Southern Spice

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Chapter 3

“Muriel, please, I don’t want to talk about this right now,” I said as I plopped my head down on the conference table in Becks’ office.

It has been three months since I took the position of general counsel and the CEO’s personal counsel. My work life was everything I dreamed of when I was thinking of giving up in law school. The office was incredible, with an amazing view of the city. The salary and perks were more than I could have ever asked for. Muriel was not only my best friend, but she was also now my assistant. I couldn’t do my job dealing with Becks without her. She also doubled as my therapist, since I recently needed one to get me through the day.

“You must tell me how it went. I know you really connected with this one through text. What could have gone so wrong?”

“What could go wrong?” Becks interrupted as he walked in looking as handsome as usual, sipping his coffee out of his “best fiancé ever” travel mug, his intellectually challenged soon-to-be wife bestowed upon him for Valentine’s Day.

“Oh, Dolly had a date Saturday and is holding out on us.” Muriel really had a big mouth and now I knew neither of them was going to let this go.

“A date?” he questioned.

“Don’t act so surprised,” I snapped. “I do date, you know.”

“I know you date, but I thought you had given up per the last disaster with the loud chewer,” he chuckled. Becks seemed to remember things about me that I try to block out so that he can bring them up in later conversations just to piss me off.

“Ah, yes, Mark, the loud chewer. It was the lip smacking with the audible sloshing of food.” I gagged. They both made a disgusted face.

“Well?” He asked. “Don’t hold out. We need to hear about this date.”

“Yeah, Doll. Answer your boss.” I loved Muriel, but sometimes she was a real asshole.

“There really isn’t much to tell. It ended after the appetizer.”

“The appetizer?” Becks asked, looking confused. “Please, tell us more.”

“We went to a sports bar to watch sports.”

“Which normally happens at a sports bar,” he responded sarcastically.

“It was all going fine until the server came over and asked if we wanted to put in for an appetizer. I was starving because I hadn’t really eaten all day. He said he didn’t want anything, and I quickly interrupted and said that I would like to have the fried pickles. Y’all know me and how I love me some fried pickles with ranch dressing.”

“They are delicious.” Becks stated in agreement—and to be a bit patronizing. I knew he was expecting the story to get more ridiculous and over dramatic as I make so many things out to be, which was also part of my charm. Muriel shook her head in agreement. They are both entirely too much alike in so many ways that it feels like I’m getting ganged up on sometimes.

“Go on,” Muriel prompted to keep me on task.

“So, while the server was standing there, he said ‘do you think you should be ordering an appetizer?’ She looked at me and her eyes got wide, like she was in shock he would even say something like that.”

Muriel gasped. “Oh my God, Doll, did you reach over and punch him straight in the face?”

“Why would he say something like that?” Becks responded with confusion, like he didn’t even know my weight was an issue I had been struggling with. The shallow men in the even shallower dating pool were not looking for thicker women like myself. No matter if I was a successful, strong, funny—I could go on—woman.

“Bless your little heart. You can be so naïve sometimes.”

“I just don’t understand why he would say that to you. Was he being cheap?” Becks said, still not catching on.

“Really?” Muriel shot him a questioning look, dumbfounded at his complete lack of subtext recognition.

“Please don’t make me rehash this. I already feel like shit about it,” I begged, as I caught my head again in my hand.

“I’m sorry, but I simply don’t get it. You ordered fried pickles, and he questioned it for some reason. I don’t get it.”

“Becks, it was because he thought I shouldn’t be eating foods like fried pickles. Because he thought I was fat.” Saying it out loud to him was brutal, knowing full well he would never even give a curvier woman like me a second look if he were single and on the prowl.

I looked at his expression, and it was a look of sheer horror. I’m sure he felt awful making me say it. Muriel shot daggers at him. He was outnumbered, and he would have to tread lightly.

“Clearly, that guy was a piece of shit, and I really hope you punched him. Hell, if I was there, I would have done it myself. No one messes with my Dolly Jane.”

I shot a look across the table to Muriel. Without speaking, we both picked up on the “my Dolly Jane” comment. I mean, we had gotten close over the last quarter, but not to where he could claim me as his. Albeit, I would have loved to be his. After a few seconds of awkward silence, I forced myself to speak.

“I appreciate that, Becks.” I smiled at him and got caught in those eyes that I love. He reciprocated with his sexy smirk.

“I really hope you got the fried pickles,” he chuckled. “Or I will have to take you to get some today for lunch.”

“I did get them. And after I ate them, I had a few beers. Then, to close it out, I said I had to go water my cactus and left him with the check.”

They both laughed.

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