“Oh great,” groused Lucy. “We’re out of school, but we still get to eat dinner with our principal!”
“Not like you ever get in trouble,” Krystal pointed out. “What have you got to complain about? Debra and I have landed in detention before.”
“When he told us he’d bring a friend, I had no idea, honest,” John said, in a tone that almost sounded like he needed to defend himself.
Cyrus and Lionel walked up to the rest of the group.
“Sorry we’re cutting it close, but we had the worst time finding parking,” Cyrus told them. “Are we too late?”
Everyone turned to look at Vince, the clipboard still in his hand.
“Well, um, technically I should have crossed you off a couple minutes ago and moved on to the next party. But it’s my fault, I lost track of time, so let me get you in and seated.”
“Thank you, Vince,” Debra told him. “We really appreciate all this. Sorry you can’t join us.”
“I’m sorry, too,” he admitted. “I love my grandparents dearly, but this reservation work is kind of boring. Truthfully, I can’t do much more to help out without a food permit, though.”
“I bet your hair in a hair net would be hilarious,” Krystal commented as Vince led them inside.
Debra heard Vince grumble under his breath. She wondered if maybe he really had been asked to do that before, and perhaps he didn’t really like it.
“I’ve seen him like that,” Lucy responded, confirming Debra’s suspicions. “It’s not really all that funny. Actually, it makes him look rather serious.”
Vince escorted the six of them to a long wooden table with matching carved chairs. Vince helped seat Debra, Krystal, and Lucy on one side while the men sat on the other. Lucy wound up facing Cyrus, Krystal across from Lionel in the middle, and Debra and John sat facing one another. Debra found this placement to be a bit awkward, only in the fact being seated with an empty space on the end reminded her of Nate’s absence and how she wished he would be there right alongside them. Somehow, it didn’t feel the same without him as part of the group.