“You don’t have to do this you know,” Roy said as he and Jerry stood beside Tad at the front door to Tad’s apartment building.
“Yes he does,” Tad’s friend said while she unlocked the door. “From what he said it’s not safe for you out there right now.”
“Denise has a protective streak a mile wide,” Tad told them. “I’ve learned that when she’s in savior mode you don’t argue with her.”
“Damned straight.” She pushed the door open to let them in. “And now that I’ve done my,” she made quotation marks with her fingers, “civic duty, I’m off to bed. I have a hot man waiting there who wasn’t exactly happy when I came running to your rescue.”
“Oh hell, why didn’t you say something?” Tad growled.
“It’s Max, he’ll survive. See you tomorrow.” She looked at the brothers. “All of you I hope.” With that she handed Tad his keys and headed to the door leading to the stairs.
“Second floor,” Tad told the others when they looked surprised. “We take the elevator.”
A couple of minutes later Tad let the brothers into his apartment. “You can leave your backpacks there,” he told them, pointing to a chair a few feet away. Then make yourselves at home while I change clothes.” He hesitated. “If you want to shower or what have you, you can.”
“I thought you just wanted to talk to us,” Roy replied somewhat pointedly.
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean…” Tad shook his head. “Never mind, it was just an idea.”
“I’d like to, please,” Jerry told him, ignoring the frown Roy gave him. Then he started to cough, the hacking, seal-bark cough that Roy though was finally going away.
“Damn it,” Roy swore as he tore open Jerry’s backpack to get the bottle of syrup. He handed it to his brother, frowning hard when he saw him finish the last of it. “Where are your pills,” he asked tersely. Still coughing, Jerry pointed to the front pocket of the pack. Roy took them out, dumping two into his hand. “He needs some water.”
Tad was already headed to the kitchen. He returned quickly to give the glass to Jerry, who took it and popped the pills, drinking down half the water as fast as possible.
“What’s wrong with him,” Tad asked Roy.
“Nothing you need to worry about. He’s not contagious.” He put an arm around his brother, urging him towards the sofa and then telling him to sit.
“Is there anything else I can do?”
Roy stared at him. “Don’t worry your pretty little head about us. Go change, come back so we can finish that conversation and then we’ll be out of your hair.”
“Excuse me. My pretty little head?”
“Yeah you heard me.” Roy sighed. “Look, I’m sorry. That was uncalled for. I’m just worried and…scared.”
Tad accepted his apology with a nod. “I’ll be right back.”