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A Hundred Golden Suns

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I walked into my apartment, slipped off my Nikes and pulled my hoodie over my head. I sighed. Aiden was spread out on our sectional.  

“What you watching?” I asked as I walked into my kitchen and got some orange juice.  

“Just catching up on American Horror Story,” Aiden responded. 

“Hmm,” I said as I walked into the living room. I settle down on the couch and took out my iPhone. I propped my feet up on the coffee table. 

We sit in silence for a while. I’m scrolling through Instagram. Once I catch up I go to tumblr. “So, how was the date?” I heard Aiden ask. 

“Wasn’t a date,” I said looking at the tv. And it wasn’t. A customer that I had helped at work just kept coming back and back. “Maybe we can get coffee,” she had asked. “Sure,” I said. I had no problem with that. I looked over at Aiden now. “It was ok, I guess.”

“You guess?”

“Yeah.”

Aiden sighed and smiled. We had met back in third grade and hit it off. We were eight. Now at 22, we were roommates. Aiden was my best friend. He leaned his head back on the couch. “Just so you know, if you want to find your soulmate and feel that passionate once in a lifetime love you’re always reading about, you gotta, you know, give people a chance.” 

I gave him a look above my phone screen and kept scrolling through tumblr. He often said this. “I give everyone a chance. You know that,” I mumbled. It was true. I just knew right away, if someone was it or not. Why waste my time with someone who wasn’t it?

“No, I mean a real chance Timothée. Yeah you’re nice and friendly but I mean, on the romantic side, you’re so quick to cut people off!” I rolled my eyes. Aiden laughed. He told me my eye rolls were hilarious. When I asked him why he said it was because he knew I didn’t have a rude bone in my body and they were wasted energy but a nice try. “Look, Tim, dude, like give people at least three dates.”

“But if I’m not feeling it -“

“Dude get to know them!”

“I do!” I said. Aiden smiled and shook his head. “Look I only have a few non negotiable requirements for someone to get a foot in the door, ok,” I said. He knew this was true.  

“Right, right, right,” Aiden said quickly, sitting up. “The list of requirements!” He said. 

“Everyone should have one,” I said. 

“So your list for you to give a guy or girl a chance,” Aiden started to say. I was bi. Aiden had always been cool with that. “Ok, so first, a healthy love of movies,” he said. 

“Yes,” I replied with a huge grin. “Which means they will have a favorite movie and actor or actress.” 

“Yeah. They should have a political stance,” Aiden continued. 

“Yes because it’s 2018 and seriously, come on now,” I said, rolling my eyes yet again and sipping more orange juice. 

“A hobby,” Aiden continued. 

“A hobby of sorts,” I replied. “And I’m not even picky about it. You know? I have my socks and caps and that’s my little side hobby.” 

Aiden laughed. “And last but not least, must read books.”

“Yup,” I nodded. That was the biggest. That meant the most to me. “If it’s been twelve months and you haven’t read a book, you and I have nothing to talk to about.” 

Aiden turned off the tv. “And what did the girl today lack?” He asked. 

“She hadn’t read a book since she graduated high school three years ago,” I told him. “That and she said she didn’t know who Bernie Sanders was.”

“Shame,” Aiden said. 

“Indeed,” I replied. “She was quite cute,” I said and glanced at Aiden. “Till she opened her mouth and I ran for the hills!” 

 


 

The next day, Saturday, I had arrived at the mall an hour and a half before my shift at the Apple store started. I was determined to buy Christmas presents for my parents and was surprised when I saw a pair of earrings my mom had pointed out on a Zales flyer were on sale. I went inside and I also spotted a watch I knew my father would like. I went ahead and bought both and suddenly, I had an hour to kill. 

I needed to go to the bathroom so I went ahead. I was washing my hands and I wondered if I should just go ahead and get Aiden Red Dead Redemption 2 for Christmas. I looked myself over as I dried my hands. The bathroom was empty so I took my iPhone out, grabbed the bill of my cap and covered my face and took a selfie. I looked it over and posted it on Instagram.  

I was walking out when I noticed a wallet on top of the hand dryer. I picked it up and opened it. There was a drivers license inside. 

“Armand Douglas Hammer,” I read softly. “That’s a mouthful.” I whispered to myself. It said he was 6’5. I scoffed. “Yeah right, probably 6’2,” I said with a chuckle. I was 6 foot myself. He’s 32. Blond hair, blue eyes. There’s an address but it’s a P.O. Box. I looked inside and saw cash. Lots of cash. I shut the leather wallet quickly. It made me nervous. Was this one of those hidden camera tv shows? What Would You Do? I looked around nervously, wondering if there were hidden cameras in this bathroom. I looked at the wallet more closely. It’s a grainy black leather and said Burberry on the bottom right hand corner in white capital letters.

I exit the bathroom and sat on the bench practically in front of the bathroom entrance. I looked around. The wallet’s owner should be a 32 year old guy who’s supposedly tall as fuck, blond hair, blue eyes. He should be in a panic, looking for his wallet with all that cash inside of it. I sat there for 45 minutes but no one came. I got up and grabbed a smoothie then walked to the Apple store for my shift. The wallet tucked safely in my pants pocket. 

 


 

The next day, I composed a note. 

 

Mr. Hammer,

I found something that belongs to you at one of the bathrooms at the mall. I’m sure you’re eager to get it back. Give me a call or send me a text.

Have a great day!

 

I read it over. It’s the best I could do. If it wasn’t his P.O. Box anymore I didn’t want some stranger knowing I had a wallet. I’d ask for him to describe it. I provided my cellphone number and slipped the note in an envelope. I address it A. D. Hammer. I would run to the post office before my next shift at work. I put the wallet safely away in my bedroom. Hopefully that P.O. Box was still a current address. 

 


 

The following Wednesday, I’m at work, busy changing out yet another shattered iPhone screen when my phone buzzes in my pocket. Once I have a moment, I take it out and read the text I received. 

Hi! This is Armand Hammer. You found my wallet. Thank you! So much! I am indeed eager to get it back. Could we meet today?

“Huh!” I say a little surprised, a smile spreading on my face. I’m glad my note in the mail had worked. I got off work at 7 pm. I had to go home and get the wallet but I lived really close by. I started typing my response. 

Hi. If you don’t mind, could you describe the wallet for me

Yes! It’s a black leather Burberry wallet

Ok. It felt safe to meet him then, just had to make the meeting in a public place to be safe.

I can meet you at the mall at 7:30 tonight. Food court?

That would be great! Thank you!

I smiled and returned back to work. 

 


 

I arrived back at the food court at 7:27 pm,  wallet safely in the pocket of my gray hoodie. I looked around. I had taken a really close look at the ID in the wallet before I had gotten out of my car. I felt I would recognize Armand when I saw him. 

“Armand,” I said to myself softly. It wasn’t a common name at all. My eyes swept the bustling food court and then, I saw him. It had to be him. He truly was tall. He was looking around. His phone in his hand. My phone suddenly buzzed. I looked down. 

Hi! I’m here. Are you?

I smiled and bit my bottom lip and started walking towards him. As I got closer I took a better look at him. He was in a dark blue suit and tie with a black coat that went past his knees.  

I walked to him and ran my hand through my hair. I smoothed my bangs out over my forehead. “Hi, Armand?” I asked when I reached him.  

Armand turned quickly and laid eyes on me. He froze for a second. “Hi! Good Samaritan?” He asked.  

We both laughed. “My name is Timothée,” I said stretching my hand out. Armand took it. His hand was large and warm, firm in a gentle way. 

“Timothée, hi, please, call me Armie.”

“Ok, Armie,” I said. We kept shaking hands. Now, up close, I saw that Armie was quite handsome. He had sparkling blue eyes and wonderful golden hair that was perfectly combed to one side. It was nice and real short, a nice fade cut. It was... hot. Everything about him was hot. We held the handshake a bit longer than was necessary. We suddenly seemed to realize this and let go. My hand suddenly felt colder. 

“Oh!” I said, remembering the reason for our meeting. I reached into my hoodie and pulled out the Burberry wallet. I handed it over.  

“Oh, man!” Armie said. He opened it up. I saw him count the cash. I wasn’t offended by this, it would have been weird if he hadn’t done it. “Timothée! Thank you!” He said and embraced me suddenly. I chuckled and patted his back, my head rested on his shoulder. He smelled nice. He was so tall. His body broad. We stepped back and I swallowed. I slid my sleeves over my hands. “Please, let me, god, I don’t know? Buy you dinner? Have you had dinner?”

“No,” I said with a grin. “But it’s alright.”

“Please, please it’s the least I can do.”

I looked up into his eyes. They were so blue. Fuck, he was hot. Ok. Dinner would be ok. “Yeah, ok,” I said.  

“Great. One of my favorite places is here,” he said with a really handsome smile. I nodded and followed him inside the mall.