“Nate James, you’ve been giving me that same look for the better part of two decades now. I can’t believe you’re still pissed I stole your story in the third grade,” I snapped at him, pushed to the breaking point by yet another look of exasperation cast in my direction. “If nothing worse has happened to you since, then I’d say you’ve led a pretty charmed life, so can we please move on?”
“Logan, you think I’m pissed about my story that you outright plagiarized? Not about how you broke Tommy’s heart last year?” he replied, turning his back to me as we carried yet another load of supplies into my brother and his new restaurant. The official opening of their restaurant was barely a week away.
I’d flown in a few days earlier to help out with the final preparations and had been doing hard labor ever since. First, driving all over the region picking up boxes, and then shifting furniture from one side of the restaurant to the other. I was on the verge of demanding payment, or at the very least, protesting. Nate’s constant antagonism wasn’t helping. I mean, the guy had never been known for his charming, light-hearted personality but he’d never been this bad. As kids, his serious, quiet nature had always meant he was the calmest of us all, far less likely to get into trouble on his own than Ollie and me. Now, he was no longer even tolerable. He was just an ass, mostly to me. At least, for Ollie’s sake, he was an intelligent, business savvy ass. They both had a lot invested in this business.
“Your brother’s not angry about our break-up. Why should you be?” I followed him into the waterfront restaurant, taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of the place. It was spectacular. A blend of rustic maritime charm and modern sophistication that looked straight out of the pages of Vogue Living. I was proud to have a dinner invitation for opening night. I couldn't imagine how Nate and Ollie felt owning the place. It was a huge gamble, but hopefully it would be a rewarding one.
“Tommy’s not pissed because, as usual, you sweet talked your way out of his anger. Just like you’ve sweet talked your way out of every bad situation your actions have landed you in since the third grade.” His voice was always calm. Most people who knew him had never heard him raise his voice unless they saw him around me. I was the only person who made him yell, and it was usually in annoyance. “Including your detention for taking my story.”
“Tommy’s not pissed because our break-up was mutual, respectful and mature. Trust me, I was there.”
I could see his jaw clench in anger at my words. I’ll admit they came out more annoying than I’d intended. I may as well have said his brother and I had a conscious uncoupling.
“You broke up with him three weeks after moving in with him.”
“You’ve lived with your brother. You’ve seen his bathroom. You should be more understanding.” I couldn’t for the life of me understand why he was so angry for Tommy. Tommy and I still had coffee together weekly. We were both fine about our break-up. Sometimes people break-up because they just don’t work. No anger, hurt feelings or betrayal involved.
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