Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(57) by Susan Mallery
Penny looked at him and smiled. “Your brother is a very good man. But, and no offense, Cal, I think Walker would do a better job.”
Dani straightened. “Oh, you’re right. The military training.”
She was as close to smiling as he’d seen all morning. He rose and moved next to her.
“What do you really want?” he asked.
“A good lawyer.”
“I can help you find one.”
“Okay.” She glanced at both of them and then the tears flowed again. “He wants me to file. Can you believe it? He said he was busy with finals coming up and would I please take care of the paperwork.”
He and Penny hugged her. Dani sighed. “I’d tell Walker to break his legs, but that would be redundant, wouldn’t it?”
He hugged tighter. Dani clung to him. “What is Gloria going to say? I don’t want to tell her.”
“Then don’t,” Penny said.
Dani looked at her. “But I have to.”
“Why? She’s just your grandmother, not the local oracle. She doesn’t see all and know all. Frankly, as mean as she’s been to you, I wouldn’t say a word. Why give her the satisfaction?”
Dani actually smiled. “I want to be just like you when I grow up.”
PENNY HAD JUST FINISHED the tasting for the afternoon, allowing the staff to sample the specials, when Gloria walked in.
“At least she missed Dani by a couple of hours,” Penny murmured to Naomi as Gloria walked toward her. Luckily Cal had gone back to The Daily Grind for a big meeting.
“Want a meat cleaver?”
Penny grinned. “Don’t tempt me.”
She forced herself to smile as the older woman shrugged out of her fur-trimmed coat and slung it over her arm.
“Good afternoon, Penny.”
“Gloria. How nice to see you. I’m surprised to see you back here in the kitchen.”
Gloria raised her perfectly plucked eyebrows. “You and Cal might think you’re in charge, but I still am the majority stockholder in the corporation.”
A fact which probably explained the lack of a bonus system.
“So you’re here officially?” Penny asked. “Let’s adjourn to my office.”
While she didn’t want to be with Gloria under any circumstances, let alone in the close confines of her office, she wasn’t willing to take her on in public. Given what the old bat had dropped the last time she’d been here, who knew what havoc she wanted to wreak today?
“Cal can’t join us,” Penny said. “He’s not here. Should we reschedule?” Unlikely, but a girl had to have dreams.
“No. You’re the one I came to see.” Gloria paused and looked around at the large space. “Cal’s office is much smaller than this.”
“Yes, it is.”
“Shouldn’t he have had the larger office?”
“Are you going to offer me something to drink?”
“Do you want something?”
“Then, no. I’m not.” Penny smiled. “Any other questions?”
Gloria frowned. “I’m here because I’ve received several complaints about the food.”
“Really? I’m surprised. We haven’t had any.”
Which wasn’t precisely the truth. There were the usual number of people wanting their fish to taste like something it wasn’t or insisting on impossibly overcooked meals that were then not as good as they should have been. But nothing out of the ordinary.
“You seem very proud of your fish and chips and yet I’ve been told the dish is very substandard. It’s really not the sort of thing we should be serving at a restaurant this elegant.”
Penny was pretty happy with herself for continuing to see the humor in the situation.
“Interesting point,” she said, “but here’s the thing. While you might be the major stockholder of the corporation, I don’t actually work for you. And even if I did, I have a funky little contract that contains a clause saying that I determine what’s served to our customers. Just me. I try to be open-minded and accept other people’s input, but it’s my name on the top of the menu.”
Gloria glared at her. “I don’t know why Cal agreed to let you have that much control. It’s ridiculous.”
“Maybe, but there we are. Now if you’re receiving complaints, that worries me. Why don’t you give me the names of the people who are unhappy and their phone numbers? I would love to talk to them personally and then invite them back for a free dinner.”
She waited, fairly sure that Gloria couldn’t give her the information as the complaints weren’t real.
Gloria leaned back in her chair. “He’s not going to marry you, you know. I don’t know if you thought you could appeal to him by being pregnant, but you can’t. You already left him once. Callister isn’t likely to be fooled again.”
Penny bit down on her lower lip. It took all her moral character and inner strength not to tell the old woman that she and Cal had had sex. Not just once, but for a whole night. Over and over again. Like rabbits.
But she held back. This being mature thing was starting to become a habit. Besides, she wasn’t interested in Cal—not in that way.
“If he did show any interest in you,” Gloria continued. “I would be forced to cut him off.”
“Financially,” Penny clarified.
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