Writers (in order): Alyssa Atienza, Sophie, Evret Raines, Daniel J., Emilia, Mei Knutson, Joey Davenport, Raisa T., Crystal Tse, Maddy Moye’. Editor: Irene Tsen.
Alicia yelped as she tripped over her own feet. She wasn’t typically clumsy, but today was another story.
“Late, late! I’m so late!” she yelled as she struggled to make it out the door and into her car. Despite this, she was pretty calm when she was behind the wheel.
“Safety first, I guess…” she muttered under her breath. A bustling twenty minutes later and she finally arrived at her destination: the beloved Cheesecake Factory. She quickly got out of her car and dialed her mother’s number, just like she promised she would a couple of days ago.
“Mom? Hey, Mom! Yeah, I’m at the Cheesecake Factory.” She bursted through the door, only half paying attention to her surroundings. “Did I bring my what? Oh, my Epi—oh, my EpiPen!”
That was when Alicia spotted the one person she’d been looking forward to seeing: her date, sitting in the far corner. His back was facing the entrance, but as soon as he heard the door open, he turned around and made eye contact with Alicia, who was frantically yelling into her phone. Mortified, she ended the call and walked over to her date, hoping to deal with the EpiPen issue a little later.
“Hi, there!” she said, then realized her voice was just a little too high-pitched. Clearing her throat, she slid into the seat across from him and offered what she hoped would be a charming smile. “Sorry I’m late. Crazy work stuff, you know?”
He chuckled and nodded. “Don’t worry about it. I totally get that.”
She smiled and opened her mouth to speak, but just then their waiter came over and asked for their orders. Alicia flushed red—it had been a long time since she’d been to the Cheesecake Factory, and she hadn’t had a chance to look at the menu in her rush. Luckily, her date noticed her embarrassment and turned to the waiter, ordering desserts for both of them without missing a beat. The waiter jotted down the order and left them to enjoy their evening.
Her gaze fell upon her date, and a flutter of anticipation stirred within her. I can’t believe I landed a date with my crush! she thought. I’ve been wishing for this opportunity for years.
Suddenly, her phone let out a raucous chorus of jangles from her pocket. Alicia grabbed her phone, hands sweaty, and answered. It was her mother.
“Mom,” she said, mortified, “What do you want?”
“Do you have your EpiPen?” yelled her mother. “You need to bring your EpiPen whenever you eat out! You never know when something could have lemon in it, especially at these restaurants! I’m driving over there!”
Alicia looked apologetically at her date. “Sorry, it’s my mom. Do you mind if I take this? I won’t be but a second,” Alicia asked, trying to hide her embarrassment.
He gave a sympathetic smile. “Take your time.”
She left the table and found a quiet place to talk. “Mom, now is really not the time.”
“I’m sorry for caring about my only daughter’s well-being. How many times have I told you not to leave home without it? Do you need me to bring it? I’m bringing it.”
“God, no!” she pleaded. “Mom, I’m not going to die at the freaking Cheesecake Factory. It’s just one meal. I’ll live.”
Alicia returned to the dinner table, easing the awkwardness of her loud call with a smile.