I’m almost to her desk when Donalds yells out, “When’s the bachelor party? I better be invited, Castile, or you won’t hear the end of it.”
“As if you’re so quiet now,” Tony retorts, not looking up from her computer screen.
I take a seat in my desk opposite of hers. “So, Tony, maybe you should take a break.”
“Can’t. Captain wants this report ASAP because Swanson’s lawyer is up at the mayor’s office talking about how this is all a big misunderstanding.”
“He’s brainwashing little kids into selling drugs on the street and it’s a big misunderstanding?” Bernie’s one of the worst shysters in this town. He’s seventy but looks ninety with his wispy white hair that he styles around his head like some bad copy of a flower crown. Kids like his grandpa looks. He takes the runaways and orphans into his big home, feeds them, and puts clothes on their back, all in exchange for dealing drugs at the local elementary school. Weed and Adderall, the study drug, are the most popular.
“He’s got connections, which is why we can’t ever hold him. All I could do was pick him up on a speeding ticket and then once in the slammer, I just forgot about him.”
She could only do that for twenty-four hours.
“Damn. Sorry I wasn’t there to see it.”
“You missed a big show.” She slams down her finger on the return key, gets to her feet and grabs her leather jacket. “We’re getting lunch now.”
“It’s eight in the morning,” I protest. “I’m full.”
She pins me with a mean glare. “We can have it out here where everyone and their mother sees it or we can discuss this over a cup of dark roast and Mimi’s donut fries.”
I hop to my feet. “Donut fries have never sounded better. We’re off to lunch,” I yell over my shoulder as I follow my partner onto the elevator. “I’ll buy,” I tell her.
“No shit, Sherlock. You’re buying from now until my hair turns gray.”
I tower over Tony and it’s easy to see the top of her head. “So, like, tomorrow then.”
She turns around and punches me in the shoulder. “Does your new fiancée want to get you back with your dick in a box? If not, you better pipe down.”
Tony’s small but mighty, so I bite my tongue. That is until we reach the first floor. I can only hold back for so long. “You know the Mad Chef, Tones?”
She grinds to a halt in the middle of the lobby. “The Mad Chef?” she almost screams. “Your fiancée who you’ve never told me about even though we’ve been partners for nearly five years is the Mad Chef?” She turns on her heel and stomps off. “You rich white men get all the women. It’s not fair.”
“Hey now.” I run after her. “You couldn’t have had her. She plays on my team.”
Tony shoves open the glass door harder than necessary. I hustle to stop it from bouncing off the granite wall.
“All the good ones play on your team, asshole. Which is a crying shame because why would you ever date a man when there are women out there?”
“I agree, which is why I don’t date men. I date women.”
Mimi’s bakery is just two doors down. We make it there in seconds because Tony’s practically running.
“I can’t believe that amazing, talented, gorgeous woman is settling for you,” my partner gripes after she places her order. “When’s the wedding? I’m not buying you shit. You should be giving me a condolence package for stealing one of the eligible female bachelorettes out from under my nose.”
“I had no idea you lusted after the Mad Chef.” I take my coffee and step to the side.
“Anyone with taste lusts after the Mad Chef. I’ve been to her restaurant twice and I’d go more but it’s so damn expensive. Have you eaten her food?”
I’ve eaten her, I think, and that’s pretty damn addicting. I keep that thought to myself. I don’t want to make Tony feel worse than she already does.
“It’s good,” is all I reply.
“Good?” That results in another punch. At this rate, I’m going to have bruises. I brighten. Maybe I’ll show MJ and she will kiss it to make it better. “You seriously don’t deserve her. Anyway, when’s the stupid wedding? You never said.”
I wince. “That would be because there isn’t one. Yet. I mean, I’m marrying MJ. She just doesn’t know it yet.”
Tony drops her donut fries on the ground. “What?”
“I just said that to Donalds to get him off my back. He’s always sniffing for gossip. I plan on marrying MJ, like I said, but I need to ask her.” And that might not be for a while because she currently thinks we’re just friends with benefits.
My partner punches me again.
It’s my turn to yelp, “What?”
“For being a stupid man and for making me drop my donut fries,” she huffs before bending down to pick up the fallen pastries. “You’re buying me a new order.”