3. Breakfast rush

3. Breakfast rush

A Chapter by Lynaelee

I began my shift by washing my hands and getting 12 pots of coffee started - three coffee pots at a time. I filled the nine warming crafts we had and left the three remaining pots on the burners. Even though this was a small town of barely 100 people, the restaurant was right off I-90 close to the Idaho border and was considered your-one-stop-truck-stop: hotel, gas station, restaurant, bar, and gift shop stretched out for the whole block; three separate buildings that were the heart and soul of this little town in Montana. I knew that before 7am, this restaurant would fill up twice and that coffee was going to be the staple that everyone requires to get through the day, especially my co-workers. I've never been fond of coffee; the smell and taste leave me feeling disgusted. I always tried to multitask. So as the coffee brewed, I filled up the areas that needed ice using five gallon buckets. Three sinks and two spare buckets for me and the waitstaff, the cooks' s prep tables each took two buckets to fill and needed a spare bucket. I turned on the stove and wiped down all the tables just to make sure no sticky residue got left behind. Then I set out ketchup, creamer, salt and pepper, and hot sauce on every table. Finally I place set every table for two people. When I finish my last round, I pour a cup of coffee and look at the clock. 5:55am. Perfect. Everything is ready to go. The head chef for the day, Joe -a robust man in his late thirties, with a slight gimp and a kind smile- walks in just as I put the coffee pot down. With a grin, I march over, hand him his coffee, and without saying a word I go back to my position at the front counter. I pour another cup of coffee and take it over to the gift shop and restaurant till. I haven't seen this worker yet, but know they'll be here soon. I spend the rest of my five minutes wiping down the menus. As Vanessa, the morning till worker settles in, I wave and smile at her. She holds up her coffee and smiles. 
Joe came up beside me and sleepily remarked, "I got to admit. If you were able to drain some of your cheeriness into this coffee, everyone would be set for life. I don't know how you do it." 
"Oh that's easy," I responded with smile and a wink. "I wake up an hour or more before you." 
"Stop!" He retorted. "So cheerful. Hurts my head." Just then, the first customer walks through the door. 
I look at Joe and giggle. "Well, let's see if I can hurt his head too! Go make yourself something to eat. Stove should be warmed up now!" Joe just shakes his head and walks back to the kitchen. I let my customer settle in for a minute before grabbing the coffee and a menu; it's a safe assumption that every table will require coffee7. Vanessa has somebody behind a paper at her counter too, otherwise the place is quiet. I see through the window that three cars just pulled in as well; as expected, it won't take long for the place fill up. As I approach the booth, I smile politely and proceed with my job of making sure he has a wonderful meal. The morning crowd slowly trickles in. I repeat my small pleasantries with each table; greeting them with a smile, offer them coffee, take their order, refill their coffee -or leaving a coffee craft for a larger table- bring their food out in a timely matter, and check on them regularly but not overly frequent. Halfway through his meal, I approach my first guest again with a fresh pot of coffee. "How is everything, sir?" 
"The meal is delicious. Perfectly cooked. My company is poor though. Won't you be a dear and sit with me while I finish eating? I think a pretty little date like yourself will take this dining experience over the top. I insist," he uttered with a hint of malice. I'm momentarily bewildered and my mind is racing to find an appropriate response, but things go foggy. 
"I'm so sorry, sir," I finally stammer out. "I don't mean to be rude, but I can't. I have to take care of my other tables. Excuse me." I turn away quickly and end up bumping into one of my regulars, Pat, spilling coffee down both of our shirts. At only the age of 22, Pat has seen more pain than I could imagine. He had signed up for the army right out of high school, was the sole survivor of his platoon, a leg amputee, and honorably discharged due to extensive injuries on the left side of his body. If you didn't know, you would never be able to tell. His tall, muscular frame never showed any sign of weakness. "I'm so sorry, Pat! Let me get you a rag," I genuinely expressed as my cheeks flushed with a hint of embarrassment and I wiped his plaid shirt with my bare hand, whisking away the coffee -that seemed to pool on his shirt but not soak in- onto the floor. Fortunately his tan and gray plaid unbuttoned, button up shirt seemed to have taken most of the coffee spill. His soft gray t-shirt underneath seemed to only have a few drops. Luckily, no one else seemed to notice my mishap. 
"It's okay, Annette. I can't feel thing on that side anyways. Go take care of your other guests. You have food in the window," he replied with a grin, making brief eye contact before looking over my head at the customer behind me; his smile never left but his gaze hardened and I instantly felt afraid. I nodded and walked around him. He fully turned toward the guest, and I watched Pat's body language go stiff, his face was stern looking. "Per the management of this place, I have every right to look out for the staff. You may think that you were just joking around with this young lady there, but you have no right to insist she does anything." I wanted to stay and listen, but knew I wanted the next table to have their food hot. 
As I got back to the waitstaff counter, I noticed that my hand holding the coffee pot was shaking uncontrollably. I put the coffee away, pressed against the counter, took a large drink of cold water, and inhaled deeply several times. Knowing I had to push on, I tried to ignore it. I grabbed the three plates in the window, put on a smile, and took them to the table they where they belonged.

Now all my tables had been taken care of, I needed a minute. I came back to my station and wiped down the counter as I looked over the floor, trying to place something I can do. Pat was still talking to my guest, but from his stiff stance, with his arms crossed, it looked like he could easily go into a full sergeant yelling mode. No one at the moment looked like they needed their ticket or a refill. Why did I feel like I was on red alert? I wasn't in any danger; the only person I feared was most likely still passed out at home. The guest's comment, while unnecessary and rude, wasn't the worse I had dealt with in this job. Joe noticed me wringing my hands and called me back to the kitchen. I shook out my hands and tried to clear the cobwebs that seemed to be forming in my head. I went into the kitchen, washed my hands and tried to see what needed to be done at the prep table. "How can I help, Joe?"
"No. Stop. I don't need help right now, you do. What's wrong, Dimples? There they are. You were missing them. You just aren't you if you aren't smiling. Now what's going on?" 
"I can't place my finger on it, but I'm nervous to be on the floor right now. But with the tension Pat's creating, I think I have to be. Plus, my hands won't stop shaking. And I'm dizzy. Something's off." I held up my hands for him to inspect them. He grasped them in between his for a moment, looked out the serving window, and sighed. 
"You just got another table. I'll go set them up. You eat something really quick, like toast, oatmeal, or some eggs. And give me the ticket for the customer Pat is intimidating; I'll take care of that tension. I'll be back in two minutes. Oh! And if you have another shirt, I would go change." I looked down at my coffee stained shirt, and grinned. Reaching into my apron pocket, I grabbed the guest's ticket, quickly added it up, and handed it over. 
"Yes. This is going to be a great day. Thanks, Joe," I replied over my shoulder as I made my way to the break room to search for another shirt. I find three: a double extra large black t-shirt - male servers and cooks wear those and I would swim in it, a small white button up top that's reserved for Saturday nights - I wouldn't be able to button it because of my larger chest, and finally a medium bubblegum pink t-shirt - just my size for the length. I could easily pull of wearing a small t-shirt, but I liked my clothes baggy. I hold up the pink shirt and groan. I hate pink! I barely wear the pink uniform I have at home for that reason. "It's just a shirt, hun. Besides, before too long, you'll either spill something else on it or forget you're wearing it," I mentally remind myself. When I take off my blue shirt, I realize that my shoulder was burned by the coffee. Looking carefully at it, I conclude it is probably not going to scar, but it will definitely be red for a while. I take a wet rag and wipe it down. I'm surprised I wasn't sore. I can live with that. As soon as I'm changed, I put my blue shirt in a bag and hang it on my hook. I glance at the clock. 6:27am. This is great start to a wonderful day! I scowl and begin chanting the mantra in my head as I pace the break room, "work is work. You've got this, girl. There's nothing to be afraid of here." After the fourth time repeating that phrase, I finally head back out to the front. Done with the chaos from the first half hour, I put on a smile and go to the new table to take their order. They are sitting in the booth right next to where my day started. Pat is now sitting at the counter, sipping on coffee, and my first guest is gone. I take the order, grab their menus, and then grab the dirty dishes off of the next booth. 
After dropping off everything and Joe begins cooking again, I finally turn towards Pat. "Are you okay, doll?" He inquired before I had a chance to say anything. I study him closely as he gazes upon me; in his eyes, I see worry and concern. I smile warmly at him and he gives me a half smile in return. 
"Yeah. I'm fine. Did Joe get your order?" 
"Not yet. Go make a round real quick. You have others to take care of. I'll be here when you get back," he replied sincerely. I smile gratefully at him. He understands my desire to be helpful and on the move. I tally up my tickets quickly and grab the coffee. When I come back, I feel like the jitters are gone, but I still feel on alert. "So slow morning, huh?" Pat jests. 
"Actually, yeah. I've only had about a quarter of my usual number of tables that I have by now. So what can I get you?" 
"Order up!" Joe declares. Startled, I turn around. It's too soon for the latest order to be up yet, and I hadn't realized I had another table. I look at the two pieces of wheat toast and give him a confused look. Joe smiled and shook his finger at me he said, "I told you to eat, honey. Now you will not take or deliver another order until this is gone. Pat, I need your help on this. She's still awfully pale and her hands are still shaking. Can't have my best gal falling now." I put my head down, silently giggle, and look at my hands. Sure enough, they're still shaking like a lonely leaf stuck on a branch attached to a car driving down the highway. 
"Gladly, sir!" Pat remarked, came around the counter, grabbed the plate of toast, placed it at the counter, and guided me towards the chair on the other side. I try to plant my feet and refuse to let him move me much. He shook his head and chuckled. "Right this way, ma'am. Your seat awaits." 
"I'm not getting out of this, am I?" I asked as I grabbed my water and walked around the counter. 
"No!" They both replied. "Now sit," Pat ordered as he pushed on my shoulders, making me sit down. 
"Yes, sirs!" I giggled, knowing it'd be fruitless of me to try and argue any more. "I guess it is a good thing I'm not very hungry. I'm glad you guys are watching out for me. Thanks." 
"Of course, honey! We restaurant folk are family. We just got keep the cooky ones -like you- in line. Pat, go grab a shirt. You have tables, son! Ut-uh. You sit, missy! Eat," Joe ordered as Pat ducked around the corner.  
"But I have tables to take care of too!"
"Annette, not until you eat. I'll call Linda," Joe warned. I sighed in defeat and he laughed at me.
"Are you sure you didn't siphon off some of my perpetual cheer? You're getting a little crazy, Joe! And letting Pat do my job? I'm hurt," I quipped with a smirk as I took a bite.
"Hey. You're practically on your own until eight. There's nothing wrong with accepting help. Plus, we're slower today and Pat knows this place inside and out. His mom was the ultimate breakfast buffet preparer, don't cha' know? And he's been waiting and busing tables or doing the dishes here since I've been here; 10 plus years now. It's okay to let people help you."
"Plus, whatever tips they give me will go in your jar. You're not losing any money today," Pat added as he came back out. I opened my mouth to protest. "Doll, stop. I never take tips when I help out. You know this. Although this is the first time I actually get to help you. So hush now, finish that toast, and accept our help." 
"Yes, boss," I replied sarcastically, but complied and took another bite. Two pieces of toast cut in half shouldn't take too long to eat, but I was panicking and therefore it took me longer to eat. I would take a small bite, chew and swallow, then take a drink of water, and look around. Three tables were now empty and needed to be cleared. Just as I was about to stand and clear them, Pat would come behind me and place a hand on my back or Joe would clear his throat. I was only a third of the way through my breakfast, but I was on the clock to work, not eat. "Joe, please, can I be done?" I begged as a table of five came in and sat down. He shook his head and I took another bite as I watched the army vet deal with customers and move around the table maze with ease. His left leg was not slowing him down at all; I hardly noticed a stutter in his gait and I was told it should be quite noticeable. I sighed and faced forward. "If you just focus on this simple task right now, 'Nettie, you can be back out there in a jiffy. Hurry up and finish so you can kick Pat off the floor and go back to work," I thought as I took a sip of my water. As he turned in another order, I looked down and started to giggle. With a raised eyebrow he looked me over. 
"Shall I call for the doctor, doll?" 
"No. I was just thinking how great it would have been if I grabbed that black shirt. Yes, I would have been lost in it, but then you would be stuck with this pink one! I considered it for all of a second and a half," I got out between giggles. 
"Haha. Yeah. This shirt would eat you. It's a little big on me, but that pink one. I'd rock it! I might rip it, but I'd rock it," he chuckled. "You're almost done, doll. Eat half of that last piece and you can have your job back. I'm famished after all!" 
"Is that okay with you, Joe? Or do I have to finish it all?" I asked hesitantly. 
"Of course, honey. Besides. Our guests seem like sour pusses when you don't take care of them," he replied with a grin. I just shook my head and took another bite. I enjoyed the playful banter of work. I zoned out while reflecting on that; before I knew it, I was trying to eat my thumb. I quickly cleared my spot, washed my hands again, and got back to work. I checked on my remaining tables, topped off coffee, and cleared dishes away.
"Now can I take your order?" I asked as I came back to the front counter. Pat looked up at me, concern etched in his face. He smiled, adjusted in his seat in a more casual manner, and gestured towards the floor.
"Yeah! Seven or so tables is too much for me, plus delivering food for you! Ech! I need a full on platter! You can put your pad away; Joe got my order as I was running around. That's my food there. But that's not what's on your mind. Is it, doll?" I shook my head, put my order pad back in my apron, turned around, grabbed his food from the window, and gave it to him. Then I gave him some peanut butter and huckleberry syrup to go with his french toast. As I was filling up his coffee again, I bit my lower lip, unsure of how I was to continue. He sighed, sat forward, opened the peanut butter, and spread it on his french toast. He kept his gaze on his food as he spoke, "you want to know why I was so aggressive with that guy and got you out of there, even though I know you are capable of handling the situation yourself?" Pat looked up at me again. His baby blue eyes pierced through me and I was frozen to the spot, remembering the fear I felt earlier even though it wasn't pointed towards me. I held his gaze -grateful it wasn't fierce and frightening anymore, just kind and friendly like I've always known it to be- and twisted my foot nervously. All I could do was nod. Pat gestured to Joe. Joe came into the front and stood beside me. 
"Lift your hands, honey," Joe ordered. I did as I was told; both hands were still shaking profusely. "Do you still feel dizzy?" I lowered my hands, shook my head, bit my lip again, and nodded. The two men exchanged glances. 
"What is going on? Guys?!" I exclaimed, looking between them. Joe patted my hands and went back into the kitchen. "No! Tell me what's going on. Pat, you've always been a straight shooter, don't hold back on me now. Yes, I'm dizzy, but it's not like I'm going to fall over dizzy, more of just the room is moving and I'm not. It's not making me disoriented or anything and I can still walk a straight line. Please tell me what's going on!"
"Don't worry about it right now, doll. We'll talk when I'm done eating. You're right, you seem to be just fine. Aside from the shaky hands and the constant worry that you're going to mess up something, I can't tell anything else is wrong with you; so that's good. Go ahead and do your job. Take your time, take more steps, don't carry out all the meals in one trip, and remember to breathe. Just don't panic and freak out. We'll explain everything when my mouth isn't full," Pat stated as he put as much as he could into his mouth, looked at me, and gave me a slight grin with puffed out cheeks. I thought I saw sadness in his eyes too. Confused, I gave him a small smile, walked away, and took care of the rest of my tables. As I was clearing a table, I saw my boss Linda, another waitress, and another cook talking to Joe in the kitchen. Now I was really confused. My help wasn't supposed to arrive until 8am, and it was about 7:20 now. Plus, the waitress was Bertie; she always had Fridays off. As I brought my dishes all the way to the sink, Pat followed me. Bertie went out the kitchen door and started to work the floor. Pat asked for all my tickets and asked me to go to the break room. I open my mouth to protest and he put one finger over my lips. "Don't question me. Just do it, doll. We're going to talk. Maybe we can give you some answers as to why you feel on edge." I simply nod and handed over my tickets. As Pat turns and walks away, Joe and Linda are in front of me. 
Linda, a kind older lady that is strictly about business and rarely smiles, gives me a weathered look and a small grin. There is no sparkle in her in her soft tawny eyes as she looks over her glasses at me. Her choppy, edgy, pixie styled, red hair looked like she had just gotten out of bed. Her look worries me. She gestures to the break room and I go in, taking a seat; they follow suit. "Am I getting fired? Did I do something wrong?" I asked earnestly. 
"No. I'm happy to have you working here," Linda responded nonchalantly as Pat walked in and leaned against the door frame. "You are a wonderful asset to this team and I love having you on staff. Now, you last worked Tuesday night, correct?" I nod. "Did you recognize your first table this morning?" I shake my head. She looked at Pat. "Oh. I see. Pat, care to explain?" 
"Sure. I did recognize him. He's was here during the late lunch hour Tuesday afternoon, right about the shift change; you waited on him and he stuck around long enough to order and eat two whole meals," Pat explained. I gasped as I looked at him, finally recalling that specific table; I had found it odd that he ate then asked me to get him another meal. I asked if he was waiting for someone and he smirked but didn't say anything. Pat nodded. "Yeah. You know. After he ordered his second burger, you got swamped with the big table and had to make seven different milkshakes before you could do anything else. I took his food out the second time and bused tables, but I could tell he was frustrated that you weren't coming back to check up on him; that really bothered me, doll. Everyone understands how busy you guys can get and how it's important that we all help each other out; most people don't mind as long as they get their food when it's hot. His eyes watched your every move and I spoke with the rest of the waitstaff and the hostess. I pick up on these people acting weird and try to keep the people like you, Jade, or Emily away from them. Matt and Christy were more than willing to take all the tables in that area, and you were kept busy in the back. You didn't even seem to notice that your tables were getting clumped together, but it worked and you still had the same number of tables as everyone else. Eventually  i brought him his second ticket. He barely acknowledged my presence, still looking at you. When you didn't even look back in his direction, that guest got bored and left, paying for both his tickets. I commend you for your helpful wit. I've noticed when you get too busy that you just leave the tickets at the counter so anyone can just get them their bill; many other waitstaff personnel have been taking your lead. I'm glad you didn't have to go back and talk to him. So anyways, he's been back three to five times a day since. Yesterday, he figured out when someone new came in, because that's when he was here. Maybe fifteen minutes early, but he would always be in a spot where he could see the door to the dry storage where all of the staff clock in and out of. I saw him here at 6am, 8am, 2:30pm, and 5pm for the busy dinner time yesterday and he jotted down the times, scowling every time some new came in and it wasn't you. I figured I would be here today at those times too if anything would arise, but he seemed bored with the rest of the staff. The way he looked at you was terrifying. I've seen it overseas mostly, but it was almost like he was looking at you like you were his property, and he would do whatever it took to talk to you, but, doll, I honestly don't think that talking to you was his intent. This morning, I positioned myself by the till, reading the paper. I was watching him, and he was watching you again. He pulled out a syringe and placed it under his napkin. When you came around with the coffee the last time, his napkin momentarily moved to his lap, then back to the table. That's when I started making my way over to you. When he insisted you sit with him, he moved and I think he got you-" 
"But I wasn't pricked. I would've felt it!" I interrupted as I looked down at my body in shock. I would've felt a needle being jabbed into me; I know I would have. I looked back up at Pat and shook my head. "He didn't. He couldn't. I'm fine. It. No. Can't. Not possible," I stammered. 
"Let me see your hands," Pat instructed. I held out my left hand. It was still shaking, just not as intensely. I shook it and rubbed it on my apron and drummed my right hand on the table beside me. "You never shake, quiver, or falter in your steps. Even now, we can tell you're worked up as you sit there bouncing your knee and tapping the table. We're not trying to scare you, doll. We just want you to know the whole truth," he explained softly. I bit my lip, folded my hands together, and put them in my lap as I tried to stop the movement my body was doing on it's own. Pat cleared his throat and I looked back up at him as Linda reached over and squeezed my hands tenderly. "You always seem to know when there's someone behind you. You crashed into me and spilled half a pot of coffee on us. You got dizzy. You told Joe something was off. He may not have pricked you, but you got sprayed by or you touched some sort of neurotoxin." 
"Okay. Wait. Never mind. We'll get back to that in a second. So why are you back here, Joe?" I was confused so I diverted my attention to him and pulled my hands away from Linda; I had issues with people touching me even if they were just being sympathetic and understanding. 
"I worked the past three mornings. I don't get a lot of time to see our customers, but Pat told his suspicions in the bar after I got off Tuesday afternoon. He would let me know when that guy came back in and I started to pay attention to that customer through my window. It was like Pat said, he seemed bored with the staff. Today, he lit up when you were here and waited on him, and like most of your customers, he seemed to have a hard time taking his eyes off you. It's like I told you, you're so full of cheer that it's contagious and people just want to be happy around you. However, that customer, his look scared me. I wish I could say otherwise, but it's exactly like Pat said, he was looking at you possessively. I could tell almost immediately that something happened with you. You were wringing your hands. That was my first clue. You always carry yourself with confidence, nothing rattles you. You have a little nervous tick with your hands sometimes by your hip, but this was different. You said something felt off. Your mental flags were telling you there's something wrong, but you couldn't place it; we couldn't tell you with him still here. I couldn't send you back out to the floor until he left; it was for your own protection. You're like my kid. I gotta protect you, and with Pat's stiff body language out there, I knew you couldn't go back out. I figured a shirt was as good of a way as any to keep you occupied and away until the guest left. I also remembered carbs help any situation. Plus, I never see you eat. So we made sure you would. Also, while you were changing, we asked Vanessa to direct traffic into the bar for food for a bit and Max agreed. That's why you were slower today," Joe explained apologetically. 
"Pat's mom was a close friend so I watched him grow up. His gut has never steered him wrong and he's really good about picking up threats that I didn't know were possible, like this one today. Since Linda was so good with what she did here, Pat would often come in and help out. Now unfortunately, Joanna passed away a couple years back, but Pat has always been my eyes and ears to this place; even when he was little. When he texted me the situation, I rounded up who I could and got here as quickly as possible. My staff needs to feel safe," Linda piped in. "Now based on the way these guys describe your reactions, you've clearly stopped whatever happened for now, although you still possess some symptoms. So I conclude the problem is on your other shirt. You are welcome to finish your shift, but these two will be watching you closely. Also, Josh will be your second today, not Emily; I had them switch shifts. Like Pat said, you, Emily, and Jade are my most fragile looking staff members. She'll be working with Matt tonight so if things go haywire, Matt can step up too. Josh is going to be watching your back the rest of the shift, but, Pat, I'm ordering you to stick close to Annette today," Linda voiced looking sternly at me. I opened my mouth to protest. "No complaints or arguments. If you're not okay with those terms, I'll send you home right now. If you feel uneasy, come back and wash dishes, restock, or get the prep table ready. I don't care as long as you don't stay on the floor. You can do that after giving Pat your order pad; he'll take care of your tables. But if you feel like it is just too much to be here, you can leave early. Pat will give me a head's up either way." I looked over at him and he nodded. I looked back at Linda before nodding and ducking my head to my chest. "Are you okay, Annette?" 
"Yes, ma'am. Thank you. I understand. I think. Just trying to wrap my head around this; it's a lot of information to process," I admitted as my eyes shot up again. I studied my boss carefully as I voiced my concern. "Will Bertie be sticking around too then? I don't want to rob you because you're having to pay for more people on staff when only two are ever scheduled in the mornings." 
"She is free to leave if you want to stay. Don't you worry about the business finances, that's my job. It's no trouble at all." 
"Thank you. I need a minute," I mumbled.
"Take all the time you need, Annette," Linda ordered as she and Joe left the room, Pat sat down in the seat next to me.
"Just let me know what you want to do, doll," Pat whispered. I looked up at him in shock. "Linda's orders, I'm sticking close by." I nodded. Right. Those blasted orders.
"I don't need to be baby-sat, Pat," I joked trying to see how much wiggle room he would give me. 
"I know. I feel very protective of you. Not just you; everyone who works here. You are a part of what makes this restaurant a great place to eat. There's a part of me that never wants to take my eyes off of you, because you look so fragile. Yet there's another part that knows you are capable of great things. You giggle and dance your way around this place and everyone notices it. I've seen a lot of guys look at you, but recently that guy has made the hair on the back of my neck stand up even more when he looks at you. You are more than a piece of meat to him, and I fear his intentions are not pure. I see many guys look at you up and down appreciatively; it's not hard to guess where their minds wander. Doll, with him, I know it's much more and I would hate to see you get hurt because a guest is too aggressive." 
"Oh please. I smile and am friendly, not exactly a beauty queen in the looks or perfect size departments. I'm shy and withdrawn. If I know you I'll open up, but I'm invisible. I don't turn heads. Guys don't want someone like me. Aggressive men don't scare me, and I've seen my fair share. I don't cause lingering looks. Yes, I get many lonely truck drivers that ask if I want to go meet their mother, but it's never serious. Guys don't notice me; I'm not what they're looking for," I argued. Truth was while I was asked out at least once a week, I didn't want a guy in my life. Most of the people who asked me out did it on a dare, and I wasn't going to be the butt of their jokes. Dating wasn't an option for me. Not now. I'd probably be content being single my whole life because there was no way I would ever feel comfortable sharing about my life; not until I felt safe from my dad - there was no way that would ever happen. I knew I wasn't right for anyone and I would never burden someone with my troubles. I stood up and began pacing the room, frustrated with the turn the conversation had taken. When I was close to the table again -after several minutes of pacing- Pat stood up and embraced me. "Guys don't notice me," I repeated in a whisper. It had to be true; I couldn't accept any other statement.
"Don't count yourself out, doll. You are more intriguing than you know. If you feel more than my eyes on you today, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, let me know. Even the smallest motion. I'll catch it. I've got your back." With that he kissed the top of my head. It reminded me of how my brother showed me affection, and I felt safe; I missed my brother. I started to tear up and refused to let anyone see me cry - it was my number one rule. So I buried my face in his chest, resting my head by his shoulder, and wrapped my arms around his torso as I tried to put the cork back in my bottle of emotions. He loosened his grip ever so slightly and put his chin on the top of my head. I don't get scared off. I'm not going to run away because somebody tried to make me falter; I can take it. I'm a fighter, and I feel safe here at work. There's nobody here I'm afraid of. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. 
"I'm going to finish my shift. Or at least most of it. I'll leave at a weird time if it'll make you paranoid freaks ease up a bit," I exhaled quietly. 
"Atta girl. I figured as much," he murmured. With that he kissed my head again, rubbed my back and walked out the door. Suddenly, I felt cold and exposed. I wiped my eyes, put on my smile, and worked through my shift. I could show the world they couldn't tear me down.

© 2017 Lynaelee

My Review

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I like the way in which you described the setting up of the coffee shop at the beginning. It was very detailed - which not a lot of people do now. It gaveme a much clearer idea of how the placed looked and how big it was. Yu carry the piece really well with the man asking the woman for some company - short dialogue BUT nicely done.

Again it follows on with some really fantastic dialogue skills - it actually felt like I was there with this nervous girl.

The piece itself was really well structured - had a nice flow to it - didn't feel forced at all.


Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

Thank you for your review! I appreciate any and all critique. I'm glad you felt as if you were reall.. read more

6 Years Ago

No problem. It was my pleasure.


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1 Review
Added on October 31, 2016
Last Updated on July 31, 2017

If only



Sometimes I feel like I need an outlet to express myself. I have never been good with verbal communication, but I have always found an out in writing. I hurt. I bleed. I make mistakes. I cry. Yes,.. more..

If only If only

A Book by Lynaelee

1. *Prologue* 1. *Prologue*

A Chapter by Lynaelee