A/N Special thanks to my friend Jenn who was my first beta and helped me from switching tenses (the bane of my existence). Also BIG thanks to all the great peeps at PTB for their awesome help. I am a COMMA QUEEN! For those who have read this before... not much has changed...is just now much better!
As always... I do not own Twilight... *sigh*
I looked around my bar, Midnight Sun, and smiled to myself. I still couldn't believe this place was mine even though I felt sad at the same time. I wouldn't have been able to buy it without the life insurance money I had received after Mom died. I knew in my heart that she'd be happy that I was able to do what I had always dreamed about doing with the money.
I idly wiped off some of the empty tables while some local band played a set of mediocre covers in the back of the bar where there was a small stage. I really need to get some more original groups in this place, I thought to myself. I made a mental note to start paying attention to the music scene around the Cleveland area a bit more so I could find some better talent. Nothing would clear a bar faster than bad music.
Jessica Stanley, one of my waitresses, hopped over to me in her usual bubbly manner. "Hi Bella!"
"Hi Jessica. How are your tables doing tonight?" Jessica was an old friend from high school. We were never best friends back then but was someone I had hung out with from time to time. Once we graduated and got out of the high school clichés, we actually got a lot closer. She was still gossipy but she had become someone I could rely on and was a good friend.
She beamed. "They are awesome tonight. Everybody is digging the music so they're tipping well. Good call on the band!"
I winced internally. Well, as long as it keeps people in here, I suppose I can continue to put up with this kind of musical mediocrity. I returned to the bar and got a beer for a patron. He flashed me a smile and put a five dollar bill on the counter. "Thanks sweetheart."
I forced a return smile. I hated being called sweetheart, or honey, or babe, or any kind of endearment from someone I did not know. I was not his sweetheart. I picked up the bill and got his change. As I was walking back to him, he waved his hand for me to keep the change. I smiled again, actually meaning it a bit more this time.
Time passed fairly quickly that night. It was a typical Friday night so the crowd was steady, but not too busy. I could see Jessica bobbing around her tables, making sure everyone was taken care of, but spending more time at the tables with the cuter guys. Typical Jess, I thought to myself.
I leaned against the back of the bar and looked up at the small television that was in the corner of the room. Some gossip show, like TMZ or Entertainment Weekly, was on doing their usual spiel about this actor or that celebrity or whatever stalker-like activity suited them. They were talking about some actress and her crazy escapades with her some of her former and current male co-stars. Apparently she was not picky in her choice of companions. I shook my head a little, amazed that this was actually newsworthy. But, inexplicably, I kept watching.
Jessica walked over by me to catch a glimpse of the show. She loved these kinds of shows. The next story dealt with a young actor and musician named Edward Cullen. Jessica made an appreciative sound. "He is just so gorgeous. I wish I could meet him. I'd do whatever he asked me to!" She winked at me so I'd know exactly what she meant about that.
I rolled my eyes at her. "Jess, people like that don't associate with people like us. We're incredibly ordinary."
But Jessica was right about one thing, he was exceptionally gorgeous. Edward Cullen was a pretty good musician, too. I had a few of his songs on my iPod. I hadn't had a chance to see any of his movies yet. He only had one blockbuster out so far. The rest of his films were all small, independent films.
She giggled at me and said, "All the same, what I wouldn't do to be alone in a room with him for a few hours. I'm not as shy as you are. I'd show him how unordinary I am!"
I shook my head and shoved her gently, teasing her. "You are such a perv! Your tables are adoring you again. Why don't you go expend some of those Edward Cullen hormones on them and get yourself some more tips?"
"Sure thing, Bella-boss!" She sauntered off to her tables to try to flirt more money off the unsuspecting and inebriated guys.
Shaking my head again, I glanced back to the show that was still talking about Edward Cullen. Apparently he was in a bit of a tough spot. The entertainment reporter continued with her story: "Edward's rise to fame has become a bit much for this shy actor and musician. After last year's blockbuster movie and the legions of screaming fans, Edward's behavior has become more and more erratic. He didn't show for a scheduled interview a month ago. Then he showed up at AIDS charity dinner, where he froze as he was supposed to give a keynote speech. And then there are the stories about him in the bars; drinking and getting more and more belligerent with people when he is approached. His friends are worried that the instant fame and his inability to deal with it are turning him an alcoholic."
The reporter turned to a video of a very drunk Edward Cullen stumbling down a sidewalk in New York City while cameras flash away as he shouted at no one in particular. "Not surprising, this downward spiral has kept Edward quite single. His erratic behavior is rumored at keeping even the most aggressive the ladies away. We have also learned that his record label is considering dropping him due to all the negative publicity. Only time will tell but we will be the ones to tell you first!" The show then continued to other stories about other celebrities.
I turned away from the show and back to the bar as more people walked in. I groaned to myself when I realized that my least favorite person was here: Mike Sullivan. He was such a pig. Why do I even bother to let him come here?
"Hiya there, Bella! How about you serve me up something tall and frosty?" The pig plopped own on a barstool and leered at me.
"Here you go, Mike." I handed him a bottle of the beer that he usually ordered and tried to plan how I could avoid him as much as possible while he was here. My other bartender was on his lunch break so I couldn't just escape to my office. If I could avoid making eye contact with Mike and stay at the other end of the bar until the end of Ben's lunch break, I should be able to survive. I turned to busy myself behind the bar with something so he wouldn't try to talk to me. It didn't work.
"Belllaaahh… have I told you how beautiful you are? We really should get together. You would love being on my boat." He leaned over the bar from his stool and continued to ogle at me.
"You tell me every time you're here Mike. For the hundredth time, I do not want to go out with you and I do not want to go out on your boat." I sighed, turning to look at him with a disinterested expression and crossed my arms across my chest.
"Awww, Bella. You know how persistent I am. I'll just keep asking until you till you give in." He reached his hand out and grabbed my arm, trying to bring me closer to the front of the bar.
I glared coldly at him, pulling my arm from his grasp. "Mike, if you touch me again I will punch you in the face and throw you out of here."
"Don't be that way, honey! It's all good." He smirked, still leering at me as he sat back down in his seat.
I continued to glare at him. I need to beef up my security in this place, I thought to myself. He's been getting far too bold with me. Lord only knows what he could be doing to Jessica or the other girls here.
The other bartender came back from his break so I eagerly left the bar and went back into the office to do some work. I had been working on plans to see if I could add a restaurant to the bar. We had a small kitchen already that could make a limited amount of bar food, but I wanted to expand it into an actual restaurant. I already had some ideas for the menu. One step at a time, I thought to myself. Engrossing myself in my research, I was able to put grabby Mike Sullivan out of my mind.
About a week later, a flushed and excited Jessica came flying into the Midnight Sun with a piece of paper clutched in her hand. She ran in so fast she couldn't even speak at first.
Thankfully none of the patrons were disturbed by her exuberant entrance since she arrived before the happy hour crowd began pouring in. I watched her try to collect her breath with one eyebrow raised, curious.
"So what is so important that you would come running into work an hour before your shift starts?" I asked. A part of me was afraid of the answer. Jessica could be excited by a whole number of different crazy things.
"Two words!" she said.
"Um...two words what?" I asked. She looked at me like I was stupid and should know what she was talking about.
"What about him?"
She rolled her eyes. "Really Bella, I thought you would know already since you like his music."
"I like a lot of people's music. That doesn't mean I keep track of their every move. I do have a business to run here."
"Edward Cullen is going on tour!" she exclaimed ecstatically.
"Okay... and?" I was almost afraid to see where this was going.
"It's a small tour, just some of the smaller venues across the country before he has to start shooting his next movie. He is doing this so his record label doesn't drop him. And the best part is, he's coming to Cleveland!" She started jumping up and down like a kid in middle school at a Jonas Brothers concert.
That's cool," I replied. The show would probably be pretty good. Smaller venues were really the best places to see an artist. A part of the magic was lost in the stadiums and arenas that the super-groups liked to play in.
"COOL?! IT'S AWESOME! Can I have that day off? PLEEEEEASE?" She was about ready to get down on her hands and knees and beg.
Too bad I don't have a camera for this.
"What day is it?" She showed me the article she printed from the Internet with the rather short list of tour dates. "Wow, only six stops. Those tickets are going to be hard to come by." Jessica frowned. "But if you get a ticket, you can have the day off. I'll see if I can get someone to fill in for you that Friday."
Jessica leapt up and knocked me over in a bear hug. She quickly scrambled out of the way and helped me up.
"Jeez, Jess... you do remember what a klutz I am, right?" I rubbed my butt where I had landed on the floor.
She looked at me apologetically. "I'm sorry Bella. I really am. I was just so happy!! You are the best boss ever!"
"Just remember that when I need you to work a double."
"I will! I promise!!" She hesitated a bit, another question on her lips. "I have another favor to ask... um... if that's okay?"
"Out with it, Jess."
"Can I use your computer to buy the tickets? My computer died on me. I ended up printing this," she gestured to the paper she brought, "at the library. I don't want to buy the tickets on a public computer."
I hesitated. It may be a 'work' computer, but it was still mine and still had a significant amount of personal information on it. However, I had known Jessica since high school so she already knew a lot about me anyway. I finally nodded. "Just that site though. I don't want to have to spend the evening trying to get rid of a virus or something."
"Yes ma'am! Thank you sooooo much!" She happily skipped away from the bar and into my office.
I finished cleaning up the bar from the afternoon rush. I needed to restock before happy hour started, and I hoped I wouldn't be visited by my least favorite grab-ass today. I really didn't want to have to hire more security for the sake of Mike Sullivan, but I really didn't want to deal with him again either.
Happy hour started, and people began coming in to unwind after their workdays. Midnight Sun was in a small, rural town, and there weren't a lot of jobs available for the local residents, so the majority of regulars were coming back from the city on their way home.
The rest of the evening was ordinary and uneventful. Jessica was in a great mood all night after successfully getting her concert tickets, and it showed by the amount of tips and business she was able to garner. I should give her days off more often, I thought to myself with a chuckle. Well thank you, Mr. Edward Cullen, for being such a great motivator. I laughed out loud at that thought. I should thank him the next time I see him. I chuckled again as I wiped down the bar. Edward Cullen, here in Ohio, in my bar? Yeah, right.
A/N Thanks for reading! Please rate & review!