Flash: Muffins in the Morning

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

“So what is today’s conference?” Merry asked while tying on the apron over her string bikini.

“The Forest are the men looking uncomfortable, and the women who are already well-buzzed are Home Contained.” Barack said while shifting an army of mimosa glasses onto one tray, working on his side of the bar near the hot spas. Hard at work on the other side of the bamboo appearing barrier, Aggie, the other waitress, arranged bite-size poppy seed bagels topped with avocado slices onto napkins with the cabana’s logo imprinted napkins. The final member of their team, Josh, was working the in-pool bar. It was always easier when the merman got assigned the pool duty. At the moment he was mostly swimming alone in the mid-morning sun while the guests watched from the poolside. Two kids from non-conference attendees slashed in the shallow end.

Merry shouldered the loaded tray with a soft charm said quickly under her breath to help the glasses stay steady and give her a smidgin of extra strength. She would pay for the magic later, they all did, but it boosted tips and prevented breakage. Aggie grabbed the food tray and the portable stand before leading the way to where a bunch of middle-aged witches and hearthwives with more money than sense giggled. After distributing the twenty champagne glasses to the direct sales specialists, Merry made her way to where a man had snapped his fingers at her.

Unlike the women in their bright variety of bathing suits and sunwear, comfortable in bodies that varied from having a personal trainer available on call to celebrating a love of food, the men wore nearly uniform green trunks with the logo for the international amusement park organization embroidered on their bottom hems. Bellies on display ranged from likely using the in-park gyms regularly without missing too much desk time to likely forgetting about the wife and children at home because of the office overtime. All of them sucked their bellies back as Merry walked through the tables, chairs, and lounges. She had been hired for her beauty and body and survived the probation period because of her competency and ability to master the minor serving spells the hotel required. In another two years her looks will fade enough from bikini-ready to transfer to an indoor waitress, but, for now, twenty-two and busty kept her plenty busy.

Beside the snapper laid out someone completely different from the rest of the Forest crowd, though he sported the same dark green trunks. Though on him, they looked unique, not a uniform. He must be a fae or some other magical decent; no human looked that good. Merry forcibly ripped her eyes from the shaped muscles and the skin that nearly, but didn’t quite, glitter in the sun to focus on the person who summoned her. “How may I help you?”

“About time,” the snapper said, “A beer for me and Mr. Monoceros will have a Blueberry Smoothie Smash.”

“Of course. Would you like our breakfast Sunrise Sandwich or a Beach Bundle as well?” Merry went for the upsell.

“If I did, I would have told you.”

“Of course sir.” She reached into the apron pocket to grasp the ordering stone.

“Actually, some solid food sounds delightful,” the sunbather interjected. “What would you recommend for a vegetarian, something grainy.”

Megan allowed her eyes to return to the younger appearing man. White-blond hair curled around where his face leaned against the cabana’s lounger like a lion’s mane. In the center of his forehead twinkled a white piece of ivory or gemstone. Oh, he was that Monoceros. It finally hit her. While he was not the richest person she had ever served at the resort, he would be one of the fingers on her first hand if she started counting.

“If you were in the Oceanside, our restaurant on the first floor, I would recommend any of our oatmeals.” She posed, turning shoulders toward him. Light flirting wasn’t just allowed, it was required. Merry knew she was as much a part of the atmosphere and decorations as the potted plants and expensive tiles. “You did say vegetarian, not vegan, correct?”

The man wiggled up to full sitting, removing the glasses hiding his golden eyes. “Yes. Honey, eggs, milk, are all fine.”

“Then I think you will love our multi-grain muffins. We have one topped with an apple sauce, and so moist it barely crumbles.”

“Delightful. Bring a selection if you have other fruit toppings.”

“Strawberry, blueberry, and banana. But the apple topping is the best. I will place the order sir. It will take several minutes to run them out from the kitchen. We can’t keep them properly warm out here.” Completely pulling out the order stone, she rolled it in her hand and concentrated on the drink and food order. “I will bring them as soon as they are ready. Would you like butter or honey with them?”

“Both if you have them.” The owner of the Forest eyes started as her feet and slowly worked his way up her bare legs to where her apron barely covered her bikini while she recorded his preferences, noting the name sewn on the fabric. “Merry, when do you get off work today?”


The waitress licked her lips, her eyes skimming over his body. Fleet bent one leg up to rest an arm on his knee. He knew the position tightened the little fabric he was wearing across his groin, not that the company green fabric did much to hide his interest. He studied her face as she kept it still, but her pupils expanded to cover much of her brown eyes.

“I’ll be working Poolside all day, if you need anything else.” Her voice admirably remained steady. A smile brightened her face, one he called the Forest Smile of Welcome when they trained new park employees. She gave a slight bow to disengage and walked toward the overdone tropical bar near the spas where Kouris and Moralis shared a bubbling pool. Neither one back worked well, one because of military service and the other for a drop he had taken servicing rides back when he first started working for the Forest back in the seventies.

“Evan, start a background check on that waitress, the normal routine complete with what type of flowers and jewelry she likes. Have her in my rooms after she gets off work.”

The man at his side frowned at him. “Need I remind you about the modern rules?”

Fleet watched the female picked up their two drinks from the bartender and start returning their way. Her long legs gracefully shifted toe-to-heel through the light morning crowd, hips swaying in her gait. Biting short a squeal, Fleet stood and took a step to where his assistant sat. “Pass on the request to the security team.” Roussopoulos threatened to quit after the last time he brought a woman unannounced to his quarters.

Evan shied back, turning his head to the side in acceptance before pulling his cell phone out of the resort monogramed carryall beside him. He finished the call in time to accept his beer from the waitress. Merry turned to give Fleet his purple gin-laced smoothie.

“Evan reminded me of certain rules of consent,” Fleet nodded toward his assistant behind the waitress. “May I ask you some questions?”

About a foot shorter than him, the woman leaned back her head to focus on his face. She arranged her face in the Forest Welcome again. “I’ll be happy to give you any recommendations of the services we have available on the premises.”

“Is it against the rules to sleep with the clients?”

Her eyes did a quick narrow, then returned to bland pleasantness. For a second, Fleet considered switching what he wanted out of Merry. She would make a formable receptionist guarding Evan’s and the other upper management assistants. Maybe he could get both: a roll in the hay and someone to replace Vidales when the man left to take care of the child he and his partner were adopting.

Merry tilted her head to the side and raised her eyebrows, but didn’t answer.

“No means no, and I will accept that without repercussions, but I do want to make sure it is a ‘no’.” Fleet took a sip of his drink. “Are you attracted to me?”

“Yes.” Her lips changed from a polite smile to a more general one.

“She actually can give a straight answer, good to know.” He placed the drink on Evan’s table, before lifting a hand to tuck a lock of hair which had escaped Merry’s bun. Tracing a finger along her chin, he asked, “Do you have any commitments which would prevent you spending an evening with me?”

Merry’s eyes focused to the side. “I’m scheduled the opening shift tomorrow, so I will need to report to work at six, and I will need to be asleep by midnight at the latest, ten o’clock would be better.”

“Will spending the night moaning against my cock get you fired?”


Oh, well, that is a question isn’t it? Merry thought to herself. During orientation when she started working summers three years ago, everyone had unofficially been given permission, even encouragement, to “work” with the staff and the guests, so long as you didn’t date the people on your team. If you absolutely had to date people on your team, the Fae owners required one of the participants to switch teams.

She had played Check the Springs with several single men and one couple before, but no one in Mr. Monoceros’ tax bracket. “No, though I will have to inform my shift manager and I am not allowed to sign any non-disclosure documents. If you wish, I can show you the ones I was required to sign to work here.”

The rich man’s golden eyes glanced over her shoulder at … Evan, was it?

“We reviewed them before booking the premises. They are reasonable. No one here is allowed to talk to the press. Fae contracts, airtight. Police officers, yes, but not the press.” The snapper said behind her.

“I don’t care about the press,” golden-eyes said.

“I really wish you did,” muttered Evan.

The stone in her apron vibrated. “Oh, that is your muffins. Give me a second.” Merry broke away from the men to walk swiftly to where one of the Oceanside team brought out a covered tray.

Observing her surroundings as she moved, she noticed Josh had climbed out of the water and replaced Barak behind the main bar, so the bartender and Aggie could cover the rest of the guests. She mouthed sorry to him as she rushed past. Standing was possible for him, out of the water his fins became legs, but standing was still painful and only got worse the longer he balanced on two legs.

She would need to tell her team everything after Mr. Monoceros left, but they would cover for her.

*You get it, girl.* Josh sent back as he created more mimosas for the thirsty ladies.

Unlike most humans, Merry could hear merfolk in and out of water.  Barak descended from sea sharks, and they all had chipped in to get a talisman tuned to Aggie’s vibes to keep her in the loop. Valentine, the supervisor, was a member of the Fae court who owned the resort. The other two members of the team were new this year, fresh from the local high school just like she had been when she had started, and the human flavor of mortal. They couldn’t hear the sendings of the magical part of the team, and KC, bless them, fumbled the simplest of charms and had been relegated to bussing in the afternoon and evening. They wouldn’t be fired, because of the Employment Equality Act, but they wouldn’t be hired again next year.

One busy season, then a rehire probation through another busy season. And if you made it through those two, with the approval of the Fae Court, you arrived. A golden ticket at the resort for the rest of your life if you want it. Merry had her plan in place, work Poolside then Oceanside then move to the third floor’s Mushroom Ring where the best servers worked. Live in the staff huts and bank everything she can. If she failed as a server, switch to the housekeep side or maybe the front desk, though the Court limited those seats for the Fae. Retire between forty and fifty just like her mother and travel the world.

Walking back, Merry figured her mother’s cruise ship should be somewhere in the Mediterranean, docking in Santorini later today or tomorrow.

She kneeled gracefully beside the small poolside table and slide the tray onto the glass and metal stand after Evan removed his empty mug. “Bon Appetit.” Merry lifted the lid off the tray to reveal a dozen muffins plus small pitchers of the various sauces and honey she had promised, a piece of butter shaped into fan flowers. Still kneeling, she lifted one of the plates from the platter, picked up an oat and zucchini muffin, drizzled the apple sauce over it, and offered it to Mr. Monoceros where he now sat in a chair beside Evan.

Taking the plate from her, he said, “Just to let you know, I will not expect this kind of service when you aren’t working.”

“Believe me, If I am on my knees for you later today, I will expect the actions to be returned.”



“That can be arranged.”  Fleet took a bite of the muffin and tapped a foot at the flavor.

Merry smiled up at him. “Good, hmm? Honeysuckle is our morning baker.”

“How much to steal them away for one of my restaurants?” he mused as he finished off the muffin.

When he reached for the next, Merry tapped his hand and picked up his plate. She wiped it down, chose another muffin, this more purple tinged than the others where the first one had a light green tinge. “Considering she is one of the consorts to the queen, more than you can afford,” she said opening up the muffin and dropping in a bit of butter into it, before pouring strawberry syrup over the lot and returning the plate to him. “But one of her apprentices is about to become a journeyman this year.” Merry picked up another plate and looked over at his assistant; she whispered a word under her breath before asking, “Any nut allergies?”

“No.” Evan responded cautiously.

“Let me get you a light ale … no, I think you want coffee about now, one sugar, no cream, Turkish roast should work well.”


With a plate in her left hand, the server tucked her right into the apron for a moment. She nodded. “Now, let’s get you fed too.” This time she picked the muffin with the least bits and bops to it, almost no visible seeds, and poured a very slight amount of honey on the top and passed Evan the plate. “Anyway Dolag Mac a’ Bhacstair is a half-Brownie and loves to bake but hates water. Her family comes from the highlands. If you have opening inland, or near forests—”

“All my parks are near forests.” Fleet interrupted.

“Right, of course. My apologies.”

He waved his hand. “You couldn’t know.”

Merry bowed her head carefully, to a precise angle that struck Fleet as very Fae. He wondered how long she had worked for the St. Louis Court. The head tilt body language of the court teased its way out of his long memory, basically it translated, *with all due respect, you are fucking wrong.* A head tilt completely respectful and rude at the same time, but that was Fae for you.

“It is in the name, the Forest. Pine Forest Park, Oak Forest Park, Black Forest Park.”

Goddess save him from Fae fastidiousness; they made great lawyers with their wordplay, but their demand of exact precision could be mind-numbing. “You are forgiven. And yes, I believe I can find an opening near a highland environment Mac a’ Bhacstair would enjoy.”

“She takes after her mother more than her father and bleeds red.”

Meaning full mortal. Fleet frowned. The half-brownie’s magic wouldn’t be as strong and might not work at all away from her mentor. And even if she did have full magic, he would only have a meager three or four decades of use out of the elf-kin. Less than he would like, but more than he had at the moment. He waited until Evan finished his muffin before saying, “See if there is interest.” Evan nodded and typed a note into his phone.

Merry prepped them both another plate, and edged a cup of coffee toward his assistant. He hadn’t even noticed it being delivered.

“Please serve yourself one. I don’t think we can finish all of these before we need to leave to start prepping for the opening ceremonies.”

“I ate before coming on duty,” she demurred before bouncing in place, sending her thighs jiggling.

And her breasts based on where Evan’s eyes ended up. Fleet pulled his lips back from his teeth in warning. Evan glanced away, taking a sip of his coffee. Merry didn’t notice their byplay, or at least ignored it.

“It’s hard enough keeping the weight off with all the great food around here. I absolutely cannot snack during working hours.”

Evan’s watch emitted two beeps. “Speaking of prepping for opening ceremonies,” he said tapping off the alarm.

“Evan, please get her contact information and coordinate with my schedule for us to meet tonight.” Fleet stood and helped Merry stand from where she kneeled, before lifting her hand further to kiss it, never breaking contact with her deep brown eyes, the pupils expanding to completely cover the green edges near them, leaving only a brown rivaling the bark of the oldest trees in his original forest. “Merry, Evan is my assistant. It isn’t that I don’t want to figure out the best time for us to meet, it is just I have no idea what my schedule for this week is. He or Rousso are going to be leading me around this building for the next three days. But…” Fleet turned his attention to Evan, “I would like Merry to get all the time which isn’t structured. All of it as she is available, understood?”

(words 3,075; first published 6/7/2024)

Romantasy Series

  1. Muffins in the Morning (6/5/2022)