“Can I ask you guys something?” Max skated backwards watching his two older brothers.
Kevin passed to Mark who shot it at Max. “You can ask us anything Max, we are always here for you.”
Max stopped and looked at them. “Mom has been talking to me about making that promise you guys took. I don’t think I want to.” It was the first time the kid has been honest and talked to them about something like this.
“You’re doing it, so there is nothing to talk about.” Mark shot at him.
“Mark, you’re not my father. You can’t make me do things I don’t want to do. Forget I even brought it up.” Max said and shot the puck hard at Kevin.
“No Max, you wanted to talk about it. Don’t listen to what he said, talk. Why don’t you want to?” Nick asked him pissed that Mark had shot the kid down.
“I just don’t see the point. I mean look at you guys. Was it even worth it?” Max asked him.
Mark laughed at that. “Yeah let’s look at Nick and Kevin. Nick knocked up his girlfriend and screwed up their future and Kevin ran away to LA so he didn’t have to deal with who he was sleeping with too. Great role models Max.”
Nick saw red. “Aright, that’s it! I'm so tired of this shit Mark.” He threw down his stick and got into his face.
“What Nick? The truth! You had a promising future and so did Chloe. Christ that school she got the scholarship to would have done so much for her. I warned you that you were going to fuck up and mess up both your lives. Maybe Max needs to know that so he doesn’t follow in your footsteps.” Mark yelled at him.
“Are you calling my daughter a fuck up? We made a mistake Mark, people do that. I don’t expect you to understand that because you are so perfect.” Nick yelled at him.
Max looked at Kevin. “Should we break this up?”
Kevin messed up his hair. “No bro, this has been coming for a long time. Nick needs to get this out. If it comes to blows then we can break it up.”
“Your life could have been perfect too if you would have kept it in your pants. If it wasn’t for me, you would have nothing. I made you who you are because Uncle Robb told me to help you out so you could support that baby.” Mark explained.
Nick shook his head. “Your right St Mark, you did everything for me. Your one of the biggest problems with my marriage right now too. I can’t be home with my fuck up as you put it or even sleep with my wife because I’m at your beckon call. Christ I can’t even parent my daughter because you feel you have to. I’m so sick of you thinking that you’re in charge. You’re not dad stop acting like it.”
“Someone has to. You couldn’t man up and tell Max he died and Kevin ran away. And the reason you are at my beckon call is because I’m your boss. I can’t leave my family. You have one kid and if Chloe can’t handle her, then maybe you two should have thought about that when you were messing around. I have two kids and one on the way. My wife needs me at home to help her. You need to realize that you are paying for the mistake you made and doing what you have to do to keep a roof over your head.” Mark yelled at him.
Nick pushed him back. “Fuck you. I didn’t need your pity. As for Chloe and our mistake, she has done an amazing job with her and I thank God every day that I have the two of them. They are the only reasons that keep me going. So happy you were able to knock your wife up again. See we want to have another baby, but I have to be around to do that, and you are making that really hard. So have a nice life, and stay the hell out of mine. I quit.” He skated off the ice and away from Mark.
“Max, go get your skates off and get ready to go.” Kevin told him and then looked at Mark.
“What, now it’s your turn? Go ahead Kevin, let me have it too.” Mark said to him.
Kevin shook his head. “I just want to know where you get off treating him like that. How you could stand here and say the things you said about Missa. Nick did screw up his life and Chloe’s but they have stayed together and made a great life for themselves and Missa.”
“I'm so tired of everyone feeling sorry for them. I have worked my ass off to get where I am and no one seems to realize that.” Mark explained.
“So sorry Mark, you want a pat on the back? You gave him a job. He worked to get where he is too. And where you and Claire had everything handed to you, Nick used his trust fund to take care of Missa and Chloe. Uncle Robb was going to give him a job wither you did or not, he told me that. He had one for me too, but I wasn’t interested. As for Max, let the kid be who he wants to be. Stop trying to make him us. He’s right, you’re not dad.” He replied.
“Yeah and if dad was here, your ass would be home to deal with the mess you left behind. When are you going to stop running away from your problems. Do you honestly think that by taking a job in the city it’s going to fix things? It won’t. You ran away Kevin because life smacked you in the face. People die, and the girl you loved wanted to spend her life with you and it scared the hell out of you. You think by coming home you can fix things? Kevin comes home and all is right with the world. New flash Kevin, dad is still gone. Max still can’t handle it. Nick is still trying to get his life together, and I’m holding everyone together. Tell Nick I will call him later to finish this.” Mark said and left the ice.
After dropping Max off Kevin took Nick to the bar. Chloe’s adopted father owned the place and told them where to sit and joined them for a drink. Nick drank the first shot down quickly and waited for Ken to fill the glass up again.
“Getting shit faced isn’t going to fix things.” Kevin said pouring the shot.
Drinking it down, Nick looked at him. “Did I just quit my job?”
Kevin laughed. “He isn’t going to let you quit. Uncle Robb won’t let that happen. Apparently me coming home isn’t going to fix things either.”
Nick looked at him. “You coming home is what will help me keep my sanity. Here’s to fucking up my life.” He raised his glass and then took a drink of the beer Ken had bought them.
“Keeping the peace isn’t always the best thing. Boy you have done a great job at taking care of your family. Don’t let your older brother take that away from you. Hell in my day, I would have ended up in a broke down trailer if I had stayed with Lissa.” Ken explained trying to help the situation.
“I think she would have taken that over what she got. Christ right now I would take that. He has done a lot for me, but am I forever going to be paying him back for that. And he did say Claire is pregnant.” Nick asked
“Yep, so she will be hell to live with. With the boys she couldn’t lift a pillow that was right next to her.” Kevin laughed.
Nick closed his eyes. “One more thing to add to Chloe’s argument on me being away so much. He can be home to take care of his pregnant wife and children and you have to be somewhere else so I have to go to a sperm donor to have our baby.” He could hear her now. Not that she was wrong. He knew how bad they had both wanted this. Now Mark has made it possible for Claire and he let Chloe down by being away so much.
“Bro, don’t worry about it. While you’re gone, I’ll work on getting her knocked up. You can thank me later.” Kevin teased him. Nick shot him the finger and took another drink from his beer.