- 3 -Max turned to him, eyes brimming with tears. “Dad, I’m scared,” he admitted, tearsbeginning to roll down his pale face. “I’m not used to not working. I wouldn’t know what to do.I think I’ll
if I stop working!”“Hush,” his father said, holding him close as if he were a small child – and, frankly, Max
feel like a small child at that point. “Ye should no’ worry, lad. Ye’ll only make things worse.”Max began to cry in earnest. The idea of doing nothing frightened him to the very coreof his being. The thought of being idle for a year…!His mother got up and took him in her arms, murmuring wordless comfort into his ear.“I don’t know how to tell my boss,” he told them between sobs.“You’re going to have to tell him soon,” his mother said. “But you’d better tell himfrankly.” Her lips pressed into a thin, tight line. “He’s worked you too hard.”“Oh,
! It’s not Chef Ville-Valmont’s fault – well, not entirely, but…”“
” his mother declared, green eyes flashing angrily. “That… That
does not treat his people well! Look at you, look at poor Melaine! I don’tblame that dear girl for leaving.”
Neither do I
, Max admitted to himself.
catch me saying it aloud!
, Valeriano left because her folks needed her home in the Philippines,” hecorrected his mother. “But, yeah: she
tired. She was always fighting it out with the chef and…”“An’ so do
,” his father reminded him bluntly. “Dinna ye think that I’ve not taken noteo’ the times you’d write me ‘bout how you and Ville-Valmont clashed o’er one thing or another,Max.” He eyed the young man sternly. “
and Melaine were the
forces in that kitchen –not that perfumed prancer who makes the round of the talk-show circuit. All he’s ever lent tothat establishment is his name;
”Max sighed and frowned at the prospect of facing his boss, of bearding the lion in hisden.“You deserve the break, son,” his mother murmured soothingly as she rubbed his back.“But what if he says no?”“Then ye turn an’ walk away,” his father replied wisely. “I know ye’re not short onmoney – far from it as a matter o’ fact! And, even then, your mither and I are here to back yeup.” He clasped his son’s hands and looked him candidly in the eye. “Sometimes, ye hae to justdrop everythin’ an’ move on wi’ your life, lad.”