*Today’s post is written in memory of my Great Grandma, Veronica Rattell, who passed away Thursday, August 5 at the ripe age of 102. My apologies to other #teasertuesday bloggers, that I’m not around today to read your posts.*
Happy #teasertuesday! The hotel has informed their guests that the quarantine would end in 3 days – when the military would arrive and ‘clean house’, as it were. Julia knows that what this means is she has smuggle Brian out, before he’s exterminated, but first, she’ll need supplies.
Without hesitating, she opened the door to the kitchen and stepped inside. She found herself in the waitress prep area, thankfully empty, for the moment. There were trays and glasses to the left, the soda fountain and coffee pots to the right, beside the window into the kitchen, with the heating lamp above it. At the moment there was a lone steak sandwich with a pile of thick steak fries, baked golden, sitting under the heat lamp, awaiting delivery to a table. That meant that Julia had to work fast, the waitress would be back soon.
Quickly, she grabbed an apron and tied it around her waist, hoping it would make anyone who saw here there think that she belonged. Then she walked into the kitchen and prayed she didn’t run into any of the cooks.
The kitchen, she assumed, was an ordinary restaurant kitchen. When she walked in, it was directly at a dividing wall. To her right, where the majority of the heat was coming from, she figured would be the ovens and grills, though she couldn’t see them because of the dividing wall. What she could see was a cook working at the side board assembling a dish on the counter top, his back towards her, whistling softly to himself as he worked.
To her left was what appeared to be the prep area. There was a large marble-looking counter top, a large meat slicer, and an even larger mixer with metal bowl attached. The walls were covered in shelves holding pots and pans of all shapes and sizes. At the end of the room was the large silver door of a walk-in refrigerator. Hopefully, she thought to herself, there were enough supplies in there to be of use.
She made her way across the kitchen, her heart pounding nervously in her chest, and slipped inside the fridge, making note that there was a handle on the inside, so she would be able to get back out on her own. The frigid temperature immediately brought goose bumps to her skin, and she rubbed her hands along her arms to try to work up enough friction to keep herself warm.
The fridge was large, about eight feet long and six feet wide. The wall to her immediate left had three shelves, on which was stacked large buckets full of different kinds of salad: green, romaine for making cesars, and spinach for spinach salads. Also on these shelves were large trays of prepared vegetables, ready for steaming or adding to the salads or garnishes as necessary. On the far wall, right across from her were tubs of prepared food: soups, stews and various containers the contents of which she couldn’t identify. At the end of that shelf were platters of meat: raw roasts, steaks, buckets of chicken breasts and wings, even whole chickens. The very right shelf was filled with dairy: eggs, cheeses, milk, and yogurt, and more unidentified containers.
“Well”, she thought to herself, shivering, her nose beginning to run with the cold. She sniffed delicately, and the noise in the small enclosed space was shockingly loud. “I suppose the steaks and roast would be fine though, I’d much rather have preferred cooked meat or more beef jerky. The raw stuff’ll go bad pretty quick. Though, I really have no idea if Brian can eat bad meat or not.”
She walked over to the shelf and started going through the meats. “Oh, shoot,” she said out loud, her voice echoing slightly. “What the heck am I going to put this stuff in? Good job, Julie. Way to think things through.” She shivered, and breathed warm air into her hands, which were getting stiff with the cold, then looked around the space for anything she could use. At the top of the shelf of produce, there was a large plastic tray, like the kind she’d seen busboys use to clear tables with.
She stood on her tiptoes, and eased the tray to the edge of the shelf, with her finger tips. Thankfully, it was quite light. When she managed to get the tray down she saw that it contained the remnants of some roasted garlic, but otherwise it was empty. Quickly she started filling the tray with steaks, then decided to go through some of the containers to see if there was anything cooked. However, the containers were filled with chopped up beef cubes for stews, and bones and scraps for making soup. She would have preferred to bring the cubes, but they were really heavy.
She sighed and prepared to leave the refrigerator with her, in her opinion, way too small collection of steaks. When she turned, however, she discovered an entire new row of shelves right behind her. “Oh, that was really observant of you, Julia,” she said to herself, “makes sense that a square fridge would have four walls though, doesn’t it.”
Shaking her head at herself, she went through the contents of the newly discovered shelves. After five minutes, she had managed to add an entire bag of bagels, a loaf of bread, a bunch of bananas, a tray of macadamia nut cookies, and an entire box of unopened ‘hotrods’ pepperoni sticks.
“Score!” she said outloud, grinning from ear to ear at her unexpected success. The tray was quite heavy, now, and she was beginning to doubt how easy it would be to get away with both Brian and the unwieldy supplies.
“I’ll think about it later,” she said to herself, and gratefully stepped out of the fridge into the hot, fragrant kitchen. The chef was now at the prep table, massaging a ball of pizza dough into a large pan. For a moment, her heart flipped up into her throat, expecting to be caught, however, the chef, apparently absorbed in his work, didn’t look up.
She dodged into the kitchen, and quickly made her way back to the waitress prep area. As she passed the large grill, she saw that there were large slabs of prime rib sizzling over the flame. The aroma wafted up towards her, and her mouth immediately filled with saliva. Julia grabbed the tongs from the rack of utensils hanging above the counter, and grabbed the two steaks as well, before making a quick retreat.
She used her room key and opened up the door to find Brian just where she left hin, sitting on the couch, watching a new soap opera. He didn’t look up when she walked in, though he grunted appreciatively when she put a Hot Rod into his hand. Then she walked into the bedroom and began contemplating her luggage.
She put the tray full of food on the bed, and eyed its contents. Everything would probably fit in one of the smaller wheeled bags, and so she grabbed one at random, opened it and dumped the contents on the bed. It was Brian’s bag, and what came tumbling out was his shaving kit, a change of clothes, including a change of shoes, a light jacket, a thick hard covered book, the newest Steven King, and his Play Station Portable.
She shook her head, Brian always acted so sophisticated, but he really was a child at heart, playing video games in his free time. He would have said he was going to use it to watch movies on the plane, but she knew the real truth of it. Sure enough, bundled among the change of clothes was the small case carrying his game disks. There was also a small, golden colored box, sealed with a slender golden ribbon.
“Ohh…” she breathed, as she held the box in both hands, her fingers running over the slightly textured paper, and the silkiness of the bow. She really wanted to open it, but at the same time, was scared of what she would find. Finally, she took a deep shaky breath and slid the ribbon off the box. It fell on the floor and curled, slightly. Then she slowly lifted the lid, and her eyes filled with tears. Inside, resting on a bed of white cotton was the pendant of a necklace, the silver chain folded back under the cotton; It’s two interlocking hearts glimmered with an abundance of diamonds wrapped in white gold.
As she picked the pendant up in her hand and let the box fall to the floor to rest forlornly beside the ribbon, her eyes overflowed and tears tracked town her cheeks to drip off of her chin. Gently she turned the pendant over to see that on the back Brian had had engraved, in a delicate, flowing script, “together forever, July 11, 2009”.
Her hand balled into a fist, the necklace digging into her palm, then she lay down on the bed amongst the spilled contents of Brian’s bag, curled her self up into a ball and shook as she sobbed.