Pawn of the Billionaire

By: Kristin Frasier&Abigail Moore

“Thanks, hun. I’ll make some tea.” I shoved the teapot under the urn and grabbed a couple of teabags. It was relaxed here until about nine when Marco the owner would show up.

I went back out to the front. Checking that all the chairs were set straight and the night girl had wiped the tables down properly, I wondered if that chap in the suit from yesterday would be back.

He’d been so out of place, sitting silently. Typing on a laptop, for God’s sake! In here. He stuck out while he sat watching, drinking three mugs of coffee. He’d given me the shivers, though. I’d felt he was watching me, and I couldn’t think why.

I’d even asked Marco if it was him, arranging to check up on me, and he’d growled at me.

“I can watch you for myself, girl. You’re all right here, even if you do talk too much to the customers. At least it means they keep loyal.”

I’d had to accept that as a back-handed compliment, and I’d shrugged off thoughts of the odd guy, and carried on with my day.

I went to the back and took a bite from my sandwich before pouring out the tea. I took Pete his mug while he was busy topping up the oil in the fryer. Then I heard the main door swing open.

“Here we go.” I stopped for another bite, and swallowed it quickly before going through. These were a couple I knew from the last few weeks. They were with another couple, who stood nervously behind them.

I smiled. “Good morning.” I looked the first woman in the eye. “What sort of night did he have?”

“Oh, not so bad.” Her face was thin and anxious. “He starts a new round of chemo today and he’s really cross.”

“Oh, you poor things.” I led them over to their usual table. “They always take it out on their parents.”

“I know. We had to get out for a bit.” She shivered. “We’ll be busy the rest of the day.”

“Yup.” I waited. “You want your usual?”

“Yes. Thanks.” She looked over at the other couple. “We told these people that it’s cheap and filling here, and that you keep an eye out for us.”

I smiled over at them. “You got a kid on the same ward?”

“Yes,” the woman whispered. “She was admitted yesterday. We don’t know what’s going to happen.” She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue.

“Okay. Well you sit down here, and have a look at the menu. A good breakfast will set you up for the day. Shall I get you tea or coffee to start?”

“Coffee, please.”

“All right. Coming right up.” I swung through to the back, my own problems receding a bit. I knew what they’d be going through right now from when Mom had first been diagnosed, then the long slide down to losing her, always hoping that this treatment would work, this one would save her.

I looked through the small hatch as the door swung again. It was old Sam, carrying all his worldly possessions in two plastic bags. Awkwardly, he pushed through, both bags in his left hand, his right sleeve swinging empty. I hurried through.

“Here you go, Sam. I’ll take those for you.” I was the only person he let help him, he’d growl at anyone else, but he had a big soft spot for me, and I always gave him his coffee before Marco got here, and then he’d fill up all day with the free refills. He beamed at me as best he could, and shuffled through to the men's room where he’d try and tidy himself up a bit. I dumped his bags on the floor by the table where he always sat. His entire life revolved around the diner. Day after day he’d be here. Damn, I didn’t want my life to be like that. I went to get his coffee while thinking hard. What was the next thing I needed to do with my plan? My plan to escape this dead-end job. My dead-end life.

It was still quite early, and I was busy with the breakfasts, when the door swung again. I glanced idly out, and my heart sank. It was the tall, out-of-place guy who’d been watching me yesterday. I scowled, and turned away. Let him find his own seat. I picked up the plates as Pete slid them onto the hot server, looking them over to remind myself which customer they belonged to.

I hit the door with my ass to swing out with both hands full of plated meals and I was hit with a sudden tingling sensation. Oh, God, what was it? I looked around. The man standing by the door waiting to be seated wasn’t the guy from yesterday. He looked just as uncomfortable, but fucking hell, this man was hot! I swallowed hard and forced my eyes away from him. I served the silent couple at their usual table and smiled mechanically at them. “Any extra table condiments?”

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