Atticus stormed into the kitchen, snatched up his apron and donned it. Jo had come back from the ladies’ room. Before going back to work, she and Brielle watched Atticus closely and knew that something was terribly wrong. Atticus looked at Jo and Brielle.
“I need to talk to you both. I’ll have the other waitresses cover your tables, let’s go in the back,” he said in distress.
Brielle and Jo followed Atticus to the breakroom in the back and they all sat down at one of the tables.
“Would you believe those sons of bitches threatened to burn this place down!” Atticus cried, “I’ve worked too hard for this to happen! I’ve busted my ass my whole life to get where I am, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that happen!” He swore angrily, “Those rotten Crabtree’s! They took my family and now they’re threatening to take my business and livelihood too! I’ll kill those bastards!”
An Outraged and Determined Atticus and a Deeply Concerned Brielle
“No, Atticus! Please! Don’t flip out! Because that’s what they want you to do! They want you to lose your shit and that’s why they keep pushing you! You’ve got to rise above it!” Jo cried, “Please, Atticus, you don’t want to go to prison!”
“Oh, my God. Why do I feel that this is all because of me? Atticus, I can’t let them burn your place down. I’ll quit if I have to! I can find another job! But you won’t start another business as easily!” Brielle told him.
“It’s not because of you, Brielle! This cold war between Atticus and the Crabtree’s was brewing long before you came into the picture, honey!” Jo assured her.
“Oh, no! Nope! I don’t want you to quit, Brielle! If you quit, that means that I’ve somehow capitulated to those creeps! At least that’s how they’ll see it! Please, Brielle, stay on here. You’re a good worker and I won’t allow them to tell me who I can hire to work in my place of business!”
“Are you sure?”
“Damn right, I’m sure.”
“Okay. I’ll stay. I’m just worried about you and Jo.”
Brielle shook her head.
“They’re beginning to escalate this shit, Atticus. And I don’t know what they’ll do next. I’ve got to be honest with you and Jo both. I’m so afraid. I’m so, so afraid now. I’m afraid for you, me, my children. I’m afraid for everyone and everything I love and care about,” she said.