Southern Spice

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Chapter 4

Despite my crumby love life, work has continued to be amazing. Being general counsel for a major New York development firm had changed my life. I moved into a badass apartment a few blocks from the park on the Upper West Side. It was a game changer moving into a place that was huge compared to my tiny studio, five-floor walkup.

Ever since the pickle date heard around the world, I have been trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle. Since I was so close to the park, I started running to my favorite little coffee shop in the morning. Every day, I ran a bit farther and was proud of myself.

It was great I could start doing the new morning ritual because my commute to the office was so short and made possible by the private car provided by the company at Becks’ insistence.

He treated me extremely well, and I did the same in return. I worked my ass off for him. He was really blossoming as a CEO that rivaled his father. I must admit, in the beginning, I wasn’t optimistic, but he had proven me wrong.

The early May weather was perfect for my morning run to the coffee shop. I put on a pair of black leggings, a white sports bra, and a cropped black hoodie. I wasn’t messing with my hair, so I pulled it up in my UGA hat and took off toward the park with Nicki Minaj’s Boss Ass Bitch blaring in my ear buds.

When I arrived at The Bean, there was a line, so I kept listening while I scrolled through social media. Not aware of my surroundings, someone tapped on my shoulder, and I jumped.

“Holy shit!” I screamed loud enough so that everyone looked at me as I turned around to see Becks standing there in his running gear. I never saw him out of his usual suit and tie. It was an entirely unique experience.

I quickly took my ear buds out, not realizing how loud the music was. Of course, Nicki’s Megatron was on, which wasn’t the best song to be blasting while in public when trying not to get noticed.

“What the hell are you listening to, Dolly Jane?” He laughed as I fumbled with my phone to turn it down.

“It’s Nicki Minaj. You do know who she is?” I said sarcastically in response to his slightly judgmental tone.

“I know who she is.” He stepped closer to me, towering over my five-foot, two-inch frame. I normally had three-inch high heels on because being a short woman in my line of work was not conducive to being taken seriously. The taller I could make myself, the better. “Let me buy your coffee,” he said.

“That’s not necessary, Becks.”

“I insist.” He said as he put his arm out to lead me to the counter to order.

“Fine.”

After we received our drinks, we went outside and walked around the park.

“What are you doing over this way? Don’t you live in Soho?”

“Actually, I just moved,” he stated.

“How did I not know that you were moving?” I exclaimed. “I am your personal counsel, after all.”

“Yeah, well. Kara, the agent, and the lawyer handled everything with the move,” he responded, looking a bit defeated. “She hasn’t moved in yet. I think she is waiting until after the wedding.”

“Oh, Kara. Got it.” I didn’t want to talk about that little tart, so hopefully he took the hint.

“Wait, I should be asking you the same thing. Did you move?” He perked up.

“Yes, I did. See, my boss gave me this big fat raise in exchange for daily entertainment. So, I moved out of my shit apartment, moved to the Upper West Side in a spacious one-bedroom with a view to die for.” I over southern’d my accent and animated myself more than usual.

“Oh, so we are like neighbors now? I get to run into you during non-work hours?”

“There aren’t many of those ‘non-working’ hours left since my boss is a lil’ needy.”

He laughed again and took a sip of his coffee.

“You make me laugh, Dolly Jane.” We stopped walking, and he turned to me. Again, with those fucking gorgeous eyes, and when he says my name, I just about melt.

“I love that about you. The fact that you are who you are, and you are so genuine and real. So, refreshing.”

I couldn’t keep staring at this man or I would grab his shirt and throw his sexy ass down in the middle of Central Park. I wasn’t too much of a lady to do it, either. Against my inner hoe’s wishes, I began walking again, since I had no clue what to say. It was a first for me.

“What do you think of Kara?” Becks sipped his coffee again. I could tell this was a serious question. And judging by his tone, which I have become a professional at deciphering, he seemed upset or unsure about something.

“I don’t think it’s my place to offer an opinion on such things,” I responded, being sure to tread lightly with this topic.

“But it is your place. This is the kind of input I need from you. You are the only person I trust.” I immediately caught on that the man needed a friend more than anything right now. My thoughts on the topic were something I would need to put through a few filters before saying them out loud.

“Well, give it to me straight. What do you think of her?”

I sighed as we stopped to sit down on a bench and turned toward him, trying to be as genuine as possible.

“Kara is absolutely gorgeous. She has a timeless classy style, perfect body, great hair. I am sure she will make a stunning bride.”

“Come on. That wasn’t a Dolly Jane response. Give it to me.” Oh hell, I wanted to give it to him—more than he even knows. I sighed again and closed my eyes to get the energy I needed for the response he requested.

“Okay. For one, I think she is as dumb as a box of rocks. Two, she is about as shallow as a puddle during a drought, and three, she is a gold digger.” I cut myself off before I got myself in to trouble.

“Is that all?” He questioned, knowing damn well I probably could have gone on.

“Becks, I am being completely honest with you because you asked. And overall, I would have to say Kara is a bit cunty.”

“Cunty?” He asked.

“I was trying to be nice about it, but yes, she is, in fact, a cunt.”

“Wow, okay,” he chuckled, as if not phased or mad that I called his wife-to-be, one of the worst things to call a woman. I mean, that word is a fightin’ word, and I didn’t care, because he asked for the truth. I knew Kara was horrible the first time we met.

My judge of character was impeccable, or so I’ve been told. I overhear them fighting about dumb stuff all the time. Their conversations, when she drops by at the office, were full of contempt. They were always questioning each other. There was no trust in that relationship, among other red flags. I had just assumed he wanted the trophy wife, and after she popped out a couple of babies, they would get divorced. She would have half of his fortune, and he would, no doubt, have an heir to the Donaldson throne.

“Listen, buddy boy, you asked, and I answered.”

“I know, but it was different hearing it from you.” Fuck my life. Now he looked sad.

Great, Dolly, way to make a man doubt his already fragile relationship even more. I needed to get out of here before I said something even more horrible.

“Okay then. With that, I am going to excuse myself since I must be at work in a couple of hours. I don’t want to get fired.” I stood up to walk away as he grabbed my hand and stared deep into my eyes. I was frozen but melting inside. What the hell was going on?

“I could never fire you.”

I dropped his hand. “Good to know,” I said as I turn to walk away.

“You really think I’m needy?” I heard him yell back at me. Smiling to myself, I held my arm up to wave goodbye without turning back.

During the week, Kara showed up several times to visit, and every time, there was yelling coming from my neighboring office. Unfortunately, it was muffled because of the semi-soundproof walls. Muriel had caught me with a glass against the wall the other day trying to make out details of their conversation. After questioning my morals, she joined in as well. I know we were awful, but we couldn’t help ourselves. Plus, Becks wasn’t really engaging too much with me on personal issues. I really hoped he wasn’t upset about the other day.

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