The next order called for merlot. Why the ship even stocked such a thing was beyond Mr. Dower's imagination, let alone why it was available to the students. But the ship didn't operate under a particular country's laws, and there technically was no 'legal drinking age' aboard the vessel, so he was in no position to argue. He sent the order off with one of the kitchen boys (they doubled as room-service delivery boys), and moved on to the next order, shaking his head in disbelief.
The order was, much to Benny's chagrin, to be delivered to the opposite end of the ship, where the luxury suites were located. Of course, the majority of the ship was quite lavish, but people of influence still managed to put themselves above the rest on this ship.
Upon finally reaching the room, he knocked on the door politely and waited, slightly nervous to be this close to one of the 'special' kids. Not that he was never near any of them, but for the most part, the ones he saw he knew well, and usually liked them. This, however, would be a complete stranger for a change.
After a moment's wait, just long enough that he had raised his fist to knock again, the door was yanked mercilessly open. Poor door.
"Oh, the food is here? You took so long I was beginning to think you'd died," said the room's occupant, sounding as if he wouldn't have cared in the least if the impromptu waiter had died.
This was Walker Delaney, the only son of some important businessman or another, heir to a large fortune, and so spoilt grocers averted their eyes when he walked by. Or, as would truly be the case, was driven past in a limo by a pricey chauffeur.
Before the boy at the door could stammer out an apology, Walker grabbed the tray with the bottle of wine from him and slammed the door again.
Benny stood there a moment, stunned. He was feeling a slight bit flabbergasted that people that rude actually existed. He'd always thought it was the sort of thing that television exaggerated, and that it never happened in real life, kind of like when people got shot and went flying out windows. However, he quickly shrugged it off and headed back for the kitchen, hoping his next order would be going to someone a little more sympathetic.
Along the way he passed Jimmy, headed in the opposite direction with a tray of what appeared to be tiny, slimy beads. Benny made a face.
"Caviar," explained Jimmy with a grin.
"Gross. Good luck with them," Benny replied, looking disgusted. Whether this was due to the sort of people Jimmy was headed to or the sort of thing they ate was unclear, but it could easily have been both.
"Thanks, I might need it. Oh, and. Kendal says hi, by the way." Technically not true, but she may as well have, and the silly, small smile it brought to Benny's face, erasing any trace of disgust, was worth a little white lie any day in Jimmy's books.
Jimmy waved farewell to Benny and made his way to the exact same door the other boy had just come from.
"They must be having some kind of snobby party in that room," Mr. Dower had said back in the kitchen, the look on his face showing just how he felt about that sort or person.
"You would think they'd order it all together, to save us a trip..." one of the kitchen boys had grumbled.
"As if they care how many trips we have to make," Jimmy had said with a sardonic sort of smile, freshly back from his delivery to Kendal. "I bet they'd order every fish egg separately just to see us sweat if they were bored enough. Here." He had then grabbed the order of caviar from the other kitchen boy. "I'll take it to them."
So there he was, rapping out a short tune on the very same door Benny had just left. It was pulled open, again mercilessly but this time much sooner, and Walker's veneered sneer greeted Jimmy.
"Back again so soon, kitchen boy? Have you left your brain behi--- Oh, it's you."
"What's the matter, Sprinter? Not happy to see me?"
There was a sour look on Walker's pretty-boy face that reflected the boy's pickled insides; a heart wrinkled by hate and a brain rotted with narcissism. "Of course I am. It's the last day I'll ever have to stain my memory with your presence, after all. Why do you think we're celebrating?"
Walker and Jimmy had history. Jimmy was certainly not the most affluent person aboard the Golden Thrush, but he was far from poor, and was much more down-to-earth than any of the other rich types on board. In fact, he'd taken the job in the kitchen mostly to show that he would rather associate with the 'normal' people than the rich creeps that populated a good deal of the vessel.
Needless to say, this didn't make Walker very happy. Jimmy made have not been as rich as him, but he was by far more popular, and he didn't even try. That was, of course, unacceptable, and Walker had tried and failed to make Jimmy's years aboard the ship a living hell. Failed mostly because Jimmy was much more cunning, too.
"Oh come on, Jogger. You can't say you won't miss having me around while you repeat your last year."
Jimmy grinned, and Walker's eyes flashed dangerously. The absurd nicknames he had all but tuned out by now, but the repeating a year bit always got to him.
"Touchy subject? Well, you may have failed a largely un-failable year of schooling, but at least you learned one thing; money can't buy you good grades. Not here anyway."
Walker just about slammed to door in his face, but a girl got in the way before he could move it an inch. "Hey Jimmy," she said, her tone and her smile oozing seduction.
"Gisele," Jimmy replied tersely, his tone and smile oozing disgust. Gisele was neither a cheap whore (because she was rich) nor a high class prostitute (because there was no charge for what she did, so long as you were rich), but she was no better than either of those in Jimmy's eyes. Those two had history too, but that's a story for later.
"Enjoy your unborn fish," Jimmy snapped, shoving the tray into Walker's arms before leaving. Upon seeing the look in Jimmy's eyes, an evil sort of smile returned to Walker's face, and he closed the door with satisfaction in his movements.
"Peons," scoffed Walker, grinning at Gisele and the other occupants of his room. "No class at all."