Stay Strong

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Chapter 14

I was hoping that everyone had forgotten about my argument with Sonia. But I have no such luck. As I was walking to my locker I heard some people talking about me. Two girls were standing a few feet away from me when they started whispering.

“That’s her. The one who tried to attack Sonia,” one whispered.

“She’s mental,” her friend whispered back.

“How do you know?”

“Sonia told me after their fight. Thank God Landon was there to protect Sonia.”

“They make such a cute couple, don’t they?”

I turned my head and glared at them. They scampered away, no doubt to talk about me even more. I rubbed at my temples. I don’t want to deal with all of this today. After I grabbed my stuff out of my locker I started to look for Vanessa and Bryson.

I saw Vanessa flaming red hair and made my way over to her. Then I saw Bryson and he was laughing at something. And then I saw Landon laughing with him.

When Bryson saw me he stopped laughing and a huge smile broke out on his face. I smiled back and stopped beside Vanessa who threw her arms around me and hugged me tightly. I hugged her back and then looked at Landon who looked very uncomfortable. I decided to mess with him just a little bit.

“What are you doing here?” I snapped, crossing my arms over my chest. He rubbed at his neck awkwardly, shifting from one foot to the other.

“I... I, um,” he mumbled.

“Well? Spit it out.” I tap my foot impatiently.

He took a deep breath and then, “IhadnothingtodowithwhatSoniadidthatday.”

I blinked. “What?”

“I had nothing to do with what Sonia did that day,” he mumbled.

“I figured you didn’t. I’m just being mean,” I shrugged. He sputtered and then looked down at his feet with a small smile on his face.

I turned to Vanessa who had a creepy grin on her face. I decided to ignore the way she was looking between Landon and I. “What did I miss Friday?”

She shrugs, “Nothing much. But just so you know, you’re a nutcase.” I smirk and shrug.

“It took the school population long enough to figure it out,” I carry on with her.

“Sonia can be creative, I suppose. But...,” I spare a glance at Landon who was watching our conversation, “why hasn’t she said anything else?”

Bryson laughs loudly, “She’s probably scared you would beat the shit out of her if she did.”

“What are you talking about?” Landon speaks up.

“It’s...,” I take a deep breath, “about my childhood. It’s not something everyone needs to know. I waited years to tell Vanessa, Bryson, and Sonia and they are my closest friends. Or...well Vanessa and Bryson are my closest friends.”

He nods his head in understanding right as the bell ring. We all wave goodbye to each other and then head to class.

I tap my pen against the counter as I stare at the clock. It was a Friday and there was a football game at the school so the diner was going to get busy.

I can’t seem to focus on my work though. All I can think about is Gavin Graves and the damned DNA test.

“Earth to Aspen! Come in, Aspen!” someone yelled next to me. I turned to look at the person with a glare and realized it was Eddie.

I quickly wiped the glare off my face. “Sorry. What’s up?” I ask as I tuck my pen back into my apron pocket.

“Did you not hear anything I just said?” He sighs at the sheepish look on my face before repeating himself, “You’re training someone today. Landon, I believe the boy’s name was.”

A week ago I would have rolled my eyes and gotten annoyed but I didn’t mind so much now. I guess he was growing on me. Maybe like mold...but still growing on me. “Alright,” I shrug.

“He’ll be here around nine tonight. His shirt and apron are in my office. He will be a waiter so I need you to show him the ropes,” Eddie called over his shoulder as he walked back into the kitchen.

I rolled my shoulders and took my table that just sat down.

It was eight thirty when Landon walked through the doors.

He looked around the diner before his eyes landed on me and he walked over, a big smile on his face.

“I heard you got the job. Congrats.” I tip my head down slightly.

“Thanks. So, are you the one training me?” he asked, leaning against the counter as well. Our faces were less than a foot apart.

“As a matter of fact, I am. Come with me,” I pushed off of the counter and walked away. He quickly followed me through the kitchen and into the break room.

“This is the break room. Over there are little cubbies that we can keep our stuff in, the door beside that leads to the bathroom, and that door there leads to Eddie’s office. Wait here a moment.” I slip into the office and get his outfit and name tag and bring it to him. “We can’t go into the office unless we have Eddie’s permission. Show up at least ten minutes early. Before you clock out ask Eddie or one of the managers.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.” Landon saluted.

I rolled my eyes and show him how to clock in before telling him to go change.

“ isn’t going to try and sneak into the bathroom or anything, will she?” he whispered, looking around like the person in question was going to jump out of nowhere.

“No. She’s avoiding me like the plague. Besides, she quit. Do you want me to stand guard, will that make you feel better?” I ask sarcastically.

He smiled broadly before saying in a terrible British accent, “If you would be ever so kind.” I rolled my eyes again and pushed him into the bathroom. That boy is strange.

A few minutes later he came out. “Let’s go.”

I showed him around the diner before Vanessa called that I had a table.

“Okay. So the next part is simple. And don’t worry about not being able to remember items on the menu. Just explain to your customers, if you feel the need, that you’re new. I’ll take a few tables and show you what to do then you’re going to take some and I’ll be there to help you. And if you feel comfortable, you can take one by yourself after that,” I explain as I tied my apron around my waist. He nodded his head and followed me to the table.

It was an older couple and they seemed to be in a good mood. “Hello, welcome to Eddie’s Diner. What can I get you to drink?” I ask with a smile on my face.

“Hello, dear,” the elderly lady smiled up at me. “I would like a coffee please.”

“I would like a coffee as well,” the man opened the menus I sat on the table.

“Alright. I’ll be right back with your drinks,” I smile at them and walk back behind the counter.

“Once we die down a little I’ll show you how to make more coffee, tea, and stock drinks,” I told him as I showed him how to portion the coffee.


I showed him the ropes for a few tables before he took tables himself. I sat back and let him do his thing when someone entered the diner.

I tensed as Sonia approached the counter where I was standing. Her eyes were watering and her mouth was opening and closing. She shook her head before huffing a sigh and walking back out of the door.

I looked at Vanessa who was working the cash register. I was sure the confusion on her face mirrored my own. I shrugged my shoulders and shook my head.

“Did she say anything to you?” Landon asked, anger tinting his voice.

“Why do you need to know?” I demanded.

“You don’t have to tell me. I just wanted to know if she said something to hurt you,” he snapped back.

I took a step back. Why was he getting angry at me? What did I do? Who I talk to is my business, not his. I was tempted to tell him just that but I could detect the worry that his anger covered up. That didn’t mean I had to be nice about how I told him. “She didn’t say anything to me, if you must know,” I said with loads of sarcasm.

He rolled his eyes and continued his work. I rubbed at the back of my neck and rolled my shoulders. I guess I shouldn’t have been that mean. Well, what’s done is done. I would apologize to him later after explaining to him that my business was my own.

A few more minutes pass when someone else sat down at one of my tables. I tied my apron around my waist and headed towards the table, hoping my work shift ends soon.


Here’s the first chapter of three that I’ll be posting today. Enjoy!

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