Adam and Brandon were sitting on the couch in the living room. To the side of them, there was a chair that Emma was sitting in. The television a few feet across from the couch was currently on, playing the news. Adam and Emma were busy on their phones while Brandon seemed to be having some sort of crisis.
“What’s your issue?” Emma asked him, irritated at his behavior. Brandon didn’t respond. “Is it because my sister is in the other room, showering? It makes sense since you’re a pervert.”
“It does, doesn’t it?” Adam agreed in passing with Emma. Brandon got angry.
“Hey! Who’s side are you on?”
“I’m on everyone’s side.”
Emma nodded. “Yeah. If you try to sneak a peek on me when I go in there next, I really will kill you.”
Brandon raised an eyebrow, getting a cocky smirk on his face. “Now, why would I wanna sneak a peek of you, you—” Adam interrupted Brandon by clasping his hand over his friend’s mouth, not even looking up from his phone, “You just want to die today, don’t you?”
Emma shook her head. “Whatever. Honestly, I don’t care what you think of me.”
Adam let go of Brandon’s face, wiping his hand on the couch. Brandon didn’t say anything; He just let out a small sigh.
Faith entered the room, wiping her hair with an orange towel. She was now wearing a black t-shirt and brown shorts.
“All right, Em. Your turn.” Faith walked up to her sister, who stood up from her chair. “About time! What took you so long? Actually, don’t answer that.”
Emma walked into the other room while Faith took her seat. She began to sniff the air. “Dang, I don’t think dinner’s ready yet!”
“Well, if that’s the case—” Adam leaned back, shutting his eyes. “I’m gonna nap.”
“You sure?” Brandon asked. “It’s tough to get you to wake up, ya know.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it…” A few moments later, Adam was sound asleep.
“That was fast.” Brandon sighed. He looked at Faith, flustered, unsure of what to do now. He turned to Adam upon hearing him begin to snore. “Oh! We were just talking about this!”
“Huh?” Faith was confused about what Brandon meant.
“Adam—he snores weirdly! He breathes through his nose, wicked hard!”
“And he doesn’t breathe through his mouth at all… But—” Faith placed her hand on her chin. “Is it really that weird? Could just be a funny quirk.”
“I dunno…” Brandon shrugged. “Something about it just gives me the heebie-jeebies.”
Pam was about to enter the living room to tell them that dinner had begun to cook. She stopped upon hearing the conversation Brandon and Faith were having.
“There… There’s no way that Adam knows how to do that, does he…? Who the hell taught him?” She shook her head. “Brandon, you’re the one giving out the heebie-jeebies…”
Adam eventually awoke from his nap, confused for a moment as to where he was. Quickly figuring it out, he glanced around the living room. Faith, now sitting next to him, smiled.
“Morning…? I didn’t sleep for that long, did I?”
“Well, you slept through dinner…” Faith chuckled. “We tried to wake you.”
“Figures,” Adam rubbed his eyes. “I’m quite a heavy sleeper.”
“Brandon already left. He told me to tell you: ‘Don’t even think about it.’ What does he mean by that?”
“I… don’t know. I wouldn’t worry too much about him.”
Faith nodded in understanding. Her face suddenly lit up.
“Oh! This is perfect timing! I wanna show you something.”
Faith reached under the couch and pulled out a small cardboard box. Adam had no idea what could be in it.
“I was cleaning the other day, getting some stuff prepared early for the move. I came across… this stuff.”
Opening the box revealed several photos. They were all pictures of Adam, Faith, and Emma as kids. One was of the three trying to fish at the local creek. Adam almost got pulled in by a gigantic fish while Faith and Emma held onto him for dear life. Another was of Faith and Emma having a tea party with all of their stuffed animals. Adam seemed to be an unhappy guest of the party but still participated.
“Wow… can’t believe you found this.” Adam was amazed at the pure nostalgia these pictures held. They each sat down on the couch. “We were always together when we were younger, weren’t we?”
Faith began giggling almost uncontrollably. “I almost forgot about this one!”
She held up a picture of Adam pretending to be a brave knight who was rescuing the princess, Faith, from a dragon, which was portrayed by Emma.
“You always played the hero role, didn’t you? Well, not always. I played the hero sometimes.” Faith smirked. “You even played the princess that one time. That was hilarious.”
Adam said nothing, merely sighing. “Yeah, that was fun. I liked playing the dragon, as well.”
“Yeah, the hero and dragon roles are always the best, since those are the two who fight each other.” Faith nodded at her own statement.
“So, yeah. I didn’t always play the hero.” Adam started to pick up random photos and go through them. There was silence for a few moments.
“Well, I think you have.”
“Huh?” Adam turned toward Faith, confused at what she meant.
“The hero. You’ve always been like one…”
Adam rustled his hair a little bit. “I mean, I’m not too sure about that.” Adam set the pictures down and looked ahead toward the floor.
“I know you’ve been afraid of using your power,” Adam said bluntly. Faith seemed startled at this topic being brought up.
“I get why, after what happened all those years ago.” Adam put his hands together, just as Faith does when trying to create her flame. “Well, when it comes down to it, those flames that you’re afraid of… well, they saved me. So I guess that makes you a hero too. I can’t be the only one, okay?”
Faith stared at Adam, seemingly wanting to say a million things, but could not get any of them to come out.
“Don’t be afraid of something that can save someone.” Adam stood up from the couch. “I know you can do it.”
“Adam…” Faith stood up as well. “See, this is what I mean by the hero thing. You always know great things to say like that!”
Adam chuckled. “I mean, I guess. If it helps you out, that’s all that mat—”
He was met with a firm embrace. Adam could barely move his arms as Faith held him.
“Thank you... for everything. Just know… I’ve got your back, all right?”
“Well, I mean, sure you do. Your hands are on my back at the moment.” Adam returned the hug, although it was done somewhat awkwardly.
Faith slowly let go of Adam, giggling. “You know what I mean.”
“Yeah.” Adam formed a smile and nodded. “I’ve got yours too.”
The two stared at each other, not noticing the presence standing at the entryway to the living room.
“Am I interrupting something?” The two turned to see Pam smirking at them.
“M-Mom!” Faith jumped back. Adam seemed unfazed.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.” Pam laughed.
“Well, I should be going. I might head to the store real quick.” Adam gave a wave to Faith, who waved back.
“I’ll see you later, Adam. You sure you don’t want some of the leftovers? It’s chicken!”
“You’re offering me food?” Adam looked back and smirked. “Nah, I’m okay.” As he walked toward the door, Pam followed behind.
“I gotta get something out of the car, I’ll be right back Faith!”
“Kaaaaay!” Faith yelled back to her mom, as she went out the door with Adam.
Outside, Adam turned toward Pam, knowing well that “getting something out of the car” was a filthy lie.
“What’s up?” Adam asked her.
“You’re sharp. I’m happy you got that from your mother…” Pam reached into her pocket and pulled out a plain white envelope. “I was helping Faith out with cleaning, and I found this along with the pictures you guys were looking at.” She handed the envelope to Adam.
“What’s in it?” Adam started to open it, only to be stopped by Pam.
“I had to read it to see what it was, of course. So I know what it is. I want you to promise me you’ll only open it when you’re feeling your lowest, all right?”
“Hm?” Adam tilted his head in confusion. Now he was even more curious. Holding out the envelope in front of him, he eventually decided to put it in his pocket. “All right, sure. I can do that.”
“Well, I hope you don’t get to your lowest again. But if it ever happens… hopefully, that’ll help.” Pam placed her hand on Adam’s shoulder and looked him directly in the eye. “You have a family here, don’t forget that.”
Those words caught him off guard. He did not expect Pam to say something like that. It meant a lot more to Adam than one would think.
“Yeah… thanks.” Adam said his goodbyes to Pam and headed off.