Truly ScrumptiousBy: R.G. Alexander
For Cookie—Love is the reason…and honey, can you cook! To my Smutketeers and Divas. And of course, Beth, always my inspiration.
The secretaries, who always knew everything before anyone else did, had given her a going away fruit basket overflowing with colorful mangos and apricots, star fruit and red persimmons—but the lemons so perfectly summed up her last four years with the local, top-rated cooking show that they were all she could see. She pursed her lips. Only sour grapes would have been more apropos.
“Stop moping, Truly, dearest. You’ll get wrinkles. Get out of the car. Please? You’re going to love this place. You’ll thank me later. I promise.”
“I told you, Robert. Don’t call me that in public. TS. My name is TS.”
No it wasn’t.
Truly sighed and allowed her now ex assistant to take her hand as she stepped out of the silver BMW she would no doubt have to return to the dealership when she wasn’t able to make next month’s payments.
Her name was Truly. Her middle name was something she’d been trying to forget since she was old enough to pronounce it. The story of her parents falling in love during a drive-in showing of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang had been pounded into her brain. Along with years of awkward introductions, bad jokes and worse pick-up lines.
Robert thought her name was wonderful, and perfect for her career in culinary PR. Obviously the television studio didn’t agree. More to the point, the head of programming didn’t agree. “Bastard.”
Robert’s lips formed a smirk behind his slender goatee, knowing exactly who she was talking about. “I think you’re being too kind. I wouldn’t be a good assistant if I didn’t know exactly why he fired us. You turned him down didn’t you?”
Truly sidestepped a puddle in the parking lot, unwilling to meet his gaze. “What are you talking about?”
Robert tugged on his ear, drawing attention to the diamond earrings lining his lobe. “I knew it. Truly, you and I both know that man is a walking, talking stereotype. There isn’t an intern or wannabe host who hasn’t learned about his more indiscreet tendencies the hard way. I’m surprised he waited so long to have a go at you.”
“You don’t know as much as you think you do. Besides, he needed me. His pocketbook took precedence over his…baser needs.” Until recently.
Truly shrugged, but inside she was seething. It wasn’t what Robert thought. Clive hadn’t come on to her. He’d made it clear that she wasn’t his type at every possible opportunity, thank God.
She’d always known she was safe from his type of harassment. Not only was she fantastic at her job, but she also wasn’t blonde, submissive or remotely stupid. Which was the kind of women he gravitated toward.
Clive leaned toward anorexic toothpicks and that did not describe her. She loved food and it showed—in her breasts, in the ample hips and thighs that remained in spite of all her hard work at Zumba class. And regardless of the money she spent at the salon, her hair took every opportunity to kink around her like a frizzy, red halo. A fact her boss never failed to point out. But at least it kept him at arm’s length. He’d respected her business sense, her aesthetic. He always took the credit for her ideas, of course, but he told her at least once a week that he didn’t know what he’d do without her. And for a while it was enough.
Until she’d witnessed the mighty hunter forcing a poor intern to do his bidding last week and got in the way.
She’d known the kind of man he was. He cheated on his wife. Often. He made risqué comments whenever he could get away with it, but she hadn’t believed he would ever go that far. And she’d had to do something about it. Truly had taken the crying woman out of his office and, within hours had gotten her transferred, with a glowing referral, to the news department. Out from under Clive’s control.
He hadn’t said anything to her about it. Hadn’t even acknowledged his breach in protocol. She’d thought he’d been too embarrassed. She was wrong.
She’d never been fired in her life. And she’d worked in some horrible dives during college. It just wasn’t fair. She was the one who’d thought up the popular morning show that put their station on the map. She was the one who caught The Food Network’s eye and turned it in their direction, ever so briefly, bringing one of their famous cooking stars to the set to share the stage with her chef.