Chapter 23 by J. Nicoel Western: A Preview

51wFQa7m0kL (1)Chapter 23 is a short love story based off true events of a friendship I had when I was twenty-three. I met the most incredible guy while embarking on a new journey in life. We learned about the importance of friendship all while trying not to fall too deeply in love. The love was there, but heartbreak was inevitable.

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It was my first night at Savannah’s. I got off work at the preschool, sped home to replace my red, awkward, somewhat tight-fitting polo with my new, overly sized, awkward-fitting black polo. I touched up my makeup, which consisted of applying another coat of mascara on top of the mascara I applied at seven that morning, put Madalynn in the bathroom after her walk, and headed out for my first night.

​I’ll never forget the first thing Vince said to me when I showed up.

​“What kind of serving schedule starts at 5:45, 6 o’clock?”

​Although his face was kind, his persona was always one of a mean guy. He was very monotone unless he was yelling or cursing at his sons. He was always nice to me. Always quick to give me a hard time. Always wearing a smirk that left one unable to distinguishwhether he was happy or upset.

​Travis showed me around in the back. I was anticipating working with such a chill cook staff. Travis’s younger brother and crazy Eddieran things in the back. I knew it was alwaysgoing to be a good time. And I was right. I followed Travis through the metal swinging door that separated the front lobby from the kitchen and to the back where he was immediately called to help out on the line.

​“You got this?” he asked.

​“Yeah, sure,” I could feel my eyes widen.

​“Okay, good. Rosita will be training you.” He walked off, grabbed a ticket, put itbetween his teeth, and quickly tied his apron.

​I followed Rosita around and quickly realized it was going to be a piece of pie. I say piece of pie because Travis baked and sold the most delicious and beautiful pies. I had served at a few other restaurants in the past and this one seemed way more laid back than any before.

Savannah’s had two wait staff areas, orwait stations, and we were stationed back in what we called the hidden one. The bus tub was full. The night was still early and somewhat dead. I had only been on for about thirty minutes. I grabbed the tub and told Rosita I’d take it to the back.

​I rounded the wall of the main wait station and ran smack dab into a tall dark haired boy. The glasses in the bus tub clanked loudly and everyone in the lobby looked up at me for a second of silence before returning back to their conversations and dinner.

Our eyes immediately met, of course. He was the same height as me. Something most six foot girls aren’t used to. He dropped his phone on the shelf and grabbed onto the bus tub. I didn’t let go. His crooked facial expressioncrept to the biggest smile. He pulled the tub out of my hands. The glasses clanked loudly again. Luckily not loud enough to re-interrupteveryone’s dinner.

​Instead of taking the tub to the back, he set it on the shelf on top of his phone as well assome unused napkins. He stuck his hand out for me to shake. I looked at his hand, then back at him. I grabbed his hand and shook it.

​“I’m Jon,” he said while still holding on to my hand, “and you’re probably the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.”

​“Oh.” I said, feeling warmth in my cheeks, “I’m Jasmine. Travis’s friend.”

​Alex came through the swinging door. Jon picked up the tub and disappeared to the back and I went to find Rosita.

​The rest of the night was a blur. It didn’t take long for me to realize it was going to be easy work. Rosita, the other girls, Jon, and Alex were hard working so, I never felt like I needed to pick up anyone else’s slack. We stayed busy. The food was amazing. The side work was a breeze and mopping was fun. The floor became so slippery as if you were gliding on ice. Mopping felt like you were risking your life. I had worked at five restaurants prior, but it was clear this was by far my favorite. Rosita was incredibly kind. My good friend Tabithawas going to start soon. Momma D was hilarious. Travis and the guys in the back were fun and constantly cracking jokes.

​Jon only smiled at me the rest of the night. I found myself always smiling back in return. I didn’t see him when I was on my way out. I rushed out to my car and was home by nine-thirty. I took Madalynn on a walk. I was asleep before ten-thirty. I crashed hard. This new chapter was going to be an exhausting one.

​Before I knew it, it was eight in the morning and I was clocking on in my red polo.My day went as normal. My break started. I wrote JJ to tell him about my first night at the restaurant. And then it hit me: I had thought about Jon when I woke up that morning.

​I tried pushing him out of my mind for the rest of the day. I found myself thinking of him again later on on my way out of my apartment door in my black polo as I walked back to my mirror to double check my appearance.

​Lord, Jasmine. Get to work.

​I clocked on and it was like I wasn’t even trying to hide that I was looking around for Jon. No one knew though. Rosita came in and said I was following her for the night. Alex came in after her with Travis. Travis told me it was my last night training. He told me that if I could survive a Friday night training then I would be good to go.

​No Jon. That was probably a good thing because no telling what school girl crush behavior I would have ridiculously trotted around with. This was definitely a new feeling for me. But even more definitely a weird one. I remember telling myself I was such a loser getting in my feels over being called beautiful. Surely he talks like that to everyone.

​I have more of that mediocre kind of beauty. Pretty, but not hot. Cute, but not sexy. He said beautiful, though. And that smile. And his height. And his hair.

​Stop it, Jasmine.

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To order Chapter 23 via Amazon, click here.

 

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