“I hope you’re enjoying your meal, ma’am…”
Janessa looked up from her plate and saw her youngest niece standing before her. “Aubrey! Oh my goodness, you’re so beautiful! And you’re working here? How nice.”
Janessa hadn’t seen Aubrey since her birthday in that very dining room. She didn’t visit as much as Juliette did. Her husband was a little bit older than she was, and she wanted to spend as much time with him before he left the world.
“It’s nice to see you, Aunt Janessa!”
“You too. Are you doing well in school? I bet you’re driving all the boys crazy with your pretty self!”
Aubrey was embarrassed. “Heh, weeell…yes, I’m doing great in school…”
Janessa laughed at how her niece dodged her second question. “That’s good to hear. Keep up the good work, ok?”
“Of course, auntie. Oh…I’ve gotta go. Bye!” She ran off to greet some new guests who were just seated across the dining room.
Meanwhile, Skyla had spotted their favorite guests. It was Connor this time without Adrianna. “Hey there! It’s nice to see you for a change! Tell me you’re not here by yourself while the misses is at home with the baby.”
“Ha! Of course not,” he said. “I wouldn’t do that to her. She just stepped away to the ladies room. Oh! Here she comes now.”
“Ahhh, good. It’s nice to see you two in here together again. How’s your new job?”
“It’s great. I hate the hours, but the pay is great. We definitely need the raise now.”
Skyla nodded. “I’m definitely familiar with that. Hey! Let us take care of your meal tonight.”
Connor shook his head. “Now you know I like to support you guys. I can’t allow you to do that.”
Adrianna sat down and joined the conversation. “Allow her to do what?”
Skyla spoke before Connor had a chance. “I was just telling your dear husband that your dinner is on us tonight! Think of it as a ‘congrats on your baby’ gift. Or, a customer appreciation perk! However you want to think of it, it’s already done!” She smiled at Connor, and he accepted her offer with a nod.
This news excited Adrianna. “Oh how nice! You guys are the sweetest people we know…and not because you just comped our meal!”
“Sooooo, tell me about the baby!”
“Oh, Skyla! She’s BEAUTIFUL! I love Connor with all my heart, but I never knew such love until I held that little girl in my arms!”
“A girl! Oh how sweet,” Skyla gushed.
“We named her Yesenia…after my mother, may she rest in peace,” Adrianna said.
“That’s a pretty name,” Skyla said. “I’m sorry about your mother.”
“Oh, it’s fine. She lived a very full life and is in a better place now. I’m glad she lived as long as she did, but it kind of hurts that she didn’t get to meet our little angel. She only needed one more day!”
“Oh, Adrianna. I am really sorry to hear that! I really am.” Skyla recalled when Julian died two days before Juliana was born before she and Jonathan got married. He was wrecked, but Adrianna and Connor seemed to be doing fine.
“Skyla,” Connor said, “call me crazy, but I keep seeing double. Do you have a twin we don’t know about, or is that…”
Skyla laughed. “Yes, that’s her! Sweetness…come meet the McDonnells.”
Aubrey was checking on the table adjacent to them when she heard her mother call. “Hi. I’m Aubrey… Welcome to Viviana’s!”
“Oh sweet llamas! You two look just alike,” Adrianna said. “Aren’t you just a dear following your parent’s footsteps!”
Aubrey nodded confidently. “I’m going to own this place one day.”
“OH! That’s excellent news! Well, get used to us. We’ll be here every day until we can’t come anymore!”
“Thank you for supporting my parents. It means a lot to us.”
“Awww! That was very nice,” Skyla said, beaming at her daughter in pride. “We really do appreciate you guys. Bring Yesenia when you can! I’d love to meet her. That looks like your meal coming now. We’ll let you dine in peace. See you tomorrow?”
“You know it,” Connor said.
Aubrey went to the bar to begin her homework when she suddenly had an awesome idea. “Mom! Can I talk to you for a second?”
“What is it?”
“Ummmmmmm… Heh, ok…don’t get mad or crazy or cause a scene…ok?”
“I’m getting nervous,” Skyla said.
“Well, ok. Here’s the thing… If I’m going to run this place some day, I should know how it works, right?”
“Yes,” Skyla said hesitantly.
“And, part of knowing how it works is knowing how each part of it works, right?”
“So far, I’m learning two areas. I’m not a proper waitress, but I watch Savannah, and greeting and checking on the customers help. And, I’m not a chef, but I’m learning to cook!”
“I know to be a host you have to be charismatic and learn the POS system. I can get training for that…and waitressing!”
Skyla honestly had no idea where any of this was going.
Aubrey continued. “That just leaves one area left to learn…”
Skyla waited for her to get to the point.
Skyla snorted internally. She thought the contrast of her two daughters was funny. She had hormones on one hand and strong ambition on the other. Life is so funny sometimes. “So…you want to be a mixologist then?”
“No, not really. But I should know how to make excellent drinks, mom! Shouldn’t I start learning now?”
“You know we can’t have you serving juice in the restaurant. You’re too young, and it would be illegal.”
“I know, mom, but…I can practice, right?”
“Let me talk to your dad about it.”