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Cooking With Pooh; I still can't think up of a good title for these things!
Topic Started: Aug 12 2016, 08:10 PM (214 Views)
Yugikun
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maybe if you're lucky the random avatar will sync up to the character you're reading right now
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“So how’d it go?”

((Alvaro Vacanti, continued from Sidelines))

Vacanti’s. After school.Or rather during school hours just at a point when Alvaro didn’t need to be there. He had a free period at the end of every Friday, so rather than sitting around trying to wait for the week to end he came here early so he could get some chores done before the wave of students came. He knew that he could use that time at the end of the day to study and he tried doing that when the school year started but whenever he tried he just couldn’t really focus on it because it was the end of the day and he’d soon be able to go to the cafe and maybe someone he knew and liked would be there and he just couldn’t really focus on what was in front of him. It was a problem here as well, but he felt that doing chores and setting up cutlery was easier for him to do and didn’t really require as much of the focus as studying did.

Plus, being here made him feel better, in a way. Comfortable, large. Like there was something that was stretching the confines of his heart and making it feel less tight on him. He tended to feel this way whenever he was working in the cafe. As much as it had changed his life, sometimes not for the best, he couldn’t bring himself to hate it because even though there were people out there who hated him because of it he still couldn’t deny how much good it had done for him. It was because of it that he was able to meet Lily. It was here when he had finally gathered the courage to admit that he loved her. It was because of this place that he had the group of friends he had. He couldn’t hate this place. It’d be ungrateful of him to do so.

He was currently putting cutlery down on the tables. Although they decided that they were going to keep using steel cutlery they decided that they were going to lay them down for customers in advance, so that the customers could eat with something and to lessen potential complaints to the front desk. It had only been a one time incident so far, but he knew that it could happen again so now he was making sure that it wouldn’t happen. The person speaking was his uncle, who was looking at him from the front desk. He tended to be on or off in terms of talking; sometimes he would barely ever speak and only ever gave short answers and other times he’d go a mile a minute, Alvaro and others having difficulty catching up. The question was about the Sadie Hawkins Dance, which had happened the week before. It wasn’t really something he wanted to talk about. It was too awkward for him to want to remember it and he figured that if he just didn’t think about or refer to it he’d be able to just forget about it. Hopefully. It hadn’t really worked very well. As much as he didn’t want to he had probably thought about it every day since the night.

He sighed. It was probably best that he answer him. Silence would just lead his uncle to repeat himself or give his own interpretation.

“Not… really very well,” he replied.

It was true. As much as he wanted to be able to say that it was great it really wasn’t. He wanted to dance, but when the two tried to do so they found out that neither really knew what they were doing. They were able to just talk to each other afterwards, and that was okay, but… he didn’t really know. He didn’t want to come off as ungrateful and he really did appreciate having time to talk to Lily but only doing that made him feel unfulfilled, in a way. He knew that he had probably said this a hundred thousand times by now but he wanted to dance that night. It was something he had to do. They were a couple, and from what he knew the couples were supposed to dance on nights like these, and not being able to because of issues with him was just something he couldn’t really get past.

“She dump you or something?”

Wait, what?

“No,” Alvaro replied, a little more sudden than how he normally spoke. He didn’t want to seem like he was cutting his uncle off or putting him down but it was a sudden question which took him a little off guard and he didn’t really know where it came from. No, she didn’t dump him, they had left on good terms despite how the night actually went. They hadn’t been able to talk since that night, but that was more an issue between the difference of their two schedules, more than anything else. They were on good terms, and going to the night together didn’t affect their relationship that much.

But still, he couldn’t help but worry. Lily knew he liked her now, and although he had seen her seem okay with it who knew what she actually thought about it? He couldn’t read minds - and he knew that he didn’t really want that power - and it was entirely possible that she couldn’t really deal with having a friend she knew liked her and just didn’t want to hurt his feelings about it. They’d end up never speaking to each other again, aside from maybe a glance when both passed each other in the hallways and maybe a note in each other's yearbooks when both of them graduated. He knew that that wasn’t true, but he couldn’t help thinking about it and every time he did it just went further down and further down and further down in his mind and he kept thinking it was true every time it appeared.

He couldn’t read minds, but admittedly he wished he had the power, just so that he knew what others thought of him.

“Oh, sorry, you just seemed kinda dejected about it, is all,” his uncle said.

“It’s… um, fine,” Alvaro replied. Not really true, but he wouldn’t say that it was the opposite of what he felt. It wasn’t that far from his opinions. “We’re still friends, if that’s what you’re saying.”

“That’s good to hear,” he said back. “She’s a good customer.”

He stopped. Alvaro looked at him for a second.

“I mean, I’m happy for you, I just figured that it wouldn’t need saying,” he continued.

“Okay then, I guess,” Alvaro replied. He didn’t really think about that, he just thought it was a little odd that his uncle just stopped speaking for a moment.

His uncle laughed, slightly.

“Well, you’ve gotten further than I have, at the very least,” he said, with a small smile on his face. Alvaro placed the last of the cutlery on the table, and moved the tray to the front desk. His uncle had mentioned his love life in previous conversations, but nothing more than the brief self-deprecating references. Silence reigned, for a few moments, until:

“I ever tell you the story about Valentina?”

Alvaro shook his head.

“No, you haven’t.”

His uncle grinned, making that sort of sound that was a combination between a huff and a a laugh.

“How much time do we have?”

Alvaro let go of the tray so that he could look at his watch. 2:35. Ten minutes before school ended, give or take. That was good, it meant that there was enough time for his uncle to be able to tell whatever story he had. He liked it when his uncle or his dad told people stories, mostly because both of them just had a certain… way of saying things that made Alvaro want to keep listening. He figured that they could tell him a story about the grass growing and they could still find a way to make it interesting. It probably wasn’t a story that Alvaro himself would want to hear in its entirety but the fact that it could trap him in for a moment spoke to how good they were. His uncle didn’t tend to tell stories much, due to lack of events in his day, but when he was able to Alvaro made time for himself to listen. They were good enough to be worth it.

“Ten minutes.”

“That’s far more than enough time, um…” He paused, for a moment. If Alvaro asked why his uncle would probably answer with that he needed time to think it out, which was understandable. Alvaro stood there in silence, waiting for his uncle to open his mouth again.

“So… think back to when you were in high school. Wait, no, whoops” His uncle shook his head for a moment. “That doesn’t work, um…” A pause. “Go back to when you first entered high school. You’re new. You might know a couple of the people there, but they’re not really people you talked to much back then. For all intents and purposes, you’re totally alone.”

Alvaro knew what he was talking about, somewhat. He always felt that the change to middle school was much, much harder for him, but he could agree with his uncle, somewhat. There were so many people he knew and liked during middle school who had just vanished from his life simply because they went to a different high school.

“So you’re here. You don’t know where your classes are, and you sure as hell don’t know any of the people in your grade. You walk around the halls aimlessly, not quite sure if you arrived to your class at the right time or a little early, and then the most beautiful girl in the world comes into view, and she sits down right next to you outside the classroom and just starts talking to you for some reason.”

His uncle paused, seemingly taking a breath and leaving Alvaro to think for a little moment. Playing his uncle’s words back in his head for a moment, Alvaro realised that it seemed remarkably similar to how he had met Lily. The specifics weren’t very focused in his mind, but if he remembered correctly he had first seen her while he was standing outside one of his classes. He saw her, thought she looked kinda pretty with the dress she was wearing, but didn’t really pay her too much of his mind as the teacher came to open up the class, and he soon forgot. Nothing really dwelled in his mind until… probably that afternoon, actually. It was one of his first days working part time at the cafe, and he was setting up everything when she just walked in, in the same pretty dress he had seen her in earlier. That was probably the moment when he fell in love with her.

He sighed, slightly. He’d been in love with her for a while, now. He hoped that he hadn’t ruined it at the dance. He wasn’t quite sure what he’d do then.

“So she starts talking, and you start talking back. It’s the right thing to do, after all. You learn that her name’s Valentina, and that she’s from slightly out of town. She’s kinda sweet, kinda smart, and luckily for you shares a few classes. So you talk. Every time you have that class you get to talk to her for a bit. You still listening?”

Alvaro nodded. He didn’t really have much to say or think about it, but he was still listening to what his uncle was saying.

“And each time you talk to her, you start falling more and more in love. You start questioning why she started talking to you in the first place. Does she like you? Is she flirting with you? You don’t really know, but what you do know is that you wanna be with this girl more. So, you consider asking her out, and when you do-”

The phone on the desk started ringing.

“Sorry, just gotta take this for a second,” his uncle said, as he picked up the phone. “Vacanti’s here, how can I help you?”

Silence filled the cafe for a few seconds, until his uncle responded to whatever the voice on the phone was saying.

“Yeah?”



“Hang on, why?”



“Wait, what? Oh wow, uh, congrats for that.”



“Yeah, we’ll manage. Just stay there and do what’s best for you and Sophie.”



“Bye.”

He placed the phone down. Alvaro… wasn’t really sure what had just happened. He could only hear one side of the call and it wasn’t a side that gave him much information for what was going on. Hopefully it wasn’t too bad, Alvaro knew that he wouldn’t really like it if something bad happened to the cafe or one of the workers. He raised his eyebrow, or at least tried to, at his uncle, questioning him as to what was going on.

“Richards can’t make it today, so we need someone to replace him. You okay with cooking today?”

Alvaro nodded, jumping slightly. The answer to his uncle’s question was an overwhelming yes. He actually got to cook today! Obviously what happened to Marcus was likely bad and Alvaro hoped he was okay but he actually got to go into the kitchen! Wait, was that bad? He just kinda brushed aside Marcus there. He was probably okay, considering he was probably the one that sent in the call, so although it was probably bad to think about it that way he could probably ask what happened later. Hopefully he was okay, then Alvaro would be okay about it in kind.

“Alright then. I guess I’m taking over waitering for today. You go through the doors.”

Alvaro nodded again, as he entered the door at the back of the front room and turned right. The kitchen was as grey and pristine as it always was, and the head chef that stood in front of him was as burly and as stone faced as he always looked. Wait, what should he say to him? Alvaro knew that he was quite friendly and personable despite his appearance but he had to admit he still found him a little scary. What if he said the wrong thing? It was hard for him to say the wrong thing in this scenario but what if he said what was happening poorly? Wait, no. This was Chris. Chris and Alvaro were friends, he’d likely be okay with what Alvaro said, so just say it and don’t stand around looking weird. That would probably jeopardize their friendship. Likely not, but Alvaro didn’t really want to risk it.

“Marcus isn’t going to be here today, so I’m taking over as cook.”

“Huh,” Chris replied, seemingly a little surprised. “You know why?”

Alvaro shook his head.

“No, I’m not sure.”

“Well, that sucks,” he replied, before suddenly covering his mouth with his hands. “I mean, him being gone, not you being here.” Alvaro didn’t tense up. He knew it was just a mistake on Chris’ part. He was fairly straightforward, liked everyone unless they did something to make him angry, and the two tended to have conversations about cooking whenever Alvaro was assigned to cleaning the kitchens. They liked each other, and Alvaro knew that for certain. Chris was telling the truth, and it was legitimately just a slip of the tongue on his part.

“Anyway,” he continued. “Your job right now is to make another batch of the special today. We got enough strawberry cheesecake for now, but I don’t think we’re going to last much longer once the kids from Cochise come. You know how to make cake, right?”

“Yeah, I do,” Alvaro replied. He remembered making it back in cooking class. He knew that his class used a box mix for the recipe but he figured that making a real cake wouldn’t be too much different, right?

“Awesome,” Chris said. “I’ll give you the recipe.” He moved to one of the tables, grabbing a book and bringing it over to Alvaro. “Page 89, and your station is right to your left.” He started walking back to his own station. “I gotta go work on my own stuff. Good luck!”

And with that, Alvaro was on his own. He could deal with that; he felt like he could work better on his own, cooking wise. He went to the table that Chris pointed to, and put the book down in a place where he could see it. First things first he should probably get the ingredients he needed. The fridge and storage was on the other side of the room, so he decided to memorise the ingredients he needed to get from there and take them back to his station.

While he did this, he couldn’t help but think of what was going on outside the kitchen. It wasn’t long until the people from Cochise came, and he wasn’t going to be able to be there to serve them. That wasn’t really going to be a problem; the serving part, he meant. His uncle could handle taking orders fine without a waiter to help him out and Cadeyn could handle being the sole waitress just fine, if this was one of her days. No, the issue was more to do with the people from Cochise. He wouldn’t be able to talk to his friends! People like Jasper or Oskar or Alessio or Jennifer might come to the cafe and he wouldn’t be able to talk to them. Lily was definitely going to come - considering that she always came on Fridays - and he wouldn’t even be able to know! As much as he preferred cooking to being the waiter, being able to talk to his friends on shift was absolutely the best part of working here and it sucked that he had to miss it out whenever he got to take the job he preferred.

But then again, maybe it was best for everyone that he was back here rather than out there. He placed the ingredients on the station, and started making the cheesecake according to the recipie. There were people who hated him, after all. People like Min-Jae or Isaac or Darius and who knew who else? He didn’t, that was at least something he knew. Maybe there were people who came who preferred it when Alvaro didn’t speak to them, out of contempt. Maybe there were people who were only going to come because their friends told them that Alvaro wasn’t going to be there. That was the scariest and the worst part about being here. He didn’t know what was going on out there, and to him, anything could happen.

But it wouldn’t happen. He knew it wouldn’t happen. But it would. That was even worse. Even as he reassured himself that everything was going to be fine with his uncle and Cadeyn out there, he just couldn’t help but shake off the feeling. There were people out there. He knew it. It wasn’t something where he could only speculate, there was actual proof out there. There was Min-Jae, who he messed up an assignment for. There was Isaac and Darius, who took pleasure in taunting him. There was Lily, who he just had absolutely no idea whether she hated him or liked him and he just wished he was out there because he knew that she’d come today and he knew that he’d get confirmation for sure. There were people. They existed.

So, the question was, as he blended the mix together, why did he need to care about them?

He didn’t know the answer to that question, but he knew that it raised a good point. Why did he need to care about them? They were people, they existed, he knew that but were they people he interacted with? The answer to that question was no. He avoided them, but it wasn’t necessarily something that he needed to do. They weren’t in many of his classes. They didn’t come to the cafe. He could probably just go about his everyday life and they would rarely, if ever, come up.

And it wasn’t just that he could ignore the negatives, he could enjoy the positives. This was the cafe that he loved. The one that changed his life and despite its negatives brought him to what he was today. He was unique, he didn’t really know anyone that shared his background and lifestyle, and he figured that that at least had to be a good thing. He had friends. Actual friends. People he liked and absolutely knew didn’t hate him. Chris. Jasper. Oskar. Alessio. Jennifer.

Lily.

He knew now. He didn’t have to go out there to know. She didn’t hate him. Maybe she didn’t share his affections for her but if she truly didn’t like him she would have rejected him back when he confessed to her at the cafe. The dance wouldn’t have changed her opinion of him, even if their attempt to dance had awkwardly failed they still talked all through the night. No. He knew now. He definately knew now. They were still friends. Maybe a little more considering his feelings but nothing actually more. He was fine with that. Not being in a relationship, not making the grandiose moves of affection was okay, because really, he truly enjoyed talking with her. Whenever they had a conversation, the time around him seemed to fly. That didn’t happen with anyone else, and he was happy for that.

And sure, maybe there were people who resented him, hated him without him knowing, and he knew that he worried about that and that that was something he couldn’t change about himself. Even if he couldn’t, that still didn’t mean he couldn’t do something about that. Maybe actually work on changing their opinion of him. Maybe focusing more on the people who truly mattered, the people he mentioned earlier and even more. It wasn’t that he had to dump everyone else, he just had to show those people affection, and show them that he truly appreciated being their friends. He knew that he couldn’t change who he was, he knew that he was always going to be paranoid and scared about things, but he figured that even if he couldn’t do that, he could still try, even if he ended up failing in the end.

And maybe, he figured as he placed the cake into the oven, he could be a little bit more selfish for once.

((Alvaro Vacanti, continued in Survival of the Fittest: Version 6))
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