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"Hello again, friend of a friend. I knew you when our common goal was waiting for the world to end..."



"LUKE, CAN YOU START PAYING ATTENTION?" Frustration showed through the tone of voice and I wasn't ready to deal with it. I was tired. I was constantly tired.

Today wasn't any different.

"Sorry," The word was far too easy to say, meaningless even. "I got lost."

My brother rolled his eyes at me and crossed his arms over his chest. He was leaning back, giving me the look our mother would have given us if she were here. She hadn't been here for three years, but each day it always felt like yesterday I had to dress in black and force myself to leave the house.

"We're all always thinking about her," Jack told me, as if I was supposed to feel bad that everytime I did this--space out, I mean--they were forced to think of her. "You're not the only one."

I pressed my lips together and tapped my fingers against the surface of the table. After a few seconds, I reached for a sugar packet and opened it, letting the small crystals onto my tongue. Jack exhaled.

"We have to figure out what to do with the shop,"

The shop. I closed my eyes at the thought of my brother wanting to get rid of the only thing I had left of my mother.

"There's nothing to do about it," I said easily. I was lying. Even to myself I lied.

It was easy.

"Yes," My brother huffed. "She would have wanted--"

"That shop is the only thing she had when we all left her alone, that shop is the only thing I have left," I told him and leaned back in my seat. My appetite was gone. I felt bad when I saw the waitress coming toward us with the food we had ordered. "We're not doing anything about it."

She stopped in front of our table and I cast my eyes downward. People tended to notice the sadness in my eyes.

"We've got one lumberjack slam and an all-american," She said our orders out loud as if we had forgotten what we wanted. "You guys need anything else?"

She set my drink down and I noticed the bruises on her hands. It made me look up and meet with the nose ring and brown eyes that held my gaze. The waitress was tall, skinny, beautiful even. It made me numb for a second. She blinked and the moment was over. There was no nametag, no social part of me that wanted to ask her name.

I liked mystery. Enigmas were what I lived for in life.

"No, thank you," Jack, once again, spoke for me. It had become a habit of his for the past three years. He was a pair of lips I didn't need.

She walked away, not even bothering to look at me. I didn't blame her. I radiated depression. It made me forget that I had friends that wanted to hang out with me. It intensified the nightmares that crawled through my ear and lay their nest. It made my stomach hurt and it made me forget that I wanted to eat.

Jesus-fucking-Christ, I'm a sad fuck.

"The shop is still getting business," I tried again. "She left it to me, if you remember."

Jack looked at his food. "You're the only one that loved that shop as much as she did. Dusty guitars and all."

"And I love it, too. It's a large part of her," I tried again.

"But you can't sustain it, Ben can't either, and I'm far too stressed about the wedding--especially with Celeste being pregnant," Jack stressed and ran his fingers through his hair. He was eating, I couldn't even touch the plate.

"I'm keeping it," Saying it made me feel better. Jack didn't look at me like I was being difficult, he looked at me like for the first time in three years I had made a decision. I called a waitress, a different one.

She stopped in front of the table, a sympathetic smile on her lips. "Do you need more water?"

"A tray for my leftovers, please,"

"Now that the truth is just a rule that you can bend, you crack the whip shape-shift and trick the past again..."

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