She should have expected it, it's not like something like this was out of the realm of possibility, but how do you prepare yourself for such a thing?
Something had awoken her from her slumber but what? She rolled over and saw the clock, 3:33am, this time the sound registered. As she reached her phone her stomach sank and an eerie sense of dread washed over her.
"Matty, where is he? What happened?" she said skipping the pleasantries.
"Cam, I'm sending someone to come get you, stay calm, Sammy will be there soo…"
"Fuck that! Where is he? I'm not waiting around for someone to come get me! I'm already out the door! Now where the fuck am I going?"
Matty reluctantly told her which hospital they were headed to as she flagged down a cab and began the longest cab ride of her life.
Cameron sat in the back seat of the cab frozen, as she remembered how she first met Taylor Reese.
4 years ago
"Cameron, now you call us when you get there. Be careful, you have your gps right? Do you have enough money?" She thought it was so cute that no matter how old she was her mother still fussed over her and handed her twenty dollars every time she left for a road trip.
"Mom… I will call you as soon as I get to the apartment I rented; I'm going to be fine. I love you." Cam hugged her mom then climbed into her over packed car to start on her journey.
After completing her MBA at Boston University Cam had landed her dream job managing a restaurant and nightclub in New York City. The only issue being that Cam had lived her whole life in Boston, the furthest away from home she had ever been was Maine. Now she was heading to a city that she'd never stepped foot in to take a job in a restaurant she had never seen and live in an apartment that she had only seen on the Internet. Her parents were excited for her but Cam could tell that they were disappointed that she hadn't taken one of the several job offers around the Boston area. It wasn't an easy decision, leaving everything and everyone you have ever known, but Cam decided that now was the time to do it. She was young and single with her whole life ahead of her.
She had only interviewed over the phone with two of the owners, they were exactly the kind of people that she pictured working for. They told her that although they were very involved with the club they were willing to give her almost complete control of the day to day operations as well as final sign off on any big ideas before they were implemented. Matty and Chris were their names and they both sounded young and admitted that neither of them had a lot of experience with operating a restaurant or nightclub although Chris said he did consider himself somewhat of an expert on the nightclub circuit.
Cam was used to Boston traffic and figured New York couldn't be much worse… after 8 hours in the car for what should have been a 5-hour drive she finally pulled up at the apartment building. At this moment she was wishing that she had accepted Matty's offer to put her up somewhere. She sat in her car and dialed the number for the landlord.
While she waited for the landlord to come down with her keys Cam took in her surroundings. The neighborhood didn't look all that different from where her first apartment was in Dorchester. There were several apartment buildings on the street along with a liquor store, a check cashing/bail bonds storefront, as well as a pawnshop and various bars. The air was thick with the smell of car exhaust and cigarette smoke seemed to be billowing from the bars along the street. All the building had lost their color, what was once probably vibrant brick and colorful paint was now just a faded shade of gray on every building as far as her eyes could see.
When the landlord finally immerged from the building he waddled over to where Cam was parked. He was a plump little man and his features were soft, not what Cam had expected to see on a man who lived and owned a building on this street.
"You must be Cameron I presume? I'm Mr. Gonzales but most people just call me Charlie, it's a pleasure to finally meet you." He said as he took Cam's hand in to his, not giving her a chance to get a word in edge wise. "Well then, is this all that you have?" He motioned towards the car.
"It is, I figured it would be easier to buy things once I got here rather then try to move them all the way from Boston."
"Okay then. Here are your keys, let me help you with your things my dear."
After just a few trips Cam and Charlie had managed to get all her things in to the small apartment.
"Thank you so much for all your help Charlie, I really do appreciate it." Cam thanked him as he was heading toward the door.
"If you need anything dear please don't hesitate to ask, I'm right down the hall in 1B." And with that Charlie waddled his way back down the hall towards his apartment.
The apartment wasn't the nicest place she had ever lived but it would do for now. It was a small studio with a large wall of windows over looking the street. She quickly unpacked a small bag of clothes and toiletries, she was supposed to meet with Matty and Chris tonight and she wanted to look at least presentable.
Dressed in dark jeans and a tank top with a short cardigan over it Cam climbed out of her cab in front of Club 469. When she had asked Matty about the name he had told her that it was the address and it sounded good so they decided to keep it. Chris had quickly interjected some sarcastic comment about boys and 69 but was quickly redirected by Matty. Assessing the out side of the club, it had no real definition, only one small sign next to the door with the nameplate. There seemed to be a pretty decent crowd for 9:00 on a Monday night, there was even a small line forming.
Cam quickly made her way through the crowd to the doorman.
"Sorry kid, line starts back there." The large man boomed in her direction not even looking up from his clipboard.
"Uh, my name is Cameron McNeil I have and appointment with Matty Demaret." Cam shouted trying to get the man's attention.
At the mention of Matty's name the bouncer stopped what he was doing and not only looked up at her but stared at her as if he were deciding whether or not to take her seriously. After what seemed like an eternity he picked up the phone.
"Yeah, I've got some chick out here saying she's supposed to see Mr. Demaret, says her name's… what was it again Carson Mc something? Cameron McNeil, yeah that's it. So she's good?" He hung up the phone and motioned for Cam to follow him.
"Hey sorry about that. So you're the new boss huh? Hope you last longer then the last one." He stopped outside an unmarked door, knocked then opened it for Cam. "Good luck"
The large office was beautifully decorated, it looked like something off the set of the godfather. There were floor to ceiling windows adorned with floor to ceiling crushed velvet drapes, tied back with gold tasseled rope. The large mahogany desk that sat in the center of the windows had meticulously carved scenes on the front of the wine making process, and the top looked to be marble. The young man sitting behind the desk equally looked like he had stepped out of the godfather.
"Cameron, I'm Matty Demaret, it is so nice to finally meet you." Matty said getting up from the desk and coming around to shake her hand. "Please have a seat, can I get you anything to drink?"
"No thank you, I'm all set and please, it's Cam. Only my mother calls me Cameron and that's usually only when I'm in trouble." Cam smiled.
"Cam it is then," Matty smiled back. He was handsome and he was definitely Italian. Meticulously kept hair and clothes, that probably cost more then her first car, punctuated his dark features. "Let me bring you up to speed on where we are now and where my partners and I would like to see ourselves in the future."
Matty and Cam talked for more then an hour about everything from inventory control to graphic design and wine selection.
"At some point I would like to sit down with all of you to discuss where they see the restaurant and club going. Will they be here later tonight? Cam asked as she and Matty started walking towards the kitchen of the restaurant.
"You'll definitely meet Chris tonight, he'll be by later, the other two are more silent partners." Matty did his best to side step the question.
"Ok, so we will only see them when we meet with the investors? Do they have names?"
"Yes, of course. There's Chris' cousin Johnny and my friend Taylor. Taylor doesn't care much about what goes on here as long as we are turning a profit and Marbles doesn't much care what happens as long as the doors stay open so he can tell people he owns a club." Matty punctuated the last part with a laugh.
"Marbles?" Cam questioned
"Oh, sorry. Johnny aka Marbles. Only person that calls him Johnny is his mom and that's usually only when he's in trouble." Matty grinned.
After seeing every inch of the club and restaurant Cam finally bid Matty a good night and hailed a cab home, it was after 3am and Cam was exhausted. Once home she unpacked and blew up her air mattress and slid in under her comforter.
"Tonight was the first night of the rest of my life," she thought to herself as she drifted to sleep, "and I can't wait to get started on it."