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!

 


 

July 20, Thursday

THE CHATTY CONCIERGE—what was his name?—tried to flag me down when I walked into the lobby, but I waved and kept walking.  I was tired from a brutal workout, and I was eager to get back to my place and relax.

I stopped at the mailboxes and checked mine.  I was keeping an eye out for an envelope from Traxton, just in case they cut a paper check for my severance pay and bonus instead of wiring it into my account.  But it was full of envelopes that put a knot in my stomach—bills, bills, bills.  I shoved them all back into the box and closed the little door.

“Hi, there.”

Charlie Graham stood a few feet away dressed in street clothes, also checking a mailbox.

“You live here?” he asked.

“Nope,” I said cheerfully, then turned toward the elevators.

“Ms. Culpepper,” the concierge said, jogging up.  “A piece of furniture was delivered for you today.”

Great—proof I do live here.  “Thanks for letting the delivery people into my unit.”   I reached into my bag for a tip, hoping I had cash.

“I couldn’t let them in, ma’am.  It wouldn’t fit through the door.”

I frowned.  “It has to fit.  My personal assistant measured.”

Charlie came up to stand next to me.  “You heard the woman, Henry—her assistant measured.”

He was mocking me.

“I’ll call tomorrow and have it re-delivered,” I said.

“Oh, they left it.”

“Left it?  Where?”

“In front of your door.  I wanted to warn you, your neighbors aren’t too happy.  And you might have to crawl over it to get inside your unit.”

I closed my eyes.  This I did not need.

“Sounds like you could use a hand,” Charlie said.

“No, I—”

“Wait—think it through before you turn me down.  Henry and I are standing here, willing to help, aren’t we, Henry?”

Henry nodded enthusiastically.

“Unless one of your boyfriends is coming by to help you?”

“She only has one boyfriend,” Henry said.  “He’s a doctor.”

“I’ve met him,” Charlie said.  “But he’s out of town, so there’s another guy—younger, better looking?”

“Oh, that’s her brother,” Henry supplied.

“Really?” Charlie said.  “Good to know.”

“Nice fellow,” Henry said.  “But he doesn’t live close enough to help with this.”

Charlie looked back to me and shrugged.  “So it’s me and Henry, or your furniture sits in the hallway.”

I wanted to throttle them both, but I knew he was right—this time.  “Alright.”

“Did I hear a ‘please’?” Charlie asked, cocking his head.

I sighed.  “Please.”

“That’s better.  Lead the way.”

Henry jerked his thumb over his shoulder.  “I’ll grab some gloves and take the freight elevator to meet you up there.”

Charlie followed me to the elevator and I stabbed the call button.  “I assume you live here, too?”

“Just moved in a couple of days ago.  I hear the neighbors can be dicey.”

The doors opened and we walked on.  I held the door hoping someone else would get on—where was that pug-toting woman when I needed her?—but no one came.  When the doors closed, I stood rigidly away from him.

He leaned close to me and sniffed over my gym bag.  “Do I smell donuts?”

“No,” I said, moving away.

“I definitely smell donuts.  Which is funny because, as I recall, you don’t eat donuts.”

“If you must know,” I said, exasperated, “they’re for my assistant, as a thank you for helping with  the couch.”

The door opened on my floor and I walked off, then slowed when I saw my door—or rather, when I didn’t see it because the crated island couch was blocking it… and most of the hallway.

“Holy cow,” Charlie said.  “What is it?”

“It’s a couch.”

“That’s not a couch, that’s a spare room.”

Henry arrived from the other direction.  “I brought tools in case we need them.”

Charlie clapped his hands.  “Okay, let’s pull away the crate and see what we got.”

The uncrating took a while, but at last they uncovered the island couch, covered in thick plastic.  By that time I had clambered over the top and opened the door to my condo.

“It’s still going to be close,” Charlie said, gauging the size of the opening and the width of the couch.  While the men discussed how to turn the piece to get it inside, I pushed my current couch, chair, and table to the far wall to make room.

The men eased the big piece inside slowly, maneuvering and pushing and straining when necessary.  When it finally slid through the opening, I cheered and they high-fived.  After I directed them where to set it, I couldn’t help but smile—it was perfect in the space.

“That’s the biggest couch I’ve ever seen,” Charlie pronounced, “but it does look good sitting there.”

“Yes, it does,” Henry agreed.  “Say, Ms. Culpepper, what are you going to do with your old furniture?”

I shrugged.  “Sell it, or give it to Goodwill.”

“I could use the chair in my TV room at home.  The table, too.”

“And I’ll buy the couch,” Charlie said.  “My place is still empty.”

“Take them,” I said, “for all your help.”

“That’s too much,” Charlie said, but I waved him off.

“You saved me.”

“Just being neighborly.”

“I’ll help you carry it to your place, Mr. Graham,” Henry offered.

They carried the couch and chair to the freight elevator, then Henry said he could handle the table by himself and said goodbye.

When we were alone, Charlie said, “Listen, Della… I owe you an apology.”

“For what?”

“For bringing you to my personal table in the restaurant the other night to prove a point.  It was childish.”

I shrugged.  “It was a nice meal and my friends loved it.  Thank you, by the way, for going along with the celebration.”

“Obviously they don’t know about… your job situation?”

“Right.  But it’s fine… I have a plan.”  I lifted my chin.

He gestured to the couch.  “Obviously, if you bought that behemoth.”

I managed a tremulous smile.  “Right.”

He grinned.  “So, do I get a donut for helping with the couch?”

“My old couch isn’t enough?”

“Call me greedy,” he said.

“Okay—just one.  I only bought two.”

I walked over to my gym bag and pulled out a peach-colored wax sack.

“Wow, Chloe’s.”  He reached into the bag and pulled out a cake donut covered with brown sugar and cinnamon.  “No wonder you passed on my donuts—she makes the best pastries in the tri-state.”  He bit into the donut, then his eyes rolled back in pleasure.  “Mm.  So good.”  He headed toward the door.  “I feel bad that you won’t get one.”

“You shouldn’t, because I don’t eat donuts.”

He saluted, then left.

When the door closed, I carried the wax sack to my new couch, sat down on the sumptuous expanse of white leather, and pulled out the second donut.  ~

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