Morgan smiled. He hadn’t thought about Gran in ages. She’d been the closest thing he and Jack had had to a real family. He missed her, wishing he could give Brooke someone special like that in her life.
The waitress who’d originally handed him the menu returned. “So, have you made up your mind?” The grin on her face said there had definitely been an inside joke involved with the chef coming through those swinging doors.
“Uh, yeah.” He ordered the Denver omelet, hoping it was as good as it sounded. He’d caught a whiff of several dishes that passed by and was already salivating.
“Yeah, leave the chef in the kitchen to cook it, okay?” He winked at her, and she had the grace to blush even as she laughed.
“I think we can arrange that. Tara isn’t fond of coming out of her cave anyway.”
“Yeah, the owner. And chef.” She nodded at the dining room behind him. “She bought this place and has been pushing us for a month to open this week.”
He glanced over his shoulder and nodded. “Just this week?” He was impressed. For a brand-new place, it was pretty busy. “Hopefully, nothing happened to Daisy.” He recalled the elderly woman who’d previously run the old diner.
“Nope. She’s alive and well.” Wendy refilled his cup. “Retirement will be good for her.”
He wondered if Daisy agreed with that. She’d always given him the impression she’d die before she’d retire.
“Let me put in your order.” The waitress stepped away and Morgan looked around again.
Even this early in the day, there was a crowd. He’d come here knowing Daisy had been a fixture in town her whole life. He’d hoped to ask if she’d seen Sylvie. Disappointment settled close. He wondered if there was any way to contact her.
It wasn’t long before his plate appeared, and the meal looked as good as it smelled. He glanced at the waitress. “Hey,” he said.
“Do you need something else?”
“No. Just a curious question. Who does the hiring here?”
“You looking for a job?” She looked hopeful, almost eager.
“Uh, no.” He laughed. “But I know someone who might.” Sylvie had been working as a waitress when they’d met. Did the fact that a new restaurant had appeared in town have anything to do with someone sighting her? Was she working here, maybe on another shift? He tried not to get his hopes up.
“That’d be Tara. Don’t know if we’re looking for anyone else, though.”
“If she has a minute, I’d like to chat with her.”
For the first time since she’d warmly greeted him, the girl looked reluctant. “I’ll see if she can break away.”
“No hurry.” He dug into the omelet and stifled a groan of pleasure. It tasted even better than it smelled or looked.
* * *
TARA KNEW HER staff meant well, but she needed to make them understand that she could not afford any distractions right now. Not with her track record. She busied herself putting the finishing touches on the lunch prep.
She’d nearly flunked out of high school because she’d thought boys were more important than homework. When Wyatt had caught her sneaking out of the house one night, it’d been the final straw. From then on, he’d made sure she didn’t go anywhere until her homework was done.
She’d resented him then, but now appreciated how hard that must have been for him. He’d been young and single, an older brother who took his responsibilities very seriously. Her behavior had probably put a serious cramp in his social life.
In college, she’d nearly screwed up again. She’d met Travis and thought he was “the one.” He’d been the one all right, the one for Cheryl and Lisa and Julie and who knew how many others. Looking back now, Tara wasn’t sure which had been worse—the distraction of the pursuit or the heartache afterward.
DJ had been the one to save her then, listening to all her wailing and tears, never once letting on that his baby sister was being a pain in the neck.
Even recently, she’d met that cute firefighter after the fire that had nearly destroyed the county. A hotshot on the crew that had come to town, he’d definitely turned her head. And turned right around and left as quickly as he’d come.