~ Chapter 1 ~
Jackie looked around her busy bar and let out a sigh as she kept the cell phone against her ear, her daughter’s anger coming through loudly, even without her voice being raised, yet.
“Look, Sam, please…”
“Mom!” Jackie frowned as her daughter screamed at her.
“Samantha! I know you did not just raise your voice to me.” Jackie let out a breath. “I know you think you are old enough to take care of you and your brother, but you aren’t. You are only 13 and Dylan is 10, I’m sorry, but, please stop giving Mrs. Smith a hard time.”
“This is not fair!”
“I know, and maybe if it wasn’t over night, I wouldn’t worry, but I do. And all she is doing is what I asked.” Jackie looked up as a petite blonde smiled at her from the doorway of her small office. “I’m sorry Sam, but tonight is super busy, can we discuss this later?”
“Fine, whatever mom.” And with that Jackie heard the click and turned off her own phone, shoving it back in her pocket, trying to avoid rolling her eyes at her teenager.
“Hey Amiee,” Jackie greeted the woman.
“Hey Jackie, got a minute?”
“Not really, but I will make due. What’s up?”
“You know that I married Jake a couple months ago…”
“Yeah, I was there.” Jackie watched as the young woman fidgeted and she knew that no good news was coming.
“He got a really good job promotion, except,” she paused again and Jackie already knew.
“It’s in a different city.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Amiee, he’s your husband, no need to be sorry. I don’t know what I’m going to tell your clients though. When do you leave?”
“In two weeks.” Jackie gave the young lady a smile but internally, Jackie was crying. They were approaching their busiest time and Jackie was already pulling more hours than she should as the bar’s owner, not to mention the two kids she leaves at home. She had no way to put more in, as did the rest of her staff. And hell if she could afford to lose someone now, which would explain why the woman was so nervous.
“Amiee, you will be missed, but don’t worry about me or this place. You know I will make do as I can.”
“Thank you Jackie.” The woman ran in and gave the older woman a hug.
“No need. Now go out there, I hear that crowd.” Amiee beamed and made her way back behind one of the two bars Jackie’s bar had. She sat down behind her desk again and rubbed her hands over her face; yeah, that was something she just didn’t need. But, she had two weeks to figure it out and right now, she had a bar that needed her attention.
“Knock, knock.” Jackie lifted her head and stared at the man, a smile on his face. “You okay?”
“Yeah, what the fuck ever.” The guy walked in and sat down.
“Why do you say that Buzz?”
“Because you busted ass out there?” She lifted a brow, telling him to go on. “You never mix drinks like that and not smile.” Ah, yes, all of that.
“A lot on my mind.”
“Sam called me earlier, bitching like she always does. And as I was in the middle of dealing with her, Amiee came in, said she has to leave because her husband got a promotion.”
“They have to be gone in two weeks.” Buzz let out a whistle. “My thoughts exactly.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I have no clue. You know my pay isn’t the best, that’s why I can’t seem to find anyone long enough who wants to stay.”
“How about a new higher?” She gave her long time friend and bar manager a very bad and pointed look. Students straight out of any bar schools are always looking for jobs and she wouldn’t mind having some, but they can never keep up with the pace that’s her bar. And Buzz, who had been working with her when she opened the bar nine years ago, knew all of that; so it was a really dumb suggestion.
“I’m sure something will happen. Maybe we can put some feelers out to some friends to see if they have anyone who needed a job.” Buzz nodded as he looked at the woman before him and let out a low breath.
Jackie was a gorgeous woman at 38, with her deep red hair and light brown eyes; in fact, looking at her, you never would have thought she was 38 and divorced, but she was. And though they both loved this bar, Buzz could see it sucking the life out of her. Not that her ex husband didn’t do a damn good job of it himself, fucker.
“Look, go give your babies a good night kiss and get up early to make them breakfast, huh?”
“Half this shit can wait till later on. I’ll lock everything up. You need a break Jackie, and you know that.” Jackie stood up and gave the man a side hug. She did know that. She just didn’t know when she was going to get that.
Jackie peeked her head into her son’s room and smiled as she saw him with his flashlight on and a book in his hand; sneaky little bastard. She tucked him in and took both, setting them on his night stand. She brushed his hair back and gave him a kiss on the forehead before walking out.
Next, she went to Sam’s room and checked on her. She had to shake her head, seeing the phone still in her daughter’s hand. She was going to have to talk to Mrs. Smith. She carefully took the phone and put it on the charger before walking back over, tucking Sam in.
“Mom?” she asked groggily and Jackie smiled.
“I’m sorry.” Jackie placed a kiss on the top of her daughter’s head with a smile.
“I know. Go back to sleep.” Sam rolled over and Jackie pulled the covers up around her and walked back out of the room.