Aliks sat on his victorian chair, drinking red wine. It was 1 p.m. but the curtains of his study blocked the sun from shining into the room. His office was dim, and Aliks had a newly lit cigar between his fingers. Ashes fell onto the carpet as he rested his arm on the chair’s armrest, without any regard. A soft familiar knock on the massive door of his study alerted the black haired man and he quickly put away his cigar. The door knob turned and a small head popped in. It was his younger brother, Alexei in his school uniform. His blazer buttoned and hair black as his own, only thinner and silkier was combed neatly to the side.
“What?” Aliks asked, still slumped on his chair, and a glass of wine in his hand.
“Can I ask you something?” Alexei asked, as he closed the creaking door behind him. Aliks sighed, his head pounding from heavy drinking last night.
“Ask your other brother. He answers well than I do,” Aliks said, almost like a whisper. Alexei shook his head, but remained silent. He shifted his weight to his left leg, staring at the floor.
“Out with it,” Aliks implored, sounding impatient.
“Alex always tells me that you should be good to others. Be nice to people and they will be nice to you. That it is better to do kindness, or…do more than to do less. That’s how you get friends,” Alexei explained, without looking up. Aliks snickered at the advice and sipped his wine.
“So?” Aliks asked.
“But why don’t I have friends? The ones who will help me through thick or thin? Why am I always alone? I’ve done everything; from doing their homework…I gave money. I’m still alone,” Alexei burst; tears fell slowly down his cheek. Aliks could hear the sobs from where he sat, though Alexei had his head down.
“Come here,” Aliks commanded, gesturing for his brother to move to his side as he turned his chair to face the young boy. Alexei walked to Aliks’ side, to face the patriarch of the family with a hint of fear.
Aliks slapped the boy enough to snap him out of crying, but not enough to hurt the young boy.
“A De Megos never cries….well, at least not in front of others,”Aliks said, and put his hand on his brothers head.
“You take his words to literal,” Aliks finally said, and now aware of his brother’s trousers, scrapped at the knee. He also realized the thread from his right sleeve, torn as if pulled harshly. Aliks now knew what was going on. Aliks sat back, and studied the frail young boy in front of him.
“Sometimes, you’ve got to learn when to ignore, or to not care. Sometimes there are battles you’ve got to fight on your own. Sometimes, being nice isn’t a good answer. Well, I prefer you to be mean but I guess the best you could be is to have a little of Alex and me in you. You’d be perfect….but I prefer more of me,” Aliks said, smiling. Alexei smiled; a rarity that the patriarch showed a genuine smile.
“Tomorrow, I’ll hire a martial artist to teach you a few moves. You’ll be fine,” Aliks continued, and drank the remaining wine in his glass. Alexei nodded and hugged his elder brother. Though taken by surprise, Aliks lets his little brother be, and gave a pat on the boy’s back. A knock on the door ended the exchange. Bob peered in the study, revealing only his shiny shaven head, and his sunglasses.
“scuse me Boss. Master Alex says lunch is ready,” Bob informed his other two masters. The two went out of the study and down to the kitchen to find Alex in a flowery apron, happily smiling at his brothers while preparing dinner.
“New apron?” Alexei asked, jumping onto a seat by the marble counter.
“Why thank you for noticing!” Alex answered cheerfully.
“Aliks gonna hire a martial artist to teach me tomorrow!” Alexei exclaimed.
“That’s very nice of Aliks,” Alex said, smiling. His hair was shorter than Aliks’, messy and unkempt. He was the very opposite of Aliks.
“yes. At least it is not going to waste this time….,” Aliks commented, looking at his twin brother who was still smiling, “and where did you get that apron?”
“I made it myself. And I made one for Bob too!” Alex said, gesturing towards Bob who was in a similar apron. Bob nodded, putting his hands across his chest. Aliks rolled his eyes, wondering why his twin was just so weird.