TEMP GIRL: A NEW Daily Serial

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Change is good...but not great.

 

Hey, there.   It’s me, the girl you probably hate—you know, the tall skinny blonde at the gym, the one who disses you at the water fountain?  I’m here to tell you everything you suspect about me is true:

Yes, I have an easy job making ridiculous money.

Yes, I turned the extra bedroom in my fab Atlanta condo into a closet for my designer wardrobe.

Yes, I have a personal assistant.

And yes, as a matter of fact, my gorgeous boyfriend is a doctor.

My life is beyond amazing and more than I could’ve dreamed of when I was growing up.  My mother might say I’ve “gotten above my raisin’.”  I guess that’s why I’ve become such a diva…and why a part of me has always been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

As much as you dislike women like me (rightfully so because admittedly, even I kind of hate me), you’ll be happy to know when the shoe finally dropped—Christian Louboutin, of course—it landed with a giant, life-changing crash.

I'm Della, by the way.  Della Culpepper.  And trust me—you won't want to miss my freefall into reality.



The TEMP GIRL daily
 serial will run July 1 - December 31.  The daily episode will be available only for 24 hours (approximately 4am-4am Eastern), so set a reminder on your phone, computer, or fridge to get your free TEMP GIRL fix every day!

 


 

October 21, Saturday

I STOOD AND STARED at the entrance to my new job assignment:  Graham’s Eatery.

“This won’t be awkward at all,” I muttered.

I took a deep breath and walked inside.  The place was relatively quiet.  A waiter clearing a table smiled.  “We’re open, but we’re closing in one hour for a private party.”

I nodded.  “I’m supposed to work the party.”

“Okay.  Go through those doors and ask for Megan.”

I followed his directions and walked into a room where a half dozen other women had gathered around a tall, statuesque redhead.

Charlie’s ex-girlfriend Megan.

The women exited through another door behind her.  She turned and waved me forward.  “You’re late.”

“I’m sorry.  I only just received the information.”

“I think this one will fit you.”  She handed me a hanging dress bag.  “You need to get changed into your outfit right away.”

I blinked.  “Outfit?”

“It’s an Octoberfest party.”  She unzipped the bag.  “It’s a traditional Bavarian dirndl dress.”

“With a corset,” I said through my frozen smile.

“Show as much cleavage as makes you comfortable.  I’m sure the boys won’t object.”

“Boys?”

“I’m throwing a party for the chef and owner.  His brothers will be here and all his guy friends.”

“Oh.”  I did remember reading something in Charlie’s book about his German heritage.

“And lots of beer, of course.  That’s why we need servers.”

“I should warn you, I don’t have much experience.”

She leaned in.  “Then show more cleavage.”

I gave her a tight smile, then walked through the door the other women had gone through and followed the noise to the women’s bathroom.  The other servers seemed bubbly and fun, and they were all helpful to each other and to me as we changed into our “outfits.”

In case you’re not familiar with the traditional Bavarian dirndl dress and how it gets translated to waitressing, think “Heidi makes a porno.”

And yes, we all had wigs with blond braids.

For the next hour the head waiter and the bartender schooled us on how to order and serve drinks, gave us a tutoring session on the beer list and the custom menu, and told us, yes, we could accept tips.  The official duration of the party was four hours, but we were told it could stretch to six hours.

As we made our way out to the main seating area and bar, my nerves were jumping.  We were assigned specific tables and given trays, notepads, and pens.  It was clear everyone there had more experience than I did.  And more cleavage.  I felt so exposed, I decided to leave my big glasses on, which contributed even more to the game of “Which waitress is different from all the others?”

My feet were already hurting; in hindsight, I should’ve worn different shoes.  And different underwear considering how much of my bra showed through the low-cut blouse. Because my mother was a waitress her entire life, had bounced from one diner to the next greasy spoon and back, I had fastidiously avoided waitressing when I was young.

But I took a deep breath and rallied my resources.  How bad could it be?  After all, my mother could do it.

Famous last words, I realized quickly enough.  The crowd arrived seemingly all at once—about thirty guys who all appeared acquainted considering the decibels of the laughter and raucous storytelling.  I saw Charlie arrive—Megan met him at the door.  He kissed her on the cheek, but I noticed her movement at the last second to offer her lips instead, and the way she clung to his arm.

Perhaps Charlie believed they weren’t getting back together.  But Megan seemed to be of a different mindset.

He stayed at the door for a while, greeting guests.  It was clear when his brothers arrived—the bearhugs were boisterous and the affection was genuine.  They all wore sweaters with the same Bavarian crest, so I assumed it was particular to his family.

It was so different from my “family” experience, it was jarring.

I was a little envious.

But I didn’t have time to wax nostalgic because the party went from neutral to wide open in a matter of minutes.  I took orders and moved as fast as I could to serve my tables, but it was a steep learning curve.  And throughout, I was waiting for the moment Charlie recognized me.

It was from across the room.  Megan stood next to him, clasping his arm and they appeared to be surveying the party like any host and hostess—a couple.  I saw him look at her fondly many times and I could tell he was appreciative of her efforts.  At some point, she gestured to the servers, and I saw her single me out.  She winced and shrugged.  My face burned when I realized she was apologizing for me.

I caught his gaze and saw his expression and body language change.  He appeared to make excuses to the people nearby, then made a beeline for me.  I was carrying a tray of three enormous beers back to a table when he intercepted me.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m working,” I said cheerfully.

“Della, I don’t want you serving my friends.”

I pulled back.  “I know I’m not good at this, so if I’m embarrassing you—”

“You’re not embarrassing me.  I just don’t….”

I waited.  “What?”

“I don’t like it,” he finished, wiping his hand over his mouth.

“It’s fine,” I assured him.  “And besides, I can use the money.”

His mouth tightened, then he relented.  “But if anyone gets out of line, tell me.”

“Charlie, go enjoy your party.”  I walked around him and delivered the heavy tray, offering up a smile to the men.  Then I took more orders and did it all over again.

And again.  For six and a half hours.  I was too busy to keep tabs on Charlie, but our gazes locked a few times over the course of the evening.  He seemed to be having a great time, and Megan was always close by.

When I left the restaurant, my feet hurt so bad, I took off my shoes.  I ached all over, and I was exhausted from swatting away flirtatious hands and fending off innuendoes.  I’d made good tips, but God Almighty, it was hard-earned.

A horn sounded from the sidewalk.  I looked up to see Charlie and Megan in the sexy red convertible.  “Get in, we’ll give you a ride.  We can squeeze together for a few blocks.”

But Megan’s expression was less welcoming, and I didn’t want to intrude.  “Thanks, but I’d rather walk.  And I need to make a phone call.”

“Okay,” he said, sounding disappointed.  He waved, then they sped away.

I pulled out my phone and even though it was late, punched through a call.

“Hello,” a sleepy voice sounded.

“Hi, Mom, it’s MaeDella.”

“MaeDella, is everything okay?  Are you alright?”

“I’m fine, Mom.”  I fought back sudden emotion.  My mother’s life hadn’t been easy, and I’d judged her harshly.  “I was just thinking about you… and I wanted to hear your voice.  I’m sorry it’s late.”

“It’s okay,” she said.  “I haven’t been sleeping so well lately anyway.”

“I have some good news.”

“What?”

“I’m engaged.”

Silence rang over the line and I held my breath, unsure what to expect from her.  Resentment?  Censure?  Bitterness?

“To that nice man you said you’ve been dating for a while?”

I exhaled.  “That’s right…”   ~

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