A/N: Disclaimer: The Twilight characters are not mine; they belong to Stephenie Meyer. The humorous plot and so forth is mine. This work is entirely non-profit and no copyright infringement is intended in any way. Thank you for reading and please enjoy!
It had been three weeks since my father humiliated us all by announcing that he had lost his job over two years ago. He had been maintaining our lavish lifestyle out of savings, but once those accounts were depleted, assets squandered and high interest credit accumulated beyond belief, we were forced to move out of our chic twelve bedroom mansion and crawl our way to the Northwest coast. It was the only place that Carlisle could find "decent" work. Well, I suppose that would depend on how one defines decent.
Upon crashing our family with the bad-enough news that he had been pretending to go to the hospital every day to perform intricate surgeries for the last two years, he really put the cherry on top when he announced that he had been slapped with sixteen lawsuits. Only three of them were successful on behalf of the plaintiffs, but that's as many as it took to cause him to lose his license to practice in the medical world - or anywhere like it - ever again.
Now he was the proud new starter-employee of a shrimp boat - not that he knows anything about shrimping... or navigating on water.
"Hey," he attempted to tease on the drive up, "It was either that or a logger, and at least this way I can bring home dinner."
Needless to say, it was terrible timing on his part to try to make the best of things. Everything we owned was crammed into our downsized 80s station wagon (the only thing we could find with a cheap coin after all of our other cars were repossessed) and an old clunker we pulled out of the dump and managed to fix up in haste before making the fourteen hour journey to the cloudiest parts of hell.
Well, the last three weeks of "shrimping" have been to no avail either. Turns out, shrimp only come through these parts in certain seasons, and this just happened to not be one of them! As degrading as all of that sounds, here's the real kicker: he put down $4200.00 just to be able to secure himself a spot on the boat. That money, of course, was borrowed from a 24% interest line of credit he took out over the phone before having his shrimp epiphany. So, he's managed to misspend a little over four grand (plus insane interest that will never be paid down or off) and 294 man-hours at sea in the last twenty-one days. This, of course, is assuming he actually went to work for those "14-hour days." I'm not saying he didn't; I'm just saying it wouldn't be the first time he'd have lied about something like this.
This green, purple and yellow polo shirt and orange khakis are evidence that jobs are hard to find around this place.
"Welcome to Royal Burger, where you're the king. I'm Sir Edward, how can I take your order?" Yes- even the name tag said "Sir Edward."
I cringed every time I had to say it, which was every time a customer drove through my station. But hey, at least I could hide in the back! I would be too ashamed to show my face up front. Tons of the student body at Forks High came here every day after school for a deluxe Crown Burger. They were half price between three and five. Oh God! Working here was my biggest secret.
"Sir Edward," griped Becky, my shift manager, in her crankiest smoker voice, "You're needed up front. Daisy's down and can't make it in today."
Maybe Daisy wouldn't be down with her bum knee if she didn't weigh, literally, over eight hundred pounds. But I wasn't about to tell Becky, Daisy's identical look-alike, anything like that. So I sighed and tried to think quick.
I shivered at the thought of having to show my face up front for the first time- or ever at all, for that matter. There would be nothing in the world worse than being seen by other members of the human race not only in this "uniform" but being seen in it standing between Kevin and Melba. Kevin was the pimply kid with coke-bottle glasses. He was definitely a nerd, and not the kind of "hot nerd" that girls go for, but rather the kind that makes them take ten steps back as their ovaries scream don't drop the egg! As for Melba, well she was the smells-like-grease-even-before-getting-to-work-and-firing-up-the-fryer girl who kept finding reasons to "accidentally" brush her boobs across me, even though there was always plenty of room for her to not have to "squeeze by" so often. Plus, when she laughed she whinnied like a horse and one time she managed to bust her chin open in the men's room on a urinal. Don't even ask me why she was in there. Her story is that she thought it was the ladies room and that she panicked when she saw the urinals, then slipped on the puddle left by the mop. I don't know. It's a weird thing. She ended up needing three stitches. I'm still not sure why she wore the neck brace for two weeks. I guess some things are meant to remain a mystery?
"I…" I tried coming up with some kind of excuse, but began sweating as I knew I was running out of time.
"Up front… now!" Becky snapped.
Geeze! She sounded like that snotty paperwork-pushing slug thing from Monsters Inc. And she looked like her too, only slightly pink instead of green.
"I'm not sure how to use the registers up front," I lied.
"They're the same as back there!" she yelled.
"I'm worried I won't be able to keep up with the crowd," I argued.
"I'm not gonna' tell you again! You want this job or not, Cullen?"
I sighed. No. I don't want the job. Unfortunately, if Emmett and I wanted to drive the station wagon to school then it was our responsibility to come up with the gas money. I remember our first day rolling up in that piece. Alice was trying to hide in the backseat, hoping she might be able to sneak out of the brown Poop Tank, as Emmett called it, in the morning and then back in after school so she wouldn't actually ever be seen around it. And that is definitely was - a giant turd on wheels! Its brown paneling was peeling off to reveal some kind of 70s green underneath, the muffler sounded like a shotgun going off every time we screeched to a stop at the four-way, and it was missing both side-view mirrors. I'm sure that's illegal to drive around, but no one's stopped us yet.
"Sir Edward!" her vocal chords ground together tightly. "Up. Front. NOW!"
I removed my drive-thru headset and took the long march of social death up to the front of the restaurant. I keyed in my employee code at the greasy register as a grumpy heavy woman tapped her giant size-sixteen foot on the other side of the counter (the side I desperately wished I could be on at that moment). She couldn't wait to order her seven Crown Burgers and the Squire Meal for the chubby kid who just ran off to the play area- to throw up in the ball moat, no doubt. There was at least one a week.
"What size would you like the meals?" I asked her.
"What's that?" the woman asked, not understanding that I was just doing my job by getting her crappy order right.
"The size: would you like to make them crossbows, longbows, or catapult meals?"
"What's the difference?" she barked with needless anger. Obviously, she was jonesin' for hamburger "meat" injected with fat, pig privates and artificial flavor to give it that right-off-the-grill effect.
"One's a small, one's a medium, and one's a large," I replied with as much dignity as I could muster.
"Well why didn't ya' just say so?" There was a look of murder in her eyes for some reason as she grunted the words. I simply gave a patient sigh and waited for her answer. "Make them the catapults. That's the big one, right?"
I nodded my head and punched in her order.
"Oh, but no axe sauce on the one with extra grilled onion rings," she amended.
I pressed the hold key over the ketchup button.
She wasn't the last grumpy fuss to hop in my line. The next dozen or so were pretty much the same- give or take the various sauces: ketchup, tartar and mustard; otherwise known as axe, spear and sword sauces (really, someone must have been high when dreaming up this craphole). So far though, no one from school came through my line. That, at least, was good.
"Cullen?" came an obnoxious, amused voice from the front door.
Just great: Mike Newton.
"Cullen- is that you?" he laughed.
He'd been looking for something to pin me against a wall with the last three weeks; ever since he'd caught me "making googly eyes" at his girlfriend, so he says. It's not my fault that I have to look at my lab partner when sharing Biology assignments. It just kind of goes along with the territory of having Bella Swan as my lab partner. But try telling this fartknocker that!
"Oh man," he chortled, "It is you! Sir Edward! I didn't recognize you behind that jester's costume they make you wear. So, how long have you been working here?"
"Not long," I replied nonchalantly.
"Well?" he asked. "Are you going to do a proper job while taking my order?"
I swallowed my pride, and tried to swallow my anger. I took a deep breath: "Welcome to Royal Burger, where you're the king. I'm Sir Edward. How can I take your order?"
He boomed with laughter as Tyler and Eric walked in and saw the chaos that had become my miserable existence. They pointed at me and wasted no time in joining in on the laugh.
"Are these gentlemen harassing you, Sir Edward?" asked Kevin in a lispy retainer voice (not that he actually had braces or wore retainers, which was weird).
"Oooh, Cullen," Mike mocked. "Are your knights in arms here to rescue you from us?"
"Oh no, Sir Edward," Tyler laughed in a false soprano voice, "You're not a damsel in distress, are you?"
Melba leapt to my defense, which only served to make things worse.
"You big meanies leave him alone! He's new in town and probably misses his pals back home, don't you Edward?" They immediately busted into laughter after the word meanies.
"Oh no! Does Sir Edward miss his mommy?" Eric laughed.
"No!" Kevin shouted. "His mommy is here in Forks. Gahl! You guys had better leave us alone, or my team of Dark Elves will pounce on you one of these days! Beware! We're level four with over 80 xp!"
I pinched the bridge of my nose with my thumb and index finger, wishing there was a hole I could crawl into. I couldn't imagine how this could get too terribly worse… until she walked in.
"Mike!" Bella shouted from the door. "What are you doing?"
"Nothing baby," he winked.
"You're not harassing the staff again, are you?" She crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes at him.
"NO! Geeze! Why would you think that?"
"Oh, hmm, let me see. Why would I think that? Maybe it's because it's what you do every day before football practice? You're going to be late and you know the coach's new policy."
"Screw the coach's new policy," he grumbled under his breath. He flipped Kevin off before leaving my line. "I'm the star of that team! They won't be kicking me off anytime soon."
"Still," she warned him, "It's better to just not be late. Now let's get out of here. And don't think I didn't see that!"
She slapped him on the back as he, Tyler and Eric left. She glanced back and turned around. She came up to my register and smiled at me.
"Sorry about that," she said warmly. "They can be real jerks sometimes, huh? You know, sometimes I feel more like a babysitter than a girlfriend."
Then don't be either, I thought.
"That's okay," I said. "We get rude customers sometimes. It kind of goes along with the job, you know?"
"They just don't know what it means to put in an honest day's work," she continued. "They've never had to lift a finger a day in their lives. I wonder if they ever will. My dad, he puts in ten hour days; sometimes more. I've always respected him for how hard he works. He earns that respect, you know?"
I nodded my head. "I'm sure he deserves a ton of it." Everyone in town knew how hard the Chief of Police worked around here. No one ever got away with anything; that was the saying at least.
"You know…" she said, "They're actually looking to hire another high school intern down at the station. I know you're a smart guy and a hard worker. I can vouch for that. After all, you're the one who gets me through most of our Biology stuff. I think I'd be lost without you in that class. I could put in a good word for you? That is… if you're interested."
I wasn't about to let this opportunity pass me by! Not only was it a way out of Royal Burger, but it was a step closer to getting to know more about her.
"Of course I'm interested," I said, trying to sound not too excited.
"Good," she smiled. "I'll bring the application to school tomorrow for you to fill out. I'm sure you'll be the one."
"How can you tell?" I asked.
"Because the Chief of Police is my dad," she laughed. "And he always says I know how to pick 'em, with the exception of Mike, of course."
We both laughed as she turned to leave. The place seemed to go dark after she was gone. I turned around to hear Kevin and Melba discussing how their role-playing group was going to try out some new techniques in which the actions of individual characters would be described in writing rather than speech. None of it made any sense to me and I literally counted down the minutes until I would be getting the hell out of this place for the night.
A/N: This fun little story is dedicated to my little sis, Jessica (DaughterOfHermesWatchUrWallet)! She's an awesome author here on fanfic! If you haven't checked her out yet, please be sure to!
Jess and I decided a little humor is fun to throw out there once in awhile. This is a product of that idea. By the way, the Royal Burger is a place we made up. We had a blast coming up with the meal terminology! Plus, we couldn't stop laughing at the idea of Carlisle losing his job and the family having to start from scratch! If you laughed, thank Jessica. She is the one who encouraged me to actually write the story rather than just laugh at a funny what-if situation. Seriously, we came up with it in the car today. Funny how these things just happen, huh? ;)