Axel didn’t know how to show it, but he’d always liked Simjay and Soren. They were the only real friends he’d ever had, and after Soren moved away, Axel stayed on the farm and continued to look after the pigs, goats, and chickens. He’d drive hundreds of miles to attend livestock auctions, rent a room, and maybe bring a girl back for the night. But once the animals were in the truck, he’d turn around and drive right back to the farm.
The farm was home to Axel — better than any home he’d ever had, anyway. He never returned to Louisiana to find out what had become of his deadbeat dad or any of this brothers. He wasn’t ever that curious. As far as he was concerned, Soren and Simjay were as much his brothers as his biological siblings.
Axel’s days were all about the same, and he liked it that way. He woke up, slopped the pigs, mucked out the pens, ate lunch, mucked more pens, brought the animals in for the evening, and ate dinner with Bernie and Simjay.
He never married or dated anyone seriously. Axel told Simjay once that it was because chicks were more trouble than they were worth, but deep down Axel never really thought that any girl would like him.
Still, Axel was happy — at least happy by Axel standards. He had a home, and he had two friends. He had everything he needed.