This is a work of fiction.
My day wasn’t over.
I played and swam until nearly six.
I was starving, and didn’t feel like having to drive home first.
I went to my car to get some of the leftover salad, but there wasn’t any.
I must have given it all to Kathleen.
I checked my phone.
No messages from Jason, but there was one from Kathleen.
Kathleen: It looks like I took all the food home. Sorry about that. Thank goodness there was no fish soup left. Lol. Anyway, I’ll see you Friday.
Roberta: Yeah, I gave it all to you by mistake. See you on Friday!
I put my phone away.
It was time to go back to the restaurant.
It was a ways down the beach, so I went back and walked along it toward the restaurant.
Suddenly, somebody slammed into me, and we both went sprawling in the sand.
“Be careful!” a man’s voice said from behind me.
“Sorry,” I said.
“Not you, him.”
I got to my feet and saw a little boy of about four or five lying in the sand. He had blond hair, was wearing blue shorts and a blue T-shirt, and when he turned over and sat up, I saw that his eyes matched his clothes.
“Are you okay?”
It was the man, and he was gorgeous. He had the same blue eyes and blond hair as the boy, who was probably his son. He was about the same height as Kathleen, was wearing jeans and a white T-shirt, and looked a little tire.
The man turned around and called, “Over here.”
“She’s so gross!”
The speaker sounded like a little girl, and I hoped she didn’t mean that I was gross.
“Hi,” I said. “I’m okay. My name’s Roberta. What are your names?”
“Sean. The girl calling me is Deirdra. The boy who really needs to watch where he’s going is Michael. The girl Deirdra mentioned is Patricia.”
Oh good. It wasn’t me who was gross.
“Then there’s Steven, who knows better than to dash ahead, but who’s probably already found the restaurant.”
“Can I help?”
“If you don’t mind. Can you go and see if you can find Steven? He’s wearing bright green. I’ll round up Michael and the girls.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Just inside the door of the restaurant, I saw a boy matching Sean’s description.
“Hi Steven,” I said. “Your dad asked me to look for you here. I’m Roberta. Let’s go sit down.”
I thought he might argue or even run away, but he followed me to a table for six.
A minute later, Sean, Michael, and two girls came in.
“She’s so gross,” the older girl said.
“Come on, she’s not even two yet,” Sean said, sounding as if he’d said this to Deirdra many times.
“Do I have to sit next to her?”
Before he could answer, Deirdra saw us and came over.
Steven had sat down beside me, and Deirdra sat beside him, giving her dad a triumphant look.
“Stinky people on the other side!”
“You’re stinky,” Michael said.
“I am not!”
“Cool it,” Sean said. He said to me, “Would you mind watching the kiddos while I change Patricia?”
“I don’t mind at all.” I smiled at the kids, hoping they would trust me. “I’m Roberta. Your dad told me your names.”
“Thanks,” Sean said, and picked Patricia up. “Let’s go get that diaper changed.”
Michael sat down across from Steven.
“You’re so sandy,” Deirdra said, pointing across at him. “Did you trip and fall in the sand?”
“I’m hungry,” Steven said.
“We have to wait for Dad,” Deirdra said.
“Because he’s got the money, stupid.”
“I am not!”
“You are so.”
“Would anybody like me to read the menu out loud?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Steven said.
“I want to wait for Dad,” Deirdra said.
“I’m hungry,” Steven said. “Why can’t she read us the menu?”
“Because she doesn’t know what we like.”
“I like potatoes,” Micheal said.
“He only likes potatoes,” Deirdra told me.
“I do not.”
“I like potatoes too,” Steven said.
“Potatoes are so gross,” Deirdra said.
“What do you like?” I asked her.
“I like rice too.”
“Do you like potatoes?” Steven asked.
“Yes. I also like pasta.”
“Dad likes pasta,” Deirdra said, giving me an approving look.
“Do you start dinner with salad?” I askd.
“No,” Deirdra said.
“Oh, do you like cooked vegetables instead?”
“No,” Steven said. “Those are gross.”
“They are not,” Michael said. “I like peas.”
“I like carrots,” Deirdra said.
“Does Patricia like peas and carrots?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Steven said. “She’s gross.”
I was kind of getting tired of the word “gross.”
“What about your dad?”
Deirdra said, “He likes salad.”
“Do you like soup?”
“I’m hungry,” Steven said. “I want fries.”
“I know they have fries.”
“I want rice,” Deirdra said.
“I want fries too,” Michael said.
I flipped through the menu, but was pretty sure there were no other rice dishes, besides chicken and rice soup.
A server came to our table.
“Hi,” he said. “Are you ready to order?”
“Do you have anything with rice other than the soup?”
“No, and we’re out of chicken and rice soup.”
“I want rice,” Deirdra said.
“I’m sorry,” the server said.
“You’ve got lots of fries, right?” Steven said.
“Yes, we do.”
He grinned at his sister.
What was I gonna do? I needed to stop this.
“How about pasta?” I said.
“Sure, we’ve got lots of that. We have everything on the menu except there are only two soups left.”
“Are they still tomato basil and fish chowder?”
“What’s that?” Michael asked.
“Fish chowder?” I asked.
“It’s gross,” Steven said.
“Yeah,” Deirdra said. “Stinky fish.”
“Is there anything I can get for anybody?” the server asked.
“Not yet, thank you. We’re waiting for their dad and sister.”
He went to the table beside ours, and I said, “So, does your dad like fish?”
“Oh, I heard my name.”
We looked around and saw Sean and Patricia.
“I was just asking if you liked fish,” I said.
“I love fish. Are you ordering me some?”
“They have fish chowder,” I said. “I was just going to explain that it’s fish soup.”
“I can’t wait,” Sean said.
I smiled at him, then at Patricia, and said, “Hi. I’m Roberta.”
She looked at me and said, “Hi!”
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