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Valentine’s Day at Kelp

by spukl1


The Maitre D' arrived at Kelp early to set up for the special Valentine’s Day dinner. When the restaurant first opened, it was booked and impossible to get in but nowadays, business has slowed down… except on special occasions like today. The Kelp Maitre D' prided himself on having the finest establishment in Neopia and Valentine’s Day was his absolute favorite holiday! Not even thoughts of the snooty Gourmet Club Quiggle could pop his spirit on a day like today.

     The Kelp Maitre D' donned a special suit jacket today: red velvet with a heart-patterned pocket square. He loved to dress in theme and he loved to serve his guests, especially on such a special day; a day of love and friendship. He flicked on the lighted orbs in the restaurant, watching as the white linen blushed into view. As always, Kelp looked impeccable and he was proud to call it his own. He unlocked the door of his office, breathing in the fresh coral smell and pulled out his leather-bound reservation book to confirm the seating for this evening.

     Holidays such as Valentine’s Day always brought in the most important Neopians and there could be no faux pas. He scanned the list: King Kelpbeard and his daughters at the best table in the house: table 6, a place to see and be seen without anyone overhearing you. The King did not make a reservation but the Maitre D' knew his ruler well… he would be there and demand a seat, so it was best to be prepared. At table 15 he placed Hannah and Kanrik, they were wonderful and noble Neopians but they were always a little unpolished, they both dressed in travelling garb instead of finer gowns and suits and brought one too many weapons to be close to refined company … so it was paramount for them to have a seat by the window. They liked to be near an exit anyway. On the opposite side of the restaurant at table 10 he placed Dr. Franklin Sloth and his companions, he always showed up with a few Grundos and Faeries, who were polite and a delight to have but ever since he tried to turn Hannah into a Mutant, it was best to keep them as far apart as possible. His eyes continued to scan the sheet, he nodded with approval of all of his special guests and their placements. Everything looked perfect so far. The Kelp Maitre D' placed his book back on his desk and moved on to the next task.

     As he exited his office to check the kitchen, the Kelp Waitress came in. She was happy to be there in shades of pink and he was pleased to see her. She was loyal, reliable and knew the Valentine’s Day menu the best. Since it was a special day, they created an intimate atmosphere by limiting the staff to the bare bones… only the most senior staff would be there. The Waitress greeted him deferentially and followed him as he continued forth to the kitchen.

     A salty smell surrounded them as they pushed open the kitchen door. Kelp Maitre D' was pleased to see that the Flotsam Chef was there formalizing the menu, the finest selection: the bright and tangy Cornupepper Lemonade, a rare Ocean Platter and a savoury Triple Chocolate Shell for dessert, plus, a backup dish of Luxurious Vegetarian Star Pie since Miss Prickles had a reservation and that prissy Neopia Central Uni and her gaggle of Galentines were not always fans of the traditional Maraquan fare. Everything looked good to go in the Kelp Maitre D's eyes. The Waitress stayed back to memorize the toppings and tastes of the menu.

     The Kelp Maitre D' had one final task before the guests arrived: creating the atmosphere. He hired the Meepit String Quartet to play this evening – no singing allowed, but he never knew if they would behave. He set up the stage near the entrance so they could greet the guests as they arrived and pass them a rose for their table. The Kelp Maitre D' made sure to bring out the candles and he blew up heart-shaped bubbles for the perimeter of the dining area. Everything was as perfect as could be, it was going to be the best Valentine’s Day yet!

     The guests arrived, gathering in the lobby. The Kelp Maitre D' unsealed the door to the dining room and escorted the first guest, the ever-refined King Jazan, to his table, “Bon Appétit” he whispered. Valentine’s Day had officially begun. The rest of the guests flooded in faster than the Kelp Maitre D' anticipated and he was nervous that he was not giving them enough attention or making them feel singularly superior. The Meepits started singing a series of Chomby and the Fungus Balls songs, the Kelp Maitre D' gave them a string of mean looks each time he passed them but he did not have enough time to wrangle them in yet; he would have to circle back to reprimand them after the first course was served.

     Suddenly, King Kelpbeard (who had indeed arrived without a reservation) stood, his voice booming, “I have an announcement to make”.

     The Neopians quieted quickly and a Yellow Meepit scrambled to pass the microphone over to the King.

     “Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, thank you for joining us here in Maraqua’s finest establishment. May each and everyone’s Valentine’s Day be full of love and friendship. Every holiday in Neopia, Kelp serves not just us Maraquans, but a full suite of Neopians from across the lands… and every holiday it is the Kelp Maitre D' who serves us, making us feel special and confirming that all our wants and needs are met. From special birthdays to anniversaries, and most importantly, Valentine’s Day, he gives up his holidays to make our special days extraordinary. Today, we have gathered here on this Valentine’s Day to give back some of that love and friendship…I present a toast: Cheers to you Kelp Maitre D' for every holiday that you have made exceptional for us, for always going above and beyond, your attention to detail, love and friendship does not go unnoticed so on this Valentine’s Day we are all here to celebrate you!”

      All the important Neopians that filled the room cheered and clinked their glasses. A dozen red roses were passed to the Kelp Maitre D' by the Kelp Waitress who was beaming from ear to ear; each of the elite Neopians gathered for Valentine’s Day had written him a special Valentine’s Day card – sharing their gratitude and comradeship. The Kelp Maitre D' was incredibly surprised…he blushed and almost fainted with all the attention; he was much more used to blending in with the background rather than being the centre of everyone’s attention… especially with these Notable Neopians present. He had no idea that everyone appreciated him so much or even noticed what he did, he just enjoyed serving them all and having the best restaurant in town.

     The Kelp Maitre D' was moved to the best seat in the house, next to King Kelpbeard’s daughters, the Flotsam Chef brought out a display of cupcakes decorated full of hearts and arrows… and it was a new recipe with the Kelp Maitre D's favourite ingredient: Borovan! The Meepits serenaded him to the point of embarrassment but it was all in good fun. The Neopians each came over to give thanks to the Kelp Maitre D' and they shared their favourite stories from their past Kelp experiences. Taelia even brought a special Ice Snow Ball personalized with Kelp markings. The Neopians celebrated until nighttime… the Kelp Maitre D' had never felt more loved. As the couples, families and friends left Kelp, they all hooted with delight at how well they surprised the Kelp Maitre D'; it was a memorable Valentine’s Day for all. After the Kelp Waitress finished clearing the remaining food from the tables and the Flotsam Chef locked up the kitchen, the Kelp Maitre D' looked at his usually pristine restaurant. There were red and pink streamers everywhere, cupcake crumbs lining the white tablecloths and the heart bubbles were slowly sinking to the ground. He found one more heart-shaped Valentine on the floor, swept under the linens. The Maitre D' picked it up and read it:

     “Of all the Neopians in all the lands,

     Kelp is certainly in the best hands.

     With the freshest food and the nicest light,

     Kelp has the finest gourmet food in all my sight.

     Happy Valentine’s Day.

     Yours truly,

     The Gourmet Club Quiggle”

      He smiled and thought that was just the cherry on top. The Maitre D' gave a final glance around and flicked off the light…what a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

     The End.

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