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Chapter 6

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Jake entered Bobby's room. His friend lay under a sheet watching a sports channel that was recapping last night's games. A finished breakfast tray sat on a cart next to the bed. From its remains, Jake could see it was not the typical pre-heart attack meal Bobby was used to enjoying. The bed closest to the door was empty and Jake sat down on the edge, careful not to rumple the sheets.

When he saw that it was Jake, Bobby smiled and fumbled for the remote control to turn off the television. "I was wondering when you were going to get here."

Jake pointed at the digital clock on the wall. "It's not even nine o'clock."

"I know. I know." Bobby set the corded remote down on top of the thin bedsheet. "I just wanted to talk to you before my parents got here."

"They still come every day?"

"Yes. My mom is worried that they are not feeding me enough to get my strength back."

Jake laughed. "I hear that Natalie intercepted a bag of cannoli."

Bobby grinned. "I don't think my mother will ever forgive her for that."

"She will if Natalie gives you a grandkid one day."

Bobby's eyes went wide. "What makes you say that?"

"Nothing." Jake waved his hand at his friend since he'd already said too much. "I just have a good feeling about you two, and she told me that she loves kids."

"Fine, but don't jinx it. I really like her."

"I understand." Do you remember from high school?"

Jake shook his head. "Not really."

"We really hit it off the night of Tina Bohn's party. We almost went to Senior Prom together, but then she went with that jerk, Mike Johnson instead. You don't remember?"

"It's starting to ring a bell. If I'm thinking of the same person, then she's changed a lot."

"Yes." Bobby smiled. "She has."

"So what's so important that I had to get here at the butt crack of dawn?"

"Lots of stuff. First, I wanted you to know that I've been working on my Best Man speech, and I should have it perfected by Saturday. Don't worry, I've worked in plenty of family-friendly jokes."

Jake tried to maintain a straight face. Bobby was not getting the message that they wanted to keep this simple. Besides, Jake hadn't recalled even asking Bobby to be his best man. Of course, Jake couldn't withdraw the honor. Not only was Bobby, Jake's only friend left alive, but he was everything Natalie said he was, loyal, dependable, and kind to a fault. Everything you'd want in a best man, and that he was knee-slapping funny didn't hurt either.

Besides, it probably would be one hell of a speech. For sure, he'd find a way to retell the story of Tom's car blowing up and how Bobby saved all their lives; Jake would be disappointed if he didn't. There was a dinner planned for after the ceremony anyway, so Bobby could give his speech then.

"I can't wait to hear it," Jake said. "Did you have something else on your mind?"

"Yes, I want you to look at something." Bobby grabbed a folded newspaper from the nightstand and handed it to Jake.

"What's this?"

"Just look at it and tell me what you see."

Jake unfolded it and set it on his lap. He studied the page. Headlines announced stories about Michigan's bad roads, a local political scandal, and a feature story about a marijuana shop's grand opening.

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