Not long now until I finally finish for the night. There’s only a few stragglers left in the club and it looks like their drinks are almost empty. Thank God. I glance at the guy sat at the end of the bar and shiver. I don’t know why but the way he is looking at me gives me chills. I’m pretty used to perverts and prats but the way he’s looking at me feels different. There’s something cold and calculating in his eyes. If not for that, he’d probably be fairly attractive: blonde wispy hair, a strong jaw and a mostly charming smile. I half smile back - the last thing I want to do is have him come over. He’s giving me the urge to run away. I just want to go home, have a shower and get into my duvet. I used to like night shifts, I felt like I could finally breathe when everyone else went to sleep. It was like a weight was lifted off my chest and I could live how I wanted to until the morning. No one was awake to tell me otherwise.
At times like this though, I wish I could be asleep along with them. I’m bored of the repetitive music, the groping and constantly having sticky shoes. The boss called this place ‘Dusk’ because he bought the diner next door and called it ‘Dawn’. The idea is that on the way out, the customers are given a token to get a 10% discount off of food and drink next door. It lures more people in and creates a buzz. It also has people partying literally from dusk till dawn which he took great delight in telling me. I think it’s fairly funny to be honest but I’m not telling him that. I just wish that I wasn’t working past when the sun rose.
I hear the double doors slam and I grit my teeth. I notice the group of men bumbling towards the bar and give them my best smile. The guy in front catches my eye and winks, I repress the urge to cringe and put on my customer service voice.
“I’m really sorry guys but last call was fifteen minutes ago.” A loud groan follows my words and I see a few of the men at the back go to turn around.
“Wait - just a minute, I’m sure me and you can sort a little something out. Ey, babe?” He leans closer over the bar and winks again. To be honest, I probably could get away with pouring them one last round because I haven’t shut down the tills or the pumps yet but I really hate being called babe and it’s been too long of a shift to put up with this sleaze right now.
“I’m afraid not, sorry lads. The Hut is still serving down the road until four though, I reckon you could make it there in time.” I give a half smile and turn to finish what I was doing. I feel his hand grabbing my arm before I can stop him spinning me back around.
“Don’t turn your back on me! I don’t want to drink there. I want to drink here. I said I’d only like a little one!” I glance down at his hand and feel the urge to slam it on the bar as hard as I can. I really want to keep my job though and I know my boss watches the security tapes religiously.
“If you’re so desperate for a little one, why don’t you ask one of your friends back there for some assistance, okay?” I can’t stop the retort slipping from my mouth. A few of his friends are caught off guard and laugh but I see the anger flash in his eyes. I feel his hand tighten on my arm and I keep my expression neutral, I can tell he wants a rise and I’m definitely not in the mood for this.
“Excuse me, is there a problem here?” The guy from the bar is on his feet now, slowly approaching the drunk man. He’s moving slowly and deliberate, there’s an authority in his voice that has the man’s grip loosening but I don’t trust him. Besides, who does he think he is? I can handle a drunk guy with a superiority complex - that’s my usual Friday.
“There’s no problem here, we were just talking about the guys here getting an extra token each for Dusk next door. That’s 20% off some coffee and breakfast, plus I know chef has got a load of fresh produce in today so it’s bound to be a good one.” I beam at the man in front of me, putting all of my energy into hoping that he will just take the bloody tokens and leave. His eyes widen and he backs away from me slowly, shaking his head slightly.
“Of course we were, we didn’t mean any trouble love. We’ll be sure to check out that breakfast.” I raise my eyebrow as I watch them all practically run from the club. I don’t find that being called ‘love’ is any better than being called ‘babe’ but they’re leaving so to hell with it. I guess it wasn’t just me that bar guy freaks out. I deliberately turn away in the hope that he can take a hint.
“Do I not get a thank you?” Jesus. Apparently no one can take a hint around here.
“Why would I thank you?” I shoot back.
“For stepping in and helping you?” His eyebrows are raised and he drums his fingers on the top of the bar.
“Did it occur to you for even a second that I didn’t need your help?” He scoffs and rolls his eyes. It takes all of my will power not to snap back. I shake my head as I turn around and I carry on stacking the clean glasses away. Out the corner of my eye I see him walk round the bar and towards me.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? Customers aren’t allowed back here!” I see him flinch as I speak and he raises his hands.
“Look, I need to talk to you. Can we speak privately when everyone else is gone?” He lowers his voice and raises his hands in surrender.
“Are you out of your mind? No! I don’t even know you. Why would I stay behind with a complete stranger who, quite frankly, doesn’t appear to know how to take no as an answer?” I stare daggers at him as he carries on taking small steps forward.
“Seriously, I don’t know what your problem is but if you take one step closer I’m going to scream.” I put as much venom in my tone as I can muster and stare in disgust at him. Who the hell does he think he is?
“Okay, I’m listening. I don’t mean to overstep your boundaries but we need to get out of here before the others come. You might not know me, but I know you Cassandra”.