"Honey, go check with Uncle Ned, see if that chili is ready, would you?" Iris gestured toward the kitchen and Tessa scurried off.
"Don't tell me Ned is cooking already." A shudder worked through her at the thought of her foster-brother cooking amid all that grime she had seen in the kitchen.
"Re-heating, more like. He got the pressure washing hose going, then doused it all with disinfectant and slid the new work tables into place while everything was dripping." Iris rolled her eyes. "Don't call it cooking where he can hear you. He refuses to admit anything done in a microwave is cooking."
"Oh. Good." She sighed. "I mean, okay." Despite her, a sighing giggle escaped her. "How did you talk him into running a diner, instead of that gourmet restaurant he's been dreaming of since that vo-ed culinary arts program?"
"He gets to experiment on our customers. He can see himself developing a line of take-home meals and ending up with a nationwide chain. How he's going to reconcile that with his loathing for frozen food, I don't know." She chuckled and settled down in the gleaming clean booth, gesturing for Hope to take the bench seat opposite her. "You know why I sent Tessa on that errand."
Hope nodded. She was almost relieved to have this long-overdue sit-down straighten-out talk with Iris.