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Chapter 4

“What are you going to do if he actually fires you?” Melanie asked as though this time her answer would be different.

“Kill you,” Rebecca answered with a lazy shrug as she continued to flip through the health magazine on her lap.

“Killing me wouldn’t pay the rent,” Melanie pointed out smugly.

“It would if your family paid me to do it,” she felt obligated to point out as she shot another calculating glance towards the exit.

“My family loves me.”

“Your father offered me fifty-thousand dollars to kill you,” Rebecca pointed out, wishing that she’d managed to jump out of the car before Melanie had stopped her, but the damn woman had lightening fast reflexes. Besides, the idea of getting road rash at forty miles as hour hadn’t really appealed to her.

“He was joking!” Melanie gasped in outrage, giving her the distraction that she needed, because honestly, she wasn’t sure how much longer she’d be able to sit here, knowing what was coming.

“He wrote a check,” she answered as she glanced back at the disapproving receptionist, who hadn’t taken her eyes off of them since they’d walked in the door, before she returned her attention to the magazine pushing the latest version of Viagra.

“You’re lying!”

“You were dating Craig Milton,” she said, reminding her best friend of the biggest dating mistake of her life.

“I was ten years old!” Melanie gasped with a chuckle.

“Your father took exception to him,” Rebecca said with a shrug as she stared at the magazine in her lap, trying her best not to think about…anything.

But, with every passing second she was losing that battle and she couldn’t help but think about the conversation that was to come or the gut wrenching feeling that hit her every time another Doctor looked at her with pity and annoyance as they came to the conclusion that she’d wasted their time. She didn’t want to be here, but then again, she really didn’t want to be home or at work where a certain terrifying man was no doubt on a rampage thanks to the fact that she’d once again narrowly escaped another attempt to fire her.

Okay, so technically she hadn’t escaped anything since he’d flat out told her that she was fired nearly a dozen times over the past five years. If it had been anyone else she probably would have just accepted her fate and moved on by now, but this was Lucifer Bradford, who obviously had no idea what he was doing, so she felt it was for the best if she simply ignored him and focused on saving the Fire & Brimstone before he ran it into the ground.

Lucifer was a very intelligent man, a hard worker and even though she personally thought that he was an asshole, he was also one of the most honest men that she’d ever met. That being said, he was also incredibly stubborn and that just wasn’t going to work for her.

She understood probably better than anyone how much the Fire & Brimstone meant to him. She hadn’t been able to help but fall in love with the restaurant and its charm the very first time she’d laid eyes on it. She’d do anything to make sure that it was a success even if that meant saving it from the man that had every right to run it into the ground.

Lucifer was stuck in his ways, refused to change anything or look for ways to improve the restaurant and evolve to meet growing trends. As far as he was concerned, the day that he’d opened Fire & Brimstone’s doors to the public, the restaurant had been absolutely perfect the way that it was and didn’t need to change. She’d admit that it probably had been perfect back then, but that was ten years ago and lot had changed since.

When she’d first started working at Fire & Brimstone she’d realized that the restaurant was in desperate need of a massive overhaul or it wasn’t going to be able to keep its doors open for very much longer. The food was horrible, overpriced and, more than often, was charred beyond recognition. Staff turnover was high and the employees that stayed were complete assholes that didn’t give a damn that the restaurant was in a downward spiral as long as their checks cleared.

It had been a nightmare.

She’d also noticed that Christopher, (AKA Lucifer Bradford to those that didn’t want to piss him off) had been in way over his head. Technically, he still was and if she let him have his way and get rid or her, then the poor man wouldn’t know what to do with himself or the Fire & Brimstone. He needed her, almost desperately, she concluded with a pitying sigh and a shake of her head, because really, she had no choice but to stay and help him.

It really was for his own good.

“I wonder what they found,” Melanie said with that calculating tone of hers that just made Rebecca want to sneak into the bitch’s room one night and smother frosting all over her face so that she could sic Mojo on her.

“They didn’t find anything,” she said in aggravation, foolishly taking the bait and promising herself that if Melanie kept this shit up that she was stopping at a store on the way home and buying a dozen cans of frosting.

“Then why would they ask you to come in?” Melanie asked, sounding smug, which she knew from experience wouldn’t last long.

As soon as the Doctor broke the news to them that she was probably a fucking nut job just looking for attention, Melanie’s tone would turn slightly…crazed. At least, that’s how the last Doctor had described it.

“Don’t get your hopes up,” she said instead of allowing herself to be drawn into this pointless conversation.

She absolutely refused to have this conversation again.

It just wasn’t happening.

It wasn’t.

“They found something. I can feel it,” Melanie said firmly, which of course earned an eye roll, because Melanie was always sure that they’d finally found a reason why she couldn’t seem to go a day without getting sick.

She should keep her mouth shut, because she knew that if she ignored Melanie long enough that she’d get bored and drop the conversation, but the stubborn part of her that couldn’t leave well enough alone just couldn’t keep quiet.

“Yeah? And what am I going to do if they find something, huh?” she demanded.

“We’ll deal with it,” was the immediate response that had Rebecca sighing heavily as she tossed the magazine back on the neat pile in front of her so that she could give her undivided attention to her best that she loved more than anything, but was likely to kill one day.

“Really? What if they find out that I’m diabetic or that I have cancer?” she asked, because she honestly wasn’t sure what she was going to do if the test came back positive. It would probably take her years to get over the shock that she was actually sick.

“Then we’ll find the best cancer treatment in the world if it’s cancer and if it’s diabetes then we’ll cut back on sugar and watch what we eat,” Melanie said, sounding completely confident that they’d be able to handle whatever it was and that was great, sweet really, but Rebecca knew that they weren’t going to find anything.

“This is the last appointment that I’m going to,” she said firmly, because she was done.

“We won’t need another appointment after this,” Melanie said, sounding so damn sure of herself. “They figured out what’s wrong and now they can fix it.”

“Uh huh,” she mumbled, hoping that Melanie would shut up and drop it.

“And don’t worry,” Melanie said, reaching over and giving her leg a comforting pat that was going to get her drizzled in gravy one night, “no matter what happens, what they find, you’re not in this alone. I’ll go through this with you.”

“Rebecca Shaw,” the nurse said, letting her know that her time had run out, “the Doctor’s ready to see you now.”

Chapter 5

“This is disgusting!” the middle-aged woman that could have been the poster child for soccer moms everywhere, said with a sneer, making sure that everyone in the restaurant heard her.

“I see,” Lucifer murmured thoughtfully as he looked down at the plate she’d shoved in his face before he had a chance to ask what was wrong.


p; Well, he knew what was wrong. This woman and her three clones, who couldn’t decide if they wanted to devour him on the spot or send him bitchy looks in support of their friend, had belittled his waitress and embarrassed her in front of everyone. They were also pissing him off and creating a scene in his restaurant, which unfortunately for them wasn’t something that he would tolerate.

“The French fries were ice cold and soggy. The burger was burnt to a crisp on the outside and completely raw in the middle. The bun was completely dried out. The coleslaw was rancid and-”