I just had one more hour before I could declare myself free from this grueling sixteen hour shift, which proved to be more exhausting as it went on. Especially after finding out that tonight's bartender unexpectedly came up with food poisoning for the second time this month, I had to be the one to cover her. As a manager I was responsible for making sure the positions were all covered. The poles, the floor, and most importantly the bar. It seems to be a known fact that drunk men like spending the most money.
Just an observation.
After a while, you get used to being objectified and seen as a product of pleasure. It becomes normal, almost routine. Every touch and nasty comment can be predicted simply by the look in their greedy eyes. My purpose is pleasing others, not to gain personal satisfaction, but to survive.
At ten years old, my father made a decision that ultimately change the course of my life forever. To put it lightly, he sold me for drugs. My mother and him had their drugs supplied to them by a group far under daddy, and when my father ran off with a large amount that he didn't pay for, daddy's men went after my father. They severely beat him and brought him to daddy to be punished, so to speak. My father pleaded for his life and daddy agreed under the stipulation that my mother and I become products in his business. My father was quick to agree, signing daddy's documents and under the table paperwork with the assumption that he could be set free—he wasn't. Daddy had his men take my father and kill him in some Mexico desert.
My mother and I were lucky enough to not be sold off to be raped, murdered, or made into slaves by foreign men. Daddy claimed he saw something in us—so he set us up to be successful workers in his business until we could pay off our debts to be free. Which was starting to look like it was simply just a dream.
Mom let go of that dream a long time ago.
I found myself mindlessly circling my towel around the bar top, wiping away all of the carelessly spilt liquor. My mind was lost in thought, thinking of my next opportunity to the dance studio where I regularly practiced my ballet. A hobby that I've held for the majority of my life, regardless of the commitment I've made to the nightclub. It was useful in my training as a dancer, helping me to become the best in the business.
"Peach? You got another letter from him." My coworker Candy—otherwise known as Candice—stood behind me holding out an envelope with my name written in cursive lettering.
Speak of the devil and he shall appear.
I dropped the towel down in the sanitary bucket, trying to hide my obvious fear for what might be in that letter. Part of me already knew, but another part had hope for something better—good news. "Just set it on the counter, I've gotta wash my hands." The tone of my voice said more than what I wanted to share, but Candy already knew. There wasn't any point in trying to hide it.
"I wouldn't stress too much, Peach. You're his favorite, and you know that." She leaned herself over the counter, breasts spilling out of her rhinestone corset. "Hey Jimmy, want a dance?" She eyed a gentleman, who had been known as a regular, sitting behind me drinking his fifth Long Island.
He grunted in response slurping the last of his drink through the ice at the bottom. "Sure hun—you—you just lead the way." As he stood, the drunken fool nearly fell to the ground.
He's cut off for the night.
"Just open it, Peachy. Don't be nervous." She called as she shimmied herself to a private dance room with Jimmy trailing behind her like a hungry bear ready for a feast.
I watched as they both disappeared behind the curtain, sighing to myself in an attempt to relieve the pit in my stomach. Although I tried to avoid it, my eyes fell back to that sealed envelope on the counter. I can't avoid it, it's inevitable, but I can set it aside for a bit to open when I'm ready. Grabbing it quickly, I stuffed it down in my apron and continued on with my job.
Just one more hour.
As I pulled into the driveway of my humble little house, I noticed there was an unfamiliar truck parked right in front. Before I let worry set in, I reminded myself that it couldn't have been any of daddy's men. The majority of the time they're seen driving big SUV's and high end luxury cars, certainly not an old rusty Chevy.
Do I know anyone who drives a truck like this?
My heart thudded with anxiety as I stared curiously at it. Mother doesn't drive and most likely was in her bedroom strung out on her most recent shot of heroin.
Was it a dealer?
I had never seen any of the countless men she had over driving such a vehicle. It could always be a possibility, although she knows I don't want them here. If you think the nightclub is filled with weirdos try sitting in a room filled with horny heroin junkies. They seem to lack no remorse for their actions on other people, especially women, blinded by the haze of their high. I've had my share of experiences with mom's so called friends and I can't say I'd like to go through another forceful situation such as that.
Daddy won't allow it anymore anyways.
"Fuck." I groaned, setting my forehead on the steering wheel. In the seat next to me, I saw the letter from daddy sticking out, still unopened. My initial plan was to open it when I got home, in the safety of my room with a bottle of red wine in my hand, but plans have changed. Childish as it may be, I was far too anxious to even think about the letter and what it might contain. I would much rather find out who the stranger in my home was before even touching that letter.
With a sigh I pulled the handle and pushed my car door open, stepping out ungracefully no doubt showing more skin than any normal person at 9:00 am would. I reached back into the car to retrieve my purse and keys, locking up the car with the new motivation to discover who was in my home.
My six inch heels clacked against the pavement as I approached the front door, noting that it was unlocked. I didn't mind confrontation, but with the life I've lived, confrontations can be so unpredictable to personal safety. I shifted my purse higher up my arm and opened up the door.
I could tell from the moment I saw him, he was a dangerous man. Not the kind of dangerous you'd expect out of an evil or malicious person, but the kind that will chew up your emotions and spit them out in a wad at your feet.
Oh god mom, what did you do?
"Who are you? What are you doing here?" I glared, stepping into my living room to find this disgustingly rugged man there. He couldn't be any friend of moms, he didn't fit the look. I examined his dark torn jeans and faded black t-shirt that had some sort of death metal band logo displayed on the front. He had tousled dark brown hair and a clean shaven face.
Warm chocolate brown eyes.
Definitely not from moms junkie group of friends.
He sat lazily on the living room couch, feet stretched out before him. "I'm Chris, some lady let me in. I thought you were gonna interview me or something."
I blinked slowly, feeling a moment of stupidity. "For?" My mind rushed from scenario to scenario, searching for some sort of explanation. I only interview for the nightclub, and I definitely know that I won't be seeing him in a pair of platform shoes dancing around a pole for horny middle aged men.
"You're looking for a roommate. You said to meet you here at this time." He began to smirk at me, no doubt reading my confusion like a book. His dark brown eyes scanned down my figure, pausing over the defined curves of my silhouette.
Oh god— my outfit. I was wearing my uniform, which was entirely scandalous. A deep plunge revealing my small chest, shorts so tiny they're basically underwear, tights and those heels. Geez, that's one hell of an introduction.
"Oh—yes." Shit. I cursed at myself. Of course—How could I have forgotten this? In a desperate attempt to find a suitable roommate, I sent out an ad the night before last and got a response while sitting idly at the bar before my shift started. "Well, I see you've already made yourself comfortable. You thirsty? I have water, orange juice, milk—"
I snorted, crinkling my nose. "It's not even noon yet." Why am I even surprised? He had bad boy written all over him, of course he'd want liquor at nine in the morning.
"I'm thirsty." He shrugged.
"So you want whiskey?"
"Do you have any?"
"Well—yeah, but—" I paused, feeling the throbbing in my feet intensify. "Yeah, I have some."
"Are we gonna have this drink or not?"
Once a waitress, always a waitress, I can never catch a break. I quickly poured us each a small glass, carrying them into the living room. I'd had enough of being walked all over on by men today. All the stares, raunchy comments, and unwarranted groping was enough to break me down for the night.
I guess it's time to interview this guy.
God help me.
"So—" I leaned against the wall to slide my heels off, feeling immediate relief. A sixteen hour shift on those bad boys and you can kiss your feet goodbye. "How old are—"
"Twenty five." He sighed, leaning back in the couch, eyes locked with mine.
I cleared my throat, sitting myself down on the couch across from him. "Why do you think you'd be a good room—"
"Cause I have a job and can pay rent." He was beginning to sound bored, almost careless.
"Would you stop cutting me off?" I snapped, squeezing my hands together in my lap in frustration. "Do you even want to live here?"
He grinned at this, drinking down his whole glass. "I'm loud—I like music, I drink—a lot, I'm not a good roommate. But, I clean up after myself, I can maintenance the house, and I can sorta cook." After setting the glass down on the end table beside him he met my gaze with a devilish grin. "And yes—I do want to live here."
"Thank you for a genuine answer." I honestly just really needed to get a roommate here as soon as I could. The bills were beginning to interfere with my goals toward freedom. The only way to survive and move forward was to have another person share the load. My mother certainly wasn't going to help. "So, what do you do? How do I know you aren't gonna like stuff me in your trunk and kill me or something?"
A very realistic possibility in my life.
Unfortunate? Yes I know.
He grinned even bigger. "Mmm, you know Peaches, that would be interesting, huh?"
My mouth dropped at the use of my nickname. Only a select group of people refer to me as Peaches. The name given to me as my "entertainer" name. It was very rarely used outside of the confines of my employment.
How he used it
"Excuse me?" Was all I could manage to get out. I hoped that he wasn't one of the many gentlemen I've had to entertain—in privacy or not.
"Jesus—I'm kidding. Your name tag says Peaches, that is your name, isn't it?" He laughed at me, smiling as I visually crumbled before him.
"My name is Briel." My face shifted to an annoyed frown. I should've taken the damn thing off, if only I'd known I'd have him as company.
"Why does—" Naturally, he's curious, but the answer was simple and very blatant.
"I'm a waitress." I snapped, having no interest in explaining to him the details of my employment.
I can't say much anyways.
"What kinda waitress?" He leaned forward, almost giddy, eyes wandering down to further inspect my outfit. His smile revealing a perfect set of teeth.
Thank god I have a long coat.
"I'm a bouncer." He grinned, eyes moving down my legs. "Little bit of side work here and there."
My eyes widened, shocked at his response. He certainly wasn't a bouncer at my club. There were only four and they were a consistent team, hired by daddy to really keep a close eye on things.
"Where?" At least he has a job. Unfortunately for him, all clubs in the area seemed to be small compared to my club. Honeys was the most successful in the county, according to numbers at least. Daddy's hard work had spread wide around the various different businesses in the area, it wasn't just Honeys that brought in his revenue.
"The Brickhouse. You're a cocktail waitress, huh?"
The Brickhouse? That place was awful, the ungodly amount of testosterone was suffocating. They always did have live music though, which of course was nice, but the mosh pits and aggressive drunk guys got to be too much. "Yes," I squinted my eyes at him. "Enough about me."
He shrugged, his eyes heavy on my chest. "Or—" the corners of his lips curled up slyly. "Are you a stripper, Peaches?"
Sometimes. Maybe. He didn't need to know that.
"Excuse me, no. I'm a waitress." I felt a weight come over me, a part of me didn't want him to know. It was as if I was almost ashamed, and I'll tell you now; I won't ever admit it. "You know— I think we're done with this interview."
He leaned back, eyebrows raised, tapping his fingers against the arm of the couch, rhythmically. "That's all you wanna ask me?"
"Well—" I stammered, at a loss for words. "I'm going to be honest, I'm completely unprepared for this. Do you have any questions for me?" I questioned myself as I eyed him once more, he looked like trouble, angry eyes hidden behind a smug smile. Was this all happening too fast? Should I think over this whole roommate thing, or just—
"When can I move in?" He interrupted my frantic anxious thoughts with a solid unwavering smile as he spoke with a voice that filled the house loud, and bold.
"Tonight." The words spilled out automatically. I answered my own questions, realizing I would need him in order to be stable. I looked at him, his deep brown eyes testing me as I finally gave into the idea.
What the hell