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The Golden City - 46. The Price is Rite

Chapter 46: The Price is Rite

I have to admit, when I heard Colleen wanted to grab lunch with me, I couldn’t help but get nervous. Don’t get me wrong, she’s nothing but nice to me, but I just felt a little, intimidated. And I know, that sounds ridiculous! But she means the world to Dizzy and I know it’s important to him that we like one another.

I couldn’t help but laugh to myself as I thought it all over. I was that nervous, but I still ended up telling her I love her son. I guess I was just being honest, I can tell that’s something she appreciates.

As she heard my laugh, she looked up from her lunch and studied me. “You laugh at your own thoughts just like Dizzy?” She asked, not putting too much thought into it.

“Not as often as he does.” I played along, relieved that she wasn’t going to push any further. “Not as hard either.” I teased as she began to smile.

“He’s his own favorite comedian.” She smiled but began to push around her food as she thought something over. “How’s he been lately?” She asked, but I could tell she knew the answer.

“He seems off?” I asked, trying to delay my answer.

“Some days.” She replied, seeing through my game.

I nodded my head to her words but had to fight from looking down. “It’s been a tough week.” I finally began to answer. “And I think we both had moments we’re not proud of.” I exhaled, this time I couldn’t help but let my gaze drift. “but we’re better for it.”

“You can’t let his opinion on fathers, cloud your own.” She offered, still not up to date on the latest Ezra news.

“He was right though.” I confessed, still not looking up. “Ezra just wanted to turn me into another bible thumper from Texas.”

She let out a deep sigh, but I could tell the topic wasn’t anything new to her. “What’d you say to him?” She asked, trying to get a good look at my face.

“Told him to get the fuck out.” I confessed, finally looking up to see a small smile starting on her face.

“Can’t think of a better way to make your place here in San Francisco permanent.” She encouraged, even drawing a smile from me. “When I first met you, I didn’t think you and Dizzy would last.” She suddenly confessed as our eyes connected.

“Why?” I asked so quickly I didn’t even have time to think about her words.

“Thought you’d turn and run.” She answered, continuing to look right in my eyes. “But you’re a fighter, not a runner, aren’t you?”

“I learned to be.” I nodded but could feel my smile growing wider.

“You learned well.” She complimented, finally breaking the eye contact. “I don’t have the answers for you and Dizzy’s trouble with your fathers, I can’t even call my own son by his name.” She commented as she began to grow serious. “But I’m so glad you boys have one another.”

She grew quiet for a moment as she thought something through. “I haven’t always been the Mom Dizzy deserves,” She confessed. “and he deserves a lot more than he got from his father,” She continued. “But I know he has the boyfriend he deserves.” She began to smile once more. “So it’s been hard not having him home much, but it helps knowing he’s with you.”

I grew quiet, stunned by her words. “Sorry, I know that was…”

“No, it’s fine.” I interrupted, trying to keep control over my emotions. “I, I think I needed to hear that.” I admitted more to myself than to her. “He’s gotten me through so much already.” I gently shook my head struggling to find the words.

“And when you tell him you love him, it’ll have made it all worth it.” She reassured me as she looked into my eyes one more time. “You both deserve one another, I promise.” I nodded my head but grew quiet as her words began to sink in. “Anyway, I think our breaks just about done.”

“Oh, yeah.” I let out as we both slowly rose from our seats.

“Sorry, next time I won’t pry so much,” She said as she helped me clean up the table. “But you’re the first person to tell me they love my son.” She paused and looked over to me. “It means a lot Artie.”

“You weren’t prying.” I offered as she grabbed Dizzy’s lunch from the table and we headed to the door. “I actually kinda like talking about real stuff. “I sheepishly admitted. “Usually Adam just gets uncomfortable or Dizzy derails the conversation.”

“Well if you’re open to some advice,” She began as she pushed the door open for me. “Dizzy’s the best at talking after he’s eaten or before he goes to bed.”

“He always loves food so much?” I couldn’t help but laugh at her advice.

“I hope you like to cook.” She answered as we both entered the shop to find Dizzy ringing up a customer with Adam standing close behind.

“Trust me and try microwaving the glazed one for a few seconds.” I heard Dizzy tell the customer as he handed over the box. “Have a good day.” He smiled as the customer repeated the phrase and walked towards the exit.

“Good.” Adam nodded as we let the customer by and joined them behind the counter. “I don’t know if the advice is needed, but good.”

“I’m just elevating your donuts man.” Dizzy shrugged his shoulders. “They order some generic donut like glazed, they’ve gotta spice it up themselves.”

“Some people just appreciate a regular donut.” Adam reminded him but I could tell he was thinking it over. “Our donuts come out good in the microwave?”

“There’s some others that microwave better.” Dizzy began, not wanting to mention the brand. “But yours taste better to begin with, so they just need to be lightly warmed up.” His smile grew as he looked at the case in front of him. “I can show you.”

“No chance.” Adam rejected, finally looking over to the two of us. “How was lunch?”

“It was nice.” I smiled, noticing Dizzy watching us both closely.

“Yeah?” He asked, unsure how to phrase the thoughts going through his mind. “Would you guys get lunch together again?”

“No.” Colleen sarcastically answered as Dizzy began to stare her down. “Don’t you have a job you should be learning?” She asked as a new customer entered the shop.

“This?” Dizzy asked, he went to take a step towards the register but Adam waved the customer over to him. “This is easy compared to inventory.” He remarked as he watched Adam greet the customer.

“Inventory is a pain.” She agreed as Adam worked through the exchange at his usual quick pace. It really is a crazy skill Adam has mastered to work with a customer so quickly. It’s not even like Adam makes the person feel rushed, he just has the interaction down to a science.

“Well,” Adam returned to us as the customer headed towards the door. “Dizzy actually just made the process a lot easier.” He complimented as Dizzy’s smile began to shine. “And he’ll be responsible for getting the new system off the ground once summer starts.”

“It’s going to take off like a rocket.” He confidently nodded his head.

“Good, then you’ll have more time to help out up front.” Colleen teased, reminding her son that there are plenty more ways he can pitch in around the shop.

“Like I said, easy.” Dizzy replied, making sure to flash her his smirk.

“Let’s wait and see what you say after the lunch rush.” Adam interjected as the confident look from Dizzy’s face began to fade.

“Lunch rush for donuts?” Dizzy asked trying to figure out if he was telling the truth. “I know I’d eat donuts for lunch, but there can’t be that many people who do.”

“They’re not actually coming here for lunch.” Adam answered in a sigh. “They must just use their lunch breaks to bring a box back to their office or whatever.” He shook his head. “I don’t know but the point is we get another surge of customers around noon each day, so get ready.”

“As bad as this morning?” I asked before Dizzy could fit in another wisecrack.

“No,” Adam shook his head as I let out a sigh of relief. “but it can get pretty close depending on the day.” He paused as a few customers walked in. “So go on, let’s see if you’re ready.” He encouraged as we both stepped up the our registers.

As Dizzy started helping his customer, I noticed Adam step in and help him with the register, but me, I had managed to get it all down pat during the morning rush. I even started packing the donuts pretty quickly! I’m still nowhere as fast as Adam or Lindsay, but it’s a start!

“Ya’ll come back now.” I smiled as I handed over the box and took a step back.

“Still saying that?” Adam asked as he watched Dizzy load the last of his order into the box.

“Better than telling people to microwave the donuts.” I answered, making sure to lean against the counter to emphasize that I had already helped my customer.

“You should try microwaving the glazed ones.” Dizzy smiled to the customer, but I could tell they had no interest in the conversation.

“Sorry.” Adam spoke up, forcing Dizzy to quicken his pace. “Both still in training.”

“It’s no problem.” The customer finally smiled before taking her box. “Have a good one.” She dismissed quickly turning to head towards the door.

“Most people are on their break right now, so you’ve gotta move quick.” Adam reminded Dizzy. “But you did good, just, stop with the microwave.” He exhaled as Colleen began to laugh.

“Even if it’s good advice?” Dizzy asked, but I knew the message was received.

“Z,” Colleen spoke up as he turned to her. “keep your wisdom to yourself.”

“Yeah, yeah.” He finally conceded as Colleen glanced over to me then back to him.

“Hey,” Lindsay popped in from the kitchen before Colleen could say anything. “I’m done with my lunch break, you can take yours now.” She said to Adam.

“Dizzy’s actually going to take his.” Adam dismissed, not even giving Dizzy the option.

“So take it with him?” She suggested, already starting to get frustrated with how dismissive Adam was. “Me, Artie and Colleen will run the front.” She insisted,

“Well Colleen’s actually going to go start making orders based off the inventory Dizzy took.” Adam began, as I watched Colleen take a step back to avoid the firefight that was starting to brew. “You, me and Artie will run up here until Dizzy can get back.”

“And then you’ll take your lunch break?” Lindsay asked, but I could tell she wasn’t going to believe his answer.

“I will.” He smiled, only throwing fuel on Lindsay’s frustration. “I just want to get Artie though the start of the lunch rush.”

“Because it’s so busy right now.” Dizzy started, but Colleen shoved his lunch into his chest, nearly knocking him back.

“Go in the back and eat.” Colleen instructed before giving him a light push. He rolled his eyes, but followed her directions without a peep.

“You know Adam, you can teach them every job here, but if you teach them to skip their breaks, you did a bad job training them.” Lindsay warned, cutting to the heart of her problem.

“I’m not teaching them that.” He laughed, now trying to play off his own frustration.

“Well what do you think they’re learning when they see you haven’t taken a break all day?” She asked but he rolled his eyes. “You weren’t even supposed to come in today.”

“They wanted to come in today,” Adam began but this time I had to take a step forward.

“I just wanted to come help, you’re the one who pushed today.” I spoke up as Lindsay pointed over to me.

“Artie.” Adam grunted, quickly looking over to me.

“He always does this.” Lindsay turned to me. “He comes in on his days off and he refuses to take any breaks, it makes the rest of us feel bad.”

Things cooled down as a couple more customers wandered in the store. Lindsay and I started to help them as Adam motioned for Colleen to get to work in the back. Yet the second the customers left I saw Lindsay turn back to Adam.

“Just take your damn break.” I finally let out, sick of hearing them bicker. “It’s not fair they feel bad because you’re too hard headed to take twenty minutes to yourself.”

“Thank you!” Lindsay shouted as I verbalized her thoughts.

“Fine.” He grumbled, not even looking at us. “I’ll take my break at one, when things start to wind down.”

“You’d better.” I shook my head, but before I could say anything else more people started to show up.

“You can handle your own register?” Adam quickly checked with me, more than happy to change the subject. I nodded my head, and before I knew it, the three of us were more focused on helping customers than getting Adam to take a break.

As more and more people flooded into the small shop, I couldn’t help but be glad Adam stuck around. I know he needs to be taking his breaks, but I’m glad he refused to do it during the rush. Don’t get me wrong, Lindsay is just as amazing as he is, but there’s a certain calmness he maintains. It’s almost like the horde of customers doesn’t even phase him. He even finds a way to check on me every few minutes or so.

When Dizzy came back from his break, I could tell that the worst of the rush was behind us. Lindsay tried to get Adam to take his break, but he insisted on 1 and there were just too many customers left for Lindsay to argue.

“Alright,” Adam finally let out with a smile as the crowd finally turned into the occasional customer or two. “now we can just cruise until close.”

“Now we can just cruise until close. “Lindsay corrected as she began to stare at him. “Now you are taking your break.”

“Can I just ask something?” Adam began as Lindsay rolled her eyes. “What’s so wrong with me only taking breaks on days I need them?” He asked, but I could see years of the same conversation starting to wear Lindsay down. “We have a couple bakers who got here in the middle of the night and only left a couple hours ago, plus you’ve been doing the early shift for weeks now.” He challenged Lindsay. “We all work our asses off, this is just my way of doing that.”

“What’s wrong is everyone follows the example you set!” Lindsay yelled, quickly glancing towards the door to make sure there were no customers. Every now and then someone would peek into the window, but when they say the near empty donut case, kept walking.

“You’re buddy buddy with nearly all the employees here.” She said as she locked eyes with him. “When they see you skipping breaks, they immediately feel weird about taking theirs.” She warned him. “And I’ve said that to you a hundred times, but now that you’re hiring teenagers I’m drawing a line.” As I glanced over to Dizzy I noticed him take a step back, so not even he’s willing to get involved?

“Start taking breaks, or I’m scheduling Artie and Dizzy on your off days.” She decided, still staring him down. “And that is that.”

“1 pm every day.” Adam replied, knowing he wasn’t going to win. “Not a minute earlier.”

“Fine, you want to wait until the last hour, be my guest.” She finally exhaled, breaking eye contact and leaning against the counter. “But your break starts now.”

“Let me just help this last,” He began as the door opened, but as he looked over and saw a girl around my age stopped. “damn it.”

“Charlotte!” I exclaimed, thrilled to finally have an out to the fight Dizzy and I were forced to watch.

“Don’t you Charlotte me.” She began as she finally reached the counter. “You’ve left me on read since last night.” She reminded me as I took a small step back from the counter. “I only knew you were here because Dizzy actually replies to his phone.”

“Were you on your phone while you were at work?” Adam asked, quickly looking over to him.

“During my break.” Dizzy shrugged before looking over to Lindsay. “Speaking of breaks.”

“I’m going.” Adam surrendered, but grabbed one of the large boxes off the counter and placed it next to me. “Give it to her on the house.”

“To me?” Charlotte asked trying to hide the surprised smile forming on her face.

“Your family takes Artie to church almost every Sunday, it’s the least I can do.” Adam replied as he backed up to the door. “Kind of nice having me up front, isn’t it?”

“Go!” Lindsay interrupted in a strong voice. “Fucking Adam.” She grumbled to herself as he finally escaped into the kitchen.

“Long day?” Charlotte quietly asked as her gaze drifted to the leftover donuts.

“Something like that.” I forced a smile as I wandered over to the case.

“Does this mean you’ll be too tired to hang out later?” She asked, instantly drawing Dizzy’s attention.

“No,” I began as Dizzy let out a loud groan. “well maybe, we might just need a nap.”

“It’s alright,” She sighed as she looked over to Dizzy then back to me. “But no more leaving me on read,” she warned. “and I want to hear what happened with Ezra,” She said, this time getting me to glance back towards Dizzy. “and we’re hanging out after school tomorrow.” She continued to demand. “and I want two jelly,” she began to make her order. “two blueberry, a maple bacon and the last oreo.”

“The box is for twelve.” I pointed out seeing her smile only grow wider.

“Then I also want two fudge brownie, two peanut butter, one fruit loop and a toasted coconut.” She finally finished her order. “Please.” She added in as I started to fill the box.

“Welp, if we weren’t out of the good donuts before, we certainly are now.” Dizzy teased as I put the last of her donuts into the box.

“She made her choices count.” I shrugged as I handed it over to her. “This trip worked out well for you.”

“Sure, I got to yell at you and then I got free donuts.” She smiled, as she took a step to the side. “I would rather be able to grab coffee with you, but I guess we’ll rain check it.”

“You just want to hear how my weekend went.” I teased as she nodded her head. “Or at least the parts Dizzy hasn’t told you.” I glanced back to shoot Dizzy one more stare.

“He didn’t tell me any of the good stuff.” She explained, saving Dizzy the trouble. “All I know is you slammed a door in Ezra’s face.” Her smile grew as she spoke. “I’m proud of you Artie Price.”

I couldn’t help but share her smile as she started to take a few steps back. “But for now, I’ll take my bribe and get out of your hair.” She teased. “Thank you,” She looked over to Lindsay. “and thank Adam for me too.”

“Anytime.” Lindsay smiled back. “I think she’s my favorite of your friends.” Lindsay remarked as she watched Charlotte leave the shop.

“Standing right here.” Dizzy argued as he looked over to Lindsay.

“I know.” She shrugged her shoulders, drawing a laugh from me. “And we get to spend all summer together.”

“So I’ll have time to beat Charlotte?” He asked with a hopeful look.

“Or time to drop even lower.” Lindsay teased as she walked around the counter and looked at the case. “Oh crap,” She exhaled, seeing how empty it was. “we really need to make half a dozen more of each before lunch.”

“You guys are that busy?” I asked, as Ezra’s critiques of Adam’s shop began to replay in my head. He was talking about this place like it’s unsustainable, like it could end at any moment.

Lindsay looked past me and towards Dizzy as confusion entered her face. “What?” Dizzy began to laugh. “Have you paid attention at all today?”

“I know, it was very busy,” I clarified in a sigh. “but like, it’s getting busier?” I asked, voicing my concerns in a clearer way.

Lindsay’s confusion turned to concern as she started to see through my words. “Our customer base has only been growing since we opened.” She answered as our eyes connected. “We actually just had a piece on us in the local news.” She continued. “Place is going to be around for a while, we’re even considering expanding the menu, but that’s a long process.”

“You’re worried about this place?” Dizzy asked as he finally caught on. “Are you letting what Ezra said get to you?”

“I just wanted to see it for myself.” I finally admitted in a sigh.

“Is that why you’re here today?” Lindsay asked, but instead of answering I looked over to Dizzy who just shrugged.

“I came for the company, and the donuts.” He answered as he tried to buy me time. “Mainly the donuts.”

“We don’t have to tell Adam, do we?” I asked as a customer entered the shop.

“No, we don’t.” She smiled and motioned for Dizzy to take over. “But you honestly have nothing to worry about, we do strong and the people of San Francisco are loyal customers.” She explained. “The only issue is running out of donuts.” She groaned as she took a step forward to back up Dizzy.

“Not a lot of options left?” Lindsay asked the customer as they stared at the case.

“Guess that’s what I get for coming before close.” The customer answered as she tried to be as understanding as possible.

“Well if you buy three, we’ll give you three free.” Lindsay encouraged as Dizzy leaned back to grab a box. “And, if you bring this with you next time you visit,” She continued, grabbing a card off the counter and handing it to the customer. “it’s good for 15% off.”

“Oh, well, thank you.” The customer replied, caught off guard by Lindsay’s generosity. “Then I’ll have 3 donuts,” She began her order as she looked back to Dizzy.

“The people of San Francisco are loyal customers.” Lindsay repeated as she took a step back and joined me. “You treat them well and they’ll keep coming back.” I nodded my head, realizing this was probably the most important lesson I had learned all day. “And as much as I hate to admit it, offers like that were Adam’s idea.”

“Really?” I asked as Dizzy wrapped up his transaction.

“Yeah.” She reluctantly answered. “He insisted on this place having a small-town approach to our customers.” She swayed her head as she thought it over. “When we can.”

“He works really hard, doesn’t he?” I couldn’t help but ask as she nodded her head.

“Annoyingly hard.” She complained as she walked around the counter and towards the door. “But you boys are going to be the key to making him take breaks.”

“That’s really a problem around here?” I pried as I noticed her switch the open sign to closed and lock the door.

“Ever since we opened.” She answered in a sigh. “He feels like he doesn’t bring anything to the table, so he busts his ass to make up for it.”

“But that’s ridiculous, he’s kept the front running smoothly all day.” I argued as she nodded her head.

“It’s Adam though.” Dizzy reminded me with a shake of his head. “Once he believes something, good luck changing his mind.”

“Maybe you are my favorite.” Lindsay smiled as she joined us back behind the desk and leaned down to enter one of the cabinets.

“Maybe I am.” Dizzy matched her smile, but before he could say anything else she threw a big sponge at him.

“Now do me a favor and start wiping down the counters, I’ll take care of cleaning the case.” She instructed as she threw a sponge in my direction. “The faster we start, the faster we’ll be done.”

“I don’t want to be your favorite anymore.” Dizzy groaned as she started to fill a couple buckets with soap and water.

“If this is the worst part of your first day, then I’d say you had a pretty good one.” Lindsay warned him. “Unless you’d like to swap out the dirty oil, clean the proof box, or the racks or,”

“Alright, Alright.” He exhaled, helping her to move the buckets out of the sink. “But when it comes to learning the new inventory system, I don’t want to hear anything.”

“Your mom does inventory more than I do.” Lindsay explained as Dizzy let out a long groan.

“Keep talking Dizzy,” I began to laugh. “It’s really working out well for you.”

He made a face at me, but things grew quiet as we all got to work. Truth be told, cleaning was probably the worst part of the day! But after just forty minutes, we had the whole front wiped down, mopped and sparkling!

When we went to rejoin everyone in the back, we found the kitchen clean but empty with only Colleen sitting at a table wrapping up paper work. “Out back.” Lindsay explained as we heard some voices sounding out from a propped open doorway.

As I took a few steps towards the door the stench of skunk filled the air. The closer I got the more I was able to peek out to see a circle of four or five people standing around the alleyway. As I finally found Adam, I was surprised to see him with a wide smile. He actually almost looked the happiest I’d seen him!

“He’s really likes this place, huh?” I couldn’t help but ask Lindsay.

“He loves this job.” She nodded her head. “I don’t think he ever saw a future like this for himself.” She explained as we all grew serious. “But now that he has it, he’s going to make every second count.”

I noticed Colleen looking over to Dizzy as Lindsay spoke. He’ll find his success Colleen, don’t worry, I just know it.

As Dizzy went to get closer to the door, I grabbed his arm. “Let’s give him a minute, he’s worked hard.”

Dizzy nodded his head, but quickly redirected his attention to his mom. “I’m surprised you didn’t join the smoke circle.”

“I had to figure out your new inventory system.” She turned to him with a stern look.

“Oh.” His smile quickly turned nervous. “It’s pretty straight forward once you get used to it,” He offered taking a step towards the inventory closet. “I could actually show you right now.”

“Save it for another day.” She shook her head. “I can’t look at that fricken screen anymore.”

“It’s a good system.” Dizzy insisted, nervous smile still on his face.

“Adam sure thinks so.” She nodded to his words, finally calming his nerves. Without warning the back door swung open and the group from the alley headed in.

“Alright everyone,” Adam spoke up in a loud voice. “great start to the week, we could probably turn out the donuts a little faster tomorrow, but if that’s our biggest complaint then it’s been a damn good day!” He encouraged the group, before looking over to us. “Oh! This is my nephew Artie and Colleens son Dizzy, they’ll be joining us this summer so get used to seeing them out front.” He introduced as they all looked over to us. “But that’s all I have to say,” He looked over to Lindsay who simply nodded her head. “Alright, enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll see you all back here tomorrow.” He dismissed as the group excitedly went their own directions.

A few came over and said hi to Dizzy and me, but most grabbed their stuff and left. “What’d you think?” Adam asked as he finally reached us.

“Tired.” Dizzy answered before I could say anything.

“Tired.” I agreed with a smile.

“Welp, nothing feels better than an afterwork nap, especially since you can finally have your donuts.” Adam smiled to Dizzy who happily nodded his head.

“Well, I, I may have had one or two during my break.” Dizzy smirked, bracing for what Adam would say next.

“I guess that’s not so bad,” Adam exhaled as he looked over to Colleen. “compared to,” He began as we braced for what he would say. “the other things you do.” He changed his mind, not wanting to snitch on Dizzy.

“Me and Artie spoke about those other things during lunch.” Colleen began as she turned towards her son.

“You guys spoke about me.” He smirked but as their eyes connected his face quickly turned serious.

“If I hear that you give Adam a hard time in his own home, you’ll be spending more time in your bed and less time on their couch.” She warned him. “And you’d better be helping them out around their house.”

“I know.” Dizzy accepted as he thought about it. “I’ve been better recently.” He said looking over to Adam, who nodded along.

“If any of you want to join us, you’re welcome over.” Adam offered, changing the subject to help out Dizzy.

“I’ve got some stuff around the house that needs to be done.” Colleen shook her head.

“Maybe later.” Lindsay answered, not putting too much thought into it. “I’ve gotta drop off the donations.”

“Well, just stop by if either of you want.” Adam nodded, leading us towards the back door. “See you guys tomorrow.”

“Bye.” Dizzy and I both offered as we followed Adam towards the door.

“Man,” Dizzy began as we started to walk out. “I thought for sure you were going to tell her about the time me and Artie smoked a joint.” He teased, making sure to say it loud enough for Colleen to hear before he shut the door.

“Why do you have to provoke your mom like that?” Adam groaned as we walked towards the bus stop.

“Because she loves it.” He shrugged his shoulders with a wide smile. “Besides, it’s not new to her or anything.” He laughed to himself but grew serious as the bus pulled up to the stop. I noticed him working something over in his mind as we jumped onto the bus and took off. “Do you think I’m a bad son for not spending more time at home?” He asked, unable to keep the thought to himself.

“No.” I quickly began but I could tell Adam was putting more thought into it.

“I think you could spend more time at home.” Adam confessed, looking over to Dizzy. “But I think it’s complicated and that doesn’t make you a bad son.” He quickly clarified. “You start looking into spending a couple more days at your house and I’ll make sure to give you both shifts together at the shop.”

“Thanks.” Dizzy accepted as I saw a look of relief enter his face. “Just not like, every shift though.” He began again. “She’s still my mom.” He nervously laughed.

Adam laughed to himself before growing quiet. The rest of the bus ride home was silent as I let Adam’s advice for Dizzy to sink in. Adam said it better than I could’ve. Dizzy and Colleen’s situation is complicated. I mean sure, Dizzy’s been staying over our house so often because it’s fun for him, but it didn’t start out that way and deep down, well I think that wound is still healing.

When we finally returned to our house it didn’t take long for the two of them to fall asleep. I tried my hardest, but no matter what, I just couldn’t! Eventually I scrolled through my phone long enough to go upstairs and make a call I probably should’ve last night.

“Hey Artie!” Sadie greeted in an excited voice. “How have you been? How was school today?” She asked, immediately hitting me with questions.

“I’m good, and we had the day off from school, it was some teacher development day,” I tried to remember but the weekend’s felt so long it slipped my mind. “so me and Dizzy ended up helping at Adam’s shop.”

“Oh that’s so great.” Sadie replied, but I could tell there was something else on her mind. “Did Ezra visit the shop?” She finally forced out, drawing a sigh from me.

“I told Ezra to go back to Dallas.” I answered, not willing to say too much more.

“Oh.” She let out as things grew quiet for a few moments. “I’m sorry Artie, I know that must be tough but he’s always been a massive jerk.”

“He is a massive jerk.” I couldn’t help but let out a small laugh. “But I, as tough as it was, I feel better now that he’s gone.” I admitted, even getting relief from just saying the words. “It’s just like now I know who he is and I don’t know, as disappointed as I am, it’s given me peace.”

“Bless you.” She exhaled as I heard her emotions start to bubble. “I wish I could reach through this phone and give you a hug.”

“I’d like that.” I encouraged , happy to change the conversation.

“You’re just saying that.” She began to tease. “I’m sure you can’t wait to get off the phone and go hang out with Adam and Dizzy.”

“That’s not true.” I quickly tried to shutdown but we both knew she had a point. “I would love nothing more than to come home from school and you be here.”

“Then maybe that’s what I’ll do.” She played along as I began to laugh. “Don’t you laugh Arthur Price, I’ll be in San Francisco when you get home from school on Tuesday.”

“I’m sure you will.” I said, not believing a word of it. “The women who’s scared of riding in trucks is going to get on a plane on a two days notice?” I teased, no longer able to hold my laugh back.

“I’ll have you know I rode in a truck last week.” She replied, pretending to be offended. “So you keep laughing, but I’ll see you on Tuesday.”

“Okay, I’ll see you soon.” I finally accepted, still unable to stop from laughing. “I love you Sadie.”

“Love you too Artie,” She responded with a laugh of her own. “And you start calling me more than once a week, or I really will come over there.”

“Sure you will.” I said in a sarcastic voice. “See you Tuesday.”

“See you Tuesday.” She said before hanging up her end of the call.

I really mean it, I would love nothing more than to get home and see her waiting for me, but that’s just not who Sadie is. She’ll make her way here one day, it just won’t be in a moments notice! Besides, right now I’ve got other things to focus on. Like how the hell I’m going to get to Marin Headlands!

But I don’t care if I have to drag Dizzy there on foot. He deserves a moment as special as he is, and I’m going to make sure I give that to him!

Copyright © 2018 Aceinthehole; All Rights Reserved.
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"...How the hell I’m going to get to Marin Headlands!" I can see it now! Adam and Mason will kidnap Dizzy:  They'll blindfold him, stuff him in the car, and tell him they're dropping him off in a forest with no donut crumbs to help him find his way home.  They'll leave him on the Marin Headlands peninsula, where Artie will have arrived earlier (by bus) to take over from them on their arrival. And then the big reveal! 😊 (Of course, I could be wrong....😂😂😂)

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7 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

I love this story so much. I think it just may be my favorite by you!

I definitely second this.  I love all your stories Ace but this one is just so sweet.

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Thanks for another great chapter. 

“But you’re the first person to tell me they love my son.”.....awww so sweet. Can't wait for Dizzies' reaction when Artie finally gets to tell him.

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This is gotta be one of the greatest stories I've read here yet. I Love these characters.

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What can I say - they just keep getting better and better.  Can't wait for Marin Headlands!  Thank you thank you thank you!! 

Edited by KayDeeMac
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Outstanding chapter! I absolutely loved the interaction between the key team members at the donut shop, Colleen and Dizzy, Artie and Adam, and most definitely Lindsay and Adam. Artie’s concerns about the viability of the business were laid to rest as Lindsay explained the methodology and work ethic that has made them successful. Another subject that Ezra had no clue about. It was a surprise when Charlotte arrived and gave Artie a verbal lashing for not responding on his phone. I also appreciated Sadie’s comments about Ezra always being a major jerk. A truly apt description for that piece of garbage. Colleen has made it clear to Dizzy that he better be treating Adam well and also helping out around the house. I can hardly wait for Artie’s plan to tell Dizzy that he loves him, knowing Artie with some helpers like Adam and Mason, the day should be filled with romance and happiness! I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

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