Excerpt from Davide: Shapeling Trilogy Book Three: Prince
After standing in line to rent a car for what seemed like an hour, Davide glanced at Zoe sitting patiently in a plastic chair. She smiled at him.
"Next," called the representative at the far end of the counter.
Davide wasn't used to waiting. Being raised in wealth, he'd seldom flown commercial and rarely had to wait in line for anything. Impatiently, he gave the clerk his information and handed over his platinum credit card to finish paying for the campervan he'd already reserved. The clerk swiped it and waited. A minute later, the pudgy man narrowed his eyes and glanced from his computer screen back to Davide. "Mr. Beowolf, your card has been denied." His voice sounded flat and bored.
"No way! Swipe it again."
The clerk shrugged and did as requested. Again, he looked up from his computer. "Denied."
Davide jerked his wallet open and pulled out another card. "Here, use this one."
The clerk swiped. "Denied."
"What the f…" Davide caught himself before he said what was on his mind. He felt a tug on his arm.
"Is everything okay, Davide? You look a little agitated."
"There's some kind of snafu. My cards are being denied. I'm going to have to call the credit card company and find out what's going on. Believe me, they're going to know how unhappy I am about this. I'll pay for our rental car with cash." He opened his wallet again.
"You already have Australian money?"
"Yes, I exchanged for it in the U.S."
Zoe's lips quirked, and she almost smiled. "We'll probably need our cash. Use my credit card. You can pay me back later."
"No way, Zoe, I sorta kidnapped you and I won't let you pay."
The clerk cleared his throat, "Umm, we have a long line. Could you please decide?"
Davide turned haughty eyes on the irritating little man, who only nodded his balding pate toward the line of tired looking travelers. Davide glanced at the lineup and started feeling guilty.
Zoe was handing her card over and Davide reached to push her hand back, but she resisted. The clerk watched their battle of the wills and the moment an opportunity presented itself, grabbed the card from her hand.
"I'll just need some information from you, ma'am."
Zoe turned a flinty gaze upward and met Davide's angry blue eyes. She ignored his look. "Apparently, I have more experience in this than you do. Keep your cash."
Davide ground his teeth. He'd never had a credit card charge denied in his life. He pulled out his cell phone, searched his card for the contact number, and then jabbed it into his keypad. Almost immediately a pleasant female voice, dripping sweetness, answered his call. Stepping away from Zoe and the clerk, he walked to a corner of the room and explained his situation. The credit card representative apologized profusely and asked him to hold. Davide tapped his foot impatiently.
The representative came back on the phone. "Mr. Beowolf, your card has been closed."
"What! Who closed it?"
The representative sounded confused. "You did, sir."
"And when did I do that?" he asked acidly.
"Well, I can assure you, Miss; there's been some kind of mistake. Open it back up."
The sickeningly sweet voice dripped honey. "I can't do that, sir. You'll need to apply for a new card."
"I want to talk to your supervisor, now!"
"Of course, sir." The sweet voice sounded a little sour.
After speaking with the supervisor and explaining everything all over again, he got no further than before. "Please go online and complete another application, Mr. Beowolf." He abruptly ended the call.
Zoe, who had completed the transaction and now sat back in the plastic chair, waved a car key at him when he looked at her. He lifted his index finger to indicate he wanted more time. Pulling his other credit card out, he made another call. At the end of that conversation, he was ready to spit nails. It hadn't gone any better than the previous one. He placed a call to his father. By the time he'd hung up after his last call, he could not only spit nails, he could chew them. He couldn't reach his father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother. When he'd called Johnson to make sure everyone was okay, he'd been told the family was fine. So why the hell didn't they answer their phones? He looked back at Zoe. How can she be so calm? Again, she lifted a key ring and dangled a key.
Davide took a deep breath. She had been right about needing to preserve their cash. When he stood in front of her, she looked up with her doe's eyes. "Davide, you're making too much out of this. Just use my card until yours gets straightened out. Stuff happens."
Reaching for the key, he had to admit she was right, except that "stuff" like this never happened to him.