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Heat Wave(14)
Author: Karina Halle

Okay then. He sounds like that damn video that was playing at baggage claim. Suddenly the ocean doesn't look so appealing anymore. And to think that Charlie wanted to teach me to surf. No thank you.

We continue along the beach as it curves around the beachfront buildings. Despite the dangers, it really is beautiful, especially as it opens up to the dramatic cliffs to the west. It looks positively tropical, like the quintessential South Pacific scene, and I half expect Polynesians in a dug-out canoe to wash up on the shore. There are even fucking coconuts littering the sand.

“And there's the restaurant,” he says, gesturing to it. From the front entrance, I knew it was oceanfront but from here you can see it's literally right on the beach, to the point where it looks like the waves could crash against the windows if the storm was big enough. “Unfortunately the kitchen itself doesn't have ocean views.”

“Probably better that way,” I tell him. “Less distracting.”

He gives me a look that borders on impressed. “I've forgotten what it's like to get workers from the mainland. Try and keep the ethic up.”

Again, I'm not sure how to feel about the compliment.

I ignore it as we step inside the restaurant, my new job.

With my new boss by my side.

I can only pray things get a little bit easier.

.

CHAPTER FOUR

“The restaurant is actually called Ohana Lounge,” Logan explains as he opens the heavy doors and we step inside. “Ohana means family in Hawaiian, by the way. But most locals call it the last stop.”

The area inside is actually a lot more spacious than it looked from the outside. Skylights adorn the ceiling, and the entire back wall of the restaurant has the amazing ocean views I had noted earlier. Even though the lights are all off, the place looks bright.

There's an empty hostess stand at the podium with a sign that says please seat yourself. To the left of us are the washrooms, just off the small waiting area. To the right it looks like the door to the kitchen.

I follow Logan further inside, the decorating similar to my new room, perhaps with more of a Mediterranean or middle-eastern feel. There's a bar to the left of us, small and rounded, with five bamboo barstools along it, and to the right is the kitchen, open slightly to the restaurant.

Charlie is already in there, smiling at me through the open section before he quickly turns away and busies himself once Logan catches his eye.

I turn back to the room and take quick stock of my new workplace, my eyes immediately taking in everything that needs to be improved. I can't help it.

“How many of these tables are used on a given night?” I ask Logan. “How often are you full?”

He leans back on his heels, strokes his hand along the beard on his jaw. My god, he has perfect hands. Wide, powerful—I'd forgotten about that. It was one of the first things I noticed about him, though when the wedding band went on his left hand, I stopped noticing all together.

At least, I should have.

“Not every night. There's never really a wait for a table until we get into the busy seasons . . . Christmas, the winter holidays, summer holidays. Autumn is the shoulder season, which is why Charlie and Johnny have been able to manage with just the two of them. But the closer we get to December, the busier it's going to get.”

“Well, my first thought is that the place is too cramped,” I tell him.

He frowns at me. “Too cramped?” He looks personally insulted. “Look at all this space.”

I shake my head. “It's spacious but the set-up is all wrong. You're crowding too many tables by the window.”

“But people want the view.”

“Then people will have to get here early or make reservations if they want the view,” I tell him. I jerk my chin to two four-seaters by the window. “Get rid of those completely. Stack them in storage for now, put them somewhere more accessible when the busy season comes, but for now they're an eyesore. People might want the view of the windows but they don't want to share it so closely with others. Since you say not many families come here, the four-seaters aren't needed, not there anyway. Kids don't give a shit about the view. I say, push the four-seaters up there in that alcove, and that can become the family area. Couples don't want children causing a fuss over dinner, believe me. And if this means that more people will have to wait to get a table, let them wait. People stay at the hotel, they want to eat here because they're too lazy to go into town or they want to have a few drinks at dinner and don't want to drink and drive. So then you add a couple of more stools to the bar, there's room, and they can wait there. Maybe even serve drinks in the waiting area, or set up some tables outside. There’s a whole beach out there with an even better view; they can relax while they wait.”

I realize I've been totally rambling on and from the glower that Logan is given, I can tell my suggestions aren't exactly appreciated.

“Let me get this straight,” Logan says slowly, not looking away. “I have this restaurant up and running for years, never had more than a few complaints, have a bloody brilliant rating on Yelp, and then you show up, fresh off the boat, and immediately have something to say about it. You haven't worked here even for a minute, Veronica. Why the hell should I suddenly rearrange what's working just because you've said so?”

Right. See the other thing I remember about Logan is that he's a stubborn son of a bitch and you better not tell him his way is the wrong way. Unfortunately, I'm also a stubborn son of a bitch, but at least in this situation I know I'm right. He may own this restaurant and the hotel, but he doesn't know the first thing about cooking food, about serving, about running a place like this.

   
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