Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chapter 3 - Stealing Forever - Give and Take


"Seriously, Dude. You owe me big. Epic big," Quil grunted for the fifth time that morning, attempting to maneuver the large couch up the narrow stairs of Embry's new condo. "I don't know why you couldn't just get movers in here to help you."
"I know, I know I do, and why get movers when I've got you guys?" Embry had called the rest of their friends, and all but two were unable to help him move, and even they couldn't make it until well after lunch. How convenient that daughter's ballet recitals and trips to the market with grandmothers were impeding upon their ability to help him get all his crap into this place this particular morning.
His move into the much larger, loft-style space was past due. Things were picking up considerably at the gallery, and now he could afford something that had spacious rooms for painting and the storage of his own massive collection of artwork.

"Yeah… turn it this way," he continued, gripping the black leather sofa more firmly, walking backwards up the steep stairwell, taking each step carefully to keep his balance.
"So, how are things with the wife?" Embry asked through clenched teeth as he set the large piece of furniture in the middle of the living room.
"Oh, Claire's good." Quil said wiping his hand on his sweatpants. "The whole wedding planning thing has her a little riled up, and you know, her mom, is a bit..." A wide grin broke across Quil's face as he gestured his index finger in a circle at his temple, "which isn't really helping the situation at all."
"Yeah, I know how that can be. You know how my mom is… Hey, I'm thinking we should try and get all the larger pieces in first. I have those big ass beds for both rooms, plus the dining stuff, so we can start there," Embry said taking the stairs back to the first floor quickly, with Quil just behind him. "Hopefully, we'll have more help by then."
"Uh. Yeah, I hope so, too," Quil said rolling his eyes and walking up the truck's ramp. As he grabbed one end of the overstuffed arm chair to his left, Embry followed his lead, taking the opposite side and bending his knees. "You know the suits are done, and we have that final fitting next weekend, so make sure you meet us up at the Ralph Lauren store on 44th."
"Yeah, yeah. I know, I know. You're as bad as Claire."
"Well, I have to be. She'd cut my balls off if I didn't keep you motherfuckers in line. And trust me; I'm actually kinda partial to my sack."
Embry couldn't help but laugh at that sentiment. From what Quil had told him, Claire and her family were pretty serious about this whole wedding thing. After he realized that no one really wanted to know his opinion on really anything besides his fiancé, Quil relented and decided that all he needed to know was where to go and what time to be there and everything should be copacetic.
"Hey," Embry began, setting down the surprisingly light large chair, "how's Leah doing?"
Quil stopped for a moment, raising a knowing eyebrow and laughed. His friend always managed to wiggle his sister into their conversations. Embry and Leah dated briefly when they all were in high school, but things fell apart, as teenage romances tend to do.
"She's good; just started her residency up at St. Catherine's," he said breathlessly, jogging down the stairs towards the truck once more.
"How's that boyfriend of hers doing? Chris?"
"Dude, just ask her out already and put us all out of our misery," Quil said playfully pushing his friend. "And if you had your stalking skills together at all, you'd know that they broke up about a month ago. You aren't on the job very well, are you?"
"See, it's all a part of my plan. I'm gonna beg Claire to pair us up in the wedding. You know how girls get all sentimental at weddings? Yeah, it should be easy, all I have to do is turn on the 'ole Call charm." Embry wagged his eyebrows, picking up the wide ends of a large mahogany headboard and maneuvering it down the ramp and into the building, with Quil just behind him with other pieces of the bed.
"Um, can we not talk about how you are strategically planning on macking my sister and just say we did? Thanks."
Embry's snickering was uncontrollable, as he paused to lean against one of the exposed brick walls. He had been thinking about Leah more and more these days, hoping to rekindle something with her. Each time he saw her, and that seemed to be a lot more lately with the wedding approaching, he was reminded of how amazing a woman she was, strong and intelligent, always so sure of herself, and that was so sexy to him.
"Okay, so, we can get those dressers next, then take a break for a second," Embry said, nodding his head in Quil's direction and wiping his brow. He was grateful for the cooler summer day in Philadelphia. It had been a hot summer and that would just not do well for moving conditions.
"She did ask about you, you know?" Quil added after several moments.
"What?! And you failed to tell me this why?"
"Well, you were dating that Kennedy girl. Jenna, was it?
"Shut up. And she was a Shriver."
"Whatever the hell," Quil deadpanned with a flippant gesture of his hand. "Anyway, you were with her at the time, so I thought you were good on the girl front."
"Thanks a lot for nothing dude. You're supposed to keep me in the loop about Leah."
"Um, no, I'm not. You're a big boy. If you want to date my sister, then you need to hop to it and grow a pair."
"Shut up. I gotta get some new friends…" He stopped mid-stride, deep in thought. "Wait, see, this works even better," Embry said, setting the dresser down and maneuvering it against the wall. "Here?"
"Man! Will you go!?" Quil urged, annoyed as the heavy dresser was cutting into his fingers. The two set it down and he stepped back, assessing the positioning. "Yeah, that works, and the bed can go here," he said, gesturing to a space against a far wall.
"Well, me and Jenna are over. She was way too caught up in status, and that's just not my thing. So, now I'm free and clear. Can you please put in good word for me with her? Shit, do something."
"Now, why would I ever want my sister dealing with a loser like you?" Quil joked. It was all good-natured; Quil actually loved his friend like a brother. Their families had spent countless holidays together; his mother loved both Jacob and Embry like her own. Their life paths had begun braiding themselves together long ago.
He quickly remembered their 17-year-old selves when Embry's parents were out of town while they were in their junior year of high school. They'd snuck out of the house to a party with Jacob in tow, drinking and doing things no teen should be taking part in. She'd caught them and dragged them all out of the party, punishing each of them just the same.
"Okay," Quil said glancing around. "How the fuck one man has so much shit by himself is beyond me."
"Hey, hey. I'm an artist, and I'm serious about my work. I have a creative mind."
"You're joking right?" Quil said scoffed.
"Can you please stop bitching for, like, 15 seconds and let's get this done? Or do you have more nagging to do?"
"Wait, fucker, I am helping you. Don't you forget that. I got out a warm bed with a soft naked woman lying there to help your ugly ass," Quil said with a smile, grabbing the edge of another dresser and tilting it toward him as Embry grabbed the opposite end, hoisting it on his forearms.
"You just have to let everyone know that little bit of info, huh?" Embry mused, grunting as he carefully walked backwards up the stairs and into the master bedroom.
"You know it."
"Oh, and before they get here, we never did get a chance to talk about the whole Jake-Rose situation."
"Oh yeah, shit dude, I can't believe I haven't gotten a chance to tell you about that. It was like, forever ago."
"Yeah, yeah, so what happened?"
"Well, Jake didn't even want me to talk about it at all. He just sulked around our house for a few days, then decided to go home when he knew Rose wouldn't be there."
"Right, right. So, let me hear it again," Embry said excitedly, grabbing a large box marked 'kitchen' and gesturing for Embry to help him. "This one's heavy, grab the other side. It's mostly dishes."
"Okay," Quil said, obliging. "So, yeah, we walk in the door after we left you guys at the club. Jake runs upstairs for not even 5 minutes. I'm in the kitchen waiting on him."
"Can I just say that motherfucker is forever forgetting something, somewhere?" Embry interjected.
"…and you know this," Embry says rolling his eyes. "So, he runs down the stairs breathing hard and walking around crazy - you remember that time when he got in that fight with Travis Meyers over his sister in tenth grade? Yeah, that was the last time I saw him looking that fucking nuts."
"Oh, shit..." Embry grabbed a bottle of water and threw it to Quil, then cracked open the top of his own and took a few deep swallows of the cold liquid.
"So yeah, talking crazy and Rose comes down right after him - I know this is bad, but, can I say how hot she is?"
"Uh, duh, anyone with a dick can see that, I won't tell the wife," Embry replies with a shrug.
"Thanks... so yeah, she comes down all sweaty, her hair a mess, and at first I didn't know what the fuck was going on. But then, this guy comes down, like right after that, then Jake just loses it."
"Shit, I would have too," Embry said, shaking his head. "They've been together for what, two years, and have that house together? That's some fucked up shit."
"Yes it was, and dude, I wished to God you or somebody else was there too, because you know how fucking huge Jake is. It took everything in me to pull him off the guy."
"Shit, I'd have killed that motherfucker. You guys would've had to come get me out of prison."
"Me too," Quil agreed,."And you know me, I don't fight, but that's enough to murder someone. The fact that he caught her had to have been the worst," he said, walking back towards the stairs. "So yeah, I'm surprised the guy didn't press charges, 'cause Jake fucked him up pretty badly. He told me that the guy was married or engaged or something, so it'd be pretty hard to explain that situation to the wife."
"Fuck yeah," Embry said shaking his head. "I talked to him yesterday, but about some wedding stuff, not about this. How's he doing?"
"He's okay, I guess, as much as can be expected. He's real broken up about the situation, trying to figure out what to do with the ring. Says she keeps trying to talk to him about it, but he can't talk to her, says he can't even really look at her anymore."
"Damn, but can't say I feel too bad about it. I mean, for Jake's sake I am, but I never thought she was right for him, not really," Embry said.
"Well, you know how I feel about her. She was never really my favorite person for him anyway. But you gotta let folks do what they wanna do. The last thing you want to do is tell your friend that you don't like someone they love. Fastest way to get somebody pissed at you."
"You said it."
"So, this is what you call moving, huh?" Jacob's deep voice tinged with humor. "I must move all the time, because it just looks like you're just fucking around to me." His large frame suddenly filled the open doorway. He paused, then looked around the room, silently assessing the work that had already been done. Seth followed behind him, glancing around, then heading for the kitchen.
"Says the guy who shows up three hours into the move," Embry mused, taking the hand Jacob had extended him into a quick embrace.
"I swear, y'all are some of the laziest motherfuckers I know," Seth smiled. "Don't you know the meaning of hard work? I mean, really," he continued, his words dripping with cheerful sarcasm.
"Finally," Embry breathed. "We've handled most of the furniture. It's just getting all the boxes downstairs in the truck up here."
"Okay, let's do it," Jacob said, already walking toward the door. They headed downstairs to the awaiting boxes and other personal items realizing it would take several trips to finish the job.
"Dude, did you have to move on the top floor? I mean, really," Seth complained.
"Of course he did, he lives to make our lives a living hell. There's no way I'd rather be spending my Saturday than by helping this dude move his shit," Jacob grabbed two large suitcases from the trunk of Embry's car. "Nope, can't think of a single one."
"Okay, okay," Embry finally responded, "are you jackasses gonna do this all afternoon? I just need to know if you girls are gonna be PMSing or can we actually get this finished?"
"Oh no, trust that we'll get this handled, and you'll be handling lunch and dinner. I feel like a steak, what about you, Quil?"
"Steak's good. Prime cut, of course."
"Of course," Jacob agreed with an over-exaggerated bob of his head.
"Hey, Quil, what time do we have to be there next Saturday again? I have an exam that morning, so I wanna make sure I can get there on time."
"Claire says it's at 9. The one over on 44th."
"So, what's the deal with these bridesmaids? Any of them hot?" Seth said suggestively. "You know that's what weddings are all about, the hookup. And I've seen a couple of Claire's friends already, and they were smokin.' That girl Angela? Damn."
"Yeah, that's why I love these things: emotional women, booze, dancing, all the makeup of a killer evening," Embry said with a smile.
Jacob was silent, still licking his wounds from Rose-gate, as his friends had now come to know it. His mother had come by several times to check on him and bring him meals. He was still having the hardest time attempting to focus on work, his heart still shattered in millions of pieces. The pain was still there, though now, instead of a fiery, all-consuming blaze, it was more of an ache - a dull pain that never let up, however much he wanted it to.
"You know," Seth said clearly, reading his far away expression and grabbing one of the few remaining boxes. He looked up into the clear blue day, then turned to Jacob. "I know you're still dealing with the Rosalie thing, but I can think of about ten girls off the top of my head that would love to go out with you."
"Yeah, man," Embry hesitantly added. "You know Kate, my assistant? She saw you at the opening and really wanted me to introduce you guys." He paused to gauge Jacob's reaction before continuing. "Obviously at the time you really couldn't do anything, but she's a sweetheart if you want me to hook it up."
Jacob was quiet briefly, mulling over his friend's suggestion. "Yeah, that sounds okay, maybe we can get a drink or something. May as well drown my sorrows."
His friends all looked at each other, then back at Jacob with sympathy. He wasn't over Rosalie, not by a long shot. The best thing would be to wait it out and maybe throw some women in his direction in the meantime.
"That's the spirit!" Embry said, grabbing one of the last boxes in the truck and following the group up the stairs, dropping it on top of the black lacquer stove and glancing around. "I think that's it guys."
It had taken the better part of the afternoon, but the group had sufficiently completed assisting Embry with his move. "You guys want to get something to eat? My treat."
"Yes, it is your treat," Jacob said, slapping Embry loudly on the back, to the murmurs and chuckles of the group.
"And, can I just say, don't ask me for anything for at least a year, because it's gonna be no. Always no," Quil said with a large smile crossing his face.
"What are you talking about? I'm in your wedding, you owe me." Embry turned to him incredulously. Quil smiled at his friend for a few moments, not responding, just nodding his head amidst the laughter and ribbing. He did owe him - he couldn't deny that – because he was getting so much more from his friend.
More than he could ever say.


A/N - I love this one. It was simple, but showed how much the guys are there for each other in crappy circumstances. Plus, a little banter never hurt anyone :)

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