#15 You're not good people
It’s late when I pull up to the bakery the next day, tired from a long day of working with Thom. We just signed a new client, and he wants us to build him a website and design a social media campaign in just three weeks. That’s insane, especially with all his crazy requests, but we said yes anyway. Why? Because the guy pays crazy good money. Double of what we normally charge. I love rush fees.
We’re not shy for cash, not at all, but with Thomas now having a growing family, and us scaling down a little the past months so he could focus on Tracy and the kids, we can’t afford to turn down business as good as this. I know most of the work will come down to me, but I don’t mind. Thom is better at the technical stuff, but there is a lot of design work that’s my area of expertise, and it’s not like I’m not a tech wiz. Thom and I took pretty much all the same classes in both high school and college, with only a few minor differences. I can build an app just fine, thank you very much. Even without Thomas.
That’s the beauty of my best friend being my business partner. We never fight – we’re both too laid-back for that – and we never complain when we need to pick up the slack. He did the same for me when my mother died. We’d only just started our business and only had a few small clients, and I figured we’d need to cancel everything when I fell apart the second Mom got sick. Instead, Thomas took on all the work, even the design part, and he did a decent job at it too. He does that for me at other times too, like when I was distracted by a broken heart - courtesy of Mila - and of course every single year around the anniversary of my mother’s death. Thom never has to ask me if I am okay or not. He knows. He can sense when I’m not, and he takes over without saying a word.
I’m happy I can finally do the same for him. Ever since Tracy got pregnant for the first time, I’ve been stepping in when he can’t. Rough patches in her pregnancies, kids being sick, whatever it is, I am there to make sure our business is still flourishing. I can’t imagine ever working for a big boss, or with someone I don’t see as my own flesh and blood. It’s the best job in the damn world.
That being said, today was rough. He dropped the kids off with his father, and we dove into the work with such intense focus we forgot to eat. All damn day. I haven’t had anything but a glass of water since breakfast. Naturally, that means I need Liv and Andre to hook me up with a cupcake before I go home.
And… okay, maybe part of why I don’t want to go home is because Kian is working late. He told his boss he’s leaving to work with Annabel and Chloe, and that didn’t go over too well. He could just quit and leave them hanging, but he cares too much about his clients to do that. He can’t take his old clients with him to the new firm – his contract is iron-clad – so he’s staying on for another few weeks until he can wrap up all loose ends. Tonight, he’s still at the office, trying to speed up some court cases so he won’t have to stay even longer.
Going to his house alone doesn’t feel comfortable, if I’m honest. It’s like I live there, except that I don’t. All the furniture is his, and while a lot of my stuff is there, I don’t feel at home at his house the way I used to at my apartment.
Used to, because my apartment isn’t home anymore either. I haven’t slept there in ages, and aside from my furniture and kitchen essentials, all my stuff is over at Kian’s place. The logical solution would be to move in with Kian, but I think we both know we’re not ready for that. Neither of us has ever lived with another person, and no matter how much we love each other, we’re too rocky at the moment to take a leap like that. I know deep down that if we take that step too soon, we will crash and burn. That’s the last thing I want.
“Hey!” I call out when I step into the dark bakery, only a small light still on in the back. I’m surprised the door is still open, since they closed an hour ago. “Good people!”
Andre appears in the back, a huge box in his arms. “You tell lies,” he says with a grin. “You’re not good people.”
“You’re right, I am so much better than good. I am spectacular.” I hold open the door for him and follow him back out, where he puts the box in the trunk of a car. “I thought you don’t have a car? Nor a license?”
“I don’t, this is James’ car.” He pats the truck with a smile. “His sister brought a lot of old kitchen appliances she never uses, but we don’t have a use for it here, and Liv already has everything she needs, so he’s dropping it off at my place tomorrow morning.”
I open the trunk back up. “Or you can put it in the back of my car, and I will drive you and the box to your place. Of course, you will need to pay me for that.”
“With a cupcake?” Andre guesses. “You’re cheap, Dylan.”
I laugh. “Cheap is my middle name. What do you say?”
“James already said he’d drop this off, and I can easily walk home…” He looks over at me, and something flashes in his eyes. Something I can’t quite place. I don’t know what he sees in mine, but he suddenly nods. “Okay, sure. That would be great.”
Ten minutes later, the bakery is closed, and I’m driving us to Andre’s place while I stuff my face with one of Liv’s amazing cupcakes.
“Please tell me this is not your dinner,” Andre says, handing me a tissue to wipe the frosting off my face.
“Lunch and dinner all rolled into one.” The road demands my attention when some crazy driver cuts me off. I hit the brakes and avoid a collision just in time. “Asshole!” I shout even though he can’t hear me.
“Road rage,” Andre mutters. “Not a very attractive quality.”
I am about to protest, but then I see he’s smiling. He’s just yanking my chain, the bastard. I roll my eyes and turn up the radio. Only a few seconds later, we’re already talking over it. He tells me about the first day of the bakery and coffee shop truly being open to the public, and I talk about the work Thomas and I did. Andre is always so easy to talk to.
It takes no time at all to get to his place, since he lives so close to the bakery. He directs me to a parking spot at the side of the building.
“Allow me,” I say when he opens the trunk, and I take out the box. “Holy motherfucker,” I groan right away. “This shit is heavy!”
Andre laughs loudly and takes it from me, making it look light as a feather.
“How the hell do you do that?” I huff as I shut the trunk and follow him to the front door. “I’m not weak or anything, but that box weighs more than a ton of bricks.”
“Or maybe you’re just not that strong,” he teases.
“Maybe I should stop eating popcorn when I go to the gym,” I mutter.
He raises his eyebrows at me when we get into the elevator to the second floor. “You eat popcorn before going to the gym?”
“No, I eat popcorn at the gym.”
“No wonder you’ve got tiny little twig arms.” He’s enjoying this way too much. “I don’t go to the gym or anything, but I can see how eating popcorn instead of pumping weights won’t help with gaining strength. Why do you even go?”
“My friends like to go, and I like watching them get all sweaty. James has hot cop friends, and watching the lot of them boxing is like foreplay to me.”
Andre chuckles. “So you use the gym to get in the mood.”
“Exactly. And then I go home to get some.”
He hands me the box for a few excruciating seconds so he can open his front door. Thank God he takes it back right after. You wouldn’t think it by looking at him, but he’s a lot stronger than I would have guessed.
“Why aren’t you home right now?” Andre asks while he leads me into his living room. “Getting some?”
“Kian isn’t home.” I take in his apartment, and I find myself smiling at how much it looks like… well, like Andre. There are bookshelves lining all the walls, holding hundreds of books and a lot of cactuses. “Only plants that survive here?” I guess.
He grins. “Yeah, I don’t have green fingers. I bought a big plant when I got my own place after Eric, but it died only a month later. All my friends started getting me cactuses after that. Every birthday, Christmas, or just when they feel like it.”
I run my hands over the back of the books, taking one out. “Nicholas Sparks?” I’m quite surprised. “The best of me?”
“Stickler for romance novels.” He gestures around. “Most are sappy as hell. I’d say it’s my guilty pleasure, but I actually don’t feel guilty for liking them at all.”
I love that. He’s all man, nonchalant in his plaid shirt and dark jeans, not caring about looks, his eyebrows desperately needing a beauty treatment, but at the same time he admits without even blinking that he likes reading sappy love stories. It’s adorable.
More about Dylan and Andre hanging out in the next chapter that’s dropping tomorrow. I split up the chapter to be able to post more chapters for this month’s incentive.