Castle Roland

The Last Bottle

by Ken Barber


Short Story

Published: 26 Feb 15

The Last Bottle

By Ken Barber
Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.

The crunch of tires on the gravel drive brought Sam out of his day dream; he looked down at his laptop and realized he had being watching the fog roll in for the past hour. He had been working on his latest novel to calm his excitement. His good friend Kevin was visiting from London for the week. Kevin is a major executive with some sort of luxury goods dealer. Sam and Kevin had been friends for 15 years and always had a good time when they got to see each other. This time would be no different, except Sam had some exciting news for Kevin. Kevin has been visiting annually for the past 8 years except last year he told Sam he was too busy with a new product launch. The two of them would spend the weekend at the house and on Monday Sam's wife Helen would be back from her conference in Boston. Kevin adored Helen and Sam often joked they were long lost sisters. Sam looked up at the clouds; well there was never a dull moment when they got together. The impending Storm should make an interesting weekend.

Kevin was talking to the driver, Sam tried to remember his name but couldn't. Kevin always used the same guy. Kevin looked up and smiled at Sam. They met on the steps and gave each other a big hug.

Kevin patted Sam on the gut and laughed "Damn Sam, I would say Helen's cooking is working except we both know she can't cook to save her life. How the hell have you been buddy?"

Sam just shook his head and laughed. "Really great and it's really good to see you. Come on inside, I just opened a bottle of Mondovi Oakville. I know it's one of your favorites."

"I am here 5 min and you already trying to get me drunk to take advantage of me."

"I wouldn't have to get you drunk, big boy."

Kevin laughed again and the two of them picked up his luggage and went inside the house.

The evening was filled with the usual banter and catching up. They discussed Sam's last book. Sam could always count on Kevin to be honest. He was his worst critic and best fan all rolled in one. They discussed Kevin's work it seemed to be going well, Sam didn't completely understand what Kevin did but he could tell Kevin was good at it. When Kevin first went to London his company sent him to test the waters. Now Kevin is the European Divisional CEO with offices in 4 countries. Damn the man has done well for himself. Sam had been no slouch either over the years, 5 bestselling novels, one converted to a smash hit movie and married to a beautiful and talented Attorney. Sam's novels where mostly Sci-fi based but they were written in way that gave them appeal to the masses. It is said Sam has created a whole new genre. He was often compared to J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K Rowling.

The night found them sitting on the back porch overlooking the ocean while the rain pounded down.

Sam set his wine glass down and looked at Kevin. "Well buddy I have some big news."

Kevin looked into the rain "Another Movie deal, with Helen doing the negotiating for you it would not surprise me if you ended up buying out my company."

"There's talk about turning 'The Warrior' into a movie, but that's not the news."

Kevin looked at him "By the look on your face I would have to say this is earth shattering. Everything ok with you and Helen?"

Sam chuckled. "Better than ok, we are having a baby."

Kevin jumped up and grabbed Sam into a huge bear hug. "Holy fucking shit man that fantastic."

"Yeah we just found out last week" Sam was beaming.

"When, how, holy crap I am speechless" Kevin was practically jumping up and down.

"Well we have known for a month. As for the how part I know your gay big guy but I am pretty sure you know how that works."

"Shut the hell up" Kevin was laughing again.

"One other thing Kevin, I was supposed to wait for Helen for this part, but you will have to pretend to be surprised ok?"

"Of course what is it" Kevin's anticipation was obvious.

"We want you to be the godfather" Sam looked at Kevin and was disturbed by the cloud that came over his face. Kevin sat down and looked out over the ocean. "Kevin buddy say something, I thought you would be honored."

"Oh shit Sam, I am sorry, I am really honored. It's just I'm not sure that's a good idea."

Sam was getting a little pissed off. "Why the hell not?”

"It's hard to explain Sam."

"Bullshit Kevin, we have been through hell together. Why do you think Helen and I chose you?"

"Sam, please I am not saying no because I don't want too, I can't."

"And why the hell not?"

"You know how I was seeing a therapist after Terry left?"

"Yes, and I still say Terry left, because you wanted him to. That man fucking adored you and you shut him out, I will not allow that to happen with Helen and me."

"It won't, you guys are all the family I have left."

"Kevin level with me, what the hell is going on? I thought you would be ecstatic we chose you.

Kevin took a deep breath sighed and looked at Sam "I am honored more than you can imagine. I can't be your babies godfather because I won't be here to see the baby grow up."

"Kevin that's bullshit and you know it. We will come to London more often and you can take more time off, you work hard already."

Kevin looked out from the back porch, the house was sitting atop a seaside cliff and the muffled crash of the waves against rock created a steady almost rhythmic backdrop. The heavy New England fog blanketed everything creating a feeling of isolation; almost too isolated. Tears began to fall from Kevin's eyes and when Sam noticed he stood. "Ok this is serious and I think we are going to need a fresh bottle, I think this calls for the Stag's Leap '07 Artimis" The Stag leap Vineyards Artimis Cabernet Sauvignon, was Kevin and Sam's 'let's get serious for a little bit' wine. Sam stood and went in the house to get the fresh bottle.

Kevin stood at the railing listening to the waves rage against the cliff; the noise dampened by the thick fog. Out there, unseen through the gray mist was a raging ocean untamed and wild.

Sam returned and began opening the bottle of wine.

Kevin looked at it and the tears renewed. "Sam the first time we met was when we were assigned to work together on the at risk youth volunteer program, we met at my place and opened a bottle of wine"

"Chimney Rock '04. I still remember that wine. You introduced me to wine that year, been a wino ever since."

"That was 15 years ago and you were even old enough to drink by a few months. You shared that with me about half way through the bottle."

Sam smiled. "Well 2 bottles later I was crashed in your guest room and woke the next morning with a hell of a hangover. I came downstairs and there you where all chipper making pancakes and sausage and eggs. I swear if I were gay I would have proposed right then and there."

Kevin was laughing "Brad was extra bitchy that morning because you and I woke him from his beauty sleep by laughing our asses off.

"You know I hated him, right?"

Kevin smiled. "Everyone hated him. Shit even his own mother could not stand him for very long."

Sam poured the wine and handed Kevin the glass, "To enduring friendship."

Kevin raised his glass and the tears began falling again. "To our last bottle together"

Sam stopped in mid sip."What?"

"I am dying Sam."

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