If you haven’t read January 13 yet, you can do so here.

If you stumbled onto this post by accident and haven’t read any of the other stories, head over to this post to find out more about this project.

Poppy yawned, the morning shift in the cafe was one of her least favorites. The brutal 2 a.m. wake up followed by grumpy early morning customers, or worse, the overly peppy morning customers did nothing to improve her mood. Paired with her morning shift always being scheduled right at the end of her rotation, it was lunchtime and Poppy was headed for bed. As soon as she’d grabbed some lunch. The mess hall was close to empty, most of the crew were busy working over the lunch rush. Poppy didn’t envy them. 

She grabbed a bowl of cereal and an apple, nothing said sleepy time like cereal for dinner, or lunch in her case. 

Poppy had just settled in to one of the empty tables, the staff mess was nothing like the passenger areas, in many ways it was worse than a college dorm. The decor was about as inspiring, but they were crammed even closer together. She wouldn’t have said she was fat, or even particularly muscular, but had she been much wider she would’ve had some difficulty navigating her way through the cramped rows of tables. 

As she was about to take the first bite from her apple, a familiar face slid into the chair opposite her. 

“Guess what?” Jessica barely gave Poppy time to process her presence before answering her own question. “Turns out, my friend Peta is sick. She is Adrienne McCoy’s personal butler. You’re taking her place.” Poppy groaned. Jessica seemed to be waiting for some kind of congratulations. 

“I’ve done 10 hour shifts every day this week, Jess. I need to finish this cereal and get some sleep.”

“Oh come on, it’ll be overtime pay and you might be able to find out some juicy gossip about her and your little crush.”

“I know. Better idea. You go work for Adrienne and find out some juicy gossip for me.” Jessica frowned. 

“But what will you do?”

“I’m going to eat this cereal, then I’m going to fall into bed and sleep until dinner. Maybe even later. It’s my day off tomorrow.”

“It’ll be so worth it. She tips super well and her suite is enormous. Plus, all she ever wants is coffee, the rest of the job is just hanging out while she works.”

Poppy sighed. “How much extra is the overtime?”

“Double.” Jessica grabbed the apple from Poppy’s plate and took a huge bite. “Seriously, easiest job in the world. Plus, if she likes you, you’ll start getting jobs at her private parties. They always need extra staff for those.”

“Fine. Fine. I’ll do it.”

“Great. Her room is on deck 7, it’s the one next to that little bar, Chely’s.” Jessica produced a keycard from one of her pockets. “Don’t lose this. Give it back to me at the end of the day.”

“God, why am I such a sucker?”

“You’re not a sucker… you’re a puppy. Like a golden retriever.”

Poppy grinned. “Yeah, if you’re not careful I’ll pee on all your stuff and chew your shoes.” 

“Go on. She’ll be expecting you.”

Poppy gulped down as much of her soggy fruit loops as she could before dashing out of the mess hall leaving Jessica to deal with her mess. All she’d wanted was a nice sleep, how had she been roped into helping out with Adrienne McCoy?

You can read January 15 here.

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