3D: Judgment

The last few days of spring were volatile like Oliver’s temperament. Some days were cold as if winter never left while others were warm as if summer wanted an early start. One such warm day took everyone by surprise with its rude heat index. Julio visited, and Aubrey invited him for a swim. After enough splashing, water wrestling and hold breath contests, they sat on the edge of the pool to chat and enjoy the balmy evening.

“…I’m glad everything is going well.”

She grinned and nodded. “It is. It really is…”

When she was a little girl, she dreamed of working in her father’s restaurant. That dream came true as a teen and expanded into owning her own. She is currently living that dream. How has it grown? Her father’s original dream was now hers. Restaurants all over the world were what they wanted. It was a scary endeavor, but nothing and no one could stop her from seeing it to completion. She had only just begun and was still trying to find her own way. Aubrey had no delusions of it being easy but was still surprised by how hard it could be at times. The people management side of it was the worst.

“What’s the matter?”


He chuckled. “You were smiling then you spaced out. What’s up?”

She shook her self back into the present. “Sorry. I was just…” Her eyes lit up as it occurred to her that Julio wasn’t a stranger to her predicament. They were both young business owners living out their father’s dreams. She didn’t have to be vague or say things like “you wouldn’t understand.” He would understand and could probably help her figure it out. “Do any of your people give you a hard time?”

His eyes narrowed. “Someone is giving you a hard time?”

“No…not exactly. One of the guys, he…” She struggled to find words at the wrong part of the sentence, and Julio’s left eyebrow rose with anticipation though he wasn’t the jealous type–more like a quiet but deadly protector. It was cute. “I don’t know what his deal is. He’s so…high maintenance?”

“How do you mean?”

“Like, he told me he has some problems at home, and he’s always taking breaks to make phone calls and what not. He doesn’t take long, but he does this several times a day! I don’t mind filling in while he’s away, but it’s not fair to the others, you know?”

He nodded. “Are you going to fire him?”

“I…” This was the part of the jungle she never explored. Her dad let her make some decisions about the staff and handle a few issues, but Aylin, Tiana, Archer and Savannah were wonderful. They had worked together long enough to know each other and have a good rhythm. If Jonathan ever had issues in the beginning, she was too young to know about it. “I don’t want to. I don’t have a problem with his work. I think…well, I think I could solve this problem and prevent another with the same solution.”

She loved his smile so much–that one in particular. She saw it in all her big moments. He flashed it when he felt proud and wanted to hear her thoughts; it was so encouraging. “Business will pick up, and soon I’ll need a second server anyway. If I hire someone now, he could be trained and ready by the time I really need him. In the meantime, he can take up the slack for Malakai.”


“Yeah. I…kinda had someone in mind.”



His forehead wrinkled. “From school?”

She nodded.

“Didn’t he like you?”

“That was ages ago! I’m sure he’s forgotten all about me by now.”

He gave her a coy grin. “Nonsense. Who could ever forget about you?”

Neither of them were particularly flirty people, and so his flirts always caught her off guard like a hiccup. She blushed and tried to hide her bashful smile to continue their serious conversation. “He’s a gentleman. I’m sure he knows we’re dating, so even if he still liked me, I’m sure you’ll have nothing to worry about.”

“I’m not worried.”


“So…why Keegan?”

“He’s just so sweet! The customers will love him. Especially the all little old ladies.” She chuckled. “I know he works hard. And…well…I still feel so sorry for him, you know? He still works at the coffee shop…”

Julio’s eye lit up at the new information.

“Yeah. I’m sure he’s struggling, and I just want to help him… But, the main thing is he’d be a great fit and already knows how to do this type of work.”

“I get it. What does your dad say?”

She sighed at the memory of their conversation. “He doesn’t think it’s a good idea to hire my friends but trusts my judgment.”

He grinned and squeezed her knee. “I think you’re a good judge of character too. Whatever you decide will be the right thing.”

3D: Starstruck
3D: Squabbles

9 thoughts on “3D: Judgment”

  • I like the faith Julio has in Aubrey’s decision making. They really make a good team.

    Although, I did feel kind of an undercurrent of some kind in this chapter. Like… Julio said the right things regarding trusting her judgment, but I don’t know. I felt in a way that deep down he had some concerns that were unfounded. I think what led me in that direction were his questions like, “Didn’t he like you?” Maybe I read too much into it and it’s nothing. I’m not certain.

    • They do make a great team! Oooh, seeds of doubt! I like this. 😛 I’m not saying you’re reading too much into it, but I do find it interesting that “didn’t he like you” was the first thing that came out of his mouth lol.

  • I like how supportive he is. I also like the hint of quiet deadly protector. I encourage a tiny bit of jealousy. Just a tiny. Makes a woman feel loved. I agree with Kymber that there certainly seems to be something going on in Julio’s head, something he’s not telling us.

    • OH yeah. Julio may be the unassuming nice guy, but mess with Aubrey? He’ll mess you up lol. I also agree a little bit of jealousy is nice. Healthy even!

  • Julio is so supportive. Until this chapter, I don’t think I really considered how much of a power couple these two could be. His lounge empire, her restaurant empire… They could run their world and build some serious generational wealth for their descendants.

    Ooh the possibilities… Like a hospitality version of Barack and Michelle!

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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