13. The Piano

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"Maybe he's drunk."

"It's not even 11AM. He's not drunk."

"It's not implausible that he's drunk. I mean, he sits on a docked boat all day, every day." That would drive Jesse to drinking, for sure, and Harry was already an alcoholic so it wasn't a stretch. "What else d'you think he does there, except drink? Write the Great American Novel?"

Caleb shrugged, rubbing at the tiny scratches on his forearms, acquired earlier that morning clearing bramble. Non-fruit-bearing bramble, it turned out. Jesse would have to look elsewhere for his blackberries.

They'd been waiting over an hour at the front office of the self-storage facility for Harry to show up with the key, so they could collect the promised piano.

"I'll call him again," Caleb sighed, and went outside to do so, out of earshot of the receptionist who'd been giving them increasingly suspicious looks as the morning wore on.

Apparently, Harry answered this time because Caleb was pacing back and forth on the street as he spoke into the phone, one hand rubbing the back of his neck, which gave the impression the conversation wasn't going well.

Possibly Harry wasn't drunk, only hungover. His entire life, Jesse had never known Harry not to be hungover on a Saturday morning.

Caleb rapped on the window and beckoned Jesse outside.

"What time do you need to collect Wynter?"

"Not until 1:30." They'd dropped her off at E Sharp earlier, before picking up a rented moving truck to transport the piano.

"Give me your keys. I'll go fetch Harry from the marina. He claims he only just woke up. You wait here with the truck."

Jesse handed over his car keys. "Is he functional?" he asked dryly.

Caleb didn't even grunt a reply. He walked off to the parking lot, leaving Jesse none the wiser.

Jesse hadn't seen Harry since Christmas. Had never visited him on the boat or communicated recently beyond a couple of essential texts. Since the failed wedding more than a year ago, followed by an unpleasant encounter with his father's fist, he was feeling decidedly detached from him. Which was a shame, because he was already detached from his mother. Not that a lack of good parental influence had ever impacted him negatively, given all the positive brotherly influence he'd had instead. Still, now Wynter was in his life and Indio was back home, he sometimes wondered if having a competent mother or father on the scene, or even in the wings, might benefit all of them.

He resumed his seat in the office. The receptionist was busy explaining terms and conditions to new customers, a young couple. How the hell did anyone manage to acquire enough junk to require additional storage before they hit thirty years old?

Jesse's phone rang—Wynter.

"I'm between classes," she said in a hushed tone. "I have this brilliant idea but I don't know how to make it happen."

"Sounds like you need a brilliant engineer."

"A welcome home party for Indio next weekend. I'll invite Jenny!"

"Just Jenny?"

"Well, no, obviously we'd have to invite a few other people. I could invite Jenny as my guest, and that would force her into Indio's path."

"And neither of them would ever guess it's a set-up." Jesse chuckled. "I gotta be honest with you, Wyn, a welcome home party for Indio is exactly the kind of party Indio would refuse to attend, regardless of Jenny being there or not. The only time he wants to be the center of attention is on stage, and even then he'd rather not."

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