Love, Unwanted (Discovering Love #3)By: Ra Chael Ohara
After feeding and talking to Bubbles, I change into my pajamas, grab my book, and climb into bed.
Eventually, after replaying the conversation with Violet and thinking about how badly I want the right guy to come along, I fall asleep.
I am shocked, to say the least, when I walk into the pub the following Friday. I’m used to it being vacant when I come, so when I see it’s crowded with at least one hundred fifty people, I immediately want to turn and run…which is what I try to do, but Violet sees me before I can escape.
“Get back here, girl!”
Frustrated, I close my eyes before I plant on a fake smile and turn around.
“Uh, that’s okay. You’re really busy. I can come back next week,” I say while trying to back out of the door.
“Nonsense. Connell already has your fish cooking.”
“Really, Violet, it’s okay. I don’t do well in crowds.”
My eyes narrow when she gives me a look of pretend shock. “You? Not good in crowds? I never would have guessed.” Despite the fact that she’s making fun of me, I grin. “Sit, hun,” she orders. This time I listen.
“So, what’s with the crowd anyway?” I ask Violet after Connell brings my food.
“You could call it the return of the prodigal son. The owner of this pub, Eddie, practically raised this kid until he made it big and took off to the States to pursue his singing. Well, he’s back for a visit and is singing tonight,” she mumbles while distractedly stocking the liquor shelves behind the bar.
“You don’t seem too happy about it.”
“Ya know, it wouldn’t be so bad if the shite head owner had told me about it. I had two call-offs this morning.”
I give her a sympathetic smile before rushing through my dinner. I tense up when I see more and more people enter the pub. I grab my purse off the bar and head for the door.
“I’m leaving, Violet. I’ll see you next Friday,” I call across the pub.
I just reach the door when Violet appears out of nowhere, blocking my exit. “What?” I say suspiciously when she gives me a cheeky smile.
“I need you.”
“Need me?” Now I’m confused.
“I just had my third call off, this one a waitress. I can’t run this place with only two waitresses on the floor…” I started shaking my head before she even finished her first sentence. I know exactly where she’s heading. “Oh, come on!”
“No, Violet. There is no way I can waitress. I’ve never done it before, and, like I said earlier, I don’t do well in crowds. I’ll be slow and spill drinks. I’ll make a fool of myself,” I ramble.
“So you don’t have to wait tables! I can move Connell to the bar, I’ll work the floor, and you can go to the back and stock the shipment we just received. You don’t even have to be around other people.”
I give her a pleading look, as if to say ‘please, don’t make me do this.’ I look down at my pencil skirt and blouse. “I’m not dressed appropriately to stack shelves.”
“Pleassse? I’ll give you free dinners for a month!”
I think we both knew I was going to give in when she stuck out her bottom lip. Besides, do I really want to say no to the only, kind of, friend I have here in Lishoy? No. Plus, I’ll get free food.
“Thank you!” She startles me by pulling me in for an embrace. I don’t have time to think about how awkward the hug is because it ends in a flash and she quickly drags me toward the back of the pub.
It takes her twenty minutes to give me the run-down on where everything goes. Then she leaves me to it. I figure if I stack the shelves quickly, I can make my escape in about twenty minutes.
As soon as I get a look at the ten boxes stacked in this closet-size room, I know I am going to be here a while. The music starts playing some time into my second box and I feel compelled to stop and listen.
The guy’s voice is almost like a magnet to me. It is raspy but velvety and brings goose bumps to my arms. I want to move closer so I can hear more, but there is no way I am going out there.
I’m not sure how long he’s been singing or how long I am in the back room, but it has to have been over an hour and about ten songs later when I hear him announce he is taking a break.
I think this will be the perfect opportunity for my escape. Everyone will be so focused on him that no one will see me walk out of here, so I began to rush.
Five minutes or so later, I hear the same voice that was singing earlier yell to someone that he has to take a leak—a second before I hear the door to the closet I’m in open. My breath seizes when I hear him walk in.
I whip around to tell him he’s in the wrong room, like he won’t see that for himself, but I’m struck dumb. I squeeze the neck of the wine bottle I’m holding when I see the man standing in front of me.
This man is huge, at least 6’7”, and looks intimidating. He’s covered in tattoos that start at his neck, disappear under his shirt, and run down his arms and his hands. There is very little skin on him not touched by ink.