Two weeks passed before her cousin and Wendy were given the keys to the diner. Escrow would close two weeks later, but they were allowed to go in early and do whatever they wanted. The owner was a nice guy, relieved to be rid of the responsibility of maintaining and running the place. Wendy spent some of those two weeks working at the Fireplace Grill. Her friends from the gardening club she attended when she could, joined her. Mary Ann and Judy willingly worked on the bathroom and the kitchen. Afterwards, they hung pictures of deer and moose around the dining area. The ambience was calming and cozy like Wendy pictured. Her cousin hired two waitresses and an additional bartender to work with Stan, a strong looking six-footer with curly black hair who smiled a lot.
Wendy stood near the entry as she focused on the end results. Fortunately, the previous owner had left everything in pretty good shape. Wendy placed short squat candles on each table. To give a natural look Wendy brought four hanging plants. She hoped this site in Malibu, along Pacific Coast Highway and not far from the pier, would bring foot traffic from the beach across the way, as well as people who drove by.
“What do you think?” she asked her cousin as Jake made his first appearance at the finished Fireplace Grill. He came by once to see how things were but decided not to return until it was completed.
“I think you did a magnificent job with everything, but I knew how good you were at creating your nursery. I like this new mood it establishes.”
They moved around as they discussed all the little additions Wendy made. On the mantel were a wooden moose and a deer with pinecones interspersed among them.
“I love those mountain inspired signs. I can actually imagine being at a cabin in the woods.”
On one side of the hearth was a wrought iron holder with a stack of wood. On the other side was a three-foot high wooden bear holding a welcome sign.
Wendy and Jake sat at a table and discussed the opening and other details. Instrumental music was played early, but soft pop music started around five.
Stan came by while they were there. “Hi, just wanted to tell you two I think the place looks fantastic and I look forward to working for you.”
Wendy appreciated the compliment. “Thanks, Stan. You’ve been working here for three years, right?”
“You must like your work.”
“I do, the people are cool and love being so close to the beach. After work I can just jump right into the ocean.”
Wendy and Jake laughed.
“Thanks for being here for us,” Jake said.
As he walked away, Wendy turned to her cousin, “I think he’ll be great to work with, plus he knows what’s happening.”
“I think you’re right. We’re lucky he agreed to stay on.”
Wendy and her cousin talked about the completed diner. It was now ready for the opening.
On her drive home, along PCH, she admired the beautiful pink sunset as it glowed onto the water, like out of a movie, beautiful to see. She looked forward to seeing it more often with her rides to and from Malibu.
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