Her: Day 90 - Against the odds

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I had been prepping Penny to take over my job as head Chef at my mother's bistro. Regarding the interview for an apprenticeship in Italy over a month or so ago, the final decision arrived a week after. Even though it felt like the decision had already been made minutes when the interview ended, I had to wait a week for the written approval. But it was all worth it in the end.

As lunch rush hour fell upon us, I've taken a step back and became a sous chef for Penny. Since I would be in the same position, starting from the bottom again in the kitchen hierarchy when I am in Italy, it was best to get a feel of not being in charge. Though halfway through it, I saw Penny hunched and peered at me with caution.

"I know that look. If you've got a problem with how I'm doing things, speak up and be done with it," she pointed begrudgingly.

"I've got nothing to say, Penny. You're doing great." I said as sweetly as I can.

"Oh, please, Emi. I know you're worried about me handling things here. But I'm more worried about you about Italy. I hope for your superior's sake; you don't give them 'a look'."

"What look?" I inquired innocently. "And besides, I'm not going to be breathing on their backs since they'll be on mine."

"Are you sure you can handle not being the boss again? You've been this place chef for years. Can you do it?"

"Of course. Do you doubt me?"

Her answering smile brought her back to a good mood, forgetting my mischiefs. However, it came back as quickly as it disappeared when I hastily pointed out the overheated pan where she sautéed the wild mushrooms.

Penny looked more relieved than I was when the bistro grew lighter of customers for the afternoon. So I've given her pointers and yapped about ingredients being cooked a certain way. Of course, Penny has her own cooking style as I have, which I've experienced first-hand for the past few years. But most of the dishes in the bistro were my recipes. It was expected how I'd be strict and less lenient on how it was best prepared.

Halfway through our second session for the day, I was interrupted by a message I hadn't expected to see that day. Reading it through, I'm more shocked that I had to reply and asked whether it was a wrong send.

'Are you inviting me tonight to your party? Or it's just a mistake?'

Zack's reply came only minutes after I've sent the message.

'Yes. Why do you think it was a mistake? Is it because you and Collin are no longer together?'

I pursed my lips while reading through it. My hand lingered above the text box, not sure how best to respond. But I decided to go with the truth.

'Well, yes, more or less. I expected not to be invited to any gathering anymore.'

'I'm not savage or heartless, Emilia. And even if you and Collin are over, you're still my friend.'

'Is this a trick, or you planning something? Because I know he'll be there.'

'No. It's no trick. If you don't want to go because of him, I'll understand that...'

Now I feel like he was baiting me. If I didn't go, it might seem that I wasn't over with the break-up. And if I did, I'll have one of the most awkward nights in my life. Zack had grown into a close friend over the years Collin, and I dated. We both have our moments and bonded with TV series and movies. For a guy friend, it's rare to share such love for the entertainment industry.

With a groan of defiance, I hastily replied. 'I'll be at your party, and sorry for not greeting you a happy birthday. I'll compensate by bringing your favorite dish. Is the party at your place?'

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