Sweet Summer

“What?!”

“You heard me,” Janet says. “You’re fired.” She says this so casually, as if she were talking about the weather.

“But, why?” I ask.

“This is the third time you’ve been rude to customers. It is not good business for you to hit the children’s hands with the ice cream scooper!”

I internally roll my eyes. The kid had his grubby hands all over the glass, along with his nose pressed up against it, trying to decide between chocolate and moose tracks ice cream. And you know who was going to have to clean it up? That’s right, ME. Besides, I didn’t hit his hands that hard.

“That’s not fair!” I complain, whining like a baby. This was practically the only thing I was doing this summer. Not anymore, I guess.

“Alison, you know we have a policy here at Sally’s. The customers are to be respected, no matter what.” Janet raises her eyebrow, as if daring me to challenge her.

Ugh! Her stupid policies. Her Aunt Sally was the founder of this ice cream shop--hence, the name Aunt Sally’s Ice Cream Shop—and apparently had established some stupid policies, that are impossible to follow.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m sorry. Can I get another chance, Janet? Please?” I plead. I need the money to save up for a car; I’m getting my license in three and a half months.

“No, Alison. That’s final.” She says. She turns around as the door chimes, and goes to help a customer. I go to the back room where my co-worker, Mary is sitting, on break. She raises her eyebrows as I take off my apron and tag that says, HI, MY NAME IS ALISON. HOW MAY I HELP YOU? and throw it on the chair next to her. She never says anything, just waits for me to talk.

“Janet fired me.” I say bluntly. She nods; as if she knows exactly what I’m talking about. “Well, I guess I’ll see ya around, Mary.” I say, and walk out.
It’s only noon, and I have nothing to do, except for the party my best friend Violet’s mom is hosting in an hour, for the annual block party in our neighborhood. I sigh and start to go home.
I quickly pick out my outfit for the party, and head back over to Violet’s to help her set up. In the driveway, I see a van with the words STELLA’S CATERING SERVICE painted in bright blue on the side.
I walk right in to the house, as if it were my own. I’ve come in here about a million times since Vi and I were like, six.
“Hi Ally!” Mrs. Turner says brightly, greeting me by the door. I smile. She’s the bubbliest woman I’ve ever met.
“Need any help?” I ask.
“Yes, actually. Could you go ask how the catering people are doing? They’re in the kitchen. I’m gonna go call John. Thanks! Oh, and Violet will be back in about five minutes. She just went to get something from the store for me.” She leaves the room before I even have time to answer.
I take a deep breath and enter the kitchen. It’s chaos. There’s a plump woman standing in the middle of the room, giving orders.
“Where’s the chicken? Rob, do you have the chicken?” She asks, in a panicked voice.
There’s a boy who looks a year or two younger than me shrugs and continues to put meatballs on a tray.
There’s a girl my age at the counter, shelling shrimp.
“Alex just took it out to put on the grill, Carole, calm down.” She says, and I can tell she’s dealt with this before.
Carole sighs dramatically. “Thank god.” She blows her sandy colored hair out of her eyes.
“I need ice!” The girl says, and then walks out of the room.
“Where are the rest of the meatballs? I could have sworn there were more!” Rob says.
Another girl comes in, obviously the first girls sister. They have the same mahogany colored hair and green eyes. The only difference is the second girl’s height. She looked about four feet tall.
“Carole, there’s no napkins!” She shouts.
“Oh, Lord. Rob, the rest of the meatballs must still be in the freezer! Go get them out, now! Liz, I put the napkins in with the box full of wineglasses, remember? They’re not with the utensils like usual. And what did Quinn want? Oh, crap.”
“Ice.” I say, thinking this is probably the best time to interject. They all look at me, noticing me for the first time.
“Ice.” Carole repeats. “Ok. Liz, go get ice. And who are you…?” She looks at me.
“Ally. Mrs. Turner sent me in to check on you guys.”
“Oh, well, nice to meet you, Ally. I’m Carole. Nothing unusual except for the common crisis, I guess.” She gives a nervous laugh. “Where running short tonight, of course. And we forgot to take out half the meatballs.” She sighs, just as a boy-I’m guessing Alex- comes in, with chicken on a plate.
I freeze. Probably because he’s the cutest boy I have ever seen. His shaggy blonde hair falls over his face, and his deep blue eyes remind me of the ocean. He’s tall, very tall. He towers over me and every one else in the room.
I blink, feeling embarrassed that I’m staring. But I find him looking at me too. He smiles, showing me his blinding white teeth.
“Um, Carole, Liz just dropped all of the napkins and ice all over the driveway,” he says, not taking his eyes off of me.
Carole sighs. “Lord, why can’t one thing go right at least once in my life?”
I reluctantly take my eyes away from Alex. “Um, Carole,” I start. Don’t do it, don’t do it, I think, but I do anyways. “Do you need some help?”
She grins. “Welcome to Stella’s Catering, Ally.”





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