Claudia waved a hand toward the curtained area. The first curtain had been retracted and a table was being quickly set by several beings that were obviously of Claudia’s race. “I’m having my servants set the dining table for lunch, if you’d care to join me, Lexx.”

Lexx glanced at Chel, then nodded, “I would hope that Chel is invited as well.”

“Certainly!” Claudia smiled and waved them both toward the dining room. Chel tagged along, feeling more and more like the third wheel. She was sure that Lexx didn’t like Claudia, but she wasn’t one to be rude,.. even when someone else was being rude to her.

Apparently the servants had already had lunch prepared and just needed to set it out. Everything was warm and there was a variety of weird looking foods and a bowl of some sort of sweet smelling soup laid out in three sets. Claudia had Lexx by the hand and led him to the chair closest to her. Chel followed for the last chair and was just reaching for the chair when one of Claudia’s five standing servants stepped forward quickly.

Startled by the movement, Chel hesitated and wondered if she’d done something wrong. The servant was much like Claudia, tall, with pointed ears and pale skin. He was wearing some sort of red and black uniform and there were a trio of silver stars along a crescent adorning a nameplate in an unreadable language. Unlike Claudia, he had long, solid black hair and violet eyes,… and he smiled genuinely at Chel, pulling out the chair for her to sit down.

“Ciay, hyua muwani.” He spoke; unaware that Chel couldn’t understand him. Chel got the point and sat in the chair. That was interesting. She’d never had anyone pull out a chair for her and the first time someone does it for her, he’s from another planet. Wonderful.

“Rydr, this is Chel, she does not speak our language, but she will understand standard.” Claudia noted the exchange and leaning around Lexx corrected her servant. “Chel,… this is Rydr, the captain of my ship.” Her eyes twinkled a moment, “And watch him, he’s absolutely enamored with strange alien females.”

Rydr didn’t seem to enjoy that comment, rolling his eyes and commenting, “Claudia,… you can be such a pain.” Then he stepped to Chel’s side, “Nobody else stood forward and it is only a gentleman’s duty to see to it that a lady is treated as such, especially when the attending male who accompanies her does not.”

Lexx didn’t look up, his face burning at the accusation and pointing out of his lack of manners. He hadn’t even thought about doing that and even if he had, he knew Claudia would’ve figured out a way to stop him.

“Thank you. Rydr” Chel smiled at Rydr, which seemed enough for him as he returned the smile and rejoined his crew. Apparently there was some custom where the ship’s crew stood by when visitors were present. It seemed very strange to Chel.

“Isn’t this fabulous, Lexx, Dear?” Claudia leaned toward Lexx.

“Uhm,.. yes.” Lexx stared down into the bowl of soup, wondering if he really wanted to eat anything. His stomach was knotting uncontrollably and he didn’t have anything on him to take to make it stop. “Can you stop calling me that?”

“Oh no!” Claudia giggled in mock horror. “What else would I call you?”

Lexx closed his eyes, trying to calm himself, “Just Lexx is fine.” He mumbled.

“How about love muffin?” Claudia suggested giddily.

Overcome with frustration, Lexx felt a spasm ripple up his back. He fell forward, falling face first into the bowl of soup in front of him,. Soup went everywhere and Lexx didn’t move, held down by embarrassment.

Chel couldn’t resist. She leaned toward Lexx and whispered, “Uhm,.. Lexx, Dear,.. I think you’re supposed to eat that, not swim in it.”