A new business takes off in this upbeat complete story by Andrea Wotherspoon.
I’M not going,” Will said, slicing a sausage in half. “This is food.” He held out his fork with a fat slice of sausage on it. “What they’re cooking isn’t food, it’s a load of nonsense, and I’m not going to pander to them.” He put the fork-speared sausage into his mouth and chewed fiercely. Teresa sighed. “Please don’t be so melodramatic. I had hoped that today you would at least make an effort for them. It would mean a lot to them if you turned up on their opening day. They need your support.’
“My support?” Will cried, his face reddening. “They didn’t need my support when they decided to tear up my grandfather’s dream, his vision, and turn it into some flash in the pan. How would he feel if he could see it now?”
“Proud, I’d hope,” Teresa said. “The shop had been losing custom for a while now; they had to do something different. There are too many supermarkets around there now, you know that. And this is something Nina believes in. They had to put their own stamp on the place and do what was right for them.”
“It’s my own fault, really,” Will replied. “I should never have signed the place over to them. I know what Nina’s like, and I should have known Ben would never stand up to her.”
“Oh, Will, you don’t mean that, love,” Teresa replied gently. “Ben agreed with her. She didn’t bully him into this.”
Will held up his fork again with another lump of sausage on the end.
“Proper butcher’s sausage, this. Supermarket meat has nothing like the quality we used to produce in the shop. Not even in the same league. There’s a whole community losing out now.”
Teresa closed her eyes and shook her head gently.
“There are other butchers people can shop at, if they so desire. Things have changed and you need to accept that. It’s Nina and Ben’s dream now, and I’m sure you’ll like what they’ve done with the place.”
“Hrmph,” Will replied, hacking at a slice of bacon.
“I love it!” Nina said. She rubbed her hands together and bounced on the balls of her feet. “Doesn’t it look amazing? And that smell of freshly ground coffee.” She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. Ben, arms folded, looked around the café. They had kept the original white tiles on the walls, but had added a small gallery of family photographs taken outside the building over the years.
“Yep. Got to hand it to you, this was an even better idea than I thought it would be.” Nina’s smile faded. “Do you think Dad will come?” Ben frowned and leaned against the counter. He wanted to say yes, to keep Nina’s spirits up, but Will had told him last week that he had no intention of ever setting foot in the place again.
“I don’t know. Mum might convince him, but he’s still not happy, and you know how stubborn he is.” Nina frowned. “He’s had months to get over it! He’s barely spoken to me since he found out what we were planning.”
“Me neither,” her brother replied. “He thinks I’ve let him down – butcher’s son turned vegetarian chef. But he’s always known that catering was what I wanted to do!”
“You think you let him down? At least you eat meat! I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me for being vegetarian.”
Ben reached over and patted his sister on the arm.
“Don’t let him get to you. Don’t let him ruin today. You’ve worked hard for this.’
“We both have. What do you reckon Grandad and Great-grandad would say to this? Same as Dad?”
“Nah. Great-grandad was a shrewd businessman – he’d say we used our initiative. We’ve turned a business that was barely making a profit into something completely different that will hopefully work for us.”
“I hope so,” Nina replied, hugging her elbows. “It’s something new for the area, and the response so far has been positive. I just really hope Dad comes.”
“I hope so, too. He’ll like the touches. All the things you’ve left from the shop.” Nina laughed. “A few of my friends think it’s macabre.” “It’s our heritage. We can’t turn our back on where we’ve come from and who we are. It’s nice to preserve a bit of that, to chart the journey. It embraces how our family made their living and shows it in a new light.”
“I just hope I can restore the karmic balance somehow,” Nina said solemnly. Ben rolled his eyes. “Hey!” She hit him playfully on the arm. “I know you think it’s all hokum, but it means a lot to me.”
“I know it does. I remember you telling me, when you were about fourteen, that you wanted to turn the shop into a vegetarian shop as payback for all the animals our family had killed for meat over the years! A vegetarian butcher’s, you said.” Nina laughed. “That was just after I stopped eating meat. Dad couldn’t understand; he was so angry.”
“Well, here it is; your dream at fruition. Dad will just need to get used to things.”
“He thinks I corrupted you,” Nina said quietly.
“Don’t be daft. I knew what I was getting into and I could have objected. But the butcher trade was failing, and it couldn’t keep us going. Plus my heart wasn’t in it, and I knew yours wouldn’t be, either.
“I told Dad I was only a butcher because it was the family business. I always intended to go back to catering. It was just that once I got stuck in the shop, it was hard to get out again.”
The alarm on Nina’s phone beeped. She looked at Ben and beamed. “It’s time,” she said. Ben nodded towards the door. “Best open up, then. Look, there are some people waiting outside already. Let’s do this!”
WILL, please,” Teresa said. “Even if you never set foot in the place again. Just for today, for your children. Especially Nina. You’ll regret it if you don’t.”
Will kept his eyes on the newspaper, pretending not to hear.
“She means no harm or disrespect, and she wants you to be proud of what she and