Stay Strong

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Chapter 3

I stretch as I yawn. As my arms fall back down to my side, I readjust my white button-down.

I stand behind the counter as Vanessa walks past me with a tray full of food in her hand. She was mumbling something about impatient kids. I laugh to myself and shake my head. Vanessa and kids don’t mix.

The bell hanging on top of the door rang, letting us know that someone just entered the diner. I looked up and saw a blonde haired woman entered with a dark hair man following behind her who was looking down at his phone.

They sat down at one of my tables and I tie my apron around my waist before rubbing my eyes. I grab two menus and some silverware before heading towards the table.

“Hello, welcome to Eddie’s Diner. I’m your waitress, Aspen. What can I start you guys off with?” I ask as I take out my notepad and pen and sit some menus and silverware down on the red table.

“Hello, dear,” the woman smiled up at me. “I would like some coffee.”

“Sugar and cream?” She nods her head and begins to look at a menu.

I wait for the man to look up from his phone. He looked familiar now that I was closer to him.

“Son,” the woman tapped the table in front of the man’s face. He looks up and I almost groan. I can’t even escape him at work. It’s bad enough that it turned out he had three classes with me and now he shows up at my work? Can’t a girl catch a break?

“Hey, Landon,” I nod my head in greeting. He looks up at me surprised then a big smile spread across his face.

“You work here?” he inquired.

I bit back my sarcastic response and instead simply said, “Yep.”

“I might be coming here more often...,” he whispered, smiling up at me devilishly.

I rolled my eyes and smirked at him. “Sonia also works here.”

“Okay, maybe I won’t.” I laughed and shook my head at him.

“What can I get you to drink?”

“Pepsi, please,” he grinned. I nodded my head and walked away. As I was getting their drinks Sonia walked over to me, her eyes following Landon.

“Before you make their drinks, could I have his table?” she asked as she looked up at me with hopeful eyes.

I may care about my friends but I care about my sister too and I needed this money. “No, Sonia. You know I need the money.”

“Come on. Don’t be greedy,” she groaned.

“Sonia. I said no. You know that I need this.”

“But-”

“Drop. It,” I growled, grabbing the drinks and walking back to the table.

Landon watched me closely as I sat the drinks in front of them and told the lady, Landon’s mother, where the sugar and cream were on the table.

“Are you ready to order?” I ask as I grab my notepad.

“I would like the Dulux Burger with a side of fries,” Landon’s mother smiled up at me as she handed me the menu.

I wrote down what she wanted and tucked the menu under my arm.

“Landon, what would you like?” she asked, mixing her coffee. I looked down at him and found him watching me. His gray eyes seemed stormy and they made me feel slightly uncomfortable.

“Landon?” I asked, waving my hand in front of his face.

“Yeah?” he asked, jumping.

“What do you want to eat?” I laugh gently.

“Oh...um. I want a... BLT,” he said sheepishly, handing me the menu.

“Do you want a side with your food?” I asked as I wrote down his order.

“No thanks.” I nod my head and head to give their order to the kitchen.

I walk through the blistering hot kitchen and read out the order to Eddie who was manning the stove.

As I walk back to the front room of the diner, I find some other people sitting in my section. I roll my shoulders and walk over to the table.

It was a group of four boys a little bit younger than me. I greet them and ask what they wanted to drink, ignoring their stares. I bring them their drinks and take their food order. As I was walking away I heard them say something perverted. I roll my eyes and ignore them.

As I bring out my other table’s food I see Landon glaring at the group of guys who were sitting across from him, behind his mother.

“Here’s your food,” I say as I set the food down in front of them.

“Thank you, dear.”

“Hey, Landon,” I whisper, leaning closer to him.

“Yeah?” He turned to look at me, jumping slightly when he saw how close I was.

“You might want to stop glaring before they realize that you are and a fight breaks out. I’d hate to have to bail your ass out of a fight,” I smirk, pulling back.

He rolls his eyes, a small smile playing on his lips as he began to eat.

As I walk back to the counter, Vanessa jabs me in the side with her elbow. “He’s interested.”

I roll my eyes, rubbing my side. “What do you mean?”

“You’re not stupid but, sweetheart, you can’t see when you have a guy falling for you,” she laughs and walks away.

I shake my head. I just met the guy. There is no way he is interested. It doesn’t make sense. None at all. I pinch the bridge of my nose. I’m too tired to think about this.

I stretch and look at the time. It was only nine in the afternoon and my shift ended at five in the morning. It was going to be a long night.

I watched my tables, checking on them every now and again and when Landon’s mother seemed like she was almost done I walked over to them.

“Is this going to be all for you?”

“Yes,” she smiled up at me as she grabbed her coffee cup.

“I’ll be right back with your check.”

I quickly go grab their check before heading back to their table. “Here you are,” I say as I hand her the check.

“Are you still hiring?” she asked as she signed the check and put her credit card with it.

“Yes, ma’am. Do you want me to bring an application?” She nods her head as she finishes off her coffee.

I go to the cash register to run her card and almost drop the check when I read the tip she left me. “Is the tip that bad?” someone asks from behind me.

I turn around and come face to face with Eddie. “Um...no. But I’m going to go ask her if she meant to leave me this much.”

“How much is it?” he asks, looking over at the table.

“Sixty dollars,” I tell him as I walk away, picking up an application on the way. Sixty dollars was way more than what their food cost. And it was way more than a twenty percent tip.

“Here you are, ma’am.” I put the application on the table.

“Was there a problem with the card?” she asked, nodding her head to the card still in my hand.

“Oh... no, ma’am. Just... um... did you mean to put that much down as a tip?” I ask, slightly confused.

“Oh, is that what was wrong?” She laughs. “That is the right amount.”

“Oh. Well, thank you. That is very generous.” I go back to the cash register and run the card before bringing her the receipt and her card.

“Have a nice night,” I say as they stand up to leave. Landon’s mother smiles at me, thanking me and Landon smiles and waves bye, saying that he’ll see me in class before they turned to walk out of the diner.

“Bye, Landon!” Sonia called from behind the counter. I held back a laugh as Landon ducked his head and walked faster.

I shake my head and go back to the counter to talk with Vanessa who was shaking her head. “That boy is going to tear you two apart.”

“Why do you say that?” I look at her and found that she was still staring at Sonia who was glaring at me.

“Sonia likes him. A lot. But he doesn’t like her. He is starting to like you,” she said, turning to look at me.

“I don’t have time for a relationship. Sonia knows this.”

“She doesn’t care,” she nodded her head toward Sonia who was talking with one of her tables. “She likes that boy and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have time. She wants him. But he doesn’t want her. Be careful, Aspen. I don’t want you two to get hurt.”

“I know Vanessa. Don’t worry. I hope Sonia doesn’t decide to stop being friends with me. But Landon seems like a nice boy. While I may not have time for a relationship, that doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore him.”

“Just... don’t encourage him if you’re not interested. It’s better for everyone involved.”

“I know,” I roll my eyes.

“On a much lighter note,” she smiles, flipping her bright red hair over her shoulder, “Bryson, Sonia and I are going to the mall tomorrow, you in?”

“I’m in. I need a break.”

“Good. You’re our ride,” she laughs.

I laugh with her. “Of course I am.”


I pull into the driveway and get out of the car. I unlock the front door before shutting it and locking it back. I head to my room and grab some pajamas before heading to the bathroom and taking a quick shower.

I get out and dry off then change into my pajama shorts and my tank top before heading back to my room. I crawl into my bed and look at the ceiling.

Candice is hopefully sleeping soundly in her bed at Lorelai’s. I hope she has fun this weekend. Lorelai is a good grandmother to Candice, even though she blames me for the death of her daughter, my mother.

I remember the words she said to me one day after my mother died.

“Because of you! All because of you! Hector didn’t want a step-child and everyone knew it and when Monica refused to get rid of you, he killed her!”

Her thinking was irrational, but at one time it made sense to me. She made me believe that it was my fault. I eventually understood that she needed someone to blame and she already didn’t like me too much so it made sense for her to blame me.

I sigh and shake these thoughts from my head. They would lead me to think about the incident and I didn’t want to do that right now. I close my eyes and try to go to sleep. I had to go pick up everyone at eleven tomorrow. Slowly, sleep overcomes me and I drift off.


A/N:

Here is the next chapter! I planned on posting it yesterday but I never got around to it, but it’s here now! The next chapter will be up sometime next week, probably Tuesday but don’t hold me to it.

Let me know if y’all see any mistakes and I’ll try to fix them.

See you guys next week! Bye Bye!

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