James must have needed some time to himself after that, because he quickly offered to walk me to my brother's apartment. This was something I hadn't been looking forward to, and the awkward walk there wasn't helpful. When we finally got to the building where my brother lived, James kissed me goodbye in a way that was almost uncomfortable. I totally regretted telling him.
I opened the door of the building as quietly as I could. Closing the door was not easily done quietly, and normally I wouldn't care, but at 2am I tried to be discreet. I felt my way up two flights of unlit stairs and tried to see the number on the doors by the moonlight that streamed in a big window at the landing of the stairs. I had only been here three or four times since he had moved, and it had been almost a year. Apartment five. I lightly knocked, so I wouldn't wake the neighbours. Nothing. I knocked a little louder, nothing. I took a deep breath, held it, and hit to door with a loud thud. I could hear him moving around inside.
"Spencer, it's Stacy. Open up!"
He opened the door, not shirt on, and his pants only pulled halfway up over his black and white boxers. I hoped he didn't have a girl over, but a part of me didn't care.
Spencer was lucky he had escaped the metaphorical prison of our home. Of course, Spenc' had it worse off. He was only my half brother, and my dad hated him. He gave him a rough time over everything. When Sebastian, our eight year old brother, was born, my dad totally ignored Spencer. Now that he had a son of his own, he had no use for a step-son. I always told Spencer that just because he never had a real dad, didn't mean that he wouldn't be an amazing dad, and that he was lucky for escaping. We were always close, but now we hardly talked.
I stood there in his doorway for a few more seconds before he finally spoke.
"What the hell are you doing here?" he asked.
"Can I crash on your couch?" I asked.
"As soon as you say what your doing here."
"I was in town, and I kind of don't have a place to stay."
"At 2:30 in the morning? Were you out with some friends or just walking around by yourself street walking?"
"My god Spencer. Do you really think I'm like that?" I asked.
"Answer the question Grape."
The nickname stung, I hadn't heard it in years. When I first started going to school, Spencer would be at home woth all his friends. I remembered it so clearly. Always five or six of them sprawled across the living room, copying eachother's homework, and complaining. All boys. It was a few years later when they started having girls over. By the time I got home, they would be leaving. I always knew exactly where they were going. The corner store down the street. Every once in a while, Spencer would give into my puppy-dog-pout and take me along. Looking back, it must have sucked for a cool eleven-year-old to drag around his five-year-old sister. When we got to the store, Spencer would always say the same thing: "Look around and find something, if it's not too much money, I'll buy it for you." and then he would walk around the store with his friends. Of course, I knew exactly what I wanted, every time. I would walk around the corner and gawk at the wall of slushie machines. Spencer's friends were always mixing three or four different flavours together, but I always wanted the same thing, grape.
"You drink one more grape slushie, and you'll turn into a grape!" Spencer's friend Eric had always said. Ever since then, Eric and Spencer called me Grape. I still had a grape slushie vice, but no one had called me that in years.
Spencer was serious about the street walking comment. Last year, Eric, who Spencer was still best friends with, had told him that he'd heard about James and I. Spencer called me a slut and a whore. I quickly told him that he was totally contradicting himself and that he had been having sex when he was just as young as me if not younger. Eventually, Spencer did apologize, but the words always burned into me. It was one thing to hear those insults, but hearing them from your brother was impossibly hurtful.
Especially since I spent my whole life looking up to him, and wanting to be just like him. That was why I was nearly dying from a nicotine craving right now. I started smoking when I was eleven only because I'd seen Spencer smoking. The smell of stale cigarette made the craving much more intense.
"Yes, I was with a friend." I said.
"Why couldn't you stay at her house?" he asked.
"He isn't alowed to have people over for the night." I said, trying to burn a hole in his eyes with mine.
He slowly moved away from the door. I walked in. The apartment was familiar in the sense that the sink still sat slightly off the center of the counter, and the bathroom was still at the end of the hall, but everything had been moved around. The couch was against the same wall as the door. The TV sat beneath the window to the left and a curtain fell over the other window in the kitchen.
"Who is he?" Spencer asked.
"His name is James. Do you have a cigarette?"
I slowly followed Spencer to the kitchen. He sat at the small table, and I sat across from him. Three packs of cigarettes scattered the table. He slid one in my direction.
"Keep it." he said.
I opended the cardboard. Two cigarettes were missing.
"Holy! Thanks!" I exclaimed, quickly grabbing a lighting from the middle of the table and lighting a cigarette. Spencer lit one too and we sat there for a second.
"This the James you banged?" he asked.
"Yeah." I said reluctantly.
Spencer swore to himself and then go up, leaving his cigarette burning in the ash tray. He came out of his room with a pair of his boxers and a T-shirt.
"How 'bout we talk in the morning?" he said, pulling a blanket out from under the couch.
I took one long drag of my cigarette before putting it out. I walked over to the couch and looked him straight in the eyes.
"Tonight, all I did was kiss him."
"Okay." Sepncer said, walking to the kitchen to finish off his cigarette.
The cigarette had made me drowsy, but I didn't want to go to sleep. I changed quickly before Spencer came back in the living room.
"Sweet dreams, Grape." he said.
"Don't call me Grape." I said.
"I never liked the same Stacy." he chuckled.
"Join the club."