#48 Manager douchebag
“He really called you a slut?” I ask, shaking my head at the screen of my phone. I’m in the middle of a video call with Caroline, and I’m sitting on the bed so Dshawn can watch TV in the living room. “I honestly thought Nathan was better than that.”
She shrugs. “I thought the same thing. He was drunk and he’s apologized a million times already, but I just… I didn’t like that he talked about me like that. And he called me too intense. I mean, it’s not crazy that I got mad, right?”
“Of course not!” I insist. Caroline had an even worse weekend than I did. She went to stay with Nathan’s two best friends for the weekend and ended up in a huge fight with Nathan because he talked about her like she was just some slut he was taking advantage of. “Drunk words, sober thoughts,” I remind her. “He must have meant at least half of what he was saying.”
“Yeah…” She sighs. “Maybe I forgave him too easily, but I just don’t want to stay mad at him. I’m not good at being angry. He’s usually so wonderful. I don’t want to waste time on feelings like bitterness and anger.”
“Then take a page out of my book,” I advise her. “I’m great at being angry. Dshawn and I basically spent the whole Saturday and part of today fighting. We only made up a few hours ago.”
“Oh wow,” Caroline breathes, looking at me with her wide blue eyes. “That sucks. What happened?”
I tell her the story of me tumbling into Finn’s office. “On Friday night, Dshawn was pretty sweet once he realized that some of the words he was using triggered the old Melchior trauma, but on Saturday we really got into it, and it turns out he’s still not okay with me having been with over a 100 guys.”
“But you’re in his room right now, right?” Caroline asks, gesturing at her screen. “I recognize the painting behind you.”
I look over my shoulder and see that it’s the one of what looks like some girls’ pussy, but vague and unfocused, a little abstract. I love that paining. It’s pretty, pink and artsy.
“Yeah,” I tell Caroline. “I was about to go back to my apartment Friday night, but Dshawn said that when you live with someone, that means finding a way to be in the same place even when you’re angry.”
Caroline laughs loudly. “You do know he’s never actually lived with a girl before, right? And that even now, you still have your own apartment to go back to?”
“Yeah, but he’s still better at this relationship stuff than I am. He manages to put my needs before his even when he’s angry. I got upset during our fights a few times, because he would yell or use a certain phrase that reminds me of Melchior, and he would immediately drop to his knees and hold me until I was okay again.” I smile when I think about that. It was an awful weekend, but it did make me realize that couples can fight without getting violent. Dshawn is nothing like Melchior and I wasn’t scared that he would hit me. Not even once. Not even when he slammed the door to the bathroom so hard that it echoed through the apartment.
“He’s a good man,” Caroline agrees. “Why did your fight take all weekend? I mean, it was just Finn. That guy is a douche.”
I shake my head and sigh. “It’s not just Finn. Turns out that some other guys I’ve slept with have been giving him weird looks or making snide comments. He didn’t tell me because he felt like he had to get over that on his own. He seems confident most of the time, but my sex life before him makes him insecure sometimes. I need to be more understanding of that, just like he is with me when it comes to the Melchior thing.”
“Yeah, love is not a one-way street,” Caroline says.
“Wow, that cliché is so helpful,” I tease. “Did you and Nathan make up before he went back home to Rose?”
Caroline’s expression changes and she blushes a little. “Yeah, we did.”
“Oh, make-up sex!” I exclaim. “Good girl! I’m so proud of you. Dshawn and I had a marathon session earlier today that lasted two hours.”
“Wow, I wish that we’d had that much time,” my friend says with wide eyes. “Nate had to leave for dinner with Rose and Elise, so we only had half an hour.”
“Yeah, well, your fight only lasted one night and half of a morning,” I tease her. “Our fight lasted two days. I think he length of the fight is important. The longer the fight, the longer the sex.”
“Then I will definitely try to stay mad longer next time.” She rolls her eyes. “You and Dshawn are good, I gather?”
I nod vigorously. “More than good.” Even though it was the worst fight we’ve had so far, it has only made me realize just how much I love him. If we can get through this without doing any damage to our relationship, we might just stand a chance at making it. “I love him.”
We chat for a few more minutes before hanging up. I walk back into the living room and smile to see Dshawn sprawled out on the couch. He’s got a beer in his hand and there’s already one for me on the table. He motions me over to snuggle against him and gives me a kiss before turning his attention back on the TV.
“What are we watching?” I ask, not really caring. I just want to be with my man.
“Fuck you!” I hiss, trying to talk loud enough to sound menacing, but also quiet enough for the customers not to overhear our conversation. “You’re going to regret this.”
The manager of Giovanni’s leans back in his chair, giving me a death glare. “I’d be careful who you threaten, Shaughna. If you’re not careful, I might have to fire you too.”
“Bite me!” I say angrily, slamming the door of his office behind me. Goddamn James Miller. I’ve been fighting with him from the day he started working here three years ago, but today is especially bad. He’s not a good manager. Not at all. Kieran and I have been picking up his slack for a long time now. James doesn’t train the staff, hardly ever shows his face with the suppliers, never picks up his phone, is shit at solving problems and sometimes overbooks the restaurant.
Today, he fired a fellow waitress for dropping too many plates. The poor girl was just having a bad day and this was only her third week working for us. The girl is 18, for crying out loud! Give her a break. It’s not like was running around like a rockstar back when I was 18 and got this job. Normally, the manager lets me handle the waitstaff and I’ve been doing just fine. And now he just fired someone who I can’t just replace in a matter of seconds. Fuck. This is going to be a long day.
“Breathe, Shaughna,” Kieran says when I walk into the kitchen. “We all know who’s in charge here, and it’s not James. The two of us have been running the place for years now. Forget him. I’ll talk to him later, see if I can get that poor girl her job back.”
I shake my head. “I already called her, begged her to come back, promised her that I would take care of James, but she doesn’t want to work for someone like him.”
“You can hardly blame her,” Hollister mumbles. “The guy’s a douche.”
“Finally, we agree on something,” I snap at him.
“Okay, what the fuck is going on between the two of you?” Kieran asks, looking between me and Hollister while he flips burgers. “You used to get along great, but you’ve been at each other’s throats for months now. What is going on?”
“Ask him,” I say, not in the mood to talk about this. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get the other waiters to cover the tables that no longer have a waitress.”
Luckily, Annie is working today, and she’s been here for twenty years already. She’s a little slow with the orders sometimes, but she’s great with the customers. She’s already chatting to a couple that has been waiting for their food way too long now, making sure there are no hard feelings. I quickly check on my own tables and walk around to see if any of the customers look disgruntled. There’s a man in the far corner who has been waiting for his turkey sandwich for ages, so I instruct one of the waiters to hurry into the kitchen and get Hollister to make it right now. Five minutes later, the man is happily sipping his complementary beverage and enjoying the sandwich.
“You should call the owner,” Anne tells me in a low voice when she walks by. “Giovanni wouldn’t stand for this.”
“Gio has five other restaurants to worry about,” I respond with a grunt. We hardly ever see Giovanni, the owner, because he lives hours away. James is in charge of this restaurant, meaning that he is the one to talk to Gio on a regular basis. I’ve called Gio a few times over the years when there was a big problem, and the owner quite likes me, but it’s not like we’re buddies. I can’t just call him because a waitress got fired. He’d laugh in my face.
I have dinner plans with Dshawn, but now that we’re one waitress short and some of the other staff is rattled by the sudden firing, I have to cancel. I manage to find five minutes to rush out the back to call him, putting Annie in charge for a moment.
“That sucks, baby,” Dshawn says, sounding disappointed. “I was really looking forward to our date night. But you do you, we’ll just go out to eat another night. I’ll pick you up later on the bike, okay?”
I smile at that prospect. He drove me here in his car this morning, but he’s obviously trying to cheer me up with the prospect of riding on the back of his motorcycle. “Sounds great, honey.”
“Honey?” I hear behind me, and I know who it is without looking. “You’re outside chatting to your boyfriend while there are customers waiting for their food inside?”
“Shut up, James,” I say without turning around. “I’ve been working non-stop for hours. I haven’t even had lunch yet. And the reason those customers are waiting is because you fired a perfectly good waitress without even consulting me.”
“Get back inside,” James orders. “I won’t tolerate behavior like this.”
I roll my eyes. “Bye, Dshawn,” I say to my boyfriend, who’s still on the other end of the line. “I’ll see you tonight. Love you.”
“You should really learn some manners,” James says when I hang up.
Steam is basically coming out of my ears at this point. Who the fuck does he think he is? “Look, you asshole, I’ve been working my butt off all day long, covering for your mistakes!” I spin around to look at his stupid ugly face with the greasy grey hair plastered on top. “I’m covering the dinner shift without you even having to ask me, and I’ve been making sure no customers leave. I just needed to call my boyfriend to cancel our date tonight, because you’ve just made it impossible for me to leave this goddamn restaurant by making us understaffed. So unless you want me to quit right here and now, I’d strongly advise you to get your lazy ass back into your office and stop bothering me.”
James mutters something, but he knows he can’t afford me walking out of here today, so he turns around and leaves me alone. I sigh and get back in the kitchen, where Hollister hands me a sandwich. I nod at him and stuff it in my mouth, trying to eat it as fast as possible. I wasn’t kidding when I said I hadn’t eaten all afternoon.
“Okay guys, let’s do this,” I tell Kieran and Hollister while I straighten my back. “No slacking off, and please forgive me if I yell even more than usual. We’ve got to work our asses off.”
“I already called in Michel,” Kieran says, nodding at me. “We could need an extra hand in the kitchen for dinner. And he’s bringing his girlfriend who used to waitress at The Baguette around the corner, so we should be okay.”
“Kieran, you magnificent man,” I tell him with a huge grin. “I think I just fell in love with you.”
“Don’t let my wife hear you say that,” he mutters. “She’d kick your ass.”
By the end of the day, I am tired but also proud of myself. No one is ever going to thank me for today, especially not James, but I do feel the satisfaction of a job well done. And at least I’m getting paid for all the extra hours I put in today.
Dshawn drives me home on his bike and just like every other time, I get a little horny, but I am way too tired to act on it tonight. I just want a long hot shower and to crawl in bed. Dshawn gets it, but I can tell he’s a little disappointed by how the night turned out. We were planning on going to the Mexican restaurant where we had our first not-a-date, and of course there was the unspoken promise of hot sex after. And now here we are, doing done of the things we wanted to.
“I love you,” he whispers when he kisses me goodnight. He isn’t tired yet, so I’m going to bed alone. “What time do you have to get up tomorrow?”
“Six,” I grunt. “Breakfast shift, then back home for a few hours of sleep, and a shift at Animals until five.”
“Fuck,” Dshawn growls. “You work too much, baby.”
“Money money money,” I reply with a yawn. “Gotta keep my bankaccount happy, huh? Love you, babe. Good night.”