“Come on Jake! What happened to the good old days when you and me went on road trips and have fun in bars drinking, getting laid with woman. Well you do mostly nowadays but me? I’ve just been discharged and I say we hit the road brother!”
“Troy…” Jake sighs. “I have work. You have work to attend at the mechanic shop you just applied to. I have case files to work on and events to attend this week. And the next, and the next after. We’re not kids anymore neither young college hunks and drunks. We grew up.” Jake states.
“You know, the Brother I knew wouldn’t say no ever to a road trip. The brother I knew, was always talking about being the best writer and poet and shit! But the Brother I’m looking at now is no brother of mine. Oh… and thanks for not picking your injured brother up from the airport. I can manage fine on my own.” With that, Troy leaves the office.
Jake calls after but Troy ignores him and doesn’t wait around to talk anymore. Jake Otto stood at the entrance of his office, watching his younger brothers retreating figure, and Jake wondered how he ended up in this situation. All his life, his father had raised him to be a good man, to be responsible for his family and to care for his little brother when his mother died, Jake’s step mother. Troy was his wonderful little brother that he loved so much. Their father however wasn’t so pleased with Troy’s rebellious attitude. Jake was always following the rules, always being there for his father. But Jake knew deep down that Troy was somewhat right. Ever since they were young, Jake was always pushed to follow in his father’s footsteps to be the sole caregiver of the family. Jeremiah Otto was his dad. A strong and stubborn businessman who was dirty. Jake knew his father had tons of shady deals going on that he had supported all the time to ensure that their family had money to eat, sleep, go to school with and other things. Jake always took pride in his studies and eventually wanted to be a writer, a poet when he graduated from college. But because his father was a shit of a man, he got himself shot in the hip by an angry client his father had made deals with and was paralyzed from the waist down. Jake was forced to change his major and took up law studies per his father’s stubborn request.
When he joined the work force, Jake took everything he could and hunted the man down, ensuring that he never left the court room empty handed. That man was sentenced to life in prison, and Jake wasn’t proud of what he did. He had did it in revenge for his father but for a wrong cause. As the months turned to years, Jake lost all sense of morality and he became an arrogant and cut-throat lawyer, who had created enemies along the line. Jake never did have relationships in fear of being used against. So he spent his nights with prostitutes, strippers and got drunk. His brother Troy, was away serving in the military and rarely wrote letters until he received a call from him stating that Troy had to be discharged from the military thanks to his leg injury in which he will never be able to fight again. He promised his brother he would pick him up, but in the end, he forgot about it and Troy came to the office to see him. He felt bad for letting him down.
Jake was a trapped soul in the world, and he knew that there was no escaping the current life without the consequences of the people around him being hurt. Not when his father’s problems were left to him. The idea of a road trip was enticing, but not when he was in the middle of a case of putting away another shady lawyer that screwed his father over in his business empire a couple of years ago. He was the only one left, and if Jake could put him in jail, he would do it and be able to relax slightly and perhaps maybe go for a short holiday. Jake goes back over to his desk and sits down again, taking the picture, he had on the table of him and Troy. He remembered when they went to Mount Rushmore on their road trip, and Troy decided he was going to woo a girl but ended up having a slushy poured on his head. Jake laughed to himself at the day they took that picture. Maybe Troy was right. He was no longer the man he was in that picture l. Carefree, fun, loving. Even his one true love that he thought would last forever left him. Charlene. His high school sweet heart. He knew it was his fault they ended badly.
She left him years ago, stating that she was tired of him never being at home, always out with his friends getting drunk after winning big cases. He threw his words in her face, stating that he did it all for her, so that they could live a good life, but it all back fired in his face. He knew she was right when she retaliated her words at him. He didn’t do it for them. He did it for a crook of a man he called his father, who didn’t even care if he lived or died, and that he would be a disgrace to the family name if he didn’t stand up in court for his father. That’s all his life was ever about. And now, he was a lonely man. Jake then took it upon himself, that since his brother was still the last one that loved him, he would take time off and go on a road trip with him. Work be damned. He had to make amends. The case wasn’t until the next three months. He could afford leaving for a month. So, Jake took out his cellphone and dialed Troy’s number, and waited until his brother picked up.
“What?” Came Troy’s voice.
“I’m sorry brother. When do you want to go on a trip? And your work?” Jake asks.
“Ummmmmmm… yeah uh when can you take off? My work is not really work until my leg is healed so I got time. A month or two.” Troy states, excitement clearly written in his tone.
“Okay. I’ll take time off starting Monday. Do you have a place to stay?”
“I was thinking to stay with a friend for the time being so I won’t be in your way.” Troy says sullenly over the phone and Jake sighs.
“I’ll pick you up in a bit. Let me sort some things and I’ll meet you downstairs at the lobby since I can still hear the sounds of the main lobby.” Jake muses for he is accustomed to the sounds of the office building he works at.
“Fine. I’ll be waiting. I’ll have a Coke while I’m at it.” And the line goes dead.
Troy was a fan of Coke. Always loved it since young and would never drink any other soft drink that wasn’t a coke. Habits his brother had picked up in the army. At least it wasn’t smoking or some dumb thing like that. Jake soon begin sending out emails, stating that he would be taking time off, knowing he was going to get an ass chewing from his boss, and sent it out before heading to his boss’s office. He purposely sent the emails beforehand to be granted his freedom, but it backfired even worse than he had expected. Walking into the office, Mrs. Johnson looked up from her laptop with anger written all over her face, clearly not happy with his decision to go on a holiday.
“Mr. Otto, may I ask why you will be taking leave for such a long period of time?” She seethes with anger.
“My brother was just discharged from the army. What do you expect me to do? Leave him there all alone while he recovers? I have to help him. He has no one left but me.” Jake states.
“Oh really? There are services specifically built for soldiers like him, who can care for them instead of you taking time off. What do you think this company is to you? A part time joint where you can come and go as you please? Your father made me ensure that you had a job and I will do so for his will. So, you send out another email, and you get back to work.” Mrs. Johnson warns.
Jake was caught in a dilemma. He promised Troy he would go with him, promised his little brother when they were young that no matter what, he would always be there for him and whatever he wanted, he would get it for him. Troy just wanted his brother back. Because they were separated for so long, he just wanted them to be happy and back together again. Jake never felt happiness in a really long time, and this was his chance to have them both together. So, Jake makes his decision, consequences be damned, he looks at Mrs. Johnson and keeps his stance.
“No? Are you listening to yourself?” She growls.
“No. I am not going to tolerate this any longer. My brother needs me and if my father doesn’t have the brains and decency to see that, you can tell him to go fuck himself. I did everything for his sorry life for years and I think it’s time I did something for myself. Starting with the care of my brother. I quit.” Jake takes his tie off and jacket, chucking it at her table and smiles.
“You walk out that door, your father will reign hell on you. You can’t run forever.” Mrs. Johnson stands up.
“He has no one left. I already sent them all to jail. He is the only one left. And I made sure I kept myself clean. So, he can’t touch me. And he is nothing but a useless waste of space. Tell him I’m done. He doesn’t own me or Troy, and I am sick and tired of this. Law was never what I wanted. It was his.”
With that, Jake walks out of the office, hearing the screams of hatred from Mrs. Johnson before he got in the lift. Everyone had a breaking point. His brother had been the one to make him realize that his life should have been so much more than being a loyal miserable dog to the current company. Screw his father be damned. To hell with Walker and everything else. He planned to keep his promise with his brother and deal with his problems later. Besides, Jeremiah won’t even bother to go looking for him or Troy if they were on the road. Taking the elevator to the ground floor, Jake steps out to find Troy leaning on his crutches, his coke in hand, talking to a pretty woman at the front desk. Jake shakes his head at his brother’s schematics, and laughs it off.
“Jeanine, is he giving you trouble?” Jake walks up behind Troy, placing his hands on his brother’s shoulders.
“Hey! I was not moron.” Jeanine, the counter girl chuckles and walks away from the two of them.
“Ready?” Jake snorts at his brother’s annoyed expression.
“I hate you. I really do. I was just about to ask her out. What got you so happy all of a sudden?” Troy looks at his brother with a weird expression.
“Let’s just say I quit but got fired at the same time and I am not going to continue in this fuck forsaken place. And we are going on that road trip and I am going to live life to my fullest. You were right brother. I gotta get back to who I was.” Jake states proudly.
“About time. Come on, let’s hit the road. Go home, get changed, relax and start off tomorrow. We are getting laid, and drinking, and wasting ourselves in every state we drive through. And to top it all off, we are going to party until we drop dead in a ditch.” Troy gives a lopsided smile.
“Yeah yeah you idiot. Before that…”
Jake was cut off by the ringing of his phone. He checked the caller ID which came from California and he frowned, wondering who would call him from there. He didn’t know any friends, or previous clients, neither did they have relatives there. Jake was about to dismiss it when Troy playfully drags his finger across the screen and answers the call.
“You little brat!” Jake hisses quietly.
‘Hello? Am I speaking to Jake Otto?’
“Yes maam? How can I help you?”
The lady on the phone cleared her throat before answering him. “Mr. Otto, there has been an accident regarding your wife. The reports came in saying that a truck had smashed her car into a building and she was rushed in. She just made it out of surgery but is in critical condition. We looked up her records and she has no family members written down for us to contact in the case of an emergency, so we found your contact instead stating that you are her husband.”
Jake’s blood ran cold. The nurse over the phone told him something that he had never dreamed of hearing, ever, in his life. He wasn’t the type to be married, not with his one-night stands and dates that never lasted. He sure as hell didn’t remember getting married. And just as his day was at its worst, being fired, or he quit in his own brain, told his father off indirectly through his suck up boss, Jake then stones, unable to answer the nurse, making Troy take over.
‘Mr. Otto? You are required to come over to settle the paperwork and also the various surgery options that is needed for her.’
“Ummmmm… we will be over in a couple of days. Will be there as soon as possible. Who do we look for?”
‘Dr. Roberts. He is in charge of your wife. We will look forward to seeing you soon Mr. Otto.’ The nurse states.
“Thank you maam.”
Troy hangs up the phone and looks to his brother who hasn’t said a word, hasn’t blinked his eyeballs and done nothing but stare at the wall.
“Staring won’t help your situation and you didn’t bother to tell me you are married bro?”
“I… I don’t remember… getting… married! Fuck!” Jake starts pacing around the lobby, and Troy shakes his head at his brother.
“For all you know, she could be a great girl Jake. Take a chance. If she wants you of course.” Troy shrugs his shoulders and continues staring at his brother before his outburst.
“I AM FUCKING MARRIED. MARRIED!”