Chapter: 2

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"Aphy get up!"My mother shouts from the kitchen. I groggily rub my eyes trying to get my bearings. I look around realizing I never made it back to my room. Wandering into the kitchen I find my dad cooking breakfast while my mom sits on the counter reading the instructions of the recipe to him. "Why didn't anyone move me?" I whine. "We tried to, but you kept slapping our hands away." I roll my eyes, "Whatever, where's Jeremy." Mom points a perfectly manicured index finger to his door.

I barge into Jeremy's room, "Wakey wakey sleepy head!" I scream at the top of my lungs. I am met with a very angry pillow. I proceed to pull the covers off the bed while Jeremy clings to them for dear life. "Dude, I'm sleeping, did the pillow I threw not make it clear?" he murmurs annoyed. "I know, but everyone is waiting for you. Dad made waffles." He opens an eye to analyze my face, and I give him my cheesiest smile. When he concludes I'm not lying he rolls out of bed.

"Mom really wants us to have a going-away party," Jeremy says timidly, fully aware that I hate parties, especially if they're for me. "You're kidding, right?" I groan. He shrugs his shoulders as we walk back to the kitchen. Mom and dad have both found their way to the table, they have their heads together as they look at some papers spread over the white dining table.

My dad's broad shoulders are hunched over the files. He's already in a navy blue suit ready to go to work. His brown ivy league style hair was slicked to the side leaving him looking quite professional. His tired eyes never left the paper, not even when my mom would glance nervously over at him.

Jeremy and I share a worried look, "What's going on dad?" Our question was met with icy silence. We swiftly moved to get our plates of food. The smell of the sweet syrup was too good. I sat at the table admiring how fluffy the stacked waffles looked with the syrup cascading down the sides. It was almost too beautiful to eat, after a moment I took a heaping bite. My mouth was filled with the sweet flavors of the waffles and syrup.

"These waffles, right here, are heaven-sent." I hum in delight. Jeremy is almost done with his stack. "Do you even try to savor the food?" I snap. "Not even a little," he says laughing at my anger. "Aphy, Jer, stop your bickering right now." My mom warns. "We weren't actually fighting," Jeremy says holding his hands up defensively. A warning look silences both of us.

"I figured it out, love!" my dad exclaims looking up at mom eagerly. "All we have to do is fire one of our current employees and hire someone else at minimum wage." Despite her glasses, she squints at the papers to see them better. "Wouldn't that only help for a couple of months." She says pointedly. "Yes, but we just need a few more months to get the renovations done, and then we'll be back in the budget."

I raise my hand, "Can I take a look?" Three pairs of eyes look at me surprised. "I am fully capable of budgeting," I say with a mock pout. My dad slides the papers down the glossy table. I look at the different categories while sipping my mug of coffee. I have to stifle a laugh when I see that they're trying to have an arcade. I'm curious why they want that instead of something practical. "Why are you installing an arcade?" "To draw in more customers, obviously." My dad sniffs as if I were too dumb to comprehend.

"Add a conference room or a spa room, something adults are going to use. They are the ones who buy hotel rooms, right?" My mom nods her head, "She has a point, Nolen." My dad scratches his head considering my ideas, "It would be more cost-effective to add a conference room rather than an arcade." I dab my mouth with a napkin. "You are one smart girl Aphy!" He says with the biggest smile I've ever seen. I set my dishes in the sink, trying to creep up the stairs without Jeremy noticing.

As I near the top I take a step and the floorboard creaks beneath me. I cringe hoping Jeremy didn't hear. To my dismay, I hear him stand up with such force that the chair falls over. I see him tearing through the hallway with a maniacal smile.

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