When he asked her to sing again, she hesitated. He rapped out the titles of songs she had never heard of, but didn't look upset when each time she shook her head and told him she didn't know them.
"That's all right. You'll learn them, and right quick," he said, looking her over again. "Get rid of those widow's weeds and put on some decent clothes."
"These are all I have, and I'm still in mourning," Carmen had said. "Why should it matter what I wear in the kitchen, or what I sing, for that matter? My friends haven't complained about the songs I sing."
"Yeah, but my friends will." He grinned at her, and she shuddered with the momentary illusion that his teeth were pointed. "You're gonna be the new, private entertainment for special guests."
"Thank you, but no." She wished she had held onto the paring knife, even knowing it wouldn't have done her any good. "I'll stay here in the kitchen, if it's all the same with you."
"It's not." He snatched hold of her by her elbow and yanked her up off the stool, kicking aside the bucket with the potato peelings. "You work in the special parlor, or you don't work at all. Understand?"
"Yes, I understand."
He left with a chuckle. Carmen waited until the break after the lunchtime rush, then went to the manager to ask for her pay up through that morning. Frierri must have anticipated she would try to run. The manager, who had always been kind to her, looked afraid when he told her to report to Madame Collette. He whispered that if she was smart, she would leave town tonight.