Working on a Monday is hard enough, but working on the same Monday that Saint Patricks day falls on is harder. It gets even worse when you work at a restaurant that doesn't have a full bar. I lean against the hostess stand and check my watch for what feels like the thousandth time tonight. I've still got three more hours and only three families have come in since my shift started four hours ago.
"I've got a new employee coming in tonight. I figured it'd be nice to train him on a slow day." Don says as he walks over to me.
"What are you training him on?"
"Kitchen mostly. He'll be bussing tables on the real busy nights."
I just nod, glad that I won't have to do any of the training tonight. I've only been officially trained for waitressing, but I've done some kitchen work.. dishes mostly. The jingling of the doors makes us both look up as a boy walks in.
He glances around and I know the minute he sees us because he heads over. "Are you Don?" He asks, barely glancing at me. I take a quick look at my uniform and I'm surprised to realize it's the cleanest it's been since the first night I got it. I turn from their conversation and head over to check on the only customer in the room at the time.
Before I know it there's only an hour until close. Somehow the time passed quickly, with me trying desperately to avoid going into the kitchen. Thankfully it was easy, since we only had two customers come in. Don rushes out of the swinging door, nearly knocking me over. "I have to go, Michelle's gone into labor. Can you lock up? Jeremy can help, he's doing great in the kitchen and Cam's agreed to stay until close to help out."
My heart nearly leaps into my throat at the thought of having to work with that boy. Something about the new worker makes me nervous even though I've barely met him. Don's staring at me, waiting for me to answer. I can't say no... His wife is having their baby tonight. "You better name the baby after me." I grumble and a relieved smile crosses his face.
"Michelle's already picked out names, but I'll give you a free meal sometime! You're the best, Brookie."
I roll my eyes, but smile as he rushes out the door. I turn my attention back to wiping crumbs off of the table that old Mr. Nason had been sitting at just minutes before. With only an hour to close, the restaurant is completely empty and again, I regret agreeing to take Maddie's shift tonight when I could have been hanging out with Andrew at Anna's party.
"Shut down and party?" Cam asks, coming up behind me.
Always having been a bit jumpy, hearing his voice out of nowhere startles me and I jump backwards, nearly tripping over my own feet. I end up half leaning against the table and he's holding onto the wall for support as he laughs. "Jerk." I mutter. How does he manage to walk across the creaky floor so quietly? When I walk it sounds like a herd of elephants.
I scowl to myself and wait until he's collected himself enough to talk. "That was epic." He finally says.
"We can't party." I tell him. "Don would kill us."
"Don won't know. It's not like he can see it happening" Cam's right. We don't have the security cameras installed yet. "And I'll just have him take whatever we use out of my check at the end of the week. He's not gonna care, Brookie. It's me."
Again, he's right. Don is Cam's uncle. I sigh and Cam grins, knowing he's won. "It's Saint Patty's day!" He says and I groan.
"Alright, alright! But if anything goes wrong you are so taking the fall!"
He lets out a loud cheer and Jeremy comes in from the kitchen. "What's going on?"
"We're closing up and partying!"
"Isn't there an hour left?" Jeremy gives me a quick once-over before turning back to Cam. Is there something on my face?
"Actually, if we're just going to close up anyway, do you two mind if I head out?" Why should I stay here and 'party' when Jeremy won't even bother to look at me for longer than a second.
Cam pulls out his puppy dog face. "You promised!" He whines.
"Did not." I mutter.
"If you don't want to party here then at least come with us to the blue house." He pleads.
"The blue house? I'm not old enough to get into a bar." I remind him.
Cam laughs. "It's not a bar. It's Derek's house."
I vaguely remember him talking about Derek, his old best friend from high school. From what Cam says the best parties are always at Derek's house; the blue house. Putting it together now, I do remember his talking about the blue house before.
Jeremy is finally looking at me, actually, he's staring at me, like he doesn't think I'll say yes. So I do. "Sure. That sounds fun." I say, smiling a bit at the shocked look that fleetingly crosses both of their faces.
"Yes!" Cam crows happily. "It'll be worth it, I promise."
It takes the boys the rest of the hour to clean up the kitchen, and we lock the doors exactly at eleven. "So we aren't even really leaving before we should anyway." Cam says as we head to the employee parking lot. Jeremy hops into Cam's car like he's done it hundreds of times before and I'm beginning to realize that the two clearly know each other.
"Just follow me over. It's only like five minutes from here." Cam says before climbing into the drivers seat.
I shiver a bit, glad I chose to wear my warmest jacket today. I start up the car and follow the boys out of the parking lot and down the road. It's a near straight shot to the blue house. There's only one turn, at the traffic light by a middle school and the house is on the corner right there. The driveway is packed with cars. I manage to squeeze in by a large Ford truck and a small white car.
Jeremy's the one who leads the way inside and he's greeted instantly by a load of drunk people. The house stinks of beer and weed. There's a cloud of smoke coming from a room to the right of the door and I step away from it as I follow the boys into the room on the left.
There's two dogs suddenly growling at me, one is a brown,black, white and gray spotted pitbull. The other is a pure white german shepherd. "Luna, Courage, she's fine!" Cam rubs the pitbulls head and she whines under his hand. The two dogs drop the growling and slink past me, sniffing my legs as they slowly pass.
"Jeremy's home!" A slightly larger man with a bottle of Irish whiskey in his hand calls out and two guys come barreling into the room. One's tall, skinny and dark haired. The other is shorter, stockier, with dark blonde hair and a red-orange beard; and though looks like he could kill you with one hand, he has a strange welcoming vibe to him. Jeremy's home? The guy had said? This is Jeremy's house?
"Who's that?" The guy with the red-beard asks, gesturing to me.
Jeremy glances over and shrugs. "Cam invited her. She works at that restaurant I got hired at." And he disappears into the crowd of people.
"Told you the best parties are here." Cam says, appearing beside me. He reeks of weed and I can tell he's already pretty high. How is that even possible? We only got here minutes ago. "You want anything to drink?" He asks, holding out a can of PBR.
I wrinkle my nose up and glance around the room. "Is there anything else here?"
"You mean, like not alcohol?" He looks almost horrified.
"No, just not beer."
He nods, understandingly and heads to a room in the back, tugging me along with him. In a room beside a dilapidated kitchen is two refrigerators, both stocked full of alcohol. There's a game of beer pong going on and I step aside as a ping pong ball flies by my head. He pulls out a bottle of something apple flavored from the bottom shelf and hands it to me. "Is this alright?"
I shrug and take it from him. "I guess." I've never really liked beer. It's just so nasty. I lean against the wall beside Cam and we watch the pong game. I'm on a second drink before I realize Jeremy's one of the boys playing the game. He seems so at ease here, nothing like how he was at work. The boy playing against him misses again and he laughs. The sound coming from his mouth is intriguing. I'm surprised to see him laughing, I just didn't imagine him seeming so happy.
He notices me staring at him and for once he doesn't look away. His eyes meet mine and this time I look away, embarrassed to have been caught staring. "Up for another?" Cam asks, distracting me, gesturing to the empty bottle in my hands. I can't remember drinking it all, but I nod and thank him as he hands me another cold one.
"Who's up for an Irish car bomb?" Someone shouts out, rushing past us all into the kitchen. Nearly everyone at the pong table starts whooping loudly, following the first person into the tiny kitchen, leaving the pong game half played and forgotten about.
"An Irish car bomb is when you take half a shot of Baileys Irish cream, and half a shot of Jameson's whiskey and drop it into some Guinness. When the Baileys mixes with the Guinness it starts to curdle so you've got to drink it pretty fast." Cam explains
"That sounds disgusting." I say, wrinkling my nose up a bit. He laughs and shrugs.
"It's not that bad if you drink it quickly."
"Cam! Are you having one?" Someone asks.
"Obviously!" Cam shouts back, pushing his way into the kitchen. I lean against the wall
The noise in the kitchen dies down and most of the people head back to the room I'm in. The cups are reset and another game is started.
"Adam brought the vodka!" Someone else comes in, shouting. "Shots!" A grin crosses Jeremy's face and the shot-boy pulls some shot glasses from the top of a mini fridge that I hadn't noticed until now.
The shot-boy pours vodka into each glass, spilling a bit on the beer pong table. "Slutsell! Be careful with it!" A bald man yells out. I can't tell if he's actually gone bald or if he just shaves his hair off.
"Shut it, Joe!" The one called Slutsell says.. Slutsell? What kind of name is that? I'm beginning to wonder about the sanity of these boys when someone else walks in. "Russell! Starting the shots without me? Not cool, man."
So shot-boy's name is Russell, I think. There's no way I'll remember all these names.
Russell grins. "Adam! I'm only pouring them!"
I glance around the room and realize it's mostly emptied out now. There's Jeremy, Russell, Adam, Joe, Cam and me. Everyone else merged back into the party in the other room. "You doing a shot?" Russell asks and it takes me a minute to realize he's asking me.
Everyone turns to look at me and I know if I wasn't slightly intoxicated I'd be feeling anxious at all the attention being on me. But right now I feel fine and I nod. "Sure!"
Cam laughs. "You've never done a shot of vodka before have you?"
I sheepishly shake my head. "It burns doesn't it?"
He nods. "Just blow out all the air in your lungs before you gulp it down and don't breathe in until you've swallowed. You'll be fine." He hands me a glass and I hesitantly take it, wondering when it was last washed.
They each hold the glasses up and glance at each other. "Ready," Russell says, "Set.. Go." I do exactly as Cam says and blow out as much as I can before taking the shot. It works and I don't feel the burn right off. It hits though and I make a face as the pit of my stomach begins to warm up. "Another?" Russell asks, grinning wildly. Immediately each glass is filled up and shots are taken again. I lose count of how many shots we end up taking and suddenly Jeremy pushes past me and Cam. He yanks the back door open and collapses on his hands and knees, puking everywhere.
"He's white-girl wasted!" Joe shouts out, turning from the door and heading to the other room, laughing and loudly proclaiming the state of Jeremy's intoxication to anyone that will listen.
The other guys just stand by the door watching him. A gagging noise pushes its way past Jeremy's lips and he's vomiting again. I step outside, wishing I hadn't taken my jacket off earlier and crouch down beside Jeremy. His eyes are closed and there's sweat on his face even though its about negative six degrees right now. He's shaking a bit and I hesitantly rub his back, hoping I can help in some way.
The man Jeremy was playing pong with earlier, Allan, I think, comes rushing out. "Dude, get inside!" He whisper-shouts. "There's a cop across the street, he pulled someone over!" My heart starts pounding. I'm not old enough to be drinking. What if the cop comes to check out this party? It's clearly a party, anyone could tell that by how many cars are in the driveway. Allan yanks Jeremy to his feet and drags us both inside. "Get upstairs!" Allan pushes us both towards the stairs and I stumble a bit. I know by now that I'm pretty drunk. I end up crawling my way up the stairs, following Jeremy. He uses the wall to hold him up and makes his way into a room. I stand against the wall, not sure where to go right now.
If the cop comes up here I'll be screwed, but Jeremy doesn't seem to like me very much, I can't just barge my way into his room, can I? Can you be scared into soberness? Because drunk me doesn't usually think this much. My stomach is churning and I'm afraid I'll be puking my guts out onto the floor of this very dirty house.
Jeremy stumbles out of his room, looking confused. "Are you coming?" He asks me, like I should've followed him in already.
"Do you want me to?" I ask, feeling as confused as he looks.
Allan, who is somehow the only one who is sober enough to be thinking clearly, comes up the stairs with a bucket. "The cops still over there." He hands Jeremy the bucket and glances at me. "Don't throw up on the floor, alright? I'm not mopping up after you."
He heads back downstairs, mumbling something about having to hide everything just in case and Jeremy wraps his hand around my wrist, pulling gently until I follow him into his room. He shoves aside the curtain that's acting as a door and his room is cleaner than I expected. He sets the bucket down by the bed and collapses onto the bed.
I don't realize I'm vomiting until I hear the gagging noises and find myself on my knees, holding onto the bucket for dear life. I'm regretting leaving my hair down when suddenly warm hands are carefully pulling the hair from my neck and face, tugging it into a messy ponytail.
He starts rubbing my back cautiously, just like I did to him. I'm throwing up so much that I'm barely able to catch my breath until finally, I stop and just hang my head over the bucket, breathing in deeply. He sits back on his heels, crouched beside me, staring at me. "Are you okay now?" He asks.
"I think so." I say, my voice is a bit hoarse and he hands me a bottle of water. I take a few sips, worried that I'll end up puking this out too.
His room is so dark I can barely see a thing. I glance up and realize he doesn't have a light on the ceiling. There's a broken lamp in the corner. The light that seeped in earlier was from the small hallway, but that's been turned out now. I hear the crinkling noise of something and suddenly he's pressing a cracker into my hands. "Eat it." He says. "It might make you feel better."
I nibble at the cracker, managing to eat a few in between sips of water and he's right, I do start to feel a bit better. I'm also exhausted. "Do you think the cop is gone?" I ask.
My eyes have adjusted to the dark and I can tell that he's shrugging. "Maybe. I don't dare to go find out."
He stands up and yanks his shirt up over his head, tossing it into a corner. When he begins unbuttoning his pants I start to panic a bit. "What are you doing?" I shriek, trying to keep my voice quiet in case the cop is in the house, but at the same time, hoping someone will come in to find out what's going on.
"Relax." He says. "I'm just changing. I've got puke on my shirt and my jeans are soaked from the snow." He pulls a pair of plaid pajama pants from a drawer and then tugs a shirt over his head. He digs through another drawer and takes out another shirt and a smaller pair of pajama pants. He hands them to me and then turns around.
I hesitate for a second before sliding out of my own clothes. I've got spilled vodka and probably some vomit on my own clothes, and the thought of being in cleaner clothes is enough to get me to change.
Once I'm dressed, I tap his shoulder to let him know. He sits down on the bed and looks at me. "I'm beat." He says and I nod in agreement. "I can take the floor if you want."
"I can't kick you out of your own bed." I tell him.
He shrugs. "I'm not going to let you sleep on the floor. It's hard and cold."
"I'm not letting you sleep on a hard, cold floor." I glance at his bed, which is really just a mattress on the floor, but somehow it still manages to look comfortable. "We can share the bed." I say.
He looks up at me, like he's asking if I'm sure. "Just keep your hands to yourself." I tell him. He laughs a bit, but promises he will. I crawl under the blankets and after a few seconds he does too.
It's still a bit cold and I shift to find a more comfortable position. His bed isn't really that large. I'm on my side, facing the wall, my back to him and suddenly I notice that we're sort of spooning. I can hear his breathing slow and realize that he's asleep. I'm less nervous now that he's out, and just before I fall asleep, I feel him shift in his sleep, until he's right behind me, with one arm slung around my waist, pulling me close to him. I'm suddenly more comfortable and than I can ever remember being and within seconds I'm fast asleep.
Hey guys! I'm back! And I think I'm out of that writers block! I'm really excited about this story! I hope you all enjoy it! Please let me know what you think! I love getting feedback from my readers! It really helps me feel like I can continue writing!