My parents had always called me warm, sweet, and childlike—but was I really that? I mean, when your parents are both hot and cold beings, how warm can I really be? Just some thoughts are all.
“Orders up!” my mom eagerly shouted from the kitchen, placing the meal on the counter. I scooped it up and was off to the tables to serve it. I placed it down on the table swiftly, nodding and smiling at the family of two. They appeared to be middle-aged—and nice enough to give me a tip.
“Two patty melts with cheese and no pickles, correct?” I asked them. They responded with a hearty ‘Yes ma’am!’ before I fled to another table, making sure they were okay as well.
“Alright Novella, you can take a break. Your father can handle it until we need you again,” my mother said as I approached the counter once more. I gave her a quick smile before hopping over the counter and into the back room, closing the door on it softly.
“Ahhh… there aren’t even three families in the diner tonight and my legs hurt already…” I muttered to myself, falling into one of the metal chairs we had set up in our small break room. Turning it to one of the round tables, I snatched some receipt paper from afar and placed it in front of me, taking the pencil that I had previously tucked away near my ear and started to draw.
I had always been a lacking person in the fields of creativity—I never took up writing stories, or crafting things. However, drawing was what truly stuck with me.
I had a knack for drawing the logo of my parents’ diner: a simple leaf with specks surrounding it. My parents held The Nook together on their own—but with me being their waitress, our family became a team like no other.
The Nook diner was essentially the baby that my mother and father created—well, before me, of course. Started in the 80s, this business of theirs had never died down since then. They were young, passionate, and certainly smart about how things went about in THEIR diner. It always has and always will be their diner.
I proceeded to draw the logo once more, as it was firmly ingrained into my mind since the day I was born. A curved line this way, a few straight lines here and there, and then the stem…
Voila. Another perfect recreation.
There had been previous workers at The Nook, but my parents were dissatisfied with each and every one of them. They were competent in what my parents told them to do, but my parents (especially my dad) strictly believed in the thought that “if they can’t do it, then I’ll do it myself.”
Even close family members, like my aunts Beth and Stacy weren’t absent from this rule. They were quickly dismissed after Beth misheard an order twice. Stacy was fired due to her knocking a cup on the ground by mistake.
However, my parents aren’t all that mean. Mr. Nook, my father, is quick to help the kids at the public school with service hours. Only if they wanted to clean the bathrooms and change the coals in our gigantic grills, though. Can’t win them all.
I only remember one person vividly working here besides family members. It was a time when I was young and my parents had no one to look after me at the time. His name was Vincent, and he was a pretty nice guy. My parents grew to like him, and he was always on time.
Nevertheless, he did the one thing that set my parents off so much that we had to close the diner early that day.
“A raise? A raise, you say?” my father repeated over and over again, getting a bit louder with each iteration. My mother stood at the doorway, tapping her foot with her arms crossed. Poor Vincent was shaking in his boots.
“We will be the ones who decide whether you earn a raise or not, young man. Do you hear me?” my father boomed at him.
“But, sir, I’ve been working here for a couple of months, I-I get here on time and do what I’m supposed to do, so…” he trailed off nervously.
“You do what you’re supposed to do, and you do a damn fine job at doing it. But have you ever thought of going above and beyond your call of duty? Have you ever helped my wife with serving ice cream? Have you ever helped me behind the grill and plating the dishes?” He folded his hands to keep them from flailing around the place. “No, you haven’t.”
“T-Then I can do that, with no problem!” he exclaimed a bit too loudly, almost as a claim. My father’s eyebrow raised.
“You’re fired,” my father simply said, waving his hand towards the door. “We thank you for your time here at The Nook.” Vincent took a deep breath, covering his face with his arm to shield us from his falling tears. He escaped the room, my mother swiftly moving to the side to dodge him. My father placed his hand to his head, sighing as well.
“Well, at least Novella is getting older to at least start sweeping up. That’s something, right?” my mother uttered to her husband. Mr. Nook smirked, looking to the side at the family portrait that was on his desk.
“Yea,” he said, admiring it for a second. “I’m going to close up shop for today. Let’s go see what she’s up to.” He got up and clicked the lights off in the office, with my mother in tow behind him.
My parents claim to see him and his family come in from time to time, demonstrating that our cooking can even persuade someone who may hate our guts.
A knock at the door forced me back into the realm of reality, making me turn to it as well. My mother opened it and poked her head through.
“Novella, sweetie, your break’s over. The couple at the table you served wanted to ask you something.” I smiled and leaped up from the chair, dashing out to the diner immediately. I arrived at the table in a flash, placing my hands behind my back.
“Mm-mm-mm-mm-mmm! I don’t know how you do it Novella, but these melts are always so delicious and warm when they come out! They’re never cold! How do you do it?” they asked me. I gave them a nervous grin, rubbing the back of my neck.
“Ahaha… it must be the way my father makes them!” I replied.
“Well, he sure does a fine job. Here’s your tip—we must be getting home now,” the father said, handing me a ten-dollar bill. I took the money with my graceful left hand, placing it slowly in my back pocket. Repeating ‘thank you’ several times over, I cleared their table and brought their dishes to the kitchen, placing them in the sink promptly. My father turned to me as I did this, flipping the meat on the grill beforehand so he could talk.
“How much?” he said plainly. “Ten bucks.”
“Eh… for a quiet Thursday night, that’s not too bad. You can keep it,” he responded. Smiling shortly after, we went back to the burgers on the grill. However, he shot a quick glance at my hand.
“Novella, your right hand…” he warned, keeping his voice low. I pulled it up from the dishwater, only to see it glowing a dark red. My eyes widened, shoving them back into the dishwater.
“You know that doesn’t work. It’s okay, it’ll cool down eventually.” A small flame flicked in his irises, making me feel even more nervous.
“But Dad, I… it was…” I struggled to find the words to portray how I was feeling. “It’s fine, sweetie. Take a deep breath.”
My powers were showing. I hated when that happened.