Chapter 24

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Daniel POV

Today, I was scheduled eight hours at the video store. Max told me that on Sundays, there were a few people who actually came to the video store to rent movies, so we would get some rare business. I helped Ethan pick out a car radio yesterday after he'd come back from the meeting, then drove around with him while he blasted music around town to "test it out." I was talking a bit louder today because I was pretty sure my hearing had been damaged.

Max and I were debating on what the first movie we would watch on the small tv screen in the corner of the shop would be. He wanted to watch the Godfather, and I wanted Shutter Island. I was trying to get past him to the DVD player, when our first customer came in. We quickly stopped messing around and smiled as she walked in. Most of the people who came to the video store were usually above the age of 60. Those were the people that hadn't figured out that they could much more easily rent a movie from the comfort of their couches, rather than come all the way to a video store- all they needed was a decent internet connection.

The lady seemed younger than the usual crowd- probably around 45 years old. After looking for a few minutes she came up to the front counter and smiled at us.

"Hello, I was wondering if you by any chance have The Godfather here?" She asked. Max stared at her. We only had one copy of many movies at the store, and the Godfather was one of them. He looked at me then back at her.

"You know, I think someone actually already rented that one yesterday, but I'll go double-check in the Drama section for you!" He said, as he hid the movie under the counter. He pretended to go look for a few minutes then came back to the counter.

"I'm very sorry I think that was our only copy." He said, with fake remorse in his voice.

"Oh, that's such a bummer! Well thank you guys for your hel-"

"Wait a minute!" I said reaching under the counter. "I think I just found a copy here- they probably returned it earlier today," I said, handing her the DVD with a smile on my face. I felt Max turn and glare at me and subtly stepped on my foot.

"Wow thank you! How much?" She asked happily.

"That'll be $3.50 for three days, so the return day will be Wednesday, anytime before we close which is 8pm." She handed me the money, and gave us a cheerful wave before she left the store. Max turned on me.

"How dare you. That was evil what you just did." I laughed.

"Hey, her coming into the store looking for the exact movie you wanted to watch was the universe telling us that we were meant to watch Shutter Island!" He crossed his arms and bitterly moved out of my way so I could put the DVD in.

Seven hours later, Max was telling off some pre-teens who'd tried stealing some candy, and I was organizing the Comedy section, while Home Alone was playing. Kevin finally came out of his office and said we could close the store. Ethan would have picked me up, but he was at that moment, half an hour away, overseeing a drug deal with some of the newer members of Ace's gang. He offered to leave early and pick me up, but I told him I'd be able to walk. Max walked with me until he got to his street, talking to me about his girlfriend who lived in Colorado. As much as I didn't really care about his long-distance relationship problems, it felt great to have a friend I could talk to, so I offered as much advice as my unqualified self could think of.

Text me when you get back so I know you're not in jail. I sent the text to Ethan while walking the rest of the distance to my house.

My mother wasn't home when I walked inside. I gratefully walked up the stairs into my room and got my homework done— on time for once. Mason and his crew hadn't bothered me at school for some unknown reason, but I wasn't complaining— I was actually able to focus on my schoolwork. I somehow went to sleep at ten (which was early for me) and fell into a dreamless sleep.

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