Chapter 9

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~Pops diner portrayed in the picture.~

Freya's POV

I pushed the door open and the ting sound drew the attention of majority of the customers to me. I ducked my head and walked in with the aide of my crutches to the counter. A chubby white-haired man appeared from under the cabinet with a smile plastered on his wrinkly face.

"Welcome to pops diner. What would you like today?" He asked.

"Uhm... I'm not here to eat actually. I'm here to speak with you." I fiddled with the hem of my shirt careful not to drop my crutches supported by the flesh that was my armpit.

"Have you had breakfast?" He asked again as he set plastic cups on the counter beside the coffee maker.

"No, I haven't."

"Then you eat first. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." He smiled at me once again. "I'll be right back." He carried the tray filled with the typical breakfast and another tray with four plastic cups of coffee. I watched as he tried to balance it all on his old hands.

"There you go." He said to the family at one of the tables and the man who looked to be the oldest among the group smiled in thanks. Pops went round conversing with the customers, taking more orders and clearing dirty dishes. All these and more he handled himself.

'He really could use some help around here' I thought to myself.

"So what would you like to eat?" He asked as he returned to his place behind the counter.

I already made myself comfortable on the bar stool which could only contain half of my bum and I used the edge of the counter as support for my crutches. "I'll take whatever you have." I said.

"You're not allergic to eggs, are you?"

"No sir. I eat everything." I smiled, just a slight unnoticeable curve of my lips.

"Great! I'll be right back." He said and turned to add "Call me pops, please. Everyone does." And he disappeared behind a door I guessed is the kitchen area.

I turned my attention to the people in the diner. I studied all social interactions, careful not to let my gaze linger for long that it could be attributed to stalking. Everyone looked happy and even happier as they ate. Mothers fed their infants chunks of bacon strips and lovers smiled at each other lovingly over cups of coffee or beverage. A feeling of nostalgia enveloped me and I turned away, not able to handle the feels any longer. Pops emerged from the doorway he disappeared into carrying a tray with two dishes. He set it in front of me and the aroma flowed into my nostrils immediately waking up the organisms in there and my stomach rumbled in response to the mouthwatering food.

"Someone is clearly hungry." He chuckled. "Eat up and then we'll talk in my office." He said and walked away to attend to more customers that had just trooped in.

I ate every single item on the plate and by the time I was done, I wanted nothing more than to find the nearest bed and sleep for hours. I yawned a couple of times and I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes as I waited patiently for pops. He dismissed a few of the customers from the morning rush and when all the still lingering ones had been taken care of, he led the way to his office. The space was a small cramped area in the back of the kitchen. It looked like the store turned into an office. He maneuvered his body into his seat behind the table and gestured toward the seat opposite his. I sat down placing my crutches on the floor beside me before turning to face him.

"So you wanted to see me?" He started and I nodded in affirmation.

"Yes si— I mean pops." I corrected myself. "Javier sent me."

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