Imagine losing years off your life... Keri Atwater works as a bar tender in a local night club. Aside from having a moderately exciting but not the best paying job in the world, something else isn...
Sitting on her barstool looking out into the crowd, Keri Atwater was feeling uneasy. The drunken men in her bar did not appease her one little bit. But this was all a part of the job. Keri was a bartender at a local nightclub in New York where the club scene was booming. She looked into the sea of circling, multicolored lights and contemplated her life. This was not the life she wanted for herself. A few years ago, Keri would have been ecstatic to be spending most of her time in a club. But in the past few years, everything changed. She never felt like herself. Like something was missing, or something just wasn't quite right. Maybe it was because she just celebrated her 25th birthday and was feeling old. Or maybe it was because she felt alone in a big city. She had not seen her family in Chicago in a few years, not after getting kicked out.
Sure, being a bartender would do for now, it was a job that anyone her age would kill for. It wasn't the most respectable paying job, but it got things done. Keri wanted something more for herself. Something worthwhile and not have to assume responsibility for giving others alcohol poisoning.
Keri wanted to be a fashion designer since she was in high school. She moved to New York when she was 20 years old in hopes of achieving that dream. Or so she thought. Now, being 25 years old, she felt she would never get anywhere. Fashion school was very expensive when she moved to New York, and it seemed to slip further and further away as time went on, as it was becoming more expensive.
Keri was suddenly snapped out of her deep thoughts, by the drunken man slouching in front of her. The revolving and flashing strobe lights made him look a little bit surreal, and were starting to give her a headache.
"Miss?", he slurred. The man was so drunk, he was almost drooling.
"What can I get you?" she asked, assuming he wanted yet another drink. As if he wasn't drunk enough. Keri was starting to hate drunken men. Now, the thought of them made her want to vomit. Drunken men and snotty rich girls. The snotty rich girls were too demanding. They wanted their drinks a certain way, and if it wasn't to their liking, they would kick up a fuss, bringing their daddies into the mix. The drunken men would always just hit on her, and she found this distasteful.
"First, lime and vodka," he stated, his eyes starting to glaze over. "Then your number." This guy was getting too creepy for her liking. 'Why do the drunk morons always hit on me?' she thought to herself as she turned away and sloppily mixed his drink. Keri didn't really care at this point if it was done properly. She finished the drink and wedged a slice of lime on the rim of the glass for added flavour.
"That would be $4.50, please," she stated in a slight peevish tone, waiting for him to give her the money. He slipped her a 10-dollar bill.
"Keep the change," he said. "And call me," he concluded with a wink as he handed her another slip of paper and sloped away. Keri threw out the slip of paper and put the money in the register and recorded the price of the drink. She then thought about the generous tip the man gave her. On any other day, she would have been very pleased to be given a tip like this, but not today. She was not feeling her best. All she wanted to do, was go home and sleep.
Looking out to the dance floor, Keri noticed people starting to leave. Looking at her watch, she noticed it was 1:45- 15 minutes until the bar was due to close. Keri took this as an indication she should start clearing around the bar, as she wanted to get home as fast as she could. This had felt like the longest night of her life. Buzzing around the bar tables, she picked up the stray glasses and napkins scattered around and brought them back to the kitchen to be washed.
Just then, Derrick Claiborne, her very gay boss, walked in. Derrick was a funny sort of guy - and very smart. He was always upbeat and happy. Always wanted Keri's opinion about guys, and clothes - he didn't have a very good sense of style. Derrick had obtained a Business degree from NYU a few years before. He had a knack for figures, and could talk his way out of anything that came upon him - including talking his way out of a speeding ticket. Most times, by means of flattery.
Derrick had taken ownership of the nightclub the year before Keri had moved to New York, after the previous owner, Dale, had been killed in a horrendous car accident. He and Dale had been very close at one time; it was rumored they had been lovers, but had a falling out just before the accident had occurred. He didn't like to talk about Dale, or the accident, and Keri never pressed the matter. After all, it was none of her business.
Derrick noticed Keri was still roaming around the bar and decided to go help her. "Would you like a hand cleaning?", he asked walking over to the table she was cleaning.
"That would be great, Derrick. I'd like to get out of here as quickly as possible," Keri said as she wiped down the table and put the chairs back in place. She turned to walk back to the bar just as Derrick came over and put his arm around her shoulder.
"Honey," he said in his girly voice. "I got things from here, why don't you call it a night. Go home and get some rest, and I will see you tomorrow night." He concluded.
"Thanks, Derrick, are you sure? I don't want you to be here all by yourself, who knows what goes bump - in - the - night around here. You're a fragile soul" she joked. He was always fun to tease, and he never took offense to it.
"Sweetheart, the only thing that goes bump - in - the - night around here is me, if you know what I'm saying," he said with a wink. "Now, shove off before I remove you myself."
Keri smiled and shook her head as she turned to head for the back room for her coat. Derrick always knew how to make her smile, just by being himself. He could be very annoying at times, and cranky. But he had his good qualities.
Keri came out of the back room with her coat to say goodnight to Derrick, but he had suddenly disappeared. Keri assumed he went to the restroom, so she decided to let herself out. "Derrick," she called out, "I'm leaving now." There was no answer. She found this a little bit unnerving, but didn't think much of it. She shook off the uncomfortable feeling and headed for the door. 'I'm probably just tired,' she thought to herself as she pushed the door open and walked out into a sea of dark shadows, in the damp, cold night.
A/N: This is my first story after a 4 year hiatus. Hope you enjoyed so far. The format looks a little messed up to me.