Blood Tied

"Nooooo…" Lynda ran forward as Micky cocked the pistol, still aiming for his brother's head. Amidst the commotion however Eddie ran forward, knocking the young woman out of the way, and managing to wrestle the firearm from his best friend's hand. As it hit the ground the pistol spun away from the small group into the far corner of the room, exploding in a brief cloud of gunpowder as it struck the far wall, but failing to hit any of the bystanders.

Mrs Johnson ran forward to embrace her two sons as Micky fell into Eddie's arms

"Brother…" He sobbed, "brother… why… why didn't she give me away ey Eddie? I could have had all your chances…"

"Shhh…" He soothed, stroking Micky's hair softly, still very shaken and in shock himself, but it was a touching moment to witness between two grown men.

He'd always viewed Micky as something of a brother, nothing had really changed for him in that respect, but in time it would take longer to accept the fact that the woman he'd grown up to believe was his mother wasn't really his mother at all.

"And you will Micky…" He assured him. "I've always tried to help you in the past, all those times I've offered you money and you've turned me away… well, now you have no choice, you have to let me help you, we're family… but first we have to make you better…"

"Blood brothers…" Micky murmured. "Such a childish thing… just silly kids games that were fun whilst they lasted… but there you were, my brother the whole time… and you got everything, whilst I got nothing…"

"Micky…" Eddie sighed, struggling to get through to the man still embraced within his lap, and still shaking as his sobs continued to wrack his entire body – his best friend… his brother. "I'm going to get you the best doctor's money can buy, you can stop taking those silly pills, and we can really focus on making you feel better…"

"I'm sorry." Micky sobbed. "I'm sorry Eddie… I… I thought I was going to shoot you… but I couldn't… I couldn't even do that…"

"It's alright, I forgive you." Eddie whispered.

As a policeman stepped forward to apprehend their assailant, Eddie gently handed his brother over to the custody of the awaiting constable and he called the officer in charge over.

"Get in touch with a Doctor Morrison." He instructed him, writing down a telephone number on a scrap of crumpled paper which he had pulled from his pocket. "Tell him that a consultation is needed and that any incurring charges will be handled by Councillor Eddie Lions. Get him to contact me."

The young officer nodded.

"I'm very sorry about this sir." He apologised as he turned to leave, and Eddie sighed sadly as he watched them lead a dejected Micky away.

"I've known Micky most of my life… since I was seven." He explained with a smile. "He's not a bad man, was never a bad kid, despite what people said about him… he never really stood a chance."

"We'll take good care of him." The officer assured him as Eddie watched his brother being led away from the Town Hall.

As he watched them go, he observed the dejected figure of his mother approach – his real mother – and turned to face her.

"Eddie…" She whispered. "Son…" Tears still trickled down her cheeks, marking fresh tear tracks down her face.

"Mrs Johnson…" He smiled. "Mother… I don't know what to call you…"

"I'm sorry…" She sobbed.

"Eddie…" Lynda spoke as she too approached, and Eddie turned to look back at her – her face too was tear stained, and marked by inky black mascara. She looked scared and exhausted.

He smiled at her outstretched arms, as she hoped to pull him into her embrace, but instead he pulled her into his arms – holding her out in front of him, and wiping away a stray tear with his thumb as he traced it's trail down her pale cheek.

"I thought I'd lost you… the both of you…" She sobbed.

"It's fine now." Eddie soothed, stroking the stray strands of hair away from her face. "Everything's going to be alright."

Lynda choked, leaning her warm face into the other man's caress – it was a gesture of reassurance which was gratefully received, but both realised that it wasn't Eddie's arms she really wanted at that moment, it was Micky's embrace she craved.

Lynda sighed. "I'm sorry Eddie…" She apologised between her gentle sobs. "I never meant for any of this to happen… I had no idea Micky would react like that… things just got out of hand."

"He's hurting Lynda." Eddie explained softly. "He's sick, his whole world is crumbling – he can see it coming crashing down around him – and he doesn't know how to handle that, he doesn't know what to do."

Lynda allowed another pained sob to escape her, and Eddie handed her a crumpled up tissue from the depths of his jacket pocket – she accepted it gratefully.

"Thank you." She smiled as she blew her nose, and Eddie returned the gesture.

"You know though Lynda," He hesitated, looking back down into her glistening eyes affectionately as she proceeded to dry her pale face and flushed cheeks. "We need to put the past behind us now… whatever might have happened between us, it really doesn't matter anymore. Micky needs us now."

Lynda nodded.

"I'm sorry I involved you in any of this." She apologised. "I never meant for you to get hurt." But Edward simply shook his head, taking her gently by the hand.

"Lynda," He sighed. "The truth is I already am involved. I love you… but Micky is my best friend… he's my blood brother… brother, and you're his wife…"

"I know, and I do love him." She choked out a stifled sob.

"Which is why me must forget anything which transpired between us, Micky's going to need us both for a long time to come."

She nodded.

"But Eddy, he will be alright won't he?" She asked as he turned to leave. "The doctors… they can make him well again can't they? I just want things to go back to the good old days… just the three of us, with the world at our feet, and nothing or nobody to stand in our way…"

He turned back to look at her.

"I don't know Lynda." He answered her honestly, with a slight shake of his head. "I can't promise you anything. Who knows what the future holds. Much of it is down to him now, but together we just might be strong enough to see him through this."

She smiled, and with that he took her gently by the hand and led her away from the hall, and the terrible scene of deceit and betrayal which had just unfolded before them – certain in the knowledge that after today nothing would ever be the same for any of them ever again.