Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(38) by Susan Mallery
“Help yourself,” he said when he was finished.
“Mrs. Buchanan prefers that the staff doesn’t use her personal equipment. I’ll go down to the lunchroom later. We have a machine there.”
He’d known Gloria was a real bitch, but even he was surprised by how she treated her people.
“I’m not going to say anything,” he told Vicki. “Just help yourself.”
Then, while she watched in obvious amazement, he poured a second mug and handed it to her.
“I, ah, thank you,” she whispered.
“You’re welcome.” He kept his smile easy, while on the inside, all he could think about was getting the hell out of here. Right now snipers didn’t sound all that bad.
“THE MANAGERS FROM the various restaurants meet here twice a week,” Vicki said an hour later as she walked him through Gloria’s calendar. “Except for The Downtown Sports Bar. Reid is supposed to be in charge, but he doesn’t come to the meetings.”
“Not a surprise,” Walker said with a grin. “My brother isn’t into following the rules.”
Vicki nodded without smiling back. “Mrs. Buchanan sees the chefs once a week, except for the chef at The Waterfront. It’s in Chef Jackson’s contract that she doesn’t have to attend those meetings. That doesn’t make Mrs. Buchanan very happy.”
Walker wasn’t surprised. Lucky Penny, missing out on meetings with his grandmother.
“There are mini staff meetings every afternoon at four and major ones once a week. Then each department meets with Mrs. Buchanan individually once a week.”
“That’s a lot of meetings,” he said. “When do these people get their work done?”
“A lot of them stay nights,” she said earnestly. “Mrs. Buchanan has very high standards.”
“I knew she was difficult,” he muttered. “I didn’t know she was insane.”
But he wasn’t surprised Gloria had to micromanage every aspect of the company. She would never trust anyone to get the job done correctly.
He looked at the printout. “We’re going to make some changes here.”
“Of course,” Vicki said as she stood on the other side of the desk.
Walker hated being in the large white-on-white room, but the other woman’s hovering only made him more uncomfortable.
“You gonna settle somewhere?” he asked.
Vicki’s eyes widened. “Mrs. Buchanan prefers us to stand while we—”
“Mrs. Buchanan isn’t here. Sit.”
Vicki perched on the very edge of the chair across from his. A muscle twitched in her jaw. He glanced at the clock on the desk and saw it was barely after eight in the morning—too early to start drinking, but damn, was he tempted.
He looked at the jam-packed schedule, including a standing appointment with a Mr. J from a private investigation agency—no doubt how she knew so much about everyone’s personal life—and decided it all had to stop.
“Cancel everything,” he said.
Vicki’s mouth opened, then closed. “Excuse me, sir?”
“Cancel everything. Every meeting, every appointment. I want to start over. Can you send an e-mail to everyone telling them to wait to find out the new schedule?” He would take care of the mysterious Mr. J himself.
She paled. “Of course. I’m happy to do that.”
“Good. I’ll meet with the different managers and department heads, but later in the week when I’ve had time to review the quarterly statements. Then go ahead and set up meetings for me at each of the four restaurants. Do them on different days. The Waterfront can be last—I know they’re in good shape.”
Vicki seemed to fold in on herself. “I’m sorry to have to ask, but are you saying you’ll go there?”
“Sure. It’ll be easier to coordinate a time if I work around their schedules.”
She wrote frantically.
When she paused, he said, “Would it be possible to get the recent quarterlies this morning?”
“Of course. They’re on my computer.”
“Good. When it’s convenient.”
She wrote some more.
“Does Kit like working nights?” he asked.
Vicki blanched. “I don’t know. Is there a problem? Would you like me to—”
He raised his hand to stop her. “Breathe,” he said.
“Breathe. Take a deep breath and let it out.”
She did as he requested, but didn’t look any more relaxed.
“No one is getting fired,” he said. “No one is even getting beaten. It is more than possible that I will violate the executive assistant code by asking you to bring me lunch because I don’t want to go to a restaurant and despite the fact that we own four, our corporate headquarters has nothing better than a few vending machines.”
“I’m happy to get you lunch,” she said. “Every day.”
“Good. But on company time. Not your own. As for Kit’s hours, I won’t be working until midnight. So if she would prefer the day shift, that’s fine with me. I’m sure there’s plenty to keep the two of you busy.”
She wrote frantically.
“Vicki,” he said, then waited until she looked at him. “You don’t have to write everything down.”
“I want to get it right the first time. That’s very important.”
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