Chapter 23

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Nate finally left his throne room about 15 minutes after the DVD was over. He looked like a zombie as he shuffled down the hall holding his stomach.

“Ughhhh,” he moaned…very zombie-like might I add.

“Nathaniel Zachary Lane!” his mother scolded.

Uh oh, I thought. She just broke out the whole name. That’s some school age crap right there. She. Is. Going. To. Eat. Him. Alive…and I get to watch! I smirked when I saw his eyes widen in alarm. I didn’t blame him for being slightly scared; plenty of men and women stayed fearful of their parents even when they were fully grown and out of the house. Call it cowardice if you will, but I call it self-preservation.

“Yeah?” He answered meekly.

I nearly tsked at him. That was a big mistake.

“Yeah?” she mocked. “Don’t ‘yeah’ me! It’s yes.”

Nate sighed, still holding his stomach. “Yes?”

“That’s better. Mind telling me where you’ve been for the past,” she looked down at her watch, “I don’t know…say hour and a half? You couldn’t be bothered to show your face just long enough to sing Happy Birthday to your mother? If Liz, Gabe and Crystal hadn’t offered to sing it in your place when they did, I’d have died of embarrassment!”

“But,” Nate began.

“And then, you missed Liz’s special chocolate soufflé!” She turned to me quickly and flashed me a smile, “It was excellent by the way, I enjoyed it immensely. You’ll have to show me how you do it.”

“Of course,” I smiled back.

Linda turned back to face her son and picked up where she left off. It was almost like she’d never paused in her rant, because she continued in the same breath, “And then, you missed watching the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received from someone outside of the family. Liz made a compilation DVD of all the wonderful times our families shared together. She must have spent ages!” She shot me another grateful look, to which I nodded solemnly.

Not really, I thought. Just money. That DVD was compliments of one of the guys from the studio. I’d handed him a pile of VHS tapes, SD cards, and random other media and said, “Can you compile all of these onto my external harddrive? I’ll pick out my favorites and then you can put them on a dual layer DVD. I want it to look completely homemade. Ignore your need for professionalism just once.” So really all I did was spend money...for his help and for a permanent marker to write my extremely long, but self-explanatory title that took me all of five seconds to write. It was a birthday gift and payback all wrapped into one 4.75 inch flat circle. Totally worth the money.

“You were supposed to use this opportunity make up with Lizzie!” She whispered heatedly. “And what do you do? You invite that Mikaela girl instead! You won’t tell me what you did to piss her off and don’t look at me like that young man! You’re my son and I love you, but I know you started whatever is going on between the two of you. Lizzie’s a sweet girl and I doubt she has a spiteful bone in her body.”

Ouch, that hit a nerve and not one of Nate’s.

“You two fighting is really hard on the two of us and we just want you to build a bridge and get over it already. So tell her you’re sorry or make googly eyes at her like you used to. She always loved that…wait. Don’t tell me you went and walked all over her feelings!” She continued to whisper, though her volume was steadily rising.

“Nathanial Zachary Lane!” She gasped loudly when he opened his mouth to defend himself.

Oh good grief, I thought, she said his full name again!

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