The scent of vanilla smacked me in between the eyes as soon as I walked through the doors to Pink Cherry.
The relentless stench of sex was replaced with a light buttery flavor. It was going to take some getting used to.
I wandered over to the front desk where Kitty was balancing the books. Her hand was rubbing her forehead in small circles.
She glanced up when I approached her.
“Hey,” I said while still taking in the new scenery. The stage was pushed all the way to the back and all the shelves were rearranged in alphabetical order.
“Fancy seeing you here,” She gave me a small grin.
“Well, I’m here on business more or less,”
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” She laughed.
I set my folder on the counter and slid it her way, “Let’s hope we can do both,”
She lifted out the plans and looked over them,“This is brilliant but the paperwork-”
“Will be left up to me,” I interjected. “You just need to organize the girls and make sure they’re ready.”
“How long did you work on this?”
She must have noticed the dark circles under my eyes, “A few hours last night.” A few hours meaning until the sun came up.
Kitty nodded hesitantly, “Not that I’m ungrateful but why are you doing this?”
Jason’s dashing smile flashed through my mind. “I need to prove myself to keep my job and you need heavy penis traffic to keep yours,” I watched the doubt flicker in her eyes, “Do we have a deal?”
Kitty sighed, “This is going to be a lot of work.”
“But also a lot of fun,” I grinned and eventually the corners of her mouth turned to match mine.
“So you’re going to need a workspace,” Kitty said while rummaging underneath the desk.
“Oh no, the dressing room is fi-”
“Are you kidding? Those bitches make an airport runway seem quiet. We’ll set you up in the back,” She snatched the keys from the bottom shelf.
“That really isn’t necess-”
She held her hand up to stop me, “Look, you’re really saving my ass. The least I can do is let you use the office. ”
I followed her passed the sea of gathering cherries and gripped my folders to my chest. Kitty pushed through the crowd and barked some orders as we walked.
When we finally made it to the door Kitty wasted no time pushing it open and giving me a big grin, “Welcome to your very own office!”
I willed myself forward and followed her into the room. The shelves were barren and had cobwebs covering the metal bars. Leftover boxes sat untouched in the corner.
Kitty pulled my attention to the old desk now tucked under the window. “Sorry it’s a little dusty,” She apologized while stacking the papers and releasing a cloud of dust.
“How long has it’s been since-”
“A few months,” She answered without glancing up, “The cherries needed me in the dressing room with them and no one really wanted the space.” I found it difficult to believe but nodded anyway.
I glanced at the bed resting against the wall. The sheets were pulled off and folded next to a few men’s shirts. Kitty followed my gaze and hurried over to the bed.
“I haven’t really had time to clean up everything yet,” She said while scooping up the clothes and shoving them into a nearby closet, “I’ll make sure to get to it tomorrow.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I laughed. A couple of Jason’s belongings laying around wasn’t enough to send me off the deep end.
She smiled, “So what exactly needs to be done?”
“Well we’re going to need a bigger stage,” I said while pulling out the projections, “And Jade is going to have a shitload of sewing to do.”
As soon as Kitty nodded the door swung open, “Lauren fell off the stage and we’re pretty sure she fucked up her ankle,”
“Not again,” Kitty groaned and shot me an apologetic glance. I waved her away, duty called.
Suddenly it was just me and a big empty room. I pulled up a chair and laid my laptop in front of me. There was work that needed to be done and staring at every dust particle in the room wasn’t going to help anything.
The only sounds in the room were typing and the ticking of the clock above me. I tucked my hair behind my ear and shifted in my seat.
Memories were only memories and I would be damned if I let them prevent me from proving myself. Although the smooth finish of the desk against my skin did send chills up my spine.
Soon the silence had my eyelids getting heavier every time I dared to blink. I yawned and continued to push on.
Every fiber of my being begged me for a nap and finally I gave in. My jacket made an acceptable pillow. Just as I put my head down there was a crash behind me.
I jumped and swiveled around in just enough time to see Jason’s infamous smirk creep up his cheeks. He met my gaze for only a few seconds before turning back to the toolbox in front of him and unloading his gadgets and gizmos.
When I finally gathered the nerve to speak he was molding a phallically shaped device. “What are you doing here?”
“Saving your ass,” He said gruffly.
“Kitty told me all about your plan to run my business into the ground.”
I promised myself that I’d kill her later, “The plan isn’t going to destroy the business, it’s going to save it.”
He scoffed, “Whatever you say,”
“Stop that.” I marched to the table he was working on and snatched the half-finished dildo from his hands.
He finally looked up, “Fine, you want to talk business?” I waved the dick over to the desk with the dildo in my hand.
“I don’t need to look over your plan, Tara.”
“Because you seem to be forgetting one important thing,”
I was really getting sick of his arrogance, “And what’s that?”
He leaned closer to me. His eyes locked onto mine, “You can’t pull this off without me,”
It was my turn to scoff, “Yes I can.”
“This is a toy store,” He chuckled, “And I’m the Toy Maker.” He waved his hammer in my face.
“Not anymore.” I spat before marching back to the desk and turning my back on him.
“You know I’m right,” He said from behind me.
I shook off his voice and pretended not to listen.
“Tara,” He called out.
“Tara,” My eyes started to get tired from staring at the screen.
“Tara,” He started sounding farther and farther away with each passing second.
I shut my eyes and suddenly I was being shaken awake.
“Tara,” Kitty gripped my shoulder, “Wakey Wakey,”
I opened my eyes only to find that they had already crusted over.
“How long was I asleep?”
“Don’t know, I just came to check on you and get the update,”
“Right, Right,” I nodded and gathered a few papers for her to sign, “Read over that and sign if you agree.”
As she read I used my free time to stretch out the crick in my neck. It’s what I deserved after sleeping on the job.
“Hold on,” Kitty paused and pointed to the bottom of the page, “This is asking for the owner’s signature,” She flipped through the others, “They all do.”
“Yeah, I know,” I was hoping she would have a few drinks in her before discussing the needed signatures. “I figured that you could just give the papers to him to sign by the day after tomorrow.”
She stared at me, “Tara, I can’t do that.”
“I know it’s inconvenient bu-”
“No, it’s not that,” Kitty clenched the contract in her hands, “Jason moved back home. I won’t see him until Christmas.”
I stared at her and tried not to laugh. I kept waiting for her to yell ‘gotcha’ but it never came.
“Oh fuck,” I buried my head in my hands as reality took hold of me. Saving Pink Cherry just became more complicated.