Wishes and Dreams
“Johnny Lancer, you get down from there this instant!”
The tall, blond-headed boy who’d issued the command stood at the front of the barn staring up at the door leading into the hayloft nearly twenty feet above him. He held his breath as his three year-old brother giggled with glee as he grabbed for the rope that was attached to a pulley on a metal arm that could be pivoted to swing out over the barn door. The arm was used to hoist bales of hay into the loft and the rope had been hazardously left dangling just out of the toddler’s reach, obviously too much of an enticement for the little boy who tended to get into trouble without much effort.
Biting his lower lip, Scott Lancer’s pale blue eyes narrowed in fear for his little brother whom he had just met three weeks prior.
“Johnny! Father said for you to come into the house now!” Scott ground out, afraid to raise his voice lest he startle his little brother into taking a deadly fall to the hard-packed earth beneath him. His breath hissed in his throat as he gasped at seeing the rope finally captured in Johnny’s tiny hand. “NO, JOHNNY!”
His heart pounding wildly in his chest, Scott stood paralyzed with terror as the dark-haired, blue-eyed little rascal actually smiled broadly down at his brother before he grasped the rope between his pudgy hands and jumped…
“NO-O-O-O-O!” Scott screamed as the small body hurtled toward the ground. He clenched his eyes closed and he felt his heart falter in his chest, expecting to hear the sickening thud of the small body any second now.
Suddenly someone grabbed his shoulder with a painful grip and gave him a hard shake. He fought the grasp, reluctant to open his eyes to see the small, broken body lying on the ground. Moaning deep in his throat in grief, Scott rolled his head from side to side as tears streaked down his cheeks. A stinging slap brought his eyes wide open and he lay staring up into the concerned blue eyes of his little brother.
“Boston? You okay?” Johnny asked anxiously as he sat on the bed facing his brother.
“Oh, God, Johnny!” Scott exclaimed as he once again closed his eyes and covered his face with trembling hands. He felt Johnny’s soothing hand settle on his chest, over Scott’s pounding heart and something within him instantly calmed as his fast-paced breathing eased slightly.
“You wanna talk about it, Scott?” The dark-haired man murmured quietly as the hand he had placed on Scott’s chest began to gently smooth back and forth across the cloth of his brother’s nightshirt. Deep blue eyes watched Scott closely as the blond seemed to come to terms with what he’d been dreaming and the hands were slowly lowered from Scott’s too-pale face.
Releasing a hitching sigh, Scott opened his eyes and looked up into Johnny’s worried face. “I’m okay, Brother. Just a bad dream is all. Go on back to bed.” Scott tried to sound assured and in control, but the hitch at the end of his words easily belied the attempt.
Canting his head to the side, Johnny smiled softly at his brother. “You know, ya never could lie very well, Boston. Don’t know why you’re tryin’ now. Especially with me.” The smile broadened when Johnny saw the faint blush spread up Scott’s neck to bloom on his cheeks. “You might as well tell me, ‘cause I ain’t leavin’ until you do!” Settled in a bit more comfortably on the bed, Johnny drew his dark legs up onto the mattress and crossed them beneath him. Tucking his feet beneath the trailing hem of his own, much despised nightshirt, Johnny leaned forward and rested his elbows on his thighs as he stared quietly and patiently at Scott.
“Well, I can see you’re here to stay,” Scott grumbled, though, if the truth be told, he was grateful for his brother’s persistence since it gave Scott great comfort just knowing that Johnny was worried about him and was willing to forgo a restful nights sleep just to be there for him.
“Yeah, in fact…” Johnny wriggled a bit beside Scott before suddenly climbing over his frowning brother to lay down on the spacious bed beside Scott, commandeering the extra pillow beneath his brother’s head. Placing his hands beneath his head, Johnny grinned crookedly at his brother and said, “Well? Shoot. Tell what that dream was all about.”
“Oh, I’ll shoot, all right,” Scott groused as he glowered at his brother as Johnny made himself right at home, even going so far as to tugging the quilt, that Scott had kicked off into the floor in the midst of his dream, back up onto the bed and covering them both with it.
“Ah, come on, Brother! You know you’ll feel better if you tell somebody about it,” Johnny encouraged as he turned his head into the pillow beneath him to smother a yawn that had caught him unaware.
Heaving a heavy sigh, Scott shook his head at his brother’s stubborn behavior. He didn’t know why it surprised him that Johnny was doing this, as he was finding out quickly that it was simply Johnny’s nature to care more for other’s than for himself. Scott was well aware that the only way to get Johnny to go back to his bed so they both could get some sleep was to tell him about the dream.
He turned his head to look at Johnny, his mouth open to give his brother a condensed version of the nightmare, only to find his exhausted brother sound asleep, his left cheek nestled against his hand lying on the pillow. In the flickering light of the candle Johnny had brought into the room upon hearing Scott’s shout, Scott gazed at the boyish-looking face of his brother and felt tears sting his eyes with regret that he and Johnny had only known each other for such a short time. That he hadn’t known the young man when he was just a toddler. Things would have been so different between them and their father, Scott was sure.
Smiling through the mist that covered his eyes, Scott soon joined Johnny in slumber, his breathing eerily synchronized with Johnny’s as the younger man began to snore lightly. Snaking his hand out, Scott gently grasped a handful of Johnny’s nightshirt over his chest and curled his fingers within the folds of cloth, his knuckles feeling the rise and fall of Johnny’s chest beneath the shirt. Scott sighed softly and knew, somehow in the deepest part of his being, that he wouldn’t again dream this night in nightmare proportions as a feeling of contentment and completion filled him to know that his little brother was healthy and right by his side.
Created July 2, 2007
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