Sita (blinded_dream) wrote in msclbookclub,

Here are the first three chapters. (They're each in their own post.) I
fixed some grammatical mistakes in the first two chapters but other
than that, they're pretty much the same.

Oh, I may or may not have dropped out out letters/words. So if you see
anything weird, just comment and let me know. Also, this is coming from
word so I think they have retarded code things in there so just ignore
those, okay?

PS: The spacing? Yeah. It's RETARDED.

My So Called Life Goes On by Catherine Clark


Chapter One

Sometimes a person’s
restaurant order says everything about them. Without them even realizing it.
Like me. I always think this is the last order I’m going to place. Like a
prisoner getting her last meal before being executed.


So it takes me
forever, because I want it to be perfect.

 “And what can I bring for you
tonight?” Angela Chase stood beside the table, pencil poised over her notepad.
She was supposed to remember all the customers’ orders by heart, but she had
only been working at her father’s restaurant for a few days now. She didn’t
have the menu completely memorized yet, so she was still using shorthand.

 It was all Hallie Lowenthal’s idea.
She didn’t want servers taking notes because she thought it looked tacky.
“You’re not studying for a test. You’re serving people dinner. It’s twenty entrées-how
hard is that to remember? I mean, how hard?”

 Every time Angela thought about all
the stupid quizzes and tests Hallie had made her take before allowing her to
work at her very own father’s restaurant, Angela felt like quitting.

 Of course, she felt like quitting
most of the time. She’d never had a summer job before. As she jotted down
orders, she couldn’t help wondering if “summer job” wasn’t an oxymoron. What
was wrong with “summer vacation”?

 She pasted a smile on her face and
beamed at the last customer at the table to order. “Do you know what you’d

 “I’ll have shrimp alfredo, but with
scallops instead of shrimp,” the woman said. “Is that low-fat?”

 “It’s…um, seafood. In a cream
sauce,” Angela explained. Low-fat when
you compare it to a jar of mayonnaise. Maybe

 The woman looked up at her
expectantly. “Yes?”

 "So…no,” Angela finished. “It’s
actually pretty high in fat.”

 “Would you mind checking with the

My dad the Chef. It’s like a
children’s book.
Angela smiled, her teeth clenched. “Not at all. I’ll be
right back with your salads.”

 “Dressing on the side!” the woman
called after her.

 Angela walked back through the
restaurant, an old warehouse that had only recently been converted. Fresh
flowers filled vases on the heavy wood tables, which were covered with white
linen tablecloths. Giant plate-glass windows afforded a view of the downtown
street. The word “Fiore” was painted on one window in large flowing script.
Angela’s favourite feature in the place was the old, original tin ceiling. She
often found herself staring up at it when business was slow and she sat at the
small bar, contemplating her life. Or lack thereof.

 Angela walked into the kitchen,
nearly crashing into Hallie, who was carrying a bottle of wine up from the

 “Geez! Watch it!” Hallie held the
bottle up in the air, over her head.”

 “Sorry,” Angela said, still holding
the door open for her. Hallie breezed past, wearing a black linen suit, her
long brown hair combed back into a tortoiseshell barrette.

One of the other servers, Lewis,
was already standing inside the kitchen. He was waiting as one of the sous
chefs fixed salads for an order. Angela couldn’t understand it, but Lewis
somehow managed to make her official serving uniform-boring white shirts and
black pants-look good. On him, anyway. Maybe it was because he was tall, with a
chiseled face, blond hair, and green eyes. He had the kind of looks usually
noticed in magazines.

, she scrawled on a fresh page of her notepad. She held it up in front of

 “Help me? Is that tonight’s
special?” Lewis smiled.

 “Please?” Angela asked.

 “I’d love to. But I have enough
problems of my own. Like, name nine thinks risotto is a desert, not an entrée.”
Lewis sighed.

 “Oh. Well, don’t forget the
chocolate sauce,” Angela told him. She walked over to her father. “Dad, you’re
going to laugh when I ask this,” she said. “So bear with me, and remember, it’s
not me asking the question.”

Graham Chase looked up from the pot
fresh pasta he was cooking. He wore a white chef’s jacket, a pair of
black-and-white checked chef pants, and sneakers. “What’s the question?”

 “The shrimp alfredo…is that
low-fat?” Angela cringed as she waited for the response.

 Everyone in the kitchen started

 "Low-fat?” Hallie scoffed. She had returned to the kitchen just in
time to hear Angela’s inane question. “More like high-fat. The tops. As in
heart attack on a plate.”

 Graham laughed. “Hallie, it’s not
that bad.”

 Hallie shrugged. “Don’t get me
wrong, it tastes great. Fantastic. But you can’t exactly run a marathon

 “And you’re always doing that,”
Graham teased her. “Running marathons.

 Hallie snapped at him playfully
with a dish towel. “I could.”

 Angela cleared her throat. Why did
she always feel like she was interrupting something between her father and
Hallie? “So anyway, Dad. I told the customer it wasn’t low-fat, but she
insisted I ask the chef,” Angela said.

 “Right. Well, tell her she might
want to order the broiled chicken, or the past with vegetables, if she wants a
low-fat choice,” Graham said calmly.

 “Dad. I, like, know that.” Angela tapped a pen against the long, thin menu. She
kept closing her eyes and blindly hitting the pencil against the menu, trying
to see what random order she’d place.

 Foie grass to start.

 Followed by the rack of lamb with
green peppercorn sauce.

 Complete the meal with crème brûlée.

 She thought of what her father said
when Hallie was quizzing her a week ago: “If
you don’t know the menu cold, I can’t put you on the floor.

 Know the menu cold? Put me on the
floor? Angela wondered what language her father was speaking. He had been so
worried about the restaurant opening that he kept saying things that definitely
didn’t sound like him. Maybe it was from spending so much time with Hallie. Too
much time, in Angela’s opinion. But she knew the two of them had to be
completely dedicated to getting the restaurant off the ground.

 At least listening to her father
was easier than dealing with Hallie. She kept acting like she was doing Angela
a huge favour by letting her work at Fiore for the summer. Like they didn’t
already employ three other people from high school and college. As if Angela weren’t
good enough.

 Hallie and Graham had met at a
cooking class in night school. When the teacher had to quit, Graham had taken
over teaching. Hallie had pushed Graham for months to open his own restaurant,
and he’d finally given in. Angela’s mother had been very doubtful about such a
risky business venture but she seemed somewhat supportive now. Like she was
trying really, really hard to get behind a visiting team from another town.
Angela, on the other hand, had always loved her father’s cooking and encouraged
him to do more with than just feed her and her kid sister Danielle.

 “So what did you tell table nine
about the risotto?” Angela asked Lewis on her way out of the kitchen.

 “I recommended a cannoli instead,”
Lewis said, shrugging. “I guess they figured it’d be okay if it had an Italian

 Hallie began pacing by the kitchen
doorway, peeking out at the front of the house. “It’s not full enough,” she
complained. “It should be fuller, right? It should be standing rooms only. They
should have an hour wait-”

 “Calm down, Hallie. They’ll come,” Graham told her. He left the
stove for a second to put his hands on Hallie’s shoulder, giving her a
reassuring squeeze.

 She looked at him over her shoulder
and smiled. “Do you have to be so positive all the time?”

 “Tell yourself: if you cook it…they
will come,” Lewis joked.

 The restaurant had received a
glowing review in the city newspaper last week. Apparently Hallie wants to the place to be mobbed, Angela thought
despondently. Then again, that would mean
I’d be rich from tips. Maybe she’s onto something here after all.

 “Anyway, Hallie, there’s only one
empty table,” Angela pointed out. “And there are more customers coming in the
door right now.”

 “Oh. Hurry, people, we have
customers waiting!” Hallie sailed out into the dining room and rushed to the
hostess stand.

 “I hate being called people,” Lewis said under his breath.

 “I know. It’s like-what are we, a
magazine?” Angela complained. “She could at least call us…Vogue or something.”

 “Personally, I prefer Sports Illustrated,” Lewis said.

 “Oh, yeah? You mean, the swimsuit
issue?” Angela teased as they headed back onto the floor.

 Lewis winked at her before turning
to his tables. “A guy can dream.”

 Angela laughed. She got back to her
shrimp alfredo table just as Hallie was seating another table of four in her
section. Only three more hours, she
thought. Then I’m free.

“Do you want double, triple, or
quadruple prints with that?”

Brian Krakow tapped his pin against
the inside of the Plexiglas drive-through window. He held his breath, trying
not to inhale the carbon monoxide fumes being spewed from the old, rusted-out

“I don’t care. Just make them look
good!” the man ordered before he sped off in a blue cloud of exhaust.

“He didn’t even say if he wanted
them matte or glossy,” Brian complained.

“When they don’t say, it means
glossy,” his coworker Samantha told him.

 “Oh.” Brian finished filling out
the envelope, checking all of the “economy service” boxes on the front. If the
guy’s car was that ancient and rundown, he wouldn’t want to spend much getting
a roll of photos developed. He probably had a lousy camera, to.

couldn’t I get a job at Mike’s Camera
? Brian thought as he rang up the next
sale. Instead, I’m working in a box.
He and Samantha were crammed into their tiny drive-up booth like sardines. The
only window was a tiny sliding one, just big enough to slide a roll of film
through, and the air conditioning had two settings: Antarctica and off. He and
Samantha argued about the temperature constantly.

thing I’m only here 24 hours a week,
Brian thought. It’ll still look good on my college applications. Along with the fact
that I’m balancing this, a calculus curse, a physics course, and a job at the
hospital this summer.

 He watched the trail of exhaust
drift through the strip mall parking lot.

just…my life theme to do everything in twos. I can’t have only one job, so I
have two. One course wouldn’t be hard enough, so I have two. I play the
saxophone, but that’s not enough, so I play the flute, too. Two jobs, two
course, two parents, two instruments…zero girlfriends.

 At least he wasn’t like some
people, who only had one job and spent the rest of their time making out with
their “significant others.”

 Like Angela.

 Now that she was working nights, he
didn’t see her much. He had been reading in bed last night when he heard Jordan
Catalano’s car pull up outside Angela’s house, across the street from his own.
He hadn’t even wanted to look outside. Why did he torture himself like that?
But he had to. He’d been doing it for years. 

Carefully he’d peeked through the
curtain. All he could see were two shadows. Becoming one shadow.

He hadn’t been able to sleep all

“You look like a raccoon,” his
mother had said that morning at breakfast. “Those dark circles under your

“Mom, nobody at Foto Fusion cares
what I look like.” Nobody cares…period.
Brian had lifted a spoonful of Grape-Nuts cereal to his mouth and started
chewing, hoping that the loud crunching would drown out his inner monologue.
But it kept going, incessantly-just like the questions from his mother.

“Well, what about the hospital,
then?” Mrs. Krakow had asked. “Don’t you want to make a good impression?” 

“Mom, I help take the X rays,” Brian said. “The patients make the impressions.”

Mr. Krakow laughed. “Good one,

so glad I can amuse my parents. I should be able to make someone laugh at my
pathetic life.

“So are you going to develop those today or what?” Samantha asked, jolting Brian
back to Foto Fusion. His coworker’s short platinum-blond hair was colored in
random streaks of red and orange. She had more tattoos than Brian had freckles. 

“Sorry,” Brian said. He was
actually a little frightened by Samantha. “I was just-” 

“Daydreaming,” Samantha said,
nodding. “I know. You have to do that a lot in here or you’ll go crazy. But the
guy will be back in an hour, so you know the routine.”

“How long have you been working
here?” Brian asked.

The past few summers,” Samantha said, shrugging. “I know, it sucks, but they
give me the hours I want. Hey, speaking of hours, could you take my Friday
night shift? We got tickets for a concert.” 

“We?” Brian asked. He didn’t mean
to be nosy. Well, okay, maybe he did.

“My boyfriend, Python-” 

Python?” Brian asked.

“He changed his name to reflect his
personality. Cool, huh?” Samantha smiled. 

Brian thought about it for a
second. If he changed his name to reflect his personality, it would probably be
“Spineless.” Was everyone in the world attached except him? What about his Friday night.

“Sure. No problem,” he told
Samantha. “I can work for you.” I’ll
just…put off having an actual life for another week. What difference does it

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