Vicki ran from the bus to the brick building where her nightly work waited for her. She was running late and she knew it. She didn't much care It was just a job, one she rather hated. She clutched her large purse in one hand and her platform shoes in the other.
She shoved open the door and ran to the back as her boss yelled at her. She didn't listen, knew it was just his usual droning about how easy it would be to find a replacement for her. She knew he couldn't, so she ran to the back, yanked open her locker, thrust her purse in, changed into her skimpy uniform, shoved her feet into the horrible shoes that were uncomfortable but greatly improved tips, them strolled out onto the floor with a smile painted on her face.
"Oh, Jerry, you know you could never replace me! Your customers love me too much." She called to her boss in a joking tone, despite the truth behind the statement.
The bar was a respectable club, mainly directed at the gentleman, although women occasionally came in. All the waitresses were dressed at all times (though just barely it sometimes felt with the tiny uniform). Vicki was the most successful of the servers, always greeting the customers with a bright smile, taking their orders perfectly, delivering them quickly, joking and being the worlds greatest actress- making people believe she adored her job, loved waiting on the rich men and cleaning up the messes they left behind.
Although she put on a happy face on the floor at work, Vicki detested the job, the uniform, the regulars that requested her section, the manager that was always yelling at her. It was miserable work. But it paid her bills, so she put up with it.
One night she came home, exhausted, smelling of alcohol and aching from a double shift at work. She stared at her face in the bathroom mirror after getting out of the shower and sighed. She could do better than this. She had a master's degree in history and archeology. She could speak Latin and Greek, translate various dead languages. But she was a waitress. She had been looking for a career for three years now, but could find nothing.
"I wish I could reach my potential. I can do more than wait on tables," she sighed to herself. She curled up in her bed, tired and disappointed.
Vicki woke up a couple hours later, not knowing why, but feeling as though there was someone in the room with her. She leaned over and turned on her lamp, looking around.
"Up here, sweetheart," came a melodious voice from above.
Vicki jumped and looked up. Just about a foot from the ceiling a woman was floating, stretched out and looking at some of the work Vicki had done in college. At least, Vicki could only assumed she was a woman from her voice and build. the only problem was the woman was only about three feet tall, had very delicate wings and a strange sparkle around her. The woman wore red tights under a long black skirt with black slippers and a red peasant style top. Her hair was red with silver and black streaks.
"Who are you, how did you get in here and am I really awake?" Vicki asked confused, but not frightened. She must be dreaming. Fairies weren't real.
"Yes you are awake. I got in because I needed to-I'm you're fairy godmother and you are awake. Well, awake enough." The fairy came down and sat on the bed, Vicki opened her mouth to argue, but the woman cut her off. "Yes, fairies exist, not everyone has one and you can all me Velma."
Vicki just stared, perplexed and sure she was asleep.
"Look, you made a wish. It wasn't a wish for the lazy, bubble-headed types who want to go to a ball, or find prince charming or some nonsense like that. You wanted something you've obviously been working very hard at, something you've earned."
"I don't understand. You mean, you don't like Cinderella or Snow White? And you're a fairy godmother."
"Yeah, those 'princesses' were just waiting to get saved. They couldn't last a day fending for themselves. No one knows what happened once they became actual royalty and had to accomplish things and be more than just friendly and pretty to look at. Actually, Cinderella didn't stay pretty, especially sitting on a throne and indulging her weakness for chocolate. But you, you're smart and work hard. I played back the recordings-us fairy types keep them on people we think may need us at some point-and saw you put up with crap, mediate, essentially get your task done and done beautifully all while staying nice if possible. You've got more patience than I do, that's for sure. I probably would have turned Jerry into something unpleasant, small and squishable. You deserve a wish granted." Vicki just looked at Velma, slightly puzzled and not believing what her eyes and ears were telling her. She blinked.
"Right. Because you can do that." Vicki was sure she was dreaming now. Or had gone insane. No one awake saw fairies. Not past the age of six, anyway.
"Yes, I can." Velma scowled at her. "You'll see tomorrow. But, the wish granting has a couple requirements. You'll not only have your wish granted, but you'll also find love, happiness yada yada yada." Velma pulled out a wand, long black with a red spiral down it's length, tip and end caps.
"Wait. Is there anything else? Like, be home by midnight, don't eat apples or something?"
"Well, considering you don't have any actual enemies, or step parents or anything, you aren't required to face any of those 'challenges.'" Velma used the finger quote gesture. "Look, I'm kinda on the bottom of the list here. I don't agree with traditional fairy godmother methods or goddaughters. It's ridiculous. Why does a princess who can sing, dance and sew pretty, though useless, bits of cloth deserve to get all the good stuff just for being suddenly forced to work and stop being a mooch? So they gave me you. You're royalty, in a way, if you go back a few hundred years. You are forced to work. You want something more. and you're not a useless, ridiculously feminine, dingy girl who bemoans making her own bed. You have no extra drama to be thwarted, you just want what you worked for." Velma gave a genuine smile. "So I plan on making sure you get it. Now," Velma tapped Vicki gently on the forehead and heart with the wand. "Go to sleep. Tomorrow, you're life will be better. If you need me, just call."
Velma disappeared as Vicki drifted back to sleep, disbelieving expression still on her face.
When Vicki woke the next day, she shook her head, remembering the events of the night before. "I had to be dreaming. I still have the same job to go to, the same bills to pay."
This time, Vicki made it to work on time, though that was the only improvement. Her boss was as cranky as usual. The customers all seemed to be preoccupied or irritated. Two of the other waitresses had called out and the bartender was slow, still hungover from the night before.
As she cleaned off a table, a new face entered the building. This wasn't unusual. The club had it's regulars, but there was always someone new. This one caught her attention because she found him surprisingly attractive. He was fit, with long brown hair pulled back at the nape of the neck. His eyes were an almost golden shade of brown. He sat in her section, so she immediately greeted him. "Hey, Sweetie. I'll be over there to help you in just a sec. Sorry about having you wait." She called over in a chipper voice as she finished up busing the current table. She ran the dishes to the back, then strolled quickly over to get his drink order.
"Sorry about that. What can I get you to drink?" She smiled at him, waiting for his response.
"What do you suggest?" The man had a slightly British accent as he spoke. "I'm thinking a wine."
"Well, I don't know what your tastes are. I prefer my wines sweet so I would suggest a Moscato if you like white, or my own personal favorite, Sweet Marcela, if you like red."
"Hmm. I like reds as well, so I will try your favorite." He smiled up at her, hands folded on the table in front of him. "Tametsi dulcis vinum videor futurus aliquantulus effeminatus."
Vicki raised an eyebrow at him. She hadn't heard Latin spoken so casually since her last class three years ago. "Well, sir, I did say it was my personal favorite, and seeing as I am a woman, a feminine taste shouldn't be so surprising. Although, if you prefer something not quite so girly, we have an excellent scotch that I do occasionally indulge in after a long day. La fel ca voi face după ce cobor seara asta de lucru. I must say, you speak Latin beautifully."
The man was obviously surprised that she had understood what he had said. He chuckled, "It's not often that when I do speak it another person understands. Usually I get awestruck faces then they ask what I said. I don't always translate the truth. What was it you spoke in? What language?"
Vicki gave him a coy smile, "I see since you ask, you don't know it already. It's Romanian. And do you truly expect an honest translation? Will you be having the wine or the scotch?"
"The scotch." He returned her smile. "I'll try the wine another time."
Vicki walked over to the bar, considered passing the order to the bartender, saw his almost useless expression, and stepped around to the back to pour the glass herself. She also made a small steel bucket of ice, since she had forgotten to ask if he wanted it on the rocks. She walked back, with her smile still in place, though slightly more genuine than before.
"I forgot to ask if you wanted it on the rocks or just straight." She said as she set the drink before him.
"I take it straight, although I see you brought the ice with you, just in case."
"Why bring a drink just to take it back for ice? Will you be eating this evening? We have some delightful appetizers and our chef is excellent with all of our entrees and sides."
"I'll just have the scotch thank you. But, before you go, may I ask how you came to know not only one, but two other languages?"
"I've been to college, but I think I majored in the wrong things. Latin is important in history and archaeology Romanian I actually learned from a fellow student while he was here. I have an aptitude for languages."
"Do you know any others?" The man seemed truly interested.
"I can also speak Greek and Hebrew and translate a few dead languages."
"Fascinating! Yet you work here? This does not seem quite the place to use your skills." He leaned forward, eyes sparkling.
Vicki sighed. "Believe me, I know. I have a master's in history and archaeology, but all the jobs I've tried for require field experience that I don't have."
"My lady, today is your lucky day! I have a dig in Italy. I am sure your knowledge would be most useful!"
At this moment, Jerry poked his head through the kitchen doors and bellowed. "Vicki! Stop flirting and wasting my time! You should be cleaning those other tables! You know Eddie isn't the only one working here!" Vicki rolled her eyes, then smiled at the gentleman in front of her before walking to the back.
"Jerry! You know Eddie isn't working if I've been busing my own tables all damn night! And you might want to stop yelling where our patrons can hear you!" Vicki walked up to his shocked face and shoved her tray, ice first, into his chest. "And you can kiss this ass goodbye. I'm done with this shit job and your shit attitude." She walked into the back, untying her apron as she went. "And you could let us girls wear some real clothes once on a while!" She yelled, slamming her now empty locker shut.
Vicki strolled out next to the man, now wearing comfortable jeans and a tank top. "My name is Victoria Chambers. Call me Vicki. When can I start?"