It was the New Year. I had kissed Angel at the stroke of midnight and he was willing to stick around while I worked. Life was good in that moment. Behind the bar I flirted with the men, and the women. The smile was genuine – not meant for them, but still it was real. I felt light, but not giddy. It wasn’t that kinda feeling. Happy. My dad had pretty much given me ‘permission’ to see a guy – for real. I wasn’t sure how my mom felt. Didn’t really matter, Dad would talk her around. That’s one good thing about having a lawyer in the family – or 20 as the case was here. Arguements were endless on the holidays.
Now that I knew Very was still around I kept seeing her at the bar. I let Zack or one of the others handle her while I continued with my happy high. Drew laughed at me a few times. “A little nookie and he gets all happy.” It wasn’t the sex but I wasn’t about to tell Drew – at least not here. He of all my friends would understand why and there would be no let’s find you a girl in the back of their head. I wasn’t even worried Angel was in the security booth with Finn. I didn’t care what they were talking about. Well maybe that was a lie, I felt tiny butterflies floating in my stomach at the thought. But it was easy enough to put out of my head.
Very had been flitting from two guys at either end of the bar, one would buy her a drink, and she’d skip out on him to visit the other one and get another drink. It was working for her. Until the bigger of the two followed her down the length of the bar through the crowd. He was a little drunk. But the guy down at my end of the bar couldn’t really leave his seat without falling over. The big man grabbed Very’s arm and I stopped what I was doing and was ready to break up the fight. Falling down drunk man saw it too. He stood up in a rush of adrelaline and busted his beer bottle on the bar, spraying beer and glass everywhere, including over me. Fuck!
I didn’t have time to worrry about the mess as I hopped the bar with a graceful vault. It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last. That was one good thing about being me. I wasn’t just some bartender. I played at security guard too. I had the strengthly, the training and the skill. I caught the elbow with the broken beer bottle an whatever had powered drunken man fled and he collapsed into my arms. “Well fuck.”
Very looked at me and I shook my head. She couldn’t stop being a two timing bitch for her life. I was proud of myself. I didn’t say it outloud. Two other bouncers came and wrestled the passed out man away from the bar. The crowd that formed slowly disappaited but Very and her bigger friend were no where to be seen.
I sighed. Now I was covered in beer and I think fallen down drunk puked a little on me too. There was this bitter smell and I really didn’t want to deal with it. I walked beind the bar and tugged the shirt off carefully. I had 20 more just like it at home I thought as I tossed it into the garbage can. There were a few hoots and hollers and over the crowd I heard, “Take it all off.” from a female voice I didn’t know.
I looked around trying to understand then realized what the fuck I’d just done. Drew was covering his mouth trying so very hard not to laugh. “I’d like to see you try it.”
Drew wasn’t flabby, he kept his body even after he’d gotten married and was on kid number one. We all went to the gym so I knew. Zack laughed and pulled his shirt off. He wasn’t as well defined but he got his own round of cheers and there were even a few dollars thrown in our direction. Which Zack hastily scrapped up and stuck in the tip jar. I was surprised when Drew did the same.
Ana laughed. “I’m not taking my shirt off.”
Drew grinned. “Oh come on hunny no one’s gonna touch you. Promise.”
“No” she said.
I’d have to admit that the tips were far better than most nights. The bartenders rarely went shirtless. It was at lot better on the hygiene if we kept our clothes on. But it was New Year’s eve and well it was a one time thing. We didn’t slow down at all and when we last call was called through out the bar there was a collective groan and sigh as everyone made their way out the door. It was three in the morning. I wasn’t really tired. But then again that cup of coffee an hour ago was still in my system.
Zack started splitting the tip jar four ways and was handing Anna hers when I had finished taking inventory of the fridge. Finn was out of the security booth and I wondered where Angel was. Finn just chuckled. “He nodded off about an hour ago.”
I finished with the closing time rituals and was the last one out. Angel and I had all of Zion to ourselves, but he was busy sleeping in the security booth. When I walked in he wasn’t actually asleep he was sitting forward, head hanging betweeen his legs and looking a little pale. I stood in the doorway, “You okay?”
He jumped and I could see the pulse beating in his neck as he smiled at me. “Better now.”
“What happened?” I asked as I sat down next to him in another of the booth’s rolling chairs.
“Nightmare.” He said. “You done?”
I nodded. It was a little after 4am now. “Yeah. You ready to go?”
Angel stood up and I joined him. I went for the door instead Angel grabbed my wrist and turned me back to face him. He was looking at my chest, his fingers traced down and he looked up and grinned at me. “I bet the tips were good.” He licked his lips and shly bit the bottom one. Fuck me! Alright there was a lot more to this than sex, but fuck anyone who judged me on wanting him. “Are you hungry?” He asked.
“Actually I’m starving.”
He chuckled. “Well you can’t go anywhere dressed like that?” Angel snaked his arm around me and we headed for the door. “We can grab food on the way home and I’ll make you breakfast, then we can sleep and I’ll cook again for you.”
I nodded. “That’s sounds great. Let’s get our coats.”