Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(80) by Susan Mallery
Penny shook her head. “No buts, young lady. Yes, things are crappy now. Really crappy. This may be the worst moment of your life. But you will come out of it and you will be fine. Because the wonderful, empowered person you are hasn’t changed.”
Dani leaned over and hugged her. “Thanks for trying to help.”
“Hey, I’m not just trying here.”
Dani managed a weak smile. “Okay. Thanks for helping.”
She dropped her hand to Penny’s stomach. “You must be so happy about the baby.”
“I’ll get there someday. You’re right. This hurts so much and I don’t know how I’m going to survive it. But I will survive and I’ll go on and one day I’ll have everything I want.”
“Yes, you will. And when that happens, I’m going to be standing right next to you saying ‘I told you so.’”
THE NEXT WEEK PASSED in relative quiet. Penny figured they’d all earned the break.
The restaurant did well, Lindsey was released from the hospital, and while Dani was still emotionally devastated, she was making forward progress. Even the rats were gone, thanks to a very efficient Al.
Penny sat at her desk playing with different combinations for specials for the following week. The Alaskan fishing season was well underway, giving her access to some wonderful seafood. She was already receiving produce from the WallaWalla area and parts of Oregon. When the Walla Walla onions made their appearance, she had some great ideas in mind.
“Maybe a special tasting dinner,” she murmured. “One that features whatever is fresh and special.”
She made a note. That was something she would discuss with Cal later. Right now she needed to be brilliant.
“Salmon?” She loved salmon. It was about her favorite fish. But maybe something else. Something…
“Am I interrupting?”
Penny glanced up and saw Gloria standing in the doorway to her office. Great. The rats might be gone, but now there was a snake in the kitchen.
She wanted to tell the older woman to get her ass out, but technically, she did own The Waterfront and was Penny’s boss’s boss.
“I’m working on specials for next week,” Penny said. “I’ll be putting in my fish order fairly soon.”
“Ah, how interesting. I don’t suppose there’s any chanceyou’ll be taking the fish and chips off the menu.”
Penny forced herself to smile. “It’s our best seller.”
“How unfortunate. I always thought the people of Seattle had better taste than that.”
Penny ground her teeth together. “Did you stop by just to insult me, Gloria, or is there another reason?”
Gloria moved into her office and took a seat. “Insult you? I most certainly did not. Really, Penny, what a thing to say. I was saying that I didn’t like the fish and chips and wished they weren’t on the menu. How is that an insult?” She sighed. “You’re the executive chef. I suppose it’s reasonable for you to have a sense of ownership where the menu is concerned. That’s quite commendable.”
Penny frowned. Gloria sounded so reasonable, yet she was sure there was plenty more to come.
But before she could ask Gloria why she’d stopped by, the other woman glanced at her stomach and said, “You’re showing, dear. When is the baby due?”
“A lovely time of year. I was told you don’t know who the father is. Is that true?”
“I had in vitro fertilization using a sperm donor, if that’s what you mean.”
“Uh-huh. So you know nothing about the man.”
“I have general information on him and his medical history.”
“But not his character.” She leaned forward. “It’s very much like buying those unmarked cans at the grocery store. It’s so very easy to get a bad batch of peas or carrots and not know until you’ve already brought them home.”
“Thanks for the warning.”
“I did want to warn you, dear,” Gloria continued. “I know you have your heart set on Cal, but it’s not going to happen. He’s never forgiven you for walking out on him. He’s not interested in you or your bastard. I know. He told me.”
Penny didn’t care that this woman was in charge or that she was elderly. She stood and pointed to the door. “Get out.”
Gloria rose. “He won’t marry you, if that’s what you’re hoping. You may think he’s changed, but who really does? In truth, he gave up Lindsey and he gave you up once already. Why would he keep you now?”
“If you don’t leave, I’m going to call for the guys in the kitchen to haul you out,” Penny said, trying not to give in to the anger rising inside of her.
“We both know you won’t do that,” Gloria told her. “My words may sound cruel, but I’m telling you this for your own good. Cal’s contract with the restaurant is only for four months. He’s leaving.”
She spoke so triumphantly that Penny didn’t feel bad about bursting her bubble.
“You love to get in between people and mess around. I think it’s your idea of a good time. But here’s the thing. I already know Cal’s leaving. He told me the first day he tried to hire me.”
Gloria smiled. “Of course he did. Did he also mention that his little coffee company is expanding? They’re going to be opening stores back east. A complete waste of Cal’s talent if you ask me, but there we are. He’s heading the team. As soon as his job here is finished, he’s moving to New York. Did he happen to mention that?”
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