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A Fresh Start

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~Ring Ring-Ringgggg-Ring-
The annoying ring of a cellphone filled the dark living room of the shabby apartment. The only light in the room was that of the moon that spilled between the balcony curtains. The screen of her phone lighting up from the call flashed over the calling. Crystal groaned as she rolled over trying to simply block out the annoying ring and the bright lights that flashed across her phone screen. By the first ring she was up, her eyes still closed but she knew it was extremely late at night and she had no plans on getting physically up.

After a few moments the phone stopped ringing and the vibrations from the sound making her smile as she snuggled back into her couch blanket.

The peace of her quite apartment didn't last long as the phone went off once again making very eyes go wide and shoot up. Slamming her hand down on the coffee table she throw some of the warm blanket off as she picked up the phone. Her eyes took a minute to get use to the bright phone screen as she read the number, only to find a name flashing instead.

Clair Woodwin, she hadn't heard that name in over two years since they where in Highschool. Actually, that wasn't the last time she had technically seen the over bubbly girl, she had actually seen her the night she bailed her out for attempted assault with a dangerous weapon a year back, threatening to shank someone with a ring of car keys and then attempting to key their car doesn't always work out like you would think.

She sighed as she rubbed her eyes and hit the call button. Holding the phone to her ear she almost had to pull it away with all the commotion going on in the background on the other end of the line. The sounds of yelling filled the background along with the clashing of what she could only guess was pots and pans being thrown across counter tops. She silently groaned as Clair's shaking voice blasted from the phone " Crystal! I'm so sorry to wake you, I could only guess what time it is there! I-I need a big favor, your going to hate me for it I know it but I wouldn't be asking if I wasn't in a pinch!" Crystal leaned back into her couch as she said  in a lazy tone " Well good to hear from you Clair. A simple hi would have sufficed waking me up at-" looking at her phone quick before going on " - 1 almost 2 in the morning, I could only guess what you called about was important because you know I would have just hung up on you if I didn't think in the slightest that what ever you have to ask was important."

The phone was quite before the background noice drew another word from Clair saying "I- It's bad of me to ask but would you please, please come to my grandpa's restaurant? We are supposed to open tomorrow night for a grand reopening and nothing is going right! You where the only one I could think of that could help out in this kinda of situation! I'll pay and everything! Just please come!!" Her voice shook as he let out a Yelp and a on clashed against the floor. Crystal rolled her eyes as she got up from the couch and stretching for a moment, closing her eyes for a moment only to snap them open as the clogs started to turn in her tired brain.

"You live 2 states over!! Fuck no I'm not going!" Crystal screamed at the phone. There was no way she was going that far just to do what ever this chick wanted.

Clair spoke up on the other line saying "Please! I'll pay for it and everything, I can get you a flight in the next two hours and I'll pay you for everything from work to food and a place to stay! You know what, I'm sending the tickets over now online. See you in a few hours!!! Thank you so much for doing this for me! See you soon!"

The phone beeped as the other end hung up. Crystal was almost forming at the mouth. Her phone buzzed in her hand as a new email notification came in, one plane ticket with her name. Her eyebrow twitched as she throw the phone down back on the couch as she tried to find her way to her bedroom but not before accidentally stubbing her tone on that stupid coffee table. She held her foot as she limped to the bathroom door. Flicking the light on she looked at herself in the bathroom mirror.

This was going to be a pain and she could only hope this women didn't expect much.

 

———————-Time skip————————

Packing a few bags wasn't ready a big issue for Crystal as she already had a go to hygiene bag to go. Going to a large overcrowded culinary college made you question not having one on hand. The amount of times she had people spill scolding soup or coffee on her she could no longer remember, so having a go to bag was always a must.

She packed a few pairs of clothes and some chic stuff like a book or two along with some other stuff that was scattered across her apartment. She had quickly wrote a note off and slipped it under her landlords door. The note explained she would be gone for a few days and to pass her shifts off to someone else in the time being. Working for her landlord at the dinner next door was amazing, most of her check went straight to her landlord with no hiccup. She was already payed up for two months which was great.

Getting on the plane was simple and getting back to sleeps was a bit easier as well. Crystal could only think about the reason why Clair would have asked her to come all the way over from two states to help with this restaurant opening. Sighing she looked out of the plane window and started thinking. Clair and her had meet during freshman year of high school during a culinary class. Clair had been relatively good at cook for a first year but was extremely accident prone which made it hard for her to be worked with. Crystal rubbed at the back of her left wrist feeling the small burn scar that carved into a straight line where Clair had accidentally jabbed her with a scolding hot iron skillet in that very class.

Clair finished the class with a high B but didn't return the following year or any of the following years. Crystal herself had passed the class with a high A and returned the following year and every year after until their graduation.  Right after high school she had entered a good culinary & hospitality program at a nice public college a city over from their home town. She didn't look back and put all her time and effort into learning to cook and bake more. She was only able to afford a two year long program but she passed with flying colors.

After that she had just settled into her position as a cook in the back of the local dinner next to her apartment building.

Crystal's eyes slowly closed as she looked off into the dark sky outside. The over head lights of the plan lowered as everyone in the cabin went onto sleep mode. She curled into herself a bit more and slowly let herself fall into a peaceful sleep. Maybe this whole restaurant thing wouldn't be so bad when she got there.

________Time Skip______

After waking up from her nap and getting off the plane, she got a message from Clair giving her directions to a small condo home not to far from the airport. Hoping into a cab she found herself standing in front of a very clean condo home that looked like it hadn't been touched in years.

The outside was well kept, the yard cut and flower bushes that lined the outer walls of the home where still trimmed and in good health. Giving herself a moment to smile she found her way to the door. Bending down she looked under one of the small rocks that lined the front of the door way entrance. She flipped one over and found what she was looking for, a small silver key.

The cab had long drive off leaving her bags on the steps of the door. She fiddled with the key for a moment before putting it into the door and turning it, letting the door fall open as she pulled her bags in before closing it behind her.

The condo was modern with a clean sheik to it. Crystal wasn't really a snobby person so this really wasn't her favorite look, but she had cleaned and been in relatively similar houses and homes before. She could get use to it. Cleaning it wasn't a problem. She blinked a moment realizing she was thinking of this house as one of her old jobs, not the home she would be staying in for a few days. She looked down at her feet for a moment, her honey brown eyes scanning her black slips.

She had to help Clair, not try and slip back into a sad spell over the past.

She closed her eyes and looked up at the ceiling for a moment, taking a deep inhale before letting it out and opening them again.  Picking up her bags she set them all down in the living room before exploring the rest of the house.

It wasn't giant but it was extremely big compared to her small apartment back home.  The living room was huge, with a walking way to a large backyard filled with flowers. The living room had a few bright red couches surrounding a nice glass coffee table and a shaggy white rug in front of a fireplace and huge flat screen TV over head. It lead into a marble kitchen with a kitchen island in the middle.

From what she could tell the condo was a two bedroom, a master and a guest bedroom, both with their own separate bathrooms. The house seemed to al be framed in whites, black and a deep red. Honestly it seemed to be a normal condo in general.

She quickly put most of her bags away in the master bedroom before heading to the kitchen. As she turned the lights on in the huge kitchen she reached for her phone in her pocket, ready to send Clair a message about what she need to do for this "help" she needed with this restaurant business. Before she could start typing away at her phone screen she spotted a piece of notebook paper sitting in the marble counter top near the sink. Picking it up she quickly read thought what was written. " Hi! It's Clair, I was able to swing by and drop this note off before I had to go back to the restaurant. I'm so busy that this was literally the only place I had time to go by before getting back.  Thank you for coming out here to help me and my grandpa, it means a lot. Anyway, I know you would be wonder what you need to do before you come over to the restaurant. Remember the outfit requirements we had in school? Yeah basically that's what you need to wear and knowing you, I know you are already in half the uniform as is." Crystal's right eye twitched as she looked at the paper and then down at herself. She already had her black dress pants on and her non slip black shoes on, all she needed was her white button up she had thrown on her bed back in the master bedroom.

Getting back to the note she continued to read " After that feel free to take a second to relax before heading over the the restaurant. There is a old bike I know you would know how to drive out in the garage, it's grandpas but he hasn't used it in decades now so it's free for you to use. Also if your wonder, the condo is one of grandpa's, after grandma passed he hasn't been out there, he doesn't have the nerve to get rid of it. So feel free to make it your home. Once again, I'm really happy you came out to help use out, I think your going to have fun while your here even if it is just work. Signed Clair"  taking a quick picture of the restaurant address at the bottom of the note before putting it on the fridge with a magnet. She rubbed her neck before going back to the room to change out of her tshirt and into her white button up.

Taking a moment she finally got a second to look in the mirror at herself. Her shoulder blond curly hair frizzed out a little on both sides making her shake a hand down it trying to get it to tame a little. Her brown eyes had sunk in a little from the only few hours of sleep she had gotten. She sighed as he looked down at herself. Her shirt looked like crap because she had to buy a bigger size the she actually needed, her chest had popped the buttons in the last shirt she tried to get a size smaller in. It made her look wonky from the sides, she tried to smooth it out the best she could, but her double D's  could only make her feel worse as she tried harder to get the shirt to smooth down at the middle.

She pulled her pants up a little more as they hugged her thick thighs. She just rolled her eyes at this. Putting her emotions back together she quickly headed to the garage. Finding the old bike, she was happy to find it had a full tank and someone had left the keys on the seat. She grabbed a helmet which after a good dusting was good enough to wear and not cough up a lung in. Giving her phone one more good look as she read off the directions, she slipped it into her pocket and started the bike.

With a hard turn of the key the bike started with a loud whirl and reave. Pressing a button on the wall the garage door slowly opened. She pulled forward out of the garage she watched the door fall back down before looking back at the long driveway and tacking off towards the new restaurant.

____Some time latter__

The air was getting a bit cooler as Crystal reached the block of the new restaurant. The sun had slowly started to go down as well, making it even colder. She shivered at this. Looking up she started to slow her bike down and look in shook as her eyes found the entrance to the restaurant.

By no means was it some showy five class rich people restaurant, she hadn't even had that thought in her mind the while time she was flying here. It definitely had a high class presence to it even from just looking at it. What caught her eye was the amount of people that stood on the street looking to get into the place. But also the large amount of camera men that seemed to surround the place as well. What the hell where they gawking at? It was a restaurant re opening but it wasn't news worth, at least she didn't think.

She quickly passed the place in hopes that there was some kind of parking out back where she could sneak in from. There was no way she was getting in though the front of the place. She quickly found the back parking which thankfully looked like the camera crew had not ventured to yet. She parked and turned her bike off, taking her helmet off and tucking it into her under arm as she pulled out her phone to text Clair she was out back and needed to be let in.

Crystal gave a snort at this thinking about there freshman year when she had accidentally locked Clair out back of the school after they had finished bring up a new shipment of food for the culinary department. She had banged on the door for 20 minutes before Crystal had realized she had left her out there. She hummed as she sent the message and waited for someone to let her in.

A few minutes later the back door slammed open making her jerk back and raise a brow. A red headed guy crouched over with his hands on his knees breathing hard like he had just lost his breath. He panes before standing up and looking around for a moment. His deep green eyes feel on her before he go up and smiled her way. Walking over to him he held out a hand for her to shack, she took it and gave it a shack back. He smiled at her as he ushered her in saying "Sorry for keeping you waiting out here! It's crazy in there and well out there! We have been so back up in the kitchen just trying to get ready to open that we have no extra time to do anything else."

The red head scratched the back of his neck as he lead her down a hall way most likely to the kitchen. He stopped as the entered the front of the lobby bares. Well scratch the kitchen part she thought as he turned around to face her. He gave her another tired smile as he said "Oh yeah I forgot to introduce myself, my names Johnny and I work in the kitchen. I have been working with Clair since the beginning of her trying to help restart some of her old mans restaurants. Oh and she told me to tell you before you ask, yes I know you wanted to go straight to the kitchen , but she needs to talk to you in the lobby first. I honestly don't know what all of that means but." He stopped mid way out of what looks like is embarrassment.

Crystal smiled as she patted Johnny on the back making him tense up a little, he was a few inches shorter then her and it definitely looked like the women could crush him in a head lock if she really wanted to. Johnny started walking again as Crystal said " It's honestly creepy how well she knows me. She said that because she knows I don't like people at all, I'm just not great at talking up a storm like her and she knows I do better in the kitchen then running around bussing tables." She gave a small grin at that.

Clair had always seemed to know Crystal's motivations and it never failed to creep they people around her out on how well she actually was at saying what she thought out loud.

Johnny nodded as they finally got to the inside of the counter out in the lobby. Just from looking at the women's back she could tell it was Clair. Her straight black hair still sat in a bob that still framed the sides of her face, and she had yet to grow any taller, she was even shorter then Johnny who she could only guess was 5'5-5'6 the last time she had seen the girl she was around 5'3 and it didn't look like she had grown even a inch taller since then. Clair turned around and gasped as she saw Crystal. She ran over to the two hand hugged the other girl.

Happy to see her again after so long. She looked up at her saying " I knew you would come! I'm so happy you made it, I could use all the help I can get with this restaurant being so packed on the first night. I was so scared that I wouldn't have enough people to work it." Crystal sighed and hugged the girl back, trying her best not to have to bend over just to hug the shorter girl back.

Crystal looked around a moment and realized what she had said. She had seen no one in any of the rooms she had passed or even the hall way and the lobby & dinning room where completely empty. Not a soul in sight besides her ,Clair and Johnny. Crystal rubbed her temples saying " Please please tell me it's not just use working this place tonight? We need all hands in deck for that crowed out there! There is no way the three of us can work this place alone."

Clair pulled her by the hand to the counter and shiver a menu in her face as she said " No don't worry! Grandpa is coming to help out and do the tables and I'll be going back and forth between the kitchen and the dinning room. You and Johnny will be in the back working the kitchen."

Crystal sigh and hung her head down as she looked at the menu. How could Clair do this? How did her grandpa who had already been in the restaurant business, let her run this!? This was at least a 7-9 person work load! All she could do was take a deep breath as she listened to Clair rambling on.

Crystal looked over at the shorter girl as she rested her elbows on the counter saying " So uh why is there a camera crew outside? I know this is a grand re opening but I didn't think it would be news worthy." She scratched her arm a little at this. Clair gave a small sad smile saying "Well you seen grandpa a long time ago was a mentor to this guy and he was really good, but at the same time kinda snotty, grandpa won't say it but he's kinda a snot nosed brat. Anyway he got mad at grandpa for something and just walked out and left, he ended up becoming a really big TVs chef and has his own cooking show. He kinda came back a while ago at one of grandpa's other restaurants and threatened to destroy us by making up rumors about food poisoning and stuff and it looks like he's back at it... he's not that bad of a guy but."

Crystal slammed her fist down in the counter making Clair jump a bit and Johnny flee back to the kitchen. Now she was mad.

"He threatened you and your telling me "he's not that bad of a guy"?? What is wrong with you!? I would have sma-!" The bell of the front door made the two of them look up and over at it. A blond haired guy walked in with a camera guy behind him, he swooped some of his blond hair to the side as he made his way to the counter, eyeing Clair. The camera man followed the guy but hung back to watch the three.

The blond leaned on the counter top and pulled down his sun glasses and flashed Clair a smirk. He completely seemed to ignore Crystal.

He clicked his tongue at her saying "So Clair, are you ready for this restaurant to be a big flop? You know I MIGHT be able to give to a position as a druid for behind the camera, maybe. But I mean at this rate your already so under you have no means of getting back up." He laughed for a second before saying "And it's definitely not going to get any better when I post this video about this place giving me food poisoning." He smirked again, this time bigger then before. It just made Crystal more angry.

Crystal finally gave a small push to Clair who seems to have physically shut down for a moment.

Crystal was more use to this kind of behavior. Working in a restaurant brought a lot of people she had to work beside and come in contact with. This guy was definitely a brat but he was most definitely some kind of narcissist who got off on belittling people and from what she could tell from seeing him just now, he liked people who would take his words laying down. This want going to get past her though.

She cleared her thought as she pushed the smaller girl behind her. She crossed her arms looking down at the blond, he was at least a inch or two shorter then her and she stud at 5'9, he had to be 5' 8 or barely 5'9. 

He eyes her as he stud back up, his smirk only flattering for a moment before going to a smaller one.

"So Clair it looks lik-" Crystal slammed her arm and fist down right in front of his face and hit right on the counter where he had just been leaning on. His eyes widened for a moment as he stepped back a little bit in shock.

"Your not talking to her, your talking to me. From now on you don't talk to her, you talk to me. If I find out you try talking to her from anyone." Her voice was like thick molasses as she looked at the blond straight in the guys, his glasses now slanted and his dark eyes wide.

"If I find out you been trying anything." She pointed to the camera guy who was shaking , his camera dropped to his side.

"I'm beating his ass first and then-" she stuck a finger right in the blonds face right under his messed up glasses, he could feel her breath in his face as she went on.

"I'm coming for your ass next and I'm taking that pretty little face of your and smashing it into the asphalt out back. Your fucking ass is grass and I'm here to mow it."

She flicked her finger up, fixing his glasses.

She then whispered "I would go now before I beat the shit out of your camera guy, he's giving me looks."  She pulled back and looked down at the guy.

His face was completely twisted in shook as he stared at her. His eyes wide behind his glasses and his adamsapple bobbed in his throat as he gulped. She even swear she saw a little shiver go up his spin. She would have smiled but that would have given him some leverage.

But that's when she noticed his cheeks. The bright red of embarrassment and- excitement?

Before she could even thing anything else, he was running out the door with his camera man behind him.

She hated this. She could only think of one thing. He liked it, the little shit wasn't just a narcissist, but he liked being talked down to and threatened and from what she could tell, this was most likely the first time he had been talked down to.

She just awakened this little narcissist to something else he most likely was into and now he was probably going to come back for more trying to get a high by trying to make more messes for the restaurant.

She sighed as she turned back to Clair who had snapped out of her little mood and was now bouncing around in glee.  She clapped saying "That was amazing! I can't believe you told him off like that!" She smiled and laughed.

Crystal sighed saying "Please don't tell me that was the kid you where talking about before ." Rolling her eyes Clair said "Yeah that was him, his name is Creighton and he runs the cooking show called Tasty. I can't believe you told him off like that! Did you see how he ran!" Crystal nodded back saying "Yeah but I have the feeling he's going to be back sooner the later because of that."

The two of them started walking towards the kitchen together. Scratch her head Crystal said " I'm pretty sure that guy has a thing for being talked down to and I'm pretty sure I was one of he first people to actually come at him like that. He might try to come back to see if he can get me to threaten him again." Johnny stepped out of the kitchen , his face red as he said " S-So Creighton has like a verbal humiliation kink going on?"

Crystal snorted at his red face saying " Kinda seemed like it. He got pretty bother when I told him I was going to come for him. It honestly just looked like he was both excited and embarrassed that I called him out. Don't want to assume, but your guess is as good as mine at this point."

She laughed as she walked passed him and into the kitchen. She put down one of the menus that Clair had given her onto one of the steel tables. Looking down at it she studied it for a long moment. Johnny and Clair walked in and stud beside her and studied the menu as well. Cracking her fingers Crystal stud up saying  "Well he's not here now to bother us so we better get ready to start preparing for this opening."

Clair nodded before looking down at her watch and gasping saying " Oh no I forgot to stack all the menus and silverware! You know where to find me!" She rushed out of the room and back to the lobby.

Crystal patted Johnny on the back and smiled saying "Well we better get started to , we only have two hour left to finish this prep before we open."

Johnny gave a smile. Yep this was going to be one hectic night or most like a hectic week.