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       Last Resort, p.4

           Jill Sanders
By the end of three weeks, the place looked spotless. There had been a couple problems, but with help from her brothers and a few contractors they’d hired, everything had smoothed out.

  The place had passed inspection with flying colors, and she now had her liquor license hanging behind the bar in a silver frame.

  Opening day was less than two days away and still her brothers stuck by her side. She had most of her staff hired and was still training a few of them. The food and liquor had been delivered and Cole had helped out immensely in the kitchen, working with the staff she’d hired to make sure there were appetizing items on the menu that the customers would enjoy. They had even set up several tables and chairs out front for customers to sit at during the day. After all, Boardwalk Bar & Grill, or the BBnG as she liked to call it, would be open for lunch and dinner.

  She stood back and watched the sign being lowered on to the front of the building. The letters of “Boardwalk” were in yellow, and “Bar & Grill” sat below it in white. The sign would glow at night, showing off the crisp letters.

  She had smaller signs from some of her vendors posted in the new front windows. Awnings hung over the three large windows to shield customers from the hot sun as they dined out front in the gated areas. There were tall palm trees out front, which created shade, too.

  Cole had suggested she hang planters on the large wood posts of the boardwalk, which closed in her patio area. Marcus had worked for three days to build the small boxes, which she filled with brightly colored tropical flowers.

  The place looked wonderful, better than even she had envisioned. They’d painted the outside a dark teal blue with white around the windowsill and doorways, giving the old place a brand new look.

  She watched as her brothers walked out the front doors. They looked good together. An image of watching them walk out of the Grayton house together that first time played in her mind. They looked the same, but different. Now they were all well over six foot. Their bodies and faces were different from one another, yet they were brothers in every sense. They would stick together through anything. Cassey smiled at them as they approached her.

  “The place looks good,” Marcus said, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Can you believe it? You’re a business owner.”

  “I always thought that Roman would be the only entrepreneur,” Cole said, throwing an arm around his brother and rubbing his shorter hair.

  “Knock it off,” Roman said, pushing Cole away.

  “What needs to be done now?” Marcus asked, looking down at her. If she didn’t think of them all as her brothers, she would swoon over the attention they gave her, but she’d never felt that pull towards any of them.

  “Fliers.” She smiled at them. “Opening day is two days away and we need to hit the beach and the streets.” She had stacks of fliers she’d printed out on her new laser printer in her newly remodeled office the night before.

  Cole groaned. “Aww, man. Really?”

  “Hey, don’t knock it. It’s the best way to pick up girls. Remember that summer I spent working for Petro’s?” Marcus smiled.

  Roman laughed. “The summer you had twelve girlfriends?”

  “The very same.” Marcus smiled. “I’m game. But if you want to sit this one out, Cole,” he said, grabbing his brother in a headlock, “maybe you don’t like girls.”

  “Knock it off, you two,” Cassey said under her breath. She was the peacemaker between her brothers. She’d broken up more fights and acts of roughhousing than she could count. Maybe that’s why she’d never thought of them as anything but brothers.

  For the next two days, Cassey stayed busy as her brothers handed out stack after stack of fliers. When opening morning came around, she stood looking at her staff and her brothers in the main dining room.

  “Is everyone ready for today?” Everyone shook their heads. “If there are any problems at all, don’t hesitate to let me know. How’s the kitchen?” She looked towards Sam, the head chef she’d hired two weeks ago. He was a middle-aged man who had a long line of impressive references.

  “Great. Ready to get cooking.” He smiled.

  “Wendy, how’s everything behind the bar?”

  “Ready,” her head bartender replied. “The last of the stock arrived yesterday, so we are up and ready. Can I just mention that I love that you took my advice on the blenders.” She smiled a warm smile. Wendy had been invaluable and was quickly becoming one of Cassey’s best friends. “I can’t wait to whip up some mixed drinks.”

  Cassey nodded. “You’ve all been so wonderful.” She looked down at her watch. “Now, how about we open those doors and see what happens. Stations everyone.” She clapped her hands.

  “What about us?” Marcus asked.

  “Stand over there and look gorgeous…and flirt with all the single ladies.” She smiled.

  “Can do.” He saluted her and then turned to his brothers. “Pure torture.” They laughed as they walked over to the bar area and immediately started flirting with Wendy.

  Cassey walked to the front doors, closed her eyes for just a moment, and took a deep breath.

  A memory flashed in her mind. Her stepmother hovered over her as she screamed, “You will never amount to anything. You hear me girl? You are worthless.”

  Opening her eyes, she straightened her shoulders and flipped the lock on the doors. The sunlight hit her face and she smiled as she saw the long line of customers waiting outside.

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