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“Why do you have to wear dress clothes to an airport?”
“It’s this business deal for my dad. A big client of his is coming over for a meeting, so we’re supposed to be all welcoming and sophisticated.”
“But why do you have to go?”
“It’s gonna be a family thing. My dad’s clients always get a better impression of him if they meet us and we seem like the sweetest people ever. Like, tomorrow, I’ll be taking the guys luggage and telling him I want to be just like him when I grow up.”
Arnold looked at Jake for a second.
“You’re Dudley.” He said matter of factly, without the slightest bit of hesitation.
“You’re Dudley. Dudley Vernon, Harry’s stepbrother.”
Jake looked ticked. For a harry potter fanatic like him, being called Dudley was like the world crashing in on him.
“No, it isn’t. You are Dudley.”
“No I’m not! Why would you even say that?”
“You’re going to the airport to pick up your dad’s business client. You’ve rehearsed what you’re going to do to impress him. You’re Dudley.”
“A million kids have business dads who make them impress their client. Are you saying all of them are Dudley, too?”
“No. Just you.”
“WHAT? Why me?!”
“Because you’re Dudley. I can see it in your soul.”
“Open up your mind, Jake. You live in a suburb where everyone’s houses are the same. You have a mother who’s the biggest gossip ever. Your dad is a big shot for some British company, and he has the family impress his clients for him. Don’t you remember the second book? Vernon had his client over, and Dudley was telling Mr. Johnson how he was his biggest inspiration when Dobby threw the cake?”
“Of course I remember! But that doesn’t mean-”
“It does, though. The basement’s your broken toy room, and you never have to do chores or anything you don’t like. Your parents worship you. And now you’re selling out so your daddy can make more money. Face it, Jake, you’re Dudley.”
Arnold’s words were making more and more sense. Still, Jake tried to cling to the dark of denial.
“You’re lying.” he said softly.
“You have servants, and you got $5,000 plus presents on your last birthday. And I know you counted the presents.’ Arnold shook his head “I bet you’re already been to Majorca. Have you? C’mon, have you?”
Jake’s lips trembled.
“Yes.” He squeaked. He looked crestfallen. “You’re right.” He gulped “I’m Dudley.”