It's RosieRathbone and Kiki-Jo here! We're both really excited to get this story under way and for our sexy-sexy Tattsper and Tattward to come to life... in a way. We hope you all like it, and try and remember that we own nothing recognisable.
Beep, beep, beep... ah crap!
Did the till have to break now? Right as the queue became nearly a mile long?
I kind of like to exaggerate...
Swallowing back my agitated groan, I punch in the price and hit 'subtotal' only to get the same beeping as before and a notice on the screen saying there was a technical error. How can there be a technical error in five-seventy-five? Seriously, I am this close to screaming 'fuck it' and walking out that door. This run-down piece of shit that I like to call a diner.
A pair of calming hands covered my shoulder, and Sally, the manager, spoke reassuring words into my ear. "Calm down, Jazz. Don't get yourself all worked up." As Sally informed the ever increasing crowd of our little problem, I switched the till off, then back on again and started all over again. Only to be met with the same beeping and notice.
"Grab a piece of paper, calculator and work it all out manually. Collect the money, I'll give you a float, and we can input it all later." With a sympathetic smile, she went back to the kitchen and left me to control this raging group of customers before me. Sally's been there for me through everything and I love her like family and all, but she can be a lazy little bitch sometimes.
Calling 'first please' I let the stone roll and for the hellish process to begin. Wish me luck? Thanks.
Things had been going swimmingly... until the bane of my fucking existence walked through those doors and up to where I stood. He stood at a little over six feet, with a shaved head, a pimpled face like a teenage boy going through puberty and a breath like a cab drivers armpit.
"My usual." He ordered without even giving the time to acknowledge me. I went to work making his black coffee with three sugars and resisted against the temptation to grog in his mug. Passing it over, he noticed that I hadn't placed an Amaretti biscuit beside his mug.
"Where's the macaroon?"
Try my ass whilst you kiss it.
"It's called an Amaretti." I shot back stubbornly.
"I don't give a fuck what its name is." Breathing out through my nostrils, I grabbed the smallest cookie from a tub and flicked it onto the saucer.
"That will be two-fifty." As he rooted around for some change, I added the amount to the bottom of my list, and attempted to estimate how much it would all add up to be.
"Is that with the twenty-five percent discount?" He interrupted my calculating.
"Discounts are only for family, James. You won't be family until my mother marries you."
"We all know that won't be long now, don't we? Twenty-five percent of three-fifty. Go."
I have never, in my life, been a genius at maths. Especially now when under pressure and with my step-father-to-be staring down at me. I couldn't even remember how to work it out on the calculator. My palms were getting sweaty and my legs became jittery. What number did I even start with?
"You can't do shit." James sneered, throwing down three dollars fifty cents and grabbing his coffee.
I was about to explode. This had been one of my worst days to date. "Sally." I called through the back.
"What's up, sweetie?"
"Can you take over for five minutes? I need a break before I go insane." It was more of a statement that a question, because as soon as those words had left my lips, I was ripping off my hat and apron and walking to the staff area. Donning my hoodie, I took my Marlboro Lights and lighter from my bag and went to stand out back. I couldn't ever being to explain how soothing this was. The nicotine and tobacco, burning through my cigarette, filling my mouth with that bitter taste before I blow the inhaled smoke out in one go.
This has always been my escape. When life gives you lemons; you make lemonade. When life is being a shit; you drink and smoke until you're numb. It's great!
I was only half-way through my smoke when Sally called me through. I said five minutes! This has only been two!
"Bollocks." I swore under my breath and stubbed the tip out on a stone step. What a bloody waste that was. Hanging my stuff up, I slipped on my apron and covered my messy hair with a hat. Walking through, I imagined to just see Sally with a large queue, but instead the shop was empty except for Sally and our boss, Michael.
Michael looked me sternly in the eyes and shook his head in disappointment. "I expected more from you, Jasper. I would have thought you knew how to handle a situation like that. I -"
"What are you actually on about? Is it the till? How else could we sell things and serve people when -"
"I'm not talking about the till, Jasper." He spoke up, his voice louder than mine. "I'm talking about the complaint I just received from a customer who told me that you served them in a disrespectful manner."
"I served them all like I always do." I looked at Sally for some back-up, but then remembered that she wouldn't be any use. She was out back probably stuffing her fucking face all morning.
"What about the man who reported you then? He stated that you never gave him his discount and he had to ask you twice for a cookie with his coffee."
I was fuming. Like, literally reaching boiling point. Ever since James entered our lives, he has caused non-stop trouble. I have packed and re-packed my bags so many times, I've lost count. My mother didn't have the courage to leave him though. She was scared of the consequences and I was scared for her.
"I was in the middle of giving him his fucking discount!"
I knew swearing in his face was a bad idea. The look he gave me said it all. "I have a reputation to keep. When someone gets a complaint it falls onto me. My reputation gets pushed into the mud."
"That man is my mother's boyfriend. He just looks for ways to torture me."
"I don't care what connection you have with a customer, you treat them with respect."
I don't know what had caused it. Whether it be Michael, James or just the day in general, but before I knew it, I had ripped the apron from my body and chucked it to the floor.
"You can stick your rules and your diner where the sun don't shine, 'cause I can't stay here any longer." Turning around, I left the two standing.
"Jasper. Jasper." Michael called to my back. "Where are you going?"
I walked back through with my belongings in my hand, I slipped on my hoodie whilst saying "Do you have any idea how long I've wanted to leave this place? And do you have any idea how amazing it felt to quit? I'm going and I bid you farewell."
Sally looked distraught, but I would have cared more if she had attempted to save my bacon.
"Oh, and Michael?" I turned around with my hand on the door knob. "You need to refill the coffee machine."
"Mum?" Slamming the front door shut, I listened out for a reply. Calling again just to double check. It seemed like I was the only one home, which would make my departure so much easier. Going straight for the kitchen, I tore off some paper from a notepad and grabbed a pen before scribbling down 'I O U' in block capitals and reaching for the hidden money tin in our food cupboard.
There must have been at least two hundred dollars stashed in here, which I pocketed without a seconds thought, replacing the money with my note. I headed for my room after that, yanking out a folded black rucksack and filled it with a miss-match of clothes from my wardrobe. I changed the clothes I was currently wearing to a pair of blue baggy jeans, a black t-shirt that said 'shit happens. Mostly to me so don't worry' on the front and then a pair of black and green DC skate shoes.
A photo of my childhood sat framed by my bed. It held my mother, father and myself at age four. It reminded me of the good old days, before things took a turn for the worst. I added that to my clothes and checked all my drawers and hiding places for extra money I might come across.
Putting my hoodie back on, I shoved a grey and white patterned crown cap aviator hat over my blonde hair. The hat had ear flaps and string that dangled down. I loved this thing. Before leaving, I cased up Delilah (my guitar) and reminded myself not to leave without her.
Leaving a note for my mother, I did have a tiny tear in the corner of my eye, but all those feelings were replaced by joy and relief as I walked out the door and didn't look back.
I'm sorry. I can't do this any more. You know what I've been through to save us both from hell. You also know how close I have been to leaving. Don't blame yourself and definitely don't think that you've failed me as a mother. I must go my own way now, and I'm sorry I had to leave so soon.
I love you, stay safe.
Where do I want to go?
I stood in the airport with my eyes roaming over the flight board above me. I want to stay in America, I know that for sure, but where exactly? San Diego came up on the board and I could only picture what it would be like to live there.
Sandy beaches, bright city lights, sun shining...
It seemed perfect. So much better than Texas.
Right. I know where I'm off too.
Collecting my luggage, I ran to the nearest ticket desk and waited to get served. A lady greeted me and signalled for me to go over.
"Can I help you, Sir?" I asked with a cheery smile painted in bright red lipstick.
"Er, yeah. How much would it be to get a one way ticket to San Diego?"
"Would that be a flight for today?" She asked, tapping her well manicured fingers quickly on a keyboard.
"As soon as possible really."
After a little bit of research, she looked up at me with that same smile. How much do they get paid for smiling like friggin' Barbie dolls? "There's a flight leaving here at five minutes past two which would cost you five-hundred and forty-seven dollars."
For a one way ticket? Is she taking the actual piss? "And that's the only flight today?"
"Yes, Sir. It's the only flight for the next few days actually. It will be with American Airlines."
That explains the price then.
I had gotten my hopes up about going to California and I couldn't stay here any longer if I didn't have to. Pay day was last week, I've taken perhaps twenty dollars out from then... so that should mean I have enough on my card to cover the cost. Plus the stash I took from home...
"I'll take it." I spurted out before changing my mind.
The flight seemed to go past quite quickly, and soon I was standing outside the terminal, looking around at my new home.
Bring it on.
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RosieRathbone & Kiki-Jo xx