She was good for catching attention, Kyle observed, when his new barmaid sat down on the corner of the bar opposite to theirs.
When he first arrived here, the fact that all the entertainment facilities had been pushed in one end of the long walking corridor was annoying the hell out of him. He could get the practicality of it to security, without doubting the idiocy behind the decision. It might be easy to round all the troublemakers up fast should the need to rise, and it seemed the Knudhy deemed humans inclined to have mass disturbances, but it also made it so much harder to handle the crowds when they got drunk. It made him miss earth, where most bars were far enough from each other that the different crowds didn’t mingle and thus had less pinpoints for social disasters. Not that he knew much about bar keeping on Earth. His only prior experience with it came down to tossing out drunks from Erwin’s bar, Swick’s previous boss’, who was a firecracker to every loose end mischief around. Somehow they all ended up in Erwin’s bar, full of bravado and with combo like Erwin and Swick behind the counter, ready to irk them on, he never suffered a boring night. Pretty much like here and now.
“Dakota isn’t wasting her time,” Swick murmured, drying the last of the beer glass he had brought from the small kitchen in the back.
She really was eye candy when she was all prepped for a date.
“She’s just enjoying her free night.”
“By our competition across our bar?”
Kyle spared his friend a glance. Swick had been in bad mood all day. They’d had a fight with Jocelyn and it showed. Thank god Imogene had come accustomed to their strange couple weeks ago and wouldn’t give it light of day or it would have been even stranger.
Imogene was rough young lady. Her fragile figure and totally curled strawberry hair did little to hint that she had been breaking up fights since she was 12. Now, years, later, she was still capable of killing off every happy party with few words and he’d witnessed it enough times to call the girl up as soon as he landed on board. Neighborhood get-together, as Jocelyn had said, when she saw her old neighbor walk through the door. Both women had been grateful for an old friend. Swick was the only one, who wasn’t part of the neighborhood. And now Dakota.
“Would you rather she hang around here on her day off?” Kyle asked, turning his gaze away. “Besides, I don’t think it’s testing the bars. Looks like she hooked a man instead.”
“What?” Swick leaned forward, trying to see behind him. Swick’s bad mood seemed to disappear in a moment. A tourist walked past at that moment, hiding the view from him.
“The man in brown suit?” he offered, and started putting the glasses away.
“Way to go, girl!”
“Is she talking with him?” Swick switched places with him and pushed him away, keening over the bar to see better. His bad mood was returning in waves.
Kyle tried to ignore the irritation in his voice, but his curiosity got the better of him and he too was leaning over the bar a moment later, ignoring the customer, who had come to the counter to pay for his drinks, weirding the poor fellow out.
Yup, it seemed so, as she kept nodding to the man sitting next to him. The guy looked tall, skinny a bit, but otherwise a clear case of white collar type.
He pulled back. He took the money for the beers and offered an apologetic smile to the customer. Under the counter he quickly shoved at Swick’s leg for the man to stop the ogling. It was embarrassing, according to the glances they got from Imogene, whose eyes widened in cross judgment.
“I swear, this was not a good decision!” Swick said, leaning back.
“What decision?” Imogene asked innocently, setting her tray in front of them.
“Her working here?” Swick nodded across the street at the bar.
“She’s the one?” Imogene turned, making no secret she was now too joining in the spy ring. “The girl in green heels?”
“Out of all the things to notice…” Kyle shook his head.
“She carries it out though!” She nodded approvingly. “She ought to tone it down though – guys here go after every fresh meet they see!”
“Really?” Both Kyle and Swick asked as one.
She smiled wickedly, switching between them before bowing lightly. “Current company excluded.”
“Me too then?” A complete stranger asked and the barmen enjoyed with grin of their own as their longest working barmaid turned the same color as their shirts.
“I meant all the men in the bar!” She squawked quickly, grabbed her tray and headed back to the group, where one of the men waved for her.
The man had a pretty smile, Kyle noted, and he returned it when he payed. Dakota was no competition here, he knew although the man had made no move yet, it wasn’t drinks that kept bringing him back here.
“I do hope she’s smart enough to understand she has to be quiet all the time, not just when she’s around the chief.” Swick said, serious, his hands busy drying out the new set of glasses he had brought in, his eyes turned to where Dakota was still sitting, her back towards them.
Kyle sighed. She better, he thought. Maybe he should study what mutes normally did? It wouldn’t hurt with the role play.
She laughed. It echoed all the way back to them and Kyle couldn’t help but winch. All he needed now was the Security Chief to come snooping around. And he knew he would come, because they had lied straight to his face. The common knowledge among humans was that Knudhy culture didn’t have lying, yet one of the first things he learned after arrival was that Knudhy considered them nothing else but liars. They did background checks on regular bases and wouldn’t budge from their decisions. Talking to them had been nothing but nuisance – they had no lying, no, but they had mastered recognizing it. Bad side of it was, they applied it as general trait on humans.
“And speak of the devil…” he murmured, seeing from the corner of his eyes how the man in a large puff sleeved uniform walked in, looking a bit lost.