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About Blue Davis
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Copyright © 2015 by Blue Davis
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
First Edition: July 2015
Second Edition : October 2015
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Nia shifted from side to side, piling dirty plates into one big stack on the middle of the table. “Damn shoes,” she muttered under her breath, scowling. No rest for the weary. Her phone vibrated against her upper thigh in the front pocket of her white apron. Now what?
She reached in and grabbed the phone. She looked down and thumbed through to the new message.
>Brie: Finer than fine @ table 4
She smiled and rolled her eyes. When is she gonna learn I have absolutely no interest in men at this point in the game?
She sighed and placed the big stack of plates on her tray. She swiveled around to head toward the gray swinging double doors that led to the kitchen. Just as she reached the door, she glanced around the restaurant. I’ll just hand these off to the butler, so I can make the royal ball in time. She chuckled and turned back around to push open the large door.
And then she saw him. The crook in his nose, his light brown hair, his soft, clear skin. She saw him. She drew in a fast breath. She stared at the statuesque man.
Suddenly, the door came swinging outward, with a flash of busboy, hitting her pile of dishes. The mass of clanking dishes slipped from her grasp, making melodic noise as they clattered down with silverware.
Customers whispered behind her. You’re not getting the opportunity to see me make an ass of myself. She turned her back to her amused audience. She bent down and began picking up the dishes. Then she scooped up gobs of potato salad with clean rags.
She headed back into the kitchen to slide the whole mess into the large garbage can. She stopped. What just happened? She felt a corner of her mouth sneak up into a slight smile.
“Nia!” Brie snapped her out of her daze.
Nia straightened her apron and cleared her throat. She looked over at Brie. At 5’9”, 190 pounds, Brie made her look like a china doll when they stood together. Nia was 5’5”, 126 pounds, but she felt like half of a Brie.
“Yes. How may I help you?” Nia asked, trying to bury herself under a perfect smile.
“Table four wants you. Better get out there. That dumb hussie he’s with looks pissed,” Brie said.
Table four? Hussie? How did I not see that?
Nia’s feet glided across the kitchen floor. She studied the couple as she approached the table. Slender, blond, dark-brown white girl. Overbaked.
She dared to set eyes on him again. Short, light brown hair that could be curly if given half a chance. Soft translucent skin, he looked as though he had just come from a hot shower. He stared straight down at his phone, punching in keys on the screen.
“Welcome to Arnie’s. Sorry for the wait,” Nia said, as she began to set their table.
The blond scowled and said, “It’s about time, Girl. You’re as slow as a snail.”
One of the forks slipped out of Nia’s hand. Clumsy the Clown today.
“I’m so sorry. We had an incident in the kitchen.” She bent down and quickly grabbed the fork. She felt his eyes upon her and glanced up at him. His face was glazed over as they met eyes. She tried to drag her eyes from his gaze. She was glued. His eyes followed her until she was fully standing again.
“We had an incident in the kitchen, Ma’am.” the blond corrected her.
Nia pulled herself away from the intriguing man to look at the woman.
“Excuse me?” She asked.
“We had an incident in the kitchen, Maaaaa’aaaaamm,” the blond said again.
The man looked at his wife and let out a breath of disgust. He raised his eyebrow, and shook his head once or twice, but said nothing.
“I’m sorry, I’m not from around here.” Die, Bitch. Nia put on her best smile and said, “Now, what can I get for you?”
The man looked entirely gorgeous when he perked up. “Oh! Well, where are you from?”
“California. I’m going to school here, but I’m out right now for the summer. I’m taking care of my grandma too. She lives here.”
“Awww, poor grandma,” the Bitch said, with a theatrical look of sadness on her face.
“Well,” he paused, “Welcome to Texas.”
Her heart raced. It was the most beautiful four words anyone had ever said to her. He didn’t say it quickly. Nor did he say it slow. His slight drawl was deep and clear, but the words came out as if he was singing them.
Pull yourself together, Nia. “Thank you,” she said, smiling.
“You are going to University of Houston, I presume. What are you majoring in?” the man asked.
“Finance. I’m good with numbers.”
“I’m sure you are good with many things.” He said, slowly. His eyes captivated her. For a moment she forgot why she had a notepad in her hand.
The Bitch cleared her throat. “I’ll have the Chicken Caesar Salad.”
Nia unglued herself from his locked gazed just long enough to scribble something down on the pad. “And for you?” She took another opportunity to look at him and listen to the words coming from his artistically-shaped mouth.
“I’ll take the T-Bone, with a side salad, thanks.”
“How would you like your steak, Sir?”
He cocked his head slightly to the side. Nia saw him shift his gaze from her eyes to her lips.
“Rare. I’d eat it raw if I could.”
Nia let out a tiny smile, which she quickly concealed. “And to drink?”
“She’ll have the house wine, I’ll have water. I need to be sharp for a meeting in the morning.”
Nia regained her composure and switched her hips back to the kitchen, like the Southern girls do. She was in the South after all, and she didn’t want to be the only one bolting square-hipped from place to place.
She pressed her smooth ebony hand to swing the door open. Then she stood on the other side of the door and belted out a long, slow exhale. She rolled her eyes closed. She could see him now; his soft pinkish-white skin, his dark blue jeans and his slim-fitting white button-down shirt, all tailored perfectly to fit his fine body. Her eyes watered. She drew in a full, deep breath for the first time in her life.
“Girrrl, what happened to you? You look like you just been runnin’ around the block!” Brie stood over her.
Nia awoke from her daze to focus on her friend. “Uh yeah…I’m fine. Just feeling a little woozy,” she said as she walked her customers’ order over to the cook. The cook snatched it, then turned to stir a steaming pot on the stove.
Brie looked her up and down. “Do you not know who that is out there?”
“Uh…no, I uhhh…of course I know. The name just escaped me.” Nia relaxed her shoulders. “Who is it?”
“That’s Jake Carlton.”
“Okay. And who is that again?”
“He’s only the wealthiest bachelor on this side of the Mississippi. His daddy retired and handed him his oil company to run. He’s worth about 1.5 billion dollars.”
“Hmmm. Shouldn’t he be eating at the Petit Pan, across the street?”
“No. He’s not gonna be eatin’ no sixteen little peas on a platter. Texas men like their steak.”
Nia lifted her head. “I see. And his wife?”
Brie snapped her fingers in Nia’s face. “Nia. Did you not hear a word I said? He a baaaa-cha-laaarr. He ain’t married. Now get yo butt out there and see if anyone else need to eat. They ain’t the only people sittin’ in here.”
She followed her friend’s advice and tended to her customers all night. It was Friday, and they were hungry and thirsty. She made sure to attend to the billionaire too. She knew the type. Rich people like that had a lot of clout in the city and she wasn’t about to lose her job over a billionaire and his bitch.
Now she stood at a table of old ladies with her notepad and waited for their order. She glanced over at the billionaire.
They were both staring straight forward while they ate. Don’t they ever speak to each other? They were so rich, that they were boring.
The man turned suddenly and looked at Nia. She quickly turned her attention back to the ladies. She scribbled their meals on her pad, then walked over to him. He watched her.
“Are you guys doing alright? Do you need anything?”
She awaited a quick nod or shake of the head from the couple. Neither said anything. She saw the man’s eyes slowly wander from her eyes to her lips, then lower. He passed her breast line, then stopped at her waist. He moved his head slightly to the side, as if he needed her to turn around so that he could examine what was on the other side. She fiddled with her pen and notepad.
Just then, the Bitch let out a small sniff. She stared at her chicken salad with watery eyes.
“Can I take that for you?” Nia asked.
“Yes. Take it away.” The Bitch pushed the plate to the edge of the table where it teeter-tottered. Nia jumped. She caught the plate. I’m not spending my entire shift picking shit up off the floor.
“Claire,” the man said, his voice warning.
This is so awkward. “I’ll be right back with your check.” Nia shot off to the kitchen.
“Damn, was the dish that bad?” Brie said.
“I have no idea what’s wrong with her. She can swallow the chicken whole, for all I care.” Nia’s upper-lip raised out of disgust. “If that’s what it’s like to be rich, I want no part.”
“Mmmmhm….If there’s one thing money can’t buy, its happiness,” Brie said.
Nia rang up the couple’s meal. Hmmm, $132.56. I guess that’s a normal bill for a rich guy. She place the bill and two breath mints on a tray and walked it to table. This time the man wasn’t looking at her. Instead he looked out of the window to his left. Nia collected a black American Express card from the table and headed back to the register to slide the card. She set out for the table again moments later.
“There you go. Thank you for dining at Arnie’s and I hope to see you guys back real soon,” she said, putting on her best smile.
The man looked at her, and then closed his eyes. When he opened them, she saw a flash of apology. Then he said, “Thank you Nia.”
She gasped for air all at once. She stood for a moment at the table, unable to move. How did he know my name? She bolted back to the kitchen.
She watched the couple from the kitchen door window. He was a tall man, 6 foot, maybe. He walked down the aisle, nodding his head to greet staff as they walked out. She breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed her tense shoulders. She walked out to the table to gather his signature on the bill and the remaining dirty dishes.
She turned her head sideways to look at the bill. I wonder what a rich man’s signature looks like. She looked at the small handwriting. Her stomach leaped from her body. Her knees caved in. She broke the fall by barreling into the closest chair. She sat and read the small receipt three times.
Nia stared at the receipt. She added the numbers up repetitively. The amount of the bill: $132.56. She read the small word, “Tip” and skated her eyes back and forth from the amount. $1000.-- was written in blue ink. Amount total: $1132.56. A suave signature read, “J. Carlton.”
Nia grasped the table while she lifted herself from the chair. The man gave me a thousand dollars for bringing him steak and water. She stumbled through the empty restaurant to where Brie was clearing a table.
“Brie. Read this, and tell me I’m not crazy.” Nia held up the receipt to eye level.
“Aghhhhh. Oh my…” Brie opened her eyes bigger and snatched the receipt. She looked flabbergasted. “Lord have mercy, you done hit the jackpot. What’d you do? Serve that steak up with a fresh piece of pussy?”
“This makes no sense whatsoever. It must be a mistake.” Nia collected the receipt and walked away. I know one thing and one thing only: I’m gonna return this money to its rightful owner. He must think I’m a charity case or something.
She clawed through her purse for her car keys. What a night. The old Camaro’s engine slowly turned over and over, hesitating until it came to a full rumble. She belted out of the parking lot and began her commute home.