An hour and fifteen minutes, that's how long Elizabeth sat waiting for her parents

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An hour and fifteen minutes, that's how long Elizabeth sat waiting for her parents. The dining hall clattered around her, the sound of plates and utensils being put to use. She hadn't touched hers since she sat down on the red, velvet cushion. There was no need to. Her parents were a no-show. Most people would be concerned by this point. Her parents hadn't texted, or called. But that didn't surprise Elizabeth. In all of her nineteen years, she'd never been her parents' first priority.

Business came first.

The young waiter that had been serving her all evening scampered over. Elizabeth heard him before she saw him. His dress shoes were at least two sizes too big and they slapped across the marble like a pair of wet fish. At once, he started fumbling with her untouched glass of water. It shook in his grasp as he topped it up, the water sloshing about inside. Elizabeth didn't pay him any mind. Instead, she fiddled on her phone, scrolling through the same social media app she'd been on since she sat down.

Her server stood there for another moment; she could see him out from under her mascara-slicked lashes. He was apprehensive, fiddling with the tie around his neck. She could understand why. One wrong move and he would lose his job faster than he could apologize.

"Could I get you anything, Ms. Blackwell? Maybe an ap-p-petizer until you're ready to order?"

Instead of gracing him with a reply Elizabeth focused on her scrolling. She wasn't in the mood to force pleasantries with anyone. All she could think about was her parents breaking another one of their no-good promises. She regretted the twenty minutes it took to convince them to come tonight. What a waste of breath. 

After a few awkward moments the unwanted presence disappeared from her side. Elizabeth let out a grateful gust of air through her nose. She didn't want any company right now.

Envy radiated from within her as she looked through posts from people she'd never even met before. It seemed like everyone else in the world was making use of their summer. And where was Elizabeth? Sitting alone at a five-star restaurant, waiting for her parents to be done with today's clientele. Every year, without fail, Elizabeth was dragged off to the same all-inclusive resort in California. In the meantime her parents flew in client after client. They called it training – a necessary conditioning to prepare her for becoming the next CEO of Blackwell Industries. She called it bullshit.

"Excuse me, are you ready to place your order?"

"Didn't you just ask me this question?" Elizabeth seethed before taking notice in the new face.

"Don't believe I did."

If the change in voice didn't tip off Elizabeth before, it did now. The lanky waiter that had been serving her for the majority of the night wasn't who she was looking at. The new server displayed his dimples. There was no way he hadn't practiced that smile before, Elizabeth thought to herself.

Confused by the switch Elizabeth's mouth clamped shut and instead her eyes did the talking.

He raised one shoulder up in a lazy shrug. "Change in shifts. Can I get you anything? It's nearing nine-thirty and the kitchen's preparing to close."

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