“Coffee, Louisa?” Louisa turned her head to look at the young male waiter that had just walked up.
“Brad?!” She was surprised to see him. “When did you start working here?” she asked as she passed out the stack of menus he handed her.
“I started working here the week after I left. I have been here about a month now,” Brad replied.
“You know Louisa?” Diana asked Brad. From the way she looked at him Louisa guessed she knew Brad somewhat. Or had seen and talked to him before at least.
“Yeah we used to…..” here Louisa interrupted with,
“We were co-workers where I used to work.” Brad looked at her and she returned the look.
“Well, what will you all have to drink?” Brad asked changing the subject. “Coffee for Louisa, of course,” he added.
“Water for all of us,” Louisa said sternly. The others nodded.
“Sure. I’ll be back shortly,” he grinned at Louisa.
“Funny he should be working here and you not far away. And you didn’t even know it,” Sabrina said.
“Yeah,” Louisa paused, “This is going to be great,” she said sarcastically. “He can be a real pain in the neck. Anyway enough about him. While we were driving in I was asking the girls in the car with me what are their favorite things to do. Would the rest of you mind telling me what you like to do? It’s a way of getting to know each other better,” she crossed her arms on the table.
Sabrina went first.
“My favorite thing to do is to show. I love being in the ring, the excitement of sailing over the jumps, winning, the horse underneath you. And I like hanging out with friends. Okay, Clarissa, your turn.”
“Well, I like riding. But that should not come as a surprise. Umm, not really anything else I like I guess,” Clarissa shrugged.
“Riding is a lot of fun, right?” Louisa asked, and the girls all laughingly agreed. “And what do you like to do, Elsa?”
“I like to swing on the porch swing. I like playing with my dolls and dressing them up. And riding,” Elsa told them. Louisa looked to Ida who was next. Before Ida could get a word out, Brad walked up.
“Here you go, water all around. Louisa said so,” he winked at Louisa.
“What are we going to do with you?” Louisa shook her head.
“I will be good,” Brad said. “So you have a new job now?” he added.
“Yes,” Louisa replied.
“What did the boss fire you?” Brad said eyes twinkling.
“No, I left and got a better job just like you, Mr. Smarty,” Brad’s chatter was really getting on Louisa’s nerves but no one could tell. She kept it well hidden.
“Yeah, I know. I was the one who told Len about this coaching job. He told Beth who told you,” Brad informed her.
“So you were ‘the friend” Louisa said.
“Yes, my lady,” Brad said bowing. Louisa rolled her eyes.
“We will have to talk some other time Brad. I brought the girls here for a girls night out,” Louisa fixed Brad with a look.
“Okay, I’ll leave you all to your talking, but first I will take your orders,” the first part was said in a bit of a bored voice but Brad smiled. He took Louisa’s order last. As he stood there writing it down Louisa turned back to Ida.
“You were going to say?”
“I like to paint best of all. But I also like playing the piano and riding somewhat,” Ida said.
“You paint?” Louisa asked and Ida nodded. “I will have to see some of your stuff sometime if you don’t mind,” Louisa said.
“You should show her some of what you have done,” Brad was still standing near enough to hear what they were saying.
“You paint?” Ida asked with interest.
“I do,” Louisa replied.
“Have you painted me yet?” Brad asked.
“No! You’re such an idiot,” Louisa whacked Brad with a notebook she had sitting on the table. “Now GET!”
Brad did get but was soon back with three of the plates.
“What do you like to do?” Penelope asked Louisa.
“I was going to answer that a while ago, wasn’t I? Well I like painting.”
“She’s really good at it too,” interrupted Brad. He quickly set down the plate he had and went back to the kitchen.
“He is so annoying. But as I was saying, painting, riding, running, I do a lot of crafting and like doing that. And I love parties I could party every night,” Louisa said.
“And she’s good at partying too,” Brad commented bringing two more plates.
“Oh, you go away and stop being rude,” Louisa told him.
After bringing the last of the food, he did leave them alone. They had a good time talking. Louisa talked with them about what times would they like best for there workouts. Of course she would be double checking with their mothers. The younger girls would be working out in the late morning, Marjorie had decided. As for the older girls, two could work before leaving for school and two in the afternoon when they got back. Ida and Diana preferred the morning, leaving Sabrina and Penelope for the afternoon.
They finished their dinner and Louisa paid. As they were walking to the door, Brad caught up to them.
“Hey, you’re not just going to leave without talking to me, Louisa.” Brad laid his hand on her arm.
“You all go out to the cars. I’ll be along shortly,” Louisa said and turned to Brad. “What you can’t live without talking to me?” she teased.
“Len never told me you got the job; just that you had looked into it. And Beth won’t talk to me,” Brad said.
“Well, why would she? You ran off, leaving her to deal with a lot. She was the one who had to face the music with Mr. Hayer about where you had gone. You are her brother,” Louisa told him.
“I know I really need to make things better with her,” Brad lowered his head.
“I will see what I can do to get her to talk to you. But I will need your new number so I can give it to her in case she doesn’t have it,” Louisa took out her phone.
Brad gave her his number, then asked,
“What about meeting me here for dinner on Friday?”
“I’ll think about it,” Louisa replied.
“Please we need to talk,” Brad pleaded.
“Life, how things are going,” Brad looked at Louisa.
“I really need to get the girls home. I’ll call you Friday morning and let you know what I think.” Louisa squeezed Brad’s arm and walked out to the car.
After dropping the girls off Louisa went home to her cabin and fell into bed. Her first day of work was over.
“I’m going to check on the horses one last time. You go on up, I’ll be there soon.” Clarissa told Ida as the two girls walked in to the big barn.
“Call if you need me,” Ida said and headed up the stairs.
“Hey, hey, Brian. You’re still up?” Clarissa walked up to Brian who was looking into one of the stalls at the other end of the barn.
“Yeah, just checking on the horses. How was your dinner date?” he asked turning towards her.
“It was interesting really,” Clarissa perched herself on the stall door.
“You don’t like Louisa?” Brian questioned.
“Oh, she’s great! We are going to have so much fun with her here. But you remember Brad, the new, hot as Diana calls him, waiter at Charlie’s Place.” At Brian’s nod Clarissa continued. “Turns out he and Louisa used to be co-workers.”
“Really! So they knew each other?” Brian leaned against the stall door.
“Yeah and they seemed to be kinda chummy,” Clarissa added.
“That is interesting!”
“Yeah. But I better get to bed. I’ll see you in the morning,” Clarissa slid to the floor.
“Okay, you have a good night and sweet dreams,” Brian lightly kissed Clarissa on the forehead.
Those two had been flirting with each other for the last three years now, ever since Clarissa had come to live with her Uncle Caleb and Aunt Leslie.
Meanwhile Ida went upstairs and let herself into the apartment above the barn where she lived with her family. Philip, her brother, was lying belly down on the sofa reading a book. Ida walked over and flopped down on top of him.
“I’m so tired,” she moaned.
“Was it that boring?” he asked.
“On no. I found out Louisa paints,” Ida rolled off her brother to sit on the floor. She looked up at him.
“Cool for you little sister!” Philip and Ida were rather close.
“And Brad, Diana’s latest crush, used to work with Louisa. And it is so clear that he likes Louisa,” Ida told her brother.
“No way! I hope this does not cause trouble between Diana and Louisa,” Philip said.
“Yeah. Louisa likes Brad to a degree, I think. Just not sure how far that degree goes,” Ida commented.
Philip nodded, “We’ll just have to see how things go.”
Clarissa came in then and the three said goodnight before heading off to bed.
What did you think?