Truth Game

Truth Game by Anna Staniszewski Read Free Book Online

Book: Truth Game by Anna Staniszewski Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anna Staniszewski
can stay here?”
    â€œI’m afraid not,” Cherie says. “We need someone with experience to man the store while we’re gone.”
    â€œBut I’m not that experienced!” I say. “I only worked at a café for about a week this summer.”
    I expect Briana to flash me a smug look, but she’s nodding. “Yeah, and setting up chairs is definitely not for me.”
    But Cherie has clearly made up her mind. “I appreciate that you want to help out with the wedding, Rachel, but I think my way makes the most sense.” She turns to Briana. “Setting up for events is part of the job,” Cherie says, pursing her lips. “I’m sure Chef Ryan told you that when he hired you. If you’re not up for the task, I can find someone else for this position.”
    I expect Briana to throw down her apron and stomp out of the bakery. Instead, she lowers her eyes and mumbles, “Okay, fine.”
    Oh my goldfish. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Briana Riley back down from anything. She must really need this job. I guess that means I’m stuck with her. But I don’t care. The pineapple gods must have heard me after all. They’re giving me a second chance, and I’m not going to let anything mess it up.

Chapter 7
    When I meet Dad for dinner at Molly’s after my shift at the bakery, I find him peering into the display case at the front of the café where they keep all the fancy desserts.
    â€œWhat do you say, Rachel Roo? Think you could make me one of those?” he asks, pointing to a crème-filled torte on the top shelf.
    â€œFor you, anything,” I say. I’m dying to tell him about my plan to convince Chip Ackerson to let me back on the show, but I don’t want to jinx anything. So instead, I try to focus on how great it is to finally be back at my favorite restaurant with Dad.
    As we make our way toward our usual table in the corner, I hear a familiar jolly laugh echoing nearby. I glance over to the other side of the café, and sure enough, there’s Mr. Hammond, my former vice principal and my mom’s new boyfriend. And with him is my mom.
    Oh no. If they see us, are they going to want us to sit with them? I can’t imagine anything more awkward.
    â€œUm, Dad?” I start to say. “Maybe we should—”
    But I don’t get a chance to convince him to go elsewhere because just then Mom turns toward us, and her face lights up. “Rachel!” she calls, waving. Then she must spot my dad standing next to me because her smile falters. But it’s too late. We have no choice but to go over.
    After some stiff hellos and introductions (even though my dad and Mr. Hammond technically already met at my baking competition over the summer), the dreaded words come.
    â€œWe just sat down and haven’t ordered yet,” Mr. Hammond says. “Why don’t you two join us?”
    My dad doesn’t even hesitate. “Sure! If you don’t mind.”
    Mom gives a little nod, but I can tell she does mind. And so do I. Not only had I wanted some alone time with Dad, but I can’t imagine what the four of us will talk about. You can’t chitchat about the weather through a whole meal, can you?
    For the first few minutes, we focus on our menus and some general talk about how great Molly’s is. It flows so smoothly that I start to wonder if I was being a paranoid panther. But after we order our crepes, there’s a looong silence when we’re all staring at our silverware. Finally, Mr. Hammond turns to my dad and says, “Now that you’re back, what are you planning to do for work, Ted?”
    Dad clears his throat. “That’s still a work in progress. But I’m sure something will turn up.”
    I can see Mom’s jaw tighten. Dad’s been paying child support since he left, but I know it hasn’t helped out as much as she’d hoped. And now that he doesn’t

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