Part 10 – Easter evening

At half past six I knocked on their door. Jo opened it. She was wearing an apron decorated with little chickens hatching from eggs.

“Hello, Nikki,” she said smiling so broadly I could see almost all of her perfect teeth. “It’s nice of you to join us. I was afraid we wouldn’t have any guests this Easter, and that would just make it like any other day, wouldn’t it!”

“I brought you some chocolate,” I said as I stepped inside, and handed her a round, yellow box with a golden ribbon around it. She took it surprised.

“You didn’t have to do that,” she said as she took a look inside. “Oh, those are very nice. They look like they’re expensive!”

“They’re not, I made them, but thank you,” I said smiling. “My mother has recipes for chocolates for every occasion; we’ve been making them since I was five.”

“Well, then I can’t wait to try them!” she said as she took my jacket. “David’s in his room, if you want to say hi, it’s right over there.”

She pointed at the first door in the hallway to the left. I went and knocked.

“Come in!” he called. I could hear music. I opened the door.

I now understood why David preferred to do his homework in the barn. His room was so small it barely fitted his bed and closet. There was a big window on the wall opposite the door with blue curtains, the bed was right beneath it and took up most of the space in the room, the closet was behind the door, and between the wall and the bed was a bedside table with a small lamp on it. It was lit, and gave the room a mysterious look. From somewhere was a blues song being played. When I closed the door again I saw a small stereo on top of the closet.

David was lying in the bed with his eyes closed, enjoying the music. Beside him lay a note book and his French book. I grinned.

“Nice try, but you won’t fool me. You haven’t given that essay one thought,” I said as I sat on the bed by his feet. He smiled in a teasing way, but didn’t open his eyes until the song ended. Then he turned off the stereo with a remote and sat up.

“You better be hungry, mom’s going berserk in the kitchen, as always,” he said and moved himself so he could lean up against the wall.

“Starving. Haven’t eaten since this morning,” I said.

“I hope you don’t mean those two cups of coffee at St. Bernard’s,” he said with a frown. I nodded. He shook his head. “That’s just not right. Don’t tell my mom that, she’ll send you food three times a day.”

“Well, she cooks better than my aunt. Hell, I cook better than my aunt. She insists on doing it, though, even though she hates cooking. Of course I cook things my mother taught me. That might be why.”

I noticed a poster of BB King on the wall. It looked old.

“I take it you’re a blues man,” I said and smiled. “Music of the soul.”

“About sixty percent,” David said as he twisted his neck to look at the poster. “Forty percent classic rock. And of course every mixture of both is always nice to hear. What about you?”

He looked back at me.

“Nothing exclusive, I listen to everything I like. I’ve been drawn to the classics lately. Before that it was R&B, and before that it was rap.”

“You’re diverse.”

“I try.”

I took the note book and read what he had written. It wasn’t much, but it was written in perfect French, which was really the whole point. I threw it back at him.

“Continue!” I ordered. He grinned and took the book. He wrote a little more, glancing at me in between. Then he frowned and threw it back at his side, leaning his head against the wall.

“I hate this!” he said, clenching a fist.

“Oh, come on, it’s not so bad,” I said laughing a little and reached for the note book. He slammed his hand on it before I could take it.

“Don’t!” he said and closed it. He slid it into a drawer in his bedside table. “I’ll finish it, I promise. Just not now.”

I smiled, trying not to look as curious as I was about what he didn’t want me to see.

“Dinner!” Jo called in a booming voice. I stood up and went to the kitchen. The table had a cream coloured cloth on it and was set with dishes in a beautiful pale-rose pattern. There was a big plate of sweetened potatoes, a salad bowl, beans, thick creamy sauce, and of course the beautiful leg of lamb. Jo pointed me to sit down beside her seat at the end of the table. As I did, her older sons came almost running down the stairs.

The food was so good none of us wanted to stop. We had very nice red wine with it and Jo kept pouring me more after almost every sip. I was careful not to drink too much. I knew how weird I got when I was drunk.

I noticed something this dinner I hadn’t noticed before. Although David was the youngest, his brothers seemed to look to him for advice about almost anything.

“Hey, Little B, what do you think about the apartment for rent the other side of the street from Leo?” Frank asked.

“What, for you?” David asked. Frank nodded, his mouth full. “It’s probably fine, but not to rent. If you want to do anything there, you should buy. The bad side of town is becoming popular, rents are going up, and prices also. If you buy you won’t have to deal with your monthly payments suddenly doubling. You might even make some money on it if the price keeps going up.”

Jo nodded at this idea.

“Besides,” I added, grinning. “The ladies love a man of property.”

Frank seemed to like the idea even more.

Jo sighed.

“One day all my boys will have moved out, and I’ll be left all alone,” she said.

“Don’t worry, mom. We’ll send the grandkids over,” Frank said, grinning. Jo laughed.

“Mr. Harris asked us if we would like to buy about a half in his business,” Wyatt said. “Become partners.”

“Yeah, he likes our work,” Roy said happily.

“How’s business been?” David asked, looking rather suspicious.

“Hectic as usual,” Roy said. “Why, you think he’s in trouble? Needs the money?”

“No, I think he’s old. He’ll be retiring in a few years, he might be thinking of his old age. If you buy, you’ll work harder because it’ll be your business, and then when he retires he’ll keep making money off your work because he owns half the company.”

The brothers thought about this for a few seconds.

“So … you think it’s a bad idea?” Wyatt asked.

“Well, not really, if he makes money so will you, but try to get him to make it equal. One-third to each of you. You’ll have to pay more, but it’ll be better if he suddenly gets the idea to sell. He won’t be able to without your consent. Or you could just buy him out.”

The brothers seemed happy with this pointer and the conversation continued in other directions.

For desert we had coffee, mint ice-cream and my chocolate. Jo liked it so much she begged for the recipe. I gave it gladly. My mother had always been very happy if anybody asked about her recipes. I noted to myself to tell her about this the next time I went to see her.

After dinner David took me back to his room to listen to a few of his favourite songs. We sat on each end of the bed with our backs to the wall and closed eyes, enjoying the music. I started to think blues might become my next music faze. I opened my eyes and was going to ask David what he recommended for a beginner blueser, but stopped with an open mouth. David was looking very serious, staring at his own hands.

“Are you OK?” I asked concerned. He looked at me, and then he turned down the music with the remote. He sighed, fiddling with the cover of the bed with his right hand.

“My brother’s at St. Bernard’s,” he finally said.

Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumbleupon Reddit Delicious Digg Click to share with other social medias

Tell me what you think!

Your thoughts