The afternoon of Maya’s date, her parents were working hard at the restaurant as always. Business was still going well, and the community seemed to fall in love with the Pruetts even more. Even the ones who didn’t know him came to harbor great respect for him and his establishment.
Viviana’s had been open long enough for him and his employees to recognize the trends and establish regular hours. Operation was from 1-8. Occasionally couples would have a lunch date, but the afternoon crowd was mostly seniors. When Jonathan noticed this, he established the senior discount. The older members of society worked hard for their money and deserved to keep as much of it in their pockets as they could.
There was always a lull between lunch and dinner. They used it for break time, and Jonathan and Skyla filled in the gaps while their employees were resting. Dinner time was the busiest time of day. That was when families came out to dine.
As Jonathan was perusing the dining room and checking on everyone, he noticed his sister and a friend. “Juliette! How’s the baby?”
“Loud and smelly just like her da…well, just like all babies. Heh, she better be glad she’s cute!”
“Ha! You know you love her.”
“Yeah. She’s ok. She can stay.”
He chuckled. He loved how her wit didn’t diminish with her age. She was still the same spitfire she always was, and that’s the only way he wanted her to be.
“How about you? Are you doing ok?” he asked.
“Well, I’m not dead.”
He snorted. She most certainly was not dead. Her skin may have been wrinkled, and her voice more scratchy, but she was very much alive. Each day he could spend with his sisters was a blessing from the Watcher, and he gave thanks.
“I swear, Jonathan, you look like you’re getting younger every day. Are you sure it was youth potion you drank and not age reversal?”
“Heh, ok…I think you’ve had enough heckling for the day. Come back soon.”
He hugged her shoulders and went to the kitchen to check on Tiana. It was funny though. Skyla had said the same thing, but when he looked in the mirror he still saw the crows feet, forehead wrinkles, and bags under his eyes. He shrugged it off. If the women in his life still found him attractive, he certainly wasn’t going to argue with them.
It was getting close to 7:30, and Jonathan remembered Maya should have been heading out by then. He stopped to send her a gushy message.
Hello gorgeous! Have fun on your date…but not too much fun!
He chuckled to himself as he pressed send.
“What’s so funny?” Tiana asked.
“Oh…I sent my daughter a cheesy message. I can already see her rolling her eyes.”
“She loves it.”
“I know.” He turned toward her. “Speaking of daughters…do you know what you’re having yet?”
“We’re gonna keep it a surprise!”
“Oh fun! Maya and Aubrey were both surprises. I think it’s better that way.”
“Yeah. Especially after waiting so long!”
He always wanted to know more about her. He knew their living arrangements were a bit unconventional, but that was about it. Her husband, Wolfgang Munch, was quite a bit older than she was. He figured they didn’t have children because of him and was surprised when she made the announcement. Wolfgang’s brother’s widow and their teenage son also live with them.
“Yeah. We both wanted to have a child, but with the others living there…you know. But, he’s not getting any younger, so now or never.”
“True. Well, I’m sure you two will be awesome parents.”
He quickly discussed the new farm-to-table concept he wanted to try after striking up a deal with a local farm before he went back out into the dining room to welcome the dinner crowd. Skyla was chatting it up with Aylin when Archer rushed in.
Jonathan seated the guests who came in before him while Aylin was preoccupied. Archer got straight to work with another table.
“Good evening! Welcome to Viviana’s,” Jonathan said. “I haven’t seen you two before. Is this your first time coming in?”
The gentleman narrowed his eyes at Jonathan. He was probably surprised that he was so keen. “Uhh, yes, actually. It is. We’re from San Myshuno and decided to try something different.”
“We’ve heard nothing but good things about this place,” the woman said.
“Oh! Well, that’s great. I’m Jonathan.” He extended his hand to them. “My wife and I are the owners.”
The man looked surprised. “It’s good to meet you.”
“What can I get you tonight?”
He took their orders, ran it to the kitchen, and chatted up Tiana while he waited. When the food was ready, he promptly delivered it to the newbies.
“Enjoy. If you need anything, please find me.”
“Thank you,” the woman said.
As Jonathan was turning to leave, he saw Archer waiting for him.
“Oh! Uhh, hey man,” Jonathan said. “Are you just now getting here?”
“I’m sorry. My wife and the baby are sick. I had to take care of them.”
“Of course you did. No worries. Are you cool to work in your clothes?”
Archer looked down at his outfit and did a facepalm. “Awww man! I forgot to change! I’m so sorry, Jonathan.”
“No, no. It’s perfectly fine. You’ve actually given me an idea.”