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Food Frenzy

By Linn Edwards

Published by JMS Books LLC at Smashwords

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Copyright 2017 Linn Edwards

ISBN 9781634864886

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Cover Design: Written Ink Designs |

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All rights reserved.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published in the United States of America.

* * * *

Thanks go out to my local coffee shop where much of this book was written on an iPhone, a wireless keyboard, and a phone easel. They kept the caffeine flowing.

* * * *

Food Frenzy

By Linn Edwards

Chapter 1

Ethan worked the counter after an early stint at the grill of the family restaurant. It was only 7:30 A.M., and they were packed. He had gone through several dozen eggs already and had to remix the pancake batter again. It would calm down around ten and then crank up at 11:30 for their lunch crunch. Fergies served breakfast all day, and even the lunch crowd would want their eggs, real home fries, and biscuits and gravy. Their coffee was roasted regionally and stronger than most places in town. It had an addicted audience. They still brewed their own iced tea and offered the ever-popular Southern Sweet Tea and unsweetened tea. He could almost predict what some people would order when they came in through the door.

He glanced up as a young man in shorts and a T-shirt came in and looked for a table. Ethan wiped his hands and went up to the stranger, immediately noticing the man’s aftershave and the clearness of his eyes. He had a little reddish-blond stubble on his chin and all but neat, perfect thick hair. Running his hand through his own unruly curly hair, Ethan caught his breath and found his voice.

“How many in your party? Right now, all I have open is the counter, but one of the back booths should open up soon.” Ethan grinned. “They have to be on duty soon.”

The young stranger looked back at two booths of burly policemen and grinned. “Ah, a good indication the coffee here is good. And the counter is fine, thanks.”

* * * *

Jeremiah found himself alone on one of the four stools in front of a short counter that looked into the pass-through to the kitchen. He sat to the left of the cash register and had a clear view of where the wait staff fixed the toast, coffee, soft drinks, and other things to go with their meals.

The counter afforded Jeremiah a good overall view of the small but tidy diner. The restaurant sat maybe seventy-five when full, and it was certainly busting at the seams this morning. People were coming in for take-out orders as well, and the phone rang incessantly with people calling in orders. He noted the wait time for take-out was an impressive twenty minutes. Looking through the pass-through was a fast-paced, short order ballet of well-practiced choreography in the small, efficient kitchen.

Jeremiah was also impressed with how often the wait staff and busboy used the hand sink to wash their hands. He didn’t see the usual hand sanitizer anywhere. The young man who seated him came back around with fresh coffee to top off his rather large mug and asked him if he had decided. Jeremiah blushed a bit and admitted he still needed some time. The dark-haired young man wore a white T-shirt with the diner’s logo and black cotton pants. He had on comfortable shoes and a bright, infectious smile.

“Sorry. Still looking through this menu.”

The young man grinned and put more little cups of creamer and packets of the yellow stuff Jeremiah had already used. The trash disappeared quickly. Jeremiah was struck by the variety in the menu. The breakfast part of the menu was huge, with variations of combinations each with a specified price. There would be no surprises with up charges here. He noted one could get two eggs, toast, and bacon for as little as five dollars. Coffee cost a remarkable one dollar a cup (with free refills on all drinks). It made a nice senior breakfast for someone on a tight budget.

The eggs were touted as farm fresh and the biscuits homemade. They had home fries, but not the ubiquitous hash browns. He’d ask about that and decided on two eggs over easy, bacon, those home fries, and a biscuit and gravy. It seemed to be the standard and most popular order of the morning as the business swelled around him.

“No hash browns?” Jeremiah asked.

The young man wrinkled his nose a bit. “Hash browns have become a frozen patty of shredded potato. We boil our potatoes then slice and fry them on the grill in butter to order. Nothing much frozen here except some of the vegetables we serve in winter when we can’t get fresh.”

Jeremiah took the mild reproach with good humor and was taken with the pride the young man had in the food.

“Ethan, honey, could you call Hank to get his ass in gear and get those extra eggs here? We won’t last the lunch crunch if he don’t,” an older woman in a hair net said, her words stern.

The young man—Ethan—turned and smiled at the woman. “Sure, Ma. I’ll call again.”

The pride made sense now in that this was very much a family business. The menu said it was established in 1948. If this was the same family, it made it even more remarkable. Jeremiah decided this might be more interesting than he thought, especially when Ethan bent over to pick up a fallen fork. The nice ass made Jeremiah’s stomach tighten.

Jeremiah watched as Ethan called Hank’s farm. Then Ethan told his mother Hank should be here within the hour. So, the eggs were very farm fresh and local. Ethan had already said during summer the produce was bought locally, and obviously this wasn’t standard restaurant coffee. Fergies was shaping up to being interesting indeed, including the looks he was getting from the cutie Ethan.

* * * *

Ethan hoped he wasn’t really staring at the stranger at the counter, but they kept locking eyes whenever he stole a look. Ethan knew the young man wasn’t from around here and seemed interested in the goings on around him with unusual curiosity. He also hoped the interest in his ass when he bent over was what he thought that interest was. He could feel the man’s gaze boring into him whenever he dropped something. In truth, the stranger’s attention was enough to cause him to be a bit clumsy.

“Good Lord, Ethan. You got the dropsies today. Stay away from my orders.” Marilyn, the oldest and longest-serving server Fergies had, stood at the pass-through, tapping her fingers on the short counter there. “And your mama is slowing up in her dotage.”

“I heard that, Madilyn,” Ma shouted from the kitchen. Laughter rippled through the restaurant. “And certainly you would know about dotage.”

Ethan filled the stranger’s cup again and apologized for the wait. The young man waved it off with a grin and good-natured chuckle. Ethan settled on a stool close to the young man but still behind the counter and began to roll silverware in the napkins. It was a mindless job, and he could face the young man sitting just down the counter without having—hopefully—to be too obvious.

Ethan thought the guy was maybe between twenty-eight and thirty-two. He had an angular face that ended in a chin with a cleft or dimple—whatever they called it—and it was sure sexy. Blondish and closely cropped hair on the sides and a little longer on top added to the thought of mid-twenties. But there was a mature air about him that also suggested vacationing professional. He wore a button-down, collared shirt open a few more interesting buttons than most, revealing a small spatter of blondish-reddish hair on a broad chest that suggested definition. The guy had used a sexy aftershave, despite the even sexier stubble. Khaki shorts showed reddish-blondish hair on a well-defined calf. He was handsome in that clean-cut way with a nice smile and clear gray eyes. Gray? Maybe hazel.

Ethan would have to get closer to be sure and then laughed out loud. Closer? He wished.

“Order up, sweetie. You can quit daydreaming!” nagged his mother with a grin. Again, there was good-natured tittering throughout the restaurant as Ethan picked up the stranger’s order and sat it in front of him.

“Anything else right now? Ketchup or hot sauce?” A standard question for locals, but it raised an eyebrow with the stranger.

“Ketchup or hot sauce?”

Ethan shrugged. “A local favorite with eggs around here. I can get you salsa, too, if you want.”

The man waved him off with a smile and a slight shake of his head. Ethan went around the diner, refilling coffee and serving up chit chat as he went.

* * * *

Madilyn touched Ethan on the arm and said in a low voice his Mama wanted him in the kitchen. Ethan wondered what this was all about as he went to the back of the restaurant and through the door to the kitchen. This was his mother’s domain, and she commanded it with an iron hand. Most of the people working at the grill, stove, and ovens had been there for years—like Madilyn—and Ethan was always amazed at how organized the chaos was back there.

His mother took his arm and pulled him over to the grill. “What is with that young man at the counter?”

Ethan wasn’t sure what she meant and hoped she hadn’t seen the fervent looks or had seen the guy watching Ethan’s ass. “Not sure what you mean, Mom.”

“Take a look at him eating. Eyes closed, a goofy grin. Hell, he might be having an orgasm.”

The other older ladies laughed as Ethan stole a glance and, damn, if his mother wasn’t right about the look of an orgasm.

“Want me to ask him?”

That did bring a guffaw from the other women as his mother slugged his arm.

“Just be sure he pays before he disappears into the bathroom.”

* * * *

Jeremiah closed his eyes as he ate the first few bites of his breakfast. Oh, God! The eggs were cooked to perfection—done with a loose yolk. He mashed the eggs in with the home fries and again was taken with the crunchy but soft texture. He was tempted just to butter the biscuit and savor it without the gravy, but he stared at the small bowl of sausage gravy in longing. The biscuit was more solid than most but took the gravy well. It was divine.

Laughter from the kitchen broke him out of his reverie. The food here was masterful in the sheer simplicity of the cooking, but with the achievement of maximum flavor as well. This was common diner fare, but not a common diner taste. There were slices and flavors throughout the meal that surprised and enticed him. He needed to get pictures and profiles of staff and owners and do a sit-down interview with Ethan and his mother.

In his mind, he outlined an entire article on this place. The Last of the Dying Diners would be his headline. His magazine had wanted a three-part article as a section of their Summer Roundup issues from September to November covering diners in Mid-America. It was June, and the mock-ups for the issues were being done. His articles would slot in as he finished them. He had sent most of the pictures by email, as well as a first draft of the first article. The editor had said it was a tad depressing, and Jeremiah said he should have eaten in the places.

The second article was taking shape, and he could get most of the rest of his trip in that one and focus on Fergies in a much more positive light by featuring it by itself. He wondered if they would share their biscuit recipe.

Jeremiah was again brought back to the real world with Ethan asking about coffee. “Sure. Um, when is there a break when I can talk to you and your mother?”

“Well, we close at four, and you can see we’re kinda busy. What is it you want?”

“My name is Jeremiah Thomas, and I write for the magazine Foodie Today. I’m on assignment, looking at diners in the Midwest. I want to feature this place. This is the best diner food I’ve had my whole trip.”

* * * *

Ethan blinked a couple of times and then smiled. This guy was going to be around for a few days, and he looked delicious. Okay, the look was probably orgasmic given the breathless writing he always associated with Foodie Today. Ethan was also a bit worried since the magazine was overly critical sometimes.

“We can at least sit down with you after we close and discuss what it is you want.”

Jeremiah nodded as he savored another bite.

“So, you were right about the orgasmic look,” started Ethan as he entered the kitchen, causing his mother to drop her ladle into the chili on the stove.

“Whatever are you talking about?”

The other women in the kitchen had stopped work as well as they watched mother and son.

“He’s from Foodie Today, writing about diners. He wants to talk to you and me after we close.”

“Tell him no.” His mother’s reply was firm and final.

“Why? Mom, this could be good for us. National recognition and maybe get us some attention on tourist websites.” Ethan was nonplussed over his mother’s reaction.

“We were slammed this morning. How much more business do we need?”

Ethan shook his head and was not going to tell the young man no. He would have to finesse this someway. He had been saying they needed to relocate the restaurant or do biscuits by mail order for a while now, but his mother kept insisting they were fine. As Ethan walked from the kitchen back to the front counter, he looked at the people eating. Average age was late fifties to death. They needed to attract a younger clientele, or they were going to find themselves aged out of business in the long run.

But why did he care? Hopefully by the time that happened, he’d be working in a large law firm away from the prying eyes of home and family. Why did he care? Because as much as he denied it, he loved the diner his grandfather and uncle had started and wanted it to last forever. But it wasn’t going to without some outside help.

* * * *

Chapter 2

Jeremiah smiled into the mirror as he prepared to shower and shave for his meeting with Ethan—just Ethan. The story was that his mother had an engagement after work. Jeremiah had invited Ethan to dinner at the hotel restaurant—overpriced and perfunctory—to go over the kind of article he intended to write. Jeremiah understood Zoe’s—Ethan’s mother—hesitation. Her business was solid. What did the article do for her? He also saw in Ethan’s response an understanding in expanding a brand, perhaps. He also saw interest in those eyes he hoped he wasn’t just imagining.

He had been surprised by the well-appointed bathroom in his suite. It was larger than expected with a large vanity area and sink. The shower was essentially one wall and equally huge. A threesome could comfortably enjoy themselves. Jeremiah smiled and felt the twitch in his cock and balls. It had been a lonely trip, and he was hoping for benefits beyond Ethan’s mother’s biscuit recipe. The warm water hitting his chest and running down his body did little to allay the rising heat in his own body apart from the water temperature.

The silky body wash sudsed up nicely, and his hand sent the lather and extra body wash to areas of immediate need. When he touched his cock, it was already hard and getting harder as the images of Ethan bending over played out against his closed eyes. He would go slow with Ethan and judge his level of experience accordingly. Those thoughts only hurried the eventual end as Jeremiah felt the tell-tale pulling back of his balls.

The email he’d sent to the magazine had said he needed four days at Fergies to get pictures and interviews. By the time those four days were over, he meant to have Ethan’s ass full of him. Thoughts being action, Jeremiah shot a load across the shower and let out a deep, satisfied laugh.

* * * *

Ethan had fought with his mother over the article, going to dinner, and just things in general. She saw no reason to go to dinner since they weren’t doing the article.

“Doesn’t hurt to listen to the proposal,” Ethan had countered.

“To what end? I’m not doing the article, and that is that.”

Ethan had not seen this stubborn streak in his mother in a long time.

His grandfather sat in his recliner as they fought. Finally, he put down the paper. “What is it about this young man and his magazine you don’t like? Foodie Today, in spite of the name, is a credible food magazine. It has to be the kid reporter.”

Ethan turned to his mother, and she glowed red. So, it was Jeremiah. Interesting, but strange.

“Why is he interested in our restaurant? Why us? He just shows up out of the blue, and we’re supposed to be flattered?”

“Ethan said he liked your cooking, for God’s sake,” said his grandfather, Fergie. “What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing wrong, but how did he hear about us?” Zoe’s tone was now accusatory.

“Hell, woman, we’re listed in every free tourist and restaurant guide there is. If the magazine was smart, they used Google and Yelp. We come up in both searches,” Fergie said, his tone equally accusatory. “Now, what is it really?”

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