The Robbins Family Reunion Chapter 1

Chapter 1

“I can’t believe she guilted me into this,” Drew Robbins said to himself for the thousandth time that morning as the phone conversation from a month before replayed itself over and over in his mind.

“She knows we don’t see eye to eye,” he said, barely audible enough, without realizing, for his wife, Elizabeth, to hear.

She laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Honey, perhaps it’s time you pulled over; let me drive for a while.”

He was about to argue and say that he was fine when Elizabeth squeezed his shoulder ever so gently and gave him an imploring look. He put the right blinker on, checked the rear view mirror for traffic and pulled over onto the shoulder. The unexpected stop woke their youngest daughter, Nicole, who was the lightest of sleepers.

“Are we there yet?” she asked through a stifled yawn.

“No, darling,” her mother said, unbuckling her seatbelt and opening the passenger side door. “I just thought that Dad could use a break, so I’m going to drive for a while longer. You can go back to sleep, sweetheart.”

“Oh,” Nicole said and turned over as best she could into a comfortable position, trying to get back to sleep while her older sister, Jenn, slept on in the seat beside her.

Elizabeth adjusted the driver’s seat and then the mirrors before buckling her seatbelt and restarting the ignition, her husband laying back in the front passenger seat praying the conversation with his mother and anxiety over the upcoming weekend would not plague his dreams. She flicked on the left blinker, glanced into the rearview and her side mirrors, and placed her foot confidently on the gas pedal.

After an hour on the road, the Robbins family and their blue Ford Expedition stopped for fuel. Elizabeth pulled up to the Mobil station at a rest stop and had the gas tank filled. Once the tank was full, she waved her keychain at the auto-pay icon on the pump, grabbed the receipt it spit out, and pulled out of the station and into the nearly adjacent parking lot of a Denny’s.

After rousing her two sleeping children and her husband, they made their way inside where they were greeted by Michele, a lovely hostess who looked in her mid-twenties with vibrant wavy red hair and deep chocolate eyes.

“Your waitress will be right with you,” she said in a voice that sounded like smoked honey as she laid four menus and four sets of silverware on the table.

Barely two minutes later, another striking young lady who looked more or less the same age as Michele, but with shoulder-length chestnut hair and eyes the color of oak walked gracefully to their table, pen poised in her left hand and a pad held at the ready in her right hand.

“Good morning,” she said brightly. “My name, as you can see,” she pointed to her name tag and smiled broadly, “is Penny, and I’ll be your server today. Can I start you off with anything to drink?”

“I’ll have a cup of coffee, please,” Elizabeth said.

“Make that two, please,” said Drew, still waking up from his nap.

“I’ll have an orange juice, please,” said Jenn.

“Chocolate milk for me, please,” said Nicole.

“Two coffees, one OJ and one chocolate milk, coming right up,” said Penny and she whisked away to place the orders.

“I never know what to get when we come here,” Nicole said, perusing her menu. “What’re you having, Jenny?”

“I think I’m going to have the Grand Slam,” Jenn said

“Hmmm…” Nicole thought as her eyes darted here and there across the menu looking for something she thought she’d enjoy. “Two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, two bacon strips and two sausage links,” she read.

“I think I’ll have that as well,” she said, and put down her menu.

“Are we all ready to order?” Penny asked as she placed the coffees in front of Drew and Elizabeth, the orange juice in front of Jenn and the chocolate milk in front of Nicole. In the middle of the table she placed a bowl of half-and-half containers, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and two straws.

“I’m ready,” Drew said.

“Okay, what will you have?” Penny asked cheerily.

“I’ll have the t-bone steak and eggs.”

“All right,” Penny began scribbling onto her pad, “and how would you
like your steak?”

“Medium-well, please.”

“And your eggs?”

“Over easy, please.”

“Okey dokey, and would you like hash browns or grits?”

“Hash browns, please.”

“And bread or toast?”

“White toast, please.”

“And for you?” Penny asked, turning to Elizabeth.

“I’ll have the Belgian waffle platter, please.”

“All right, and that comes with two bacon strips and two sausage links. And for you?” she turned next to Nicole

“I’ll have the Grand Slam with scrambled eggs, please,” Nicole said.

“Easy enough, and last but not least, for you, miss?” Penny asked Jenn.

“I’ll have the same but with eggs over easy.”

“Great,” Penny gathered up the menus and went off to place the orders.

Just as Penny was placing Robbins’ orders with the kitchen, Michele, the hostess was leading a family of four with two young girls, one in a stroller and one holding her mother’s hand as she toddled to a table near where they were seated

“Oh, your girls are both just adorable!” Nicole gushed without really meaning to.

“Why thank you,” said the young mother, beaming.

“How old are they?”

“Ashley here is three and a half,” she said, indicating the toddler, “and Jessica here is two.”

“How wonderful,” Elizabeth smiled kindly. "I have fond memories of when these two were that age.

The young mother hid a sigh within a laugh. “Yes, it’s wonderful, but it has its difficulties, too. Ashley, for example, still thinks toilet training is a game. Sometimes she’ll play along but other times she holds back until she’s put back into a diaper.”

“Still in diapers at three and a half?” Nicole asked incredulously."

“Unfortunately. The doctor says it’s extremely important not to rush things, though, and to be supportive without pushing too much. Late training seems to be a common things these days.”

“Yes, I consider myself very lucky that these two,” Elizabeth said, indicating her two daughters, “were both trained by age two.”

“Mother!” Nicole said, aghast that her mother would talk about her own toilet training in public.

“I’m sorry, darling. These are just some things that mothers talk about. You will too, someday.”

“I agree with not rushing the child, though,” Jenn said. She suddenly found all eyes on her following her unexpected contribution on the matter.

“I just mean it’s like anything else in life…nothing happens before it’s time.”

“Perhaps,” the young mother said, "but I doubt her kindergarten teachers will thank me if I send her in diapers with a note saying “she didn’t seem ready and we didn’t want to rush her.”

“Understandably,” Jenn said.

"Are you ready to order?’ A waiter whose nametag read “John” was standing at the young family’s table, so the Robbins again said it was nice meeting them and that they wished them the best of luck before turning back to their own table. No sooner had Drew picked up his coffee cup than Penny reappeared with a platter full of hot food.

Nicole took a long, deep, breath. “I love breakfast,” she sighed as she smelled, in turn, her mother’s Belgian waffle, sizzling bacon, eggs, pancakes, and steak.

Silence descended upon the Robbins’ table as each tucked into their breakfast. Not a word was uttered until the plates were clean and cups were empty. They heaved a collective sigh of contentment.

“Can I get you anything else?” Penny asked, noticing they’d finished their meals.

Drew looked around to each family member in turn and, sensing no objection, he said, “just the check, please.”

“Coming right up.” Penny said, and walked off to the register. She returned moments later with the check enclosed in a leather case and four peppermints.

“I’ll take that whenever you’re ready,” she said.

Drew passed the mints out, then took the check, opened it, slid his American Express gold card into the slot, closed it, and put it back on the edge of the table.

“How far is it to Grandma’s house?” Nicole asked as Penny took the check and Drew’s card from the table and went to swipe it.

“It’s roughly an hour from here if we don’t stop again,” Drew said.

“Oh, that’s not too bad. I’m really excited to see everyone. We haven’t seen Emma or Danielle in ages.”

“Well, then,” Elizabeth said as Drew signed the restaurant’s copy of the receipt and placed his copy in his wallet, “let’s be off, shall we?”

"Not so fast,’ Drew said. “Let’s all use the rest room before we go.”

The Robbins Family Reunion Chapter 1

nicely written first chapter it’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

The Robbins Family Reunion Chapter 1

I’d just like to quibble with the Grand Slam. I have not yet found anybody, much less a teen (I’m assuming that Jean is a teen, I’m thinking maybe 14-15ish) who is able to clean their plate after ordering one. I eat more than I probably should and I can barely finish one, not counting the pancakes.

Other than that, it was excellent.

Well, you did claim that stopping the car worked the daughter, rather than woke, but that’s absurdly minor.

The Robbins Family Reunion Chapter 1

I eat the grand slam and desert with room to spare since they no longer have the super slam (3 of each).

Great start to the story.

The Robbins Family Reunion Chapter 1

I’m going to wait to see where this heads: not much has really gone on yet.

I felt you added a lot of characters quite quickly and found it almost a little confusing to keep track of who was who and obviously, we as yet know very little about them.

The Robbins Family Reunion Chapter 1

I’ve actually decided this isn’t the first chapter as I wrote what I thought was the second one. Look out for the reordered version…this chapter doesn’t change there…but it’s not the opener.

The Robbins Family Reunion Chapter 1

Nice chapter, can’t wait to see what it leads to.

The Robbins Family Reunion Chapter 1

Ugh… Denny’s….

The Robbins Family Reunion Chapter 1

Very nice writing style. On the story, the only thing I would say is that there are too many character names and you need to develop each character before you start rattling them off like that. When you develop them more, readers can follow them easily