Happy Sunday! Here's the first in a series of excerpts I'll be sharing from my upcoming release, Breathe Again. Enjoy!!
I’d been working there for nearly eleven years, since the week after my sixteenth birthday, and I can honestly say I loved it, but I was still so off-balance from the doggone football player’s smile and body and... everything, I asked Anika to switch positions with me. She happily agreed to wait tables, knowing the tips would be good on a Sunday, our busiest day. I took her post in the back where I helped my ever-hands-on uncle fill the orders.
I was deep in the trenches, scooping tangy coleslaw into Styrofoam pint containers, when Anika peeped in the kitchen and called my name.
“Yeah?” I said, without looking up.
“Your brother’s here, and he’s asking for you.”
I released a tiny sigh and removed the vinyl gloves from my hands, followed Anika out the door, and upon seeing my brother and his table mates, ducked back into the kitchen, dragging Anika with me.
She jerked away from me. “Girl, what’s wrong with you, grabbing me like that? I think you bruised my arm!”
“Tell my brother I’m not here,” I whispered.
“I already told him you are here. And why are we whispering?”
“Tell him you made a mistake.”
“I ain’t lying to no preacher, Maria! Now, come on!”
“Something wrong, niece?” Uncle Felix asked.
“Um...” I snatched my apron off and shook my head. “No, sir. Felton Jr. is out there asking for me. Probably wants me to work his table.”
“You don’t want to?”
“Then you shouldn’t be the best. Go on out there.” He started hacking at a slab of ribs before I could respond.
I took a deep breath, left the kitchen, and approached Felton’s table.
“Hey, baby sis!”
I nodded, swung my eyes from my brother to his co-conspiring wife, and then to him, sitting there with an empty lap I could see myself sitting on if I ever developed a bold bone in my body. He smiled at me, and I had to fight the desire to run out the door and onto the parking lot.
“Hi,” he said.