Wednesday, January 4, 2012
"Jack! Can you get someone to cover for me? I've got to get Billy out of here." Whitney Adams dashed into Taverna's kitchen, obviously in a panic.
It was three in the afternoon; Jack Donati was helping the sous chef prep for the evenig rush of post-holiday diners.
"Billy? What's he doing here?" Jack asked. Whatever it was, it couldn't be good. Whitney's expression alarmed him.
Jack didn't like the fact that Whitney felt such a sense of obligation to her completely screwed up family. Blake and Genevra Adams were the most self-centered parents Jack had ever seen; their youngest child, Billy, was nothing but eighteen years of trouble. David, the eldest child, seemed decent enough, but so remote Jack had never said more than two words to him.
"He's flipping out," Whitney said as she pulled her coat on without even taking time to remove her waiter's apron. "He's been weirder than ever since Mom and Dad took off for Florida. Now he's totally lost it--just stumbled in the front door, jabbering to himself about ghosts and murderers. Not good for business. I've got to get him out of here before anyone sees him."
"Hang on, I'll come with you. You can't manage him by yourself."
"It's okay. I called David. He's on his way over. I jsut need you to stay here and get someone to cover my shift."
Whitney grabbed her purse and returned to the dining room. Jack followed her. Thankfully, the restaurant was closed and empty at this hour. Helen and the rest of the wait staff weren't in yet; Nick was in the back office working.
Billy was lying on the floor in front of the bar, curled in the fetal position, whimpering.
"Jesus," Jack said, "what happened?"
"I don't know. Like I said, since the parents decided to spend this week in Florida, he's been a worse mess than usual." Whitney knelt beside her brother. "Come on, kid, let's get you up and out of here."
Billy put his hands over his eyes. "No. Please don't take me away. I didn't do it. I swear. Don't let them take me, Whit."
Jack and Whitney got the boy upright. The three of them were headed to the door when David Adams arrived. Calm and authoritative, he half-led, half-carried his brother outside and into his waiting car.
Before getting in the car herself, Whitney turned to Jack. "I'll call you when we figure out what to do about this. I'll probably have to contact the parents and tell them to come home."
"Do what you need to do," Jack said, kissing her cheek. He watched them drive away and tamped down his own resentment that Billy's shenanigans had just trashed some very special plans.