Ben might have been a couple of states away, but Lon felt as if whatever might come next might as well have been squashed like a bug. He felt a lump in his throat.
He took the phone from Ellie. Lon wasn't sure where to take this call. He didn't even know if Ellie needed the bathroom.
He decided to take the call somewhere else not here. But then he was only in his boxers. He made his way to the living-room in the dark and sat there listening to every curse word that came out of Ben's mouth without flinching.
"All right, so you had your say now, right?" This was tough not to lose it. Ben could say all he wanted. How Lon couldn't be trusted. How Lon was just looking for a free ride. Now this, about Ellie. "I had no idea you felt that way about me." A quick smile came to his face.
"Christ! Lon, you know you're an accident just waiting to happen!" Ben was furious. Nothing could quiet him down.
"Don't work yourself up, so." Lon continued to grin. It was better than the other alternative. Fighting fire with fire. "I'm not going to hurt her. I wouldn't."
"Yeah, don't you always say that?"
Lon had to think on that one. Not that he'd ever talked about this sort of thing with Ben. True, he hadn't stayed with one woman like Ben had. He'd tried. Wouldn't that count for something?
"I doubt you make it through the summer with her." Ben's dull tone just made Lon clench.
"Now, that's a fine way to talk about your little sister." Lon squinted. But Ben's words frightened him with a chill. Maybe he couldn't make it in the city. Maybe he was meant to be somewhere else, but he hated to be told these things.
"At the moment-" Ben couldn't talk about it, but Lon could see Ben was losing his fondness for his sister. She was growing up and Ben didn't want to think about that. Lon was sure of it.
"Just think of me, taking care of her, all right." Lon sighed.
"Yeah, I'd rather put that out of my mind." Ben said rather painfully.
Lon just smiled. The truth was he was sure it was Ellie who was going to be taking care of him.