Status: Most recent update: August 31st, 2019 (Two updates this weekend!)

Haner to Save the Day

We Got Tea To Spill

They walked faster, trying to cut their walk down to five minutes. It was bad enough they had to stay afterschool for SAT prep, but it was worse that Jimmy distracted himself with two squirrels fighting over a Dorito. “You should have let me take them with us,” Jimmy whined.

Veronica rolled her eyes. “They might have rabies.”

“Then I would be…dun dun dun…Squirrel Man!” Jimmy declared, stopping in his steps to Superman pose.

“Oh my god let’s go. We’re late!” she practically growled, grabbing his arm roughly and pulling him towards the right direction.

Jimmy continued whining as they walked on the main road. She chose to block out any noises uttering from him. She focused on how her parents would react to her best friend. Although she forced him to wear a nice button-down shirt and tie, there was only so much effort she could exert to make him appear presentable. Nothing could hide his dyed blonde hair. It was a homemade job that clearly looked as though he fought with a paint can; and his hair took the brunt of the damage.

As soon as they were in front of the restaurant, she stopped Jimmy in his long stride, beginning to fuss over his clothes. Eventually she sucked her teeth, admitting defeat. All she wanted was for her parents to be accepting of her friends, but Jimmy was surely a lost cause. He looked ridiculous.

“Why are you so worried?” Jimmy probed, pushing his hair away from his eyes.

“Well,” she started before biting her lip. “My parents are super proper. I don’t want them to tell me we can’t be friends.”

In any other instance, Jimmy probably would have taken offense except he knew Veronica. The delivery in her message did not match the underlying foundation behind it. She didn’t want her parents to give any signs of disapproval. For whatever reason, she was afraid of her parents, and he couldn’t understand it. His parents were great and let him do whatever he wanted, if he didn’t get in trouble.

After a fruitless attempt, she accepted defeat and walked into the restaurant with Jimmy. They immediately found her parents sitting at a round table. As soon as they spotted her daughter and friend, they stood up. Veronica hugged her parents while Jimmy opted for strong handshakes.

A waiter stopped at the table, ready to take everyone’s orders. “Is it okay if I order for the whole table?” Peter asked, opening his menu. Everyone nodded, including Jimmy. Smirking behind the menu, Peter decided to order Vietnamese delicacies. Their family ate these dishes frequently, but he wanted to see how adventurous Jimmy was. It wasn’t to say the food was weird, it simply looked different in comparison to American cuisine.

Linda smiled at Jimmy. She remembered the last time she had met him. He was wearing a Slayer t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. She could barely recognize the young man in front of her in his slightly formal attire. “So, Jimmy, how did you and Veronica meet?”

He cleared his throat. “I met her at Jumpstart. She got lost and I found her.”

Veronica cheeks flushed pink. “I didn’t get lost.”

“You totally didn’t.” Jimmy made a face to her parents and they laughed.

“I’m happy she has good friends here. It wasn’t the same in New Jersey,” Peter voiced, taking a sip of his green tea.

Jimmy nodded. “Well don’t worry. I’ll take her under my wing like I’m her Mama Bear.”

The appetizers began to roll out with delicious smells and colors Jimmy had never experienced before. His eyes widened in hunger once he saw the food placed on the table. He wanted to grab the food onto his plate but stopped. He didn’t want to be rude and wasn’t sure what table etiquette her family followed.

“It’s okay you don’t have to,” Peter said before his daughter could say anything.

She nodded and began placing food onto Jimmy’s plate. He looked at her confused. “Oh!” she realized. “In Vietnamese culture, the younger people kind of ask for permission to eat. It’s not really asking but I don’t know how to describe it. And we wait for our elders to take food first but you’re a guest so it’s alright.”

“That’s really cool. We just pray at home. It gets annoying when it goes on for ten minutes,” Jimmy replied, shaking his head.

“Eh same thing. Okay so this is Cha Gio. It’s basically an egg roll but a little healthier and tastier. You wanna wrap it in the lettuce and dip it in the sauce.”

Utterly fascinated, Jimmy watched as Veronica did it first and then smiled at him, so he could try. The moment he bit into the roll, he closed his eyes. “This is so good!”

Peter and Linda smiled and looked at each other. They were always eager to introduce their culture and hope people would like it. The two snickered to themselves in amusement watching their youngest daughter teach her friend to use chopsticks for his Pho noodles. Whatever relationships Jimmy and Veronica had brought ease to her parents knowing he was so open and patient with her.

“I’m so sorry I’m late!” Alana almost yelled as she ran to the table.

Veronica’s shoulders instantly went rigid and she almost dropped her chopsticks. She knew it was naïve of her to think her sister wouldn’t be present at the dinner, but she hoped she would have to work.

At the same time, Alana peered to her left and saw Jimmy sitting at the table. Her eyes narrowed in annoyance. Her parents did not inform her they would have a guest with them. She would have taken some time to make herself look presentable rather than running into the restaurant with her diner uniform on. Still, her eyes softened, and she smiled tight lipped at him.

Alana sat down in her seat and placed her napkin on her lap. While she took out her chopsticks and soup spoon, Veronica grudgingly poured a cup of hot tea for her sister. Jimmy watched the tension at the table rise just by that simple action. He was confused. Why couldn’t Alana pour her own tea?

Once Alana placed food onto her plate, she looked at her parents, not Veronica. “What’s the special occasion?”

“Veronica got her first job,” Linda shared, pride emanating throughout her aura.

“Oh…I didn’t know,” Alana said softly. She let escape a hurt look on her face before covering it up. She looked over at Veronica and smiled. “Congratulations!”

Nodding, Veronica said, “Thank you.”

The table fell to a slightly uncomfortable silence as the entrees arrived. Veronica acted like a mother, educating Jimmy on the various foods she let him try. He even tried to mimic what she would voice in Vietnamese, failing miserably in the process.

Peter and Linda whispered a low conversation to each other without the children hearing. “I like him,” Peter said.

I do too. I wish he didn’t have all those tattoos,” Linda agreed.

“Hey Jimmy. What are you planning to do once you finish school?” Peter directed his attention to the young man attempting to eat rice with chopsticks.

Swallowing the food in his mouth, Jimmy smiled. “I’m the drummer in a band.”

Peter nodded, unsure how to respond next. He was used to Veronica’s previous friends sharing they wanted conventional jobs. It was also interests related in the medical or law field. He was uninformed in the music industry and didn’t know if finding success was an easy feat in that field.

Linda looked over at her youngest daughter. “Is he your boyfriend?”

“Oh my god no!” Veronica cried. When she realized her outburst, she covered her mouth with her hands, cheeks red in embarrassment.

Jimmy looked back and forth between his friend and her parents, wondering what happened.

“Sorry, just curious…” Linda apologized.

The rest of the evening passed by without much other excitement. Peter and Linda thanked Jimmy for attending dinner and being brave to try their culture’s food. Afterward, everyone at the table began to grab their personal belongings and leave the restaurant. Alana stayed behind once she saw Jimmy walked slower than the rest of the company.

“Hey,” she said softly. He stopped walking and looked at her patiently. Alana began playing with her hair. “I’m not sure if you know, but we’re not really talking right now. Can you make sure she’s okay?”

“Yeah of course,” Jimmy replied, eyes narrowing a bit in suspicion.

“No, I’m serious. I’m worried about her and she won’t let me be her big sister. I just don’t want her to get hurt somehow.”

Jimmy saw the tears in Alana’s eyes and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I promise I’ll look out for her. Do you want me to help you guys be okay again?”

She shook her head. “No, it’s complicated. I don’t want to drag you into it. I just wanted someone to have her back if anything ever happened.”

“She’s like my sister. Nothing’s going to happen.”

Alana nodded again and signaled for them to follow the rest of the family. Though Alana’s stress dwindled down, Jimmy’s brain hit into overdrive. He wanted to know why they had a tumultuous relationship. Was Alana the reason why Chip always sought out attention? He was going to make sure he found out.
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Sorry I'm really delayed on updates. The next chapter is almost done so it won't take as long.

I'm also considering changing the story from PG-13 to R or NC-17. I haven't fully figured it out yet. Nothing would happen now, but it'll be for further along in the story. This is going to be a long story by the way. But anyway, yeah just thinking out loud.