The large clock on the wall read ten after nine as Julie Sutherland stepped through the large glass double doors that led to the offices of Mordmorgan Books. On a normal work day, the twenty-six-year-old black woman would already be late but today being Saturday and the day set aside for the quarterly purging of the files, she was actually twenty minutes early. Plenty of time, she thought, to stop off at the break room and grab a coffee and donut.
The break room was already half full when she stepped inside. A few good mornings greeted her and she returned them with a wave of her hand as she made a beeline for the open boxes of donuts that had been set up on the far countertop. To her disappointment, it only took a moment to check each box and discover all the Boston Kremes were already gone.
"Damn," the dark chocolate skinned assistant book editor said under her breath as she shifted through what was left, not finding anything else that enticed her interest. "I was really looking forward to that Boston Kreme this morning."
Pouring herself a cup of coffee from the large urn, Julie took in the room, taking note of who else had arrived early. Tim Keaton was in of course, the man practically lived in his office. He had the ear of one of the mailroom clerks, Joe Donovan, and was no doubt giving him his latest speech on why Jimmy Carter was going to be the best President the country had seen in the last twenty years.
Moving her attention past Tim and a few others, Julie finally found who she was looking for, sitting in the far corner. Dina Malagar, one of the secretaries, had been her friend almost from the day she had started at the firm some two years before, but she and the slightly chubby Filipina had become even closer in the last few months.
Up until last spring, Dina had been what Julie had imagined was a statistical improbability in New York City, at least in 1978. She had been a thirty-year-old virgin. A condition eventually rectified when her long-term boyfriend, Roger Taylor, had broken down and put a ring on her finger and in doing so, finally gained access to her bed. Since that time, Julie had been privately tutoring her friend in the fine art of keeping a man happy. Something the younger woman had more than her share of experience in.
It was true, at least at first, that some of her suggestions had been shocking to the newly engaged woman, but the proof as they say was in the pudding and after seeing how well Roger had responded to her lessons, she eagerly looked forward to the next. At the moment, Dina had her head buried in the new John Irving book, "The World According To Garp," and hadn't noticed Julie come in.
If Dina was her best friend in the company, then the woman who abruptly stepped in front of her, blocking her passage, could easily be described as the worst. Connie Walker, another assistant editor, was only five years older than Julie, yet the tall, slim blonde had already been twice divorced. She had a well known reputation among both staff and clients of being willing to go to just about any lengths to close a deal. Still wearing a Farrah Fawcett hairdo that was already two years out of date, she'd twice stolen authors that Julie had worked with previously by opening her legs to them. An offering that extended even to those with a wedding band on their finger.
Julie's favorite song of late was Odyssey's "Native New Yorker", and like the girl in the song, she wasn't always a lady, but she was hardly a tramp. A sentiment that Connie never seemed to care about. And now, as if she needed another reason to dislike her, Julie noticed that Connie had on her paper plate what had to have been the last Boston Kreme.
"How'd your date go last night?" Connie asked as she took a bite of the donut, causing some of the crème to spill out over her lips.
"It was fine," Julie said, not even surprised that the other woman had known she'd even had one. She seemed to keep as close a tab on everyone else's sex life as she did her own.
"Just fine?" Connie asked again, her tone suggesting she was looking for details.
"Yeah, just fine," Julie repeated, giving her a knowing smile as she ran her free hand across her short, curly black hair and letting her make of it what she will.
Julie had gone out with Jeffery Marcus, a salesman from one of their supply companies that she'd met two weeks before. A year older, Jeffery had been cute enough, and hardly cheap considering the trendy restaurant he'd taken her to. By the time they'd gone to the New Paramount to see a late showing of "Heaven Can Wait," Julie was looking forward to serving him dessert back at her place.
That was where Jeffery had come up short, and she meant that literally. Julie had never been a size queen, but the last time she'd seen a cock so small, even in a limp state, had been when she and Tony Grant had gotten naked in his parent's basement one Saturday afternoon and compared bodies. The difference being that little game of show and tell had taken place back in the fifth grade. Try as he could, Jeffery just hadn't been able to get her off. In the end, she had faked it and sent him home happy.
"I just realized something," Connie said as it became apparent that Julie wasn't going to elaborate any further on her date, "You love Boston Kremes, don't you? And here I took the very last one. I'm so sorry."
"No problem," Julie replied with a smile and false indifference. "First come, first served. Enjoy it."
"I guess that's something else we both have in common," Connie grinned as she wiped her lip clean with an outstretched finger. "We both love the creamy filling."
"If you say so," Julie replied, ignoring the double entendre Connie intended her observation to be. "If you'll excuse me," she added as she stepped around her and continued on to Dina.
A warm smile filled Dina's face as she looked up from her book and saw her friend. Putting the hardcover down, she motioned with her eyes to the empty chair on the other side of the table.
"How did last night go?" Dina asked as Julie settled into the small chair and placed her cup on the table.
This time, Julie's answer to the question was a lot friendlier if no more informative. Dina of course knew all about where she was going and with whom because Julie had asked her to cover for her so she could leave if not early, then at least on time.
When Jeffery had asked her out, Julie had no way of knowing that Doug Clarke, the Senior Editor in her department would be out sick and that she'd have to cover for him. Normally, that wouldn't have been a problem except that one of the other Senior Editors was holding up a package of proofs that had to be sent to the printers last night as to be run this morning. Evidently, he'd taken in upon himself not to trust the job Julie had done and decided to double check them himself.
That still wasn't a problem until six o'clock came and went and still the package hadn't come down. Not wanting to cancel, or even just delay, her date at the last minute, Julie had asked Dina if she could wait around and see that the proofs got to the printer when they came down. Doug sometimes let Dina take care of jobs like that so Julie was sure it wouldn't be a problem. With Roger away on business until Sunday and no plans for the evening otherwise, Dina had said that of course she would wait around and take care of it.
"You probably had a more enjoyable night with Garp there," Julie laughed in response to a further inquiry by Dina about last night.
"Well actually," Dina smiled, a wicked smile that Julie had learned to recognize in the last few months as one of contentment, "Roger unexpectedly came back early from his trip and..."
She didn't have to finish her sentence for Julie to understand. At least one of them had been royally screwed last night, she thought.
"Excuse me, Julie," said a brown haired, eighteen-year-old young man that stepped up to the table and interrupted their conversation. "I have something for you."
Despite the interruption, both Julie and Dina had warm smiles for the mailroom clerk standing in front of them. Joseph Donovan had been working at the firm a little over six months now and was as nice a guy as you could meet. Julie had even gone out to lunch with him a few times, just as a friend of course, and genuinely liked him.
"It was my turn to bring the donuts this morning and I made sure to put this aside for you before I laid them out," he said as he placed a Boston Kreme donut down in front of her.
"You are my hero!" Julie exclaimed as she stood up and kissed him on the cheek.
Joseph sort of blushed as she sat back down. Then he turned and walked away, leaving the two women to continue their conversation.
"That was a really nice thing for him to do," Dina remarked.
"Yes it was," Julie agreed. "It just goes to show you that there are still a lot of nice guys out there."
"It's too bad he's not a little older," Dina added, "I think he likes you."
"Well I like him too," Julie replied, "but you're right, he would have to be a little older." she quickly agreed.
"It's a pity we don't have more girls his age working here." Dina mused. "I think the ones we do have all have boyfriends."
Julie had to smile. Now that she finally had someone, Dina hated to see anyone else be alone.
"Wait a second," Dina said, her round face lighting up, "Julie Martinez, that girl who took over for Carmen when she went on maternity leave last month. She can't be more than a year or so older than Joe and I've never heard her say a word about a boyfriend."
"No, I don't think so," Julie replied, her words coming out slowly as if she was carefully choosing them.
.... There is more of this story ...