Perfect Boss

By: Penny Wylder

Alba’s mom calls her name, and Alba rolls her eyes. “I have to get back to work, but you have to tell me everything. Promise me.”

“I promise,” I tell her.

When she walks away, I want to stay at the counter and just sit here all day because the moment I go back out to my car, I know that real life will come crashing into me again. I’ll have to figure out my living situation for the next week. I have a few groceries in my car from when I went shopping before the fire. There isn’t much: some fruit, canned and boxed items, and a few things I’ll have to throw out because they need refrigerating. None of it is going to last me a week. And then there’s my sleeping situation, and I’ll definitely need to shower. I have no hair products, makeup, or clothes. I can’t work for Marcus without all of those things.

I close my eyes, wanting to cry. I’m going to have to ask Alba for help. But I can’t do it right now. She’s busy, and I need to leave so they can fill my seat with an actual paying customer. I’ll call her after she gets off work.

I head out to my car, but when I get to the alley, it’s not there. My heart starts to thunder and it’s hard to breathe. Please tell me this isn’t happening.

I run back into the diner. Alba stops in her tracks when she sees me. “What’s wrong?” she asks.

“Someone stole my car.”

“Seriously, in the middle of the day?”

I can’t get words out from around the knot in my throat so I just nod.

“Where did you park” she asks.

“In the alley.”

She makes a cringing face. “No, hon, it wasn’t stolen, that’s a tow-away zone. Only delivery vehicles are allowed to park there.”

I bite my lip and fight tears.

She gives me a hug. “Is there anyone you can call to come get you? I would do it but I can’t leave work.”

I nod. “Yeah, there’s someone.” But I definitely don’t want to call him.


Once I called everyone in my contacts and no one could pick me up, I pulled out the card Marcus had given me and held it in my hand for a good half hour before deciding to call him. I really didn’t want to, but what choice did I have? It was that or not show up to my new job the next day. He’s the only one who knows about my house burning down and about my life going to shit other than Alba, and even she didn’t know just how bad thing had gotten.

It takes him less that fifteen minutes to get here. Since I know a man like him doesn’t frequent neighborhoods like this, he must have sped over. In a car like that, he probably thrives on driving fast.

He gets out of his car, so out of place with the rest of the population in this part of town.

“Thanks for coming,” I say sheepishly, embarrassed to be in a position to ask him for favors.

“Any time,” he says. I watch his body language to see if he’s annoyed or seems put-out. He doesn’t. If anything, he looks relieved. I’m not sure why, though.

“I didn’t think you’d be coming yourself. I thought you’d send an assistant or something. I’m sorry I pulled you away from work.”

“I’m not going to send an assistant to get my wife out of trouble,” he says with a sideways glance at me.

Why do I like the way that sounds? I feel my cheeks growing warm and I get butterflies in my stomach. Even though this is so embarrassing, I can’t help but feel touched that he went out of his way to help me.

“Shall we?” he says as he opens the passenger side door for me. I slip into the plush leather seat and we head for the tow-yard.

We get to the yard and I hand the man at the cash register my only credit card and hope it clears. I pay the minimum balance each month. It’s been a while since I checked to see how much credit I had available. I don’t know what to do if it’s not enough. If I can’t get my car back, that means I not only don’t have a car, but I also don’t have a place to sleep.

My hands shake as the clerk rings up my charges. “That’ll be fifteen hundred dollars.”

My entire body goes numb. I just stare at him in shock. “Fifteen hundred dollars to tow my car two miles? My car isn’t even worth fifteen hundred dollars.” How can that be? A speeding ticket doesn’t cost that much. What a fucking rip off. I would tell him that too if my boss weren’t standing right next to me. There’s no way I have fifteen hundred dollars on that card. I don’t think there’s even a hundred. If that were the case, I could get a motel room.

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