The newest waitress enunciates it like we’re fucking and she’s about to come. “Awesome. Name.”
She maintains eye contact, licking her bottom lip and crossing her arms under her tits, conspicuously pushing them up until they are all but spilling out of the uniform black tank top. The name of the bar, The Long Draw, is printed in silver glitter across the front.
Even in the middle of the day, this place is almost at capacity. But my ears are trained so even with the noise coming from the band rocking a Steely Dan cover and the hundred or so patrons yelling over each other in order to be heard, I still hear Ransom, the bartender, snort a chuckle behind me. I clench my teeth. In here, I’m all business. “You got your paperwork?” I feel my jaw pop.
I’ve never touched a single one of the girls who works here. This newb will quickly get the lowdown from the staff, that’s for sure. If she continues, I will shut that shit down so fast it will make her bleach blond head spin.
I’m not going to say I don’t touch the men who work here. It’s a rare occurrence, but I do not hesitate to shut their bullshit down as well, usually with a foot in their ass. A place like this, every night you gotta come in like a warrior. Ready for anything and prepared for everything.
The staff and the patrons here smell weakness like a shark on blood.
The irony is, with this iconic biker culture and all, you’d expect the man who founded it to be a biker. He’s not and I’m not.
I’ve never even been on a bike. Never wanted to. Not that everyone who comes in here rides up on their custom Harley, but when you own a bar in Hell, Michigan, you are going to attract your share of bikers from all over this country. All over the world, in fact.
My newest hire leans back in disappointment, checking her manicure, barely hiding her irritation that her flirtation met with my frigid demeanor. But I don’t care. She’ll learn that. I’m a son of a bitch, and it doesn’t bother me in the least.
I flip through her new-hire packet, making sure all the critical components are in order. I may not look it, but I’ve got a sharp eye for details. Running a business is all about the details and who ever thought a fuck like me would be good at anything? Let alone running a successful as hell bar that’s given me and the owner bank accounts to envy.
I don’t miss her eyes running me up and down as she stares, though it draws nothing from me but increased irritation.
“Looks good.” I hand the stack of papers her way, running a hand from my forehead to the back of my head, pushing the hair that’s constantly falling down back into place. “Take that and give it to Stella in the back. She’ll set up your section for tonight, give you house rules again, and you’ll train with Rita.”
She gives me a snarky eye roll as she comes back, “I don’t need to train—” But I cut her off without ceremony.
“There’s the fucking door.” I jerk my head to the left, where the bouncers are checking IDs and collecting the ten-dollar cover just to walk in. “Got it?”
To my surprise, she proves she has something between her ears, because without another word, she’s spun on her stiletto toward the back hallway.
Another snort from Ransom and I turn to see him squirt 7UP into four rocks glasses lined up on the worn wooden bar.
“If I had one tenth of the tail you have wagging in your face, I’d die the happiest man on the fucking planet.” He shakes his head as he tops off each of the four glasses with Seagram’s and a maraschino cherry, then lifts two in each hand onto Trina’s waiting tray. “Table six, beautiful.”
She rolls her eyes, but a wry grin plays on her lips as Ransom tops off his compliment with a wink.
“Shut the fuck up.” I stand from the barstool, arching my back.
I toss back the last bit of my smoothie with a satisfied grunt, then slide the glass to Ransom, smacking my lips together.
He knows I don’t poach; he and everyone else in this place. In fact, my lack of interest in anything resembling the opposite sex has become more than just whispers and speculation to the staff, but I don’t give a fuck. Think what they want, gossip all they want…sticking my dick in any pussy that offers was never my thing to begin with. And in the last six years, it’s not only just not my thing, it’s impossible.
“How do you drink that shit?” He shakes his head with a disdainful squint as he picks up my empty glass with his fingertips, as though it is tainted with Ebola.
“I don’t taste it. I just drink it. Mind over matter.”
“Hemp seed and pea protein?” He looks like he’s going to vomit as he turns to put the glass in the sink. The sides are coated with the grainy remains of my daily regimen. “If I could refuse to make that for you, you know I would. There’s gotta be some rule about making some hippie health drink behind the counter of the biggest biker bar in three states.”
I choke out a laugh. “This isn’t a biker bar. It’s a tourist attraction.”
“That it is,” he agrees, tending to the next in an endless line of waitresses that will come and go from the service station on his twelve-hour shift.
Just at that moment, my senses prick, and I feel my back straighten. They say grizzly bears have the olfactory capacity to pick up scents from up to eighteen miles away. I think when it comes to Roxie, I’ve got that shit beat.
She’s not even around the corner yet, but I know she’s coming. It’s not even the scent. No, after all these years, it’s as though I see her with some sixth or seventh sense, something bestowed upon me by hell itself.
Because seeing her, smelling her, knowing she’s close and never being able to touch her has been my own personal living hell. But I’d take this torture every day until the end of my days just to know she’s close. Safe.
Having her in my life in any way has given me purpose.
But today, things are different. I want to hold her more than usual. Because she’s hurting and I can’t fix it. Fuck, I’m hurting, but that doesn’t affect me. I’ve learned to put away my emotions for her sake. Most people who know me think I’m a black hearted son of a bitch. And I can be. I am about a lot of shit, but truth is, when it comes to her, I’d give my right nut just to hold her in my lap.
Brush her fucking hair.
Listen to her tell me every thought and dream in that amazing mind.
My dick is hard as lead just knowing she’s about to step into my day, same as she has every day for the last six years. Only today, she needs me to step up into her world. More than ever. More than was allowed before.
And I intend to do just that, even if it kills me.