Randolph stepped back so that I could roll the cart inside. He was dressed in a dingy white undershirt and black slacks that dragged on the floor, his long, narrow bare feet poking out from underneath. I tried hard not to stare at the crusted-over toenails that screamed fungus at me.
“Welcome to my parlor, said the spider to the fly.”
Yikes. For some reason, the word icky popped into my head. “Please enjoy your breakfast, sir. You can place the cart in the hallway when you’re done, and one of our staff will pick it up later.”
I began to walk away, and he grabbed me by the wrist. “Not so fast.”
Startled by his action, I shook myself loose. “Don’t touch me again.”
“Sorry.” Randolph gave a small smirk that said he was anything but sorry. He looked me up and down. “I’d like you to wait a moment until I’m sure the meal is to my liking.”
I had news for this man—no meal was ever going to be to his liking. He lifted the covers off the plates one by one, examining the food while he grunted in apparent satisfaction. Finally, he picked up the white coffee carafe, poured himself a cup, and sniffed. Like the other day at the café, he took a small sip, grimaced, then shook his head at me. “Not quite, doll.”
“Sir?” I was confused. Poncho had used his precious Kona beans this time, so what could be the problem?
“It’s cold. Bring me another carafe right away.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Anger bubbled at the surface and threatened to boil over any second. What I really wanted to do was throw the entire carafe in his face, but then I’d be out of a job and, knowing Randolph, looking at a lawsuit.
“Is there a problem, dear?”
The man clearly enjoyed the fact that he was goading me, but I was determined not to let him get under my skin. “No, sir. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Text Chef Paunch ahead of time,” Randolph taunted, “so that the coffee will be ready when you get back. That’s a good little girl.”
I bit into my lower lip to temper my reply. “His name is Poncho.”
“Whatever. He’s got quite the paunch on him, so my name fits. And do hurry up. I haven’t got all day.” He sat down and started to eat, dismissing me with a wave of his hand.
Could the man be any more pretentious? I counted to ten and compressed my lips together, afraid a nasty comment might slip out between them. As I started toward the door, I spotted two half-filled mimosa glasses sitting on the table on the balcony. I wondered if good old Randy might have had a girl over last night—or perhaps his estranged wife had joined him.
“Are you deaf?” Randolph bellowed. “I want my coffee—now!”
With great effort, I opened the door to the suite and managed to refrain from slamming it behind me. On my way back down the hallway toward the elevator, I grabbed my phone out of my jeans pocket. My fingers flew as I texted Vivian.
Tell Poncho that the jerk said the coffee’s not hot enough. Have a new carafe ready to go when I get back. It’s a wonder no one has killed this guy yet.