Thursday, February 13, 2014
"Isn't that beautiful?"
Andrea craned her head over to the laptop that was sitting on Charmaine's lap. Instead of dishes, tablecloths, mixers, saltshakers, and other restaurant-like equipment, there was a picture of a large van generously covered with oxidization.
"Charmaine? I thought you said that you're looking for stuff to brighten up the place. What the hell is that?"
"Okay, I know what you might be thinking. But imagine this: a beautiful bride, a handsome groom…"
"Get infected with tetanus from this thing?"
Charmaine tilted her head sideways with a look that said "Really?"
"So, you're wanting to do… well, catering. There is absolutely no way that the health department would let us do any catering out of that monstrosity."
"Girl, you know that van just needs a little love to make it right. A little coat of paint…"
"Charmaine. It costs a lot of money to get a car, let alone a van, repainted. We don't have much money in the budget as it stands. What makes you think that we're going to afford a van?"
"It's only $1,500!"
"That's the sticker price. What about the stuff that you don't see? How do we know that it runs? For all we know it could take ten cranks to start on a hot day, or worse, leave us stranded!"
"Look at it like this, Andrea. Kenton's been mowing lawns and saving up for a car when he gets his license three years from now. Believe me, I've seen vans as cheap as $500!"
"And what's the first thing that you tell him when he brings you these junkers?"
"I tell him that he's way too young to be worrying about driving and that his grades are more important!"
"Okay, what's the second thing you tell him?"
"That you get exactly what you pay for. But girl, it's a $1,500 van in a $500 world! What can you expect?"
"I expect wonderful things, Charmaine. I'm not saying that it's never going to happen, but we need to focus on the short-term future. I want to be there on a beautiful bride's big day, but I want to be there in a van that looks like it belongs among the limos and the horse-drawn wagons. You get what I'm saying?"
Charmaine looked down at the floor with disappointment in her eyes before looking back up at her best-friend-turned-business-partner and smiled.
"Now, we're on a roll." Andrea said as she started to knock on the counter of the commercial kitchen that they were standing in. "We've almost got the building. We've got a vague idea of the menu. We're on the right track."
"Yeah, you're right. So, I was thinking about an owl motif for the dining room."
"Well, that's unique enough, I guess."
"Great, because I think this would be good for the sign of the restaurant."
With a couple of taps on the laptop's touchpad, the internet browser on the screen was replaced with a vector graphics editor. Andrea's mouth opened a bit at both the work that Charmaine put into the beautiful computer graphics and the audacity of the name she picked.
"Night Owl Café?"
"Yeah, I think it fits well with the motif?"
Charmaine could tell from her friend's eyes that this was going to take a bit of a pitch to convince her that this name would work out.
"It's got that… well, pop."
"Yeah! It's got that twist of ambiguity and shadiness…"
"It's edgy, but in a good kind of way. It's enough to get a person's eyebrow up. Enough to make them say 'I want to know what this is about. I'm going to eat there.'"
Andrea didn't want to admit it, but Charmaine had a solid point.
"Okay, it's something to ponder."
"Yeah, exactly. Something to ponder."
"Now, you see, this is progress. When you get your mind to something, you can do amazing things. But Charmaine, we must focus those powers down. We need a case of tunnel vision here. Wonderful things will come."
"I know, girl. I know."
"And, you know, several years down the line I think it would be awesome enough to expand into the catering business. But we need to think about the present instead of the future. Maybe down the road whenever Kenton gets married you might be the one catering the reception!"
"Honey, that's going to be a LONG way down that road. Otherwise he’s going to be walking down the aisle with my foot in his behind!"
With a chuckle, Andrea got up from her seat and walked over to the door.
"I'm heading out. We'll talk more about the specifics, as in the menu, next time. Like I said, let's take this one step at a time."
"Right. I'm sorry, I guess I'm getting too caught up in my excitement!"
"That's not necessarily a bad thing, just don't get too ahead of yourself."
Charmaine nodded as Andrea opened the front door. After hearing footsteps coming up, she stepped back as Kenton walked through the front door.
"Hey, look who decided to show up!" Andrea joked as Kenton set his school bag down on the kitchen table.
"One: how was your day, baby? And two: Get that off the dinner table." Charmaine sternly said as her parenting "personality" started to take dominance over the silly daydreaming she was guilty of just a few minutes prior.
"Good…" Kenton said as he slid the bag off with a sigh.
"I'm out. See you tomorrow?" Andrea said as she opened the front door once again. Charmaine nodded and gave a small wave.
"See you later, girl!"
"Bye, Andrea!" Kenton added with a polite smile.
Two hours later, dinner was done and served followed by silence from Kenton's room. Charmaine put the restaurant out of her mind as she kicked back in her favorite chair to watch some television.
She found herself dozing off when she heard Kenton's bedroom door open and then close about two minutes later. It was a commercial break, so she walked to the fridge to get a drink. With a glance to her right, she noticed that the bathroom light was still on.
"Really? Does that boy think that we're paying for the power company's luxury yachts?" She mumbled to herself as she walked away from an open fridge door to turn off the light. Before she could turn off the light, she noticed her makeup case sitting on the vanity.
Curiosity piqued, she walked over to the makeup case and opened it up. Instead of being organized by color, she grouped her nail colorings by occasion: solid colors for super-formal events, fluorescent for fun with a touch of formal, and finally some that was glittery (and expensive) for looking good for a night on the town. Of course, the glittery (expensive) one was missing.
With fire in her eyes, Charmaine stormed out of the bathroom and threw open the door to her son's room.
"Boy! What are you doing with my glittery makeup?!"
Kenton looked up in shock knowing full well that he was in trouble. His mother, Charmaine, could only look down at him in disappointment and anger over the fact that her precious (and don't forget, expensive) makeup was being used by her young teenage son.
"Mom, I can explain!"
"Explain what? What is any mother supposed to think when she walks in and sees her baby boy well on the road to being a pretty woman?"
Kenton sighed. Charmaine, already proven to be easily excitable, once again jumped to a conclusion.
"Mom, seriously, it's not what it looks like!"
"You! My makeup! Your hands! Your face!"
Curious about that last statement, Kenton craned his head around to look at a small mirror positioned on the dresser next to his bedroom desk. Sure enough, there was a small amount of the glittery makeup under one of his eyes. His hands were indeed covered in the "beautiful" substance, so it's not a stretch to believe that he simply scratched his cheek without giving it a second thought. His last statement was indeed incorrect: It did look like what his mother thought it looked like.
"Kenton, I'm sorry. You are free to be whatever you want on God's green Earth. It's just… wow, I wasn't expecting this from my baby boy…"
Placing his face into his palm was the worst thing that Kenton could have done in this situation. The makeup was still very wet on his hand, making the problem that much worse.
"Gah!" he exclaimed as he moved his hand away when he realized his faux pas.
Kenton, defeated, held up his "project": a piece of construction paper that was carefully cut in half. The glitter makeup was applied very liberally to the edges of the homemade card. Charmaine bent down and studied the in-progress piece of "art".
"Okay. What is this?"
Kenton sighed again and only pointed to a basketball calendar posted up directly over his desk. Charmaine's gaze followed his finger and she realized that she was point to the very next day: February 14.
"Boy… ARE YOU USING MY EXPENSIVE MAKEUP FOR A GAUDY VALENTINE?!"
"It's gaudy because it's not done yet!" Kenton replied in a strong, but still meek voice.
"What do you mean? What do you want? My hairspray to keep it together?"
Kenton, finally having enough of this, flatly replied "Why yes, that would be great."
"Boy, don't get sarcastic with me! I will smack you into the next solar eclipse!"
"Sorry, Mom" was all that could leave the young man's mouth. The phrase "Sir, yes, sir!" was really what was leaving his mind.
"So, who is the lovely girl?"
Kenton blushed and quickly said "Oh, it's just a girl from school…"
"Who? That doesn't narrow it down! Do I know her?"
She did. And that was precisely why Kenton was keeping his trap clapped.
"Uh, yeah, maybe, I don't know…"
Charmaine giggled at the fact that her son was getting flustered at this line of interrogation.
"It's okay. It's probably for the best that I don't know. Just don't stay up too late, okay baby?"
"Oh, and try not to use up the last of my makeup. That stuff is expensive."
"I know, Mom."
Friday, February 14, 2014
Valentine's Day always caused a rift that split the students at Kenton's school into two groups: the groups made up of the couples that gushed over one another and the other group made up of people who kept to themselves and wished for the day to be over quickly.
Kenton did a wonderful job playing a role in the latter group while wishing he were in that first group. As the last period of the day started, he was ready to execute his plan. After fifteen minutes passed by in the class, Kenton meekly asked the teacher if he could use the restroom. He chose this class period to do this as he would have to pass by the girl's locker on his way to the restroom.
He quietly opened the door to the classroom and just as quietly closed it behind him. He reached his hand into his pocket and secretly started to pull out the envelope holding the anonymous confession as the locker appeared when he turned a corner.
Twenty feet. Ten feet. Was this really a promising idea? He had his eye on this girl since the start of the school year and yesterday had to be a sign from above. A sign that he should act now or forever regret it.
Five feet. Kenton felt his stomach leap into his throat.
Two and a half feet. Kenton's shadow started to appear on the door of the locker.
Kenton's whole body froze. This was the last call before the train was to leave the station. Inhaling deeply, Kenton turned off all his thought processes and slammed the envelope into the ventilation slot of the locker.
Common sense started to recover in Kenton's mind as he sped to the restroom and took some deep breaths as the reality of the situation started to sink in. What was done was done. There's no taking that back. And if everything worked according to plan, Kenton would have no reason in the world to take that back.
Thirty-five minutes later, a loud bell told the teachers to release their students into the wild. Kenton raced to his locker and put his stuff away before slowly making his way to the gym for a basketball team meeting. He had meticulously planned out this part: if he would move slowly enough, then he would almost certainly be able to see the girl open her locker and get the valentine.
Sure enough, he turned the corner and saw her working the combination lock. To waste a little time, he stopped and acted like he was reading the bulletin board before taking a drink from the fountain. He hoped that his expression and body language didn't give away any hints as she had the envelope open and was reading what he had wrote:
"I'm not good at poetry, but I want to wish you a happy Valentine's Day. At least you know that you've heard it from someone that likes you very much ~ Secret"
The girl quickly glanced up to see if the "culprit" would return to the scene of the crime to see her reaction. Luckily, Kenton picked up on this and averted his gaze away from her mere fractions of a second before their eyes could meet.
The girl, seeing no one that could pass as a guilty party, blushed with a genuine smile as she put the valentine back in the envelope and carefully placed it in her backpack. Kenton was barely able to see her walk out of the door. She was keeping the valentine and did not toss it into a nearby garbage can! It was all that Kenton could do to keep from leaping into the air and cheering as the mission was a success.