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ExcerptThe thud and chink of beer bottles and glasses on the bar announced Dan’s return.
Hal shook his head. “Not tonight.”
“Oh, c’mon, man. Just one beer.”
Hal dropped his gaze to the glass he was still drying with a vehemence it didn’t deserve, avoiding his friend’s pleading stare. “Thanks, but I’m not in the mood.”
Dan made an exasperated sound. “Look, I know it’s nearly a year—”
Pain lanced into his chest. “Stop.” He looked up.
A frown creasing his tanned face, Dan glared back, but he shut up.
Hal sucked in a breath. He didn’t want to fight with Dan over this. The guy had stopped Hal’s life completely falling apart after last Halloween. “I know what you’re trying to do,” he murmured, and relief flickered in Dan’s brown eyes. “But I’m not ready to let it go.”
“I’m not saying you should, man. But how about getting back into some social interaction? You can’t spend the rest of your life as a recluse.”
“I won’t.” Hal smiled. Dan had no idea.
“Then come out for a beer.”
“Tomorrow then. I know you’ve got the Halloween shift off.”
Hal put down the glass he’d abused. “I’m busy.”
“Oh, yeah? Doing what? Trick or treating?” Dan scoffed. “What is it with you and Halloween? You never struck me as religious enough to find it offensive, but you don’t go out and have any fun either. So how come you always take the night off?”
Hal looked around the bar at all the tawdry holiday decorations, and debated how to answer. Maybe Dan thought he was a closet Christian or something. The truth would shock the hell out of him. Especially with what Hal had planned this year. “My...family don’t see it as something to joke about.”
“Oh. Strict Catholic or something?”
“Something like that.” Hal smiled at the thought of his parents taking Holy Communion. But let Dan interpret it any way he liked.
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