I managed to find my way to a small diner in the centre of town, thankfully it wasn’t overly crowded. The red vinyl upholstery had seen better days, the tattered menus were sticky and covered in coffee stains and smell of greasy fried food lingered in the air. Not usually my scene, but I didn’t have many options.
Dimitri sent me information on the local MC business and hangouts, this diner was one of their regular meet-up spots. They didn’t own it, but they owned the local mechanics shop, tattoo parlour, bar, strip club and the rundown motel off the highway. I figured I’d check those out at some other point, but right now I just needed to make myself known around town and maybe get a look at a few of the club members.
The Black Vipers are difficult to track down, their high-up members have clearly gone into hiding, probably in preparation for an attack on Devil’s Makers. It will probably take me a while to get an opportunity to make my move and the trail on the van that took Liam has gone cold, so I’ll have to get a job to keep up appearances if I want to stick around for long.
I found myself a seat in a booth and gave my order of rare steak and fries to a rather grumpy looking waitress. Hostility came off her in waves, so I didn’t bother engaging in any small talk with her. I could feel the eyes of the other customers on me. I guess they don’t get too many new faces around here.
The waitress came back quickly with my food and I started eating like I was starved.
Maybe I could ask someone here about any jobs going. I mean, I didn’t really have any skills that translated to a regular job but I was sure as hell the quickest learner and hardest worker they’d ever find. Maybe I could try bartending, or waitressing? Seems easy enough.
I’m interrupted from my musings by my phone vibrating on the table. The screen flashed with Dimitri’s name, so I quickly shoved the last of my fries in my mouth, grabbed my phone and helmet and made my way to the bathroom at the back of the diner.
“Privet, Dimitri,” I answered.
“Dobryy vecher. I have a little more information on your club. We’ve identified 6 members so far, I’ll send you their names and photos. We’ve also found out that they deal with Alessandro Ricci, so they’re not as small-time as they appear.”
Alessandro Ricci was the Don of an incredibly powerful Italian mafia family. They had their fingers in a lot of pies. Politics, weapons, drugs. Hell, they even had a hand in the exotic animal trade. Alessandro was also one of my favourite clients. He only ever sent me after people that deserved it. And he always paid well and on time. I’d consider him a friend, as close to a friend as I could have.
“I’ll call Alessandro later, see if he can give me any information. Maybe he can get me in if it takes me too long alone.”
“Alright. I’ll let you know if I find anything else. Don’t forget to call your otets, he doesn’t know you left New York and I don’t want to be the one that tells him. Good luck.”
He hung up and I slid my phone back into my pocket. Looking in the dirty bathroom mirror, I reapplied my now faded lipstick and rustled my hair, trying to add volume back into it. I mentally ran through what I needed to do tonight and tomorrow.
Supplies, find a job, clean that fucking dusty house.
Taking a deep breath, I walk out of the bathroom towards the front counter. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me again.
I waited at the counter has the waitress walked towards a booth with two trays of food. I do a quick sweep of the room while I wait and my eyes pause on two new additions, a beautiful, petite brunette woman and an incredibly handsome man.
He had dark hair that was quite long, pushed back out of his face, and a short beard that emphasised his strong jaw. I looked away quickly as the waitress placed his food in front of him, I didn’t want to draw any more attention to myself. Especially when I saw him wearing a club cut with the patch that said “Enforcer”.
“Black coffee to go, please,” I said as the waitress finally came back to serve me. She mumbled something under her breath as she started pouring my drink. One more sweep of the room and my ended up back on that hunk of a biker. He was stuffing his face with food and it took all of my self-restraint not to laugh, he was a mess. Sauce on his cheek and his lips shiny with grease.
Just then he looked up towards me and we made eye contact. I offered him a slight smirk before turning back to the waitress as she practically shoved my hot drink into my hands. I flicked her a twenty-dollar bill and grabbed my helmet from the counter.
“Keep the change,” I throw over my shoulder and walked out the door, but not before stealthily sliding a newspaper off a table that was occupied and hiding it behind my helmet. I needed to read the classifieds and find a job.
Outside, I rested against my bike, coffee in one hand while I held the folded newspaper with the other, reading through the available jobs.
Waitress at a strip club.
Mechanic at a garage.
Check-out staff at a grocery store.
Accountant for a local businessman.
Yuck. None of these were appealing. I knew the strip club and garage were owned by the MC, so they were probably my best bet if I wanted an in. Maybe plastering the members with alcohol would give me more information.
Looks like the strip club wins.
I finish my coffee and stand up to throw the cup away when the diner door opens, and the lovely brunette woman and the biker exit and head towards me.
“Hi! You must be new around here,” the woman says, a genuine smile on her face as she comes to a stop in front of me.
“Sure am. Just moved to town.”
“Where are you from?”
I smirked to myself a little, I couldn’t exactly tell her where I really was from. “Hi, I’m from Russia and the Russian mob brought me to the US.” Yep, that’d go well.
“New York,” I answered, “Needed a change of scenery.”
“Oh wow, that’s really cool. You probably could’ve picked a better place to go, but we’re glad to have you,” she was so cheerful. “My name is Bee, and this big lug is Blade.”
My eyes flicked to Blade, and she was right. He was big. At least fix and a half feet, broad shoulders and a lot of muscle. Dripping in tattoos.
“I’m Adelaide,” I offered her my hand which she shook eagerly. Alright, good, making friends. Great start. “You wouldn’t happen to know of any jobs around, would you? I kind of landed here with no real plans.”
That was almost completely true. I didn’t have plans because I didn’t know how I was going to get Liam back.
“I think Molly was looking for a new waitress at her strip club. I mean, if you’re into that kind of scene,” she rushed out, not wanting to offend me. How cute. I noticed Blade still staring at me, now with a slight frown and furrowed brows.
“I’ll go take a look then, I saw the ad in the paper. Think you could point me in the right direction?” I asked, twirling a stand of my hair around my finger.
“Leave here, take a left and look for the obnoxious neon signs,” a gruff and sexy voice said, making me look towards Blade again. Then I noticed his eyes, the most beautiful forest green, perfectly set off with his dark lashes.
“Thank you, I’ll see you both around I hope,” I said with a smile, flinging my leg over my bike and putting on my helmet.
“Tell Molly that Bee sent you! I’ll call her now and let her know you’re coming,” Bee shouted over the roar of my bike as I turned the key. I nodded towards her as I took off out of the lot. I followed Blade’s instructions and soon spotted the bright lights. He was right, they were quite obnoxious.
I parked quickly, fixing my hair as a put my helmet under my arm and walked towards the unmanned door. As I walked in, I was hit with the smell of stale beer, cheap perfume and cigarette smoke. I spotted a pink-haired girl behind the bar washing glasses and a few other women sitting around talking. I assumed they were dancers or waitresses. I was about to head towards the bartender when a door at the back of the club swung open with force, revealing a petite woman with short, golden hair and a scowl.
She looked around the dimly lit room before her eyes land on me and she grinned, her face changing on a dime. She was super pretty when she smiled. She made her way over and stuck her hand out for me to shake.
“I’m Molly, Bee said you were pretty, but she didn’t give you enough credit.”
I laughed and shook her hand. “I’m Adelaide, but you can call me Addy.”
“Well Addy, the job is pretty simple. Serve drinks, look pretty and let security know if you see anyone acting out. You make hourly and you get to keep your tips,” she starts walking towards the bar, “This is Nessie, she’s on every night. Anything you need, go to her.”
“Hi Nessie, I’m Adelaide,” I reached out my hand and she shook it.
“Lookin’ forward to working with you,” she replied with a grin.
“Alrighty, think you can work tonight? Being Friday, it’s pretty busy,” Molly said hopefully.
“Sure thing. Do you have clothes I can borrow? I live a while out of town, don’t want to drive all the way there and back tonight.”
Molly nodded and gestured for me to follow her. We ducked behind some red velvet curtains and then through a door. We entered the dressing room where a few girls were already getting ready, all of them freezing to stop and stare at me.
“Alright, going to need an outfit for the new waitress guys,” Molly said, her voice raised with authority. How was someone so tiny so commanding.
One of the girls scampered to her feet and started digging in a bag. Eventually she came over to me with a few clothes in her arms.
“Thank you,” I said with a bright smile, “I’m Addy.”
“I’m Layla, or Daisy on the floor,” she grinned. She seemed quiet, but friendly. Which didn’t seem to be a common trait with the rest as I could feel their eyes burning into me.
I quickly got dressed, not the least bit self-conscious about the other people in the room. Layla had given me a tight black crop top, a red and black plaid mini skirt and fishnet stockings. The crop top showed off my white ink wolf tattoo on my stomach and the white snake winding up my arm.
“Fuck you look hot!” Layla said then turned around to the bag again. “Here, some killer heels to go with it.”
She handed me a pair of black heels with red soles. I could tell they were knock-offs, but pretty good ones. I hated wearing heels, give me some boots any day. But I needed to do this, I needed to make myself familiar with the club.
“Club opens in 20, be ready girls,” Molly shouted as she left the room.
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