They walked two blocks to reach Dean’s diner, which became Adam’s hangout when he moved to Cargo City on his own. The food reminded him of home and his parent’s crazy cooking styles he grew to love and miss.
They were seated in Adam’s favorite booth that sat at an angle so he had a clear view of the door and who he was talking to. He ordered two coffees and took a picture of himself on his cell holding his cup.
“Why did you take a selfie?” asked Justin.
“Proof for my mother. It’s something me and my brothers had to do when we were out of his sight for too long.”
“He thinks so. So Mr. Shi…” Adam stopped in mid-sentence when Justin flashed a crooked stare at him which told him to best change his approach. “Okay—Justin the position I’m trying to fill is a reception job which means filing, keeping track of notes, billing, and light office duties.”
“Like making coffee?”
“Don’t knock it. It’s a complex skill to get my coffee just right; I would have to test you a few times.”
“Okay, why not?” Justin said with a shrug of his shoulders.
“Wait, the interview not over.”
“True, but I think you’ll regret not hiring me.”
“And why’s that?”
“I have valuable knowledge and contacts.”
“You’re nineteen with no prior work experience.”
“I fill in at my college for my professor.”
“Doing what?” Justin thought of his duties for the good professor who once fucked him across his desk and remembered it was nothing he should brag about.
“Okay, you’re right. This will be my first job, but I’m dependable, trustworthy, and do excellent research.”
“Do you know how to use a computer with full Office, fax machine, and a printer…?” Adam trailed off, looking out the diner window and saw the hand-waving, chestnut haired male he had viewed from his bathroom window, walking past with some guy. His window fantasy was looking straight ahead, unaware that Adam, mesmerized with his being observed him walking out of sight.
“Yes to all the above,” Justin said. Adam looked back and saw Justin’s head down texting and not notice Adam gawking out the window. He swallowed a mouthful of coffee, setting his cup back on the table. And wondered if he was taking on someone more of a handful than a devoted employee. Justin realized he had to step up his game to convince his potential employer he was the right choice for the job. “You were a cop once,” Justin began, catching Adam’s gaze, sitting his cell on the table.
“You served in the military, the army, for two years then the air force for another two years. When you came out, you took root in Cargo City and went right into the police force. You rose in rank and became a detective by the age of twenty-six.” Justin had Adam’s full attention now. “After leaving the force you moved overseas to live in Brazil for a year. Upon returning you purchased this building with your older brother Damien’s co-sign.”
“Impressive,” said Adam.
“Easy,” corrected Justin. “If you want impressive, I can dig deeper. Like—you were seeing a psychiatrist while oversea--”
“Enough,” Adam said with no bitterness in his voice. “Who told you that information?”
“Your brother Kyle let it slip but he caught himself before saying anything else.” Adam nodded his head, in deep thought. “Look, Mr. Potter, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Maybe I should go.”
“I can give you a trial basis.”
“Is it with pay?”
“You are a clever guy Justin Shi. You must have asked the right questions to get Kyle to give me up. Yes, with pay.”
“Thank you.” Justin flashed his smile, showing Adam why Kyle liked the college boy. Adam couldn’t deny he saw the sexual draw.
They drank their coffee while Justin texted someone. When he received a response, he asked for a slice of pie.
“My mom said to come back hungry,” Adam reminded him.
“Yeah, but I have been eyeing the pies ever since we came in here.”
“Okay, but you’re in for an earful if you’re too full to eat.” Adam treated them to two lemon meringue pies.
“Why do you call your dad mom?” Justin asked, shoving the lemony goodness into his mouth.
“Because, he is my mother. He performs the duties any mother would do.”
“Don’t you get along with your parents?”
“Let’s just say they’re more do as I say not as I do parents.”
“I hope mine aren’t getting on your nerves.”
“Are you kidding? It’s nice to be noticed.”
“Well, if it gets to be too much for you, tell me and I’ll tell them to tone it down, okay?”
“Will, do boss.”
They returned to Adam’s office to find the elevator working fine. The door opened and closed with ease, which impressed Adam. No bouncing, nor grinding just a smooth ride. When they arrived on the second floor the doors, opened not to the poorly lit hall but instead to an inviting, clean hallway with a new paint job. Potted plants were on opposite ends of the hall.
“Wow, they did a lot of work while we were gone,” said Adam.
Justin didn’t respond as he followed Adam into the office and saw a reception desk with a chair and a huge leather couch against the wall. Even the area for a coffee maker, microwave, and a mini-fridge were in place. Adam entered his office to see a desk with a high-backed leather chair. His diplomas and licenses hung on the wall behind it.
“What the fuck?” Adam whispered, overwhelmed.
“There’s a note for you,” said Justin, pointing towards the false wall that was Adam’s door to his apartment. There hung a loose leaf paper with the words ‘COME UPSTAIRS’ written on it. Adam opened his door and climbed the stairs with Justin bring up the rear. When he reached the top, he stood stunned.
His once boxed up, unorganized place, now viewed unpacked and arranged. His bed made, his dining table set, clothes put away, the kitchen, and bathroom in order. The living room with couch, coffee table, end tables and recliner arranged in front of the TV mounted on the exposed brick wall. A brand new, blue-ray player and game system, displayed before him in a wooden entertainment center.
He looked towards his family, who were standing in the kitchen - minus the oldest brother, Damien who worked long hours overseas - and embraced them.
Tears spilled down Adam’s cheeks as they shared Adam’s joy. When they parted, they wiped their eyes and laughed.
“How can I thank you?” Adam asked.
“Damien sent us a check and asked us to do this for you because he was unable. He told us to tell you he was proud of you,” said Anton, who hugged Adam again.
“Your mother thought it best to let you set up your computers and things you wanted on your desk,” said his father.
“Thank you, thank you so much.” The tears wanted to fall again, but it was Anton, his mother, who stopped it.
“Okay, enough of this. Who’s hungry?” he shouted. Everyone shouted. “I am.”
Justin took this as his cue to leave, but an order sent by Adam’s mother stopped him in his tracks.
“Hold it right there, young man. There is no way I’m letting you leave here without a full belly. Now turn your bubble butt around and plant it in a chair,” he ordered, moving towards the kitchen area where a round dining table held their family meal.
Adam walked over, placed his hand on Justin’s shoulder, and smiled.
“Sorry, but when he says sit down, he means it.”
“Okay, thanks, boss.”
“You’re not going to call me that all the time are you?”
“What else am I going to call you?”
“Later,” said Kyle stepping in between Adam and Justin and moving the younger male to the seat closest to his.