ThoughtlessBy: S.C. Stephens
"Is there a bus schedule around here? I want to look at the route again." Denny, with our only vehicle, wasn't home from work yet, and I wanted to leave early since I didn't know how long the bus ride would take.
He looked at me quizzically before he understood. "No...I'll take you though."
"No, no. You don't have to do that." I really didn't want to be a burden on him.
"No problem. I'll grab a beer, chat with Sam." He threw a charming half-smile at me. "I'll be your first customer."
Great, I hoped I didn't spill his beer in his lap. "Oh, okay. Thanks." I sat with him on the couch to watch TV for awhile, since now I had the time.
"Here, I wasn't really watching anything," he said, casually handing the remote over to me.
"Oh, thanks." It wasn't necessary, but it was a sweet gesture. I started flicking through channels and stopped when I started getting to the premium channels. I stopped on what I thought was HBO. "Oh, you get these channels?" It seemed odd to me that he would splurge on the extra ones when he didn't really seem to watch anything.
He grinned mischievously over at me. "Griffin. He likes to have...everything available to him when he visits. I guess he knows some girl at the cable company."
"Oh," I said, blushing just a little. I was thinking about what Griffin might want to watch on our TV, when I finally noticed what was currently playing on our TV. I had stopped on an overly erotic scene involving a naked man and woman, clearly in the throes of passion. And either the man was a vampire, or had a severe biting fetish, and was giving her a rather passionate bite to her neck, with lots of blood and lots of extremely suggestive licking and sucking. Blushing furiously, I turned back to Kellan's original show and threw the remote back to him.
I tried to ignore the look he gave me as he laughed softly beside me. When it got late enough Kellan turned off the TV and looked over at me. "Ready?"
I tried to smile. "Sure"
He chuckled at me. "Don't worry, you'll be fine."
We grabbed our coats and made our way out the door. I had hoped that Denny would be home in time to take me, I'd really missed him all day, but I guess he was still at work. I hoped his first day had gone well. I hoped my first day went well.
We made our way to Kellan's car and I had to smile. It was an older sixties-looking muscle car - a Chevy Chevelle Malibu, according to the bumper. Shiny black with polished chrome everywhere, it was sleek and impossibly sexy; it matched its driver perfectly. I rolled my eyes a little at the extremeness of his attractiveness, which the car oddly seemed to accentuate. The inside was surprisingly spacious, with black leather bench seats in the front and the back. I had to suppress a laugh at the old fashioned looking tape deck. Aside from the living room TV, Kellan was a little behind on technology. Not that I was really up on it either - Denny and I didn't even have cell phones. Kellan smiled when he slid behind the wheel, obviously enjoying his vehicle. What was it with guys being so attached to their cars?
We were both quiet on the ride over and I quickly started getting nervous butterflies in my stomach. The first day on a new job always made me feel like getting sick. I stared out the window and started counting the street lights to distract myself.
Upon arrival at Pete's, and the twenty-fifth light, I suddenly realized that I had no idea what to do or where to go. Luckily, the pretty blonde girl that was our waitress the other night, introduced herself as Jenny, and waving at Kellan, she led me to the hallway, which led to a backroom across from the bathrooms. The backroom was a large storage area, with multiple shelves along one wall, holding boxes of liquor and beer, napkins, salt, pepper and other random bar supplies. A couple of extra tables were propped up on their sides against another wall, with stacks of chairs beside them, and another wall had a group of lockers that the staff used. Jenny grabbed a shirt from one of the boxes on a shelf and showed me which locker was mine and where to clock in. I took my very own red Pete's t-shirt and I changed in the bathroom. I immediately felt a little more relaxed. Something about looking like everyone else that worked at the bar, made me feel like I belonged, somewhat.
When I had told Pete I was a waitress, while not quite a lie, I was exaggerating a tiny bit. I had filled in for my sister one summer while she went off to "discover herself", whatever that meant. The tiny diner maybe got half the amount of traffic that Pete's got on a typical night. I was a little terrified.
Coming out of the hallway a few moments later, I noticed Kellan sipping on a beer and leaning against the long bar. The bartender was also leaning over the bar (her red Pete's shirt purposefully cut obscenely low), eyeing Kellan seductively. Kellan, ignoring her, sipped his beer casually and smiled when he saw me.
I frowned a little bit at his beer. He noticed my glance. "Sorry, Rita beat you to it." He smiled. "Next time."
The bartender, Rita, was an older blonde woman (although, I highly doubted that was her natural color) with skin that had been fake-n-baked one too many times, and was now a little leathery looking. Maybe at some point in her life she had been attractive, but time had not been kind. In her eyes though, she still was and she was outrageously flirtatious. And, as I learned throughout the night, she thoroughly enjoyed her job, and seemed to enjoy relaying all the juicy gossip customers told her even more. I blushed several times during my shift while she repeated their stories. I mentally reminded myself to never (not that I ever would) confide in a bartender...especially this one.
Throughout the night, I shadowed Jenny as she took customer's orders. It was a little confusing, since most of the people who came in were regulars who always ordered the same thing. She would simply walk up to the table and say, "Hi-ya, Bill, same for you today?" He would nod and she would smile and head to the bar or the kitchen to relay an order that I'd never actually heard. It was intimidating.
She noticed my worried expression. "Don't worry, you'll get it. Weeknights are pretty easy with the regulars...they'll be nice to you." She frowned a little. "Well, most of them will be nice to you. I'll help you with rest." She smiled warmly and I was very grateful for her kindness. Her looks perfectly matched her sparkling personality. She was, as the phrase went, cute as a button - petite with flowing, silky blonde hair, pale blue eyes and just enough curves to get more than a few appreciative glances from some of the customers. She was too sweet to be jealous of though, and I instantly felt a connection with her.
Sometime in the night, Kellan came up to me and tipped me for the drink I never actually gave him. He smiled and excused himself to meet with the band for a gig they had at another bar. I thanked him profusely for the ride over, lightly kissing him on the cheek, which, for some reason, made me blush, and caused Rita to raise her eyebrows speculatively. He smiled and muttered something about not mentioning it and left the bar.
Later in the evening, Denny stopped in to see how I was doing. He gave me a long hug and a sweet kiss, also to the delight of Rita, who looked at him a little too appealingly for my taste. He only stayed for a few minutes though; he had a project he wanted to start working on at home. He was insanely happy and that happiness infected me. I found myself smiling widely for a long time after he left.
When I wasn't shadowing Jenny, they had me cleaning up. I spent a good chunk of the night wiping tables, washing glasses, helping in the kitchen, and when things got slow at the tail end of the night...cleaning the graffiti from the bathroom stalls. Pete gave me some gray paint and a little brush and left me to it. Rita gave me instructions to let her know anything juicy written up there. Jenny smiled and wished me good luck. I sighed.
I started with the women's, thinking it would be less offensive than the men's, and really not wanting to walk into the men's room anyway. There were three stalls, and all of them had pen and sharpie scribbles on the inside and the outside. I sighed again and wished they had just given me a roller. This was going to take awhile.