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Suddenly Royal(5)

By:Nichole Chase

“Looks to me like you traded up, ma’am. This is a classic.” He held his hand out and helped me out of the car. I smiled gratefully at him because I had let Jess talk me into wearing heels tonight. He handed me my ticket and I gave him my keys.

I tried to not cringe as my truck made a coughing noise before it pulled away. The hostess was watching me through the glass doors, so I took a deep breath and held my head high, all the time quietly praying I wouldn’t end up busting my ass in the damn shoes. The doorman opened the door for me, but even he had a look of disdain as he studied me.

Chili was already sounding much better. Hopefully the food would be decent. And not overly expensive. I’d just sent three hundred dollars to the hospital for my dad’s monthly payment. To say I was scraping the bottom of the barrel would be putting it nicely. I smiled at the hostess, hoping that being polite would smooth over the truck fiasco.

“Hi. I’m meeting Duchess Sverelle for dinner.”

“Does she know you’re coming?” The blond woman’s voice grated on my ears. It was high and nasally. Why would they want that for their first impression? There are lots of blond, modelesque women who would love a job like this. Her eyes narrowed and ran over me in disgust.

“Since she’s the one who invited me, I would assume so.” Operation Nice was over.

“Uh huh. And what’s your name?” The woman looked down at the list in front of her with so much seriousness you would think it was full of people waiting for a heart transplant.

“Samantha Rousseau.” I watched her as she looked at the list and then back to me. “I’m from the university.”

“I see. Just a moment.” She walked away, her hair swishing behind her like she was walking in a wind tunnel for a photo shoot and I found myself wondering how she did that.

She returned a moment later, accompanied by a man with a bored look. He was tall, thin, and older, and reminded me of Alfred from the Batman movies. But without any of the humor or intelligence. His eyes traveled over my big winter coat and glimmered with disgust. He lived here, didn’t he? How could he think it was weird to wear a big winter coat?

“Miss…” He looked at me expectantly.

“Rousseau. Samantha Rousseau.”

“Miss Rousseau, your name isn’t on the list.”

“I’m sure it was a simple mistake.” I narrowed my eyes at the man. “Perhaps you could go check with the duchess.”

“I’m sure the duchess would have informed me had she been expecting someone else for dinner.” He smiled at me and I had to take a deep breath before answering.

“Well, as close as you apparently are with the duchess, it must’ve slipped her mind.” I leaned forward. “Look, I’m just trying to keep an appointment here. Can’t you go ask her if she was expecting me?”

“I’m afraid it is against policy to bother guests while they are dining.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I brushed the hair out of my eyes and glared at mini-Alfred. “Just go ask her.”

“Miss Rousseau, this is a very respectable restaurant. I suggest you leave and not cause a scene. I will call security if I need to.”

“I suggest you go ask the duchess if she’s expecting me, or go ahead and call security and you can expect a scene. Then when she sees you escorting me out of the restaurant, you can explain why you sent me away.”

“I’ll go. This once.” He eyed me for a long moment before sighing heavily. “If it turns out you are not an invited member of their party, I will be returning with security.”#p#分页标题#e#

“And you can apologize when you get back with your tail between your legs.” Operation Pissed was coming into play. I had a hard time holding my tongue when I got into that mode.

The man sniffed again and I was tempted to offer him a tissue but bit the inside of my cheek instead. “We’ll see.”

He walked away from the little podium and the blond hostess took his place. She ignored me as if I wasn’t there, and that was just fine by me. I slid closer and looked at the sheet in front of her. Just before she covered it with her arm, my eyes landed on my name.

“Oh, now that’s just rude.” I turned away and quickly followed the old man to a table in the center of the room. Those petty jerks were trying to keep me out because they thought I didn’t belong? Because of my truck or my clothes?

My furious stride made quick work of the space between the door and the table Alfred was standing next to. I caught up to him in time to hear the last of his words.