“Brett, Lucas and Megan need me. I’ve got to step up and be there for them.”

“I need you, Sean.”

“But you want to claim exclusive rights.”

“For crying out loud, you make me sound like some kind of psycho” said Brett who felt like he was in danger of losing it. “Look Sean, I want what I thought we had which is a normal kind of relationship where we consult each other on all major decisions. But you went ahead and agreed to adopting Lucas and Megan without saying anything to me and that made me feel completely worthless.”

“Brett, I really am sorry if I made you feel that way, but I can’t abandon Lucas and Megan. Don’t you see that?”

“And don’t you see that I don’t want the responsibilities of being a parent?”

“Look, we’re not doing either of us any favours here” said Sean. “For the sake of both of us, please just leave it.”

“Oh don’t worry” said Brett. “I’ll be out of here as quickly as possible.”

 “Brett, look I still care very much about you and I really didn’t want to let you down.”

“But you did” said Brett. “That’s why I never accept apologies because people should never have done what they did to hurt you in the first place.”

“I know you’ll think of me as the big heartless bastard.”

“But everybody else will think that I’m the big heartless bastard for not embracing the idea of adopting Lucas and Megan. You’ll be seen as the big hero who saves them.”

“I’m not doing it to be a hero, Brett.”

“No, but that’s what people will see you as, Sean.”

“I expect Tricia is giving you her shoulder to cry on?”

“Well there lies another little hiccup in my otherwise perfect life” said Brett. “Tricia wasn’t able to put me up.”

“So where are you staying?”

 Brett suddenly didn’t want to admit to Sean that he was staying at a hotel. It seemed so pathetic and yet it was necessary. He had no alternative. He had other friends, but he didn’t want to start ringing round in desperation, crossing each one off a list of potentials. What if nobody could put him up even for a couple of days? That would make him feel even worse than he did already.

“I’m… I’m at the Sleep Easy down the road.”

“The hotel? Aw, Brett…”

“… I needed somewhere quickly.”

“You didn’t need anywhere at all.”

“Aw, don’t play with my head like that, Sean. We both know that I needed to go. There wasn’t room for me in your life anymore.”

“That’s not fair, Brett.”

“It certainly is from where I’m standing” said Brett who then went off to the bedroom he and Sean had shared to pack more of his stuff into a suitcase that they’d always used for holidays.

 Sean was still in the kitchen when he got a call. After he’dfinished, he went and joined Brett in the bedroom. Brett was startled by the look on Sean’s face. All the colour had drained from it.

“That was the hospital” said Sean. “Nadine has just died.”

“Oh Sean, I’m so sorry” said Brett and rushed over to comfort Sean. But Sean lifted his arms and backed away. Brett was devastated that Sean wouldn’t let him anywhere near him at this moment when he should’ve needed him most.

“I need to get to Lucas and Megan” said Sean as he backed out of the room. “I need to be the one who tells them.”

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