16. Fe’s 18th birthday. If I had continued like this I would have been out of my first rehab at the age of 21!”
Will lit himself a cigarette and offered some to his brother. They just exchanged looks and declined.
“But Will, that isn’t everything to your story, right? You lived there for two weeks! What about the people you met?,” Felix asked with more persistence in his voice.
“Yeah man, they were absolutely supportive and stuff, totally digging our new tunes. They didn’t mind my accent at all. It was a great experience. No one knew who I was, they all thought I was a successful musician from London. Americans love Europe, they all think-”
“Will,” Hugo interrupted. “What about Matt?”
“Yeah, it was great, he knows a lot of cool people and-”
“Will, stop beating about the bush! What is with Matt? You were supposed to stay with him for the two weeks! Last time you had to say goodbye to each other you almost cried. You were so…close. And don’t lie to yourself. Or to us, in that matter. This trip was all about Matt! And now you don’t mention him at all!”
Will looked down at his hands and took a deep drag from his cigarette.
“I fucked it up,” he said and looked down at his hands again. Hugo and Felix were speechless for a moment. They’d always had the feeling that Matt and Will got on like a house on fire, yeah they even had been jealous sometimes of how happy Will was around Matt. The relationship between Will and Matt had seemed so right that the older brothers had put their own desires for Will away to offer their youngest one a “normal” relationship with the American boy.
“Will, are you sure…? Maybe it’s just a misunderstanding, I’m sure you two can work something out!,” Felix tried to cheer Will up. But the younger one only shook his head.
“No. You don’t understand. It’s all over. It’s terrible. And…”
“Will, tell us what happened!”
“No, it’s…You will hate me. Matt hates me already. I thought he loved me. He never did.”
“Will, please, tell us everything! I can’t talk for Felix but I’ve always known this for myself that if you had thrown yourself down into the lion’s den, brother, I would follow you in! We went through so much together, we’re not gonna leave you this time!,” Hugo said earnestly and put his hand on Will’s knee.
“Hugo is right Will. We love you and we always will. You have to trust us!,” Felix added.
“Perhaps I lacked some foresight…,I was so foolish, so naïve.” Will started and the brothers stayed quiet to wait for what the youngest one had to tell them. “But brothers, you were so right…”
Felix couldn’t hold himself back anymore and interrupted Will.
“What were we right about, Will? Stop speaking in riddles!”
“Sure as the setting sun, you can’t trust just anyone…,” Will mumbled.
“Will, what are you talking about?”
“Matt. I asked him to come back to London with me. To move in with me. But he just laughed and said that he couldn’t leave his flat and his stupid friends and his stupid girl. He asked why I couldn’t stay in New York with him and I said I couldn’t because of you. He got a little bit angry and didn’t understand why I couldn’t leave my brothers. He couldn’t understand why I would choose my brothers over him. That must have fucked with his ego or something, I don’t know. He was really mad suddenly. His ignorance got me. And…I told him about us. I told him that I will always love you more than anyone else. He stormed off,” Will told them in a rush, afraid to look his brothers in the eye.
“He didn’t speak to me for three days. Never came to the studio again. Brought me to the airport though. He said I could still change my mind. God, sometimes I hate him so much. Sure, I can just change my mind about being in love with my brothers for the last ten fucking years! I just wanted to be happy with him!,” Will exclaimed and hit a pillow with his fist.
“Yeah, that’s what you want, Will, but it’s not what you were asking for…,” Felix said in a low voice.
“Okay, maybe asking him to leave everything behind and move to London with me was a bit too much, maybe I was too fast for him…”
“That’s what you were asking, but didn’t you know that it was more than you bargained for? You can’t just tell your lover out of the blue that you are also in a relationship with not only one but two of your brothers!,” Hugo gave his younger brother a scolding. “What were you thinking, Will? You know that this could have been the end?!”
“I fucking know that, Hugo! I regret nothing more than accepting Matt’s stupid invitation. He was only playing me anyway. Using my admiration and need for help. He misses being in the spotlight, being famous. I was blinded, I thought he was still the Matt from the old Levy times. I just wanted to be…friends with him. Talk about music, create music. Travel together. And all of that!,” Will rambled. He was close to tears but his brothers weren’t able to comfort him. They were too shocked that Will had given their secret away so carelessly.
“That’s what you had, Will, think about it. But now you don’t have it anymore. You had it coming,” Felix whispered.
“How could you say something like that? Why can’t you just comfort me and tell me everything is going to be okay!”
“I’m sorry Will, but Felix is right. You had it coming,” Hugo repeated. Will was speechless and stared at his brothers with his mouth open.
“To be honest, Will, I never imagined a situation like this. Of course you were in a difficult position and you always had it harder than Hugo and I. But tell me, are you even aware that all we ever did to protect our love, you undo. We’ve grown up with it, our love is normal for us. But not for Matt! You can’t just surprise him like that! It took us years to slowly introduce Orlando to our relationship! You are the smartest and the strongest of us, but Will, you were a fool,” Felix said with a dead-serious expression on his face. The lack of support of his brothers made Will’s already broken little heart ache.
“But…but…I just wanted to be happy with him. And honest. And I couldn’t lose you either!,” Will objected, close to tears. Will’s body was drained from the long flight and his mind from the arguments with Matt and now with his brothers.
“That’s what you wanted Will, but not what you were asking for! You asked Matt to move to another continent for someone who is also in a relationship with his two brothers? Wake up Will, it doesn’t work that way!,” Felix lectured his youngest brother.
“I didn’t ask him to accept that I also love you! It just slipped out, I was angry!”
“It’s exactly what you were asking for! But you never thought that it was maybe more than you bargained for! What was your plan? Hide our relationship when you move in with Matt? Would that be fair to him? Did you want to lie to him on a daily basis?,” Hugo continued. His voice wasn’t as harsh and reproachful as Felix’s and he kept stroking Will’s knee. The youngest one let his head sink on Hugo’s shoulder. He couldn’t be mad at his brothers for being honest with him. Will knew that their special relationship was the most important thing in their lives and they did everything to protect it even if that meant being this hard on him.
“I just…wanted us all to be happy….If I had moved to New York with Matt… That would… I could never do this to you! Or to me. And I wanted Matt to love me for who I am!,” Will whispered into Hugo’s shoulder. His voice and breath were calmer now and he was just incredibly exhausted from the emotional drama.
Felix got up and sat on the other side of Will to stroke his hair.
“Shhh, it’s alright, Will. We understand that that’s what you wanted. But now you don’t have that anymore and you have to live with that. I’m sure Matt needs some time but he might come around again. I’m not blind, I see how much that stupid idiot adores you! Almost as much as he loves himself!,” Felix joked to cheer his little one up.
Hugo let himself fall backwards on the empty space on the couch that Felix had left and pulled with him so that the head of the youngest one was lying on Hugo’s chest. The regular lifting of Hugo’s chest quickly calmed Will down. A few moments later he was fast asleep, comforted by Hugo’s heartbeat and Felix’s hand slowly stroking over his back.
“Oh brother, you had it coming…,” whispered Felix one last time.
Tomorrow they would continue with their lives.