It just so happened that Jonathan had planned to try out some new Sunday hours that day. Breakfast during the week was not profitable enough to bother opening early, but he wanted to see how weekend brunch would work. Sunday Brunch seemed to be a term people threw around, so he thought he’d try it.
The girls got in around 6 a.m. just as Jonathan and Skyla were getting up to prepare for their day. He was glad they would be away from home so they wouldn’t disturb their daughters’ sleep.
“Welcome to Viviana’s! I’m Jonathan, the owner. What can I get for you?”
He still got new customers from time to time, and he loved that. Seeing them fueled his encouragement for himself. All the naysayers told him his business had reached its peak, and it was only going to go downhill from there. He worked hard to make sure that didn’t happen; he had the graying hair to prove it. The business couldn’t go under. It was only the first one.
Between the old faces and the new faces, the family faces were his favorite ones to see–even the ones he wasn’t that close to. Chasity hadn’t come by in a while and he was glad to see her. It was always a bit awkward when she came in though. She reminded him of his failed restaurant, and he often wondered if she was upset with him for not hiring her again. She couldn’t have been too upset if she frequented there. She was accompanied by his cousin, Ethan: Uncle Emerson’s step-son. Jonathan didn’t really know him that well but regarded him as family too.
The brunch had been a success. They were busy from the time they opened the doors and had to turn people away at closing. Everything went smoothly. There was only one minor complaint, and Jonathan handled it with finesse like he always did.
Jonathan and Savannah passed each other, and he realized he didn’t talk to her much. She and Skyla had become friends, and he learned everything about her from his wife. That needed to change.
“Oh! Savannah…how’s the baby?”
“She’s great! Getting so big too soon.”
“Ahhhh, yes. I remember those days,” he said with a sigh. “Cherish them. Before you know it, she’ll be standing in front of you in a fancy dress introducing you to some dude you never heard of to supposedly dance all night at prom.”
“Oh…did I say that out loud?”
“Maybe you and Manu should hang out more. You can prepare him for the future.”
“HA! Yeah…. But, seriously, I’d love to hang out with him if he wants to.”
“Excuse me,” a customer across the room said.
Jonathan nodded at her and proceeded to the kitchen. Archer was in there spouting off orders to Tiana. The conversation with Savannah reminded him that they all had babies at home he never asked about.
“How’s your son?”
“Oh, he’s great! He’s keeping us up at night still, but he’s great.”
Savannah came in to give Tiana her orders as well. Just when he was about to ask her about her baby, she interrupted him.
“You know, Jonathan,” Tiana said, “everyone in this room has a baby except you!”
He snorted. “And it can stay that way.”
Archer and Tiana laughed, but Savannah looked like she was caught off guard. “You don’t want to have more children?”
“I have a young adult daughter and a teenager who will be a young adult soon. I’m not sure I want to start over, you know? Besides, we’re a perfect family of four! Everything is fine the way it is.”
# # #
Jonathan and Skyla arrived home around 3:00. Aubrey was sitting at the computer, and Maya was in the shower. They must have just recently gotten up, so he immediately started on an early dinner.
“Hey,” Skyla said. “Look who’s up!”
Her voice was so cheery and excited. It matched her beautiful face he was admiring from across the room. He almost forgot he had knives in his hand and went back to his dish prep.
Maya came out of the bathroom and joined her mother on the couch.
“How was it?” Skyla asked. “Everything went well?”
Maya didn’t wait for Aubrey to answer. “It was so hot, mom! The venue was amazing, the food was great, and everyone was just like all over Aubrey all night. She’s like little miss popularity over there!”
“Is that so?”
“No,” Aubrey said. “It is not so.”
“She’s just being modest,” Maya said.
Jonathan chuckled at their exchange. He loved how much the sisters loved each other and thought their little squabbles were cute. They never got into any major arguments and always had each other’s backs.
When the food was prepared, he went back into his days of being a server and balanced four plates in his hands. He brought one to all of his ladies and admired Aubrey as he ate.
She was so beautiful, just like her sister. He wouldn’t be surprised if all the guys in the school wanted to dance with her. It was them he didn’t trust. Aubrey wasn’t a sneak. She was so sweet and he hoped none of those knuckleheads would try to take advantage of that sweetness. Speaking of knuckleheads, he wondered how she and her prom date got on. He seemed like a nice, respectful young man. If he was a charlatan, he sure played the boy-next-door role well. Jonathan still thought there was something familiar about him. His memory wasn’t as good as it used to be, but he would remember him if he came into the restaurant.
“So you and Julio had a nice time?”
He took a few more bites of his food. “Where does he live?”
Of course, in his Newcrest days, almost no one lived there. Houses seemed to be popping up around there quite quickly in recent times. He didn’t know anyone (anymore) in Newcrest, so that didn’t give him any clues about where he knew that kid from. Perhaps he reminded him of someone. Maybe he looked like one of his parents.
“What did you say his last name was?”
The light from her face disappeared. She looked upset.
“Are you ok, honey?”
She shook off whatever was bothering her and went back to whatever she was doing on the computer. “Mmm hmm. I didn’t say what his last name was.”
He snorted. She got into these weird moods at random times was quite snarky. He didn’t like it, but he couldn’t do much about it.
“So, what is his last name then?”
She looked so uncomfortable. Was she hiding something? Would his sweet, innocent child actually attempt to deceive him? Why would she protect this kid? Who was he??
Skyla gasped. He heard the name, but it didn’t register right away…
…then, it did.
Julio looked nothing like Tony. All he had of him was his hair and skin color. How could he have felt so familiar? Was he like his father? Jonathan could feel his body getting warm and his breaths increased.
Skyla plastered a smile on her face and attempted to change the subject. “This trout is delicious, Jonathan. You should make it more often…. You’ve never made it before, right?”