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If her arm could move any more vigorously, Clara was sure the whisk in her hand would snap in two and she would end up having to stir the batter with her fingers. Her soft face was tight with vexation, lips puckered and that crease etched between her brows that only formed when she was beyond her boiling point. It had been over twenty four hours since her boss had called Janice's name instead of hers, and yet the sheer disappointment and frustration was still as strong as that second when Clara had watched her bitch of a coworker get the promotion that she rightfully deserved and expected.

She had been working at The Lone Hour for almost six months now, and one thing she had learned during that time was that there could never be too much salt in the garlic potatoes. Also, that Janice Reeds was the most infuriating human being she had ever met and it was best to stay away from her at all costs. This is why up until yesterday, Clara had managed to have the majority of her schedule out of sync with Janice's. However, now that she was granted promotion to head chef, there would be no escaping Janice because she was technically her new boss.

"Clara," the devil sang, the waft of her cheap perfume giving away to Clara that she was standing beside her now, probably with a smug look on her face. The whisk in her hand stopped, but her fingers were still tightly secure around its handle.


"Are you finished yet with that batter? We need to get started on another batch of the meat pies." Janice's voice was too high pitched and her accent was too strong, and when Clara finally turned around she saw her crooked nose that was too big for her ugly face and her bushy eyebrows that needed to be plucked.

Janice was gorgeous, actually, but Clara was determined to pretend that she wasn't. It made hating her a lot easier.

"Yes," Clara faked a smile while handing over the bowl, "I'm done. Here you are, Janice." The ice in her voice when she spat out her name was inevitable. Clara couldn't even stand to look at her any longer, so she spun on her heel and went to work on another batch of the batter, her grip on the whisk just as tight as before. It was the thing she was best at making, next to the grilled trout and garlic potatoes. That was her favorite dish on the menu so it was practically engraved into her brain.

That week at work had been particularly busy, which was unfortunate because it doubled with the stress over her brother, Jackson, who she thought about every night as she attempted to get some dire sleep. While Clara was usually very composed when it came to her worries and troubles, she was slowly losing the strength to keep it together with each hour of sleep that she lost. To say the week had been absolutely dreadful would be an understatement. The bags under Clara's eyes and the tension in her body was a sure sign of her sour mood.

"It's like having to watch after a five year old," Clara had hissed at her brother that night when she was observing his wounds. Luckily, most of them had been bruises that would fade within days. "What were you thinking?"

"I was thinking that I could beat his ass," Jackson had said with a smug grin. He remained confident even though the visible markings of his loss were scattered over his body. His undying arrogance and foolishness was a great contributor to Clara's anxiety.

The thing that had Clara mostly on edge that week, though she tried not to admit it to herself, was that the image of the stranger's strong and handsome face, was painfully engraved in her brain and would resurface at the most random times. It was infuriating and wrong that while she would be changing into her uniform for work, or washing her hair with shampoo in the shower, she would helplessly think of the man who single-handedly beat up her brother. Clara pretended to scrunch her nose up in anger when ever the thought occurred, but really there would be a heat that bloomed inside her stomach, imagining the way his arms would have looked as they swung at Jackson's face.

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