Tuesday, August 11, 2017
Two weeks had passed since Cameron walked out of the restaurant and was kicked out of his girlfriend's car. Things had smoothed over a bit, and Mia was willing to meet up with her boyfriend and have a talk with him.
"Hey." she said as Cameron walked up to her.
"Hey." he replied, awkwardly. Mia gestured down the sidewalk and Cameron nodded. Normally, they would be going somewhere in her car, but she still wanted to punish him a bit.
"I'm sorry for what I did..." Cameron tried to start off.
"No, I'm the one who's sorry."
"Sorry for what? Finding a loser like me?"
Not even a block away, Mia stopped walking.
"Am I right?" Cameron asked.
"You're an idiot. I love you. Kenton loves you. You have all of these people in the world who love you, and you still spout this garbage."
"I know. I just… I guess I don't know."
Mia laughed as she put her arm around him.
"I've been thinking. It must be awkward as hell to have your best friend as your boss. I guess I never thought about it much, since I don't have that problem."
"Yeah, you work in a big store where the managers change on a daily basis."
"Right. I guess I shouldn't be mad at you for wanting to put your friendship first."
"Eh, that wasn't really what it was about. I guess I felt like Kenton was talking down to me and it was just… weird. I would have tolerated it from someone else."
"Well, I was wrong for holding your own choices against you. Besides, it was probably illegal for you to work in a restaurant when you're barely fifteen."
The two of them came across the old Gabriel residence. Even though Olivia moved with her family to Maine nearly two years prior, her grandmother moved in to take care of the property. As they walked by, they the elderly lady outside tending to the flowers and greeted her with a polite wave.
"She must be getting ready for the ‘inspection.’" Cameron said when they were out of earshot.
"I hear that. I'm glad that Olivia's still doing well."
Meanwhile, at the restaurant, despite Charmaine being back from Portland for almost two weeks, Kenton was still pouring himself into his work.
"Mom, I don't get it. Why are we paying this much for lettuce when we can get it from this other vendor for a bit cheaper?"
"Quality. It's worth spending a little more to keep our customers happy."
"If you say so."
"Okay. That's it. Put the pen down, you're done."
Kenton was in shock at what his mother was doing.
"I'm back and I’m in charge from here on out. You're still a kid. Go be one. You're graduating from High School next year and you'll be moving on into adulthood. For the love of God, Kenton, be a kid."
Kenton stood up with a sigh and nodded.
"I might as well be working. I've ruined what friendships I had left when Cameron walked."
"Baby, have you even talked to him?"
"Nope. Haven't heard anything from him, or Mia for that matter."
"Then you need to be the one who makes the first move. He might be as upset as you are right now. What you need to do is sit down with him and tell him that what you said was observations made by customers and needed to be addressed for the good of the business."
"Actually… I might have stretched the truth when I reprimanded him. I lied and said that people were complaining about him smelling like smoke when coming in from work and coming back from breaks."
"Oh, Kenton, honey..."
"I know, Mom. I know. It's not good to lie, but I don't want to see my best friend in poor shape because he started smoking in his teens!"
"Yeah, but you can't use the business as an excuse! If there's one thing that this restaurant will be remembered for its integrity! You love your friend and you're trying to help him; I understand that, but I will be damned if I sit back and let you use my work as a cover for your lie!"
Kenton cowered down at his mother's harsh reprimand. He noticed several of the restaurant staff peeking around the corner, but he knew that he couldn't say a single thing to them.
"I'm sorry, Mom."
"It's okay. Your heart was in the right place, and I can't fault you for that. But I am going to have to relive you of your duties."
"Now get out of here. Go home and relax."
Kenton nodded and walked out of the door slowly. None of the staff that were peeking around the corner would make any eye contact.
Meanwhile, Cameron and Mia walked around the corner and back to her house. Before they could say anything else, Cameron's phone started going off. He looked down at the device before sighing and ignoring the call.
"Still mad at him?" Mia asked with curiosity.
"Mad at who?"
"How'd you know that was him?"
"I know you have separate ringtones for different people."
"Maybe he's calling to apologize to you."
"So? I don't want the job back."
"I know, but you can still be friends with him. You've been near inseparable for the last three years. You can't let this come between you!"
"Yeah, but times change. People change. It's hard to go back to what we had after what happened."
"Oh, come on."
Cameron didn't respond with words, but rather by grabbing a cigarette and lighting it. Without missing a beat, Mia grabbed it from his lips and chucked it into the nearby sewer.