I had only made it a couple dozen steps away from the super-secret-clubhouse room in the Fairhaven Club before I felt a hand on my shoulder. I shrugged it off and spun around, fingers pointing at the young man and a hard glare.
“I’m not one of the staff you go groping, pal. Hands to yourself.”
He looked shocked for a moment, then became indignant as his partners flanked him.
“See here, sir. I shall be reporting to Ms. Alexander that you violated—”
“Shut it,” I said, sick of the man’s speech pattern more than anything else.
“I voted how I was instructed to vote. You wanna go ahead and squawk to Nikki, feel free, but she’ll be more annoyed with you than me.” My eyes went back and forth to the three of them, all puffed up with righteous indignation. “Probably as annoyed.”
“As instructed?” One of the men behind said.
“Why would she . . . ?” Hansen began.
“We are trying to---”
“I know what you’re trying to do,” I broke in. “And it might be a good idea, but it’s not my call. I voted the way she wanted me to.”
“I don’t believe you,” that was the first guy again.
“Fine. Take it up with her,” I began walking away.
“I shall have you thrown out of this club!”
“Great! Suits me fine!” As I stomped off, a buxom woman tried to take my arm, and I shied away from her.
You know, if those guys really wanted equality, they’d give the staff real uniforms and stop making them act like dolls.
The brunette gave up trying to latch herself to me, but followed a step behind.
I was on my way to the all brass escalator down to the exit when a slim redhead, unique for her lack of bust size, extended a note to me.
Room 8, Dumpling.
The note was in Nikki’s neat hand, and smelled vaguely of roses. I brought the note up to my nose. It was too subtle to be perfume.
I lifted the note, ready to crumple it in my hand, but didn’t. Crumpling it, dropping it, all would have been useless gestures as either the redhead or brunette would scoop it up immediately.
I pocketed the note, but was still prepared to leave the Club when I noticed that the redhead barred my way. She stood directly in front of the escalator. She stood there with a defiant lift to her chin that reminded me of Nikki.
She’s one of Nikki’s. Either hired by her or paid directly by her. I could get by her, but it would probably cause a scene and send stories buzzing through the place. “Oh, did you hear what young Allen did with the staff?” The young idiots would be scandalized and have me thrown out. The old boys would pat me on the back and give me a cigar. And Nikki laughing the entire time.
“Lead the way,” I growled.
I really hate the Fairhaven Club.