I brushed past Corey and hung my keys on the hook by the door. I was right. He smelled like he'd been lying around all day eating chips and playing Call of Duty. I turned to find him staring at me waiting for an explanation.
"I'm sorry," I muttered. That was a start.
He rolled his eyes grunting something about if he'd known I was coming late, he would have ordered something so he wouldn't be starving.
Living with Corey was getting more difficult and hiding it was almost impossible. My mom was always lurking and she absolutely did not approve of Corey and I spending so much time together. Of course she had this opinion because Corey is my paternal cousin and a "product of his environment" (as she put it). Corey had been in and out of legal trouble since he and I were teens (we were born a year apart). I actually believed she just didn't like Corey being around because he reminded her of my dad. He resembled him slightly and was just as blunt. I think that's probably why I trusted him so much. He really reminded me of my dad.
I really wanted to tell Corey about the Calvin situation, but thought better of it. Lately, every time I told him anything, he would go into a speech about how much I needed him to get my life on track.He claimed he moved in with me because "I needed help". Surely it wasn't because he ruined his credit, lost his job, and was put out of his mom's house. It was because I needed help.
I have to admit, he'd always been my hero (in a way). He seemed to always know when to protect me from the world or myself. He always found a way to be my shoulder to cry on or my sounding board. Thinking about it all was making me feel worse about leaving him hanging for dinner. I walked back into the room with him and tried to break the ice.
"If it makes you feel any better, I didn't eat either."'
He'd started back playing the video game and was mumbling into his headset (to the other players I assumed). I turned to go shuffle through the take-out menus and heard him ask rather loudly,
I paused. I was unsure he was talking to me and unsure I wanted to tell him what really happened if he was talking to me. He repeated the question and I sat down. The words and story flowed almost uninterrupted and I felt a sense of relief.
I needed to vent and I knew he'd want to know why I wasn't going to work the next day.