The following morning after working at the bar, I laid in my bed feeling practically dead to the world. I was sure that I slept through my alarm but I was too tired to look. I left the bar around 12:00 and didn’t get home until nearly 12:30, by that time my parents were already sleeping and I was grateful that I didn’t have to deal with their questions at that moment. This morning, however, would be different. I wouldn’t be able to avoid their questions that I knew were going to come my way.
I managed to get out of bed, leaving me twenty minutes to get ready for school which was much less than I usually had, but I could rush and make it happen. I prayed that I would have the car this morning, or Thea would be able to pick me up so I wouldn’t have to walk or wait for the city bus.
My hair was still dripping from my shower by the time I rushed downstairs with my bag held over my shoulder, but just as my hand touched the doorknob, my mom’s voice stopped me.
“Not so fast, young lady...” She waited for me to turn and look at her before she spoke again, “Where were you last night? We were worried sick. I almost called the cops, but then I remembered that your father is the police and I didn’t want to worry him over nothing.”
I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear and took a deep breath, preparing myself to fill my life with more lies, “I actually got a job yesterday.”
At least that wasn’t a lie.
“A job?” My mom seemed shocked but proceeded with further questions, “Where? Why were you out so late?”
Oh god. She couldn’t just keep it simple, could she? She was pushing me to lie because there was no way that I could tell her that her underage daughter was working at a bar.
“The grocery store downtown...” I told her, “I was late because they had inventory to put away so I offered to help for overtime.”
This was causing me to become curious about what my pay actually was. Cameron and I never discussed it at all, he could be paying me two dollars an hour for all I know.
“Oh, honey. You know you didn’t have to get a job... Your dad and I will give you money if you need it,” She explained, “Plus it wouldn’t worry me as much if I knew you at least had the car to drive home.”
“I get that, I do... But at least this way I’m saving up for a car,” I explained to her, managing a small smile. “Please just let me have this, if anything gets too crazy I’ll let you know.”
My mom seemed hesitant, but I knew she would agree. Of course, when she did, she had conditions of her own, “As long as your school work continues to be priority. If your grades begin to slip, you will have to quit. Understood?”
It seemed like a pretty simple request, but after working only one night at the bar I was already exhausted and didn’t get my Literature paper finished. If I wanted this, I would have to work my ass off for it and be more productive with the short amount of time I had at home.
During my third period, I sat in the back of the History classroom and rushed through my Literature homework. It was last minute and probably wouldn’t be the best but at least it would be done. My grades were usually pretty good, though I didn’t have much hope for this paper.
It was nearly impossible to focus with Thea next to me talking constantly, she must have seen that I was busy but as she always says, ‘no one is ever too busy for their best friend.’ I suppose that was true, with exceptions, of course.
“What’s your favorite color?” She asked me.
I furrowed my eyebrows at the sudden question, “Purple. You know this, Thea.”
When I looked over at her, she held a hand made cooty catcher, something I hadn’t seen since grade school. She began to spell purple, letter for letter. She smiled at me, “Pick a number between one and ten.”
“Seven,” I answered, not having time for this game but going along with it anyway.
“... Four, five, six, seven,” She looked at me with an eyebrow arched curiously, “Last one; Music or television?”
Thea lifted the flap of her home made toy and Ooo’d in amazement, “You will meet a handsome stranger who will entice you.”
What a waste of time. I only giggled, shaking my head at her words, “Unlikely. Unless you mean I’ll meet the principal after school if I don’t get my homework finished.”
Thea leaned over in her chair to look at my paper, making a face in response, “Olivia Brookes, this is the first time you next did your homework. I am shocked!”
“As if you care, you haven’t done homework since eighth grade. Which reminds me, how are you a senior right now?” I smirked at her, turning my attention back to my paper.
A bookbag fell at my feet and I jumped slightly before noticing it was Carter taking a seat next to me, “Good news, Liv. The sub shop is willing to see you for an interview. Are you free after school today?”
Ah, shit. I had forgotten about that, now that I was working at the bar I didn’t exactly need a job at the sub shop. Maybe it would be better not having to lie through my teeth about where I am, but I had made the commitment now and Cam’s attitude only made me want to push myself more.
“Actually, that won’t be necessary,” I told him, trying to keep it abrupt. However, keeping things abrupt never was an actual option with my friends, especially Thea.
“What?” She looked at me with wide eyes, “Did you get a job? Why didn’t you tell me? Where is it? Whe--”
“Thea, calm down. It’s a trial right now... At the grocery store downtown,” I nodded my head to make my words seem a little more believable. “I’ve only worked one shift, so I’d rather see how it goes first.”
She squealed in excitement for me, Thea had always been a very exaggerating type of person, her personality always went above normal, “That’s great! I’m thrilled for you, Liv.”
Carter, on the other hand, didn’t seem so thrilled, “That sucks... I was looking forward to working alongside of you.”
“Awe, that’s sweet, Carter, I do appreciate you asking your boss for me,” I told him with a small smile as I placed my hand over his arm, “If this doesn’t work out, I’ll let you know.”
I hated letting Carter down after he had put his neck on the line for me, now I had more opportunities than I needed, some good and some not-so-good. I knew a huge part of Carter’s disappointment was because he had a thing for me, he have since third grade, but unfortunately I just don’t feel the same way.
To me, Carter was like a brother, always. I had once tried to toy with the thought and it seemed disgusting to imagine. I never wanted to hurt him or our friendship, but I couldn’t force myself to try a relationship with someone I didn’t have feelings for.
Even if it was one of my best friends.
Finding something in my closet that I could wear to the bar proved harder than I imagined. I assumed it would be easy, but I was wrong. The clothes I owned were either classy or one hundred percent high school. Someone would look at me and know instantly there was no way I was twenty-one.
I groaned and leaned my head back in frustration before retreating to my dresser, I had not other option than to go basic - jeans and a tank top. Anything would be better than showing up in sweatpants like I did last time.
Once I changed into the selected clothing I didn’t feel so bad about it. I looked nice, very chic but fun at the same time.
“Hair up or down?” I muttered to myself, testing out both options by holding my hair in a ponytail position at the top of my head and then letting it fall. “Up.”
I settled on a high, messy styled pony tail and grabbed my bag before heading downstairs where my dad was watching Judge Judy. His head turned when he hear me coming down the stairs, “Olly, you look pretty.”
My dad was the only person to ever call me Olly, since I was a baby and it never seemed to fade. Normally I hated it, but for him I would make an exception, “Thanks, dad.”
“Your mother told me that you have a job. I’m proud of you, sweetie,” He added before muting the TV and standing up, “Don’t overwork yourself, though. You got home really late last night.”
“Yeah, I know... I just want to prove that I’m a good worker, you know?”
My dad only nodded before he turned back to the TV, unmuting it and calling out over his shoulder, “Be safe.”
“Will do, dad.”
I walked out the front door, allowing a sigh of relief to leave my body when I finally escaped the situation. My father, being a cop, could usually read through anything. But he didn’t even question me, perhaps because I’m his daughter and he trusts me.
I was doing a pretty good job of making myself feel guilty.
When I arrived at work I would need to talk to Cameron about the specifics, such as pay. Aside from that, I needed to do some serious shopping over the weekend, I couldn’t wear the same jeans and tank top every time I went to work.
The thought crossed my mind about asking Zoey’s advice, she seemed to know what she was doing and if anyone knew anything about the bar’s dress code, it would be her.
By the time I arrived, it was early and no one had arrived yet. The bar would be opening in a little while but I had the time to talk to Cameron and hopefully Zoey if she were around.
As I opened the door, Zoey’s blonde hair caught my attention from behind the bar and I smiled when we made eye contact, “Hey!”
“Olivia, hey!” She smiled as she continued arranging the alcohol bottles on the counter.
“Is Cameron around?”
She motioned towards the back of the bar, down the hallway which led to the restrooms, “Keep walking down the hall, the last door on the right is his room.”
I gave her a thumbs up before heading in the direction she instructed. There were a few doors past the restrooms but luckily Zoey’s instructions were clear because I knew exactly which door to go to.
I knocked gently, hearing slight movement from the other side of the wall. I assumed this would be Cameron’s office, every boss needs one, right? The place where he can write my cheques and deal with finances for the bar. It made sense. However, when the door opened my assumptions came crashing and I was faced with a bedroom.
There was a large, and very messy, bed in the center of the room. A dresser, desk with a computer, just like you were in someone’s home.
“What do you want?” Cameron’s voice shook me from my thoughts and I looked at him, his look told me more than he would admit. He didn’t want to deal with me but he was forced to.
“Well, we didn’t really get time to discuss everything about working here,” I answered, “Just like pay and my duties.”
Before Cameron could respond, the front door of the bar opened but it wasn’t visible to us. Instead of waiting to see who it was, Cameron stepped aside for me, “Come in.”
When I stepped into his room, I don’t know any other way to describe it other than it being a typical boy room, in Cameron’s case, however, it was a man room. Again, my self conscious was reminding me of how bad my decisions were and that I could get caught in this huge lie.
“Take a seat wherever, I need to find the paperwork,” He told me.
Without a word, I sat on the small sofa that was across from the left side of his bed. Suddenly, I had no idea what to say. I was completely prepared until Cameron opened the door. It was partly because being in his room intimidated me. It felt bad.
I’ve been in boy’s rooms before, I’m not innocent when it comes to boys, but Cameron was different. He wasn’t one of the boys I went to school with, he’s older and more intimidating. He doesn’t even know that I’m keeping this big secret and I didn’t want to know what would happen if he found out.
“So, you have a nap room?”
Gosh. What a stupid thing to say.
“Most people call it a bedroom, Olivia.” He responded in a careless, monotone voice.
“What I meant was, you nap at the bar?” I added, attempting to make my words seem less ridiculous.
Cameron was looking through papers in his desk, not bothering to look at me each time he answered, “Well, I live here so I would need to sleep at some point.”
I decided not to comment further. Of course, I thought that living in a bar was absurd, dangerous even, but who was I to say that to him when this was clearly his home?
Finally, Cameron found the papers that he was looking for and took a seat next to me on the bed, “You get paid minimum wage, obviously. No benefits... You can’t dress like a boring chick like you did last night, and apparently tonight, also. It’s not in the contract but I don’t need you driving people away.”
My eyes instantly shot down to my outfit, the outfit that I thought was perfect for standing behind a bar - according to Cameron, it wasn’t.
“It’s jeans and a tank top,” I argued, “What do you want me to wear; a bikini?”
“Now that, I wouldn’t object.” He answered, his voice serious which caused me to roll my eyes, “You need to talk to Zoe, she’ll help you out with this style crisis you have.”
I never thought of myself as a girl with a style crisis, but Cameron made it seem like my clothing was hideous. He was just straight up rude.
“So I just need you to look over the contract and sign, confirming that you agree to all conditions and salary.”
I snatched the paper from the jerk’s hand and skimmed through the paper quickly. Everything was self explanatory, and then I reached the terms and conditions.
I confirm that any aggressive or violent behavior will not be tolerated at the workplace and could result in termination. I agree to the terms listed in the sections above and am over the age of 21, being legal to work in said workplace.
I stared at the paper long enough then I intended to, this could be my chance to come clean before things got worse. I could be honest right now and fix the idiotic lie that started yesterday. Maybe this was a way for me to get out before making things worse.
“Do you need help reading it?” Cameron asked, his tone annoyed and impatient, “I’ve never had anyone take that long to sign a damn paper.”
“Just making sure you’re not tricking me into some escort business,” I shot back quickly, adding a smirk when I looked at him.
He didn’t seem to find it as amusing, “What you do with your body is your business, I’m not responsible for that shit. If a guy approaches you and wants to fuck, the choice is yours - but not here in my bar where I will get blamed if you scream rape.”
His choice of words took me off guard and I raised my brows in surprise, “Right...”
“Just sign the god damn paper or stop wasting my time, okay? I have things to do before we open and you still need to talk to Zoe, it’s not time to sit and chat.”
“You know, you’re not a really charismatic person...” I mumbled as I stood up, grabbing a pen on the desk and quickly signing my name on the dotted line.
Cameron casually shrugged his shoulders, taking the paper and shoving it into one of his file folders, “I could care less... Are we done here?”
Without a word, I turned away from him an walked to the door, opening it and coming face to face with the same guys I had seen the day I dropped my resume off, “Excuse me.”
One of the guys, who happened to be tall and nicely built, chuckled and shook his head, “What’s the magic word, sexy?”
Was he serious?
“Uh...” I pursed my lips together and answered hesitantly, “Please?”
“Vin, stop fucking around,” Cameron commented from behind me, “She has to get ready to work, so get out of the way.”
One of the other guys looked at Cameron, eagerness in his eyes, “Did you finally hire a dancer?”
“She’s working behind the bar. So as I said, step out of the fucking way.”
As Cameron directed, the two guys stepped away for me to walk through and as I passed them I could practically feel their eyes on my body, something I wasn’t exactly comfortable with but I ignored.
This atmosphere was something completely different than I was used to, the people, the environment - it was a lot to take in quite frankly, the people here was kind of scary, Cameron included.
I wasn’t sure how long I would last at this place but I thrived to prove anyone wrong, to become amazing behind the bar like Zoey, and maybe even good enough so I could tell Cameron I told you so.
I no longer wanted to be seen as the girl who dressed to clean for a bar or had the look of someone who would fail, plus working at a bar can’t be that hard.