Aubrey found out her father had been richly blessed with Archer and the ladies of Viviana’s. Wonderful people you’re happy to work with don’t come easy or often; she had been spoiled. Her staff weren’t terrible people by any stretch of the imagination, but she simply did not click with any of them. She had a personal ought against Aleah, first, because she was still mad that she didn’t know she was pregnant, and second, because Aleah seemed to have a problem with Maya. Aubrey would eventually find a way to get over the surprise pregnancy, but she would never forgive her for mean-mugging her sister every time she came in.
Malakai was a horse of a different color. She liked him, and they worked well together…when he worked. He still took several breaks in a day. She came close to addressing it with him many times, but her heart got the best of her. She didn’t want to be that boss who cared more about the business than the employees. People had families and lives outside of work, and sometimes those lives and families needed tending to. But, sweet llamas! How much tending did his family need? Whatever trouble they were having affected his work, and she had every right to take action. Speaking of their trouble, she had a feeling it was of the marital variety. It took a while for her to finally admit it to herself, but she felt he may have had feelings for her. She felt his eyes on her all day, and he always stood so close to her. Julio was her boyfriend, and even he kept a respectable distance most of the time. And then there was that look in his eye and that tone in his voice when he called her “boss lady.” It felt like he was toying with her in some way.
Wilson was great when he wasn’t yammering on about “that one time” he saw her dad wherever. It was almost as if the fame that came with the Pruett name had been kept at bay until she had full knowledge of who she was. Aubrey was proud to be a Pruett, but she was beginning to see what it was like to be the child of a celebrity. Or, was she a celebrity in her own right?
In times like those, when she was deep in thought, she had to distract herself. Being the boss lent itself to times of idleness, and sometimes she went so deep into her head, she’d space out and probably looked like an idiot to whomever had the displeasure of seeing her that way. So, she worked and didn’t care about whose work she did or if it disrupted the flow. She simply had to keep busy. Especially that day. Keegan was due to arrive at any moment, and she was nervous. Why? She didn’t know. Business was still slow, so she didn’t bother telling him to show up at opening time. “Just come whenever you want!”
“Hey, Aubrey,” someone from across the room yelled.
She turned around and saw her #1 fan from the karaoke bar. “Vik! Hi! How are you?”
“I’m doing great! This is a beautiful restaurant.”
“Thank you! I’m so glad you could come.”
“Of course we had to come check it out! This is my wife. Raina, this is Aubrey. She owns this place.”
Aubrey’s eyes lit up. “You got married! Oh, that’s wonderful! It’s nice to meet you, Raina. Vik saved me from some hecklers at a karaoke bar once.”
They all laughed, and Raina smiled in her husband’s direction. “Yes, he’s very sweet like that.” They must have been newlyweds.
“Well, I don’t want to interrupt your work, but I just had to let you know I was here. Say hello to your sister for me, ok?”
“I sure will. Enjoy your meal!”
When she turned around, a burst of heat permeated quickly through her body. Keegan had arrived, and she was probably more nervous than he was. She wanted him to do well and for this change in career to be a good thing for him. And, she wanted everyone to like him.
“Keegan! Hi! Did you just get here?”
“Yes. I wanted to be here earlier, but my brother was sick this morning. I stayed with him for a little while.”
“Awww! I hope he feels better. And, don’t worry about it. I knew you’d be here when you were able.”
Malakai snorted. She ignored him. “Have you met everyone?”
“Yes. I introduced myself. Everyone is nice.”
“Good! I’m glad.” That would have been the moment to begin showing him the ropes, but she had trouble switching gears. “Uniform fits ok?”
“Oh yes. It is very comfy.”
Malakai snorted again. “Did y’all used to date or something?”
Aubrey was flabbergasted. “What? No! We’re old friends!”
“Hmph. Could have fooled me.”
That was definitely not the way she envisioned Keegan’s arrival going and hoped it wasn’t a sign of incoming trouble. Malakai already caused enough trouble as it were. Whether he was serious or toying with her again, she ignored him and commenced to show Keegan around.