After a long, exhilarating day of work, Aubrey received a text from Julio asking her to meet him at the park in San Myshuno. He wanted to hear all about her first day. She didn’t think he would forget but wasn’t expecting him to make a big deal out of it. With a smile permanently affixed to her face, she told her father to go home without her.
He grinned like the proud papa he was. “Ok. Have fun with your boyfriend…but not too much!”
Ugh! Who didn’t Maya tell about that? Perhaps Aubrey would stop being so generous on social media to maintain the illusion of privacy she was so used to having.
When she arrived at the park, Julio was standing around waiting for her. “Hey! There’s the working woman! How was your day? I bet you rocked it.”
She had never seen him so excited before. It was kind of weird, but she liked it.
“It was great! Better than great!”
He sat on the bench behind him and patted the seat next to him. “I want to hear all about it.”
Julio had always been her best friend, and they supported each other through whatever obstacles they had as teens. But, this was different. She didn’t expect him to be so attentive especially when she had been working at the restaurant the entire time she knew him. Maybe he took this boyfriend business very seriously.
“So, of course, everyone at home was making a big deal except mom. She was upstairs with Oliver. Maya was going ga ga over how I looked in this suit, and daddy couldn’t stop smiling at me while I was eating breakfast, of course.
“When we got there, I wanted to get straight to work, but he wanted me to stick with him for a little bit before he turned me loose. It was a good thing, I guess. I’ve never had to think about the staff before, and I saw how he talks to them as soon as he gets there, checking on them, asking about their kids and what not. It was a good experience.”
Julio sat quietly and listened to every word with a smile on his face. She loved how attentively he listened to her and couldn’t imagine her story being as riveting as he made it look.
“Aylin, the server, announced she was pregnant, and of course daddy freaked out and was all excited and stuff. He took that moment to show me around the management system and let me pick out a new uniform for her so she’ll be more comfortable!”
“Wow. Your dad is so considerate.”
“Yeah…he’s cool like that. After he calmed down about Aylin, he called the other two over to tell them about me working there and how mom is staying home with Oliver for a while.”
“How did they take it?”
“Ok? I mean, it’s not like I’m a stranger. I’ve been working with them for a while just not in a management capacity.”
“Yeah, that’s what I mean. You know…the whole boss’ daughter being in charge thing.”
“It’s not like that…at least they don’t act like it. I hope it’s not like that.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you doubt yourself. I was just asking.”
“It’s cool. Anyway, so most of the day was typical. I did the same job just in different clothes.
“I went to welcome this one table, and you would have thought I was asking for her email password or something! I introduced myself, and this lady was like ‘where is Skyla and when is she coming back?’ Her friend at the table tried to help. She was like, ‘That’s Sky’s kid! Give her a chance!’ I had considered things might be a little weird with the staff, but I never anticipated any opposition from patrons. They are fiercely loyal to my parents, I see.”
“So…what was it like working with your dad like that?”
She fell back onto the bench and sighed. “Oh, Julio…it was like a dream!”
He grinned like he enjoyed seeing her light up like that.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted! I’ve dreamed about working with my dad since I was a little girl, and to finally be able to live it out…I’m not sure how life can get any better!”
“What was it like?”
“You know what the best part was? I felt like he knew I was ready for this. He didn’t follow me around or hover over me. He let me do my thing at a respectful distance. And, when I talked to him about potential changes, he didn’t brush me off or tell me not to worry about it. He listened! I felt like we were real partners. Working with him is like being on the Dream Team! And, he’s so proud! He didn’t say it, but I could tell. I could feel it!”
Julio’s smile still looked genuine, but Aubrey could tell he was struggling on the inside. It was probably something to do with his father. How could she be so insensitive to go on and on and on about working with her daddy and him being so proud while Julio probably still misses his father every day and would love to know if he’s proud of him? He asked her to tell, but she didn’t have to be so enthusiastic about it. Hopefully his feelings weren’t hurt.
“I’m so glad you’re happy, Aubrey.”
She wanted to ask why wouldn’t she be happy, but she had already done enough damage for one night.
“You probably want to get back home and get some rest,” he said awkwardly.
That wasn’t what she really wanted, but it was probably for the best. At least she couldn’t make him feel bad in the safety of her room. “I guess I should.”
They stood in front of each other searching for their next words when she got an idea.
She couldn’t make eye contact, but somehow it made him smile. Did he know what she was thinking?
“I know what I said the other day, but…uhh…I…I really want to kiss you…”
He didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to. His eyes said it all, and she took a step toward him. He did the same. It was the awkwardest thing she had ever done in her life. Neither of them had ever kissed anyone before and had no idea what to do. She thought about abandoning this plan as their heads clumsily tried to find the right position for their mouths to meet.
Somehow, her lips found his, and in a couple of seconds, it was over. It was just a cute little peck on the lips, but a kiss was a kiss, and she felt proud and excited to have finally done it.