Babygirl and the mean bo.., p.1
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       Babygirl and the Mean Boss, p.1

           Pepper Pace
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Babygirl and the Mean Boss

  Baby Girl and the Mean Boss


  Copyright © 2012 by Pepper Pace. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Pepper Pace.


  I had a dilemma in deciding to separate this story from the collection that it appears in entitled Love Intertwined vol. 1. It is a short story with approximately 30,000 words. I wasn’t certain if people would want to purchase a short story. And then I realized that several people have asked to re-read some of their favorites that originally appeared on my blog or on Many don’t realize that they appear in a collection or they only want the one specific story.

  If you find that you enjoy this short, as well as some of the others that appeared on, and are interested in purchasing them in a collection please see my books; Love Intertwined vol. 1 & 2. Thank you for your purchase.


  I find myself acknowledging the same folks in each of my books; the people that have followed my writings at and Blogspot. Without your feedback and encouragement this book would not have happened.

  Thanks to my family and friends for their encouragement and patience. I’m sure there were times when I was supposed to be doing things with you but I was preoccupied with my writing.

  Nicole hopped off her bike while it was virtually still rolling. Quickly she secured it to the bike rack and hurried into the restaurant, hoping to go unnoticed.

  She hated being late for work. Her Boss, Marty, was an asshole. She didn’t like giving him a reason to turn his critical eye on her.

  She entered through the back door and hurried to the coat rack where she hung up her things. She slipped on an apron and hit the floor.

  Marty was at the huge grill, which was his permanent station. Rarely did he allow anyone to take over his realm, which meant he worked almost every day from opening to closing.

  Nicole didn’t understand him one bit. He owned The Down Home Calabash, but never had the free time to enjoy the benefits of being a business owner. Maybe that’s why he was such an ass!

  She washed her hands. Marty called over his shoulder without even looking at her.

  “You got three orders in Nicole. Stat!”

  Annoyed, she thought to herself, ‘What do you want, clean hands or quick food?’

  Fred was at their shared work station finishing up a Caesar salad. He worked days while she did nights. Nicole and Fred worked the cold bar and prep station, which other then the grill was the most important position in the kitchen. He gave her a big crooked smile which she returned. The tall lean black man was her best friend at the restaurant—and probably her only friend. He was someone who treated her with the respect that she was unaccustomed to. If she cared to look back on her short but rocky life Nicole would see that all there had ever been was fighting and scratching to survive. Maybe somehow Fred was able to see that because he never missed an opportunity to make life at The Calabash easier for her.

  She quickly assessed all the things she was running low on. “Dinner plates!” She yelled over her shoulders. Fred was careful to never let supplies run low for her, but she knew that soon they’d get hit with the dinner rush and she wanted to be sure that she wouldn’t run out.

  “Thank you!” One of the dishwashers replied. Marty insisted they all use the polite acknowledgement--although he seldom did.

  Even though his shift was technically over, Fred continued to help her with the few orders she had waiting. She could have whipped them out easily but appreciated his company. When all of the orders were up, Fred dabbed at his brow with his apron. “Take it easy, Baby Girl, I’m outtie.” Fred was only about three or four years older than her. She didn’t understand how it was that everyone started calling her Baby Girl, especially when she wasn’t even, by far, the youngest female that worked there.

  When she asked him once, he smiled and replied that she looked like she should be someone’s baby girl. Somehow that had touched her. He was very wrong. She had never been anyone’s baby girl, not even her Mama and Daddy’s. She worried after that his treatment and his words meant that he wanted the role, but then she relaxed when she overheard a phone conversation he was having with his roommate and he said he loved him. When he discovered her in the room, his normally handsome face was filled with worry. Evidently it was a secret he wanted kept. Though she felt it wasn’t her place to bring it up or to make assumptions, she did have a little pow wow with him behind the restaurant before he left and she promised that it wouldn’t be mentioned. Whatever Fred’s story was, Nicole never asked…he, like she had never offered up his story. There were certain things friends already knew and didn’t need to discuss.

  Nicole gave him a quick hug goodbye.

  “Two trout dinners!” Marty bellowed.

  “Thank you...” Kendall grumbled. Nicole glanced at her with an amused smile. She knew Kendall was not going to be happy. The young spoiled girl did the food prep for meat which meant she mostly worked out of the walk-in freezer handling cold, raw meat. It was a job that she thoroughly hated thinking it was too dirty for someone that looked as good as she did. But she was a horrible waitress and wouldn’t dream of doing the clean up. The position she had her eye on was Nicole’s. Nicole had even offered to swap positions but Marty said no.

  Nicole grabbed two dinner platters and prepared them for the trout. She placed them on Marty’s wait table and moved on to her next order.

  It went like that for the next hour and a half, order upon order with no time to take a breather in between. But Nicole never complained because at least it made the day go faster.

  “Nicole, Kendall, take a break.” Marty eventually ordered.

  It felt just like someone had turned a switch off and she went from ON to instantly exhausted. At least the rush was over for the night. Days like this when she had both college and a full day of work was especially hard.

  She and Kendall went out front and found a table out of the way of the waitresses.

  “Did you see how many trout dinner’s Marty called back?! I mean I got a date tonight and I don’t want to be anywhere near some damned raw fish!” Kendall complained. She was 25, had long auburn hair and almond shaped green eyes. Nicole thought of Kendall as one of those white girls that thought she was a black girl. She talked like one, dressed like one and even though she was already gorgeous, she probably wished she looked like one.

  Nicole shrugged unable to sympathize. In her 32 years of life she’d done a lot worse than cut fish. “You are in the wrong job, Kendall,” is all she could say. The two weren’t quite friends but working closely together for the last two years had allowed them to form a fondness for each other.

  Kendall made a face. “I’d hate Marty for making me cut fish if he wasn’t so damn good looking. Isn’t he so sexy?” Oh here we go again, she thought. Kendall had the biggest crush on Marty. Why did so many women gravitate towards the assholes?

  Nicole wrinkled her nose and then shrugged. “Marty’s not my type.”

  “How can you tell me that you don’t thing he’s hotter’n shit?! Don’t tell me that you’re against in interracial dating.” Kendall said pointedly. Nicole was used to her bluntness—it seemed to go hand in hand with her beauty; as if beauty gave her license to be nosey and rude.

  It wasn’t even worth explaining that her ‘type
had nothing to do with looks but with content. “His color has nothing to do with it. It’s just him—all him.”

  Kendall bounced up in her seat, having dismissed their previous conversation. “Oh my god! I can’t believe I almost forgot to tell you.” Kendall whispered excitedly. “Marty cussed out your boy this morning.”

  Nicole frowned. “Who?” Her boy?


  Her mouth opened in surprise. “Fred? But why?”

  “Well, you know how Marty goes into his office and he lets Fred take over?”

  “Yeah yeah.” Marty might think of himself as superman, but even he had to take a break.

  “While he was in his office, one of the regulars complained that her pork chops were tough as leather. It was that old ex-nun lady.”

  Nicole nodded. The ex-nun was eighty years old if she was a day - and tough as old shoe leather herself. She never tipped more than 50 cents and had even left a nickel once. Nobody liked her…except maybe Marty who would come from behind his fryers to chit chat with her every once in a while.

  “Well apparently she had complained about her meal months before and Marty had given her a credit. She tried it again but Fred wasn’t biting and he told her that he’d bring her out a fresh order of chops. Of course the old hag had already scarfed them down, so naturally she didn’t want anymore. I won’t lie, it did get heated, especially when the old hag referred to Fred as boy.” Nicole gasped. Marty cursed him out on top of that?

  “Anyway, Marty comes out slamming that big ass spatula of his on the pass through. He doesn’t even wait until they’re in the office before chewing him out. I heard Marty say ‘That’s bullshit! If she says it was tough then the shit was tough. Who the fuck are you to blah blah blah.”

  Nicole just shook her head incredulously. “You’d think considering that Fred’s the hardest worker here, and the only one he trusts to fill in, that he’d give him the benefit. And the very least he could do was take him into the office so he doesn’t lose face. Jeez!” She didn’t like hearing about her friend being disrespected. It brought back the memory of Nicole’s one and only run in with Marty, and the reason that she would never like him.

  It was the last Friday before Christmas and it seemed everybody was out finishing up the last minute shopping. CALABASH being a neighborhood restaurant was popular for its low prices and good food, and it seemed like every customer they’d ever had showed up that day.

  They ran out of tomatoes right in the middle of the dinner rush: meaning no salads, no burgers dragged-through-the-garden and B L sandwiches with no T. She grabbed $30 out of the slush fund and sent one of the dishwashers to the grocery store. Marty had not had a problem with any of it until he went into the walk-in and found a full box of tomatoes tucked behind a 50 pound tub of pickles.

  He bellowed her name so loud that it stopped everyone in the back. Even the waitresses were trying to see what had gotten him upset now. Alarmed, she stopped in the middle of an order to see what he wanted, rushing into the walk-in with him.

  “What the hell is this?” He toed the box in annoyance.

  “Oh…I didn’t see-”

  “And now,” He interrupted. “I have thirty dollars worth of hot house tomatoes.

  He handed her the heavy bag and walked out letting the door slam behind him.

  That had ruined her day. She wanted to crawl under something and lick her wounds. Instead she worked just that much harder. But did Marty acknowledge her additional effort? No.

  So, the question was; did she think he was sexy? WHO THE HELL CARED?! She didn’t like being around him so of course she had never looked at him in that way. Besides, it was a documented fact that white men like Marty went for white girls like…Kendall. And in all honesty what man, period, would look at her twice with her quickie ponytail and jeans and t-shirts. Nicole was on a mission and that didn’t include trying to be cute.

  Grudgingly, though, she had to admit that Marty was a good looking specimen of a man; black or white: tall, muscular physique, shaved head, goatee, tattoo around his bicep, pierced ear and a deep, low sexy voice. His gray eyes were brooding just enough to make anyone- other than her- look twice.

  Why was she even thinking about it? Marty was Marty!

  They finished break and went back on the floor. The rest of the night was pretty quiet but Marty didn’t like to see people just standing around. His motto was, ‘if you have time to lean, you have time to clean.’ Nicole concentrated on cleaning the mini fridge below her workstation. She had to practically get on her hands and knees just to get at everything shoved in the back. She cursed when she came upon a tub of feta cheese, never opened and already past its expiration date.

  She chucked the tub into one of the large garbage cans, still on her hands and knees and noticed that Marty was staring at her. She just knew he was going to say something about the unused cheese. But he wordlessly turned back to the grill.

  She swabbed out the inside until it sparkled and then neatly restacked everything.

  “You know you’re the only one that does that.” Marty spoke. Nicole glanced up at him.

  “Oh, I’ve noticed.” Her reply was mildly sarcastic, because she was still bristling at the idea of him cursing Fred... and because she was the only one that ever cleaned it.

  He turned back to the grill without another word.

  She was dying to say, ‘And you’re welcome.’

  One thing Nicole liked about the job is that while everybody else had to wait until everything was cleaned before they could go, she cleaned as she went so she could just walk out the door at 11:00.

  “See you guys tomorrow.” She yelled as she hurried outside.

  Nicole hopped on her bike and pedaled furiously down the street. It was her goal to be stepping though her apartment door by 11:15 each night.

  After a long day of classes and working in the hot restaurant, Nicole relished the feel of the wind against her face and the exertion of her thigh muscles as she pedaled to the top of the first hill. Luckily she didn’t live far from the restaurant. But she did have to travel on the outskirts of some woods that left her apprehensive, so she always went as fast as she could at night. The pay off was that there were two hills and once she reached the top of the first one the momentum practically carried her to the top of the next one.

  As always she had an urge to close her eyes and pretend that she was a bird soaring through the sky. Briefly she gave into the feeling and closed her eyes allowing the exhilaration to surge through her. After the momentum carried her as far as it could Nicole took a deep breath and began pedaling again.

  And that’s when she saw the SUV make the sharp turn from the darkness of the woods and directly into her path. Almost as if she were detached from herself, she noted the look of shock on the driver’s face as the older women realized that she was about to hit her. Briefly, Nicole felt sorry for the driver. She looked like she was someone’s mother…probably one that actually cared…


  Nicole’s eyes opened slowly. Then she felt a pounding in her head that was magnificent. She blinked, not able to see a thing. Everything was black! Terror instantly engulfed her. She scrambled to sit up but was stopped short by a sudden and sharp pain in her shoulder.

  She cried out hoarsely and touched the shoulder carefully. Then in relief she realized that she actually could see—she was outside and it was dark, that’s all. And the knock on the head had just made everything out of focus...Slowly, she moved her legs. She was sore all over but her legs moved okay. She tried to look around but when her head moved it felt like someone was trying to impale her with a railroad spike. Nicole planted her hand on the ground and pushed herself up into a sitting position clenching her teeth against the pain. Why was she on the ground? Where was she?

  With a slow hiss, she let out her held breath then tentatively touched her head. Her hand came away bloody. Nicole felt a wave of nausea at the sight of her bloody hand. It took everything she had not to black o

  As if in a dream, she found herself staring into space and before she realized it time had passed her by. She didn’t know how much, or even how she knew that time had passed--only, that she now remembered everything. An SUV had hit her. She couldn’t actually recall being hit, just waking up on the ground, bleeding.

  Painfully she pulled herself to her feet in a state of shock. She saw her bike a few feet away. One wheel was totally bent. Carefully, she looked around, the initial pain ebbing to a dull throb. Where was the SUV and the nice motherly lady? Had she just left her for dead?

  Nicole cried out as her arm moved. She held it to her body to keep it from moving and slowly began walking. The first step was like cut glass in every one of her joints, though after that first step she couldn’t much remember pain…she didn’t remember anything.

  Nicole knew that she must have lost consciousness at some point during the long walk because the next thing she knew is that she was standing at the door of the restaurant. For a moment she felt confusion that she was back here and not home.

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