After the police officer left, showing himself to the door twenty feet away, Tim brought the plates over to the table.
"What are we having today, bro?" Kevin asked, already picking up his fork to dig in. "Is this a new recipe?"
"Um... no, it was one that Chelsae used to make. I found it in some of her things today." Tim sat down and also picked up his napkin, placing it in his lap, before picking up his fork.
Kevin hesitated with a forkfull right at his mouth, then put it in and began to chew. After all, a mouthful of food would keep him from having to actually respond to his little brother.
Not even having taken a bite, Tim knew that he was stalling. " Come on, Kev! We have to talk about this. We have to get past all of this!"
Kevin took a longer swig of his beer this time and cleared his throat. "This is good. I do not remember her making this one." He paused and took a cleansing breath. "Tim, I know you want to talk about Chelsae. But I am still having a really hard time dealing with her death. I thought you wanted to talk about something else, and that is why I cam etonight. My wife is always trying to get me to talk about her, too, and that is not how I want to spend my evening away from home. Let's just skip it, ok."
Tim did not answer, but sullenly and silently began eating his food. Chelsae was Kevin's twin sister, but had been a role model to them both. She had taken care of Tim when their parents died and he was only fifteen. Kevin and his wife alwaus joked that he was soft and genteel because Chelsae had smothered him, even though she was only four years older than him. Two months ago Chelsae had been killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. While Tim sought closure and relief from the pain, Kevin had clammed up and refused to be involved in wrapping up the affairs. He had been spending a lot of time with Tim, but it appeared to be more out of duty that they were all they had left.
"Well, there was something else I wanted to talk to you about." Tim tried to change the subject, knowing that they could not spend the whole meal in silence. But Kevin went back to the Chelsae topic and spoke with a great deal of emotion.
"Look, Timmy, I am sorry that this has been so difficult, but I just do not know how to deal with it. She was my twin, and yet she spent so much time with you. Now that she is gone, I have lsot some of my identity. That is all I can tell you. I do not want to help you go through her things. If you need money or somethign to help pay for her stuff, let me know. Just give me the dollar amount. [My wife] will help you with any paperwork. I am sure she will give you a hand while the baby is sleeping or something. -Maybe she is the one you should be inviting over to dinner for this stuff." Kevin's rant had started sincere enough, but had turned a little bitter. He was once again shoveling the food in his mouth, trying to avoid further conversatioin.
Tim ate slowly, considering what Kevin had said. For some reason he knew that he should leave the subject alone, despite how much he just wanted to get everything in the open and taken care of. He did not mind doing it all himself, but Kevin was his big brother, and he wanted to make sure that they were open with each other. Respectfully, however, he took a few more bites and went back to the 'other' subject.
"Actually, bro, I was wanting to talk to you about the girl that was in the accident, Christine Jennings."
"You know her name?" Kevin asked around a mouth full of food.
Tim blushed slightly, "Yes- I heard them use it in the ambulance. Anyway, I went to see her. In the hospital. I... I just felt like it was the right thing to do."
Kevin had stopped eating for a second, then took a drink of beer to wash it down. He got up and went to the fridge for a bottle of water and returned to the table. "Why on earth would you do something like that?" He raised his eybrows as he gulped down the watre.
Tim squirmed a little. "Well, that is why i wanted to talk to you. It is her fault that the guy is hurt, right? But it was an accident. I... I was wondering if you wouldn't mind representing her?"
Kevin gave a short laugh. "What? First of all, I am just a paralegal. Second, Tim... ! I just do not even know how to explain this. Ok, I helped the guy that she hit. If anyone, I should probably be helping out the kid that was hit. I mean... Jeez, Tim, what do you expect? People call lawyers for help. I can not... No. No, Tim, get this out of your head. We got helped for this Christine girl, and for the kid that got hit. Ok? That is as far as we need to be involved. You have no idea what the details of the case are. There is a cop snooping around, checking out stories- do not you think that there is some trouble hiding in there? I am not going to get involved, and neither should you."
Tim looked down at his plate, chewing on his lip. "Yeah, okay, you are right. I just think that Christine is-"
"No! No 'I think Christine'... Get it out of your head, little bro. Do NOT get involved."
"Alright." Tim replied quietly, getting up to take his plate to the kitchen. He had not finished his dinner, but he was suddenly not hungry in the least. Kevin, in turn, sighed heavily, knowing that Tim was now out of sorts and it was not only his fault, but it was ultimatley his new responsibility to make sure that Time would be okay. They were, after all, the only family they had left. Frustrated with the chain of thoughts haunting him, he stood up.
"Look, I am going to go ahead and go home. I am sorry taht I cannot stay and help you clean up. I just need to go home and think right now. Like I said, call [my wife] if you want some help with the stuff for... Chelsae." He hesitated at her name, still uncomfortable with talking about her now that she was gone.
"Okay. See ya later." Tim did not turn to look at his brother before he left, but continued to clean up as he heard his brother grab his jacket on the way out the door and and leave.