was done, he’d have to wait. Again. Not that he had anything pressing or urgent to get to, as this was the last job lined up on the books. For now. However, he’d promised Pastor Perky the job would be done by today, and Jason always kept his word. If the damn tile wasn’t in the middle of the kitchen it wouldn’t be a problem, but seeing as how tonight was the church social and dinner to celebrate the end of the renovations, it was a problem. Or rather a pain in his ass, kind of like a certain friend of his.
Dropping to his knees, he pulled a chisel out and went to work removing the broken piece so he could level out the space and try again. A quick glimpse at his watch told him lunch came and went hours ago, which explained the loud grumbling from his stomach. “Where the hell is David?”
“That’s probably a strike against you, Jase,” said Dave from directly behind him. “I’m fairly certain only ministers are allowed to swear in church.”
“Where have you been and where’s my fu . . . freaking lunch? I’m starving.”
Dave tossed a bag his way before taking up residence on the only stool in the room. “Bad news, bro. We lost the bid on the restaurant.”
“Who to?” Jason asked around a mouthful of stale sandwich.
“RI Builders, and I hear they’ve put in for the community center too.”
Jason’s hand holding the sandwich dropped to his leg. “No way they underbid us. They charge extra for their name alone. Shit . . . shoot. How do we keep losing to them? Do they have everyone in town on their payroll?” Looking skyward, Jason said yet another apology and a prayer.
“Rumor has it they’re not above giving kickbacks, which is why we need an ally when they go to vote on this project.”
At the rate things were going, Jason would be making the chain sandwiches instead of buying them, and his business would be a forgotten dream. “All the more reason why you or Brody should take what’s-her-name on this date.”
“Her name is Cherry, Cherry Ryan. You have the most well-rounded knowledge for the job. I’m just the electrician and Brody only knows how to talk contracts. Be on your best behavior. Compliment her. Tell her she looks amazing, you love her outfit, shoes, hair, all that junk. Ask her about herself—women love to talk about themselves. Don’t bring up the proposal for the rec center at all. Hand-deliver it to her the next day. Tell her you were going to courier it over, but wanted to see her. You’ll have her eating out of your hand.” Dave stopped talking, a miracle in itself. His eyes opened wide before turning to a squint. “Dude, you look like a dog about to attack. Is there a reason you’re snarling at your sandwich?”
The food tasted like sawdust. Tossing it in the trash, he walked over to his worktable and prepared the mortar, shoulders slumped. He knew Dave was right. He had to do whatever it took to get the diva on their side. “You know I hate playing effing mind games.” Score a point for him, he didn’t curse.
“The whole world is a giant chessboard. You should know that by now.”
“Never did learn to play chess.”
“Maybe it’s time you did.”
Slapping the mortar on the floor, Jason scraped it back and forth. “I’ll leave that talent to the fairer sex.”
“You’re talking about Stephanie, aren’t you? Bro, not all women are as evil as your ex. Yeah, I know she screwed you over big-time. I mean, dedicated fiancée by night, full-service masseuse by day. It doesn’t get much worse, but I’m not talking about sleeping with Cherry.”
“Good, cause it ain’t happening. I need to concentrate on the business.”
Wadding his sandwich wrapper up into a ball, Dave took a free throw and scored as the wrapper went into the trash. “Okay. She was on the show twice, first as one of twenty-five women all dating one guy. She was one of the last four when she went home, and a fan favorite. They invited her back, this time with her dating
Chavoret Jaruboon, Pornchai Sereemongkonpol