Midnight Dreams(8)

By: Kayla Perrin



had years earlier gone through man after man, finally happy.

“Jade, can I see you for a minute?”

Jade turned from the computer terminal to see Pierre Lamont,

the owner and manager of The Red Piano, standing behind her.

His eyes held a hint of anger. “Sure,” she finally replied.

“In my office, please.”

Jade swallowed as she followed her manager through the

kitchen doors and into the small office at the back of the kitchen.

Pierre wasn’t prone to calling staff into his office to congratu-

late them on jobs well done. Her stomach suddenly a ball of

nerves, Jade couldn’t help wonderful what she’d done wrong.

“Have a seat,” Pierre said.

She didn’t like his tone. Cautiously sitting on the edge of

a well-worn chair, she asked, “What’s this about?”

“I had a chat with Milton not too long ago, Jade. He was

very upset.”

“Oh,” Jade said matter-of-factly, feeling a modicum of

relief. “I don’t know what he said to you, but I’m the one who

should be upset, Pierre. Not him.”

“He said he’s heard better language coming from a trucker

than what you subjected him to tonight.”

“That’s a lie!” Jade replied, indignant.

Pierre raised an eyebrow. “Then what did you say?”

She hated the fact that her manager hadn’t even given her

the benefit of the doubt, but that’s the kind of man he was,

Kayla Perrin

25

and one of her reasons for wishing she didn’t have to work

here. “Did he tell you that he put his hand on my butt?”

“No.”

“Well, he did. Then he asked me out. I turned him down.”

“That’s all you said?”

“I should have said a lot more than that. I don’t enjoy

being fondled by my customers.”

Pierre shrugged. “I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it.”

Jade stared at him in stunned silence. Finally she found her

voice. “Didn’t mean anything by it? Pierre, he has to know

what he did was wrong, He’s lucky I’m not charging him with

sexual harassment.”

“Sexual harassment?” Pierre chuckled. “I forgot, every man

has to be careful what he says and does. Otherwise, women will

cry ‘sexual harassment’ whenever it’s convenient.”

“Excuse me?” Jade shot out of her chair.

“Lighten up,” Pierre said. “You’re going to have to if you

want to continue working in this business. Sometimes you just

have to forget the small stuff. Men unfortunately will be men.

But I don’t want to have valued customers feeling unwelcome

in my restaurant. Understand?”

Only too well. Jade should have known. Though Pierre had

never come on to her, he had a weak spot for the blond bar-

tenders. “I understand.”

“Good. That’s all.”

Jade left Pierre’s office feeling angrier than ever. Angry at

Nelson for putting her in this situation. She’d first worked at

another restaurant after she’d lost the salon and had had the

same problem—men who felt it was their right to tastelessly

flirt with their waitress. She’d finally gotten a job at The Red

Piano, a Manhattan restaurant that had a reputation as being

one of the busiest in the Upper East Side, and despite the

26


problems she’d stayed here because she made pretty good

money. Now she wondered if she’d have to find another job.

That thought made her stomach lurch. She didn’t want

another waitressing job. She wanted her salon back.

Trying to forget the ugly incident with Milton and Pierre,

she brought out hot food, got bills for customers, poured

coffee. It was the same boring thing she did day after day. The

only thing that gave her strength to continue was the dream

she didn’t want to give up.

She walked to Cassandra’s table to see if they needed

anything. She found the two in a lip-lock.

“Ahem.” Jade cleared her throat.

The two flew apart, and giggling, Cassandra looked up.

“Sorry. Must be the champagne.”

“No doubt. Have you decided on dinner?”

“Actually,” Cassandra replied, “we’re just going to have the

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