Sara carefully picked up one of the heavy trays with three teapots on it, trying not to spill as her hands shook.
How could he expect her to know things when he didn’t tell her? How dare he? She gnashed her teeth, attempting to disseminate her frustration.
Once in the lobby, Sara could see where she was to set the tea—a long, finely decorated table adorned with flowers and a lacy tablecloth. Two waiters in perfect livery stood like soldiers at attention. She set the tray on the table and removed the pots, careful not to spill any tea on the lace. As she started to return to the kitchen, something latched around her ankles.
Sara squeaked out a high-pitched “ah!” before clamping her mouth closed. Snapping her gaze downward, she discovered Madison looking up with a mischievous grin, still holding tight to her while the tablecloth draped over the back half of the girl’s body.
“Good afternoon, Miss O’Neill. Papa thinks I’m sleeping in the office, but I couldn’t sleep. I wanted to say hello to you.” The imp gazed into the parlor, where about a dozen fancily dressed women waited for tea. She released Sara’s legs and grinned again. “I think I might get some treats. But it’s so hard to wait.” Her pretty little pout drew a smile from Sara.
“I must be about my work, wee one. I’ll try to save you something special. Now go back to your papa, else he mightn’t let you have any. And remember to be quiet as a mouse.” Sara glanced toward the front desk and picked up her empty tray to return to the kitchen.
“I will.” Madison scooted out from under the table and tiptoed toward the office unnoticed by her father.
Sara nodded her off with a whisper. “See you later, Madison Mouse.”
Madison giggled, putting her finger to her lips, and disappeared into the office.
Their pleasant moment together proved short-lived. Chef LaFleur met Sara at the kitchen door, his face red and eyes blazing. “What are you doing, playing with that child when you should be working?”
~ ~ ~
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