To Colby, it was always a treat to sit back and watch Sage eat something, especially when her stress triggered her hunger. Mounds upon mounds of food in her path would disappear in an instant. That happened to be the case when the two best friends were at a local ice cream parlor called Life Is But A Creamery, owned by one of Sage's family friends who happened to be a close companion of her mother's. What was supposed to be a literally chill time enjoying ice cream with lighthearted conversation, turned into a binge-fest for the bluenette.
Ordering herself one of the ice cream parlor's large sundaes that halfway reached the ceiling, Sage went to town, scooping out bites of vanilla and chocolate with the occasional sprinkles and wafers. But Colby was too entranced by his pal's feasting to pay attention to the mixed fruit sherbet he had in a smaller bowl, starting to melt a bit. It was definitely entertaining to see her have an eating contest with herself, but there must've been a reason for her soiled mood.
"Uh, say... you might wanna-" began the food-fighting master, flinching when Sage banged her fist on the table.
Giving him a cross glare that could've ripped him to shreds, she hissed, "Don't tell me to slow down or take it easy or anything close to that! Don't you dare! Let me drown my sorrows in peace, dang it!"
"Alright, girl, alright, didn't mean to interrupt your munching time. Just wanna know if everything's okay since you're having your little feast."
"Oh, no, everything's great! Everything's fine! I mean, things should be fine when you think you're trying to be a reasonable parent when you're not!"
"Whoa, whoa, where's this coming from? Also, you're, like, the parenting expert, how could anything go wrong with you and the twins?" questioned Colby, having another spoonful of sherbet.
"It's not both of them, it's only Rika. To be honest, she usually gives me more of a headache than Ronnie." Sage explained.
"Well, that's 'cause Ronnie's the perfect kid, raised by the perfect mother!"
"Tch, perfect... tell that to Rika who thinks I'm trying to make her miserable all the time. Can you believe she asked me for thirty dollars for knitting stuff? Thirty dollars?!"
"So, did ya give it to her?"
"No, why should I?! Does she honestly think that I owe her money every time she asks for it? Of course not! If she thinks I'm her ATM, she's kidding herself and I'm willing to bet you don't have that same problem with Monty."
"That's where you're wrong. Seems like every other week, he's asking for money and I used to give him some all the time, but... I finally turned him down for once and the guy got pretty upset."
"Good, that means you're becoming a decent parent."
"And I have your book to thank for that. But at least, he just sulked off to his room without cursing me out or anything, so I guess that's a plus?" Colby shrugged.
At that, the rosy-cheeked woman sighed as she had another bite of her sundae, "Why do we even have children? Why did we think it would be a good idea to raise these little runts hoping they can learn to be respectable human beings, thinking it would be difficult? Is this what our parents had to put up with when we were their age? Is this how they felt when we would hiss and moan and whine when we didn't get our way?! Is history repeating itself?!"
"Sage, just focus on the sundae and don't get so worked up. Focus on the sundae, that's more important."
"How about you focus on yourself and your little baby bowl of ice cream? I don't need you judging me!"
"But, bro, I wasn't-"
"Yes, you were, that one eye of yours said it all! ...and never call me bro again!"
"My, oh, my, what do we have here?" Strolling over to the friends' table was a young woman with light pink skin and wavy red hair pulled back in a low ponytail. Judging from her uniform, she must've been an employee at the ice cream parlor.
"Huh? Oh, hey, Becka..." sighed Sage, turning around to see the woman.
"Hey-a, Becka, don't mind Sage here. She's just having a little PTSD: Parenting Trauma Stress Disorder." Colby quipped, receiving a jab to the arm from his pal.
"You shut it! Is there anything you need, Becka?"
"Well, I couldn't help overhearing your parenting problems and trust me, I can relate having two pint-sized divas of my own. But since your kids are old enough to get a summer job, why not have them work here? That way they can really learn the importance of working for their money." Becka suggested.
"Dang, that's actually a pretty cool idea! And it's a freakin' ice cream parlor, how could Monty not be stoked about working here?!" grinned the food-fighting master.
"Hmm, it couldn't hurt to have Rika work here... it's either that or The Rice Bowl, but dad probably won't pay her much anyway. Alright, Becka, consider it done. You just earned yourself two new employees." the bluenette nodded in approval as the red-haired woman clapped with joy.
"Yay, I knew you'd both go for it! Believe me, this is gonna be a wonderful learning experience for both your son and daughter. I promise you, you are not gonna regret this." Becka assured the two parents with a grin.
Once they got home, Colby and Sage decided to gather the kids at Colby's apartment to break the news. Monty, Ronnie, and Rika all stood before their parents in the living room, wondering what they were about to share with them.
"I bet y'all are wondering why we called you here. Well, the answer's pretty simple!" began the male with the eye-patch before Ronnie cut in with a gasp.
"Oooh! I know, I think I know! We're gonna have another barbecue, aren't we? Or another camping trip?! You're finally gonna take us to Food Fight World?! Eeeeee, I am so excited-ow!" the feathery-haired boy received an elbow from his grumpy sister.
"Nope, sorry to say it's not either of those things, but this actually has more to do with Monty and Rika." Sage mentioned.
"Oh, god, what are you guys plotting now? groaned Monty, folding his arms.
"Not another date at Ronnie's insistence, I hope." Rika grumbled, unaware of the innocent twinkle in her brother's eyes.
"Wait, for real?! You're both gonna have another date and you guys didn't have the nerve to tell me about it?! Why must you surprise a modern-day cupid like this?! ...but I'm not complaining 'cause I was hoping you lovebirds would have another date! Just saying." rambled Ronnie with a shrug.
"No date, but that's not to say that's not gonna happen in the future!" chirped Colby, ignoring the whines of protest from Monty and Rika. "Instead, you guys are gonna start your part-time jobs at Life Is But A Creamery! It's about time you growing kiddos learned the importance of having a job, am I right?"
"Dad, what the heck?! You could even ask me first?! But who am I kidding, it's like you to force me into doing things I don't want to... and just when I thought you were starting to redeem yourself." the half-Hispanic shook his head, avoiding eye contact with this father.
"Nah, nah, well... yeah, you're right about me forcing you into this, but it's actually for your good, buddy."
"It'll be good for the both of you, that way you can earn your own money without begging us for some." reasoned the rosy-cheeked woman as her daughter groaned.
"Ugh, this is so stupid! Of all the things we could be doing, you're really gonna make us work at an ice cream parlor? And one that's probably not vegan-friendly at that?" complained the younger bluenette.
"Yes, and no amount of complaining will get you out of this. Case closed."
"But what about me, can I work there too?! Working with ice cream sounds super fun! Heh, more fun than these grumpy mcgrumpsters make it sound!" asked Ronnie.
"Loving the positive vibes from ya as usual, Ron, but afraid you can't tag along with them, buddy. Sorry." Colby gave the bubbly blue boy a sympathetic smile.
"It's nothing against you, it's just that these two need to learn an important lesson that you don't need to." added Sage.
"Oh, gotcha." the feathery-haired boy nodded in understanding.
"Tch, this is so lame! Now, I have to take myself for a walk so I don't break anything or anyone, I'm outta here!" With that, Rika proceeded to storm out of the apartment, slamming the door shut behind her.
"Rika!" the girl's mother was too late to stop her from leaving.
"But, Monty, you-" started the King of Curry as his son silently sulked to his room, also slamming the door closed but not as loudly as Rika did.
"Gosh, the tempers from those two... I don't understand how anyone can get bent out of shape when they have a job at an ice cream parlor, that's my dream job! ...well, aside from being an illustrator or running my own puppy and kitten cafe," Ronnie mused, staring back at the astounded parents. "But they'll come around and learn to love their new job in the end, I know it! Ronnie knows it!"
"Agreed, kiddo. I mean, just because they're sour about it now doesn't mean they'll be like this once they start working, right?" Colby turned to Sage who didn't seem so sure.
"Depends if the job isn't too demanding, which I doubt. But I really hope we're doing the right thing by making them do this." the bluenette said.
"Of course, you are, mama, you're the parents! You always gotta do the right thing to keep us kids in line! Or at least, I think you're doing the right thing since I'm clearly not a parent... but yeah, since Monty and Rika both got a case of the mopes, wanna play charades?" the bubbly blue boy blithely suggested with a grin.
Like it or not, Monty and Rika had to do what their parents asked them. They doubted they would learn anything significant from what would probably be a tedious experience, but if they could get money out of it, they might as well grin and bear it. Or at the most, wear a fake grin when having to deal with customers. The following afternoon, Monty and Rika went to the ice cream parlor to be given their uniforms, consisting of pink t-shirts with red trim on the sleeves and collar, along with a matching pink baseball cap with a red brim. Both had an ice-cream cone design, resembling a shooting star.
"Oooh, those uniforms look so good on you! Then again, they should look good on anybody, which isn't saying much," Becka chirped, blind to the disgruntled expressions on the teens' faces. "But anyway, welcome to your first day at Life Is But A Creamery! Now, I know you're thinking this job's gonna be pretty tough but no need to worry! This place is all about having fun and getting paid to do it! I have a feeling you're gonna enjoy working here so much, it won't even feel like a job to you!"
"Heh, doubt that. So, what are we supposed to do?" asked Monty.
"Well, it's very simple. You'll be in charge of putting together orders, but you have to be prepared for whatever these customers throw at ya!"
"Oh, trust me, we're used to dealing with entitled customers when we used to work at The Rice Bowl. This should be nothing new." Rika insisted with a casual look.
"Ah, good to know, smart of you to use your past experience with your other job for this one!" the redhead woman grinned, standing behind the counter with the two.
"We just hope you'll pay us more than his cheap butt has." snarked the half-Hispanic.
"Well, you can rest assured that's gonna be the case! But yeah, this is pretty easy on paper, just scoop out what they want and oh! Make sure you ask if they want it in a bowl or cone, if they don't say. Seven times out of ten, they don't. And if they want one of our specialty sundaes, grab one of those big bowls in the back," In the middle of her explanation, a young man slightly older than the teens entered the parlor. "Oh, and wouldn't you know it, you already got a customer! I'll be over here keepin' an eye on ya, good luck!"
"Ugh, here we go..." groaned Monty under his breath.
"Oh, relax, this can't be that bad. Hi! Welcome to Life Is But A Creamery, what can I get for you?" Rika spoke in her sweetest voice.
"Uh, yeah, I'd like a... rocky road?" the male droned in a dull voice.
"Okay, in a cone or bowl?"
"Cone or bowl, man. C'mon, we don't got all day now." the spiky-haired boy sighed, trying to keep his patience.
"Cone? Or bowl? It's really not that difficult." repeated the bluenette.
"Uh... I'd like a rocky road." the male finally said, much to the teens' annoyance.
Their next customer happened to be a trans male, who seemed more indecisive than the other one.
"I'll have some pistachio? Wait, no, scratch that, give me some mint chocolate! ...actually, no, raspberry sorbet! Yeah, that's it!"
"Okay, would you like that with a-" began Rika, about to grab her scoop until...
"No, wait, hold on! Can I get birthday cake, please? I'm so sorry, it's hard for me to pick one flavor, they all look so good." the trans male said.
"Uh... you know, you can pick more than one, right?" Monty pointed out with a poker-faced expression that made the trans male gawk.
"Wait, you can do that?! You can really pick more than one, since when was that a thing?! Well, that makes my life so much easier, I'll have..."
What made his life easier made it more difficult for Monty and Rika's job, but it was nothing compared to the woman they were about to face.
"I'll have two scoops of vanilla, half double fudge, a third of tutti fruitti, and an eighth of almond ripple with at least seven drops of hot fudge and a quarter whipped cream," a tan-haired woman ordered elaborately, unsure why Rika or Monty didn't respond to it right away. "Well, what are you waiting for, do it! Make my order!"
"Uh, miss, you do realize that we only do full scoops, not halves or quarters." said the bluenette.
"So? Don't you guys have measuring cups?"
"Don't you have a brain? If you did, you'd know that this place serves ice cream. It's not your typical coffee shop or some crap. Now, tell us what you want without all the extra measurements." demanded Monty, close to losing his patience.
"Ugh, I really have to say it again?! Geez, I didn't think the people who worked here would be this slow... but alright, since you both have learning disorders, I'll be nice and say it again. Two scoops of vanilla, half a scoop of-" began the woman just as Rika and Monty pointed at the exit.
Meanwhile, Ronnie strolled all the way down to the seaside part of town to find Lili at her uncle's snow cone truck, just finished serving a customer.
"Here you go, have a lovely day!" the Hawaiian girl chirped with a grin, seeing the blue boy walk over. "Oh, it's my Ron-Ron! Hiii! What brings you here on this glorious afternoon, need me to fix ya another rainbow pup cone?"
"Nope, not this time, Lil-Lil. Ya see, Monty and Rika just got jobs at that ice cream place in the shopping district-" began Ronnie as the girl snapped her fingers.
"Oooh! No, don't tell me, what's it called? Life In a... Creamery or something like that, right? Gosh, they're so lucky to be working there, it's, hands down, the BEST ice cream place in town!"
"I know, right? We'll have to surprise 'em later if they're still there but back to what I was saying, they're busy with work so I thought I'd stop by and give you a helping hand! So, I can have a job too!"
"Well, that's really sweet of you, Ron, but... not gonna lie, business gets kinda slow. No offense, but you're probably gonna waste your time here. If you still wanna hang out, that's coolio! Besties gotta stick together, right?"
"True, true! But I'll be here if you need my assista-ooh! Like right now!" Ronnie found a couple, holding hands on their way to the truck. "Hello! Oh, aren't you just the cutest couple! Are you married, I got a good feeling you are!"
"No, but we're getting there. We're definitely getting there. ...so, are you going to take our orders?" the female awkwardly asked.
"Ah, right! What would you like?"
"I'll have a fruit punch and..."
"A lemon-lime for me, please." the male added as Lili went to work, scooping out the crushed ice.
"Okay, one fruit punch and one lemon-lime, coming right up!" the Hawaiian girl chirped as another customer came over. "Oh, hey! What would you like, sir?"
"Orange and blue raspberry, please." the other male requested.
"Uh, sure! I'll-"
"I got you covered, good sir!" Much to Lili's surprise, Ronnie grabbed a scoop and started making the snow cone while she worked on her order. Not long until a mother with two toddlers stopped by. "Oh, yay, the more, the merrier! Aww, and your kids are so adorable! Tell ya what, ma'am, just for having a couple of cuties, this one's on Ronnie!"
"Oh, gosh, that's so sweet of you, young man!" the mother seemed pleased, though Lili was caught off-guard by her friend's kind, yet sudden gesture. "In that case, I would like..."
Over at the ice cream parlor later in the evening, Monty and Rika helped Becka close for the day by sweeping around the shop.
"Whew, great hustle today, guys! Great hustle! Y'know, even though this was your first day, you handled every single one of those customers like pros! ...well, aside from the ones you threatened to kick out, but we'll work on that. All in all, not a bad start on the Life Is But A Creamery Team!" chirped the redhead.
"Okay, that's cute and all but are you gonna pay us now or what?" demanded Monty, holding his hand out towards the woman.
"Yeah, we should get a tip or something for those entitled nutjobs we had to put up with." added Rika.
"Eh, heh heh, nope! Not happening, you're not getting paid until the end of the week. Sorry, but that's business for ya, I don't make the rules."
"No, you're great at making us miserable along with our folks. Tch, I knew this was gonna be a huge waste of time. Where the hell do I change so I can give this stupid uniform back to you?" scoffed the half-Hispanic.
"Ah ah ah, hold it right there, buddy! You're not thinking of quitting once I share this super important announcement with you, huh?" Becka waggled her finger at the boy.
"What announcement?" asked the pigtailed girl.
"You're gonna fire us?" Monty mused as the redhead giggled.
"No, silly! Starting tomorrow, you two will participate in a very special contest. Both of you will compete to make the best sundae you can put together and get this, whoever makes the better sundae will have it added to the menu! Ahhh, isn't that exciting?!"
"I guess, but..." Rika pondered, unsure how to take the sudden news of the contest.
"Wait, is this legit? 'Cause I won this challenge to make a great donburi at The Rice Bowl and gramps' cheap butt didn't put it on the menu like he said he would." Monty explained.
"Well, you'd have to pay him 5K for that to happen. Didn't he tell you that?"
"Tch, old fart's always asking for money so it doesn't surprise me..."
"I can assure you I'm not as cruel as him and your mom told me plenty about him, Rika. But the chances of your sundae getting added to the menu depend if it's good enough to impress me and live up the Life Is But A Creamery name! Are you both in or not?" said Becka.
"Eh... what the hell? Could be fun, now that I think about it." shrugged the spiky-haired boy with a small grin.
"I'm down too but we can bring our own ingredients too, right? I'm already full of ideas." asked Rika, sporting her own smile.
"Sure, bring whatever works for you! Just don't bring your own ice cream or you're fired," the redhead chuckled with the two teens for a moment before wearing a more serious look. "I'm serious, don't do that."
At the snow cone truck, Ronnie and Lili were also wrapping things up for the day.
"Whew, what a day! A busy one but a satisfying one, ain't that right, Lil-Lil?" the feathery-haired boy turned to Lili, staring into space for a bit.
"Huh? Oh, yeah... definitely." nodded the Hawaiian girl.
"Hey, what's got you down in the dumps all of a sudden? Everything okay, are you tired? 'Cause given how great business went today, you deserve a nice rest!"
"Heh, yeah, and hopefully, you can give it a rest..."
"What'd you say?"
"Oh, nothing, I... you just go on, I'll finish up here."
"You sure? I can stay behind and help, that way we can get it done quicker and we can catch Monty and Rika at the ice cream place." insisted Ronnie.
But Lili shook her head, "No, no, I got this. Just go on without me and tell 'em I said hi."
"Okay... so, I'll see ya tomorrow then?"
"Awesome, the Adorably Dynamic Duo will be back at it again tomorrow! Oh, and I should probably bake some cookies as a little extra treat for the customers! Until then, later, Lil-Lil!"
"Alright, later," the Hawaiian girl grinned, waving back at her pal before she muttered to herself again, "You better not show up later..."
About half an hour before the ice cream parlor opened, Monty and Rika both arrived in their uniforms with separate bags of ingredients. Becka happened to be standing by the counter, seeing them enter but this time, they actually looked excited about what was going to happen today.
"My, my, didn't think I'd see smiles from both of ya! You're really serious about this, are ya?" remarked the redhead, appearing amused herself.
"That we are but then again, it's usually serious every time I get a chance to crush Monty's ego." Rika smirked at her friend, a bit humored by her trash talk.
"Heh, you better pray I don't crush yours any more than you do with mine. I've been making sundaes since I learned to walk, you have no idea who you're up against, Rik."
"Actually, I do, but it won't matter once I mop the floor with you."
"Oooh, this back and forth just keeps getting better, I love it! As much as I love this competitive drive between you two, you gotta remember this is only for fun. Don't take this more seriously than it needs to be." informed Becka.
"We get that but who cares? How 'bout we make this sundae contest more interesting and-" began Monty, locking eyes with Rika as she put on a wicked grin.
"Make a Dining Duel out of it? Read my mind, let's do it!" the bluenette nodded.
"Uh, really, guys?" the redhead winced at their sudden suggestion for a food fight. Mostly because it didn't seem appropriate to have one right before work.
"Yeah, really, lady. Now, quit standing there like a dweeb and ref for us so we can get this started." ordered the half-Hispanic.
"Actually, Monty, that won't be necessary... yoink!" To her friend's surprised, Rika rushed behind the counter with her bag, getting ready to prepare her sundae.
"Aw, what the hell, really, Rik?! Man, you would pull some crap like this, but that little head start's not gonna help ya!" Monty also joined his pal behind the counter.
Leaving Becka to sigh at the two competitive pals as she stood back, "Becka, you see what you've done now? You just made two monsters in only one day..."
By the beach, Lili was at the snow cone truck, waiting patiently for customers. But she wasn't waiting for a certain bubbly blue boy to show up.
"Oh, thank GOD, he's not here. Maybe he just got too tired and decided to take a chill day... meh, not my problem. Now, Lili can make her money in-"
"Not without me, you won't!" Much to her dismay, Ronnie appeared anyway, flashing a gap-toothed smile at the disgruntled girl. "C'mon, Lil-Lil, you forgot that this is a collib... collibor... callib..."
"Collaborative effort?" deadpanned the Hawaiian girl.
"Yeah, exactly! Man, my way with words needs some SERIOUS work..."
"Well, why don't you head on home and start working on it? See ya!"
"Nope, I'll do that later. Right now, we got customers to please!"
"Not with you around, just go away! Leave! Shoo! Vamoose!"
"Eh, heh heh... moose. Lili, what's gotten into you? I've never seen you this stressed out before, what's wrong?" Ronnie asked with concern.
"What's wrong, what's wrong?! You being here is what's wrong, now take a hint and get lost! Go away, no one wants you here!" Lili tried to push the boy away, but no avail.
"Wait a minute, now I know something's up if you're trying to get rid of me. Lili, what is it? I haven't done anything to make you upset, did I?"
"Actually, you have! ...and now that I think about it, it wasn't really your fault. ...me and my stupid feels..."
"No, they're not stupid, Lili, just tell me how you're feeling. Let me be your shoulder to cry on... no, really, if you need to cry on my shoulder, go ahead." the feathery-haired boy spoke gently, cueing the girl to lay her head on his shoulder.
The Hawaiian girl took her deep breath, "It's just that I got so used to running this snow cone truck alone since my uncle got sick... and since then, I've lost that confidence I had we started working together. You showed up and pretty much upstaged me with your friendliness and ability to get things done fast, so I got jealous of you. ...it's always been an issue for me, every time someone comes along and does something better than me, I get really jealous and insecure. But that's just my stupid self-esteem getting the better of me..."
"Aww, Lil-Lil..." Now understanding the reason behind her mood, Ronnie just had to give his close friend a warm hug. "I had no idea. I wasn't trying to upstage you or anything, that wasn't my intention at all. I guess it's because I was also a little green with envy over Monty and Rika's jobs that I wanted one myself. Sometimes, I stop by The Rice Bowl to lend my uncle and grandpa a hand, but I thought I'd lend my helping hand to you since you deserve it."
"Oh, you dummy," giggled Lili, giving the boy a light, playful punch on the arm. "Way to make me feel even dumber for having these feelings..."
"Heh heh, my bad."
"Nah, you're good. To be honest, we do make a pretty awesome team, serving customers left and right. Maybe I just need to work on my small talk game... heh, shouldn't be too hard since I'm, like, the QUEEN of chit-chat."
"That you are and paired with the king, we're practically unstoppable! ...at talking peoples' heads off, that is."
"Heh, right? Look, let's just put this petty little drama behind us and get to work, alright?" insisted the Hawaiian girl.
"Gotcha, Lili, it's time we stop acting like the Plain Dumb Duo and go back to being the Adorably Business-Savvy Duo!" cooed the feathery-haired boy, pointing a finger at the sky.
"Oooh, we're business-savvy now?"
"Always have been, always will be!"
At Life Is But A Creamery, Monty and Rika stood behind the counter with their finished sundaes, ready to be judged by Becka pacing back and forth.
"Okay, who would like to go first?" the redhead woman asked with less enthusiasm than usual.
"Me!" the two teens shot their hands up at the same time.
"Oop, gotta go with Monty since he raised his hand a split second faster than you, Rika."
"Yes!" Monty pumped a fist, smirking at his annoyed rival.
"Tch, it was those absurdly long arms that gave you the advantage. Don't act so smug..." Rika scoffed.
"I dunno, might be hard once I kick your butt. But here's my sundae. Usually when I make sundaes, I like to grab whatever's around me and put it in the bowl. To me, having a sundae is like a ticket to really pig out, you know? So, I made this with peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate ice cream. And it's topped with crushed pretzels and cookies so you get that sweet and salty flavor in each bite. It's like the ultimate indulging experience."
"Mmm, I can see why, this is sooo good! You just can't go wrong when you combine peanut butter and chocolate and the caramel's a deal-breaker for me. Normally, I believe that pretzels have no place on ice cream, but this just proved me wrong. Nice work! And what have you made, Rika, dear?" Becka went over to the girl's sundae, modeled after a tower of sorts.
"Oh, this ol' thing? Well, similar to Monty, I like to think that sundaes are pretty extravagant desserts, but they're not just for pigging out..." the bluenette started, sharing a brief glare with Monty. "To me, desserts are like a celebration of life and one of the things I have on my bucket list is going to France, that's pretty much famous for its desserts. Inspired by that, I made this with vanilla, French vanilla of course, coffee, and thank goodness for this Belgian chocolate ice cream for tying this all together. And true to myself, I had to add fruits like peaches, raspberries, and strawberries. I even tried to make this after the Eiffel Tower so that alone deserves bonus points!"
"Well, you definitely get an A+ for presentation and this France-inspired creation you souped up is incredible! It looks like something you'd see served at a French restaurant, but it has this charm and playfulness to it that I love. It's just great!"
"Why, thank you! ...so, who won?"
"Who won?" the redhead repeated, looking confused.
"Uh, yeah, did you forget that this was a competition to see who'd get their sundae on the menu? Now, tell me if I won or not!" snarled Monty, unsure why the woman started chuckling. "The hell's so funny?
"Um, are we missing something?" the pigtailed girl appeared as confused as her friend.
"Obviously! Guys, let me be real with you... I only arranged this little contest to get you more motivated about working here. When I watched you both make your sundaes, you looked like you were having so much fun... which is the kind of attitude I want you to have while you work here." the red-haired woman explained.
"So, it was just a set-up... figures."
"Tch, of course it would be. You really think you're slick, don't you, lady?" the half-Hispanic huffed.
"I like to think I am. But, guys, think about this, while I understand that work is a hassle, there's more to it than making money. It's about putting in the effort to make the money, showing that you can be a team player. And that's exactly what your parents wanted you to gain from having this job. They didn't force you to work here to make you miserable or anything..." Becka added, making the two teens seem guilty for lashing out at their parents in the last couple days.
"Somehow, I knew mom wanted to teach me something but I didn't want to hear it... she really had my best interests at heart after all..." Rika sighed, staring at the checkerboard floor.
"Yeah, same with dad... the point of all this was to stop mooching and start working." added Monty.
"You gonna apologize to him then?"
"Only if you promise to apologize to Ms. Sage."
"Alright, fine, you dope."
"Aww, look at you two finally start to come around and appreciate your parents more! See, I knew I did a good deed with helping you out. But I should probably save the 'I told you so's for another time." said Becka, grinning at the two teens.
"Yeah, please do that." smirked the spiky-haired boy.
"Guess it's back to work for us, huh?" asked the pigtailed girl.
"Yep, only from now on, I want you both to give it 110%!" chirped the redhead woman.
"Consider it done!"
"Eh, I'll see if I can muster a hundred percent just for you, lady," Monty quipped, before taking a glance at the sundaes. "Oh, shoot, what should we do with these?"
"Finish 'em off, obviously! As they say, waste not, want not!" grinned Becka, about to dig into the sundaes with the half-Hispanic.
"Now, you're speaking my language."
"I'll leave you both to it. As good as these sundaes look, I'm not about to break my veganism for 'em." Rika just stood back and watched the two eat, finally learning to tolerate-no-enjoy her new job. And she didn't have to question if that was also the case with Monty, given he had the privilege of chowing down on the job.