Re-posted because of a re-write, should be better now!
He's a gangly eighteen year old without a high school diploma or parents when he first steps into the sandwich shop. He sits in a corner booth with a soda and a cheese and ham sub, making every bite and gulp last. He fiddles with the spiked cuff on his wrist and people watches as the shop fills with people for lunch. The guy behind the counter is rushed with orders from surfers, art students and girls in designer bikinis and miniskirts. He snorts as the girls go back and forth with their menu decisions for ten minutes, whilst the queue behind them waits impatiently. As soon as they are out of the shop, the bell above the door ringing their exit, there's even more people waiting to be served, every single booth filled and people chatting loudly. The man behind the counter is rushed off his feet and swears when he drops a bowl of coleslaw over the floor.
His soda is almost finished, the ice cubes completely melted when he slides out of the booth and steps up to the counter. He taps his black fingernails against the wood. "Hey," he speaks up.
The man stops and turns to look at him. The man isn't old but he isn't young either, his hair is dark, his eyes darker but there's a soft expression on his face, hiding the stress he must be feeling. "Hey," he replies.
The man studies him for a moment and he expects to be turned away, like every other place he's been to. Finally, he reaches under the counter and throws a rolled up apron at him. He catches it against his chest and smiles. He ties it around his waist as he circles around the counter. The views a little different from the other side.
"What's your name kid?"
He looks up at the man, "Priestly," he answers, like he's testing the name out on his lips for the first time "I go by Priestly."
He spends his first pay check on a tattoo.
He's nineteen years old with two tattoos and a piercing when Jen first walks through the door. Her arms are folded across her chest defensively and she's almost curled into herself. Her short blonde hair half covers her face and he's immediately intrigued. The shop has its fair share of characters coming through the door, normally loud and colourful, never someone trying to hide in plain sight.
He wipes the grease off his hands onto his apron and greets her. "What can I get ya?" He slides the pen and pad on the counter closer.
"A job?" She gives a half shrug. The help sign has been in the window for a week and so far each applicant has been turned away by Trucker. He doesn't know how Trucker picks, but he gave him a chance so he guesses it's instinctive.
"Trucker!" He calls and the girl flinches at the noise. Trucker appears from the small office and walks over to them slowly. "What's up?"
"Another applicant," he explains before turning back to the grill. He keeps his eyes on the cooking meat and his ears on what's going on behind him.
"What's your name kid?" Trucker asks.
"What do you think Priestly?" It's the first time Trucker's asked for his opinion and he raises an eyebrow as he turns back around. The girl, Jen, is looking at his with wide pleading eyes. There's something about her, something quiet yet kind and he can see there's so much more behind the surface, like him.
"Elvis, dead or alive?"
He quickly finds a friend in Jen. She understands his humour and teaches him how to do stuff on the computer she convinces Trucker to buy. He shows her his tattoos and two months later she's showing him her new one.
Two years later and he turns up to work half an hour late. His sunglasses are shielding his blood shot eyes from the bright light. He walks in with heavy footsteps and catches his apron with one hand as Jen chucks it at him.
"Nice night?" She asks him from her place at the computer.
"Nice enough," he responds with a smirk. He slips off his glasses, slides them over the pocket in his apron and blinks twice before scanning the empty diner. "Trucker?"
The bell above the door goes and an older man steps in and sits down at his regular booth "Morning Mr Julius," Jen greets the regular with a gentle smile.
"If you would be so kind."
Priestly nods at the man "Coming right up man." His work load increases as lunch approaches but Trucker returns just before the rush and helps out. The diner is filled with its usual crowd when she walks in, followed closely by a dude in a white vest and surfer shorts.
"Come on Tish!" He tries to grab her wrist but she pulls away. She places her hands on her hips and glares at the guy.
"Get lost Wade."
Tish is petite with curves in all the right places and hair a mixture of brassy reds that fall over her should loosely. There's enough soft tanned skin showing to capture the attention of any hot blooded male, including him.
"Not until you agree to go out with me."
"No," She shakes her head. She lifts a hand from her hip and leans account the counter.
"Why not?" He practically whines and he can see why this girl is rejecting him.
"Because," She starts before she even has an excuse "Because I have work," she finishes as she pushes past the guy and joins Priestly behind the counter.
"What the-" He takes a step away from her and stares down at the strange girl that just hired herself.
"You have to work?" The guy repeats unconvinced.
"Yeah," She rips the pad and pencil out of Priestley's hands. "I have to work."
Trucker suddenly appears from the other side of the room and slings an arm over Tish's shoulder. "Hey Angel, thanks for coming in on your day off."
Tish grins triumphantly, "You're welcome," Priestly just stands there speechless. "And we have the right to refuse anyone so get lost Wade."
Wade looks like he's about to make a scene, instead of grumbles under his breath and storms out.
"So," She begins as soon as the idiot is out the door "What's the pay like?" Trucker chuckles and walks over to the tables to take orders.
"Yeah," He watches as she gathers her hair up and pulls it into a bun before sliding his pencil through it to keep it in place "And you are?"
He doesn't feel self conscious when she stares at his brightly coloured hair and tattoos, "Priestly."
"Well Priestly, thanks for the assist back there."
"But I didn't-
She rolls her eyes, "Exactly."
He snatches his notepad back, "Maybe you should have just told him you were a lesbian."
Her eyes flick down to his t-shirt and then back up again, "Like you?" She slides past him gracefully. "Nice shirt," She adds.
Priestly enters the shop with a dance. He's late like usual but he's happy and wants everyone to know it. "I'm here."
Tish turns away from her latest prey and presses a hand to her hip, "Oh, and so close to almost being on time."
"Well come on," Priestly replies, making his way towards the counter "Once I start showing up on time you'll expect it every day," he smirks at her and gets a equally sarcastic smile in return. "What's up," he nods to the nameless dude trying to get Tish into bed then brushes past them to dump his bag in the office. "Okay, today's topic of conversation, clueless men and the women who use them for gratification." He pauses halfway and turns to stare at the stranger behind the counter beside Jen.
"Who are you?" He asks the girl. The girl's long blond hair is tied up with a red bandana and her white vest top makes her un-tanned skin look even paler.
"Piper," he repeats with a shake of his head, "What are you doing here piper?"
She glances at Jen and then back at him, "I work here," She answers slowly.
"Why wasn't I notified? I wasn't notified!" He knew with the sign in the window there would be someone new eventually, he just wasn't used to showing up to work and the new person just being there.
"Hey Priestly," Trucker calls and he looks over at the older man. "We hired someone."