"She went this way. Get her!" Feet pounded past her hiding place and kept going.
Annanya hid under the skimmer, flat on her back with no clearance between her breasts and the transport.
Since she would be stuck there for a few minutes at least, she looked at the open panel right above her head. There was sparking damage from a short so she reached up and began to rewire the ship.
Running into Cabre with Nasha had been trouble, but when her friends started in on mocking the wingless wonder, nothing could stop them. They fashioned a pair of wings out of garbage and were trying to pin them on her when she struggled away from Cabre's cronies and hid under the skimmer.
She froze when she heard footsteps return. "Sir, have you seen a wingless woman here?"
A deep voice almost made her jump out of her skin. She hadn't thought there was anyone in the repair bay. "No. Nothing so exotic as that."
Cabre's voice was tight, "Sorry to disturb you, sir. I will look elsewhere."
"That would be wise. The owner is fussy about those who surround his skimmer."
She could see Cabre's feet as his heels snapped together and he departed the repair bay. The other feet did not go anywhere.
"Miss? You can't have much room under there and the skimmer can't fly right now, so you are stuck unless you choose to come out and converse with me." The boot tips were pointed at her and she couldn't help but admire the deep burgundy gleam of the polish.
"Just give me a minute to finish these repairs and I will be right out, sir." Since Cabre had addressed him as sir, it was a safe bet that she was under the skimmer of a noble.
The last couplings were managed with the wire cutters and crimping pliers she kept in her corset. Some girls packed it with tissues, she put tools in.
Annanya sealed the panel and scooted slowly out from under the skimmer. She was sure that she had grime on her cheeks and hands, but when she saw the owner of the skimmer her stomach dropped to her tailbone. "Your Highness."
She scrambled to her feet and gave a curtsey with her short skirt. Her tights were bagging at the knees, her corset was bulging with tools and her blouse was a silvery grey. She was not at her best to meet royalty.
He touched her chin and lifted it so she was looking into his unbelievably blue eyes. "You recognized me."
"Of course, Your Highness. I read the news and follow the flickers." She shoved her white blonde hair out of her eyes. It had escaped from her braid once again.
"What is your name, little mechanic?"
She blushed. "Annanya Fennor."
"It is odd to see one of your kind this far from the city. How is it that you come to be so far from the Orion Rest embassy?"
"I was raised here, your highness. I was found as an infant and taken in by the Fennors. They tried to find anyone who knew who or what I was and were unsuccessful. So, they raised me with their own."
"I see. Unusual circumstance for an unusual woman."
"If I may ask, sir? What are you doing here?"
He grinned, sending her heart tripping at nine times its normal rate. He was handsome, with his golden hair waving from his forehead to that chiselled chin and those devastating eyes. She could have fallen in love with just his looks if he hadn't also been a philanthropist and polite, even to her in her wingless condition.
"My shuttle had a malfunction over your fair town and I decided to land before I killed myself. I didn't know that there was a festival going on, or I would have gone to the magistrate to arrange the repairs."
She smiled softly, dazed by his presence before she realized what he was talking about. "Well, your skimmer is fixed, but there was a problem with rodent infestation. You may want to watch where you park it."
He was chuckling while he spoke, "You fixed it while you were hiding under it?"
"I needed to have something to do with myself and I had all my tools with me." She patted the corset that was standard wear for a proper lady, but hers was stained with grease.