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It was the Thursday after Christmas and for the past 3 days I’ve felt confused, hurt, and angry. The anger was directed mostly at me. Three days ago, a person who I had hoped to get to know better called me his ex-partner’s name at a most unappropriated time. I had told others of his interested, but had not heeded my own words. I’d spent all of Tuesday in bed, finally getting up Wednesday only to change my laying place from the bed to the couch and that is where I’ve been ever since. I’ve barely eaten anything, but have drunk most of Uncle Jake’s dandelion wine. Its grassy dirty taste took a little getting used to, but it has numbed my memory to a point that the name calling incident doesn’t hurt as much. My phone rang, showing a phone number but no picture. I let it ring. Once it tells me there’s a message waiting, I delete it as I have done with the other four other messages left. I lay back down in a fetal position. What’s wrong with me, I feel so empty. Were we moving too fast? Was I trying to start a relationship even before with we really knew each other? I won’t deny I have never felt for anyone else what I felt for Carl and this pain I’m feeling proves that. I closed my eyes and had start drifting off to sleep when the phone ringing again, this time with a picture of Steve showing on it.
“Hey what’s up?” I asked clearly my throat.
“Hey did I wake you, what are you doing asleep in the middle of the afternoon, late night? Steve laughed.
“No, I’m enjoying my vacation. How was your Christmas?”
“Great and its now official, Evan and I are engaged. Both of our families’ witnesses the asking and the accepting of the event. Of course it would have been nice if my best friend could have been there also, but he had other plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”
“Stop you’re bitching, you’re engaged aren’t you, I not being there didn’t change that.”
“Wow, who pissed in your Cheerios?” Steve asked.
“Sorry, I’m not use to being home without having anything to do.”
“Well maybe its good thing I’m calling you. I know you’re scheduled be at the club on New Year’s Eve, but I’m in a bit of a bind. Bobby cut his hand bad enough, to required stiches. Normally, this would not be a problem, we’d get for one of the bartenders from one of Rick’s father other bars, or have Rick take the bar duties, and use Bobby as back-up. But it being this time of year, Mr. Gallo can’t spare any of his other bar tenders, Rick’s other duties will keep him too busy to bar tend and with the likelihood of a health inspector or two stopping by, we can’t risk having Bobby anywhere near the bar not even as back-up. So I was wondering if you could work tonight thru Sunday night.”
Over the next four nights, I could easily make over a grand in tips. I leaped off the couch and that’s when dandelion wine kicked in. “I can’t tonight,” I said, choking back rising bile. But I’ll start tomorrow. Listen Steve I got to go, talk to you later.” I threw the phone down and had barely made it into the bathroom before I was on my knees with my head in the toilet. By the time I was finished, I was sure of two things: One; I would not be too far from the toilet for the rest of the night, and two; I never wanted the taste grass and dirt in my mouth again. And as a reminder to keep that promise, no matter how much mouth wash I used, that taste stay with me.
Friday night was very quiet at the bar. The few guys in the place were just sitting around talking quietly. Maybe because it was only a few days after Christmas and people didn’t have a lot of money to spend, or it could be because they were getting ready for New Year’s Eve. For whatever the reason it was so slow, Hector and I didn’t require Rick’s assistant behind the bar. So he took turns with Sal Rivera the guy at the door, allowing him to patrol outside as they normally did. He was sitting at the door when around midnight, Teak came in. Teak whispered something and they talked. Once Sal came back in, Rick and Teak walked back to a booth and began talking. I saw Rick give Teak a sympathetic look, but shook his head no. Teak shrugged stood up and started toward the front door, when he saw me behind the bar he turned and with a big smile on his face, walked toward me. “I’m surprise to see you here tonight I thought you were only going to be here on New Year’s Eve.”
“Bobby had an accident and can’t work, so I’m helping out. What can I get you?”
“Give me a Miller’s on tap in a chilled mug.”
I brought over his beer. “What no champagne,” I asked pretending to be shocked.
He chuckled, “No, this will be fine.”
“You were missed at Annie’s.”
“Not by you if Mr. Tall, white and Geek was there.”
I looked away, “he was, but that’s over now.”
Teak nearly choked on his beer. “You mean I still have a chance?”
I laughed, “I thought you’re involved with Mr. he does me in the morning, and twice at night.”
“That’s over also.”
I looked at Teak sipping his beer, “yeah,” was all I said as I took his money.”
“Hey, I believed you when you said it bahis firmaları was over, now why can’t you believe me?”
“Because you have been known to have had more than one special friend at the same time, and from what I know sometime even more than two. Remember when we went out?”
“That’s true, and I’ve kicked myself about that ever since it happened. But it doesn’t have to be that way and it wouldn’t if I were with you. I know that is not your style so in order to be with you, there would not be anyone else but you.”
“You’re concerned with my happiness, when did all that happen?”
Teak looked down at his glass, “You have always been important to me. If you were to give me a second chance, I’d prove that.” He looked like a shy little boy who had just shared an important secret with someone. Then he gave that megawatt smile of his.
Wait, was Teak telling he wanted to have a relationship with me? “So what happened between you and Jeremy, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“I ended it, he said swallowing a sip of beer. “I got tired of the constant arguing, his possessiveness, and him thinking because he buys me things that gave him the right to tell me who I could and could not talk to.” He looked right at me after his last statement. “Maybe the six year age difference between us was too much, but whatever the reason was it over now. I stayed at my mom for a couple of days, talking to her about Jeremy; she feels I made the right decision. I went home tonight but didn’t feel like being alone, so I decided to come down here, and now I’m glad I did.” So Fletch do you think there is a chance you and I could try again?”
I looked over and saw Rick looking over at me. “Look Teak, I’m working and I right now I don’t think either of us are in a position to such a decision, so why don’t we put this conversation on the back burner for now. But I can tell you one thing right now, I won’t buy you anything.”
He laughed, “That’s alright. But Fletch the door will always be open for you.”
“That nice to know, would you like another beer?”
Teak shook his head and swallowed the last bit he had in his glass. “I think I’ll head on home. Will you be here tomorrow night?”
I nodded my head,
He hopped off of the bar stool, and then looked at me “Maybe you’ll let me take you out for a New Year’s Eve breakfast when you get off.”
“We’ll see Teak.”
He smiled and walked toward the door.
I watched him wondering what the fuck just happen? Had I tentatively agree to have breakfast with Teak on Sunday morning? I’ve never known Teak to act or talk as he just did. Usually he is so much of a player; using his talk as a way to increase his status quo. But this conversation was different; it was nice and he seemed very sincere? After all, who am I to judge anyone as a player after my fiasco with Carl? But Teak and I, Annie would need to be given mouth to mouth resuscitation when she heard that. I had to smile at that thought.
Suddenly I caught sight of a small built figure standing the back in the corner. He was dressed in all black and the hoodie he wore was pulled over his head and his face almost obscured by a large pair of sunglasses. I started to push the button alerting security, but as soon as he caught me looking at him, he quickly walked out the front door. From time to time, young twink’s id was good enough to get them pass the bar’s security check. But if he had ordered anything from the bar, I defiantly would have checked his Id I very thoroughly. Maybe he just wanted to check the inside of the club or just needed a place to warm up in. Either case, I remained myself to let Benjamin know about it.
Who the hell is leaning on my door bell at…, I grabbed my phone, and saw it said 3:30. Was it in the morning, no it was in the afternoon. I had only been sleeping for only 4 hours. I got up and dragged myself over to the speaker. “Who is it?” I yelled.
“It’s me, Annie, open the door.”
“What do you want Annie?”
“To come in out of the cold plus I’m tired.”
“Then go home and relax in front of one of your fireplaces,” I answered back.
“Listen you turkey twit, if you don’t open this door right now, I start yelling that I’m carrying your child loud enough all your neighbors will hear, or better yet I’ll tell them I’m here because you’re paying to have sex with you, or maybe I’ll…”
“Okay Annie.” I pressed the button allowing her and to come in. While she walked up the stairs, I went and put some pants on and threw some breath mints in my mouth. When I opened the door a smiling Annie stood there holding a bag of Chinese food in each hand.
“The only thing I can imagine worse than one of you is the thought there could have been two of you.”
“That’s right; if my twin sister hadn’t been still born there would had been two of us.”
“That is so scary.”
“What’s wrong with you?” she asked.
“I’m tired,” I answered flopping down on the couch.
“You’re on vacation this week, why are you tired?”
“I’m helping out Steve kaçak iddaa and Rick down at the Water Shed last night, then we hung New Year’s Eve decoration until around nine this morning. Why are you downtown?”
“I had to come down to the Vault so I thought it was a perfect excuse to stop by Mr. Liu’s.”
“Why, aren’t there any Chinese Restaurants on your way home?”
“None like Mr. Liu’s, here.” Annie took the two cartons out of the bags and handed one to me along with a pair of chop sticks. I opened the carton she gave me.
“I need a fork.” I started to get up, but Annie pulled me back down and pointed to the chop sticks.
“Annie, you know I don’t know how to use those things.”
“Practice makes perfect, and stop pressing your lips together.” She dug into her carton pulling out a noodle and used her chop sticks expertly bring it up to her mouth. “So are you’re going to tell me what’s really wrong?”
“What makes you think there is something wrong?
“Because I’ve called you twice and you haven’t return either one of them.”
“You did?” I picked up my phone and saw her picture along with another call received showing the only a phone number only. I threw the phone back on the couch, “I’ve been screening my phone calls lately.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” I pretended to be used a chop sticks to stab a vegetable chuck.
“So what’s going on between you and Carl?”
I stopped playing with my food and looked over at her. “Why, what did he tell you?” I asked sharply.
Annie, you’re lying.”
“Why would you say something like that?”
“Because, your lips are moving.”
“Honestly, he hasn’t told me anything. “Of course he has seemed a little preoccupied these last few days, but I thought it was job related. Did something happen between you two? ”
It was now my turn to study Annie. “Wait, the only time you make a personal trip to the vault is if there is a pending disaster and you have to prepare the press area. So should I be getting ready for a nuclear war?”
“No, but according to the OEM meteorologist, we’re in the position to receive nearly two feet of snow.”
“Who is this Office of Emergency Management meteorologist giving such a forecast and how accurate have the prediction of this so-called meteorologist been in the past?” I asked
“His predictions have been quite accurate for the past month, and it’s Carl.”
I do remember him giving me his education background, including something about being a trained meteorologist, but it was while we were having one of those dreamy sessions when I only half listening to what he was saying while concentrated more on how he was making me feel.
“It was the chemistry right, just wasn’t there between you two, huh?”
Oh the chemistry was there, right up until he whispered his former partner’s name in my ear.”
“Ooh,” Annie said making a face. “Maybe that is what he meant when he said he had messed up. I thought he was talking about how he fucked-up when he explained to the director how the front would hit us, while pointing at The Canadian Martine the entire time. Got anything to drink?”
“Just water and the liquor Uncle Jake gave me.”
“Is the water under the cap or on tap?
“On tap, you water snob.”
“Oh I’m so thirsty I’ll still take it, but let it run a bit before filling the glass.”
I shook my head as I walked into the kitchen. So we’re going to get some more snow?” I asked, holding the glass out to Annie.
“Out of everything I just told you, the only thing you heard was there’s a possibility of more snow? How about a trained meteorologist’s career, could be in jeopardy because he gave incorrect information? An error like that would have canned his ass if it was done on TV.”
“Is he in trouble Annie?”
“Fortunately the maps only show outlines of countries and states and beside the director is such a bonker-brain, he needs to follow the crowd to find the men’s room. I just interjected Carl was showing where he hope this storm would be going for those in the room who might have some knowledge.”
I smiled, that would have been typical Annie response.
“You really like him don’t you?”
I sighed as I laid my head along the back of the couch.
“Remember when I discovered Bruce fooling around with some another woman?”
I nodded my head.
“Do you remember what you told me?”
“Was that before or after you said you were going to cut off his dick and pickle it?”
“Afterwards,” she said.
I shook my head.
“It was something your mother told you while growing up. Lead with your head, but only after you’ve listened to your heart.”
I remembered hearing my mother say those words to me so many times; she told me it was something her grandfather said to her. “I can’t right now Annie it hurts too much.”
“I know sweetie and I’m so sorry.”
“Why are you sorry?”
“I feel partly responsible after all I did introduce you to him.”
I grabbed Annie’s kaçak bahis hand, “it okay, I’ll be alright.”
She smiled and got up and started picking up the cartons and bags, “well don’t you go doing anything stupid like taking up with Teak again.”
“We were only going to breakfast, but I was too tired to eat, so we’re going out tomorrow morning instead. Wait, why would you think I might get back with Teal? What do you know about Teak and I, Annie?”
“You mean how the two of you went out and on that date, two of Teak’s other men confronted him and you? That’s old news.”
“Son of a bitch”
“He stopped by yesterday morning first to apologize for missing Christmas dinner, and then to catch me up on his latest gossip. We talked about his breakup with that Jeremy character, and how he looking forward to yours and his New Year’s Eve breakfast. He even mentioned he hoped you would give him another more chance to prove how much he really cares about you.”
“So what do you think?”
Annie shook her head. “Despite what Mother Edwards think, he’s a dog, but I think he does generally care about you. But don’t use that knowledge as a deciding factor. She pulled on my hair, “and get a haircut; you’re beginning to look like the shaggy dog.”
I smiled down at her.
“Look I’m going, if this storm does come in the way Carl explained, I want to get a few thing done at the home before the alert is sounded.”
“Okay. Thanks for caring Annie.”
“Hey, that’s what friends are for.”
I waited until I heard the lock on the outside door click, before closing my apartment door. I looked in the mirror at myself. I did need a haircut. Maybe some red highlights would lift my mousy brown hair, and improve my looks. I smiled, showing the dimple Carl had reminded me of. I flopped back on the couch reaching for my phone to checked the time; it was going on 4:30. I run my hand over my face. No senses in trying to go back to sleep, I needed to be at the club in an hour. If I even think about doing this next year, somebody shot me.
Rick and Steve had done a real nice job of decorating the club. There were streamers blow in the wind and balloons, had been hoisted in a net to the ceiling waiting to be released at midnight to cascade down on the party goers. Over the bar a large Happy New Year’s Banner hung. The dance floor for now had been transferred to the buffet area so those with reservation could be served dinner from 7:00-9:00 pm. I was placing people’s names on the reserved tables, when I saw Teak and Jeremy’s names listed together. I burned thinking about all the talk he had done telling people he and Jeremy being over. Teak knew the whole time he’d be spending New Year’s with Jeremy. I think about how bad I felt telling him I was too tired for breakfast. I even though he looked disappointed. Now I know only thing I had done was messed up his plans to be have both Jeremey and I on New Year’s Eve. Well this game will end tonight.
“So how do you think the place look?” A proud Steve asked.
“It looks great, I answered. You and Rick really have outdone yourselves.
“Thanks, Gay Magazine is doing an article on us for their January Edition, they going to be talking our New Year’s Eve bash, and if I can quote what they’ll be saying them. ‘We will be listed as upstate New York hottest night spot, rivaling clubs in Manhattan and at half their price.’ I’ve also recorded alerts letting everyone know how much time until midnight. It will be my voice wishing everyone a Happy New Year’s at midnight”
“That was because last year no one knew when it was New Year’s.”
Steve and I both laughed.
So how are things with you?” Steve asked
“Me fine, why you asking?”
“No reason. But after seeing how you are without a get-away vacation, I hope by next year this time you’ve found another traveling companion so you can get out of town.”
“Yeah, I hope so too, now that my BFF is getting married. Oh will Evan be here tonight?”
“No, he got to work tonight, but we’ll have our own new year’s celebration right after we put his parents on the plane and I cannot wait. It’s been over a week since the last time we’ve been together. I’m so horny, just saying his name makes my dick hard.”
“Enough,” I say holding my hand up. I don’t need to this right now. ”
Steve laughed, “Look Fletch is there any way I could talk you into doing this on a regular basis?”
“How about doing it on a part time bases?”
“That’s oh hell no.”
“What if you were to fill in once in a while?”
“Let me think about it.”
“Thanks Fletch. Okay people, Steve said clapping his hand. The food is being brought in, let’s look alive.”
Once the dinner time was over, the bar area became very busy. Customers’ came up one right after another to both mine and Hector’s section. We tried to keep up but the demand was overwhelming. Finally, Rick had no choice but to become the third bar tender. That forced Maxwell Sims, who normally worked in the control room with Steve to come out to do limited security checks outside and help Benjamin survey the inside area, meaning Sal Rivera had to do double duty checking both the reserve list and people’s id at the door which slowed people getting in.
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