The Saddest Little Princess by LovesBitch
Xander came out of the backroom in time to see a beautiful brunette in an expensive tailored suit that showed off her long legs enter his bar as if she owned the place. She walked up to the bar and sat on the nearest stool and immediately reached into her jacket pocket.
The door to the bar opened again. Standing silhouetted in the doorway was a nervous looking bald man who seemed to be debating with himself whether to enter. The man turned to finally step inside when the brunette (without even glancing over her shoulder) stated in a calm, steely voice, “Take another step and die, Broots.” The man immediately froze in place, fear plain on his face. “Painfully,” she added.
The man, “Broots” swallowed so hard, Xander could hear it across the room. “Sid-,” he cleared his throat and tried again, “Sidney said he’d wait for you at the hotel.”
“Lucky me,” she said sarcastically. Broots looked very nervous and fidgeted in place. “Is there a reason you’re still here?” she asked, clearly annoyed.
“No,” he answered then ran out of the bar he’d never fully entered.
The moment the door closed, Xander heard the woman mutter, “Idiot.”
Xander approached the obviously dangerous woman cautiously. Hey, he could read the signs, he didn’t always follow them, but he could read them. Just as he was about to speak, the woman lifted her left hand to stop him and lit the cigarette she’d fished from her pocket before she was interrupted. She raised the cigarette to her lips and pulled in a long, slow puff. He face transformed from cold and hard to absolutely blissful.
“Ahh! Scotch and don’t water it down,” she ordered. She ran her hand through her hair, amending, “Make it a double.”
“Bad day?” questioned Xander. With her cigarette still in her right hand, she lowered her sunglasses a notch and stared silently at him. “Right,” Xander said as he went to fill her order.
After refilling her drink for a second time, Xander decided to attempt to speak with her again. “Anything I can do to help?” he asked her.
She stared at him a moment though thankfully it wasn’t the glare she’d used earlier. Xander was about to give up when she let out a small huff of air, saying, “Sure, I’ll take a genius who can become anyone he wants to be but leave off the whole do-gooder Boy Scout crap. So, what do you think, a half hour enough time?”
“Sorry, a lot of the people who come in here are the Boy Scout type,” he said with a shrug.
“Figures,” she rolled her eyes.
“But if you’re looking for a genius, I might know some people,” he added.
“Doubt it. At least not the kind I’m looking for.” Her lips twisted up in a wry smile, softening her features.
“You’re really pretty.” Xander looked almost shocked.
The oddity of the moment coupled with the week from hell Jarod had just put her through had her bursting into laughter. Xander was quite pleased with himself for having made her laugh even if he didn’t get exactly what he’d done to cause it.
“You’re flirting with me?!” Ms. Parker asked incredulously.
Xander smiled. “Oh, no! I’m not that stupid. I may look it but I’m really not.” After a moment, he added, “So, want to talk about it?”
“You wouldn’t believe me,” she assured him.
“You’d be surprised.”
Ms. Parker looked at the bartender, studying him. She stared into his brown eye (which was rather nice, she decided) and detected no deceit or manipulation on his part. And with all the people who lied and tried to manipulate her on a daily basis, she figured she qualified as an expert on the subject.
“You want a story? Okay, I’ll tell you a story. Fiction okay?” she asked.
“Sure, I like fiction.” If she wanted to put a buffer between herself and her tale, who was Xander to say no?
With a far away look in her eyes, she began, “Once upon a time, there was a little princess and her life was perfect. She adored her daddy, the king, and her beautiful mother, the queen. She went exploring her kingdom one day and met a boy. They became friends but couldn’t tell anyone because they were from different worlds.” At this point, her face saddened.
“The queen went away and the little princess’ kingdom began to crumble. The king told her not to cry, to be brave, to follow his example ... and she did. She grew up to be just like her daddy, or at least the man she thought he was. But the king wasn’t everything he appeared to be and it was too late before the princess realized this.”
She lifted her gaze to Xander who was transfixed by her tale. “The boy, the one the princess met, he grew up to be very important in the kingdom but he learned things he wasn’t supposed to, so he left the kingdom. The king made finding him the princess’ job. If she could find him, the king would set her free. She could finally be free to be different than her daddy.” Ms. Parker sat back and looked at Xander almost wistfully.
“So how does it end? Does the princess find the prince?”
“I never said he was a prince.”
“You can’t have a princess without a prince or at least another princess. Do they live happily ever after?”
She grabbed her glass and tossed back the last of her drink, then walked to the exit. She turned back with a considering look on her face and said, “I’ll let you know,” then left. Xander stared at the bar door for several minutes before he heard someone come up behind him.
“You’re in late tonight,” commented Xander.
“Yeah, I was checking in on an old friend,” replied Jarod.