I stand in the kitchen with my Mother, discussing what we should have for lunch.
“I can make us some beans? Grandma’s famous barbecue beans?” She suggests, flipping through her homemade cookbook.
“Doesn’t it take like eleven hours to cook?” I say, ripping a small piece of paper towel off the roll.
She hums in response and sighs, “I don’t know Lukas,” Her eyes look at the clock and her lips pucker in thought, “It’s getting a little late for lunch.”
“If you want, we could treat you to dinner,” Mason and Adrian walk into the kitchen and nearly scare the living crap out of my Mom and I, “Sorry, the front door was open,” Adrian smiles sheepishly.
Mason nods,“That’s right, Adrian owes us big time. My team won a bet and Lukas is luckily apart of it. So, Mrs. Carson, if you’d like, choose any restaurant you’ve been dying to go to and we shall go.”
Adrian looks at Mason sideways and I smile sweetly at my Mother who looks like she doesn’t know what to say.
“Mason, Adrian, that’s so sweet of you two but I could never take your money for granted like that.”
Adrian puts his hand on his hip and shakes his head, “You’ve practically taken care of me my whole life Mrs. Carson, I’m going to take care of you this time. Now tell us, what does your little boujee heart desire?”
She sighs, a long, long sigh, “Well, there is this one place I’ve always wanted to go...”
“Spill the beans Mrs. C,” Mason urges her, a small glint in his eye.
The words come out of her mouth in a small whisper and she covers it the second it reaches our ears, “Fogo de Chão.”
Adrian smiles and nods, “I’ve been and it’s a-ma-zing. Their steaks are top notch ma’am.”
“Oh! The Brazilian place? I think I know the manager there, I could totally get us a discount. I don’t want Adrian’s pockets to be too sore after tonight.”
“Oh shut up Mason, we have more than enough money. Waaay more than enough,” Adrian shakes his head as if he’s mind blown at how loaded his parents are.
I don’t know how I got so lucky to have friends who are ‘rich’ but at the same time are so down to earth. Other rich kids I know are total air heads. Well I mean Adrian is a total air head but not in the snobby way. I can tell my Mom is excited because of the pep in her step as she takes a few strides toward the entrance of the kitchen.
Her voice echoes off the walls as she rambles to herself,“I’ve had this champagne dress that I haven’t worn in almost ten years. I hope it still fits,” I hear the bedroom door close and I look down to make eye contact with Adrian.
“You guys obviously didn’t just come here to take my Mom to dinner so tell me what’s up.”
Adrian shrugs and slumps down in a seat at the table, “Mason dragged me here so...” We both look expectantly at him and he sits down across from Adrian.
“Well, there’s multiple things I want to talk to you guys about,” Mason says, his head hanging lower than it was a few seconds ago, “So much,” He whispers to himself, his head sinking even farther.
“You know you can talk to us about anything man, what’s going on?” Adrian sits up in his seat and I can see the concern written clearly across his face.
“I know it’s been a few months since we’ve been back from New York, but that one day at the restaurant, when I was being a total douche bag... there was a reason behind it,” He looks up at the both of us, his eyes watering at the brim. He sighs shakily and bites his lip, “I don’t know how to say this.”
Adrian and I look at each other, both clearly confused about the meltdown our friend is having right in front of us. I think the last time I saw or even heard of Mason crying was in the stone ages.
I walk around the island and rest my hand on his back,“Breathe dude, just take your time.”
“Yeah,” He looks up to the ceiling, trying to blink back the tears, “Uh, I’ve been struggling with this in secret just because I don’t know how any of you will react. But,” He takes a deep breath, “I’m gay.”
Adrian raises his eyebrows and starts laughing, it takes Mason and I by surprise and I was about to say something but Adrian cuts me off, “Cmon man, you’ve got to be kidding me! You’ve been our best friend since the womb, gay or not we still love you regardless.”
I rub his back lightly and grab him a Kleenex from the box on the island, “He couldn’t have said it any better, I don’t get why you think we’ll think differently of you just because you like an extra dick in your life.”
“I don’t know, guys are weird about their friends being gay these days. I didn’t want to lose my best friends,” Adrian and I shake our heads and he stands up from his seat.
“I think this calls for a cheesy ass group hug!” Adrian grabs the both of us into a hug and I wrap my free arm around him. I really don’t get why Mason couldn’t trust us, that kind of felt like a punch to the stomach when he thought we’d hate him.
“There’s something else,” Mason blows his nose into the tissue and tosses it into the trash, “We still have to talk about Joseph, Nicole, and how we’re gonna keep on protecting Veronica. There’s a possibility that since one of Joseph’s men saw us, they have someone keeping tabs on what we do.”
“You’re right,” I rub my forehead in thought, “We just need to make sure that everything is lowkey,” We all sit in silence as we think. My eyes widen and I hit my hand on the table to gather their attention again, “You know we can have Amelia’s Aunt Katie deliver the groceries. Shes a stay-at-home Mom and won’t ask any questions.”
“How do you know?” Mason asks me while typing away at his phone.
I scoff, “Katie’s struggling to pay rent, if we pay her to do it, she won’t ask any questions. We can just have Veronica and Vivian hide in the basement when she goes and they’ll get their food like that. Especially if there’s someone watching us, it’d be smart to have someone who isn’t even involved with us to do it.”
“Sounds like a solid plan, let’s just hope Aunt Katie goes through with it,” Adrian says, running his fingers through his hair and smiling as he does so, “Wait so Mason, does this mean you think I’m hot? I’ve always wanted a dude’s perspective on how hot I am.”
“No, you’re disgusting,” Mason says almost immediately. Which I can tell crushes Adrian’s soul the second the words came out of his mouth.
“Well you didn’t have to be so harsh,” Adrian grumbles, folding his arms in a pout.