After "The Other Ending", I decided to try doing something light, and also try spreading the writing out. I don't have any real plan for where to go with this, and I do plan to write a novel this month, so a slow pace won't be a problem.
"I'm so glad you could all make it here," Patricio said as he took his place at the dinner table. "I've got two announcements to make. First, for anyone who hasn't heard, Junior and Tiffany are engaged. Second, all the permits are in order to start the Silver Linings Restaurant."
At the middle right side of the table, Tiffany and Pat clasped their hands. Across from them, Ronnie smiled, while Veronica spoke up: "There's something I should tell you about the name. I heard back from my friend Amy. She did a basic market testing, and there's a problem with the name. It tests well with females, especially ages 20 to 30, but they are not the target market for the kind of food you want to offer. The primary consumers of philly cheesesteak sandwiches are males ages thirty and up. They did not respond well to the name, in fact three different respondents said it sounded like a `girly' restaurant."
"Great, so they'll take their girlfriends!" Pat said with an expansive wave. "Veronica is, of course, in charge of accounting, and she's helping with marketing. Jake is going to stay as co-founder and vee-pee. Dolores will be our head chef, Pat's going to be her assistant, which is mostly going to be moving stuff around, Donny and that kid Andy will be our busboys. And I've been thinking, we need someone pretty to be our waitress."
It took Tiffany a moment to realize everyone was looking at her. She looked at Pat, and he tried to step up for her. "I don't think that's a good idea," he said. "She has poor social skills."
"I have poor social skills?!" she instinctively protested by rote. "You- I think what he means is, sometimes I speak my mind more than I should. Sometimes I have trouble being patient, and I don't handle myself well when I'm angry." Pat tried to pantomime an explosion without her noticing. "So, I shouldn't be taking orders from people who couldn't make up their minds if the choices were filet mignon and fried roadkill."
"She also drops the f-bomb a lot," Pat said.
"So she's got a little extra sass," said Patricio. "People will respect that. It will just give our restaurant a little extra character. Not to mention, she's beautiful. Every restaurant needs a pretty girl up front."
"I have to agree with them," Veronica said. "If you're going to give Tiffany a job, she would be better off helping Dolores in the kitchen. She has been very good at helping Dolores, she knows the recipes, and you are going to need as many people in the kitchen as you can get."
"We already have want ads out for an extra hand," Patricio said. "When we start making money, we can hire more help if we need it. Tiffany's the one we want up front. In fact, knowing the recipes means she can take orders better. "
"Mr. Solitano," Von said, "we have already discussed that it's going to take some time to turn a profit. Assuming average business for a new restaurant, it will take three months just to earn back what you have already invested."
"And I told you, why think average?" said Patricio.
"Patricio," Tiffany said, "I really don't need the money. I'm still collecting Tommy's pension, and I can keep collecting it even after Pat and I get married. What you're asking... I don't know if I'm ready."
Patricio smiled. "And that's the best reason to do it! We still need time to set things up, so you can use that time to practice. It will be fine."
Tiffany looked to Pat, who gave a somewhat grudging nod. "He's making sense," he said. "We all need to practice. You could be our waitress just for that, and if it doesn't work out, we can use the time to find someone else when we do open."
"Okay," Tiffany said. "But don't say we didn't warn you."
The restaurant was set up with a vaguely retro look. The floor was black and white linoleum, a 1920s gas pump was in the corner, and they had a few '50s-themed posters were on the wall. A woman in her late forties walked in and sat down at one of the stools at the counter.
Tiffany walked up to her. "Hello, my name is Tiffany, and I will be your server today," she said. The woman gave a hint of a nod. "Here is your menu. Our specials are on the board. Can I start you with anything to drink?"
"I'll take a glass of water, please," the woman said. Tiffany gracefully turned and picked up a glass and pitcher. As she poured, she looked up into the eyes of Dr. Lilly, her therapist. Then she looked to the front window: Veronica was approaching the door. Dr. Lilly gave another nod of approval, and then flicked her eyes downward. Tiffany started to tilt back the pitcher, just as the water overflowed onto her hand. In her surprise, she dropped the glass, and then the pitcher.
"You're okay, it's all right," Pat said. He hugged Tiffany while Donny cleaned up the spill. "Just try to hold back on the swears, okay?"