Our wedding gift from Nico’s parents was their family restaurant. His older brother Enzo had left the business years before, and Nico had been the one learning the ropes. They had loyal customers, but Nico felt it could really compete with the Red Mill with a renovation.
I don’t know restaurant business, but he valued my opinion, and we enjoyed coming up with ideas together. We went with mostly his ideas, which is the way it should be.
I helped him hire and train their new girl, Keelee, and Nico trained me to help on busy nights. We were trying to keep the cost down, which meant I was working full-time, then coming in to work the weekend evening shifts.
Enzo became a regular diner once we were on our feet, which Silvana loved. He’d always been the favorite, though I don’t know how any mother could pick and choose over her own kids.
When Keelee realized Enzo was the owner’s brother, she about lost her jaw on the floor. She got much more nervous serving them, poor thing was stressing herself out.
Sometimes I’d come in for lunch and spend time with Nico. It’s such an enormous amount of time getting the restaurant back in order, I couldn’t imagine starting a business fresh.
While Mallory hadn’t exactly come around, overall things were going much more smoothly than ether of us expected. We still enjoyed time with one another too, and perhaps that is a normal thing for newly married couples to feel, but the sparks with Colin had been smothered quickly.
I liked seeing how happy he was in his element. Mallory baffled him; he’d jumped into parenting a grade school kid and a teenager, and he did his best, but at the restaurant, he shined.
Weekends I assisted Silvana in the lobby. She happily took reservations while I helped seat people and answer any questions. On slow nights, I sat a lot.
I wasn’t too shabby though once people would come in. The boredom of sitting about drove me to insanity though.
One evening as I was walking back to the front, I spotted Colin.
He hadn’t been around in months, maybe a full year at this point, and I knew it wouldn’t be good. Perhaps I came at him strongly, because I knew his intentions had to be ill.
He tried to act nonchalant, saying he was just coming to see what I’d managed to marry into. As if I hadn’t done anything to earn the restaurant or the life I was living.
He waved his finger at me, telling me we both knew I was just a money-grubber.
I didn’t want to cause a scene, but I really wanted to murder him right there. How dare he have any gall to call me out on something he imagined and wasn’t the least bit true.
Good or bad, Nico caught sight of the commotion and came over to settle it. It was our first actually busy Friday night, and of course it was the night Colin decided to stop in and cause a scene.
Nico didn’t put up with Colin and his slams, he immediately kicked him out. Said he’d be welcome back once he started being a Dad to his kids.
During a lull, I called him outside and thanked him. I’d never felt so loved in all of my life until that moment when he helped fight my battles.
Back at the house, Bethany is working to win Cujo over to her side. As much as Mallory wants him to be a killer dog, he mostly enjoys all of the family at this stage.
Logan started hanging out with Cicely, who is a very tall girl to my already tall son. She always blows me away when she comes by. She’s dating Chaz, which makes me wonder why she’s always popping in at our house.
When I try to say anything, Logan complains how old fashioned I am, and how boys and girls can be friends, but I’ve still got my eye on them.
Chaz and Logan do still hang out, so perhaps with Cicely, I am being over cautious. I’d just hate to see the boys lose their longest friendship over a girl.
When Nico isn’t at the restaurant, he likes hanging out with Cujo, setting up fires, and drinking wine with me. If only we had more downtime.
Mallory’s moods rise and dip suddenly, that I’m actually fearing for puberty. She hates waking up early for school, so it’s always a tantrum.
But twenty minutes later, she’s singing and smiling as she feeds Cujo.
Logan and Mallory have gotten along much better in recent years. One might think a teenage son would treat his little sister worse, but it’s been the opposite. It’s like Logan has a better perspective on things, or he just knows she needs someone. I like to see them hang out, kick around the soccer ball, and just have fun together.
Bethany tries to lend a hand on nights we are all running late, but her cooking skills are less than desirable. I’m terrified I’ll find a fingertip in my pasta one night. I do appreciate she’s trying to help, she wasn’t happy to move to a new house, she wanted to keep my old one actually.
I think she will be moving in with her now long-time boyfriend Zion. Who would have thought that skeevy guy with the low-riding swim trunks would be the one, but it seems to be the case. Though neither would talk about marriage, that’s just crazy talk.
We all like Zion though, including Cujo, which I suppose means he is part of the family even without a certificate. I wonder if my sister will ever have kids, it would be nice to be an aunt to her kids.
When Cuju howls at the abandoned TV in the middle of the night, I almost think Bethany and Zion can take him with them when they do eventually move out.
I couldn’t ever get rid of my girl’s best friend though Logan is probably a quick second. They share a room, and I’ve caught him tucking her in on cold winter nights.
He’s really grown into a good young man, he picks up my plate before I’ve had a chance to even stand.
His grades are all on the rise too. I don’t even have to ask him to study, he does it on his own. I can only hope that Mallory will go through this amazing change when she’s a teenager.
Christmas morning, Bethany reads the cooking book I had gifted her, and surprisingly, she wanted the gift! The boys played a new video game while Mallory played with Cujo and his new toys.
My festivities were dampened with the flu. It was the worst timing, but I was glad it hadn’t inflicted any of the kids.
After break, I still wasn’t up to taking the kids to school, so Nico volunteered.
I think he regretted it, but he’d never tell me.
Notes: Colin showed up on his own accord, and I couldn’t let that just slide, especially since him and Erin hate each other. I’m like no, you aren’t actually gonna battle, but… you can verbally.
Bethany was supposed to get Erin’s old house, but I can’t get the drat thing to place back in the hood after I moved it temporarily. Aggravating, so she will likely move out with Zion, but not as quickly as I’d intended.
Pacelli’s is doing well after reopening. All of the stars had reset, I’m not sure if it’s because I transferred ownership, or maybe I never rebuilt the stars after rebuilding this hood, who can say!
I played this out like in March, I’m hoping to play this weekend if I don’t have to work.
Thanks for reading, and sticking around! It’s been a rough new year, but I’m hoping to be on the up-tick.