Dedication: To SuperGirl77 (her pen name is strangely familiar...YOU COPY CAT :D) for prompting me to "hurry my ass up and write the damn thing." Well, there.
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. I do not profit from this story.
A Little Dessert
Kagome had never been more bored in her entire life.
"It's so dead," Yuka yawned, resting her hip against the host stand.
"Really dead," Eri agreed, nodding her head and looking at Kagome with a small smile. "This is what we get for working Wednesdays."
"It's so hit or miss. We either get slammed with customers or we're so dead it's like the grave," Ayumi murmured, leaning against the back wall. She looked around the front entrance quickly, making sure no managers were around so she could cross her arms.
Kagome nodded without saying anything, preferring to stare out the glass doors at the rain falling in a steady mist. It was nine-thirty at night and the restaurant still didn't close for another hour and a half. The bar was open even later so Kagome made a mental note that she was glad she worked the dining room most weekdays. Barrel's Steakhouse and Bar was a fine dining restaurant chain that was famously known for its expensive prices but unbelievably good food. Kagome had worked there for a couple years, paying for her clothing in high school and now rent and groceries in university. She worked Monday to Thursday, and switched been being a bartender or dining room server on Saturdays.
"Why haven't you been cut yet?" Eri asked, nudging Kagome and giving her an inquisitive look. "I thought you opened today."
"I traded with Ayame for a close," the server explained, sighing. "I wanted to make more money for my trip next month."
"Ooh, where are you going?" Ayumi asked, huddling on the other side of Kagome and effectively trapping her between the three chatty hostesses.
"My best friend's wedding," Kagome replied with a small smile. "She's marrying the man opposite to that of her dreams." Laughing to herself with the strange looks that the other three were giving her, Kagome shook her head. "It's complicated but they are perfect for each other in almost every way."
"Okay then," Yuka murmured, looking at the other hostesses with an odd look. "Well at least you'll have fun. Are you a bridesmaid?"
"Maid of honour," Kagome corrected, smiling. "I'm throwing the most wicked bachelorette party though. Sango will be so embarrassed with all of the male strippers I hired."
"I bet," Eri giggled.
Kagome looked out the door again to see that a couple were walking in. One was a tall dark-haired man with a handsome face and toned muscles. His shirt clung to his upper body from the rain and his jeans hung a little lower than probably intended. The woman beside him looked extremely displeased, patting her long straight hair. She looked like a model, wearing a tight dress and stunning pair of high heels.
"Table fifty-nine," Yuka murmured, looking at Kagome and watching as the server left for the kitchen.
"Honestly? You think they'd prefer the dining room over the bar? The woman is dressed like she wants to go clubbing," Ayumi pointed out, trying to hide her smile as the couple approached.
The woman looked at the bar longingly while the male rolled his eyes at her. "Table for two, dining room," he said firmly, narrowing his eyes at Ayumi who had to turn around because she was giggling so much.
"Eri will show you to your table," Yuka said with a smile, nudging the other hostess. "Enjoy your meal."
"But Inuyasha..." the woman started, trailing off with a small sigh before being tugged along.
"Thank you," he said, looking at Yuka gratefully before being led to their table.
Eri smiled as she walked to the far back of the restaurant. Since there were so few people at this time of night, the dining room was generally empty. She led them up a small set of stairs before waving her arm towards a large four-person booth.
"Well this is quaint," the woman said sharply, taking her place in the booth and giving a tight smile to Eri.
Having seated her fair share of rude men and women, Eri gave back her best smile and waited until the man named Inuyasha was seated before handing them both a menu. Taking the extra cutlery, Eri looked at both guests. "Your server Kagome will be taking care of you this evening. Enjoy your meal," she said kindly, leaving without looking back at the snide woman.
Kagome watched Eri's face in amusement as the girl walked past. "Who's worse: the man or the woman?"
"The woman," Eri said, grinning. "I almost feel bad for him."
"To each his own I guess," Kagome murmured before following the path Eri just travelled back towards the booth. She took a brief moment to watch the couple interact. The woman was making comments too soft for her to hear but the distinct sound of his gruff voice snapping back at her led her to believe this was not a willing meal. Making her way to the booth, she smiled at both of them. "Hi, how are you?" she asked politely.
It could have been her imagination, but the man's open stare might have lasted just a bit too long. "Fine thank you," he said, cutting off the woman whose mouth was wide open to talk.
"Great, well my name is Kagome and I will be taking care of you this evening. Can I start you both off with some drinks?"
"I'll have a gin and tonic please," the woman said quickly, before the man could cut her off. "Inuyasha will have the same."
The man, Inuyasha, barked a laugh. "That's funny Kikyo," he told her, looking from the woman back to Kagome. "What do you have on tap?"
Listing off the multiple beers, Kagome took a deep breath at the end, grinning. Inuyasha picked his drink quickly and Kagome in turn looked back at the woman. "Would you like your gin and tonic Barrel-sized?"
"No thank you," Kikyo said, glaring at Inuyasha.
"Then I'll be right back with your drinks," Kagome said sweetly, turning around. At least with the alcohol these two seemed interested in consuming, she'd make a decent tip on a high bill.
Kagome made her way to the bar out front, smiling at the bartender Hojo while she gave him her order. "How are the ladies tonight?" Kagome asked, laughing at Hojo's barely concealed wince.
"They're fine. The night is still young though so we'll see how quickly that changes." Hojo grinned at her, giving her the gin and tonic before moving on to the beer. "And how are your tables? Are we dead in the dining room?"
"Almost," Kagome answered, thinking of the very few tables inside. There were only three other servers on besides herself, which signalled a very slow Wednesday night. She took the beer when it was offered to her before giving one last smile and walking off. As she made her way back to the table with Inuyasha and Kikyo, she tried not to trip when she saw the clearly pissed off looks of both individuals. "Great," she whispered sarcastically.
Anger generally led to bad tips, even if she had nothing to do with it.
"And here you go," she said as a way of greeting, waiting for them both to pull back before settling the alcohol down in front of them. Both of their menus were still open and by the looks on their faces, they hadn't even given it a look over. It didn't matter – she had to give her sizzle anyways. "So is it your first time at Barrel's?" Her managers preferred Barrel's Steakhouse and Bar but she felt that was far too overdone.
"My first," the woman said, calmly but without looking at her. The man, Inuyasha, shook his head.
"Alright well then welcome," Kagome said, plastering on the smile that wasn't really fake and wasn't really genuine. Generally, she never had to fake a smile unless a table was overly difficult and while this table seemed easy, the couple looked like they were going to strangle each other at any moment. "If you open the first part of the menu on your right hand side you can see the new feature we have currently. Every item on the menu is a special dish where a percentage of the proceeds go to our children's foundation. If you're looking for something to fill you up, I would definitely recommend the T-Bone. It is sixteen ounces of marinated, tender steak that we'll cook to any degree you wish. If you'd prefer something smaller, I would definitely recommend the filet minion. It's our most tender steak, wrapped in Applewood smoked bacon and done to absolute perfection. Generally our sides are a baked potato with grilled vegetables but you can switch them around for sweet potato fries, a twice-baked potato or steamed asparagus."
Kikyo merely looked at her, a small smile tilting her lips. "Do you have that memorized?"
"Not even close," Kagome replied honestly. "I sell to the individual customer, not the general public." It was true. If she was serving a table of men, she would sizzle the big steaks like the Baseball sirloin or New Yorks. If she had a table of women, she would promote steaks that tasted amazing well-done, since women generally liked their meat with no juice. "I'll give you a moment to decide if you wish."
"Please," Inuyasha said kindly, briefly glancing at her before looking back down at the menu.
Kagome turned away, just in time to see Eri leaving another table in her section. Sighing and bringing up a smile, she walked her way up to the elderly couple and did it all again.
Kagome knew that as far as dates go, the couple she was taking care of in booth fifty-nine was not having a good one. Conversation sounded stilted, and while she tried to give them as much space as her service requirements allowed, it was hard when all of her tables where in the same area. She currently had three on the go but right now she was dealing with the elderly couple at table fifty-eight. The woman had figured it out but the elderly man still had to decide what he wanted. She had made several suggestions but the man was having none of it. It wasn't like she worked there and knew what dishes were the best or anything like that.
"Inuyasha, you won't even look at me." The female's voice – Kikyo's voice – was calm, reminding Kagome of the saying 'the calm before the storm'.
Wait, she told herself. This was obviously private. She instead focused on the humming of the old man, still trying to pick between the prime rib and the top sirloin.
"It probably has something to do with the fact you reek of sex."
Okay, she definitely wasn't listening. If only they would talk a little quieter then it wouldn't be a problem.
"Save it Kikyo," Inuyasha said sharply. It didn't matter though because Kagome could tell just by the sound of his voice that he was hurt. "I don't want your excuses."
Kikyo was silent for a moment longer before a small, choked laugh came out. "It's not like I don't notice the looks you give, just like the one you shared with the waitress."
The old man's grunt shook her back to reality and she forced down the blush crawling up her cheeks from being caught. She was being nosy and rude and it went against everything she believed in. "I'm sorry sir. Could you tell me that again?"
She just wished that the elderly man had interrupted her before Kikyo uttered her last sentence or after Inuyasha gave his response. What look had they shared? She wasn't aware of it, whatever it was.
She took down the man's order and then passed Inuyasha and Kikyo. It looked like things were going to get ugly though and quickly making a decision she walked over. "How is everybody doing?" she asked, plastering on a fake smile. It was only after she realized how awkward her question was. She hurriedly moved along. "Sir, would you like another drink?" It was more or less empty anyways so it wasn't unjustified to ask.
"If you would," Inuyasha said, giving her a smile that could only be described as a half-ass smirk.
"That's it," Kikyo said, standing up abruptly and gathering her purse. "We're done."
Kagome looked at the woman with wide eyes, wondering what it was she said or did. "I'm going to–"
"Don't bother," the woman said, not unkindly but not particularly happy either. "Inuyasha we're done."
"Just like that?" he asked, his brown eyes wide.
Kagome still felt like it would be best if she left so she backed away slowly. It was only respectful, leaving them to talk on their own. It startled her how abrupt the conversation had turned.
It's not like I don't notice the looks you give, just like the one you shared with the waitress.
But...what look? The guy barely looked at her all night. And just then he didn't even make an effort to smile. Kagome wasn't even convinced the look was genuine. It probably wasn't, considering how tense the night was. Honestly, what look was there?
She attended to her other tables, making sure table sixty was enjoying their appetizers and ensuring them that their meal would be out soon. She ran some food out to the bar, which was now heavily packed with men and women drinking. When she couldn't put it off any longer, she walked back to table fifty-nine, half-expecting no one to be there. It would suck because the alcohol would come out of her pocket but people tended to forget things like bills when a fight was happening.
Or a break-up, which is sure as hell what it sounded like.
Kagome almost felt bad.
Yet, as she turned the corner and saw the booth, the man was still sitting there, looking over the menu. His drink was empty and Kagome cringed, wondering if another drink was in order. She knew if he decided to get drunk, she'd have to cut him off before he was smashed out of his mind. How the hell was she even supposed to approach him?
He didn't even look up when she made her way there, the front of her apron pressing against the wooden table. "I'm sorry," she blurted out, slamming her mouth shut the moment it was out.
The man, Inuyasha, looked up at her confused. "What the hell are you sorry about? If anything I should be apologizing."
Kagome shrugged, helpless as to what to do or say. She noticed though that even with the opportunity, the man didn't apologize. It was strange. "Do you want another beer?"
Inuyasha nodded, looking amused. "Please and if you could make sure that's my last one, I would appreciate it. I have to drive home."
Kagome nodded instantly, almost relieved that he had given himself the cut off. "Have you decided on what to eat?"
"You know what?" Inuyasha started, folding the menu and looking up at her, "I'll go with what you said. The T-Bone steak, please."
"It comes with a baked potato and three-cheese butter. Is that alright?"
Inuyasha shrugged. "What do you think?"
Kagome frowned, not understanding. "What do you mean?"
"If you were ordering a side with the steak, what would you choose?" He spoke as if she was three years-old. She felt indignant by it.
"I personally prefer the twice-baked potato. It's probably the best thing I've ever tasted," she replied honestly. "I sometimes just order that. It comes with green onions and bacon bits already baked in."
"And the vegetables?"
It was almost like she was being questioned. "I like them so I would keep them as a side."
Inuyasha nodded. "I'll have that then."
Kagome shook her head, snapping out of her stupor. "How would you like your steak done?"
"What are my options?"
This was definitely a quiz. She honestly didn't get it. "The options are blue rare, rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, well-done and Chicago; although, I wouldn't recommend anything past medium-well."
"Medium-rare for me please," Inuyasha insisted, smirking.
Kagome was dumbfounded. "I'll be out with that as soon as it's ready."
She walked away from the table as fast as she could.
There were tons of things she had to do. After running out table sixty's food, refilling table fifty-eight's drinks and running more food out to the bar, Kagome almost groaned when she made it back to the kitchen.
"Shippo," she murmured, letting her head rest against the tile wall. "Kill me now please."
Shippo, a young man with a mop of orange hair and sparkling green eyes laughed. "Oh come on Kags, it can't be that bad."
Kagome glared at him, telling him what happened between Kikyo and Inuyasha. "It's not like I even wanted to be there to witness it," she continued, looking at Shippo with wide eyes. "I mean, she told me not to leave and then I hesitated and then I fled! I mean, she was breaking up with him right in front of me and what was I supposed to do? And they weren't exactly quiet when they were talking either! I could hear them while I was taking orders for my other tables."
Shippo's grin was still in place but he was shaking his head. "That's shitty," he concluded. "At least he didn't bail on you."
"Thank goodness for that," Kagome conceded, running up to the expo when he called for hands. She grabbed more food and with Shippo's help, brought the five plates to table sixty. With them taken care of, she walked past Inuyasha, noticing that his drink was low but not finished. "Do you want something else to drink? Water or Pepsi perhaps?"
Inuyasha looked startled, like he was snapping out of a daydream. "Water, please," he said, giving her another smirk.
Kagome nodded, turning around to see that table fifty-eight's order had just been given to them. She sighed thankfully and went back to the kitchen for the water.
This was going to be a long night.
An hour later and all of her tables were taken care of. The dining room was closed and while tables sixty and forty-eight left some time ago, Inuyasha was finishing eating at fifty-nine. She hesitated in the kitchen, Shippo waving at her goodbye because all of his tables were finished before hers. It sucked because she had an earlier cut than he did.
Just get it over with, she thought to herself, sighing. Inuyasha had been strange to say the least. While he quizzed her when ordering his food, he never asked for much of anything else. His steak had been done to perfection and he told her so around a mouthful of masticated food. She couldn't really tell what it was anymore but she assumed it was a combination of all three.
Walking up to the table, she smiled at Inuyasha. His plate was clean and he was leaning back with his eyes closed. "Are you finished?" she said quietly so not to startle him.
Inuyasha looked at her with his deep brown eyes. "Well that plate's empty so I'm guessing."
Kagome held her tongue, keeping the 'trust me, I only ask out of courtesy' comeback inside. Her manager would kill her for being rude to him. It was pretty hard sometimes. Guests would come in and yell, scream, complain, throw things and insult them to the point of utter insanity but they couldn't get a word in edgewise. Some nights, the only thing that kept her coming back was the decent-sized wad of cash she walked out with. Barrel's insisted on astounding service while providing a product that was top quality. The only reason they got to charge a forty percent mark-up compared to most chain restaurants was because they excelled both areas.
Grabbing the plate, she smiled again. "Would you like to take a look at the dessert menu? Any coffee or tea for you?"
"No thank you, just the bill." He leaned back in the booth and closed his eyes.
Well, thank goodness for the small things. Hurrying back into the kitchen, she left the plates to be washed before finalizing the bill. She double-checked to make sure everything was correct before putting it in the billfold and handing it to him.
Kagome did everything as fast as she possibly could. It was getting close to midnight and all she wanted to do was go home and rest. She had work at nine in the morning at her second job and she couldn't even imagine the crap she'd have to deal with there. Sometimes customer service was not fun in any way, shape or form.
She handed him back his slip when he paid by credit card and left him to sign the bill. He didn't say a word to her, even though she bid him a good night and safe drive home. Vaguely, Kagome wondered what happened between the intense questioning and the sudden silent treatment. She didn't care either way – it was just to feed her curiosity.
Her chores for the night were next but when she was cashed out and dressed to go home, she was startled by her manager, Kaede, grabbing her arm. "Kagome, child," the woman said, giving a soft smile. "The gentleman with the long black hair just told me what excellent service you provided."
"Oh," Kagome said, frowning and confused. "Really?"
Kaede mimicked her. "Yes, why? Is that hard to believe?"
"No, no," she answered quickly, smiling. "It was just a...strange table."
Kaede took this in stride, merely nodding. Strange tables came in all the time. Strange people with strange lives and strange habits were always entering and leaving Barrel's Steakhouse and Bar. It was just another night.
Kagome took a deep breath of fresh air as she walked outside, letting the brisk air stir her senses before she went to her car to go home.
That was the very first time she met Inuyasha and at the time, she thought it would be her very last.
She was wrong.
What did you think? There is more to come!