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Chapter 3

As Mike starts closing up the restaurant, a strange lost girl entered the facility without looking at the sign outside that said “closed.”

“Um, sorry ma’am but we’re…” started a friendly Mike but he was caught off guard.

He was staring at this pretty young girl, probably around his age. She had this worried expression on her elegant face, wore expensive shiny jewelry that covered her wrists and neck, and had the most beautifully crafted dress Mike had ever seen.

“…we’re closed. Um…can I help you?” he said dumbfounded.

“Are you the owner of ‘Mike’s Catering’?” she asked calmly, holding onto her purse.

“Are you part of the Health Department?”

“…no?”

“Well then I’m Mike!” he said putting out a hand. “Nice to meet you…”

“Rainie. Rainie Yang. I’m the daughter of Ron Yang, the man whom you’re catering for tomorrow night. It’s my 24th birthday party,” she said shyly smiling.

“OH!!! OK, well is there a problem Ms. Yang? It’s awful late and I don’t think you came all the way down here to tell me how much you love my crab cakes,” Mike joked.

“Uh, no, I guess not. I came here to…to tell you that the party has been canceled,” she said frankly.

“Canceled?? WHY?” he screamed

“It’s just that…I don’t think that we will need your services anymore, thank you,” she said trying to run off, but Mike caught her arm.

“Wait, how come you came to tell me about the cancellation, but I made all the transactions with your father?”

“Um…y-you see…I-I um…”she stuttered.

“Is there something you need to tell me?”

“I-I-I…”

“You sound just like my roommate a little while ago. This isn’t a stutter-fest, dear” he said jokingly.

“I just can’t have another lonely birthday surrounded by my father’s associates. It’s just too hard. I always get ignored till the very end where they monotonously sing to me. It’s horrible,” she blurted.

Mike didn’t know what to say so he said the only thing that popped into his mind at the time, “oh…that sucks.”

“Tell me about it,” she whined. “Every year it’s like a gathering of his friends rather than mine and I am just tired of putting on a happy face when I feel like cramming it into their faces.”

Mike pulled out a chair for her to sit in while he consoled her.

“You know, I have a lot of customers who say that my food can cheer up even the worst days. So…maybe I should whip up something for ya, would you like that?” Mike said happily.

“That’ll be nice. Thanks,” Rainie said smiling.

A few minutes later, Mike came out with an assortment of hor’dourves that he’ll be serving at her party.

“Everything you see here will be served at the party…if you still want to go that is,” Mike said cautiously not to offend her. “If you don’t go, you still get to try my cooking so nothing is lost hahah!”

“They’re all very pretty,” she said softly admiring every intricate snack.

“Well like I always say, ‘you eat with your eyes first before you eat with your mouth,’ Presentation is everything,”

“I see,” she smiled.

“Oh, don’t be so polite, eat” he encouraged.

Taking the first bite, Rainie realizes that her mouth is burning up like an inferno.

“HOT!!!” she screamed.

“Well you’re not supposed to down it like a meatball,” Mike said shaking his head laughing.

“Wah…what?!” Rainie said spitting out the food.

“Here, this is how you eat it…” he said reassuringly. “First you take it with your hand lightly, not firmly. Take slow and little bites, like this,” he explained.

“Oh, why did you make them this complicated?” she said with a mock annoyance.

“Well I figured the rich lived their lives too fast and begin to rush through important things; like family, friends…FOOD! So when I made these dishes, they were meant to be eaten slowly so you guys would have a chance to take a breather, relax and enjoy the delicious snack. This way you slow down and let all of us common folk catch up HAHAHA, sneaky aren’t I?” he said cracking a joke.

“mmm, I see. What did you say your name was?” she asked
While eating another hor’dourves, he slowly said “It’s Mike. Mike He,”

As they finish their little dinner, Rainie gets up from her seat and prepares to go home.

“Next time you come, I’ll serve you some real food my restaurant makes. Not this fancy stuff haha,” Mike said taking her to the door.

“I’d like that. I think I will be coming back soon,” she said in a very friendly manner.

“Make sure you bring your rich friends, then I’ll have lots of business!” he joked

She giggled at that. “Sure, sure. Well I have to get going now…”

“Ms. Yang, I know this is a little much to ask, but can you still continue with the party,” he asks timidly.

“What?” she said surprised.

“I know this is a selfish reason, but I need the business. I know you wouldn’t understand what it means to be living from paycheck to paycheck. So can you do me a huge favor? Please don’t cancel the party,” he said sincerely.

Rainie couldn’t help but give in. The sincerity in his voice shook her from within.

“OK…for you I will not cancel the party…but you must promise me one thing,” she said mischievously.

“What?”

“Promise me you won’t tell the guests how to eat the hor’dourves,” she asked.

Confused, Mike asked “Why? No one will like them then.”

“The food will be fine. I still liked them even though they were a little hot. I just want them to surprise them a little. This way when I eat them, I won’t look crazy.”

“But…I don’t want my food to be spat out!”

“Mike, trust me. Knowing how good those dishes were, they’ll most likely pop them right back in. You will still have business and I guarantee that customers will flock for your services after my party,” Rainie said flashing him a smile.

“I don’t know…that’s the same smile my roommate gives to me just when he hands me the mop and bucket and tells me everything will be ‘alright’. It’s never ‘alright’ I can tell you that!”

“Hey it’s either this or nothing,” she said light-heartedly. Of course she didn’t mean it.

“You drive a hard bargain,” Mike started lightly as well. “But I’ll take it,” he ended with a smile.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then,” she said exiting the door, but her hand caught on to something; Mike.

“Um, miss Yang? I know I won’t be able to see much of you tomorrow, but I just want to say…DO YOUR BEST!!!” he said encouragingly.

“I will…Thanks.”

Slowly she leaned in and gave him a small peck on the cheek.

“For everything,” she added.

Shocked, Mike just held onto the cheek with his palm in awe while watching the beautiful girl disappear.

“Well I’ll never see HER again! But…it was good while it lasted,” he sighed.

 

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