“Come on, Olivia. It isn’t that bad.”
Zoey stood outside the door of a bathroom stall as I changed into my newly updated ‘uniform.’ She had cut my jeans and made them into booty shorts, then my tank top into a belly top.
I felt bare - uncomfortable, even. But Zoey dressed in a similar way, so it couldn’t be that bad. I already knew that this wasn’t my style, I didn’t know that dressing like a hooker was a part of the job description.
“Olivia...” Zoey said my name in a singsong voice and I could hear her tapping gently on the stall, “Just let me see, okay? I’m sure you’re over reacting.”
With a heavy sigh, I reluctantly opened the stall and tilted my head at Zoey while her eyes scanned my body. I wasn’t sure what she was thinking but I let her know what I was thinking, “I look like a prostitute.”
Finally, she looked at me again with a big smile on her face, “You look hot! Are you kidding me? Why are you even hiding those curves?”
I shrugged my shoulder slightly, “Because they’re mine...”
“Liv - you don’t mind if I call you that, right?” She raised an eyebrow before continuing, “You have a great body, really. And no one is seeing your delicates, have the confidence to wear this with ease. Trust me, once you do you will feel so good about yourself. It isn’t for anyone else, it’s for you.”
I felt completely defeated, looking in the mirror at myself and the body I wanted desperately to hide. It wasn’t that I felt bad about my looks, I just didn’t want to give any guy the wrong idea. Women should be able to dress however they want without anyone thinking they’re looking for attention, but unfortunately that isn’t the world we live in.
“Fine... But do we have to rip up all of my clothes?”
“Just buy some, if you need an advance on your pay for it Cam will understand,” Zoey insisted before opening the bathroom door, “Come on, hot stuff. It’s show time.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her words, Zoey was a charismatic person above anything else. She had a way with words and knew how to convince anyone that something was okay. She’s a charmer, to say the least.
As I walked out of the bathroom, Cameron came into my vision, he was standing by the bar with one of the guys from earlier. It seemed like they were engaging in conversation but I couldn’t tell if it were pleasant or not considering Cameron always has the same serious expression on all the time.
Cameron’s eyes flicked in my direction and when he looked away, I noticed he was quickly to turn his head back in my direction, “Holy fuck.”
I could hear him mumble, his words caused his friend to look over as well which just made me feel more uncomfortable. My guess what that Cameron told him how incompetent I am, how embarrassing.
“Olivia,” Cameron said my name and motioned for me to go to where he was standing, which I did. As I approached, he motioned towards the guy standing beside him, “This is Vin, he’s here often. Priority customer, so when he asks for something, you give, okay? All customers are second to him.”
I snickered to myself, “And what did Vin do to earn this special treatment?”
Of course Cameron didn’t find my joke funny but Vin took it upon himself to answer for him, “Cam and I help one another out. It’s a simple way of showing gratitude for all I do.”
Whatever he meant by that...
“Okay, so Vin comes first. Got it.”
Vin’s eyes were those of a predator reach to pounce his prey, there was no way anyone could feel comfortable around him, not me at least. His eyes looked at me as though I were his next meal and the words that came out of his mouth appalled me, “I could really use a blow job right now. Those pretty little lips would do wonders.”
“Watch yourself,” Cameron warned him, using his hands to gesture to the bar, “This is my business and I don’t need anyone fucking it up, jokes or not.”
“Yes, sir,” Vin taunted him, running his fingers through his dirty blonde hair and glancing at me. I felt like his piercing blue eyes could see into my soul and it didn’t take long for me to know that I didn’t like him.
“I’m going to go help Zoey set up,” I told Cameron, my attempt to get away from this situation as soon as possible.
Cameron nodded his head, “Alright. Oh, and tell her she did a good job with you.”
A good job? He reminded me that I was wearing a torn outfit that had once been my sanctuary from pervs like Vin. I wouldn’t say it was a good job, exactly. She’s good with scissors, I will credit her that.
I didn’t bother responding, it would be pointless to argue with someone who was always right.
“You know, anyone could rip clothing apart with scissors. I just choose to not expose my body,” I flashed a smile and just as I attempted to walk away, I noticed something off about Cameron. I squinted my eyes, looking at him closely, “Do you have allergies? Your eyes are really red. Maybe you should get a prescription.”
Cameron’s eyes were a dark brown shade, now the whites were shaded of red a pink. They looked seriously irritated.
“The pharmacy down the street may have eye drops--”
“Olivia, go to work.” Cameron muttered under his breath, urging me to leave.
Vincent looked at Cameron, a smirk playing on his devilish lips, “She’s kidding, right?”
My eyes flickered between the both of them and when Cameron never answered, I took that as my cue to leave. I didn’t need to stand here and be taunted just for being genuinely concerned. The worst part happened to be that the guys spoke about me as though I weren’t standing directly in front of them.
It was insulting that I couldn’t be considered an equal to them.
Men are in fact the worst.
“My ex had convinced me that getting matching tattoos were a good idea,” Zoey explained to me as we worked the bar, “But he also thought it was a good idea to fuck my little sister for months behind my back.”
Zoey had a tattoo of a smiley face on her wrist, the tattoo which she apparently had matching with an ex. It was clearly a regretted decision now.
Her eyes stared at the ink on her skin, muttering to herself, “Maybe if I turn it into a stickman or laughing face...”
“Isn’t tattoo removal a thing?” I asked her, sliding a beer to a customer at the end of the bar.
“Oh God, I’d rather die with this shit on my arm than get a tattoo removed,” She explained, taking the matter very seriously, “Tattoos are memories. It’s about the choices you’ve made whether good or bad. As soon as you sit there getting a tattoo, you know that you have to live with it.”
That’s an interesting perspective, not something I would do, but interesting nonetheless.
Zoey is a one of a kind, an interesting person who I may not understand but who’s choices and reasonings I respect. She lived life on a limb and the glass was always half full.
“What about you, Liv. Have any tattoos?” She asked me, taking note that the bar area was temporarily cleared.
I shook my head, “Nada. I don’t have anything meaningful enough to me at the moment.”
“You know what my tattoos mean to me?” Zoey asked, the question clearly being rhetorical as she answered it herself, “I fucking like them, so I got them. It doesn’t always need to have a deeper meaning than that.”
Another point for Zoey.
My eyes scanned the bar, noticing Vin near the far end with some other guys. Something was off about him, usually my gut was right when it told me to run far away but in this situation I didn’t have much of a choice other than to stay in the same room with this guy.
“You met Vincent?” I heard Zoey’s voice ask me.
I broke my hard stare and quickly looked at her, “Huh? Oh... Yeah, briefly.”
Zoey, as well as myself, didn’t seem too impressed by this guy. She didn’t hide the eye roll she made as she looked in Vin’s direction, “Take it from me, that guy is nothing but trouble.”
“I guessed that much,” I mumbled to myself.
“He’s the kind of guy that hangs around the bar with the sole purpose of looking for a girl who’s too intoxicated to say no,” Zoey’s words took me off guard and although I didn’t know it was possible, I seemed more intimidated by Vin than before.
I huffed in disbelief, stopping what I was doing to look at Zoey, “Why does Cameron let this prick hang around here? If he’s a danger to women he shouldn’t be allowed in.”
“No one has actually called him out on his actions, it’s purely observation,” She explained. I could tell she was frustrated by the entire situation and I understood why. If no one made Cameron aware of Vin’s inappropriate behavior, nothing could possibly be done. “I don’t know how he manages to sweet talk the girls when they realize what happened, but no one has ever come forward. I don’t know, maybe I could be over thinking things but I see a lot from this side of the bar.”
I could imagine the amount of things Zoey seen that no one else did, just the two days that I’ve been here I’ve witnessed more than I would like to.
My first thought was that I needed to bring this to Cameron’s attention but it wasn’t my place. I had little to no information and I’ve only been here two shifts. Aside from that, Zoey told me in confidence, that was something that I couldn’t break.
When I had arrived home after working, I was well aware of the homework piling up in my room, but even with that in mind I was far too tired to even open a book. I decided to try and focus on all homework during the weekend, that way I had more time.
I constantly thought about my parent’s conditions to working, the only thing I had to do was keep my grades up, and I would - I just needed to get on a schedule and get used to time management.
I could do that. Easily.
“Girl, you need to work on getting more sleep or you’ll end up looking like Roxy.“Thea joked as we sat at the lunch table the following day.
Roxy is a girl in our school, she dresses in a ‘gothic’ way and her makeup is always done to emphasize dark shadows under her eyes. Roxy is what we consider the epitome of gothic, from the way she dresses to the way she looks, hell, the silence she carries around only help us prove our point more.
My eyes glanced over to the dark headed girl sitting alone at a lunch table, I remembered her clearly from elementary school; but she never looked like that.
“Creepy, right?” Thea added, taking a bite of her sandwich, “So, what time do you work? Maybe I’ll stop by the grocery store and bless you with my presence.”
My attention immediately turned to Thea, speaking before I had a chance to think, “No!” The look on Kira’s face said it all, she was confused and I couldn’t much blame her. “It’s just... The supervisors are really strict. If I have friends drop by, it wouldn’t look good.”
There was a moment of silence before Thea responded, “You are one shady bitch, Olivia Brookes.”
Shady wasn’t the word. Liar, maybe. It’s not like I could tell her the truth, although we share every detail of our lives to one another, this was different. I couldn’t risk her spilling the beans to anyone - not only for my sake, but also for Cameron’s.