“What were you?” he asks, finally. It sounds rude, but it’s just exasperation at his own inability to better craft the question.
“We were a lot of things. Friends, brothers, partners in crime.” His expression darkens, but I ignore it and continue. “James was everything I desperately wanted to be and never could: talented, intelligent, worldly. The only child of a family that prized art over logic and passion over peace and quiet. I stuck to him like a burr from the day we met, hoping some of his brilliance might rub off on me.”