Nick carried two mugs in one hand and a carafe in the other. The aroma wafting around Nick gave away that the coffee in the mugs was dark, rich and hot. It smelled wonderful. He set one mug on the table and slid it over for Todd to grasp. “Thanks.” Todd took a sip and nodded appreciatively. “Decent.”
“Decent?” Nick inhaled over his mug, set the carafe on the table, and sat in the other chair. “It’s...it’s…I have no words. I got a cup while you were cleaning up and changing. There is a girl who comes around with a pushcart. Then I hunted her down and ordered the whole pot.” He took a sip and smiled broadly. “I think I scared her.”
“Great. Let the help think you’re some sort of crazy coffee stalker.”
Nick shrugged. “It’ll fit with my ‘you neglect me’ cover story.”
“Did you see anything unusual while you were out boosting coffee and frightening the waitstaff?” Todd took another drink. “Damn, this is good.”
“Right? It’s about time we got a job somewhere that can make a decent cup of coffee.” Nick took another sip and adopted an expression that was downright obscene. “As for unusual, do you mean other than owners who allow their devoted and easily bruised slaves to be mauled by old women? No.”
Todd ignored the taunt. “I think our first step will be to go for a walk around this boat, check things out and see what we… well, you can see,” he said and picked a brochure off the table, tapping it lightly against its surface. “According to this there is a cleaning service on the main deck. I want to drop my suit off for cleaning and a press.”
“You’ve only worn it for a few hours.”
Todd smiled and reached out with the folded paper, whapping Nick on the tip of his nose. “You got it wrinkled and mussed up.”
“We also need to find out where that coffee girl holes up.” Nick finished off his coffee and stood up. He moved to the door and took his tether from the coatrack next to the door. Coiling it tightly, he shoved it into his back pocket. “My collar and tether don’t need cleaning.”
Todd snorted and gathered up the black suit, leaving the portfolio and papers on the table. He put the hat on, tapping the top of his head as he did so. “Let’s go exploring. I can’t wait to get a good look at the rest of this boat.”
“I bet Jack James knew the layout of every riverboat he gambled on,” Nick grumbled and trailed a few steps behind Todd as they left their room.
Instead of taking the main central staircase, Todd veered to the right and headed toward the back steps, whistling as he went. There were two sets of stairs at the end of the corridor. According to the signs attached to the wall in wooden frames, one went up to the next level and one down to the main deck.
Todd pointed to either side and looked at Nick, raising his eyebrows. “You pick.”
Welcome to My World