Closing time at Alente Bistro… The tables, windows, and floors were cleaned. The outdoor dining area was all packed up. Leftover food was packed up or prepared to either be thrown out, donated, or brought home by employees.
As I was changing my shirt, thoughts came into my mind. What was Valerie’s relationship with Ren? I think I was brooding over this question because I was interested in learning more about Ren and less about Valerie. She said that Ren was a large factor in Alente’s success, right? So what did he do? He never worked at Alente, so it can't be related to that. So what happened? I could ask Ren about it, but I have a feeling Valerie would grant more insight — I should ask her the next time I see her.
I was the last person to leave. As I was leaving the staff room, I noticed that someone was still sitting at one of the booths. It was Valerie — speak of the devil… Since she lives in an apartment upstairs, I guess there is no rush for her to leave.
I walked up to her.
She got up from her usual casual and bored-looking position and smiled at me.
“Oh, hello Camryn. Good work today!”
“Thanks, you too.”
She adjusted herself again.
“You’re on your way home, right? Well, be careful out there and make sure you get home before it gets dark. Oh, and say ‘hey to Ren for me!”
She always tells me to greet Ren for her whenever I leave, so their relationship is pretty strong… Valerie also said that they’re good friends…
“A-Actually Valerie, are you busy right now? I have a question…”
“A question, eh…”
“I’m not busy right now, so sure — shoot!”
Okay, that’s good to hear… I’m asking a pretty personal and big question, so I took a deep breath and readied myself.
“V-Valerie… What is Ren to you?”
She raised her brow at me.
“Well, obviously you two are friends, but you also said that he was a big contributor to Alente’s current status. He didn’t work here and he wasn’t a businessman, so how did he help? Can you please elaborate?”
Valerie resumed her casual position. As she stared out of the window, a look of nostalgia and reminiscence displayed on her face.
“Oh… You know Camryn, if you make me remember that time with Ren, it’ll make me feel bad for my poor husband…”
“Oh, don’t worry about it… Anyways, you want to know more about my relationship with Ren, right? Wow, you must be interested in him, right?”
“Sure, that makes sense… Anyways…”
I listened attentively to what Valerie was about to say.
“You know how I hired you so readily without getting to know you? It was because Ren told me about you. You see, Ren is… my old classmate and a good friend!”
I know that, she said so when I was getting hired.
“Yeah… In fact… I’m indebted to him.”
Valerie turned to me.
“Camryn, you remember when I said that Ren was a big contributor to my success? Well, to be honest, that was a pretty ambiguous answer…”
Valerie pointed at me. I felt that her final answer would be pretty revealing.
“You see Camryn, you can’t achieve your dream if you don’t have a dream to achieve in the first place!..”
Laurent High School… It is a simple high school located in the middle of a relatively small town. Even though the high school is located in a small place, it is pretty significant. A lot of parents send their children to this school because it is known to have diligent teachers, quality facilities, and generous funding. The public also suspected the students of this school to be high-ranking academically. However, just because the staff members are highly trained, it does not mean that each student is intelligent. This school acknowledges the academic standings of individuals, but not everyone is inclined to aim high.
This is where I chose to attend. My mother disagreed with my decision, but I won in the end.