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I'll do anything you want

Is it just me, or did the shop appear to be a little cooler than usual? With that glare, I feel like I'm going to freeze to death! Oh, no. If I could only match that glare… 

"Clearly,  my name is Snow. It’s already written on my nametag. Why’d you ask?" I retorted.

He smirked. "The name isn't right for you; it should be something like Stupid."

My eyes widened at that comment. 'You-' 

"What's your favorite here?" he interrupted me before I could even say anything else. 

"What?" I exclaimed as I looked at him in disbelief, changing the topic all of a sudden. When I couldn’t answer him, he snorted at me. 

"I thought you were just stupid, turns out you're deaf as well." He scoffed. "Stupid, I'm asking which flavor you think is the best." He asked again. 

I clenched my fists and smiled my phony smile. I have to endure it. He came here as a customer after all. 

For the time being, I'm going to dismiss what he just said. I replied, "Chocolate chip ice cream, sir."

"Then I'll place an order for one. And one scoop of strawberry ice cream,” He spoke in a monotone tone. Now that I see it, he was dressed in a leather jacket and sunglasses.

I shivered. Who in the world wears a jacket in the middle of the afternoon, let alone in the middle of summer? I shook my head at his fashion sense. I went about my routine of preparing it without saying anything.

When I gave him his order, he paid for it and left the chocolate chip ice cream. 

I was about to open my mouth but he said, "Accept it. It's yours; consider it a treat from me."

I was surprised. Did he just treat me like that? And he just left after that. I didn’t have a choice but to eat the one he paid for me. It’s free anyway. I don’t  have to complain. 

And with that days passed by with a strawberry guy going to the shop almost every day. Emma even teased me for that, saying he comes here just to see me but I highly doubt that. If ever, he comes here to annoy me. 

Strawberry guy comes here a lot and orders the same thing…strawberry ice cream. No toppings, no add ons. Just a plain one. 

It’s a bit strange though. I tried to brush it off, knowing that I couldn't offend him because he was a customer and would complain to my manager if I did something wrong.

However, I couldn’t help but think about it. Is he an ice-cream junkie of some kind? Is strawberry ice cream a cure-all for something?

I pushed the thoughts away, knowing it was none of my business. I handed over his order when he came again for the next following days, but my curiosity got the best of me, and I blurted out, "Do you dislike everything except strawberries?"

When I see his jaw clench in annoyance, glaring, and scowling at me, I regret my question. 

Finishing his ice cream, he turned to me and scanned the entire store with his eyes. 

He pointed at the door and said, "No guards or security," then he looked at the chairs and said, "Poor facilities," then he grimaced at the ice cream machine behind me and said, "Outdated machines," and finally he looked at me, "Poor services."

I took in everything he had just said. Is he here to slander the shop? Is he directing it at me?

"If you're going to insult this place, strawberry guy, I’m afraid I have to make you leave."

"And then what? What if I don’t leave?” He asked, daring me. 

"Or....I'm going to call the cops." I gulped, realizing he was correct. 

We don't even have a guard stationed at the front door!

Mr. Tim, our manager and shop owner, arrived just in time. He was a forty-year-old man who had been treating me kindly ever since I started working here. I smirked at the strawberry guy, knowing that I now had the upper hand. I dash over to ask him. "When did you return, sir?" 

 Just today, I just came here for a quick stop. Is everything alright here?” He asked. He has been away for a week due to some business meetings so I was left to manage the shop. "And sir, a rude customer has been bugging the shop lately," I continued, saying it loudly for the Strawberry guy to hear. 

However, instead of dragging the guy out, Mr. Tim gasped in shock as he looked at Strawberry guy, then back at me, then back at the Strawberry guy.

 "Hello, Mr. Hudson!" He greeted him. 

Strawberry guy gave him a nod. Do they know one another? And what is his name, Mr. Hudson? That sounds extremely formal.

Mr. Tim then turned to me, “Why did you not inform me that he will be here today?” 

I just raised my eyebrows, wondering what is happening here. Mr. Tim bowed at Strawberry guy apologetically,  "I'm sorry, Mr. Hudson; you should have told us you’ll come here! Please have a seat, I'll get the papers, so please bear with me. Snow, please help him, give him snacks, or whatever you can think of!” Mr. Tim said in a hurry, clearly panicking. 

Mr. Tim quickly dashed inside his office and walked away from us. Strawberry guy sat at the table, with a satisfied expression on his face. I locked my gaze on him. 

"What should I do now? Your boss is familiar with me." He mocked me, staring at me as if he was bored. I simply remained silent.

When Mr. Tim returned and sat in front of him, I grabbed him to talk to me. "Please explain what's going on, Mr. Tim."

Mr. Tim just held my pat on my back, extending his arms, "Snow, take a look around. What do you notice?"

My eyes scanned the area and I did as I was told. "An ice cream parlor?" I responded hesitantly.

He let out a sigh. "That is partly correct. But look at it carefully again. We don't have as many customers as we used to…” he started to explain.  “I sold this shop to his father, and his father gave it to him, so he is the new owner."

My mouth formed the letter 'o.' "Wait, what?" New owner? 

Mr.Tim gave me a sad smile. "I'm so sorry I forgot to tell you, sweetie."

He patted me on the back again, "But don't worry, I'm still the manager for the time being because his father says I need to teach him here and there."

Oh…right. He should have told me about this sooner. I feel like my world just changed. 

"Will I be fired, sir?" I inquired, saddened by the unexpected news. "And how about Emma?" I added, wondering if Emma was aware of it already. We are the only workers here. Is it just me who is missing out?

"Oh don’t worry, I already told Emma about it earlier..." Mr. Tim responded.

Mr. Tim came to sit on the chair across from Strawberry guy. 

"I'll be looking for new deserving employees, not slackers who play video games during their shift."

Strawberry guy, or who I now know as Mr. Hudson started to say. "So, consider today as your final day. Pack your belongings."

I came to a halt at that. Is today the last day? I looked at Mr. Tim for confirmation, but he only gave me a sad look.

I let out a sigh. What will become of me now? I've been here for about a week... The school year begins next month, and I’m still a bit tight on my budget for school fees.

I couldn't help but tear up and I swallowed the lump in my throat, fighting the urge not to cry. Why is this only happening now? If only I could have been aware earlier, then I could have found another job. Why so suddenly? 

“Bring us some snacks, Snow," Mr. Tim ordered and I did as he told, preparing and giving them their snacks and keeping a close eye on both of them. He made the strawberry guy sign some papers, and just in time that they finished talking for a few more hours, my shift finally ended at 6 p.m.

“Thank you again for coming today, Mr. Hudson. If there are more updates, feel free to visit us in the shop. We’ll be happy to welcome you.” Said Mr. Tim as he and the Strawberry guy shook hands. 

Strawberry guy nodded, shaking his hand as well and Mr. Tim turned to face me. 

"Then I have to get going now. Bye Mr. Hudson, bye Snow. I apologize again." Mr. Tim said and headed outside. 

Strawberry guy was still sitting at the table and finalized something on his notebook. I was left alone with him and the shop was very quiet now, aside from the motorbikes and cars honking outside here and there. 

I must take action regarding my job! This is something I can't afford to lose! 

Not now! 

After a few minutes of thought, I noticed a Strawberry guy standing up and pulling out a white envelope from his pocket.

He handed me the envelope and said, "This is your salary for the month. You'll be replaced tomorrow." And when he saw I wasn't getting it, he left it at the table before turning around to leave. 

“Strawberry guy? I mean…Mr. Hudson?” I called out that made him stop in his tracks. I swallowed the pride I had left and continued. 

"Please allow me to keep working here. I need this job." My voice was shaking when I said this so I cleared my throat. It may not be a high-paying job, but it is better than nothing. He turned around to face me, his face holding the same emotionless expression. 

Taking a deep breath, I said again, "I'll do anything you want….just let me keep working here."

Hearing this, his eyes changed, and he looked at me with a spark of interest in his eyes. 

marshmallowssprinkle

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