| Part One |
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine. Don't really know, who owns them.
Archive: www.realmoftheshadow.com/megan.htm (Thanks Kim)
Summary: Sam & Brooke get to run their own food joint.
Author's Notes: Just a short story. This was inspired by a commercial, that keeps appearing on my tv. It's Finnish, so don't bother trying to figure out which. The gist is... well, I won't be telling you the gist, cause that would spoil the story. But it has these two girls running a diner. A blonde, and a brunette. So, there you have it. Enjoy.
"Are you SURE, you girls can handle it?" Jane was hyper-worrying, while Sam guided her out the front door, "I could hire someone to do the cooking..."
"Mom..." the brunette complained, when they exited the building "Brooke's a master chef, we'll be fine," she said.
Outside, they ran into Brooke and Mike, who was sharing some last minute wisdom to his daughter. Sam held back a grin, when she saw the annoyed look on the blonde's face. She did agree with Brooke, though. It was a little arrogant from Mike's part, to be worrying over them. After all, Brooke was the one, who had kept their household together all those years, when Mike was in between wives.
"You really gotta get going, or you'll miss your plane!" Sam quickly intervened, as she saw her stepsister open her mouth. It wouldn't do any good, to start arguing now. The objective was to get rid of the adults, as fast as possible.
"Oh, right!" Mike exclaimed, glancing at his watch, and opening the front door to his car.
Jane hurried to the passenger's side, but before getting in, gave the building one last look, "I just don't know about the name..." she said, furrowing her brow, and turning to look at the girls, "Do you think it's okay?"
Sam and Brooke exchanged quick looks, and Sam could almost see a vein popping inside the blonde's head. The girl turned back to Jane, "Leave already!" she screamed.
Jane jumped back from the vehement response, and looked shaken, "Okay..." the woman sighed warily, "No need to shout," she went on, and sat into the car. But just before closing the door, her head popped out again, "Just... take good care of it..."
Brooke let out a short shriek, and threw her hands in the air. After shocking Jane quiet, she took a deep breath, and put on a fake smile, "Jane... if you're not out of here in ten seconds, I'll burn the place down," Brooke talked with a scarily calm voice, "How's that work for you?"
Jane nodded her head, and pulled back inside the car. The door swung half shut already, but then opened again. And Jane's head appeared a little more timidly this time, "And you'll take good care of Mac too?"
"I'm getting the matches..." Brooke chirped. She flung around and rushed inside.
Jane's face turned to Sam for help. She wasn't on a very cooperative mood, though, and just stood there, and smiled the same fake smile, as her stepsister. The mother finally yielded, and slammed her door shut. Sam waved her hand for goodbye, when the car slowly backed up, and drove away. She let out a sigh of relief, and rolled her eyes. It was hard work, getting rid of the parents!
Sam turned around, and before heading inside, glanced at the sign above the door. `Jane's Kitchen', it read. She winced, and quickly moved her eyes away from the atrocity. The name could've used some renovating. Oh, well, it wasn't her problem. She and Brooke would just need to guide the establishment through its first two weeks, until Jane and Mike got back from their honeymoon. The whole idea had been Mike's brilliant stroke of genius. He would buy Jane a diner for her wedding present, and quit his job so they could work there together! And devote more time to their baby! What a super plan!
It was the summer of their graduation. The parents had FINALLY gotten married. The girls were both headed for UCLA come autumn, and would be sharing an apartment. Everything was right in the world. So, of course, Mike had to come up with this harebrained idea of his. It didn't so much affect Sam or Brooke anymore, their studies were for the most part securely funded. No, Sam worried for Mac. The poor girl would have to come live with her half sisters, when the parents inevitably filed for bankruptcy, and ended up on the street.
Sam shook her head, and walked into the diner. She flicked over the sign on the window, so it now showed `Open' to the outside. She let her eyes take in the room once again. There were four booths covering the windowed wall, five more tables spread across the open space, and a short counter on the far end of the room. The whole place was decorated to look homely. Multicolored and patterned tablecloths, paintings of floral arrangements and other oddities. Altogether, sickening, in her opinion.
The only thing that didn't make Sam want to vomit, was Brooke, playing with Mac at the end of the counter. The one-year old baby was dancing on the counter, giggling, while the blonde held onto her raised hands, giving the required support.
Sam walked up to them, and sat on the stool next to Brooke. The girl flashed her a brief smile, but quickly returned to making faces at Mac, "So, you in the kitchen, and me out here?" Sam said.
"Sounds good," Brooke tilted her head. And lifted the small baby from the arms, hoisting the girl onto her lap, "At least, in there, I don't have to wear that monstrosity," she went on, glancing at the turquoise dresses, hanging on the wall behind the counter.
Sam followed her stepsister's gaze, and shuddered, "This place doesn't have a prayer, huh?"
Brooke giggled shortly, when Mac stuck her hand onto her mouth, "Afraid so," she said, removing the hand from her face.
"Brooke!" she heard a whispered shout carry over to the end of the kitchen. That's where they'd placed Mac's playpen, to be out of the way, but not out of sight, "I think this one might be coming in!" Sam's voice came again.
"About time, don't you think so, Mac?" Brooke sighed, looking straight into the girl's shining eyes. She released her hold on the teddy bear, she'd been dangling above the baby. Mac didn't respond anything, just looked confusedly, how the bear fell onto her lap.
"Get over here, Brooke!" Sam was still half whispering, half shouting.
Brooke straightened up, and slowly walked over to the small window, which separated the kitchen from the rest of the diner. Next to it, was a door, but they'd decided to keep it shut, to give Brooke some privacy while cooking. And also, in case Mac started screaming, the distraction to the customers would be kept to minimum.
Brooke leaned down to look through the hole. Sam was there, standing right next to it, and looking towards the front of the cafeteria. Outside, Brooke could see a tall man, sizing up the diner, "He's been there for almost half a minute already!" Sam said excitedly.
"Well, go invite him in!" Brooke replied, in the same hushed shout tone.
"I can't invite him in!" Sam frowned, and turned towards the blonde.
Brooke only shook her head, and frowned back, "Why not?" she asked, puzzled.
"Because..." Sam tried to come up with a reason, "Because... that's not the way it works. People should come in here from their own freewill."
Brooke's eyes almost bulged out of their sockets, "Well, I didn't mean, you should put a gun to his head!" she said.
Sam was just about to say something, when a bell rang, indicating the door had been opened. They both startled apart from their conversation, with Brooke retreating away from the hatch, and Sam turning to face the counter again.
Sam placed her hands on the desk, and put on her most charming smile. It wasn't nearly as charming as Brooke's, but the blonde had insisted on more than one occasion, that it was still pretty darn good.
"Hey there!" she called out, when the man was slow to approach, "And welcome to..." she paused, and blushed a little, "Jane's Kitchen," she finished, after clearing her throat.
The man, encouraged by Sam's words, hastily made his way to the counter. He was wearing blue jeans, and a white t-shirt. He also had quite rough features, and was sporting a pretty long beard.
"Are you Jane?" he asked, in a kind enough voice.
"Actually, no..." Sam said, holding onto her smile, "Jane's my mother. She's out of town."
"Oh," the man replied. He looked around the place, "It's pretty quiet in here."
"Yeah, it is," Sam breathed out, and started nodding her head, "Oh! You... you want music? I'll turn on the radio!" she went on, all of a sudden. Turning slightly, Sam flicked on the radio located on a shelf next to her.
"Ask him, what he wants," Brooke's whispered voice through the door surprised her, at the same time, when a country song filled the silent room.
"What?" Sam asked, glancing at the door, and then turning a full circle to attend to the customer again, "You... Would you like to see the menu?" she asked, giving him a nervous smile.
"Umm... sure..." the guy managed to answer, frowning at the hyperactive girl.
"Here," Sam said. She took a step closer to the counter, reaching out for the stack of menus on it. And succeeded in knocking over a small container in the process, spilling salt all over the desk, "Damn!" she hissed. And then smiled apologetically at the man, "Let me just clean that up."
Behind the door, Brooke leant her back to the wall, and resisted the urge to cry out in frustration. Sam was ruining the whole operation! Their only customer all day, and the girl couldn't even take his order!
Brooke breathed out heavily, and walked up to the stove. She glanced inside a kettle, where she had boiled potatoes earlier, to see if they were still good to go. Satisfied, she settled the lid back down, and turned on another plate for a frying pan. She sliced a small lump of grease on the pan, and went to retrieve salad ingredients from the fridge.
"Booke!" Mac yelled from her prison.
Brooke placed the tomatoes and cucumbers and lettuces on a cutting board, "Yeah, what is it..." she started to say, while reaching out for a knife. But her hand froze in place, and she turned to look at the girl, "Mac!" she cheered joyfully, "You said my name!" Brooke rushed to the girl, who was standing up, and holding onto the bars with both hands, "Say it again," she urged, kneeling down in front of her, "Say `Brooke'."
"Boo...k," Mac stammered out the word once more.
"Brrooke!" she repeated enthusiastically, "Say the R, Mac," she tried to coach the baby, "Rrrr!" she started rattling. But all it was accomplishing, was making Mac giggle, "Rrrrr!" Brooke tried again.
"Brooke!" Sam called from the dining area, "Number four!"
"Okay!" she shouted back, and reluctantly stood up, "Brooke!" she hushed again to the girl, and before moving away, added one more, "Rrrr!"
But Mac only giggled more in response, and then tumbled down on her back. Brooke turned away, a little disappointed. She really would've wanted to hear her sister properly pronounce her name. She and Sam had quite an intense competition going on over, whose name Mac would say first. Sighing deep, she returned behind the stove, consulted her cheat sheet for number four, and started cooking.
She fried just the thinnest slice of beefsteak, she'd ever seen, on the pan. And prepared a nice little platter of cucumber salad, on the side. It wasn't included on the serving, but she felt like doing something special for their first customer.
"Is it ready soon?" Sam popped her head inside the kitchen, at one point, "He's starting to look a little anxious."
Brooke wasn't sure, how long she'd been preparing the food. After all, cooking was an art form, not a speed race, "Just a second," she said, not looking up from her work. She fished out two of the cutest little potatoes from the kettle, and placed them next to the steak on the plate. And then poured just a touch of brown sauce on the meat, and topped it all off with a celery stalk, "All done," she said, very proud of her work. It looked good enough to eat!
Beaming with pride, Brooke carried the two plates over to Sam, who looked confusedly from the food to the girl, and back, "What's this?" she asked, shaking her head.
"Number four," Brooke furrowed her brow. Was Sam blind, or what? Oh!, she must've meant the salad! "And I made a little special... surprise for our first customer," she smiled to the brunette.
"Number four is a steak, right?" Sam looked crookedly at her stepsister, who nodded her head, and smiling happily, offered the plate to her again, "Where's the steak, Brooke?" Sam asked, finally taking hold of the two plates.
"Right there!" Brooke laughed shortly, and pointed a finger at the beef.
Sam couldn't believe her eyes! It was a barely visible piece of meat! And next to it, were too tiny potatoes, which looked a little lonely there, on the big empty plate, "It's a little SMALL! Don't you think?" Sam asked incredulously. She half expected, Brooke to whip out another plate from behind her back, and yell, `Gotcha!' But the other half knew, they were screwed! "Brooke!" she yelled, loud enough to express her outrage, and still quietly enough, so that the customer didn't hear, "We're not feeding mildly peckish cheerleaders here! This is a big, bulky man, with lots of muscles that need fuel!"
Brooke's face fell. She looked at the portion again, and suddenly it seemed so very insufficient, "There's the salad too..." she offered weakly.
Sam groaned quietly, and huffed off around the counter. She replaced the anger with the charm-smile, and hopped over to the booth, the man had chosen, "Heere you go!" she chirped, and placed the larger plate right in front of him, and the salad a little farther away, "Enjoy."
Sam really had to strain her smile, when the man silently studied the food for quite a while. She just quietly waited, and kept up appearances, when he finally looked up from the table, and nodded his head, "Th..anks," he stuttered.
Sam turned around, and quickly escaped the scene. Brooke was still leering through the window, and observed in horror, how the man forked and engulfed, first one of the potatoes, and right after that, the other one too. He then folded the thin slice of beef, and put it in his mouth whole. Her whole masterpiece devoured in less than thirty seconds!
By the time, Sam had returned to her place, the guy had already moved on to the salad. It was too much for Brooke, to watch him gobble that away too, and she moved away from the window. She went back to the stove, and started cleaning up.
Not long after, though, Brooke heard a silent voice outside, commenting something. And it was soon followed by Sam's louder one, "Yeah? I will," the brunette said, trying to sound upbeat. Brooke knew it was mock cheeriness, though, "Please, come again. And tell your friends!"
Brooke gave up the cleaning, when she heard the bell ring again. She walked up to the door, and entered through it, into the diner.
Sam turned to look at her, exhausted at first, but then, after taking in Brooke's desperate face, it all started to amuse her. And she started snickering, "That was quick," she talked after the short burst of laughter.
"Yeah," Brooke hopelessly agreed, "A new kind of fast-food. It's fast to eat."
"'If you're not done in five minutes, dinner's on us'. Our new slogan," Sam grinned. Brooke didn't, though, but just glared back at her, "Aww, don't worry, Brooke," Sam said. She didn't have the heart to make fun of the blonde any more, when she looked so sad. Such a contrast to the shining girl, who'd only a couple of minutes ago, brought her the plates, "Hey, he said, he liked it," she tried to console the blonde. Brooke only bowed her head down. Sam couldn't take it anymore, and taking a step closer, enveloped her into a hug, "You wanna call it a day?" she whispered.
"Yeah," Brooke muttered into her shoulder.
"Okay," Sam said, and stroked her hand through the blond hair, "And tomorrow, I'll take the kitchen."
"You don't have to," Brooke said, and pushed back from Sam. She smiled sweetly to the adorable brunette, "I can just make bigger portions."
"Hey, I insist!" Sam grandly stated, "I heard you in there, giggling with Mac all day long, living it up. It's my turn tomorrow!"
"If you're sure," Brooke shrugged, "You clean up here, and come help me in the kitchen then," she said, and made her way back through the door.
Sam was quiet for a moment, but then talked loudly again, "You know, what we need?" she asked, "Advertising!" and answered her own question immediately, "Tomorrow, let's put up some signs along the road."
Brooke didn't say anything. She just hoped, Sam wouldn't use her new slogan idea.
< tbc >
Thanks for reading,