When I went to work after everything had happened I knew Derrick would ask me how it went. So I was not surprised when he called me to his office.
I stood there wanting to wait and see for sure that it was my newly messed up social life he wanted to know about and not something to do with work for a change. However, when he just watched me with his own set of waiting eyes I began to feel pressured into telling him anything I could think of.
“So, Piper and I did our rounds, we cleaned out old Mrs. Jenkins’ room for the new arrival, I was five minutes late because of traffic, and my date with Mr. Parker was a major mess up.” I was afraid to look at my boss.
“Winter, you’re a sweet girl… but I’m beginning to wonder if worrying about you is going to put me in an early grave. I’m going to hate myself for asking, but what happened?” Derrick relaxed his head onto his propped up arm with a look that clearly said I was beginning to bother him.
“Well-“I told him the whole night, all the messed-up-ness that had happened.
“Wow, you know how to make a mess, don’t you? So, what’s this waiter’s name?” he turned to look at his medical records behind him.
“You’re going to look up the waiter’s medical?” I was in shock.
“Yes, and if you would stay out of trouble I wouldn’t have to. You better hope that you didn’t just make things even worse.” Derrick was getting mad.
“THIS can get WORSE?”
“Yes, Name, NOW!” I had never seen Derrick so mad, and it was my fault.
“I-I don’t know it.” I winced when he glared at me, “Really, I didn’t get to ask.”
“What about the bill? It always tells you who served you.”
“He told me it was on-the-house. So I only got to leave him a tip, I wanted to pay for it, but he wouldn’t let me.” I could feel stray tears run down my cheeks.
“Okay, well I guess I can call the restaurant, however in the meantime; I know it’s hard for you but, stay out of trouble.” Derrick looked down at some papers on his desk as I stood up the leave, “And, Winter?”
“Yes?” I whispered.
“I’m giving you a week off, I might call you in earlier, but until I get this mess cleaned up you are not to come in.” Derrick did not look up when I gasped and looked at him in shock.
“With pay, you may leave now.”
I went to the nurses’ lounge and leaned against a wall. The feeling left my legs I slid into the floor and cried.
I went home and tried to find something to distract me from thinking too hard on getting punished for such a jacked up social life. So I grabbed one of the medical journals to keep up with my job progress at home. The problem with that plan was that it was not distracting enough and just kept pointing out that I should never mix my personal issues with my work issues.
Anger began to build as I tried to keep reading, but finally, in a fit of anger, I threw the book at the other end of my room and stood up. I went to my dresser and found a dress, threw it on and called a cab.
I stepped out and looked at the restaurant with dismay. Why did I come here? What was it going to accomplish? I did not know who the waiter was, or what I would say if I saw him. So why did I find myself looking for him? Worse, why did I get to find him, and not in uniform?
I walked over to his table, unsure of what else I was going to do, but I at least wanted to ask his name.
He looked up, and smiled, “Sit. You didn’t need to leave that tip, so now I’m paying for you. So sit down.” His smile was infectious; I found myself doing as I was told with a grin.
“I’m sorry that the man I was with had caused such a scene. I had not wanted that, I just didn’t want him thinking there was something there when there wasn’t.” I felt the intense need to let this man know that for some reason.
“It’s okay, trust me it happens more than you think. I’m Brandon, Brandon Silvermen.” This man was very nice so far.
“Winter Ravenwood, I’m glad to meet you; even if it was a really bad first time.” I looked down embarrassed over last night.
“Remember how you will, but I choose to remember you smile as you tried my caramel cake.” His grin shone even in his eyes.
“It was very good, thank you.” I blushed.
“No, thank you for enjoying it and for the note that got me promoted to chef. Best thank you ever in my book.”
We sat there and talked about things we liked and things we disliked. We laughed a lot and everything felt so wonderful because I was really enjoying myself in Brandon’s company. I did not feel awkward or stressed or even different; I just felt like myself for once since moving here. When the food came, we ate in silence, but it was nice.
I was having such a great time that when Brandon’s boss came out and told us we had to leave because they were closing; I was shocked at how quickly time had flown. I also realized that I did not want to say goodbye yet.
We stood to leave still giggling over something said. When I called a cab to go home, Brandon offered to wait with me. It was sweet of him, so we sat on a bench together and waited. The cab pulled up and we stood. I turned to thank him for the wonderful night but didn’t get to say anything before he stunned me.
I smiled, which made him smile.
“I want to see you again, Winter Ravenwood. Would you mind that too much?” He looked nervous when he asked.
“I would like that very much, Brandon Silvermen.” I gave him my number and he gave me his then I waved as I got in the cab.
I had the best dreams when I went to bed that night.