The Negotiator


While I tried to capture my nephew, Avery, in photos the other day, his older brother Raine made it clear that I would not be doing so with him. Ten, going on 16, as his mother says, Raine informed us that we would not be photographing him. I did, however, manage to snap an image or two, none of which do this beautiful boy justice.

Blonde and blue-eyed, Raine, is as smart as he is handsome, which he clearly illustrated while we were apple picking. He is also clearly a good businessman and negotiator. First, he finagled me into offering him $25 to take his photograph for one of my future collages. "I never have any boys in my collages," I complained. "Would you let me take a picture of you in a nice dress shirt and suspenders?"

"Would I get to keep the suspenders?" he asked.


"Cool, I always wanted suspenders," he announced. "But how much would you pay me?"

"Pay you?"

"Yeah, you'd have to pay me!" he said.

"How much?"

"Twenty-five dollars and I might," he said. "And, I'd get to keep the suspenders!"

This negotiation concluded, I later found myself indebted to Raine again when I lost my sunglasses just before leaving the orchard. Raine and I went back to search for them while my sister-in-law remained in the car with the other two kids. After searching the rows of Gala apples where we had spent the most time, I sent Raine back to the Macs to see if I left them there. A few minutes later his long, jean-clad legs came charging out of the orchard followed by the rest of him; my glasses clenched in his fist. "They were hanging from a tree," he said.

"I owe you," I declared.

A half hour later we were eating pizza when Raine looked across the table. A killer smile slowly spread across his face. "How much do you owe me?"

"What?" I asked, grinning back. I knew where this was headed.

"For your glasses? How much do you owe me for finding your glasses."

"Um, I don't know," I laughed. I watched Raine's smile grow. He has the type of smile that just grows and spreads in Cheshire Cat fashion.

"You said they're prescription. Just think how much more you would have had to spend if I didn't find them," he argued. "Isn't it worth $15 or $20?"

Needless to say, when I returned home last night my wallet was $15 lighter. My nephew Raine may have an innocent face, but he knows how to seal a deal. He is a charmer and I'm not sure any of us are ready for when he is actually 16. Just think how much damage those blue eyes and Cheshire cat grin can do by then. Just imagine who else he will charm.