You make look at the title and think I am American, or that this is about the holiday or aliens. None of those are true. This was a half finished work based on a prompt somewhere along the lines of “a character finally making their only decisions” I took that and ran with it, going with a character that let someone run his life until the day he said no.
“No” The sound of his heart pounded in his ears, as his face burned. He felt like he couldn’t breath, and the silence went on far too long for comfort. He had finally said it.
“No?” Lana asked, disbelief plain in her voice.
It was easier the the second time. “No.” His voice sounded oddly calm even to his own ears, and he finally raised his eyes to meet hers dead on.
Lana didn’t even look that angry, it was more condescension in her pose. Like he was a disobedient child, or a puppy that had made a mess on the rug.
He wasn’t sure how they had gotten here. How had he let it get this bad?
“Don’t be stupid, we both know you are going to take the job.” Disdain dripped from every word and he couldn’t take it anymore, interrupting her before she could continue.
“No, I am not.” He said evenly.
“So, what, you are just going to quit? Be unemployed, be nothing? You are on a good path Bran. Its a growing company, its only managing one person now, but in a few years it could be a whole department. You could be something.”
He cut her off again. “I am something, and I don’t want it Lan. I”
It was her turn to cut him off. “You don’t want it? You aren’t 15 anymore, Bran. Rent, food, these things ringing any bells?” She sounded like his mother.
“Lan,” He started, he hadn’t wanted it to go this way.
“Don’t Lan, me. I let you live here, for next to nothing. I agreed to this to help you get on your feet, to make something of yourself. Because lets face it, a little pressure and you just collapse. But I am not going to just let you fuck off, and ruin your life. Either you take the job, or you find another place to live.”
“You aren’t my mother.” He cringed internally, this isn’t where he wanted to go with this.
“What the hell does your mother have to do with this?” She sounded offended.
“You don’t remember? Really, Lana? The reason I moved in with you in the first place, it wasn’t the “pressure”. It was my mom. She told me that I either went pre-law, or she wouldn’t pay. So I got the scholarship, and I moved in with you. And ya, for that first little bit I guess I needed help. I was so used to letting Mom decide everything about my life, that I kind of lost it when I left.” He took and deep breath and continued.
“I should have stepped up, but it was a lot with school. So I let you take over, and I shouldn’t have. Or I shouldn’t have for so long, but Lan, its my life. MY life. I get to pick my own job, and ya you don’t have to rent me a room for dirt cheap. But if you are renting me that room, as long as I pay the rent, you don’t get to tell me how I pay it. “
“I can’t believe this. You are honestly comparing me to your mother? Unlike her I have your best interests at heart. I know you, you couldn’t be a lawyer, but you can do this job. You could be okay doing this job.”
“You’re right, I could.” And the victory on her face faded as he continued. “But I want to be more than just okay. I wanna be happy.”
“I get that you think that, but I am not going to stand around and watch you throw everything away. My decision stands, either you take the position, or you find another place to live next month.”
He stood silent, and he hated that this is what it had come to. “Are you sure?” He asked a little desperate.
“It’s two weeks, and its your decision.”
“Ok.” He swallowed, and nodded. “Ok, if you are sure.”
“I am, and deep down you know that this is the right thing. You,”
He cut her off. “I am not taking the job.”
“Seriously?” She sounded bewildered.
“Serious, Lan.” He replied, voice even.
“And where exactly do you plan to live when you are unemployed?” She demanded.
“I won’t be unemployed Lana. Its a promotion and one that I am in no way obligated to apply for. I will still have my current position, and enough time to work on my art. I know its a long shot. I know the chance of ever making what I need to live on it is low, but its something I need to do.” He tried to explain. Lana would understand, wouldn’t she?
“Brandon,” She started, and he knew this was it for them, the patronizing tone of her voice setting his teeth on edge. “You make rent here, food, your art supplies, and you what save 50-100 dollars a month. You cant afford a place on your own, you are going to what find a roommate?”
He could, but that wasn’t the direction he was going. “I am going to be moving in with Christopher.” He stated, and it felt like this argument had been going on for an eternity.
Lana scoffed. “I would have thought being his sugar baby would have been below you, but then again I assumed you were smarter than this.”
Line officially crossed. A thousand biting retorts came to his lips, the advantage and disadvantage of being old friends is you knew every soft spot to hit. He stopped himself though, what was the point.
What he said instead was. “I am really going to miss you.”
Lana sighed, sounding defeated. “It’s okay, I will be right here waiting for you when you realize you made a mistake. Just like always am.”
“Goodbye,” He said simply, and she turned and stormed out. He just stared for a bit at the door before shooting off a text to Christopher.
It only took an hour and a half for a team of professional movers to come and go with his stuff. He had left his keys on the table, and locked up with the spare. He had hid it away, and walked out of the building. He had gotten inro the car Christopher had sent for him, and never looked back.
That was 30 years ago, and he could remember it like it was yesterday. He had tried to get a hold of Lana, but she was unwilling to back down that he was making a mistake. He looked down at his desk, where a picture of his eldest sat. It was of his university graduation, and there he stood, happy with Brandon and Christopher flanking him in the traditional proud parents pose. Thank god, Brandon thought, that I said no.