Prose Scene 29

When Rachel catches Eddie live-tweeting Alex reading Zoe’s latest letter while he’s supposed to be serving customers, she knows she has to say something.

“Eddie!” she barks from the back office. He jumps, and shoves his phone in his apron pocket.

“Why is your phone out while you’re working?” she asks, watching him squirm a little. She’s having trouble keeping a straight face.

“Uh- it’s not- uh- I mean, it is… important. Family emergency,” he stutters.

“Is it? Twitter is a family emergency?” she demands, still struggling to keep a straight face. Eddie slumps.

“No ma’am. It won’t happen again.”

“It sure won’t. Because if I see it again, I’ll be confiscating your phone when you come in every night at 8 to work the graveyard shift,” she threatens. She wouldn’t really, of course, but he’s got to stop being so distracted while serving. He swapped skim for whole milk in two different orders, and while the customers didn’t notice, pretty soon he was going to do something that someone would notice, like swap in soy.

“Yes ma’am,” he replies, his eyes wide. He makes a show of going to put his phone on the personal belongings shelf, and then going back up front. She grins as soon as his back is turned.

She knew about the betting pool within about two days of it happening, because Eddie has no sense of tact whatsoever. He was collecting bets, and had probably thought he was being discreet. Instead, he had unintentionally given her all the information she needed to keep tabs on the betting pool and make sure it didn’t get out of hand. She has been following the twitter account anonymously for months. It was particularly helpful when she was on maternity leave. Besides, the likelihood of Alex sharing a potential romance with her, despite their improving relationship, is pretty slim.

She glances back over to Alex. He’s frowning slightly over something Zoe said, seemingly without noticing. She smiles. Zoe has been so good for him. Seeing the way Emma treats him breaks her heart, but, not wanting to be the “evil step-mother,” she hasn’t said anything. But Zoe – Zoe changes Alex, but in such a good way. He has been smiling much more, and he’s slowly opening up to the rest of the family. Even though she has only seen Zoe a few times, when she has come in to pick up a letter, she somehow trusts her far more than she ever trusted Emma. She hopes that Zoe can eventually show Alex just what a real friend is supposed to act like, and convince him to let Emma go.

She sighs and turns back to the accounting files she was working on before she scolded Eddie. “Maybe”s and “hopefully”s don’t do much, but maybe, hopefully…

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