To the Owner and Operator of Darkmoon Drive,
I, Walter Kemp, do formally invite you, and any you wish to accompany you, to a small gathering I am holding at my home at 606 Lexington Avenue. Consider this an offer of goodwill and an opportunity to open discussions concerning my proposal to purchase the property of Darkmoon Drive.
I understand your immediate response may be to decline, but I would implore you to at least hear me out. Even should my offer hold no interest to you, you’ll at least have yourself a delicious home cooked meal from my award winning in-house chef, Antonio, as well as an evening of drinks and dancing with some of my finest friends. That being said, I strongly believe you will be quite excited to hear my offer and future plans for the property.
The party begins tomorrow evening at 9PM. I look forward to dining with you.
Sincerely and with Much Regard,
“So what do we do?” asked Charlie. Juno and Milo had joined him in his apartment to discuss next steps. Juno brought food cooked by her mother, and Charlie created extra chairs to accommodate them all. Bear was happily eating a cooked chicken leg with rice that Mrs. De La Cruz steamed specifically for him.
“We say no,” said Milo. “This isn’t even a discussion.”
“I say we go,” said Juno.
“You’re a traitor, and I hate you,” said Milo in an incredibly casual voice.
“Hear me out,” said Juno, swatting him playfully. “Even if we have no intention of selling this place—”
“Which we don’t,” interrupted Milo.
“It might be worth hearing why this guy is so interested in it. If we know why he wants it, maybe we can dissuade him. Because chances are that if this rich guy wants to go to all the trouble to send a letter and have us for dinner, he’s not going to stop until he has a reason to or gets a firm no.”
“So we just go, eat this guy’s food and tell him to go screw himself?” asked Charlie.
“But in a nice way,” said Juno.
“Pft, no promises,” added Milo.
“Anything to add, Bear?” asked Charlie. Bear looked up with his tongue hanging out of his mouth and then went back to chomping away. “I think he’s good with whatever we decide.”
“Then it’s decided, you’ll go and hear what this guy has to say and then tell him no,” said Juno.
“Oh no,” said Charlie. “You all are coming with me. I am not doing this alone.”
“I agree,” said Milo. “We are not trusting the fate of our home to the guy who’s barely lived here a week.”
“I actually agree with you,” said Charlie. “Not because I’m going to sell it, but because I’m not awesome in social situations, especially ones with high stakes.”
“To be fair, Milo is not great in social situations either,” said Juno.
Milo hissed at her.
“My point exactly.”
“Then we’ll need you there to be the voice of reason,” said Charlie. “And Bear is coming too.”
“Ew, why?” asked Milo.
“Because he’s part of the team, and I’m not leaving him behind,” said Charlie.
“I don’t know if I want to be on any team that allows dogs,” sneered Milo.
“Those are bold words coming from a cat,” said Juno.
“Yeah, but I’m awesome and I don’t lick my butt.” They all looked over to see Bear licking under his leg. He looked up at them in surprise.
“You don’t anymore,” corrected Juno. “But I suspect that’s just because you’re not as flexible as you used to be.”
Charlie let out a burst of laughter.
“That is not funny,” said Milo. “She is not funny. Do not laugh.”
“I’m hilarious,” said Juno. “Anyway, if we’re all going we should make sure to get plenty of rest tonight so we can be on our best behavior tomorrow.”
“I will do none of those things, and you can’t make me,” said Milo.
“Uh-huh,” said Juno. “Well just this once maybe you try to not be the worst.”
“I know you are, but what am I?” asked Milo.
Charlie laughed again but then looked up in surprise.
“Are you laughing at me?” Asked Milo defensively.
“No, no,” muttered Charlie. “I just … I thought it was funny. What you said. I didn’t mean—”
Milo sat up proudly. “Well you’re right. I am quite funny. Hilarious even. You hear that Juno? The loser thinks I’m funny.” He bit back his words. “I mean … Charlie thinks I’m funny.”
“Nice save,” said Juno.
They continued to chat and eat for the next hour before Juno finally stood, stretched and said good night, hugging Milo and Charlie and giving Bear a pet on the belly. Milo, surprisingly, didn’t get up to leave with Juno. However, after she left, Charlie and Milo sat across from each other, silent, neither of them sure what to say next.
“Um, everything okay?” asked Charlie, trying to think of a polite way to ask the other man to leave so that he could get some sleep.
“You’re not gonna sell this place, right?” asked Milo. Despite his earlier boldness, he suddenly seemed smaller and less confident, as if exposed.
“Of course not,” said Charlie. “After everything you’ve all done for me? I couldn’t. Besides, I’d have to give up my garden and all of you. I—” He caught himself. “Before I came here, I was not in a good place. I was, am, a mess. But this building. All of you. It’s given me something I didn’t have before?”
“Friends?” asked Milo. “You seem like kind of a loner to be honest.”
Charlie smirked. “I am. But no, I was gonna say hope.”
Their eyes caught each other and locked for what might have been a second or several minutes. “Well,” said Milo, clearing his throat. “Don’t forget that tomorrow when that guy waves a big fat check in front of you.”
“Who needs money when you can sell monster bits to Magda?” asked Charlie, and they both laughed.
“Yeah,:” said Milo. He stood from his chair. “Well, I should get going.”
“Yeah,” said Charlie. He gave Milo a wry smile as he went to the door. “I suppose I’ll see you at my window tomorrow morning?” he asked, jokingly.
Milo looked back, his ears perking ever so slightly. “I suppose you will.” And with that, he left, closing the door behind him. Charlie couldn’t say why, but the moment the door clicked shut, he felt the oddest thought skitter across his mind. He thought for just a moment, that he was sad to see Milo go. For just a fraction of a second, he wished that Milo would have stayed even just a moment longer. But the thought vanished as soon as it came, and Charlie went to work cleaning up the table.
We are back from Gen Con and back on track! I know this is a short chapter but there is lots of excitement to come so just bear with me!