Chapter Forty-Seven

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It was only meant to be a short trip in the summer, but it turned into a complete lifestyle change. I rented a small apartment along the seawall in downtown Vancouver and furnished it with cheap furniture. I spent half my time in the apartment, and the other half at the restaurant. I had no time for leisure, no time to hang out with any old friends, including Sam. Soon after our date, she landed some big modeling gig in New Zealand and flew out right away. It was probably for the best anyway, I did not see a future with her. She was a pretty girl, but other than that, she had little else to offer.  

I did not plan any of this, nor could I have ever planned any of this. Had I sat down on my own and tried to imagine how my life would turn out, there would be no way I could have thought up all the events that led me to be here. Who would have thought a chance encounter with a guy in my building would one day lead to me to buying a restaurant with him on a whim? I guess the universe has a weird way of sorting things out. 

I had made a choice to abandon the pursuit of being a lawyer. I was all done with the course work, but I still needed to do my articling and then pass the Bar exam. At twenty-seven years old, I was no longer interested in starting out at the bottom again and trying to fight my way to the top of some law firm. The hours would be grueling and the money would not be worth the stress.  

Law school was not a complete waste of time. Over the last three years, I had developed some great friendships, amassed a wealth of knowledge, and managed to save up a decent amount of money. Nevertheless, it was apparent to me I was not put on this planet to be a lawyer. I had not interned at any law firms during my summers like the other students; I couldn't afford to be away from the stock market all day. Whether I liked it or not, my life was now going in a different direction. I was once again back home. 

*** 

I sat at my desk in the back office of the restaurant, opened my laptop, and looked at some files. 

"Mr. Morrison, would you like me to bring you something to eat?" one of the servers asked. 

"No, thank you, Julia. I'll eat in the restaurant with everyone else. How's the second floor looking?" 

"It is really busy up there, but I can reserve a table if you'd like." 

"Okay, sounds good. I'll be out there in five minutes; I'm just finishing something up at the moment." 

I stepped onto the second floor and did what I always did - scanned the faces in the crowd. I immediately noticed a new face amongst the typical regulars who dined at Ace during their lunch break. I felt compelled to walk over and say hello. 

"Mr. Lindberg, it's so good of you to join us for lunch today. My name is Trevor Morrison, I'm one of the owners." 

"Oh, this is your restaurant? I like what you've done with the place, it's a vast improvement." 

"Thank you so much. How is everything else? Is the food okay? Are they treating you well?" 

"Everything is great, thank you." 

"I'm really glad you stopped by today. You know, it's funny, when I first moved to Vancouver..." I stopped midsentence. Something caught the corner of my eye. Mr. Lindberg turned around to see what I was looking at, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. "Will you excuse me for one moment, please? I have some business I must attend to." 

"By all means, take care of your business," If I was not so distracted, I might have paid more attention to the subtle business advice that the great Allan Lindberg had just passed on to me. 

I walked away from Lindberg's table and went over to the hostess. "Mia, who is that man sitting at table five?"  

"Umm..." she said, as she scanned her chart. "That's Channing, party of four."  

"How the hell did he get up here? This section is strictly for VIPs, that guy is not important." 

"He told me he was a local business owner and gave me his card." 

"What kind of business does he run?" 

"I don't know, here's his card," she dug it out of her folder and handed it to me. 

"Mia, this guy runs a hotdog stand. I know this is a new concept for the restaurant, but the second floor is for elite people only. This guy is not elite. Under no circumstances is he allowed to step foot on this property again, okay?" 

"Okay. Do you want me to say something to him?" 

"No, don't worry about it. I'll take care of it." 

I walked toward the table where Jack Channing was sitting. I was about ten feet away before we made eye contact. It was the first time I had seen him since the night he tried to take my head off with a roundhouse kick, but that was not the last time I had heard from him. He had called me a couple of times to harass me about some unpaid debt. I had told him to go to hell and then he made some empty threats. From that moment, Darrell and Jack Channing were my sworn enemies. Now, my enemy was on my territory, which was completely unacceptable. I had to take care of it.  

"Good afternoon, Jack, long time no see," I said coldly, making no attempt to sound pleasant. "Could I have a word with you for a moment?" 

Jack Channing took a drink of his water and looked at the other people in his party. "Will you excuse me for a moment?" he said, as he stood up and walked over to where I was standing. 

"I'm not interested in causing a scene or embarrassing you in front of your friends, especially since you couldn't have known this was my restaurant, but I want you to finish your meal, pay your bill, and never step foot inside this restaurant again." 

"Listen to me you little prick, I know you killed my son, and you better believe there will be hell to pay." 

"My condolences for your loss, Jack, but blaming me will not bring your son back. And no, I did not kill him." 

"You're lucky I'm with clients right now or else I would wring your neck."  

"Alright then, enjoy your meal," I said, as I began to walk away. I took a few steps, then stopped and turned around. "Jack, one more thing... have a nice life."

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