Hope Reed slammed a Cherry Coke in front of her latest customer and smiled when the bimbo jumped in her seat. Served her right, Hope thought, Darla should’ve known not to come in here. The diner was owned by Hope’s family, which meant Darla McKoy, the woman responsible for the demise of Hope’s marriage, was not allowed on the premises by the rules of divorce etiquette.
Of course, Darla had never followed any rules in the past, such as going after a married man, so Hope shouldn’t have been surprised to see her sitting at a non-smoking table, smoking.
“Aw, now, no need to be bitter Hope. I just came in for a bite to eat. My boyfriend should be here any moment.” Her boyfriend being Hope’s husband. Darla’s red-painted lips sucked seductively at the straw, her cool-blue eyes dared Hope to respond.
Hope imagined batting Darla over the head with the book-like menus that she clutched in her left hand but settled for throwing them on the table. “Put out the cigarette, no smoking inside.” With more self-control than she thought possible, she turned away and stiffly walked into the kitchen.
Spitting in Darla’s drink was not enough, hell no, she was going to be sorry she ever entered this diner, Hope thought as she plated another customer’s lunch. The fact there were only two restaurants, soon to be three, in the entire town, made Darla’s appearance no less offensive.
When Bobby arrived, Darla ran to meet him and fell into his arms, pulling him in for a heated kiss. The other patrons, whose eyes had been darting between Hope and Darla, were now solely focused on the couple blocking the doorway, their tongues intertwined as the front bell continued to chime. Bobby pulled her away at arm’s length, his strong hands gripped her slender bare shoulders.
Hope watched the scene unfold from the kitchen and noted he at least looked embarrassed as he wiped away red smears of lipstick as Darla dragged him towards the booth she strategically chose in the middle of the restaurant. She patted the seat next to her and he slid in. Hope’s eyes darkened as Darla’s arms wrapped possessively around Bobby’s tanned neck and she leaned in for another kiss, pushing her breasts firmly against his chest.
How dare her! Hope knew this had to be Darla’s idea; Bobby was a total horn dog but he wasn’t mean. She scanned the restaurant, her restaurant, and just as she suspected, everyone was watching. It wasn’t fair. This was the only part of her life that wasn’t impacted by the divorce and now every time she heard that damn entry bell ring, she would think of Bobby kissing blondie in a red mini-dress. Hope had to get them out of the restaurant before they ruined the place she cherished most.
“You okay honey? That pig has got a lotta nerve.” Betty, a fellow waitress, wrapped a protective arm around Hope’s slim waist and gave a gentle squeeze. She’d been like a second mom since Hope had started working there almost ten years ago. Hope was fifteen at the time.
Hope nodded her head once and spun out of Betty’s arms. Over her shoulder she called, “I’m gonna be okay.” She yanked the fire extinguisher off the wall and elbowed past a slack-jawed Betty. Hope stood in front of the center booth, the booth that used to make her think of a chocolate milkshake she once shared with Bobby on their first date. “Get a ****ing room.” In one fluid motion, Hoped pulled the safety and pushed down the lever, blasting the lovers in a white powder. “And find another restaurant.”
The extinguisher echoed on the black and while linoleum floor as she walked out, the bells chiming as she crossed the sidewalk.
** Thank you for reading**