It was strange seeing someone he had thought he wouldn't see again, and seeing them now, after... what had it been?... twelve years?... His childhood friend had grown up... and up and up. He grinned when he was told that he was one to talk as far as changing went. He knew that that was true. He might not have done much growing upwards as Zee had, but his skin had gone through some serious changes, becoming far more colorful over the years. "You look great!" The compliment had been unexpected. He figured he would say something like, "walking canvas," or "pin cushion." He got a lot of comments about his appearance. Some where nice. Others... well... after meeting the sister he didn't know he had, she had referred to him as a mobster without batting an eyelash. Great, though, great was nice to hear. "Thank you." He replied with a grin for the other.
Asking how Zee was, he was met with a surprisingly honest reply. It was surprising as it was nice. He had considered Zee a good friend back in LA. But that had been, as he had said, twelve years ago. It was nice to think that Zee could still hold him in such high regard that he could talk about something so difficult. Still, his surprise didn't show. Billy had mastered the art of a calm exterior no matter what was going on on the inside of his head. So Zee had moved back to the state about the same time that Billy had moved to Mariet then. Maybe a little after. He remembered hearing about the car crash. Everything after that though? He didn't know much about what happened to Zee after that. He nodded his head thoughtfully as his listened, his eyes never leaving Zee, never for a moment letting the other think that he wasn't paying attention, because, well this was kind of an important thing. And even though it had been years since they had spoken, he was still a friend, and Billy would still treat him as such.
There were, of course, some obvious questions raised immediately. The biggest being, what had his brother done. He remembered the two not getting along. But what could he have done, or caused that would have caused his family to fracture. The concern crossed over his calm expression. But before he could think to ask, or how he would go about asking, Zee was apologizing to him. Billy's eyes widened and he shook his head. ”God I hope you can forgive me…” "Of course I do." He knew better than most the struggle of talking about difficult things. There was no guarantee that Billy wouldn't have withdrawn from his friend, even if he had stayed, after he had received his diagnosis. He had tried to keep Melanie, but she had pulled away from him of her own choice, and after that he had all but given up on the rest. Charlie... Charlie was the same as him. And that was why she had been able to stay in his life... well... until hers ended.
Then the question was reversed on him. And it didn't seem fair to simply tell him that he had been fine and good when his childhood friend had been so honest and trusting with him. He paused for a moment, trying to think of how he could put the last twelve years in to a summary, when there were several topics that he wasn't used to talking about. "Hold on, one second, let me just..." he walked over the his ruined painting. "Let me stick this in my mom's office. And then we can walk and talk. Or find a cafe to catch up in." He held the canvas in one hand and walked across the gallery to his mother's office, retrieving keys in his other hand. He opened the door and walked in, slipping his painting against the wall. He couldn't take it home with his motorcyle. He didn't even know what he would do with it once he did get it home. But for now, he closed the door and locked it behind him and then made his way back to Zee. "I always think better on my feet, you know? Walking and talking." he nodded towards the door and headed forwards, holding it open for Zee before letting the other walk out ahead of him. That had been part of it. The other part was just that talking about his own past in his mother's gallery just felt strange. He knew she had left, but he felt like she might pop up at any moment.
"I'm glad to see you, Zee. It's been a rough couple years." he told him, as he started heading down the sidewalk. "Have you been to the bakery up the street? Their stuff is damn good and from what I remember, your sweet tooth rivals mine." He was aware that as he was talking, he wasn't doing much talking about himself. He settled into an easy pace as his walked beside the other man. His next comment wasn't about him either, but about the other. Not because he was trying to avoid the question this time. But because he was genuinely curious. "What did your brother do?" He asked, looking up at other, eyebrows furrowed in concern.