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"Not in this lifetime, honey." Allie picked up the platter and, juggling it along with a coffeepot, she sashayed across the crowded dining area. Her hot pink waitress uniform and white cotton apron shouldn't have looked sexy, but coupled with Allie's brash beauty and style, it was sizzling. It wasn't because of her glossy black hair, which had been teased up and out to fall in waves past her shoulders. Her eye makeup may have been a bit heavy for daytime wear, but that was Allie, just as no one ever saw her without the bright red lipstick that matched the nail polish on her impossibly long nails. For many in a neighborhood that was rapidly becoming down-and-out, she was one of the few bright spots.

"It's about time you got these here," her customer grumbled as she set the platter next to his hamburger. "They better not be cold."

Allie laughed. "Trust me, honey, those fries are as hot as I am." She deftly evaded his roving hand, which was groping toward her narrow waist and shapely rear, and went to her other tables, pouring coffee at some and writing out bills for others.

She looked up and smiled when a tall man entered the shop, looked around and headed for one of the booths in the back. She snagged a coffee cup from behind the counter and carried it to the booth.

"Hey, handsome." She set the cup down in front of him and filled it with coffee. "What can I do for you?"

He looked up and smiled. "Hey, gorgeous." His smile disappeared when he noticed bruises encircling her wrist. He grasped her hand and looked up. "When are you going to run away with me?"

Allie kept a smile pasted on her lips. "It's no big deal, Pete. Okay?"

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