It’d been a week or so since Lewis’ birthday, and since I’d last dreamt about Maxxie, and as I sunk into bed at God knows what hour, I felt the usual sensation that came whenever I dreamt of Maxxie. But when I opened my eyes as I felt a weight sink onto the bed, it wasn’t Maxxie I saw, but my dear brother, as skinny and as cocky as ever. He looked healthier than I’d ever seen him, though. His skin had this healthy glow to it. He smiled at me, lying on his side, propping his head up with his hand.
“Morning, sweetheart” he said softly, smirking a little.
“What’re you doing here?”
“I came to say hi” he said, ruffling my hair.
I frowned, shoving his hand away. “It took you five years to say hi?”
“I never felt the need to. You never exactly missed me”
“I missed you. I just wasn’t very vocal about it”
“Well, either way, I’ve been busy. Especially now Maxxie’s there with me”
“Don’t get too attached to him” I warned, feeling kind of jealous.
“I won’t” he chuckled. “Anyway, I’m here on more important business”
“What kind of important business do you need to carry out without a shirt on?” I asked, arching an eyebrow as his bare chest.
“Cut me some slack, I’ve just come from a party”
“Party. Sure. What d’you want?”
Cayden looked at me almost sadly before asking “How’s John?”
“Why’re you asking me? Go stalk his dreams instead”
Cayden laughed. “It doesn’t work like that, baby bro. The person whose dreams you want to get into has to be thinking about you for you to slip on in there, so it’s a huge surprise and honour to be here”
“You might be an asshole, but you’re still my brother. Believe it or not I think about you sometimes”
“And I’m flattered, truly. But as you know, or at least as you should know, John only ever has nightmares and they’re always about his parents, so in all this time I haven’t been able to see him. Which is why I’m asking you”
“He’s... coping, I guess”
“Yeah, he’s good at that” he said, smiling to himself. “Listen, Hadley, can you promise me something?”
“Depends what it is” I said suspiciously.
“Make sure John’s happy”
“How am I meant to do that?”
“Well...” he trailed off, tracing lines on my chest with his finger and honestly creeping me out. “You’re single... John’s single...”
“Cayden, I’m not fucking John”
“You already did, though. Don’t think I didn’t see you” he said, smirking when I blushed.
“Fine, then I’m not fucking him again”
“You don’t even have to fuck him, just ask him out”
“Cayden, I’m not going out with John either” I sighed, sitting up.
“Because I’m not”
“I want him to be happy, I... I don’t want him to be on his own. It’s my fault he’s on his own, and I guess I want to make up for it. I’d leave him to it, but he’s not about to go out looking for someone. In his eyes, I was his one and only, and he’s happy to spend the rest of his long, lonely life sat by himself in that little house of his. And I don’t want that for him”
“Why me? Why not Mari? Why not someone you picked up somewhere?”
“Because I trustyou. I trust you not to hurt him”
I let out another sigh. “Cayden, I can’t”
“It doesn’t have to be forever. Just for a few months. I want him to remember what it feels like to have someone care about him, so then maybe he’ll go out looking for someone. I want him to myself, but I don’t want him to be lonely”
I looked at him, chuckling a little. “Cayden Smith, I do believe you’re actually capable of caring about someone”
“I’ve been known to”
The two of us laughed, and Cayden ruffled my hair again. I sighed a little, and he kissed the top of my head.
“If I do it, will you promise me something?” I asked.
“Make sure Maxxie’s happy too”
Cayden smiled. “I will. Any way I can”
“Please, spare me the details. It still creeps me out to think of you nailing my husband” I grimaced, making him laugh.
“Well then, you ask John out and we’ll call it even”
I laughed again, smiling. “Alright, but you owe me big time”
Cayden kissed my forehead a couple times. “Thanks, baby bro”
“Get off” I chuckled, shoving him back a little.
“Seriously, Hadley, thank you. You don’t know how much this means to me”
“Don’t mention it” I smiled.
“Want me to go and get Maxxie for you?”
“I don’t mind. It’s nice to see you, for once”
“Think about me more and I’ll drop by, if I’m not balls deep in some cute little blonde”
I tutted. “You always spoil the moment”
“And yet you love me for it” he grinned.
I rolled my eyes. “I’m going to bed”
“Want me to stick around?”
I shrugged, rolling onto my side and pulling the sheets around my shoulders. I felt Cayden’s arms slide around my stomach, wrapping me in a hug. I relaxed into it, feeling like a kid again.
“Remember that time you snuck into my bed? I’d had a rough day at school or something and I cried myself to sleep in your arms” I said sleepily.
“You always were a sensitive kid” he chuckled.
“I miss those days”
“D’you think Ava does too?”
“Probably not, we were fucking annoying kids. Go to sleep”
I did as I was told, glad of the warmth behind me, even if it was coming from the wrong person.