I breathed out an exasperated sigh as I removed my polo shirt. Great. I was assigned to our formal restaurant tonight which meant a button up collared shirt that was too hot and uncomfortable for the amount of running around I did on the job.
The country club where I worked had two different restaurants: one was formal with linen tablecloths, coursed table settings and a strict dress code, whereas the other had more of a sports bar atmosphere to it.
The members of the country club were always very demanding, yet most of them barked their orders under a veil of politeness. I didn’t have many complaints, though. Working in such a private and tight knit environment meant I got to know most of our patrons on a very personal level. After two years of working here I could anticipate their needs and preferences without thought.
After winding my hair into a tight bun, tucking in my blouse, and tying my apron around my waist I ascended the stairs out of the locker room and punched in.
My manager, Mark, was waiting for our pre-shift meeting in the event room. He was my favorite of my bosses and we had a good and playful chemistry.
“Maaaark,” I fake whined, “why am I in the Grill tonight? You know I hate it.” I pouted dramatically.
“Hi Jocelyn, nice to see you too.” He teased. “Sorry, I had to do it. The Bennetts, the Reynolds, and the McDaniels all requested you, and their reservations are in the grill.”
I let out an exaggerated groan. “Gosh, why do I have to be so damn likable and good at my job?”
“All right, don’t stroke your ego too much.”
“How can I not when I’m in such high demand?”
He just shook his head and handed me a copy of the seat map and tonight’s specials. I recognized all the reservations in my section and smiled to myself. I love all of these people.
Once all the servers and bus boys had congregated around us the chef walked in and went over the specials with us. When he was done, our sommelier stepped up to quiz us on the best pairings and introduce 2 new wines we were selling by the glass.
“Ok go do a final walk through, check your sections, and make sure all the place settings are straight and uniform. You know the drill,” my least favorite manager, Dave, instructed. I internally rolled my eyes.
I walked through the kitchen, briefly waving at my boyfriend Jake who was a line cook. He nodded and smiled in acknowledgement then went back to prep.
If Jake and I hadn’t disclosed our relationship to HR you never would have been able to tell we were together. There was no spark in our eyes when we saw each other. We kept it professional when we were here because we both took our jobs seriously.
Before we started dating he told me he never gets with coworkers, but after we hooked up the night of our employee Christmas party he couldn’t seem to get enough of me—physically, at least. It took 3 months of conversations about where we stood to finally get him to commit to a relationship with me.
The grill was set up almost to my standards, but some settings needed an adjustment here and there. I looked at the time. 5:30. My first reservation wasn’t for another 45 minutes. I decided to help my coworkers and the bartender in the meantime.
Around 6:00 PM a man I had never seen before walked in and glanced around the restaurant. I guess his party was not here yet. He took a seat on one of our cushy chairs and pulled out his phone. I decided to keep myself occupied by offering him a drink and approached confidently.
“Good evening, sir,” I said with my well-practiced service-industry smile, “are you waiting for your party?”
He glanced up at me and my breath caught in my throat. Never before had I seen such assaultingly beautiful eyes. They were mostly emerald green with some yellow and blue accents around his pupils. I examined the rest of his face. He had clearly just shaved and his strong jaw and prominent cheek bones were smooth and breathtaking.
“Yeah, I’m meeting my parents,” he said dryly, “Donald and Marcia Bennett. I don’t think they’re here yet.”
“Oh uh no they haven’t arrived yet. Their reservation is at 6:15.” Why was I so nervous? I’m in my element at the club. Always confident and friendly, but this man was affecting me in a way with which I was unfamiliar.
He sighed loudly. “They told me 6:00. So typical.”
“Well, if you’d like something to do while you wait I could offer you a cocktail or maybe a glass of wine?”
He looked pensive for a moment before nodding. “If I’m going to get through this dinner it would probably be best if I start early. Blue label. Neat.” He immediately returned his gaze to his phone. Wow. Reaching straight for the top shelf when he knows it’s going to be charged to his parents’ account. I can tell he’s very different from them already; they always ordered a glass of our $12 Chardonnay.
“I will be right back Mr. Bennett.” As I turned towards the bar I noticed him roll his eyes very dramatically. No one ever reacts to me like that, especially not here. The members consider me an angel and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t see me as one too. I glance at him over my shoulder. “By the way, we have a strict ‘no phone’ policy inside the clubhouse. I won’t tell on you but not everyone is as forgiving and nice as me.” I might have put too much attitude on that last part, but something about this guy’s vibe rubbed me the wrong way. He waved me off like I was nothing. Dick.
I retrieved his drink and handed it to him with a cocktail napkin. He grunted in acknowledgment and I quickly left him sitting there. How could the Bennetts produce a man like that? They were two of the nicest and most down to earth people at the club.
For the next ten minutes I kept glancing at the doors, waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Bennett to arrive. I’ll admit, I was also stealing glances at their son because as revolting as his attitude was, his looks were magnetic.
The Bennetts eventually arrived. They embraced their son with enthusiasm and their eyes were glistening with pride. I wondered what they saw in him that I didn’t. When they noticed me they approached with a similar expression of pure affection. Mrs. Bennet pulled me in for a tight hug, and Mr. Bennett wrapped an arm around my shoulder and squeezed me to his side. I glanced at their son and he was eyeing me suspiciously. What the fuck kind of person does this man think I am?
I escorted the three of them to their table and once they were all seated comfortably Mrs. Bennett returned her attention to me. “I would like to Introduce you to my son, Grayson,” she gushed.
“Jocelyn is the greatest waitress in the entire country,” Mr. Bennett stated matter-of-factly, “and just about the sweetest girl we’ve ever met.”
I couldn’t help the rush of fire I felt in my cheeks. Grayson looked slightly annoyed, but stood and extended his hand anyway. Maintaining eye contact, I grasped it in my own and felt a bolt of electricity shoot through my entire arm. His eyes widened very briefly. Did he feel it too? “I-it’s nice to meet you.” I sputtered before hastily pulling my hand away. A smug expression returned to his perfect face.
“Likewise.” He stated nonchalantly.
“Would you two like your usual glasses of Chardonnay?” I asked his parents.
“Oh, it’s a special occasion. We’ll have a bottle tonight.” I nodded and smiled politely then turned to Grayson. “Would you like another scotch?”
He nodded gruffly. I was barely two steps away when he spoke loudly enough for me to overhear. “Wow, you guys must tip her a lot, huh?” How dare he.
“Grayson!” His mother gasped. “How could you possibly think that is an appropriate thing to say?” She whisper-yelled, probably hoping I couldn’t hear the exchange.
“She doesn’t get tips, son. It’s against their policy.” His father asserted. “She gets paid the same no matter how she treats us.”
I felt eyes on me before I realized I’d stopped moving. I hastily made my exit towards the bar, but I was sure they knew I heard every word.
I returned minutes later with their bottle of wine, an ice bucket, and wine glasses.
I did quick wine service then dropped some menus. My goal was to spend as little time at their table as possible. Usually I catch up with the members, but Grayson made my blood boil. I could not be around him for a moment and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual.
The rest of my tables eventually rolled in and my attention no longer needed to be solely on the Bennetts, which was a huge relief. I only approached them when Grayson’s rocks glass was empty. He was downing the liquor like it was an oasis in the desert.
An hour or so in he left the table to go to the men’s’ room, at which point Marcia waved me over.
“I’m sorry about Gray,” she said sadly.
“It’s okay Mrs. Bennett,” I forced a chuckle. “You know the people who come here. You know I deal with a lot worse.”
“It’s no excuse.” She asserted.
“Well luckily neither of us have to excuse him.” I said with a wink “besides, he’s your son. I will definitely give him the benefit of the doubt.”
Marcia relaxed. “He’s a good guy, he really is. I brought him here and... requested you on purpose.”
I nearly choked on my own tongue. The only words I could manage were “excuse me?”
She sighed. “You are a catch. You are attentive and kind and one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen. He needs someone like you.“
It seemed as though she wanted to say more, but Donald cut her off. “Marcia, that is not our place.”
“I’m sorry, dear.” She turned her gaze back to me. “He just moved here to help Donald with his business. I am not going to force anything on you, but... keep giving him the benefit of the doubt.”
I stood there stunned for a moment. This was a set up? What am I supposed to do? Fix him? This isn’t Failure to Launch.
Grayson returned during our awkward silence. Thank god. I can make my escape. “Thank you for your kindness Mrs. Bennett. Let me know if you three need anything else.” I scurried away without even glancing at Grayson. I don’t know if I could feel any more uncomfortable. Thank goodness I have so many other people to focus on.
My parents left over an hour ago, but I can’t bring myself to start my car. My head feels fuzzy and it’s not just from all the liquor I just consumed. I can’t get my mind off that waitress. Jocelyn. When she shook my hand earlier I swear I felt lightning strike. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her most of the night. The way she flowed around the restaurant was graceful and enchanting. Her smile was radiant, genuine, and always reached her eyes. I observed the way she interacted with everyone there and could easily tell my parents were just two of her many fans. Every couple and group she approached seemed ecstatic to be in her presence. She had this effect on people, like with her around they knew they were going to be taken care of.
I initially judged her too harshly. When she first approached me with that twinkle in her hazel eyes I thought she was just putting on an act like most people in the service industry do. Yet her personality didn’t falter once throughout the entire night. Even when she wasn’t interacting with the geriatric guests she exuded energy and kindness. Even when I was an ass to her for no reason she stayed attentive and enthusiastic.
I’m not sure what I was still doing here. What exactly was my plan? To just sweep her away for the night? To try to shatter her façade and prove to myself she wasn’t a perfect little angel? I kept my eyes on the door of the clubhouse and waited nervously for her to emerge. Guests and employees were slowly trickling out.
Finally, an ethereal being walked through the double doors. She looked different than she did during dinner. Her chocolate hair flowed down her back in soft waves, falling just above the top of her ass. She was wearing a denim jacket over a red tank top and yoga pants. I hastily hopped out of my Tesla and ran after her.
Walking behind her I couldn’t help but notice the dress pants she had been wearing inside did absolutely no justice to her figure. The yoga pants clung tightly to her heart-shaped ass.
“Jocelyn.” I called out.
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