And Alice Has Made All The Difference
PG-13 for violence
Author's Note: Many, many, many thanks to my beta JG Rox. My story is 100 times better because of her keen eye! The awesome rosalynn7885 made me this fantastic banner for this story. h t t p : / / bit. ly/hD2QU4 (copy and paste, then remove the spaces)
Of course I do not own the Twilight characters, no copyright infringement intended, etc, etc.
Feedback greatly appreciated! I hope you enjoy this story!
I was pouring a cup of coffee for one of the regulars when I saw her. She was a young woman, couldn't have been older than sixteen or seventeen. Her short dark hair stuck out wildly. She wore a pretty blue dress that even I could tell probably cost more than I made in a year. The fabric looked like real silk. It draped elegantly over a lacy crinoline that peeked out from under the hem.
I made my way back to the counter where she had seated herself. She looked out of place sitting on the red vinyl bar stool, her posture straight and her legs primly crossed at the ankles. She looked like she should be at some fancy tea room or restaurant instead of Frank's Diner down on the river front.
"Can I get you something to drink, hun?" I asked.
Looking at her, I felt every bit of my fifty-three years. She was stunningly lovely with pale skin and odd, vivid amber eyes; I could see every man in the diner watching the petite beauty. I pushed away a small surge of jealousy and gave her a friendly smile.
"Thank you, but no, Mariah. I'm waiting for someone."
I started. How did she know my name? It took me a moment before I realized I was wearing a name tag. I felt myself blush. Something about this girl made me feel uncomfortable, though I couldn't put my finger on why. I probably just needed a break.
"Did you want a table for you and your friend?" I asked.
She shook her head. Her ink–colored hair bounced with the movement. Her disheveled locks made me want to grab a comb and smooth them out.
"I'll wait here. It's where he'll see me." Her expression was serene as she spoke.
I looked around the restaurant. The diner wasn't exactly huge and with the plate glass windows that served for walls on three sides there wasn't any place a person couldn't be seen from.
"You at least want a cup of coffee?" I offered, "You look a bit tired."
Dark, purplish circles ringed her lovely eyes. It looked like she hadn't gotten much sleep the night before.
"No, thank you," she replied. I shrugged and wandered off to wait on my other tables.
I kept an eye on her throughout the day. After the third time she'd declined my offer of a cup of coffee or a piece of pie or a glass of water I stopped asking. She just sat on the stool at the counter and watched the front door. Every so often she would cross or uncross her ankles, but other than that she hardly moved.
I stopped in the back to sit at our break table for a few moments while Frank worked on the orders I'd just turned in. The table was covered with half–finished crossword puzzles, old shift schedules and order tickets that had been used as scrap paper. I took a sip of my coffee, then set it down on top of the mess.
"What's the story with her?" Frank asked, shrugging one beefy shoulder at the order window, his bright blue eyes intent.
"Her who?" my fellow waitress, June, asked as she plopped down beside me with a sigh. She lit a cigarette and looked over at Frank. He nodded towards the girl at the counter again.
June looked through the order window. Her drawn-on eyebrows arched in surprise. "Oooh! She's a pretty one. Short, though, isn't she?"
"She's dreamy." We all turned to look at our busboy, Felipe, whose darkly tanned arms were buried up to the elbows in suds, washing the dishes. He flipped his head back to get a lock of dark hair out of his eyes, but it fell right back in place. That boy needed a haircut, I thought.
"You think she's got a boyfriend?" Felipe asked. All three of them looked back at me.
"What, I'm the expert because I asked if she wanted coffee?" I shook my head in mock disapproval. June nodded vigorously and I couldn't help laughing. "She said she was waiting for someone. A male someone."
All three heads turned back to look at the girl, sitting quietly at our counter. She was facing away from us, eyes still fixed on the front door.
Felipe muttered something that sounded like "figures" before he turned back to the dishes. June sighed again and stood, wandering back out to clean the table of a couple that had just left. I watched her work in silence as I sipped my coffee, trying to delay having to go back out there myself.
"Time to get back to it," I grumbled. I hauled myself up out of the chair. I put my now empty coffee cup in the sink, and patted Felipe's arm in thanks. Then I picked up my tray and grabbed the burger that Frank had just plated.
I walked back out to the dining room, passing the girl on my way to deliver the food. She looked up at me as I passed. For a moment, I was certain she had heard us talking. She didn't say anything, though, but turned back to watch the door.
The day passed quietly, our regular crew of construction workers from the building going up around the corner and the men from the factory a block down jawing as usual.
The topic of the day was a series of murders that had happened in our neighborhood of Philly. Three women had been found dead in the last month. All of them had been drained of blood and – at least according to one of the less reputable newspapers – the women had been covered in bite marks. Human bite marks.
It was close to sunset when my shift ended. I had stopped next to the counter to look out the window and watch the sun begin to go down. The sky was filled with pinks and golds and purples. I heard a sigh from the person next to me. I glanced over. It was the strange, quiet girl.
"Pretty, isn't it?" I said, nodding at the sunset. "Looks like the rain finally moved out."
She turned huge amber eyes up to me. It looked like she was fighting back tears, though her eyes were dry.
"He didn't come." Her high soprano voice trembled as she spoke. "I saw – I mean, I know he was supposed to be here, I know it. Why didn't he come?"
I wasn't entirely certain that she was speaking to me. She was looking at me, and her words seemed directed at me, but I had the feeling that she was asking herself the question.
"Maybe you got the day wrong, honey?" I suggested.
She seemed like such a sweet little thing I hated to offer my real opinion, which was that she'd been lied to by whatever man had left her hanging. I felt guilty when her face lit up at my words.
"That's it! Oh, Mariah, that must be it. I just had the wrong day. There's more than one rainy day in the fall, right?"
Still smiling, she slid gracefully off the stool. To my shock she kissed me on the cheek before heading for the door. Her lips were cool and smooth against my wrinkled skin. She moved like a ballerina, practically dancing her way across the floor. It wasn't until she was walking out the door that I realized my mouth was open. I shut it with a clack of teeth.
"See you tomorrow, Mariah!" she called over her shoulder.
I shook my head at her optimism and headed back into the kitchen to clock out.