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Read Online Books/Novels:

Wish You Were Here

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Renee Carlino

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
1501105825 (ISBN13: 9781501105821)
Book Information:

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.

Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.

Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.

Books by Author:

Renee Carlino Books

1. Little Flags

Tuesdays were tortilla soup days at Blackbird’s Café. They offered unlimited refills for a lousy four ninety-five. It was awesome if you were a tortilla soup lover. It was some kind of evil if you were a waitress there.

The restaurant’s trick was that the bowls were wide and shallow, making it appear like a massive amount of soupy goodness, when really, each bowlful amounted to just a few thinly spread ounces. The problem with said plates disguised as bowls is that they were impossible to carry on a tray; the soup just sloshed from side to side, predictably spilling over the lip each time you traipsed from the kitchen to the customer’s table, no matter how steady your hands were. Jack, the owner, and his fat “little” brother, who went by Jon-Jon (ridiculous, I know), insisted that we carry the trays up high, like waitresses on roller-skates at a goddamn carhop. It’s part of the charm, they said. The word charm was used loosely to justify the outdated décor, in my opinion.

If you ordered the “bottomless” tortilla soup bowl, you had to shamefully raise a miniature flag on a tiny flagpole screwed to the end of your table. It was an abominable mechanism, truly, but it achieved Jack and Jon-Jon’s desired effect: no one ever, not even a three-hundred-pound man with a passion for Tex-Mex, would raise the flag more than twice; it was too humiliating.

Unfortunately, this type of ploy to get people into the restaurant without the business losing money didn’t draw a high-tipping clientele, so Tuesdays were a bust for the waitresses at Blackbird’s. We made no money and we always went home with a healthy amount of tortilla soup splattered on our white tuxedo shirts. (Yes, we wore tuxedo shirts and bow ties in a pie-and-fry diner; more of that charm I guess.) But this particular Tuesday was the worst.

* * *

“I FEEL LIKE I’m in hell. Have you seen the guy at table twenty-three?” Helen, my best friend, roommate, and fellow waitress, said to me in the side station.

I peeked around the wall and spotted a gray-haired man eating by himself. “Yeah, what about him?”

“He asked for an avocado al dente. Who the fuck uses the term ‘al dente’ to describe an avocado?”

“You know what he means though, right?” I was laughing but Helen was serious.

“Yes, but this isn’t Spago. He’d be lucky to get a green avocado at this place.”

“It’s not that bad,” I said as I filled a plastic cup with Coke. The fountain dispenser started huffing and puffing little bursts of air. “Fucking shit, the CO2 is running out. Can you go tell Jon-Jon?”

“Sorry, I have to get twenty-one’s order.” As Helen left the side station, I watched her hips sway from side to side as she breezed into the dining room. Helen knew she had a good body and that men gawked at her. She walked slowly and rhythmically, which made me think she liked the attention.

I, on the other hand, walked fast everywhere, with my shoulders slumped and my head down. People would always say, “You’re a pretty girl, Charlotte. Why do you walk like an old man?” My response was usually something like, “I don’t know, it’s just the way I walk.” Lame, I know, but I didn’t put much thought into how I was perceived. Probably because the only thing I really liked about my entire body was my long, reddish-brown hair. I had big brown eyes that my brother called “poop colored” and freckles that, thankfully, were fading as I got older. Still, if you asked me to draw a self-portrait, I’d unconsciously add the freckles. It’s like that Freudian theory that says you’re a perpetual child in your own mind.

“Did I hear my name?” Jon-Jon was suddenly standing inappropriately close to me as I unscrewed the large CO2 cylinder.

“Can you fix this?” I was bent over with my ass in the air.

“You seem to be doing a pretty good job.”

I popped up straight. “Why are you so pervy? You’re gonna get sued one day.” Had I not been fired from two jobs already that year, I never would have put up with Jon-Jon’s crap, but I needed the money and I was not in a position to lose another job. I think it goes without saying that waitressing wasn’t my career of choice, though that wasn’t my biggest problem. I had a degree in nutrition and my real estate license, and I was a certified massage therapist. See a pattern? At one point I actually thought I wanted to become a horse jockey. I’d never even been on a horse, but repeat viewings of Seabiscuit were enough to persuade me.

“Relax, Charlotte, out of the way.” Jon-Jon moved his tubby little body in front of me and took over replacing the cylinder.


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