“You know what they say,” Amelia said. “Friends make the best business partners.”
Grayson furrowed his brows, tilting his head to the side. He pursed his lips together shaking his head. “I’m pretty sure that’s not how the saying goes at all.”
Amelia shrugged and turned her attention back to the notes in her binder.
“In fact, I think it’s the opposite.” Grayson pointed his index finger in the air. “The saying goes you should never do business with your friends. I think it ruins the friendship or something like that.”
Amelia cast her friend a side glance briefly looking away from her writing. She continued to move her pen across the paper and didn’t bother to say a word. She thought it was a great idea and was so excited to tell her best friend about it. She didn’t quite understand why he wasn’t as excited about it as she was.
Amelia and Grayson grew up next door to each other. He had moved to the neighborhood when he was six and she was five. They played together once in a while when one of the neighbors had a block party or there was a pool party. One harsh winter, the neighborhood had a blackout for an entire day and Grayson’s parents invited the whole neighborhood over for a bonfire. They grew pretty close with one another and, like their families, they had been there for one another through thick and thin.
She would even start a business with him if he had wanted to. Though it didn’t seem as though he’d go for the idea even if she had asked him about it first.
“Did you hear me?” he asked.
Amelia looked up from her binder. “Yes, I heard you.”
“And what else is there to say?”
Grayson folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the side of Amelia’s desk. He towered over her especially when she was sitting. She didn’t have a large bedroom either so Grayson often looked like a giant when he came through the door.
“What makes you think you and Gemma can run a business together?” Grayson asked.
“Gemma and I are pretty close.” Amelia put her pen down and turned around in her chair to look up at the tall man before her. “We both have a love for crafting. We each bring different talents to the table and together we can create awesome things.”
“Okay, I agree with that,” Grayson replied.
“See?” Amelia smiled.
“But that didn’t answer my question. I know what you guys can do and what you can do together, but what does crafting have to do with the business side of things?”
Amelia sighed. “Why are you against us starting a business together?”
“I’m not against it,” Grayson said, standing tall again and holding his hands up in surrender. “You know I support you in all you do, even if I think it’s a dumb idea. I’m here with a broom and dustpan to help pick up the pieces if you fall apart.”
Amelia didn’t want to laugh at the last comment, but she had to chuckle. There were so many times Grayson tried to tell her otherwise with something and she’d do anyway and it would backfire. She was beginning to wonder why Grayson still talked to her at all. She had made quite a few stupid mistakes growing up.
“I’m only concerned because neither you nor Gemma know anything about running a business,” Grayson explained.
Amelia shrugged. “We can learn. There are loads of information on the Internet.”
“Neither of you majored in business in college. You went for education.”
“So, we’ll take a couple of classes.”
“What’s your backup plan if this business doesn’t work out for you guys?”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Grayson snorted. “Okay, fine. Let me ask you this one. What’s the number one complaint you always have about Gemma?”
Amelia opened her mouth and quickly shut it. She wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted her to say.
Gemma and Amelia had been best friends since middle school. They knew each other inside and out. Gemma had a few problems growing up. She didn’t have the best home situation and she was often a flaky mess. She especially had a tough time in high school. She’d often skip class or wouldn’t do her homework. She just didn’t care. It always bothered Amelia because she knew Gemma had so much potential but she would never apply herself. The two worked on group projects together and often times Amelia would do the whole thing because something would come up with Gemma. Something would happen with her parents or she’d forget to do her part of the project. It got to the point Amelia would do the whole thing and if Gemma remembered her part, great. If not, they were covered.
Amelia worried for Gemma though because she didn’t complete college. She didn’t get the grades because she missed so many classes most of the time. When Gemma approached Amelia about starting a side business with their crafting projects, Amelia was all over the idea. She loved the fact that Gemma wanted to do something with her skills and talents.
Grayson waved a hand in front of Amelia, snapping her out of her thoughts. He smirked. “You’re thinking about a lot of things you’ve complained about her, aren’t you?”
“No,” Amelia scoffed.
“You always told me Gemma is unreliable. What makes you think the two of you can run a business together?” Grayson continued on even though Amelia thought her tone of voice and eye rolls were making it clear she didn’t want to talk about this anymore.
She stood from her desk, closing her binder, and sat down on her bed. She looked the other way pouting like a child. “You’re right, I do always say Gemma is unreliable. But this was her idea and I’m happy she wants to do something with her life. She’s great at creating things with her hands.” Amelia smiled thinking back at some of the things Gemma had made for her. “My hat, scarf, gloves, and two blankets on my bed were created by her. She made me scrapbooks, picture frames, jewelry… she’s really great at various kinds of art.”
“I don’t doubt her ability,” Grayson said, sitting beside Amelia on the bed. “I’ve seen her work and I think it’s all fabulous. I only wonder how long it will take her to get bored with this business.”
Amelia pressed her lips together biting back a reply. When Grayson put it like that…
“I know you’ll do the research and learn how to run a business. Maybe Gemma will as well, but only in the beginning. Soon enough, you’ll be the one running the whole show. Soon enough after that, Gemma might not even complete her work. You won’t be able to count on her for a lot of things, I think.” Grayson continued with a hand on Amelia’s shoulder.
It was something he always did when he tried to have a serious conversation with her. It was also something, Amelia noticed recently, he did whenever he was right. It didn’t matter if Amelia listened to him or not. If Grayson had a conversation with her where he put a soothing hand on her shoulder, it always turned out later on that he had been right the whole time.
Amelia turned her neck to face him. She frowned. “I know what you mean and I hear you. But I have to at least try this with Gemma. She’s flaky, yeah. She’s unreliable as you said.”
“As you said,” Grayson corrected.
Amelia nodded. “I still can’t help but wonder if this will be a big break for her. She’s tried and quit so many things and every time she wants to do something new, I always encourage her because I think that’s what she needs. Maybe if more people encouraged her and believed in her, she might stick with something for longer than a few months.”
Grayson remained silent, which shocked Amelia. He always had to put in his two cents and for him to actually nod along and hear what she had to say about Gemma was great for Amelia.
“Gemma enjoys crafting. She’s always happy when she knitting a piece of closing or stringing some beads together into a bracelet. This is the first time she’s thought of doing something more with her crafting. Everything else has been school related or something she didn’t care about. She really cares about her art though. So maybe, just maybe, this will be Gemma’s big break.” Amelia finished. She looked Grayson in the eye and smiled. “I want to be there for you like you’re always there for me even when I make stupid mistakes.”
“Like right now.” Grayson chuckled.
Amelia laughed as well. “You don’t know that.”
Grayson shook his head. He let go of Amelia’s shoulder and laid back on her bed. “You’re right, I don’t know that. I don’t know Gemma as well as you do. I only hear stories about her from you most of the time. However, I still think you’re not making the right choice. I understand you want to be there for you, but you need to think of yourself as well.”
Amelia nodded. She too laid back on the bed lying beside her friend. “I get that. Part of me is excited to learn something new. I went to college and got a degree in education and I hate my job. I liked the idea of teaching, but now that I’m actually doing it… it’s not great. Starting a business will allow me to try something new. I’ll learn things out of my comfort zone. Maybe if this doesn’t work out with Gemma I’ll still continue to be a business woman and start something else. This could be a stepping stone for me.”
Grayson raised his hand and tucked it under his head. “Okay, I can go along with that logic.”
“We’re still young, Gray,” Amelia said. “We’re meant to explore our options before we become full-fledged adults.”
“We’re in our mid-twenties. We are adults.”
“I said full-fledged adults,” Amelia repeated. “Everyone knows in this day and age you’re not a true adult until your forty.”
Grayson laughed. “Somehow I don’t think it works that way.”
Amelia laughed along with her friend. “You tend to say that phrase to me a lot.”
Grayson sat up in bed and looked down at her. “Okay, I give you permission to start this business with Gemma.”
He wagged a finger at her with a smirk. “Don’t give an attitude. But also don’t say I didn’t warn you. I honestly don’t think this will work out. I’m here to support you and I’ll even be your first customer as long as Gemma doesn’t use ugly colors to create whatever her first product will be.”
Amelia sat up and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I appreciate you, Gray. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”
“Can I get that in writing? Because I see you going into business with Gemma and not me, your best friend.” Grayson leaned back, putting a hand over his heart as though he were offended.
Amelia narrowed her eyes while chuckling. “I thought you weren’t supposed to go into business with your best friends? It’ll ruin the friendship and I certainly do not want to ruin this one.”
Grayson’s mouth gaped open into a wide smile. “Oh, so you do listen to me! Also, you just admitted that you don’t care about ruining your friendship with Gemma.”
Amelia became serious as she defended herself. “That is not what I meant.”
“It’s what you said.”
“No,” Amelia shook her head, “I’m not worried about ruining my friendship with Gemma because the business will work out.”
Grayson sighed. “You’re very optimistic.”
Amelia grinned. “You never know what will happen unless you try. Anything is possible.”