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Chapter 6

A couple days after Ariel’s accident, Rainie had taken a stop by Mike’s restaurant for a brief lunch between friends.

“Japan!?” screamed an overly zealous Mike.

“Yes,” Rainie laughed. “All my relatives are flying over to Japan for a family get together and my father would love it if you would cater for us again.”

“I-I’d be honored miss Yang,” Mike said genuinely.

“Then it’s settled,” Rainie concluded. “My father will talk to you about the details later but for now we just need a solid answer from you.”

“Of course I would. This is a great opportunity, thank you so much!” Mike said enthusiastically.

“Good, my father will be please to hear it,” she ended.

Just as she was about to step out from her seat, Mike caught her by surprise

“Miss Yang? It might just be the pan fried noodles we just had…” Mike joked. “But something tells me that you weren’t exactly yourself today. Is anything bothering you?”

“You know, you can be quite noisy at times,” Rainie said teasingly.

“Oh yeah, your not the first to say that to me, trust haha!”

“Actually something has been on my mind lately,” Rainie said in a glum tone.

Reassuring her Mike asked, “What is it? Is it bad?”

“It’s just that…if I go to Japan for a few weeks, that means I can’t see my best friend, and she isn’t really in the best condition right now,” Rainie sighed.

“What do you mean? Did she get into an accident?”

“N-no, nothing like that. She just recently broke up with her boyfriend and has been staying over at my house. But if my family goes to Japan, that means she can’t stay in our house without supervision,” Rainie explained.

Mike was still confused.

“Why doesn’t she just stay at a hotel?” Mike asked.

“Well, her parents are really strict about her relationships and if they suddenly see massive amounts of cash coming out of their bank accounts, they’ll get suspicious.”

“I see…” Mike said. “Well if she really was a true friend, she shouldn’t put so many burdens on your shoulders.”

Rainie thought about it. Ariel never meant to burden her with her breakup. It wasn’t like it was her fault that she was homeless now.

“It’s not that she burdens me with her problems,” Rainie reasoned. “It’s more like family; if one member were to suffer, the whole family suffers. She has always been there for me and now…I feel like I am abandoning her.”

“Ah, I see. I feel would the same way about my best friend too” Mike agreed. “But, don’t feel like you’re abandoning her when in reality you can’t really do anything about it.”

Rainie was still saddened about the dilemma.

“I feel like I will let her down if I don’t stay with her,” Rainie explained.

“Now isn’t that being burdened?” Mike said. “She’s a big girl, I’m sure she can find somewhere to live.”

Suddenly an idea sparked in Mike’s head.

“I’VE GOT IT!!!!” Mike said out loud to himself

“Got what…” Rainie asked.

“Miss Yang, I think I just saved you hours of stressful thinking!”

“How shall I ever repay you?” Rainie said sarcastically.

“You can repay me some other day, but right now, just listen…”

A few hours go by and Rainie had already left to discuss some things with Ariel. Mike however, still had to tell Joe about the leave.

“HEY!” Mike called out to Joe.

Joe had come by like always after trying to land a job.

“Hey…” Joe said, tired.

“What’s the matter? Still no job?” Mike asked.

“With the amount of swindlers and tax frauds out there in this kind of society, you’d think someone would be smart enough to hire me,” Joe said exasperated.

“Oh…that sucks…but I have some good news for you. You got a job!” Mike said with arms wide open.

Bewildered, Joe asks indifferently, “I have a what now?”

“A job!” Mike said once again with arms spread out.

“Where?” Joe asks frankly.

“Here!”

“Oh no, no way. Nuh uh.” Joe refused.

“C’mon, I’m offering you my job! Not a waiter, MINE!”

“Why?” Joe asked suspiciously.

“I need someone to cover for me for a few weeks. I need someone to take care of the restaurant and the catering business and who better to do it than you?” Mike said like a salesman. “I dare you to find anybody more qualified!”

“I can’t,” Joe said getting off his chair.

“Exactly!” Mike said grinning from ear to ear.

“NO…I can’t because that would mean I’d have to listen to you some more…and there isn’t enough money that you can pay me to work with those ‘animals’ again!” Joe said bluntly.

“HEY!!” Mike said angrily.

“No Mike. I would do a lot of things for you and lord knows I have. For Pete sake, I KNOW I HAVE!” Joe argued.

“But there isn’t a chance in hell that I would do this.”

Mike folded his arms and glared at Joe. Joe knew what it meant.

“Don’t even say it,” Joe glared back.

“Are we or are we not friends?!”

“Mike, we have settled this before…”

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out! After all these years I doubt you would let me down like this right?” Mike persuaded.

Joe sighed a deep sigh. Mike was right. Even though Joe hated working with Mike’s employees, a friend still helped out another friend in need.

“I hate you so much…” Joe said giving up.

“Thanks man, I knew you’d come through for me!” Mike smiled. “Oh and by the way, I’m going to Japan for a few weeks.”

Joe widened his eyes.

“WHAT!???!” Joe screamed. “When where you going to tell me about this?”

“Now was a good time, I think,” Mike said.

“What do you mean you’re going to Japan?!”

“I have a catering job overseas,” Mike said proudly. “That’s why I need you to stay here and run things.”

“Great, once again I get the rotten end of the stick. You get to go to Japan and I get a front row seats to see 5 guys talk about their ingrown toenails.

“I hear the pinky toe is the worse,” Mike joked.

“I hate you,” Joe said indifferently.

“Admit it, you love my disposition!” Mike said giving Joe one of his signature smiles.

“I’m counting the nails you have pinned down on my coffin,” Joe said leaving.

 

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