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All character, places, and descriptions come from the imagination of the author. All are fictional and any resemblance to real life persons or places is purely coincidental
He walks in with an air of authority. His head held high and his hands on his hips looking around the room. My whole body goes stiff every time I see him and my breath catches in my throat. He has been coming into the restaurant for the last week and every time he does he sits in the same spot and orders the same thing. Nothing special, just whatever our special is for the night. He's gorgeous with brown hair and tattoos that cover most of his arms. His eyes draw me in as soon as I look at him.
“Welcome back to Frank's. What can I get you to drink?”
He looks up from the table and says nothing for so long I start to ask my question again. I know he will order the same thing he always does but Frank would shit if I didn't ask.
“What's your name?”
I look to my uniform shirt and realize I don't have my name tag on today. Maybe that's why Frank looked like he wanted to chew me out this morning. He sits and waits looking amused.
“It's nice to meet you, Jos... Joslynn, my name is Marshall.”
His voice is like pure sex. I can see small freckles scattered all over his face, and his eyes are a deep green. His voice feels so familiar, like I have heard it before, like I should know who he is. I shake my head to clear my thoughts.
“Nice to meet you too, Marshall.”
I'm shocked I can even say a full sentence.
“I'll have whatever the special is for the day.”
“And your drink?”
I jot down his order with shaky hands and go to make his drink. I don't know why he makes me so nervous. It's not like I don't see gorgeous men all the time, and I have no problem taking their order. But their voice alone doesn’t make me need new panties. No one has affected me like he does. I get his drink and take it to the table setting it down in front of him. He's on his cell so my presence isn't noticed.
Whoever he's talking to must be in big trouble.
“I don't care how you get it done just get it done... No…”
I carry on with my orders feeling bad about listening to any of his conversation. I blame it on his sexy, gruff voice. I could sit and listen to him talk for hours and never be sick of hearing him talk.
“Order up, Jos,” Tank yells from the back.
Tank is our cook and the nickname suits him well. He is every bit of seven feet tall and all muscle. His hair is blond, and his eyes tell stories of a lot of sorrow. Frank said he hired Tank one night after seeing him ask for money at the gas station. He didn't know if he could cook or not, but he said he couldn't walk away knowing there was some way he could help.
Walking back to Marshall's table, I see that he is off the phone and the same look of authority he had before is back on his face now as he looks around yet again. I set his food down, and he jumps.
“Sorry just your food,” I say and smile.
Big mistake! His smile just makes his eyes glow more and my body soon forgets that I have other food to give out. He sits there watching me, never saying a word until I shake my head and go about my job. This man coming in every day is going to make things hard for me. I seem to forget how to breathe or walk when he’s here.
The rest of the work day goes on as normal, bitchy customers and tables to clean. I hate this job, but it pays the bills, and I've been doing it for so long I don't really want to have to learn to work somewhere else.
“I'm out, Frank!” I yell as I grab my purse and head towards the door.
“Remember your name tag tomorrow, Joslynn”
I roll my eyes and walk out the door. Walking to my car, I watch the parking lot around me. I hate working late and having to walk across a dark parking lot alone. It makes me want to scream and run the whole way to my car. Who wants to kidnap a girl who is screaming and running already? That just says
During my quick drive home, I recall what I heard Marshall say on the phone. I wonder what he does for a living. Is he a cop? I am sure with all those tattoos they would make him cover them up. From the conversation I overheard, he must be the boss of something.
When I pull in the driveway, I see Taylor still hasn't left. She came yesterday and asked if she could stay with me to sober up. I love her and we have been best friends since grade school, but she chose the wrong path in life.
Walking through the front door, I drop my keys on the table beside the door.
“In here!” She yells from the living room.
“Are you hungry?”
I walk to the kitchen and grab a TV dinner out of the freezer. Another down side from working late. I eat more frozen food or food at Frank's than I do a home cooked meal. When I walk in the living room Taylor is laid across the floor on her stomach with tears running down her face. I lay my food on the table and immediately run to her side.
“Oh my goodness, Taylor, what is going on?”
“You don't have any liquor!” She sobs into the floor.
“Uh, well that would be because I don't drink, Taylor.”
“Joslynn, I need a drink!”
“Clearly you don't. I thought the whole reason of you coming here was to sober up?”
“I feel sick, Jos, like my insides are just turning all around.”
I sigh and walk back to the kitchen. I don't want to deal with this. I just want to fall across my bed and go to sleep. It has been a long day. I get her a glass of water and grab a blanket from the closet on my way back to the living room. When I walk back in she is still in the floor.
“Here, Taylor, drink some of this.”
Once she is sitting up, I help her shaky hands hold the cup to her lips as she takes a drink. When she is finished, I wrap her in the blanket and pull her to my chest.
“Remember when we were kids and my brother would steal our Barbie’s? Funny how then we thought it was the end of the world and it was the worst thing that could possibly happen to us. Now look at our lives.”
“You need to go to the hospital, Tay. I love you, but I can't be here 24/7 to take care of you.”
She shakes her head and moans. “I don't want to be in a hospital.”
“I will come see you and stay with you as much as I can. I promise, but I am scared to leave you here alone.”
“You promise you won't leave me?” She asks.
“You are my best friend, Taylor. I will love you until the end of time, but I would never be able to live with myself if I came home from work and you were hurt or worse because I don't know how to take care of you.”
“I don't want to go... but it hurts all over, Jos, and all I want to do is cry and give up and just go have that drink. But I feel like I am missing so much of life.”
“You are, sweetheart, you are. C'mon let's get you showered and I'll take you to the hospital.”
I help her stand and take her to my bathroom. We have been friends for so long that helping her shower is just like two friends in the bathroom getting ready for a night on the town. I hate that I can't take care of her, and I don't know how. However, there is no way I would be okay with myself if I let her stay here and something worse happened.
When she is showered and ready, I drive her to the local hospital. They check her in and tell me that I can come back tomorrow during visiting hours to see her. It's going to be a long and tough road, but I know they will be able to help her become the little girl who promised to keep me safe when my father wanted to hurt me. She would always say that no matter how many times he came to her house looking for me, I would never have to leave with him if I didn't want to. She would hide me until he gave up and passed out somewhere.
Waking up the next day I feel like a Mac truck has run over me and left without even saying sorry. I shower, brush my teeth and get ready for the day. My long blonde hair is in a messy bun. I add just a little makeup to my eyes, and I am ready for the work flow.
When I pull into the parking lot at work, I get an icky feeling in my stomach. Like something is going to happen, and somehow I am going to be a part of it. Not really the feeling I want to have, but I shake it off and go about my night. Our town is so small nothing ever happens here. The most interesting gossip we have here is who old man Cooper is cheating on his wife with this week.
I swear that man gets more ass than I do, which is sad considering he is old enough to be my dad. His wife knows what he is doing but acts like she is clueless. He has more money than he can spend in this lifetime or any other for that matter, so I am sure that is why she stays. As long as he gives her some and leaves her alone, she doesn't seem to care what he does. She just sits at a table in the restaurant most nights and gets drunk. Leaving one of us to have to call her a cab.
“Welcome to work, Joslynn, glad you remembered your name tag today.”
Frank greets me at the door. I look at the clock on my cell and see that I'm not late. Frank has had a stick up his ass the last week, and I am getting tired of it. I have always gotten along with Frank and Tank. Tank has taken the slot of big brother in some ways. He always seems to want to make sure I am okay and know what is going on in my life. Sometimes it's nice to have a friend who you know will be there if you need a couch moved and other times it's annoying to have someone hovering over you but we seem to deal just fine. My father is a piece of shit drunk who liked to take his anger out on me, so I think Frank has kind of filled that slot in his own way.
“Something wrong, Frank?”
He lets go of a deep breath and lets his chin fall to his chest.
“Have you seen that man who comes in every night? You know the one with all the gunk on his arms?”
“Yeah,” I say laughing.
“He does sit on my side of the place every night, Frank. How could I miss him?”
Just the thought of his gruff voice and already my heart is beating out of my chest. I have daydreamed of running my hands through his hair and kissing each freckle on his face. I think I could listen to him read names from a phone book, and before he makes it to the end of it, I would need a new pair of thongs.
I shake my head and come back to the present. Frank is still standing in front of me talking.
“Sorry, Frank, what were you saying?”
“I want you to be careful around him. There is something not right about him.”
“I mean it, Joslynn, one wrong touch yell for Tank.”
I look from Frank and see Tank raise his spatula in the back while he is cooking, showing that he knows what Frank is saying. I laugh and shake my head.
“I said okay, Frank. Do you want it on paper or can I get to work?”
“By all means.”
He steps to the side and motions for me to pass. I walk to the back and grab my order book and get ready for the day. Of course Julia leaves me with my side full of waiting customers and dirty tables. She and I have never gotten along. She's a twenty year old who is only worried about what she is doing for the weekend or who.
She comes to work each night and complains that she is missing some amazing party or her boyfriend of the week comes in and half her time is spent sitting in his lap flirting. Frank never says anything because she comes in to work half dressed and pulls in more customers. It only annoys me more because I have to take her slack and watch all the men around her drool.
I finally get caught up when I see
walk in. He's wearing a gray t-shirt and old ripped jeans. He looks like he hasn't slept all night with his hair all ruffled. I wonder who has had their hands in his hair. Lucky woman.
He walks to his normal table and has the same look on his face as he looks around. He is always looking for someone. Always. I walk to his table, and he smiles when he looks up and sees me. I can feel myself melting in my shoes. I feel like such a whore. He hasn't said a word to me, and I am already putty in his hands.
“Welcome to Frank's. What can I get you to drink?”
“When are you going to stop asking me that?”
“Same thing as yesterday.”
I turn and walk away to get his tea. Yesterday his voice could have filled the wet dream of every woman from here to the next city over, but today it's as cold as ice. I take his drink back to the table, set it down and tell Tank to make today's special. He nods his head and looks over my shoulder to Marshall.
“Why don't you let me take it to him, Lynnie?”
Tank is the only one who calls me that. He started here the night I did and it just kind of stuck. He said he wanted to be different.
“Nah, I'm a big girl, Tank, I got it.”
We have had people come and go from here so I don't know what has them so nervous or so protective of me. I may be small but I can hold my own when I need to, and I don't think he would do anything in a crowded restaurant.
Tank sighs and hands me the plate.
When I take it to Marshall, I set it down with a little bit more force than I intended, and he looks up at me from his cell phone. His face looks annoyed.
“Noted,” he says and gets back to his cell phone.
A couple walks in and sits in front of him so I take their order.
“Welcome to Frank's. What can I get you two to drink?”
“Oh my goodness, Joslynn Nethers?”
I take a closer look at the girl in front of me. It's Allyssa Jones the one and only. She was head cheerleader in school and a bitch. I never liked her and she never liked me.
“Well, well, well, look at you working at a dead end place like Frank’s,” she says laughing.
Her date starts laughing too. It feels like high school all over again and I tense waiting for her to call me my old nickname from school. Well, if that's what you want to call it.
“What do you want to drink? Or would you like for me to give you a few seconds?”
“Lemon water for the both of us.”
I nod my head and get their water. The thought of spitting in it is very amusing. I swear if I could get away with it, I so would but with Marshall in here Frank and Tank are both watching me like a hawk. I don't want to lose my job over her being a bitch, that would only give more fuel to the hate fire that she has burning for me.
When I take the water back Allyssa scrunches up her nose.
“Had I known you worked here we would have gone somewhere else, Metal.”
Ah, there it is her wonderful nickname for me. I had braces when I was in school and with her brain being the size of a grain of sand that was the best she could come up with.
“Well, you are here so are you going to order some food?”
“I want a chicken salad. Baby, what do you want?”
I hadn't paid much attention to the guy with her, but when I look over I can't hold in the bark of laughter. Lance Breeman the one and only computer geek that she picked on relentlessly. Wow, how things change. He looks different than he did in school. The glasses are gone and he is dressed like he is fixing to walk down a runway. He has on a long sleeve, button down shirt with a tie, brown slacks and a black sweater is sitting on the seat beside him. She clearly dresses him now. In school he would have had on jeans and a t-shirt with the latest video game he was in to. She used to call him “Bree the Geek”.
“Uhm... just give me the same thing.”
“Fried or grilled?”
“Seriously, Metal, is this Burger King? Do I look like I want fried chicken?”
She leans back in her seat to display her hard earned plastic body. I am sure her daddy paid for that.
I take their order to Tank and roll my eyes when he gives me a questioning look. One of the many things I hate about working here is it doesn’t matter what a customer says or does to you, you have to always remain professional.
While that has never been an issue before it seems to be one now.