The music boomed in the background as I sat in the back office trying to escape the chaos that had become Azure. Danyael’s marketing skills had surpassed everyone’s expectations and Azure was now the hottest bar in town. Busy places like this made me anxious. Going from hardly any human interactions to dealing with the public was far from the small steps I had in mind the day before. I opened my brother’s laptop and relaxed for a moment.
Danyael’s head poked through the open door. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing. Just taking a break.” I said quickly closing the laptop.
“You were checking the financial markets again weren’t you?” I scowled, busted. “That’s what I thought. Get your ass back in there. We’re swamped and could really use your help.”
“Yes sir,” I said when he left the room. I would do anything for my brother, but the truth was I didn’t like working here. Not one bit. This place was more of a sardine can than a bar, but the money rolled in, keeping Danyael happy and out of trouble. That alone made it worth all it.
Taking a lungful of air, I hesitantly made my way out of his office and headed towards the counter to help an overwhelmed Cindy. Orders for drinks came left and right and I was glad to have the recipes already memorized. Time sped by unbelievably fast as Cindy and I worked on serving the thirsty crowd.
Later in the evening Cindy stopped me. “The brunette over there just bought you a drink,” she said handing me a shot glass of what smelled like whiskey.
Why was a woman I never met before buying me a drink? I hesitated for a moment. “Am I allowed to drink this while working?” I asked a little confused.
She laughed, “Hun, you’re the boss, you can do whatever you want,” and returned to serving more customers.
I shrugged and waved a thank you to the brunette standing at the other end of the counter and emptied the shot glass at the same time she did. The liquor burned going down, warming me up from the inside. The brunette winked. I smiled back uncomfortably and returned to work.
Someone else asked for a drink. I made it. They paid and I went on to the next person. The repetitive task quickly became an automatic leaving me plenty of time to get lost in thoughts. A beer here, a series of shots there and once in a while, someone would buy a drink for Cindy or I. The alcohol hit harder than usual on account of my empty stomach and my head buzzed gently, putting me in a good mood. Danyael often walked by to check on us but otherwise remained busy entertaining guests elsewhere.
“What would you like?” I asked looking away from the customer as I put away an empty bottle under the counter.
“A coffee please,” a woman answered her voice familiar to my ears.
I looked up. It was Emily. “I thought you were quitting,” I said a smile growing on my face.
“I am, it’s the coffee that can't quit me,” she smiled back looking even more beautiful than the day before. Her hair hung loosely on her shoulders and a hint of makeup accentuated her dark brown eyes.
“Haha, coffee’s not so easy to give up.” What kind of reply was that? I kicked myself for talking like an idiot. “Are you here with your friends?” I asked making her coffee as slowly as I could, trying to find a way to keep her talking to me.
“Yes, we’re right by the bathrooms,” she said pointing to a faraway corner of the bar.
Was she telling me this to be polite or because she wanted me to join them? I shook my head. I had to stop over thinking. I looked over where she had indicated. The bathrooms were the worse part of the bar to be seated in; it was noisy, people constantly walked by it and not to mention those who were sick every now and again.
Cindy signaled me over, “It’s quiet now. You should take a break.”
I looked around and it was still fairly busy. “Are you sure?”
“I’ll manage. Go.” She said playfully pushing me. “Just look at her. She’s dying for you to join her.”
“You think so? A break would be nice.” I looked across the room and an idea came to my mind. I turned towards Emily and leaned over the bar. She leaned as well, wondering what I wanted. “The bathroom tables aren’t the best ones we have. Would you and your friends want to join me in the lounge instead?”