by Kat Heckenbach -
Xavia tapped one manicured fingernail on the cloth-covered tabletop. Conversation buzzed around her, mixed with the clinking of glasses and the tink-tink-scrape of utensils. Everyone else seemed to be happily enjoying their meals while Xavia’s food had not arrived yet. She breathed deeply through her nose.
Unacceptable. There’s no excuse for a restaurant on this level to—
“Here you go, ma’am.”
Xavia lifted her head and gazed at the waitress—the one who had finally returned. The girl brushed back her purple-streaked blond hair, revealing a piercing in her eyebrow. She smiled as if everything was just perfect.
You have got to be kidding me.
The girl placed the plate on the table, bumping Xavia’s wine glass with a tattooed forearm. The glass tumbled to the floor and shattered. Xavia’s jaw clenched. Had the glass not been empty she’d have made sure the cost of the wine came out of the little grunt’s paycheck.
“I’m so sorry,” the girl said as she knelt down to pick up the glass.
Xavia huffed. “Leave that to a sweeper bot, you fool, and get me another glass of wine.”
“Oh, yes, the bot.” The girl stood and faced Xavia, chewing her bottom lip. She shook her head. “Sorry, I’m just not used to this. I’ll be right back.”
Xavia watched the girl walk off. The back of her hair had red streaks instead of purple. Her uniform hung awkwardly, as if made for someone larger. Of course, the girl was far too skinny. And that tattoo… it looked like something a grit-breather would have.
All I can say is she’d better have not touched my food.
The girl returned with Xavia’s wine and set the glass on the table. She opened her mouth as if to speak, and then clamped it shut, eyes wide. Xavia turned around to see what had the girl so transfixed that she felt it necessary to ignore her customer.
Nik was walking toward them, weaving between tables. He smiled brightly, but his eyes were on the waitress, not Xavia.
“Hey, Mom,” he said as he stepped past Xavia and hooked his arm around the waitress’s waist. “I see you’ve met Piper.” He pulled the grinning waitress closer.
Her eyes moved back and forth, but her brain whirred as it tried to process her son’s words. Piper. He’d mentioned a girl he liked, a girl named Piper…but he’d never…
Xavia’s hand slammed the tabletop. “You’re dating a servant?”