When you play with fire, no one needs to tell you that you will get burnt.*
7:10 am, 2nd May 2016.
I was shivering as I stood outside in the pouring
rain, waiting for a bus to arrive so I could get to
work. I’d been in the same spot for close to an
hour. This situation could have easily been
avoided but did I listen to the weather forecasts
yesterday? No. Instead, I thought I could beat the
elements. I never really believed in predictions
I took a few shaky steps to the nearest shelter I
could find. The bus stop provided me with no
cover from the rain at all. Trying as much as
possible to shield my phone, I dialled the one
person I felt could help me out. Of course I
expected an ‘I told you so’ but in this case, I
would gladly take that over looking like a drowned
“Hey Daniel, it’s me.” I said as soon as he picked
“Dami, where are you?”
“Stranded in the rain.”
“Let me guess, you didn’t listen to the forecast and
now you need a favour.” He sighed.
“What is it this time? Shall I tell Mr Hassan you’ve
come down with a cold like the last time you
didn’t have a cold?”
“That wasn’t entirely a lie, okay? Besides, the way
things were going, I really might catch a cold this
“Can you please pick me up?”
I was silent as I counted down mentally. 3…2…1
“Okay, tell me where exactly you are. I’ll come
I couldn’t help but smile. Despite his sour attitude,
I knew he would come through for me. After
describing the area, I tucked my phone away in my
pocket and waited.
The street was free from activity, only a few cars
drove by occasionally but no one else was out in
this rain. I felt the shivers grow more intense as a
strange tingling s£nsat!on drifted down my neck
and I started to worry, the weather wasn’t that cold
to make me feel this way. What on earth is wrong
The roar of a familiar engine reached my ears
about 10 minutes later and I stepped out of my
little shelter. The rider took off his helmet and
gestured for me to hurry up.
“You know you owe me, right?” Daniel grumbled as
I climbed on his bike.
If you’re thinking it’s a power bike… then you’re
absolutely wrong. It’s a Suzuki that he saved up
for a really long time to buy. Even if we pooled
resources together, neither of us would be able to
afford a power bike, let alone a car. That was how
broke we were.
“Your favours are always expensive.” I complained.
“That’s why they aren’t free.” He stated.
I rolled my eyes as I collected the spare helmet
from him and braced myself as he started the bike.
“Better don’t fall off.” He yelled over the noise of
“I know it would make your day if I did.”
He probably didn’t hear my reply because we were
already moving. Good thing too, unless he might
have dumped me back by the side of the road.
When we got to Exquisite, a popular hotel and
restaurant where we worked, I made sure to sneak
into my work station quietly. There were only 15
minutes till we officially opened for the day and I
still needed to get changed and sign in.
“Well, if it isn’t Beauty and the Beast.”
Guess I wasn’t discreet enough.
I sighed and looked up at Kayla, a co-worker. She
wasn’t even the one who came up with the
nickname for us, that was Kevin who I personally
consider to be an irritant, but the name stuck and
everyone started using it. What’s even worse is…
I’m not Beauty.
I saw Daniel hide a smirk as he walked past me
and I eyed him swiftly before focusing on signing
in for the day. I grabbed my work uniform which
was a fitted white shirt along with a red waistcoat
and matching skirt. I never understood why our
uniforms had to be so tight; we were serving food
for crying out loud.
“By the way, you’re on serving duty in Section A,
tables 1-5.” She announced before walking away.
I groaned silently. That was the section where the
most impatient customers were. It was also the
closest one to the main entrance and the section
everyone tried to avoid.
Around 10am, customers started trickling in. The
rush hour wasn’t until about 12noon till 2pm when
most people were on their lunch break so it was
“Can I get some service over here or what?” A
As you can see, not always.
“Hello, are you ready to order?” I smiled.
“What do you think I called you over here for, to
chat?” He snapped.
“I’m sorry, sir.” I said.
It took all the self-will I had to keep that smile
from melting off.
He handed me his menu which was a slate that
displayed all the dishes and drinks we served.
There were blank boxes next to each item and
customers simply ticked what they wanted with the
erasable pen the restaurant provided.
Minutes later, the food was arranged on my
serving tray and I headed over to deliver it to the
table. Suddenly, that strange tingling s£nsat!on
from earlier crept up the back of my neck again,
distracting me and almost turning my body numb.
I couldn’t even feel my limbs.
I wasn’t sure who yelled the warning but the next
thing I knew, the serving tray was airborne and
food went flying in different directions. As I stood
there in the midst of the mess, with several eyes
locked on me, all I could think was…
Oh God, I am so fired.
The man’s eyes were blazing. I now had first-hand
understanding of the saying, ‘If looks could kill.’
A throat cleared to my left and I turned to find
another pair of accusing eyes. His eyes weren’t the
only thing that stood out though, what really
caught my attention was the large oil stain that
now adorned the front of his white shirt. This guy
must hate me by now. Everyone knows how tough
it is to get oil stains out of white fabric.
He raised a single questioning eyebrow, waiting for
me to finish. He seemed calm, almost too calm.
Acting on impulse, I grabbed a napkin from a
nearby table and started dabbing frantically at his
“I’m so sorry sir. I’m really so-”
He held up a palm and I stopped. He gingerly took
my hand off the front of his shirt, like it was
contaminated or something and took the napkin
out of my grip, setting it back on the table. It was
only then I realised I was helping to spread the
stain instead. He didn’t say a word as he walked
past me and out of the restaurant, stained shirt and
I fumbled with gathering the scattered dishes,
trying to clean up the mess but my hands were
failing me. I’d never felt this clumsy in my life. A
gentle nudge pushed me to the side as Daniel
picked up the dishes. Kayla showed up seconds
later trying to appease the irritated customer. She
tossed me a look to make myself scarce so I
immediately apologised and headed towards the
employees’ room at the back.
Once I shut the door behind me, I collapsed into a
seat and rubbed my palms together. Some sense
of feeling was coming back into them now. What
happened back there, I had no idea. The door
swung open but I didn’t look up, expecting it to be
Daniel or Kayla.
“That was a very graceful display back there.”
My heart sank. It was Kevin.
“News travels fast.” I said.
“No one had to report that Dami, the whole
restaurant probably saw it