“Callie, you’re late!” Harper barks as I barrel through the double doors of the kitchen.
“I know, I know. I’m sorry.” I follow her through the next set of doors that lead to the staff locker room. I drop my shoulder bag on the dingy, black and white checkered floor and take a seat to change my shoes.
“Freaking Mollie had a fit today. She threatened to call off the wedding…again.”
Harper rolls her eyes. “What happened this time?”
“Something about Sara not helping and everything falling apart. Who freaking knows? You know how Mollie is.”
“You would think two girls getting married, both would want to plan the wedding.” She ponders the thought, tapping her chin. “At least we know who the man in the relationship is,” she snorts.
Ignoring her comment, I stand up sighing, and frown at the peeling stickers on the bright orange locker. The same locker I’ve been using since I started at The Black Box two years ago.
“Hey,” Harper places a gentle hand on my shoulder. “None of that. This is not the end for you.”
“Two years, Harper. I’ve been here for far longer than anyone should.” I sit back down on the splintered, wooden bench, careful not to scratch my legs like last time.
“Shit Happens. You couldn’t predict the accident. Your mom’s better now.” The doubtful look I give her doesn’t stop the pep talk. “Just one more year and you’ll have enough money to go back to school.”
“Only if I don’t kill Mollie first.”
Harper giggles, pulling me up by my hands. “Your sister is not the stereo typical lesbian but judging from the way she has to control everything I definitely say she wears the strap-on.”
“Ugh, Harper! Seriously?” I throw her hands away, grossed out. “That’s my sister. I don’t want to think about that.”
“Of all people I would think you would be the one to have an open mind.” She stands with her hands on her hips, her plump, pink lips puckered.
“I am very open minded, and you know that. I just don’t want to know the details of my baby sister’s sexual preferences.”
“I didn’t hire you girls so you could sit back here and gossip,” Dale complains, wiping an already sweat soaked rag over his dripping forehead. The man looks like he’s seconds away from a heart attack with his pot belly and constant sweating. The pack a day smoking habit didn’t help either.
“Eat shit old man,” Harper glares.
“Girl if your father – ‘
“Wasn’t my brother,” Harper mocks, finishing the sentence with him. “Yes, Uncle Dale, you’d beat my ass from now until Sunday.” She skips over to him with a smile on her face. “But you won’t because you love me and I’m your favorite niece.”
“Thank god you’re my only. You’re enough to handle as is.” Harper kisses his cheek as he grumbles something under his breath before making his way through the noisy kitchen.
Swinging her long, dark blonde hair over her shoulder, she looks me up and down. “You better hurry up and change before Dale has a coronary.”
I look down at my favorite pair of torn jeans, the ones with the rips across the knee and a few in the back, and my vintage Guns ‘N’ Roses t-shirt. “What’s wrong with my outfit?” I frown.
“Nothing, if you’re auditioning to be a bouncer.”
I cross my arms and narrow my eyes at her.
“Hey,” she holds up her hands defensively. “The more tips you make the faster you’ll get out of here.”
I stifle an eye roll. She isn’t wrong. She walks over and pulls my arms apart, studying me with her hand on her chin. I normally wore jeans and a cute top that showed a little skin, but because of Mollie’s meltdown I had to grab what was clean.
Harper’s eyes dart around the room until she zeroes in on what she’s looking for. She disappears behind the row of faded orange and brown lockers, returning with a pair of long, rusted shears.
“Whoa, what are you doing?” I back away with my hands raised defensively. Her eyes are a little crazed.
“Trust me,” she smiles opening and closing the scissors.
I close my eyes and take a breath. Before I even exhale, she’s slicing the cloth, tearing off the sleeves and cutting a slit down the center. I cringe slightly with the sharp implement that close to my face. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror when she takes a step back to check out her handy work. My shirt looks like a tattered cloth.
Harper’s forehead crinkles and she does a circle around me. Bunching the shirt in the back, she ties it in a knot, exposing the lower half of my stomach. Any other day I wouldn’t mind showing some skin, but I was bloated as all hell and preferred to wear something baggy to cover up.
She shoves me in front of the mirror and yanks the rubber band from my hair. “Ow!” I grumble.
“There,” she smiles, happy with herself.
I lift my arms to expose the giant holes on the side. “You can see my bra.”
I let out a small sigh.
“If you want one that doesn’t look like you borrowed it from your grandmother, you can wear one of mine. I keep extras in my locker.”
I ignore her insult. “Harper, I’m like two cups sizes bigger than you.”
“One.” She holds up a finger.
“You’re a B and I’m a very full C working their way to a D.”
“Lay off the doughnuts.”
I smack her arm. “I’m going to be spending the whole night worrying about one of my boobs popping out.”
Her eyes get real round and big as she comes at me with the scissors again. “No!” I spin around, slamming my back into the cheap, white marble countertop, making the bulbs surrounding the grungy mirror flicker.
“Just a small cut under the cheek.”
“My jeans are fine.”
“Oh, come on, you have a nice ass.”
“Yes, but I’m not exactly wearing the proper underwear,” I hint, hoping she’d get it and back off.
“Take them off,” she suggests.
“No,” I say with finality, swiping the scissors from her and locking them in my locker so she couldn’t play dress up with me anymore. She shrugs it off and links her arm through mine, pulling me into the bustling kitchen.
I help Harper stock the coolers as we get ready for the rush of customers that normally come in after dinner time. Above the bar is a full-sized restaurant where most of the patrons start before making their way down to the bar. The outside doors don’t open until eight, but we always had a few lined-up waiting to get in. Like all bars we have our regulars. They were the ones who got here when we opened and left before the crowd came in around ten. The good thing about the restaurant upstairs was that Dale kept it open twenty-four hours on the weekends. It helped us push the stragglers out and sober them up some before they went home.
“Hey Joe, can I get you another?”
“One more darling and then I’m off.” I take his glass and fill it from the tap on the wall. I hear him clear his throat. “I think it’s time you got yourself a new shirt there.”
I smile at him from over my shoulder. “Thanks Joe, I’ll keep that in mind.”
He winks at me as he laughs at his own joke. I hand him his beer and swipe the correct change from his pile of money. He pushes the rest toward me. “Take it. It’s the only way I’ll get out of here,” he chuckles.
He throws an extra five on the bar. “Take that so you can buy yourself a new shirt.” I laugh, stuffing the bill in my back pocket.
“Are you flirting with my girl?” Harper teases.
“Now, don’t get jealous, there’s enough of me to go around,” Joe blushes.
Harper puts a fist on one hip. “And what would the Mrs. say?”
“She’d say take him!”
Harper and I laugh as we prepare for the rush that will be pouring in any minute.
The night went by fast and was crazy busy. We had a surprise bachelor party show up which definitely made for an interesting night and awesome tips. The party over tipped for all the craziness, but I told them I’ve seen worse.