Manual labourer, local cafes, Rylan found it tough finding a job to support his desire for independence until Newcrest Burger Palace called him back. Work was lousy, slave labour, cleaning tables four days a week, on four-hour shifts, the perks did include chatting with customers when the boss was absent. He hated that two shifts were Friday and Saturday, every week the same, with curfew kicking in at 9 pm, he had to turn down all the parties. Aria appreciated the frustration but refused to change the time to 11 pm. Rylan targeted Ziva, her focus on school irritated him, the good little sister home on time and achieving A grades, he messed with her projects, leaving her panicking in the morning, struggling to fix the damage.
It didn’t take Rylan long to get a promotion, relieved he stepped into the kitchen a burger master. His pay increased, the bonus alone was worth it, plus his hands were clean. Unfortunately, the shifts were the same, he was flipping burgers from the end of school till curfew, months had passed since he had last thrown a bowling ball. Another downside was his manager, a greasy-haired brute, rude to his staff whilst turning the charm on unsuspecting customers. Rylan lifted his kitchen colleagues spirits, cracking jokes and playing staffroom pranks, but his kitchen antics, a misplaced flip of the burger saw it drop to the floor, the other staff went silent and looked busy at their stations as Rylan cleaned up the mess. His boss had seen the incident and scolded Rylan for his actions that saw the burger fall; the wasted food which in his opinion Rylan should have cleaned and grilled. Eating here was gross, Rylan preferred to grab a sandwich from school than risk the food he served. Happy with the money, he served the dodgy burgers, praying no-one got food poisoning!
Aria took a surprising call from the principal, her face paled as he explained Rylan’s poor test results and back chatting teachers. Rylan had been altering his grades and the letters his teachers, Aria did wonder why Rylan was keen to collect the post everyday. Saturday morning she cornered him, no wriggle room or escape, she made him cancel his plans and take the evening off work. School sent makeup homework with Ziva and the assigned project. Aria needed Jose by her side, he could communicate with Rylan, his encouragement ensured their son did his homework, alone, she struggled to understand her growing children, their opposite personalities and outlooks. Her mother had made it all look so easy, but Aria had been career-minded and realised that without her husband by her side she was perhaps not really designed for motherhood.
Rylan was moody, no slamming doors, no raised voices though, accepting his fate, Ziva and Aria knelt with him to assemble the robot. He was quiet as Ziva helped him with maths, history and geography, none made sense to him, what use was any of it. Pushing his books aside, Rylan tapped messages on his phone, Ziva scowled and lunged for his phone, her chair slipping beneath her. Her brother thought she would give up her sunny Saturday to do his homework. Aria stormed in from the garden her marigolds blackened after cleaning the barbeque, snatching the phone she stared hard at both of them. After she cleaned herself up, rather than allowing Ziva to continue helping, Aria stood over Rylan as he studied, her various baked goods, distracting, but the occasional biscuit helped him stay glued to his seat.
The change in Rylan and his commitment to finishing projects surprised his teachers, despite his continued hatred of structured teaching methods. All this effort was to honour a deal with his mother to stop bunking off school. She let him keep his job, and extended the curfew to 11 pm, on the condition he worked hard to improve his grades. The overall results were significant, he was happier, no longer faking grades, he bumped up from E to C whilst knocking down pins with the guys. Aria wondered how long this improvement would last, Rylan had bad habits and they were all to easy to fall back on.