Once 2:00 is approaching, I straighten up a bit before grabbing my bag and keys. As I’m heading out, I try to form a positive attitude because if I go into work already pissed off about working alone then it’s going to be a long crappy night.
In my car, I plug in my phone and put on the playlist with all the songs I like. It usually helps put me in a better mood. On the way to the bar, I stop and get a smoothie. I figure something healthy may brighten my sour mood.
I arrive at work just in time for Phil to unlock the doors. When he sees me, he smiles.
“You look beautiful, Lina.”
“Thank you, Phil. I figure since I’m working alone tonight, I should at least look nice for the tips.” I fake a smile and he throws his hand up while holding the door open for me with the other.
“I tell you, that Jake is going to drive me crazy. I know his wife is pregnant, but it’s just a baby. In my day, men didn’t worry about those things. We just waited for our wives to call and tell us it’s time. Now, men are acting like the pregnant ones.”
I snort as I start flicking the lights on.
“Phil, what do you mean in your day? You’re only 35, right?”
“I wish. I still had most of my hair at that age.”
Shaking my head, I walk being the bar and put my things under it before going to the back to turn the lights on. It only takes about 30 minutes being open before a few people start trickling in for afternoon drinks. We don’t start serving food until 4 even though our cooks should be in any minute.
It doesn’t take long to get busy from the small afternoon flow of people. A lot of folks come in for a mid-workday beer with colleagues. Some women come in with friends for a drink or two while gossiping. If anything, I prefer the daytime flow over the night, but the daytime flow doesn’t pay the bills. Hell, the night time flow barely pays them either. With the tips and pay I make, I’m able to pay half the rent, a little on my car, some on the utilities, and maybe I’ll be able to have some left over to buy things like clothes or hygiene stuff. It’s a struggle, but I’ve been doing it.
Once upon a time, I was not struggling this badly. I had things together for the most part with the help of my mom. That is until one day when she met her second and current husband Darrius. One day while buying beer, he decided to play a scratch off and surprisingly won $500 a week for life. Up and moved my mom across the country. I miss her, but I know she’s happy. Her first husband, my father, was a complete jerk. There’s no telling how many half-siblings I have in the world thanks to him.
Despite pretty much being on my own, I’m making it work the best I can, but I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this. I don’t want to keep bartending the rest of my life, but I don’t exactly know what else to do.
God, why can’t I win $500 a week for life?
As the evening trickles in, a crowd begins to build of patrons coming to eat and drink. The bar is full and my arms are a little tired of pouring drinks. However, I’m trying to make the best of it. With music playing, I sing along and for some reason, people like that. A group of girls begins singing along and one slips me a $5 bill for a song request. Of course, it’s Beyonce, but for a tip, I’ll play whatever.
“Aye baby, why don’t you show us some moves!” Some older guy shouts from across the bar.
“I can’t dance. Sorry.” I shrug and smile causing him to roll his eyes.
“With an ass like that, I know you can shake it.”
“Hm, I guess you’ll never find out.” I move down to the other end of the bar to get away from him.
As I’m putting a bottle back, I see someone take a seat at the bar.
“What can I get for you?” I say without really looking.
“Can I get a scotch on the rocks?”
For some reason, the voice makes my eyes shoot up and I see that it’s the older guy from last night. He’s back. Nodding, I pull out a glass and clunk a few pieces of ice in it before filling it halfway with scotch. I push it across the bar and he takes it in his large hand.
“That’ll be $8.” For some reason, I feel nervous just talking to him.
He reaches into his wallet and pulls out a $100 bill. I’m thinking he wants change.
“Do you want 20s or 10s?”
“Keep the change.” His warm rugged voice shakes me to the core. I don’t know what it is about this man.
“Are you serious?”
“Yes, Lina, I want you to keep it as a tip.”
He remembered my name. God, what am I, twelve?” My eyes scan over his face as he smiles. My gaze goes up to the silver streaks in his hair. I can see them a lot better than I did last night. He has to be at least in his 40’s, but damn he’s good looking.
“Thank you.” Through the effect he currently has on me, I manage to smile.
“Is there any way I can talk to you after work?”
“Um, I probably won’t leave this place until 2 or 3.”
Reaching into his wallet again, he passes me a card.
“You can reach me at this number. I would really like to have a conversation with you.”
I look down at the card and it says his name is Ronan Smith. Slipping the card into my back pocket, I nod.
“I think I can work that out.”
“Good. I look forward to talking with you Lina.” I watch as his tongue gently sweeps over his bottom lip and my knees nearly go weak. Qa@W
Suddenly, he downs his scotch and gets up to leave. I’m starting to think that the drink was just a ploy to talk to me. Obviously, it worked.
After he leaves, I stand there for like 5 seconds trying to wrap my head around what just happened. Why the heck does he want to talk to me? I just met the man last night and it wasn’t even really a meeting. He stopped me from falling and then came back for his jacket. I wouldn’t call that a moment.
“Lina! Snap out of it!” I hear Phil yell from behind me.
Blinking several times, I realize there are people waiting for me to make them drinks. Shaking my head, I jump into gear and get back to work.
Usually, I have a healthy amount of urge to be done with work, but today I’m more anxious than ever. I don’t know why, but I’m dying to talk to this guy about whatever he wants to discuss. Now, I’m not crazy. I’ve gone over the possibility of him being a total perv or something. He could easily be trying to ease me into a life of prostitution. he could be a murderer. I’ve thought about all of those things, but the urge to talk to him is still there.
The harder I work, the faster time goes by and when it’s almost time to go home, I quickly clean up. I tell Phil that I’m not feeling too well so we can leave a little earlier than usual.
Thankfully, it works, he puts off some of the cleanups to get out of there.
When I get home, I quickly jump in the shower and throw myself in bed. While I’m snacking on some Doritos and a sandwich Blaire made me, I hold the card up and text the number.
I text that it’s me, Lina, and within a few seconds, my phone vibrates. For some reason, my tummy flips and I’m almost too anxious to look at the message.
Slowly, lifting my phone up, I open the message.
How was work?
For some reason that makes me smile.
It was work. Thanks for asking.
It was nice seeing you today. I must say you are beautiful
Thank you, but before we get on with this conversation, I just want to let you know that I’m a little skeptical of you.
Well, you don’t know me and you want to talk about some deal of sorts. Plus you left me a ridiculously large tip.
You deserve it. You work hard and it’s okay. I just want you to get to know me and me, you. Is that okay?
I think about the question before replying.
yes, that’s okay.
Great. I know this may seem a little forward, but would it be okay if I called you?
My fingers freeze over the phone and I get nervous all over again. It’s been forever since a guy asked to call me. However, Ronan seems a little old fashion due to his age.
Um, sure. That’s fine.
It’s like I’m back in high school.
A few seconds pass and suddenly, my phone begins to vibrate. My thumb flinches and presses the answer button.
“Hi.” For some unknown reason, I giggle. Wow, I’m really rusty with this.
“I hope it’s not too late to be calling. I know you must be tired.”
“Oh, no, it’s fine. Sometimes it takes me a while to get to sleep once I get in.”
His low voice rumbles into the phone and I imagine him sitting in a chair with a glass of scotch. At this time of the night, I can guess that he’s in pajamas. Maybe pants and a shirt. For some reason, my mind wanders over the fact that he may only be wearing boxers...or nothing.
“Yeah, I’m here. Sorry.” I laugh.
“Where did you go?”
“Nowhere. Just thinking.”
“Just wondering why you’ve stayed up so late to talk to me. I can imagine you don’t stay up at these hours on a regular basis.”
“You’re right, I don’t, normally. However, I didn’t want to miss out on talking to you. This may seem forward, but I find you very attractive.”
“You do?” Holy moly.
“Yes. Very sexy.”
His voice lowers even more and under the covers, I dig my thumbnail into my thigh to keep from moaning. I can only wonder what the vibration of his voice feels like against my thighs, neck, and stomach. His tone is like a warm glass of whiskey and I want to drink it up. I don’t know what comes over me or if it’s just the late-night ambiance, but I become turned on. It causes my tongue to become slick.
“Hm, you’re not too bad yourself.”
I hear him chuckle into the phone and in the background, I faintly hear the sound of clinking ice. He definitely has a drink in hand.
“I suppose I’m not. Do you find me attractive, Lina?”
“Yes.” No need to hesitate. I’m usually not very forward with people, but talking to him makes me want to seem more mature.
“What would you say if I told you that I want you?”
“Want me how?”
“I want to fuck you.”
Oh, that escalated, quickly.