Cara drove to Morehead on Monday morning for her interview at the Midland Rock Tavern with Sandy Cannon. On Friday, when she had been there with her mother and grandparents, she’d commented on the service being a little slow. Apparently, the waitress mentioned her comment to Sandy, the owner. Sandy came out to make sure everything was okay and apologized for the service being a little slow. She explained that the business had grown quicker than she’d expected and she was trying to hire new staff to keep up with the popularity of the restaurant.
On the way back to her grandparents’ house that night, Caroline mentioned that Cara could make a little extra money over the summer if she decided to help Sandy out. Cara had been working as a waitress for the past two years while going to college. She knew her way around a busy restaurant, and her mother was right, she could use the extra money.
Cara called Sandy Saturday and asked if she was still looking for servers. Sandy said yes. Cara sent her a copy of her resume via email, and Sandy asked her to come in for an interview on Monday morning.
The drive was right around twenty minutes. Highway Sixty was not busy at all. Her grandfather said he suspected it would be busier during the holidays and after school started because of Morehead State University being not far from the restaurant. Cara wasn’t worried about how busy the traffic would be after school started. She would be in Richmond, and she was sure the traffic there would be much busier than it was in Morehead.
Caroline said that Cara could use her car to get back and forth to work. She was taking the summer off and just hanging out with her parents. Cara’s grandmother was keeping her mother busy creating gardens around the house.
The gravel parking lot was almost empty when Cara pulled into a spot close to the front door. There was an older model Chevrolet truck that looked completely rebuilt with a shiny new metallic blue paint job. The only other car was a new black SUV.
Cara walked up to the front door and pulled on it. It opened, and she stepped into the empty restaurant. Sandy stepped out from the kitchen and created Cara warmly. “Hi, Cara! Glad you could make it. Would you like some tea?”
“Sure,” Cara said, remembering the tea had been very good Friday night when she’d been there with her family for dinner.
Sandy poured them both a glass of tea and went to one of the empty booths close to the front door. “Your resume was very impressive for such a young woman,” Sandy said.
Cara smiled shyly. “I have to credit my mother. She instilled a good work ethic in me.”
“She did a fantastic job,” Sandy said. “I spoke to your three other employers, and they had nothing but good things to say about you.”
Cara couldn’t help but beam proudly. Being a waitress was not her life ambition, but her mother had always taught her to be great at what you are doing because all things lead to a point in the future. “I’m glad to hear that,” Cara said still smiling.
“Well, I’m more than happy to give you a job here. I understand it will only be for the summer, but I suspect that will be our busiest season.”
“You never know,” Cara said. “Once the students get wind of how good the food is here, you may be busy year round.”
“Well, thank you for that vote of encouragement,” Sandy said.
They spent the next few minutes working out Cara’s schedule.
Elliot watched from the kitchen in horror. Cara Marshall was going to be working right under his nose. He called Mark. When Mark didn’t answer, Elliot called Dana. “What am I going to do?” he cried after he’d explained to Dana what was happening.
“You’re going to remain calm,” Dana instructed. “This is a good thing. You’ll be able to keep an eye on her, and we’ll know where she is for the summer. The Fourth of July meeting of the Cobras was canceled. Apparently, the leader’s wife suddenly became very ill so he couldn’t go away for the weekend. We’re sure they are going to meet sometime this summer. There have been arrests in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Louisville that have shaken up the leadership of the Cobras. We’re certain they were getting together for the Fourth to discuss how they were going to deal with the problems that have cropped up.”
“But, what if they don’t meet here?” Elliot wanted to know. “And what if I have to testify before the summer is over?”
“We’ll just have to take it one day at a time, Elliot,” Dana said. “Just keep a watchful eye out. Your father was tracking her. He may decide to go after her. It will be up to you to keep her safe if you can. Until I get new data from headquarters, this is all I know right now.”
Elliot let out a heavy sigh. “Okay, just let me know if anything changes.”
“I will, Elliot. I promise. Just try to stay calm, okay?” Dana pleaded.
“I will,” Elliot promised.
Elliot put the small phone away just as Sandy was coming into the kitchen with Cara in tow. “Cara, I’d like you to meet Elliot Cross, our head cook, and master entrée creator,” Sandy said. “Elliot, this is Cara Marshall our newest server.”
“Nice to meet you,” Cara said and held out her hand.
Elliot held up his hands revealing the fish scales and juices from where he’d been filleting fish. “I don’t think you want me to shake your hand,” he said with a laugh. “It’s nice to meet you too. Welcome to the team.”
Cara withdrew her hand and wrinkled her nose. “So the fish here really is fresh.”
“Oh yes,” Sandy said. “We get fresh deliveries every day. I buy from local fisherman as well.”
“That’s cool,” Cara said, thinking she should suggest that her grandfather looks into fishing for money as a side income.
Sandy continued giving Cara a tour of the kitchen and prep areas. She showed her where the final meals would be placed to be picked up and taken out to customers.
Steven came in the staff entrance in the back as Sandy was getting ready to take Cara through the drink prep area. “Well, hello there,” Steven said with a big smile.
“Cara, this is Steven Hardin, our bartender. Since you are under twenty-one, someone else will bring out any alcoholic beverages your customer’s order. Steven is also one of the local fisherman and hunters who help me get fresh fish and wild game. Steven, this is Cara Marshall,” Sandy said, putting a motherly hand on Cara’s shoulder.
“Nice to meet you, Cara,” Steven said taking Cara’s small hand.
Cara looked down at the rough, large hand encompassing hers. His touch gave her a creepy feeling, and she had to force herself not to jerk her hand from his. “Nice to meet you too,” she said, withdrawing her hand quickly and politely. She felt like she needed to sanitize it now.
“Come on, Cara,” Sandy said, leading her away from Steven. “Let me show you the rest of the restaurant.”
Steven stood leering at Cara until she was out of sight and then went to the kitchen where Elliot was still filleting fish for tonight’s entrees. “I see that the little filly that caught your eye is now in the corral.”
Elliot raised an eyebrow. “Filly? Corral? Really?”
“Just country folk talk,” Steven said, grinning at Elliot’s disapproving look.
“I’m from the country too, and we don’t refer to young ladies as fillies,” Elliot said.
“Oh yeah,” Steven frowned. “Where’d you grow up?”
“Lewisburg,” Elliot said, seamlessly telling the lie that was part of his made up persona. “West of Bowling Green.”
“Never heard of it,” Steven said.
“It’s on the other side of the state. Real small town,” Elliot said. “I lived with my grandparents on their farm, which was closer to Wolf Lick than it was to Lewisburg.”
“Humph,” Steven grunted and went to the bar.
Elliot did not like the way Steven had looked at Cara. He would definitely have to make it a point not to let Steven get her alone. Steven likes to brag about all of his sexual conquests and that he liked to be rough. Elliot was pretty sure Cara would shoot Steven down if he asked her out, but Elliot would keep an eye on Steven just the same.