Swirl Love is Not Forbidden(4)By: Tamara Black
“That’s a shame.” I picked up a tub. “Grab one and follow me into the cooler.”
“I bet you say that to all the women, huh?” she teased.
I laughed, the tub bouncing against my hard abs.
“Only the cute ones like you,” I responded, managing not to wink.
After we finished putting all the tubs of freshly cut cheese into the walk-in cooler, I took her out back for a cigarette break before we prepared the store for the lunch rush.
“I really need to quit completely,” she said, lighting up.
“Yeah, me too,” I said, doing the same. “Especially during the winter.” I raised an arm. “Oh, that reminds me. Let me check your antifreeze.”
“Would you? That would be great. It gets so cold. It’s not overheating at all.”
“Yeah, you could have just enough to keep the engine cool but not enough to go past the heater core and heat the car unless you’re pressing the gas.”
“Um, okay,” she said with a confused look on her face.
“Get in, pop the hood, and turn the car on.”
I checked her fluid levels as she ran the car in neutral and saw she was indeed low. After a quick trip to my trunk, I returned with antifreeze and poured it in to the cold fill level. I replaced the cap and turned it tight.
“Should I turn it off?” she asked.
“Leave it running a minute without hitting the gas and see if it heats up or not,” I said.
“Get in here, then.”
She leaned over and unlocked the passenger side door. I walked around and got in, rubbing my hands together, trying to warm them up.
“It shouldn’t take too long,” I said then took a drag off my cigarette.
“Good.” She rolled her window down an inch. “Do you smoke the other a lot?”
“Oh, every night, I would say.” I laughed. “Probably too much, but I have a lot of stress in my life.”
“What? A nice looking Italian guy like you with problems?”
“You saying I look like trouble?” I teased.
Silence crept into the cab of her car. We smoked.
“I feel heat,” she said excitedly.
“Me too. You should be good to go.”
“Thanks so much. I didn’t have any money to take it into a shop.”
“It was nothing, but they probably would have tried to talk you into buying a new radiator or something.”
“You don’t know how everyone likes to prey on single mothers.”
“My mom raised me herself, so I know a little.” I turned to look at her.
“Well, that gives me hope.”
“What do you mean?”
“You had a single mother and you turned out okay. Maybe my kids will too.”
“So were you up late last night smoking?” she asked.
“No, I come in to deliver pizzas on some nights.”
“Yeah, I need as much money as I can get.”
“I hear you about money problems.”
“Speaking of which, we should go back inside and get ready for the lunch crowd.”
She turned off the car, and we got out. I unlocked the back door, and we walked in.
“The others should be showing up shortly,” I said.
“Yeah, it takes about six or seven of us to handle all the lunch orders. We deliver to quite a few companies around here.”
“Okay. What do you want me to do?”
“Well, since you pretty much know how to do every station already, why don’t you try to run the whole place through lunch.”
“Are you sure?” she asked.
“I have faith in you. Run it from the cutting station. It’s easiest because you can see everything. Don’t be afraid to delegate. You got this.”
“Where will you be?”
“I have a splitting headache, so I’ll be in the office taking a couple aspirin and hoping they kick in before you guys need me.” I smiled. “Just come back whenever you can’t handle it, okay?”
She nodded. “I got this.”
I walked to my office and shut the door, wishing I could go home and sleep. After popping a couple extra strength aspirin in my mouth, I took a long drink of water out of a bottle on my desk. With a sigh, I sat down and leaned back in my swivel chair.
I’ll just close my eyes for a second before I finish the schedule, I thought to myself. Within seconds, I’d fallen asleep. A knock on my office door jolted me awake. I stood and walked over, opening it.
“I’m coming,” I said.
“No need,” Tanesha said. “Lunch rush is over. I’m leaving for the day.”
“Oh, that’s good,” I said, hoping she couldn’t tell I’d been sleeping. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
“Thanks again for the help with the heater.”
“Don’t mention it.”
She smiled, waved, and walked to the back door. I followed her to lock it then headed out to the ovens to survey the situation.
“Where are we at?” I called out.
Tom walked over. “I’m ready to take over for tonight. Are you coming back to deliver again?”
Does he know something? I wondered.