Lawrence “Lorrie” Bishop has been at his job as a waiter at Red Rita’s, for a couple of years. He feels like he needs something else in life but he’s not sure what. Besides a steady boyfriend, of course.
When Rita must take a medical leave she brings on her son, Jackson, to run the restaurant. Lorrie is surprised to be prompted to assistance manager. Now he’s going to have to work with the sexy as sin, Jackson, who Lorrie guesses is straight and definitely out of his league.
Jackson isn’t quite sure Lorrie has what it takes to be management, but he is attracted to the younger man, and because of his mother, he gives Lorrie a chance. Before long Lorrie proves himself a great assistant manager and Jackson clears up his sexual preference misunderstanding when he asks Lorrie out.
Can they have a future beyond a brief loving the assistant?
Jackson couldn’t deny that Lorrie wasn’t quite what he had been expecting when his mother said she knew just the employee to be his assistant. In fact, when she’d referred to the employee as Lorrie he had expected a woman. That’s what he got for assuming.
Not that he was disappointed. On the contrary, he found Lorrie ridiculously appealing. Blond, slim, perky, and slightly femme, Lorrie was just the sort of young twink Jackson would seek out at a gay bar.
But this was no gay bar and he wasn’t planning on any hookups. This was his mother’s restaurant and he had a job to do.
“Excuse me?” Lorrie asked. He’d gone pale and looked more than a little panicked.
“Don’t worry, I have every confidence in you,” his mother said.
“B-but I’m just a waiter.”
“You’ve been here longer than any of my other wait staff. You know the way we do things around here.” She gave him a reassuring smile. “And you won’t be trying to blindly run it by yourself. Jackson will help you.”
Lorrie bit his bottom lip and glanced Jackson’s way once more. “Have you ever run a restaurant?”
He shrugged. “Well, no.” Jackson smiled. “But I’m a business man, Lorrie. I have run successful businesses.”
The younger man -- Jackson had no idea how old he was but he suspected in his mid-twenties -- seemed to relax just a bit, but Jackson noticed Lorrie’s legs began to bounce and his hands fidgeted in his lap.
“You’ll get a raise, of course,” Jackson assured him. He suspected more responsibility with the same amount of pay would not be terribly appealing to Lorrie or anybody really.
Lorrie straightened. “A raise?”
Jackson smiled and crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Yes. Three dollars an hour.”
“Four,” his mother spoke up.
“Four dollars an hour.”
“Okay.” Lorrie didn’t look terribly pleased, but he seemed accepting at least.
Jackson was actually no more sure Lorrie was the man for the assistant job either. But his mother had chosen him and Red Rita’s belonged to her. She’d been diagnosed with breast cancer and would be undergoing treatment. Neither of them dwelled much on the cancer, but Jackson knew it weighed heavily on her mind. She would get better. She had to.
“Why don’t you go home today and come fresh to start tomorrow for the breakfast shift? Five?” Jackson straightened from the desk. “Beth will finish your tables.”
Lorrie nodded and stood. Or rather pretty much leaped up from his chair like his ass was on fire. Jackson guessed he was looking to get out of the office as fast as he could.
“Thank you,” Lorrie said. And Jackson could almost hear the words I guess in his tone.
Jackson shook Lorrie’s hand and smiled. “It’s natural to be nervous about new challenges, Lorrie. But I’m sure you’ll do fine.”
Lorrie nodded again and headed for the door. “Want me to re-close the door?”
Jackson turned to his mother as soon as Lorrie had closed the door behind him. “Are you sure about him?”
“Oh, Lorrie will be fine. He doesn’t give himself enough credit. I wouldn’t have chosen him if I had any doubts,” his mother said.
“All right.” He studied her carefully. “You look tired.”
“Exhausted. But it’s just one more day. I can make it, Jackson.”
“I know you can and you will.”