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Prince of Food Ep 10: Pad Thai


⧫Jackson Young



Sometimes I wonder if, in a past life, I did something terribly unforgivable.

Why do you ask? Well, that would be the only way to explain how things went from bad to painfully worst.

Ever since my ... reunion I guess with Jasmine I feel like I've been walking around on eggshells.  Hayden keeps throwing me strange inquiring looks like I'm some interesting specimen. Jacob who is still unaware is growing curious about the strange tension between Hayden and me. And to top it off my grams has decided that today was the perfect day for me to be introduced to both the restaurant I would be taking over and also the people I would be working with.

She wouldn't even let me drive myself, apparently, I couldn't be trusted to not runoff. Which hurts, to be honest.

It is also fair but still hurts.

The car ride was mostly in silence however I could feel her throwing glances at me a few times. Which made me increasingly nervous as she suddenly turns down a rather run-down alleyway. She then stops and actually turns off the car.

I ...think my grandmother is going to kill me. Please send help.

"Uh, grams. Did I do something bad or upset you?" I ask in a nervous but trying to fake a calm tone.

She gives me a reasonably confused look which basically reads 'boy the hell are you talking about?' I get out of the car and gestured around to the creepy alleyway we were in.

"This screams you are going to murder me and stuff me in a carry-on bag."

The dry unamused glimpse she gives is expected and honestly comforting.

"Jackson, I swear to god. Just move, the place is up here." She says before walking away in a huff.

I follow behind her, still eyeing around us like a tourist in an unknown place. This is true but at the same time, I could admit I was exaggerating a bit.

Fortunately, the walk wasn't long and we stop before a small abandoned-looking building. Everything was still chained and up which made me raise an eyebrow to my grams.

"Uh, you sure your friend is here?"

"She's here, just be patient." Gram responded, her tone already bordering annoyance but then again that's my special charm.

"Oh, it's one of you lady friends? Well then maybe this won't be too bad after all. All  your friends love me!" I said confidently.

Indeed, Gram's friends usually love me to pieces, whether is due to my good looks or personality, it is hard to tell. Grams, on the other hand, hate this fact with a passion. She usually doesn't introduce her friends to me as a result since I tend to get them on my side in most arguments.

Suddenly Gram lets out a short and very ominous laugh. A smirk places on her lips as she turns to me looking absolutely delighted.

"Oh, she won't."

Alarm bells immediately went off at full blast. Only a few of my grams friends don't just love me on principle for my good looks and flatter. And judging by that very sinister laugh, this friend of her is within that few.

"But grams-"

"Oh, you're both here already."

I nearly jumped out of my own skin at hearing a very clear voice speak right next to me. Both Grams and I turned to see, and much to my surprise a young woman. Well, at least younger than I was expecting for sure. She looked about my age, maybe a few years older? Although for some reason she looked oddly familiar. Her tan-colored skin with dark brown hair was pulled back into a messy bun. Her dark-colored eyes were narrowed on me, looking me up and down. I was dressed as casually as possible, dark slacks with a button-down black shirt. Grams wasn't awfully specific with the details of this meeting. The woman in question was also dress rather casually. A white button-down shirt with dark brown, kind of baggy overalls. She seemed to have finished her assessment as she just turns to my grams with a smile. Which honestly felt a bit rude to me.

"Ah, morning Michelle, it's good to see you." The woman said as she bent down and hugged my grandmother.

The two seemed to have completely forgotten my existence as they melted into a conversation in a language that soundly oddly like french? It wasn't until I cleared my throat, loudly might I add, that they seemed to remember that I was there as well. My gram's face almost looked as if she wishes that I had spontaneously disappeared as she lazily introduced me.

"Jackson, I'm sure you remember Andria?"

I really don't but I'm sure as hell not letting her know that.

"Of course I remember. It's good to see you again!" I said with a plastic smile.

Both Andria and my gram just stare at me for a few moments in silence with knowing looks. Like they knew some secret I didn't. But honestly, at this point in time, I could really care less.

"Andria, please shape him up into a responsible part of society."

I threw my grams a rather offended look as Andria lets out a soft chuckle. My grams was always so hurtful with her words.

"Ouch Grams, that's cold even for you." I said placing a hand over my heart with a pout.

She doesn't even look guilty, just rolls her eyes and ignores me.

"Oh, he's going to be a lot of fun." Andria says as she unlocks the shop.

As the guard gate swings up and the shop is fully revealed my poster smile dies a slow death.

This place.... was a dump. The walls were painted an ungodly shade of pink. There were ... polka dots painting in all different eye assaulting colors and to top it all off, the name on the front was "The Pretty Princess".

Like it could burn up in a fire, be condensed into a small package of ashes, and then spread over a pile of manure and personally...

...I would like it better then.

Unknown to me at the time, both my Grams and Andria were staring at me while I took in this..wonder.

And then Andria asks me the very last question I wanted to answer.

"So what do you think?"

I turned to her slowly, my smile as stiff as aboard. I was doing a terrible job of selling my interest in this dumper fire of a restaurant. I honestly tributed this for the last few stressful days I've been through.

"It's... unique!" I said in a voice that didn't even sound remotely sincere even to my own ears.

Instantly both Andria and my grams burst out into laughter.

"Oh man, you were right. He is a kiss ass." Andria laughs as she walks past me into the shop.

Okay, now I'm sure my grams is has been trash-talking me to this woman. I throw an accusing look to my grandmother who at least this time looks a little bit guilty.


"Ah, come on. You should see the place, inside is much better." She said, pointedly ignoring me and walking into the restaurant.

I let out a deep sigh and just follow behind her and immediately stopped upon crossing the threshold.

Did she say it's better on the inside?

Cause that was a straight-up lie.

The inside was just as bad if not worst than the out. That same god-awful pink was here again. This time however with flowers all arranged towards the bottom of the walls. The counter space was an unappealing green that clashed horribly and as if for fun, there was a shag rug over the floor.

I could practically feel my soul escaping.

"It almost hurts your soul doesn't it?" Andria asks.

"Please tell me you didn't design this?"

"Haha, hell no. The owner was my great-grandma. She's had this place for like forever and refused to sell or change it. Stubborn old woman." Andria explained with a soft smile.

Well, that honestly explains the rather dated look of this place.

"When she died, it was changed over to my grandma and then to my mother. Both didn't want to do anything with the place given its rather...unique appearance." Andria continues, with a small obvious jab at me for my stupid statement from before.

"Haha, hilarious."

"It is actually. My ma was going to sell this place, but I begged her to sell to me. I mean, yeah the place is a dump but I was determined to open my own shop. Been a dream of mines since I was young."

It was at the moment that I looked back again at Andria and something just clicked in my head.

I did know this woman.

"Wait, An-Andria?"

She looks back at me a bit confused before she realized the look of recognition on my face.

"Ah, finally figured it out huh?"

Ah, shit. Now I understood why grams said she wouldn't like me.

Andria is my cousin on my mother's side. God, it's been a few years since I'd last seen her and honestly, she looks different every time she visits.

Her mother is my mom's sister and unfortunately, they do not get along as all. Too much competition between the two.

And tragically for Andria and me, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree which is weird since both our grams mothers seemed to get along just fine.

Since we were young, we're were like oil in water. Always arguing and never seeing eye to eye. Andria being the older one, always had to be right while I was always getting to the short end of the stick. Not to say Andria wasn't good at whatever she does, quite the opposite. She was smart and she always wanted to rub it in my face. We spent years always trying to one-up one another until she and her family moved to Paris.

Hell, both of our grams used to have to separate both us and our mothers at times.

It was not the prettiest of looks, I will admit.

Now all at once, things were starting to make more sense. Grams always told me about great-gram's weird border lining on obsession with pink but god have I never expected something like this.

"And this is what you're starting me off on?" I said turning to my grams.

I feel like I've been duped.

"Yes. You will be helping her with the design, management, staffing, etc." She responded plainly.

Now while the cooking portion I was mostly hopeless in, but management, design were my key traits. Hell, I practically solo designed the club when we were remodeling.

But Andria wasn't Hayden or Jacob.

This was going to end like a war, I just knew it.

"Grams, don't you think it a bit... risky pairing us up for something like this?" I said pointing between Andria and I.

Andria let out a scoff and crossed her arm over her chest while grams gave me a look that clearly stated that her decision was final.

"Jackson, you are going to work together. This way I can make sure you're actually working and not goofing off somewhere."

"Wow, you have absolutely no faith in me!"


I'm almost hurt by this declaration of my grams. Andria then pipes in with her unhelpful statement.

"Just deal with it, Jackson. I need a business partner and grams want to make sure you're on a short lease. Either way, it's a win-win!"

"Where do  I account in this situation, it's certainly not a win for me!" I said with a glare at her.

Both grams and Andria wave me off. They then dived back into a deep conversation that I could neither make heads or tails of on some show.

I believe I'm being bullied.

I was just about to lose all faith, my phone buzzes. I stealthily answer it while sneak a little bit away to talk in private.

"Yoo~~ My brother from another mother. How are you, not dead I'm assuming?"

Ah blessed Jacob, always able to make my poor mood into something a bit better.

"I'm being bullied Jac."

"Aw, you poor thing. Did grams hurt your feelings?"

"She's trying to give me a heart attack with this place."

"Yikes, that bad huh?"

"Worst than that. And to make things even better, Andria is my business partner!"

"Andria...? Why does that name- WAIT!"

I almost drop my phone at the loud yell Jacob lets out directly into my ear.

My grams and Andria turn to look at me like I grew another head before turning back to their own conversation again. I slowly put the phone next to my ear again.

"Are you trying to make me deaf asshole?!"

"Oh sorry sorry! It just I could have sworn you said Andria."

"I did. She's my business partner in this fucked up situation."

There was silence for a few seconds before a crack of a chuckle which then boiled into full-on laughter. And it wasn't just one voice either.

"Wait, is that Hayden? Why are  you two idiots laughing?!"

Much to my deep displeasure, they just continued to laugh like hyenas.

Did I say they were a blessing? I mean, a curse. A deep, resentful curse.

I hung up almost immediately.

"Hey grams, how much would it cost to dump two bodies into the Atlantic?" I asked in a dry tone.

She actually turns to me, a completely sober look on her face.

"It depends on who you ask."

Both Andria and I look at grams with equal looks of confusion and shock. Her face doesn't even twitch in the slightest.

"Uh... I-I was joking grams..."

She almost looks disappointed but then shrugs her shoulders.

"...Anyway, I'll do it. But don't blame me if it just blows up." I said with a shrug.

My grams didn't appear to be bothered by my nonchalant attitude, probably was expecting something like this.

"It's fine. I'm well aware of both your strengths and weakness. This will work out just fine." She said with the pure confidence of a successful businesswoman.

It was clear what her underline message was. Do your best or else.

I let out a deep sigh as she walks past me and out of the restaurant. Andria walks over casually to me, waving her phone at me with a smile.

"Give me your number, so I can call you to discuss business."

I stop myself from sneer unconsciously at her before giving her my number. Like it or not, I have to work with her.

"Good! Now come on, we need to make sure we make our reservation."

I turned to her a bit confused.

"Um, I came with grams so-"

"Oh, she didn't tell you that I was going to be meeting with you afterward?" She said as she walks towards the entrance of the door.

Ah, I've been abandoned...

"I really am being bullied..." I mumbled under my breath with a shake of my head.

"Hmm? What are you mumbling about? Come on already!"

I followed behind Andria as she exits the shop. After closing up and relocking the restaurant. We both walk back to her car. It doesn't take too long to get to the place we were eating lunch. It wasn't anything I'm used to, a more small-time dinner. Mostly like a family-owned given the small size and rather home design. We sat down and the waiter brought over the menus. I frown almost as soon as see the selection.

"It's all spicy foods..."

"Yeah, isn't it great?!" Andria responds with a wide grin.

I let out a sigh in response.

She knows damn well that I don't like spicy foods. Before when we were young, she used to make me eat her chaotic concoctions when she was just learning how to cook. I swear it gave me PTSD. Since then spicy foods always make my stomach turn.

"You know I hate spicy foods."

"Oh boo ho. You're still acting like that after all these years?" She said.

"And who to blame for that?!"

She ignores me to flag down the waiter having chosen her meal already. Fortunately for me, there were some milder food options. After ordering, she turns up to me with a familiar calculating look.

"So, tell me. What crawled up your butt and died?"

I looked at her confused.

"What do you mean?"

"Come on, Jackson. I'm not an idiot, something is bothering you. That much is obvious even with all the posturing you do on a daily basis." She said with a pointed look.

Ah yes, my second and bigger reason that Andria and I are a chaotic mixed.

She is a mindreader.

...Well okay no that's a lie but sometimes I swear to god she just knows too damn much.

I frown back at her with a glare. I wasn't about to discuss anything with her.

"Like I'll tell you anything. All you'll do is judge me like you always do. No thanks."

"Aw, come on. I always do that. But with love.." She said with a facial expression that I think was trying to express her support but just made her look constipated.

"No means no Andria. Ever heard of consent?"

She just sneers at me in response. Before she could try to dig further thankfully the waiter returns with our meal. Andria's meal was so spicy I could smell it from my seat which made my nose crinkle in disgust. I, on the other hand, had something more simple.

"Ugh Pad Thai? God, you are so boring!"

I glare up at her from my meal.

"Do I criticize your food choices? No, yeah didn't think so." I said before diving back to my meal.

I enjoy Pad Thai considering it's one of the milder to no spicy options most Thai restaurants offer. Andria just is too crazy with her food choices. She's eaten all kinds of strange shit and honestly, it always frightens me to go out to eat with her even in the past. It was like playing Russian roulette with my food palette.

"Bah, you're just a baby." She taking a large bite of her meal.

I don't give her another response and just continue to eat.

"Is it about a girl?"

I practically inhale my next bite and proceed to start a coughing fit. I scrambled to take a bring of my water while hacking up a lung.

"Well, that's a yes." She said casually like I was literally choking not 1 foot away from her.

After a good couple of minutes of coughing, I finally was able to speak.

"H-how the hell did you even think that?!"

"I mean, it doesn't take a genius to make that guess. And considering the rumors that have been flying around you, it was an educated guess."

I clam up almost immediately. I knew that things were bad but since it's been a few days since everything went to shit, it's always a hit to be reminded.

"Hmm, well your wrong."

"Oh, so it is a boy? Well, that is interesting" She said with a wide sly grin.

"W-what? NO! That's not what I mean."

"Getting mixed signals here cuz. Why don't you explained?"

God damn it, I'm actually going to rely on her, aren't I? Ugh, today just sucks.

After a kind of spotty explanation which was honestly hilarious to watch Andria's facial journey through. She then settles for an almost impressed look.

"I would say I'm almost impressed with how magically you managed to fuck up that badly. But then again I've been around you when we were younger. You in panic is a beautiful mess."

See, this is why I don't tell her shit.

"Thanks, Andria, lovely compliments all around."

"But that isn't everything, right? The way you reacted when I said a girl, begs that question that there's more?"

She likes a damn shark, the first whiff of blood and she won't stop and until she's devoured her prey whole. And telling her about Jasmine is like the very last thing I want to do.

Cause she knows about Jasmine. Hell, she came all the way from Paris, in a righteous fury because of the whole messy situation. So she is the very last person I would like to know if anyone.

"It's nothing."

"...It's that bitch again isn't it?"

The temperature around us drops significantly as I felt my heart drop into my stomach. I looked up slowly to see what I was dreading all along. Andria was fucking pissed.


"Jackson shut the fuck up for a minute."

My mouth close with a click. The silence between us is just making my heart pound and I could feel a cold sweat building. She let out a sigh and pushes away her food.

"I'm guessing since Grams didn't seem bothered, she doesn't know? And if she doesn't know absolutely your parents don't. So that leaves twidle dee and dumb?"

I didn't say a word but as I said before Andria is like a shark. And she fucking knows too damn much.

"Since Jacob is an obtuse as a rock as times, I'm going on a limb and say he know jack all. Hayden on the other hand has some level of intellect to he knows or at least figured it out."

I felt flayed open, like a wound exposed for deep examination.

"When did this happen?"

"...A few days ago..." I said, feel a heavy sense of deja-vu to when I was younger.

"Jesus Christ, Jackson." She said with a disappointed huff.

"How? You know what- I don't give a fuck about that. Phone now."

I look up at her again shocked.


"Are you deaf, give me your phone. Knowing you, she begged for your number and you folded like a house of cards from so damn crocodile tears."

And reason number 3 for my dislike of Andria. She's fucking mean. No one, not even Grams would do this.

I slowly and very reluctantly hand over my phone. She takes it and opens it with ease cause of course she remembers that password that I never change. Then with a few clicks, she tosses it down on the table.


No doubt, Jasmine's number is both deleted and blocked. I could help the deep-seated dread that builds in my stomach. I knew, from then on, it wasn't going to be that simple. Something just told me that.

"Now we can get back to work." She said in a crisp business-like tone.

After that, she just dives back into a work conversation like everything that just took place didn't even happen. And I slowly but surely joined in.

But no matter what, I just couldn't shake that feeling.

Something bad was going to happen, and I hope to god that I was ready for it.

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