Characters of X-Men are not my property, sadly. I have no claim to them, but there are quite a few original characters in this story, and they are mine. This story is an original fanfic on my own that I'm just using as practice. Practicing character development and plot development. Reviews are appreciated, however. It's nice to hear what the readers think.
It's always a good thing to draw in a crowd and make a bit of extra money. Everybody knows that more people means more customers. But for me, it just meant a lot more work than I was ready for.
"Haven't you fed everybody yet Donna?" I sighed as I rested my elbows on the counter and watched her write down her newly taken orders on her grill pad. "You've already sold five hundred dollars tonight! I've made so many orders of fries that I never want to even see a fry ever again!"
Donna grinned as she blew a stray hair out of her eyes and finished writing down the short order. "Just think of it this way Ceece, this is the last food order of the night. It's all just clean up from here on out," she watched as I quickly grabbed the drinks and candy for her and placed them on her tray. "I'm going to just head out after this instead of even taking a break, is that okay?"
I sighed heavily as I glanced around the awful looking kitchen and slowly nodded my head. "Why did everyone have to call in tonight of all nights? First Ray, then Fritz and Eric! I'm going to be in here forever, but yeah," she smiled softly as I pointed to the floor that was jam-packed with people. "Just take the rest of that order out and announce that I'm only doing drinks and desserts at the counter. I guess I'll see you later, right?"
"Of course!" she tossed her blonde hair back as she grabbed her tray and turned on her heel. "I'll see you when you get there chica."
She quickly took out what was on her tray and left me all alone in the kitchen fending for myself. Of all nights for people to call in sick, they had to do it on the busiest. Used to be that Sunday was our busiest day, but for the past month or so, it had been Saturdays.
It didn't help that I happened to manage the kitchen of the most popular bingo hall in all of East Central Indiana. Not the most glamorous job, I must admit.
But a full time college student has to have a way to pay the bills.
Gas is really expensive nowadays.
After realizing that I'd have to do all of the clean up on my own, I decided to get to work. I grabbed a bucket full of ice and dumped it on the grill and quickly scrubbed it down with one of the grill bricks. It took a good amount of time because I had made so much food, but I got it done.
"Excuse me," I stopped mopping and sighed as I looked at the front counter and realized that somebody was sitting down. "Can I get something to drink miss?"
I sighed as I propped the mop up against the wall and walked towards the counter, wiping my damp hands on my apron. "What can I get you sir?" I asked politely as I stepped up in front of him and glanced briefly at his face before turning towards the pop machine.
"An extra large Dr. Pepper please," his low voice hummed in my ears.
I quickly grabbed a styrofoam 32oz. cup and filled it with ice and then his drink before putting a lid on it and turning, placing the cup on the counter quickly without thought. I yawned as I straddled a red barstool and finally looked at the face of the kind-voiced customer.
"That'll be one dollar, sir," I smiled as I took in his pretty boy face. "Unless I can get you something else?"
I couldn't help but hope that he wanted something else. Anything else.
A smile crept over his face as he slid a twenty dollar bill out of his front pocket and placed it on the counter between the two of us. "Thanks," he said softly as I quickly rang up his order and gave his change back to him.
For a moment I just sat there watching him as he took a few long sips of his newly acquired drink. Something about his face was too familiar for comfort, but I couldn't seem to tear my gaze away from it. One thing really bothered me, however. I didn't like not being able to look into his eyes.
"Nice shades," he frowned but quickly recovered from my comment with a warm smile as he placed his elbows on the counter and leaned forward a bit. "But don't you think it's too dark for those at nine thirty?"
He shrugged his shoulders as he raised a hand to the glasses quickly before placing his palms back on the counter. "Just my trademark I guess," he glanced down at my nametag and grinned. "Looks like you've been busy tonight Ceece," he stuck out his right hand towards me. "The name's Scott."
I warily shook his hand and smiled shyly as I felt his gaze wander over my appearance quickly. "Um, I'm Cecilia, but everyone calls me Cee or Ceece.
"I gathered as much," he retorted as he pointed at my nametag. "So should I even bother asking what a nice girl like you is doing in such a crappy place like this?" he teasingly pointed to the hundreds of people dobbing O 69 and grinned. "Doesn't exactly look like your cup of tea."
I shrugged my shoulders and tapped my fingers on the countertop. "Well, I sort of manage this kitchen," I gestured to the large thing I was sitting in. "It's not exactly my own place, but right now it's paying the bills and it's giving me some sort of experience that will look good on future resumes."
"You manage this kitchen on your own?" he sounded somewhat impressed as his gaze drifted over to all of the people playing bingo. "That's rather impressive."
I smiled politely as I shook my head. "It's nice of you to say such things, but we both know that it's far from the truth. The only hard part is when I hire five high school kids from the same high school and get surprised when they all bail on me for a dance," I motioned to the still unclean kitchen and frowned. "Sadly enough, it looks like I'm still going to be here a bit longer."
"Looks like it," he commented as a comfortable silence fell over us for the next few moments.
We listened to the caller call out the bingo number and the quiet dobbing of the numbers on the sheets for a few minutes, almost relaxed in one another's presence.
I used to think that working in a bingo hall kitchen would be nothing, but boy was I wrong.
"So this doesn't exactly look like your sort of thing Scott," I just couldn't picture him jumping up and down ecstatically if he bingoed. "What exactly are you doing in a place like this?"
He shrugged his shoulders as he took another long sip of his drink and motioned to the floor. "I was looking for someone actually," his voice softened as he leaned forward a bit. "My boss is looking for an old friend of his and we've just been going to all of his old hangouts and trying to figure out what might have happened to him," he paused as he reached in his back pocket and pulled out his wallet and an old black and white photo. "Do you remember ever seeing this man in here? His name is Jerry Feltch."
"Never seen him before," I said quickly as I stared at a very familiar face. "Nope, can't say as I have Scott. Sorry to be a disappointment to you. I've been working here for about two years now and I know about every face that comes in here, regardless of whether they order food or not."
He nodded his head as he looked at me suspiciously, sliding the picture back into his wallet and the wallet back into his pocket. "Thanks though," he said softly as he stared intently at me. "So..."
"Can I get you something else?" I asked nervously, hoping he wouldn't notice how badly my hands were sweating.
He shrugged his shoulders. "I know it might sound a little forward, but I was wondering what time you got off?"
"Got off what?" I teased him as I leaned forward a bit. "Not sure I'm following you..."
His facial features didn't change a bit. "I was wondering what time you got off of work."
I glanced at the clock. "Actually I'll probably be heading out of here in about twenty minutes. Why do you ask?" I just couldn't seem to help myself.
"I was hoping to talk to you a bit more actually," he grinned slowly at me.
I paused momentarily, debating on whether or not he was dangerous. I knew I could learn anything I wanted to know about him in just a moment's time, but was unwilling to take such a risk.
"I always meet some friends over at Steak n Shake after work," I said slowly as I glanced down at the counter and then back at him. "You're more than welcome to come on over and join us. It is a public place after all."
He nodded his head slowly as he grabbed his drink and began to slowly back away from the counter. "Then maybe I'll see you there later Ceece," he smiled quickly before he walked into the crowd and disappeared from sight.
Leaving me to literally fly through the rest of the clean up in nervous anticipation.
"Over here!" Charlie waved his hand in the air and motioned to 'our' table. "How nice of you to finally show Ceil. We were beginning to think that you were going to bail on us again or something."
I rolled my eyes as I sat down in the large booth opposite Charlie, Billy, and Sandra. "Hey Donna," I grinned as I sat down next to my best blonde friend. "How's it going?"
"I guess I'm doing okay," she slid a few stray, but still perfect, blonde locks behind her ear. "Just wondering why we still hang out with these fools."
Billy rolled his eyes as he leaned over the table and gave her a quick peck on the lips. "Probably because you love me honeybun," he grinned at her. "Sure you don't want me to come over there and keep you company?"
I zoned out for a few moments while my group of close friends chatted about their week and their lives. Charlie and Sandra had been dating for about three years, so their affection towards one another was nothing as embarrassing as Billy and Donna's puppy love. Oh, love. There's nothing like being the 'fifth' wheel. But, I had been attending the Sunday Night Hang Out since high school, and I wasn't just going to bail out on them for seemingly no reason at all.
Part of me was fighting the urge to look at the door every two seconds. Why? Part of me kept hoping that Scott would actually show, but part of me was scared that he would. Ironic? Very. I didn't even know the man, and yet his red shades were stuck in my mind, and I didn't know what to think about it.
"Are you there?" Charlie waved a hand in front of my face. "Hello?"
I quickly snapped out of it and grinned dumbly at my friends. "Yeah I'm fine I guess," I shrugged my shoulders. "Just thinking about the hot guy supposed to meet us here tonight," I groaned when I realized I'd blurted out my thought with out first thinking.
"Really now?" Sandra raised an eyebrow as she went into gossip mode. "Does Cecily have herself another man?"
"Ha Ha," I muttered sarcastically as I took a sip of my ice water. "I just met him at work Sandra. Nothing too special."
"Well, thanks a lot for that," I stiffened as I realized that there was a rather familiar voice and presence directly behind me. "So, these are your friends?"
I glared at Sandra as I slowly turned in the booth and glanced up into those gorgeous red shades. "Hey there," I said shyly as I felt my palms begin to sweat. "Wasn't sure if you were going to make it or not."
He smiled quickly as he glanced around at my friends. "Wouldn't have missed it for the world," he motioned to the spot beside me. "May I?" he asked politely.
I nodded my head quickly and moved a bit closer to Donna as Scott slid into the booth beside me. I grinned at him as our elbows brushed slightly, but an uncomfortable silence settled over us nonetheless.
"So, um tell us about yourself," Charlie got Scott talking.
For the next half hour, we all got acquainted with Mr. Scott Summers, a teach at a preparatory school in northern New York state. It fit his appearance perfectly, but it was still a shock. But, by the time our waitress took our orders, a comfortable atmosphere had settled over our table.
"He seems really nice," Donna whispered in my ear. "Too bad he's only in town for the weekend huh? Maybe you should have yourself a bit of fun?"
I shoved my elbow into her gut and caused her to curse out loud. "So..." I stammered. "What exactly are you doing in our little Indiana town for the weekend, Mr. Summers?"
He pulled his wallet out and slid the familiar photo out and held it up. "I'm looking for the friend of my boss."
Charlie's jaw dropped as he pulled his gaze away from the photo and his green eyes met mine. A wave of fear washed over me as my worst fear was realized.
"Cecilia?" his voice was soft and nearly got lost in the noise of the restaurant. "Isn't that-"
"You know him?" Scott glanced at me momentarily as he handed the picture to Charlie and leaned forward a bit. "At the bingo hall they told me that somebody in the kitchen would know him but..."
"I have no idea who he is," I informed him firmly as I took a long sip of my water. "I think he just has that familiar grandfather look that everybody seems to love."
Charlie shook his head and looked at me completely dumbfounded. And for the first time I considered tapping into the inner darkness. "We've met him before," he glanced at Sandra whom was examining the photo carefully. "But-"
"Bathroom break," I announced in a rather panicked voice as Scott quickly let me out of the booth.
I quickly made my way to the bathroom and locked the door behind me.
The moment I had been avoiding for a year was finally here.
He always said that somebody would come, but I was never sure when to believe the old fool.
"Rest in peace Papaw," I sighed as I stared at my reflection in the mirror.
"I can't deal with this anymore," I sobbed as I pulled the gloves off of my hands. "I feel trapped inside of myself!"
He calmly placed his warm but wrinkled hand on my shoulder and gently calmed me with soft sighs. "My dearest Cecile," he led me to the couch in his lab and sat me down. "You are finally gaining control, and that is a huge breakthrough. You cannot expect a miracle! In time all will be well."
I have faith in you.
I shook my head as a tear rolled down my cheek and I moved my hands to my lap. "You make it sound so easy, but it's not. It's not even close to being easy!"
It will get easier.
"You said that three years ago, and yet here I am, still stranded!"
He shook his head and sighed loudly. "My love, things worth having take time. It wouldn't be special if it was just handed to you. Control and precision take years of training and effort."
I closed my eyes as he launched into the familiar tale of how he and his childhood friend had shared the same 'gift'. The many hours they had spent working on their control had really paid off.
He helps others now, you know. It was always our dream to help and guide the way.
I smiled softly as I concentrated on my control as I gently squeezed his hand before sliding my gloves back on. "Why don't you help him then Grandpa? I'm not the only one in need of the help."
He smiled as he stood up and walked over to his lab table and sat down. He slid his spectacles on as he wrote diligently on a pad of paper. "But you prove to be the most important," he glanced at the clock and smiled at me softly. "Besides, when the time comes, you'll meet him."
I nodded slowly as I left the room, my hope once again renewed by the only man that had ever believed in me: