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[Fic] A Drink Between "Friends" [Complete]

Narinder Kapoor

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Date: Friday, April 20th, 2007.

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Restaurant Marliave, 10 Bosworth St. near Downtown Crossing, Downtown Boston, MA.

The young undergraduates sat together at a table in Marliave, one of the few historical bars in the city proper. Most of Narinder's friends - at least the ones in this group, filled with future politicians, lawyers, and businessmen - prepared themselves for a life of yuppiness by drinking at the local upscale, contemporary corporate watering holes. Tonight however, Nari had convinced them to go someplace with a little more personality.

So there they sat, in a building that was older than their great-grandparents, around a table big enough to seat all nine of them. There were two FDR pitchers on the table - a tall pitcher of gin martinis filled with Kold-Draft ice that melts slowly, and served with Vya vermouth that you can share with friends - in the middle of the table, and several of the men had ordered other drinks for themselves as well. Narinder had convinced the others with a promise to purchase the first round of drinks for all, and by now most of the other guys were on their third or fourth round - though Narinder himself was only halfway through his second. He liked to keep a level head in these types of situations, and it never hurt to remember what someone had said while drinking after the fact. At best, it gave you some useful information.. at worst, you got to know a little more about their personality than they'd normally divulge. Especially these uptight men, so concerned with appearances and image.

There were tables nearby filled with other patrons, and a few of the ladies at a table nearby kept glancing over, trying to catch Narinder's attention. His exotic looks and charismatic manner drew a lot of that sort of attention, but aside from a polite smile to the ladies he was setting aside that sort of pursuit for the evening. At the moment, his attention was fully on a law student sitting across from him. His name was David, but he preferred Dave, and right now Dave was telling a story about a professor he had. Apparently the man could link any story back to World War II, no matter how unrelated, and the guys were getting a good laugh at his description of the wooden mallet he would use to slam on people's desks when they inevitably fell asleep during his monotone lectures.

"Hey, I think I had that guy.. Jacobs, right?"

The Boston students glanced up in surprise at the man standing just behind Narinder. He was intelligent looking, though a bit older than them.. probably in his thirties. He was dressed sharply and wearing a pair of Armani sunglasses, and looked to be of Mediterranean decent, with dark skin and curly black hair. He lacked an accent though, his words were spoken in crisp American tones that didn't identify any particular city or area of origin.

A couple of the other students glanced around nervously, unsure if they wanted to share their drinks and revelry with an older, unknown stranger. But Nari waved a hand at the man sitting next to him, who obligingly slipped over a chair, opening up the one next to Narinder for the stranger to take.

"Forgive us, I fear my fellows are afraid you are too good-looking, and will take away the attention of all the ladies in the bar. But we are not here for such things tonight, so you are welcome to join us, and help yourself to a drink. I am Narinder - Narinder Kapoor. And your name, my good man?"

The stranger broke into a grin, and sat down next to Nari. He reached forward and poured himself a martini, adding a touch of vermouth - and two olives, all with a certain smooth flair that unsettled the other men a bit, yet made them relax at the same time.

"My name is Andelko Deus. Please call me Andy, the rest is quite the mouthful, if I do say so myself. I remember old Jacobs too, though he wasn't quite so old then. He had the hammer though, I think someone must have given it to him at birth. I can't picture him without it. Tell me.. what's the old geezer up to these days?"

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Date: Friday, April 20th, 2007.

Time: 9:47 p.m.

Location: Restaurant Marliave, 10 Bosworth St. near Downtown Crossing, Downtown Boston, MA.

The waitress brought over the tray, and began handing the men their glasses. A couple of the guys had left already, mostly those with women at home too beautiful or kind to risk sticking around any longer for. Jeremy was one of those guys, but he was still here, and Bill was egging him on.

"Man, if you don' wanna go home to that pretty thing of yours, I'll go home to her fer ya. You can stay here with all these other lame bastards. I got her taken care of, don' you worry, man."

That was the final straw, and Jeremy started out of his seat, the humor drained from his face. Bill had been doing a pretty good job of making an ass of himself, ever since his fifth vodka tonic. But Narinder was quick - he had been watching, and waiting. He stood up too, and caught Jeremy by the arms as the man started to dive for the drunken fool.

"Jeremy - that's enough, come on. We are all envious men, your wife, she is very beautiful. Hell.. if she were not your wife, I would want to be with her too. But she is, so I do not. Bill only jests with you, yes? After all, he has a promising political career ahead of him, and he is too smart a man to throw it away with his good friend's wife.. no matter how beautiful. Right, Bill?"

Narinder leveled a look at the drunken law student, who licked his lips nervously, and nodded.

"Yeah.. Nari's right, man. I was just jokin', calm down, huh?"

Jeremy relaxed under Narinder's firm grip, and sat back down, looking mollified.

"Good. Cause, you know - she wouldn't sleep with you anyway. You're too much of a dick, and your face turns all red when you get drunk."

Bill blinked, and Nari drew in a breath, holding it for a second. Then the other man guffawed, and started laughing, slugging back the rest of his gin.

"Yeah.. guess you're right about that, man."

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Date: Friday, April 20th, 2007.

Time: 11:38 p.m.

Location: Restaurant Marliave, 10 Bosworth St. near Downtown Crossing, Downtown Boston, MA.

There were only five of them left now as the night was starting to pick up for the party crowd, but starting to wind down for college kids with early morning classes. Narinder had pulled out his phone, and Andy listened discreetly as the young man ordered a taxi for his three very drunk friends. He also took the opportunity to motion to the waitress, and pass her a credit card and a flirtatious smile, as well as whisper something lightly in her ear before she walked off.

Narinder hung up the phone, and tucked it into the back pocket of his jeans. Then he motioned the waiter over, who came back and held Andy's card out to him. He took it and jotted down his signature as Narinder smiled warmly up at the woman with - oddly enough, an almost identical flirtatious smile.

"I will take the rest of the bill for these gentlemen, Miss."

"Oh, thank you sir, but your friend already took care of it."

Narinder looked at her questioningly, and she nodded with a polite smile at Andy, who only shrugged casually and smiled at the woman. Nari hid his startled expression, and smiled again at her, nodding.

"Ah, my mistake. Thank you very much then, you have been most kind." He watched her walk off, and turned to their new acquaintance, smiled politely at him, if a bit puzzled. "That was not necessary - your company was pleasure enough, Andy."

"As was yours, Narinder, and money well spent in my opinion. Now.. perhaps we'd better get these other young men to their cab - I think we're the only ones sober enough to do it."

He flashed Narinder a grin, and the two handsome men stood up, helping the other three to their feet and out the door of the bar. Once outside, they flagged the taxi bus that the cab company sent out for these types of situations, and helped the remaining men into it. Narinder turned back to Andy, holding the door to the cab open for him.

"There seems to be plenty of room for another, if you need a ride. I will be walking, I think.. the night air is nice, and it will do me good."

"Would you mind if I joined you? I'm not going far myself, either."

Narinder nodded then, and closed the door, motioning the cab driver off and waving a short farewell to his friends. Then he stood, and gestured aimlessly at Andy, motioning for him to indicate a direction. He did, and it was the direction of Narinder's nearby apartment anyway, so the two men fell into step next to each other, and for a couple minutes they walked in silence, absorbing the feel of the cool air and the sounds of busy city life. Finally, the other man paused, and waited for Narinder to stop, and turn around to look at him. Then he nodded approvingly, and smiled.

"Yeah.. I think you're gonna do nicely, kid."

Narinder's brow furrowed slightly in confusion, and he studied the other man intently for a moment, wondering if he'd had more to drink than he though he had, or if perhaps he was a bit of a lightweight.

"I'm sorry - I am afraid I don't understand."

"You will. I'm not here by accident.. but you know that, don't you Narinder? I'm here to talk to you about something.. something important."

Nari studied the man for a long moment, gauging his emotions and his attitude. He didn't seem drunk, not even a bit tipsy - either that, or he was the most level-headed drunk Nari had ever met. And he knew when people were lying, it had always been like a sixth sense to him, even as a child. His mother had loathed it, it had made the little fibs that so many parents told their children to make life easier nearly impossible for her to rely on.

"Very well. What is so important that you would seek me out for? And for that matter, why approach me in such a manner, with my friends and classmates, instead of in private? Surely my number is not so hard to get, half of Boston must know it for one purpose or another."

Andy smiled at that, a mischievous grin that mirrored Nari's own, though he didn't realize it just then.

"Because.. I had to see if you were ready. If you were the man you need to be, in order to become the godling you are."

Narinder leveled his gaze at the man, and a rare scowl flickered across his features.

"You don't look drunk, but you speak like one who is. There is a time for riddles, and a time for truth. You imply that this is the latter - so go on. Speak it."

"So straightforward, to the point. You get that from your mother.. not from me. But maybe it's better like that.. we don't have eternity for games, not anymore. I'm your Dad, Narinder."

The handsome half-Indian man paused at that, his eyes narrowing sharply. Annoyance, and even a bit of anger flickered in his eyes, but he pushed it away, forced it somewhere else for now. It didn't serve the moment.

"You're lying."

"Am I?"

"You're too young."

"Ah. Is this better?"

His features shifted then, changing and morphing into a similar face, but one even younger than the one he wore now, one Narinder's own age, and more familiar to him than Nari could have possibly dreamed. Parts of it similar in shape - the angle of his eyes, and the curve of his lips - to the face he saw in the mirror. Even the thick curls that his mother had tried so hard to tame when he was younger before giving up and cropping his hair short. He wore it longer now, thicker and curlier like the man standing in front of him.

More than that, though, he'd seen this man before. He carried a picture of him in his wallet, one of the only pictures his mother had from her time with him. She'd told him once, as a child, that his father had been the best friend she'd ever had, and that she wished she could see him one last time to thank him - without him, she wouldn't have had Nari, and she wouldn't have had her life. And she wouldn't have traded it for what she would have had instead, not for all the riches in the world.

Narinder stumbled back slightly, and the man who claimed to be his father reached out, catching him by the shoulder. His expression was sympathetic, if not contrite, and he waited until his son had steadied himself, and forced back a nervous smile. He grinned at Narinder then, trying to cut the tension with something disturbingly like Nari's own playful banter.

"C'mon, kid - pick your jaw up off the floor. What are you, an audience or a mosaic?"

Narinder shook his head in confusion, the scowl flickering across his face again at the other man's flippant attitude.

"What? What are you talking about?"

"Nevermind.. I heard it in a movie once."

"Who - who are you, then? I mean - my mother knew you as one man, and tonight you claim to be another. What is your real name, and.. what are you, to change your face, your age?"

The man nodded then, squeezing his shoulder lightly before letting go.

"Come.. let's keep walking. You'll need the air.. and there is much to tell."

Narinder nodded, tucking his hands into his pockets and stepping back into stride with the other man.. with his father. Indeed, there was a lot to talk about. More than Nariner could have ever imagined.

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