The sun shone on Tom’s face, making him groan. “Close those curtains babe,” He murmured burying his face into his pillow. He didn’t even know if they were open at all, and he didn’t feel the bed beside him shift. Turning over, he noticed Faye standing by the window with the curtain pulled back and her phone up to her ear.
“Oh shut up, dad! You have no right to even make such claims. I will not be coming back to Sim Star Chef so go and bank on someone else,” Faye said angrily. “Ok, fine. Sim Star Whatever. Doesn’t matter to me regardless. I’m not going back to some television show that you produce… You’ve got some nerve saying that…”
Tom watched with interest as Faye curled the floral print curtains into her hands. She hadn’t even heard him before, had she? She was enraptured into her own world. Her father’s world. He frowned. What the hell did Gino want now?
“Yeah, so what? Tom did change me. Do you have a problem with that? Because I don’t care what you have to say… Oh? Do whatever, I don’t care!” Faye hung up the phone angrily and tossed it at the wall, an unbound anger rising within her.
“What’s wrong?” Tom’s soft voice broke her from her reverie of violent thoughts. “Your dad wants you to be on TV again?”
“Sim Star is all that’s ever on his mind these days. He wants me to be on some reality show with him. A camera following me and him around everywhere we go.” She frowned, trying not to show Tom the tears forming in the corner of her eyes. “He said that if I don’t do the show with him and basically abandon you and the Bennett family that he will take away my restaurant in Monte Vista.”
Tom’s brows furrowed. “He can’t do that. It’s your restaurant. You worked to make it what it is today.”
“Sure he can. The lease is under his name. He bought it and signed for it. I didn’t do anything but cook in it,” Faye said. “I built that place up from the ground. When I got it, there wasn’t even a stable menu! The decorations were gaudy and the staff was terrible.”
“Let him take it,” Tom said. “People who are a fan of your food will follow you anywhere.”
“Follow me where?” Faye asked. “Anyone worth anything in the culinary industry knows not to go against my father and hire me somewhere. Besides it’s not the same as running my own business.”
“I’m not saying that,” Tom said, waving her off. “I’m saying we open a new restaurant for you. You have some money separate from your father, right? I have some money set aside. I’m sure Eddie has some insight on this. He’s really business savvy now that his books are getting popular.” Tom was sitting up on his knees chatting excitedly. “We can do this, Faye.”
She shook her head. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I don’t want you to have to invest any money into this and my father will no doubt slander our business. He’s be doing it to your family for awhile now.”
“Like we’re scared,” Tom said. “My family isn’t afraid of anything. Let that man come, and watch what happens. We’ll kill him with kindness and take all of his business.”
A knock on the door stopped Tom short. “Er…I don’t want to barge in, but I made breakfast…” Came Eddie’s nervous voice through the door. “I would really appreciate it if you guys ate with us this morning. If Faye is feeling better that is.”
“I’m going to ask him about it,” Tom muttered, standing up to get the door. “At the breakfast table.”
“Tom, no!” Faye shook her head. She had never had to ask for help before from anyone besides her father and it was embarrassing.
Tom quickly threw some clothes on before taking Faye’s hand. “I know this is difficult for you. Your father didn’t make asking for help easy but it’s time you see what a real family can do for each other.” He pulled her close gently kissing her forehead “trust me we can do this.”
Faye clutched at his shirt, her fingers stretching the material as it balled in her fists. Leaning forward breathing deeply she nodded. “I’ll try” she murmured.
“That’s all I ask” he rubbed her back trying to reassure her that no matter what she could rely on him. “Come on babe let’s go eat.”
Smiling to she took his hand allowing him to escort her to the breakfast table. “It smells delicious” she gave Eddie a grin as the entered the dining room. She could see by the way he relaxed his almost ramrod posture that her words had reassured him enough to relax.
“Thank you” he waved a hand towards the table “I hope you like crepes.”
Sitting at the table she turned to Eddie “you didn’t have to go to all this trouble.”
“It wasn’t any trouble” Eddie sat down beside her as Rory walked into the room carrying Hannah.
“Eddie is being modest” he said putting Hannah in her highchair. “He’s worried over the menu for weeks. Probably from the day he found out you and Tom were coming to visit.” He leaned over kissing the top of Eddie’s head “don’t let him fool you into thinking this was all thrown together at the last minute.” His voice and eyes was full of the pride he felt for his husband’s accomplishments.
“You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble” Faye murmured.
“I just hope it tastes as good as it looks” Eddie gave her a self-deprecating smile watching as she took her first bite.
“It’s delicious” she said “I couldn’t have done better myself. You’ll have to give me the recipe.”
After everyone had started eating Tom looked over at Faye before asking “Eddie do you know whatever happened to Grandpa’s restaurant?”
“I’m not exactly sure, why?” Eddie asked wiping strawberry remnants from Hannah’s face.
“Well Faye and I were discussing the idea of opening our own restaurant” Tom informed him.
“As a chain to the restaurant Faye has in Monte Vista” Rorya asked.
“Not exactly” Faye looked down at her plate “I may not have the restaurant much longer. It’s..”
“Let’s just say Gino is making ultimatums and we’re looking for alternatives” Tom explained.
Faye looked up at him eyes full of gratitude that he hadn’t ripped her father apart, not that Gino didn’t deserve it. “We were hoping that you might be able to give us some business advice.”
“Me” Eddie asked eyes growing large at the idea anyone would think he had business smarts.
“Yes you” Tom nodded “you have a successful business as a writer. I’m sure you can help us. At least get us going in the right direction.”
“Alright” Eddie nodded “is that why you were asking about Grandpa’s restaurant?”
“Yeah” Tom nodded “I thought if it was still in the family that we’d have a firm foundation to start from.” Taking Faye’s hand he continued “I was thinking it might be something Gino wouldn’t be able to slander or run into the ground.”
“I think Uncle Gene might know more about the restaurant” Eddie said “I could give him a call he should at least be able to point us in the direction.”
Faye’s eyes widened. “Dad hates Gene Bennett. Something about Sim Star Idol.”
“You didn’t watch it?” Tom mused. “I figured it’d have been part of the family business.”
“Ha! Leisure activities? Not for a Ferrari. Mom let me watch it sometimes but I never watched it completely through. But I know my father hates him and Caleb Gray.”
“The Grays…” Eddie mused. “Ah, Gene talked a lot about Caleb Gray. I think they’re still friends. Maybe he’s the celebrity endorsement you need.”
“Oh! That’s right!” Tom nodded enthusiastically. “We see if grandpa’s restaurant is still in the family and then we rebuild it to fit our new brand. When that’s complete, we get some celebrity endorsements!”