Usually, I have a smile on my face when I walk into work, but not today, today it is different. Even the country music that is playing on the sound system in the bar is not making me happy like it generally does.
Yes, I am a 24-year-old bartender. I work with my 60-year-old Uncle Rick, who happens to be an ex-navy seal. The Ladies like to refer to him as the gentleman with silver-grey fox hair and deep brown eyes, with a killer smile. He was a heart breaker back in the day.
Making my way to behind the bar and wrap the apron around my waist, ready to start my shift.
Turning around to find Uncle Rick looking at me with a warm smile.
He crosses his arms over his chest. "Quit calling me boss Becca! Now, I told you to take the night off. Why are you here?"
"I don't need the night off. I'm fine," I tell him looking down.
He comes to my side and lifts my chin with his index finger, making me face him "Sweetheart, there is no pretending with me. I know you!"
I try to look away, but he wraps me into a hug.
I feel tears running down my face, and I know it's useless trying to stop them, so I let them run. I let go into Uncle Rick's arms. The hug was what I needed and had been looking for all day.
"Rebecca, you know that he never left your side and he is looking down on you" He whispers into my ear.
I pull away and wipe away my tears with a napkin, "I know, I just miss him terribly. It makes my heartache, especially today."
He gives me a nod, "Now, give me a smile. He wouldn't want you to be sad because of him"
I smile, and he goes back to whatever he was doing before I got here. Meanwhile, I go back to wiping the bar top, this time with a smile on my face.
Being the first day of summer, there are a few regulars in the bar tonight.
"Where are the people tonight? usually, we are packed" I ask Rick.
"There is some kind of Festival up North. That's where the people went," He tells me.
I nod and continue putting all the drinks in order.
A couple of minutes later, the bell above the door rings, and I find myself smiling at the thought of having some more costumers tonight. Plus, I need to get my mind of everything.
Two guys came in looking tired and out of place. One guy seems to be the same age as me, while the other one seems a little bit older. They make their way to the bar and take a sit on the red stools; that was surrounding the bar.
I give them a warm smile, "Welcome to Semper Fi Bar. What can I get you tonight?"
"Two Whiskey neat," The younger guy tells me, with his eyes glued to his phone.
"Coming right up."
I place the two glasses in front of them, and the younger guys lookup.
Our eyes meet, and he gives me a sweet smile. Quickly I look away and go back to drying wine glasses at the back.
"Becca, I think you have an admirer," Ava, the other bartender, tells me.
"The guy on your six o'clock has been eyeing you for the last hour. Plus, I saw your little moment earlier." She tells me, crossing her arms over her chest.
"I don't know what you are talking about."
"Come on, Becca. Turn around and see for yourself." She encourages.
The second I find the courage and turn around, our eyes lock, and a smile forms on my lips. He winks at me and goes back to his whiskey.
"I was right, wasn't I?" Ava says bringing back to reality
I turn to face her, "So what?"
She pulls me to the storage room, away from everybody, where nobody can see us.
"Rebecca, I am going to ask you something, and I need you to be honest with me. Tell me nothing but the truth."
I nod, feeling nervous all of a sudden.
"Rebecca, when the last time you let yourself get close to someone? When the last time you let yourself be yourself with someone?"
I feel my stomach tying in knots fast, and my face heats "College."
"I knew it. So not since Spencer, am I right?" She continues, this time looking me straight in the eye.
"Yes," Feeling tears filling up my eyes.
She pulls me into a hug, and I find my self crying for the second time tonight.
"Becca, what that pig put you through and did to you is not acceptable and never will be. But keep in mind not all guys are pigs like him. You're one of the strongest women I have ever known. Any guy will be lucky to have you, but you have to give them a chance."
Deep down, I know she right about all of it, but I can't; I am not ready.
I pull away and go back to the bar, trying to look alive even though I am dying on the inside. All I want to do is breakdown and cry all the pain away. The only person that could make me feel all better is not here, never will be again, and it is all my fault.
A couple of minutes later, I feel my heart thudded in my chest. My palms are sweaty, and it feels like I am about to pass out. I can feel it coming, and to try to stop it is fresh air. I need fresh air and fast.
"Rick, I am going to the back for some fresh."
"Sweetheart, do you want Ava to come with you" Looking very concerned
I wave him off and run out the door as if my life depends on it.