Edge of Glory
Friendship, Texas #1
Some girls have all the luck and some girls spend New Year's Eve working at their parents' restaurant.
"Order up, Lia."
I turned toward the kitchen just as a wave of steam from a plate of linguini rose up and hit me in the face like a giant, pungent cloud.
"Ack." I vigorously wiped my eyes and hoped I didn't have dough underneath my fingernails that would blind me.
"Sonny, can you warn me next time you are about to put down a plate of food?"
"Ey, I said order up," My brother, Sonny, yelled over the clanging of pots and pans. The only thing I could see was the top of his head and the shine on his slicked back hair.
"Hey, no fighting the two of you. Che Cazzo!" Ma's voice boomed.
"We weren't fighting, Ma, Lia just can't take a joke," Sonny said, giving her his trademark shit-eating grin.
I glared at my older brother. The pain in the ass. Of course, Ma smiled at him. Every Italian mother loved her son, and my ma had two of them. My oldest brother, Nicky, was married and living with his wife in town, but I had a feeling Sonny would never move out of my parents’ house.
Sonny graduated from Texas A&M and then moved right back in. I thought maybe with him back home my parents would ease up their strictness on me. No such luck.
Just like always: Sonny could do no wrong and Rosalia was the delicate flower.
"It's not bad enough that I have to spend my New Year’s Eve stuck here," I mumbled, grabbing the tray of food and quickly darting toward the nearby tables, so I wouldn't have to get an earful from my mother.
The air was stiff in the restaurant, every single booth was full, and every time the front door opened, everyone leaned in to catch some of the cold, Texas air, which was an oxy-moron in itself. It never got cold in Texas and now that it was in the teens, everyone thought it was the end of the world. Stores were out of milk and bread, and everyone coming into the restaurant was layered in whatever warm clothes they could find.
I dropped off the tray of pasta to its respective table and headed over to a corner booth that had just piled in. I tried to put on my best smile and then a squeaky voice caught me from a table behind one of the lemon trees.
"What is with this restaurant? We've been waiting like forty-five minutes. It's times like this that I really miss Austin. At least they have more than one decent restaurant."
As if my night wasn't bad already, it had to be Christy Quinn's whiney voice behind the tree. I would rather be cleaning up Nonna's goat’s poop than deal with her. I put on the best smile that I could and walked over to her booth where, of course, she had to be sitting with the rest of her drones. Seriously, carbon copies of her that just said what she wanted them to say.
Why. Why. Why couldn't she stay at University of Texas over winter break? It had been so nice these last few months without her.
"Welcome to Conti's. I'm Lia, and I'll be your server tonight, is there anything that I can start you out with?" I could have said that line in my sleep and no matter how much I hated staring at Christy's stupid powder-covered face, I could still take an order.
"Do you have anything that is, like, not carb filled or fried?" Teagan Munson's hair was so blown out and hair sprayed I wondered if she was hiding an entire colony of bees in there.
"Teagan, you know this is an Italian restaurant, right?" Marcus Benjamin laughed. He looked even more like a horse face when he laughed, with his stupid overly bleached teeth taking over his whole face.
"Yeah, but they have to have something else." Teagan turned toward Joey Bianchi. "You're like Italian, or whatever, don’t they have something else?"
"Yeah, Joey, you even dated our friend Rosalia back in the day, so I'm sure she could show you all of the best sausages," Marcus quipped.
Neighhhhhhhhhh, Neigggggggggggggh. It was the only thing I could think every time the guy opened his mouth.
"Oh please, Marcus, you know that Lia doesn't like sausage." Christy tossed back her glossy, black hair.
Obviously, I was still standing right there.
"Do you guys still need a few minutes to look over the menu?" Don't cry Lia, don't cry. A few more months and you'll be away at school and away from the lame lesbian jokes.
With very strict parents, I didn't have much of a social life in high school. I had an early curfew and didn't do many extra circulars. Since I didn't dare try to date anyone and have to bring them home to my overbearing parents, I was labeled as a lesbian early on. I guess it was the best comeback that kids could come up with and it stuck.
"Yeah, that'd be great." Joey didn't even try to look at me.
Grow a foot, learn to play football, and all of a sudden you forget who your friends are.
I made my way back to the kitchen when my overly pregnant sister-in-law, Dana, stopped me.
The girl was petite, blonde, and a complete sweetheart. The opposite of my brooding oldest brother. They always gave me a little bit of hope that maybe I could find a guy for me, but then of course my parents would have to remember that I'm almost twenty and not a little girl that couldn't leave the house.
"Hey, Lia, do you mind covering this next booth for me?"
I rolled my eyes. "Really, Dana? I'm already covering half your tables."
"Please," she pleaded with those pre-natal vitamin dilated pupils.
"Ugh, fine." I rolled my shoulders and craned my neck from side to side.
"Thanks, Lia, you're my favorite sister-in-law!" She beamed and then waddled toward the bathroom.
"I'm your only sister-in-law," I yelled back as I reached into my apron to pull out my note pad.
I turned toward the booth, not looking up as I flipped through my book for a fresh page. "Welcome to Conti's. I'm Lia and I'll nguhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”
I froze. Directly facing me was Olympic swimmer, Jay Morningstar…and I just made an idiot of myself.
The rest of the table looked up to see me standing there with my mouth practically gaping. His coach, who I recognized from TV interviews, and even two other swimmers from the Olympic team. They didn't say anything; they didn't even blink.
I couldn't even put together my words and Jay Morningstar was just staring at me with that Wheaties box smile and those icy blue eyes.