Night Off

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Wayne blocked his nose with a finger as he passed by an alley. "There can't be a valid reason to be roaming this part of the city?"

Maxwell's hands clenched as he whirled to face Wayne. Darren stepped between them, pushing both of their chests and flashing a wan smile at Maxwell. The Dwarf's fury dimmed as he took a single step away from Wayne.

The arrogant student interlaced his fingers behind his back. "Can I interest you in something else for the evening?"

Maxwell punched his palm, "Why are you even here?"

Darren nudged Maxwell and shoved his face into Wayne's. "We told you our agenda before we left the Academy." He jabbed Wayne's chest, forcing him back. "I told you that you wouldn't enjoy those plans."

With smoldering eyes, Maxwell stepped in front of Wayne. "Why did you insist on joining us?"

Wayne's gaze drifted to Darren, "I don't revolve around you, Maxwell. As far as I'm concerned, you're the one tagging along."

"What is your obsession with him?"

Darren eased Maxwell back and groaned. "Apparently, our mothers are sisters." Darren spun around and poked Wayne's chest. "Though he informed me that my mother is a pariah to the family because of my father."

"So, what does he want with you?"

"I've been asking him that from day one."

"As I told you, I'm latching onto anything these days." Wayne straightened and pulled a hand from behind his back and scrutinized his fingernails. "In my current situation, I do not care about your mother's indiscretion."

"That's awfully big of you," Maxwell spat as his fist launched toward Wayne.

Darren hooked his friend's arm with his own.

Maxwell glared at Darren. "You can't enjoy him following us."

"I don't, but if you hit him, you're the one Leodor would punish." Darren spun around and poked Wayne's forehead. "The reason nobody likes you is because of that spoiled attitude." Darren's finger jabbed Wayne's chest as his glare grew darker. "If you want some friends, drop the privileged routine and talk to people as if they're equals."

"What would you like me to do?"

"Go away," Maxwell demanded.

Darren reached back, touching his friend's arm. "Wayne, if you insist on accompanying us, how about you do something remarkable?"

Wayne's lips drew to a line as his head tilted to his right, "And what would you require of me?"

"For starters, be polite to Maxwell, me, and everyone you run into tonight." With a quick inhalation, Darren shoved his face into Wayne's. "Also, learn to appreciate the simple things."

"Such as?"

Darren thumped his chest as he jerked his thumb towards Maxwell. "First, we are heading out for a meal at a local tavern. Neither the establishment nor food are as fancy as you're accustomed to. But we enjoy the meals and the atmosphere."

Wayne stepped back and nodded.

Maxwell sidestepped Darren, clapping his shoulder. "After dinner, we're planning on wandering throughout the city until something captures our attention."

Wayne wrung his hands as his eyes flitted between Darren and Maxwell. "How about we alter point two?"

Maxwell surged forward, but Darren extended his arm, keeping him behind him. "What kind of entertainment piques your interest?"

Wayne clapped and rubbed his palms vigorously. He cocked his head to peer down at Maxwell and cleared his throat. "Well, supposedly, there's an interesting play at the local theater."

"That's what you find entertaining?"

"Yes, Maxwell," Wayne said as the gleam in his eyes vanished. "I've heard exciting things about this production. It should be an excellent show."

"But it's a play." Maxwell yanked Darren down and shoved his finger at Wayne. "You can't seriously consider going to the theater with him."

Darren eased his friend's hand off him while he touched his lips. He turned back to Wayne and drew in a deep breath. "If we agree to the play, will you toss out your silver spoon and be polite to anyone we meet tonight?"

"Darren, please don't do this."

Darren lifted a finger and pointed at Wayne. "Let's see if it's possible for him to change. How about it, Wayne? Can you be civil for an evening?"

Wayne's head twitched as his tongue moistened his lips. "I will do my best to be courteous."

"No!. Not your best," Darren hissed. "The moment you treat anyone with your usual disrespect, you're on your own. Is that clear?"

"It would appear that I've little choice but to agree to your terms." Wayne's eyes softened as his shoulders sagged. He turned sideways, extending his hand to Darren. "Please lead the way to the establishment you're excited about?"

"Darren, this is a terrible idea."

"He's willing to try, Maxwell. It's only fair that we compromise on the evening plans."

"But a play?"

Darren pulled his friend to a stop as he whispered, "If we're demanding that Wayne change his attitude..."

"Then we cannot act like him," Maxwell finished as his head sunk.

Darren nodded and punched Maxwell's arm. "Besides if the snob behaves, we might enjoy the evening."

Maxwell's eyes flared with anger as he glowered at Wayne. He pulled Darren away from the interloper and tapped his friend's chest. "This new agenda won't help me unwind." With a deep breath, he clapped Darren's shoulder and shook his hand. "I can't go with you. Though I hope you're able to extricate that silver spoon from the snob. But whatever you do, make sure he doesn't ram one into you."

"Max, please stay."

"I'm sorry, Darren, but the evening has soured on me. I am heading back to the Academy to salvage my evening." The Dwarf shoved his hands into his pockets as he retreated.

Wayne draped an arm around Darren, "Now that it's just the two of us, can I bring you to a more refined establishment for dinner?"

Darren shoved Wayne off him and stalked into the city. "No, if you are dragging me to see your play, then you'll eat where I want and behave."


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