Benny signed some papers in a rush and looked anxiously at the clock. Monday lunch time was almost upon him and the events of the weekend were old news for now. Surprisingly he felt great; there was no overwhelming feeling of depression or gloom that one suffers in a breakup. He had no problem eating or sleeping, in fact last night was one of the best night’s sleep he’d ever had. There was no punching, slapping or kicking and the covers stayed on all night. He couldn’t deny he missed the naughty middle of the night sex him and Karmel had but other than that he felt good.
Benny looked at his nice Rolex on his wrist which Karmel had bought him on their anniversary and decided he was officially going for a break. Before he could even get his foot out the door Margret called him into her office. He took a couple deep breathes and prayed looking to the sky that his line manager didn’t make a pass at him today. She was about fifty going on sixty and her wrinkly self was certainly not an attraction to him in any way or shape or form. Although he could acknowledge that she was one of those women who were beautiful in their hay day. Well tell a lie he saw an old photo of her on her office desk. But this was not the past, he wasn’t interested in her and he would have made that clear but she was his boss and he wasn’t trying to make his job anymore complicated, so he pardoned her behaviour. Besides that, she was so subtle in her advances you couldn’t even believe she was making a pass your way. Benny straightened his tie and re-tucked his shirt in before heading down the long narrow white corridor towards Margret’s office. He wished he could’ve pretended to not hear her call, but her door was slightly ajar and it was quiet in this section of the building. Moreover the only way out of the building was past his boss’s door.
Benny was almost at Margret’s door, when Matthew one of the other managers popped out his room with a beaming smile on his face.
‘Fucking hell, like what’s with the suit and tie look today then?’ He asked, slipping his hands in his pockets and refusing to stand still.
Matthew was that ass licker in the job; every vocation had at least one person who followed everything by the letter of the law and made sure when you failed to follow procedures that you were aware of your slip-up. Nobody really liked him because the guy was an absolute snitch about anything and everything. He was not to be trusted but you wouldn’t have guessed it from first speaking to him. He seemed like a regular Joe who loved to swear in every sentence he uttered. Thinking back he couldn’t even think of one day Matthew hadn’t sworn.
Fancied a change today,’ answered Benny. ‘I’ve just got to quickly talk to Margret about one or two things.’ He didn’t have the energy to get into a conversation with Matthew and aside that he was hungry and his belly was talking very loudly.
‘I’ve always wondered; why is it that coloured people love chicken so much? I mean I’ve got a coloured friend who adores chicken, why do you guys love it so much?’
Was this guy for real? He was going to leave before he said something untoward and out of turn.
Benny couldn’t help himself and replied with a smart remark. ‘Do all Caucasian males stick their balls in their best friend’s mouth for a bit of a laugh and all that malarkey?’
‘Eh, I aint ever done that but fuck I put shaving cream on my friends eyebrows-‘
‘Look here for your own health don’t call black people coloured, it’s improper.’ Benny walked past him and stood outside Margret’s door. ‘Food for thought, how am I coloured when you go red in the sun, green when you sick, purple when you bruise and blue when you die?’ Matthew looked at him perplexed and tangled up in thought. ‘You may want to have a nice little debate with yourself when you’re sitting at the chicken shop.’
Benny smiled at Matthew sarcastically till his cheeks hurt and knocked on Margret’s office door feeling like he educated somebody in the right manner. Then the delayed reaction of what Matthew had said actually set in, who still calls black people coloured? He was actually angry now the situation had passed on and he actually wanted to say a hell of a lot more now the uneducated fool had gone away.
‘Come in,’ invited Margret.
Benny stood in the crack of the door not wanting to venture in to deep. ‘You wanted to see me.’
‘Just get your behind from behind the door and take a seat.’ She pointed to the seat across from her.
He reluctantly came out like a creature under a rock and made his way to the empty chair opposite his boss. The adrenaline began to kick in the moment she began to open her mouth to speak. He had no idea what she wanted but he was scared it was something bad; he only recently got this promotion, partly because Derek had left the post due to traumatic stress. Unfortunately his wife left him with their two kids without as much as a word. What was one man’s pain was his gain and he didn’t wince once Derek had left; he was doing all the work anyway. Don’t you just hate bosses that delegate all the work to their subordinates and in turn all you get is a thank you, whilst they enjoy the bonuses and benefits of your labour. Benny leaned on his arm rest and listened intently with his mind at ease; Margret was just updating him on the quarterly targets and giving him his monthly review. Aside her menial flirting he had a cool boss who supported him and wanted to help at any time. She was the one who gave him the job in the first place and he felt a sense of gratitude towards her but that didn’t mean he was an ass licker like Matthew. Their talk was drawing to a close and thank God because his stomach was rearing its ugly head once again. He was literally out of his seat and clutching the door knob like he was shifting gears in to first so he could zoom out the room when Margret called him back in. The dreaded feeling that washed over him was not a pretty sight; his brain went into overdrive hoping that she wouldn’t say something cringe worthy.
‘I want you to chauffeur my daughter,’ she asked taking off her glasses. ‘Just, take her to lunch bring her back safely and show her around Clapham. Is that ok?’
‘Do I have a choice?’ He posed delicately.
Margret smiled. ‘Do you ever?’
‘Just tell me when,’ he accepted with a grimace and resided himself to fate. Since when did he become some baby sitter for Margret and the worse part about it was he was so quick to accept.
‘That’s why I like you, you have a sense of humour,’ she complemented, going into her drawer below her desk and giving him ten fifty pound notes. He looked on in concern, what was that for? ‘Don’t be so scared it’s for the expanses you are likely to incur shopping with her. The girl has got some very astute taste when it comes to fashion. I would go but I’m tied down with so much work and not to mention the planning for the last quarter of the year,’ she explained opening and closing her glasses. Benny nodded his head. ‘I know you have a girlfriend so just tell her it’s a favour for me, before she attempts to murder you tonight.’
‘Oh I’m no longer with Karmel,’ he stated openly. The moment the words left his lips he instantly regretted it, why did he say that?
‘That’s good then, should be no problem then. I was going to give you an extra hundred for her but since she’s out the picture you can have it,’ she said handing over another two fifty pound notes.
He’d never had this much physical cash in his hands ever; that was what plastic was for. When he thought about it he wondered why this opportunity was presenting itself? Why not a family friend, brother or sister, uncle, aunty or even her dad? Surely there must’ve been someone other than him who could babysit and chaperone her daughter.
Margret nodded in the direction of her daughter sitting legs crossed reading a ‘hello’ magazine in the corner. Benny turned in surprise at the woman hidden behind a ‘hello’ magazine; he scratched his head at how he hadn’t even noticed Margret’s daughter as he came in. Why was he scared to approach Margret’s daughter? He wasn’t built like brick house but he was tall, lean and he dealt with people every day, so what was this apprehension he felt? Maybe it was because if she had any of Margret’s attitude, this was going to be an uphill struggle. Althoguh Margret was a cool manager, she did have her bitchy and condescending moments where she spoke to people like a bag of crap.
Benny cleared his throat. ‘Excuse me-‘
‘What,’ she interrupted abruptly, dropping her magazine in a huff.
Shazam! Those were the words he uttered in a breath as he took in just how stunning this girl was. Caramel complexion, green eyes, short brown Keri Hilson style hair and her lips and nose were cute, it suited her face. He couldn’t get over just how green her eyes were and the feline shape it had. She caught him off guard; he wasn’t expecting a caramel daughter from Margret. The sly woman loved a bit of black man; and her daughter was a grown woman about his age. Wow, his mind thought exploding with so many questions. He did not expect this in the slightest.
‘Did you find what you were looking for?’ She questioned, raising one of her finely tweaked eyebrows. Evidently she was unimpressed by his intervention.
‘Oh,’ mentioned Benny looking back at Margret, who encouraged him to continue. ‘I’m guessing you’re Margret’s daughter,’ offering his hand and ploughing through her insolent remark.
She gave him the once over and ignored his invitation to shake hands. Benny stared at her as she rolled her eyes to the heavens and picked up her magazine once more. That attitude reminded him of his ex- Karmel; all this unneeded rudeness was just not needed. Ordinarily he would have the patience to give this girl the time, energy and chances to be co-operative and nice before he commented. But today was a new day and he had enough of pretty-foul mouthed women, one more rude little comment and he was going to tell her as he did Matthew what time it is. He didn’t turn round as he heard Margret leave the room, instead he pushed forward with the mission.
‘Sorry I didn’t quite catch your name,’ continued Benny giving her the last chance to be friendly.
‘What was that?’ Asked Benny; becoming agitated.
She sighed loudly. ‘Mind your own business.’
‘You know what, I aint gotta deal with this.’ He calmly laid four hundred pounds on the mini table besides her, and made his way to the door.
He thought about giving her a piece of his mind but it was easier for him to just leave. Hunger was far more important than some bratty girl who had the silver spoon fed to her. It was not his place to give her the your in the real world talk; no his job involved him eating some southern California chicken wraps from Tesco with that sexy fruit juice.
‘You need to grow some, that’s why your girl left you.’
Nothing was going to ruin his good day not even a comment like that; he was only letting this go again because she was Margret’s daughter. Otherwise this girl would have more things in common with Rhianna than she thought she could.
Benny smiled and turned to her. ‘Funny thing about that is, I left her,’ He corrected slipping out the room and heading down the hallway.
He turned when he heard the door swing open behind him.
‘Do you drive?’ She called out down the hall way, with her hands tucked away neatly in her black leather jacket.
‘Are you mature enough to have a license?’ He asked being sarcastic.
She walked steadily towards him and his eyes took her figure in which was complemented well in her; dark denim jeans which tucked neatly into her grey retro Jordan’s.
‘The names Mercedes,’ she said walking right past Benny seductively. ‘But people know me as LV.’ She stopped a couple paces ahead and turned to face him. ‘You better learn to keep up,’ she announced with attitude, popping her hood up. ‘Hope you got your umbrella; it’s about rain in more ways than one.’
He shook his head with a smile and followed.