Ellie Wyatt awoke to the usual, annoying chiming of her alarm clock. She rolled over, her eyes not quite open, feeling aimlessly on her nightstand for the 'end' button.
“Just another day,” she thought as she silenced the devil device that disturbed her dreams. She begrudgingly arose, trying to wake up and become aware of her surroundings. Her eyes moved to her cell phone which lay on the dresser, to the right from her bed. She made her way over to it and picked it up. Twelve missed calls.
She checked her call list. Two calls from her brother, Conrad. Four from her neighbor and best friend, Jenna. And...
She saw her boss's name beside six of her missed calls. She knew what was up before she even decided to call back. She jumped out of bed, rushing around her already messy room in search of a uniform clean enough to be considered decent for work. After a quick change of clothes and a quick gussy-up, she bid a farewell to her fur baby and was out the door and in her old, forest-green rover. Before pulling out of her garage she managed to text; 'On my way'.
"Just another day in paradise," she told herself, backing out of the driveway and heading off to her personal Hell.
Ellie was the youngest of the three Wyatt children, in the quaint town of Pleasantview. She came from a family of fair skin, dark hair, and dark eyes --- but Ellie was quite different. Not only did she bear soft, light-blonde hair, but she had a personality much different from the rest of the Wyatts. The Wyatt family was full of professional, formal, overachievers.
Her father, Billius, had inherited a large piece of land, a plantation farm, down from many generations. Their family had made much profit from their crops over the years, and therefore, were a family of old money. Ellie thought her parents were unusually organized and had standards and held ideals that were far too high for their children. They were raised to be the best in anything and everything they ever did, especially by her strict mother, Doris.
Ellie had yearned to break free and escape the clutches of the ridiculous expectations --- and so she did. Her eldest and favorite sibling, Conrad, was a businessman, but he always checked in on her. He never shut her down and backed her up no matter what. Eileen, her older sister, was a different story. She was just like Doris, and that fact made Doris exceedingly proud. They were basically the same person. Ellie and Eileen never got along. They were just too different. Eileen, like her mother, always gave her opinions on Ellie's life choices and tried to tell her how she was ruining her own life.
But those times were now in the past as Ellie finally broke away, living on her own terms, in her own way. She was now by herself, finding her path through this thing called life.
Main Street Cuisine was a small but elegant restaurant found on North Main Street of Pleasantview, just around the corner from her neighborhood. Ellie had stumbled upon the 'help wanted' sign on the window in her freshman year of college at Sim State University. Refusing to play on her family's wealth, she decided to pay her own way -- she was a stubborn, independent, young woman who wanted to be away from her strict parentage. The sheer thought of relying on them for money made her physically ill. There was no way she was going to give Doris another weapon to use against her --- another thing to hang over her head for the rest of her life.
Ellie had dropped out of SSU her sophomore year -- she was already so far behind with her student loans, and if she had requested anymore hours at work, she'd be sure to fail her classes. She was undecided about her major anyway and still had no clue as to what she even wanted to truly do when it came to a career. She didn't see this decision as too much of a loss. She would figure everything out in time, and felt no obligation to rush herself. There was no way in Hell that Ellie would even consider returning home to the family manor, and instead, decided to rent a small but comfortable house just down the street from her workplace.
She parked her rover in the parking lot of Main Street Cuisine and rushed inside.
"Where the hell have you been!? We tried calling a million times! We've been getting our asses kicked with no one else to cover!" She was rudely greeted by a busy and frustrated co-server named Avery.
"Well, for one, it's 'spose to be my day off anyway. For another, my phone has been on silent all morning -- and you can drop the authority complex --- I already have a boss for that," Ellie retorted before making her way to the back. She pushed through the swinging doors that led to the kitchen to find the woman in charge.
Sandra Lovelace, the owner of the place, was in a loose apron helping prep meat for the grill cooks. She looked up at Ellie in relief.
"There you are!" "
“I am so, so, sorry. I had no idea you needed the extra help."
"That’s okay. Just clock on in and get out there before Avery loses her shit."
Ellie moved over to the old computer that sat on an untidy desk in the corner. As she was clocking in, she asked, "Who was it this time?"
Sandra rolled her eyes, "Chelsea of course. Not feeling well...again...”
Ellie followed suit with an eye roll, "Classic." She pulled her apron from off the shelf and tied it snug around her waist.
"Oh, of course! You can't hire these high-schoolers, anymore. Every. Single. Weekend. If it isn't one, it's another. I'll never hire another one, I swear!"
Ellie nodded in agreement while she pulled her hair back into a bun. She put on a fake smile and pushed back through the swinging doors, ready to deal with her customers; ready to face the usual lunch rush. "Just another day in paradise."
Around three o' clock, the dining room started to clear out -- the rush had finally ended. Sandra and Ellie decided to take their chance and headed out to the deck for a break. Sandra sat down a pitcher of iced lemonade for the two of them and wiped her forehead. "I am drenched!"
“I feel ya," Ellie replied as she wiped her own perspiration from her face.
"Yeah. I'm sorry we're working you to death. I hated to even bother you, but we were short staffed and you're the best we have. Everyone else flaked, of course. Everyone complains about money, but they never want to work.”
Ellie lit a cigarette and looked up at her boss. "I guess it helps that I'm too desperate to say no."
Sandy looked up at her with a sly smile and gave her a wink, "Yep. That certainly does help."
Business continued to slow over the next hour and Ellie was dismissed for the day. Before starting home, she remembered the missed calls that continued to accumulate as she was working. It was unusual for her brother to call so many times, but her best friend was more than likely just being her usual, obnoxious self.
Staring to feel the slightest bit of worry, she dialed up Conrad's number as she was leaving the parking lot. It rang a couple times before she heard his voice, his tone gentle as ever, "Blondie! I was staring to worry about you."
"Hey, Connor. Sorry. I've just been super busy these past few days. Is everyone okay? Daddy? Mom? The Wicked Witch?"
He gave a laugh, "Everyone is fine. Mom just insisted that I call to make sure you hadn't died, because you know, that’s the only excuse you can have to get out of her Thursday night dinners."
She gave a heavy sigh, "I am SO sorry I had to miss such a fun evening."
"You are not.” She heard a smile in his voice and smiled in return. He must have detected the heavy sarcasm that dripped from her every word.
"You're right, I'm not. But I honestly did have to work. Technically, I got paid to miss an evening of getting told how big of a disappointment I am and how I have no ambition. I only go for you and Daddy anyways," she said as she pulled into the driveway and shut off the engine.
"Shucks. You flatter me. Well, I was just making sure you were alive and that you weren't abducted by some weirdo at the bar. Do me a favor and at least call Dad to share the good news that you haven't died. Love you, Blondie."
She smiled and rolled her eyes, "Yeah, okay. Love you too, Conner."
He was always overprotective and borderline nosey. She had just leaned over to put her phone in her bag when a knock on her car window made her jump. Jenna Wesley was standing just outside the vehicle at the window and, smiling wide, "I brought wine! Get out!"