And So It Begins… XIII

And So It Begins…

XIII

An R.L. Mathewson Chronicle

“I wanna see!” Katie, his next-door neighbor and his personal tormentor, said as she moved to get a closer look only to sigh heavily when Cole picked her up and handed her off to her older sister, who didn’t seem to appreciate what he was trying to do here.

“So, let me get this straight,” Chloe said, pausing to throw her little sister over her shoulder before she continued, “you charged your family to go into a restaurant that you don’t own?”

Sighing heavily, Cole couldn’t help but wonder what was so difficult to understand about this. “No, I charged them a finder’s fee,” he said as he continued counting the money in his hand.

“For a restaurant that you don’t own?” Chloe repeated slowly.

“For a restaurant that I don’t own,” he said, nodding in agreement as he finished counting the money that was going to bring him so much closer to buying his first car.

“And they did this because…”

“They want to make sure that I call them the next time that I find a buffet restaurant that hasn’t banned them,” Cole told her as he folded the money in half and slid it into his pocket.

“But you weren’t the one that found it,” Katie pointed out, drawing his attention to find her big sister pushing her glasses back up her nose as she considered him.

“This is true,” Cole murmured in agreement as he pulled that wad of cash that brought him so much joy back out of his pocket and pulled a five-dollar bill off the top and handed it to Chloe.

“What’s this?” she asked, frowning down at the five-dollar bill that he’d generously bestowed upon her with confusion.

“Your share,” Cole said, shoving the large wad of cash back in his pocket.

“My share?” Chloe repeated back slowly as she blinked down at the money in her hand.

“You’re welcome,” Cole said with a heartfelt sigh, wondering why he was so damn giving sometimes.

“You pulled in over five hundred dollars for a restaurant that I found and you’re giving me five dollars?” Chloe asked, glancing back up at him.

“And I’m going to treat you to ice cream when we get home,” Cole pointed out, wondering if he was overdoing it only to quickly dismiss the idea since she was his best friend and sometimes, you had to spoil them to let them know just how much they meant to you.

“You mean the ice cream that’s in my freezer?” she asked as she placed Katie back on her feet.

“Yes,” Cole said absently as he glanced over his shoulder to make sure that everything was still as it should be at the restaurant before glancing back at the women in his life to find them both glaring at him.

“I thought you learned your lesson with the lemonade,” Katie said, reaching over and plucked the five-dollar bill out of her sister’s hand and shoved it in her front pocket.

“And I thought you learned never to bring that up again,” Cole said, returning her glare.

Worrying her little lip between her teeth, Katie cocked her head to the side as she considered him. “Do you really want to do this?”

Leaning down so that he was eye-to-eye with the little hellion, Cole said, “Absolutely.”

Nodding slowly, Katie said, “Then you really should have seen this coming,” making him frown until he felt the small foot land a solid blow to his instep.

That was followed by the little brat jumping up to put him in a headlock, making him lose his balance while he did his best not to hurt her and falling back on the sidewalk. Before he was forced to throttle the little brat, Chloe was coming to his aid.

She really was a good friend, Cole thought as he watched her reach down to grab her sister only to make him frown when she reached into his pocket and-

“Hey!”

-sighed with satisfaction as she shoved his hard-earned money in her pocket.

“Here,” Katie said, pulling that five-dollar bill out of her pocket and threw it at him before she climbed off him, making sure to step on his stomach as she did, and joined her sister.

“It was a pleasure doing business with you,” the girl that was supposed to worship him said as she took her little sister’s hand in hers.

“This won’t end well for you,” Cole reminded her as he grabbed the five-dollar bill and shoved it in his pocket as he got to his feet.

“Probably not,” Chloe murmured, not really sounding all that concerned as she stepped around him and headed into the restaurant filled with Bradfords, leaving him standing there, watching her go and-

Damn it!

He couldn’t let her go in there alone no matter how much she pissed him off.

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