"This is a travesty." Chloe sighed heavily, flapping her arms around near Aubrey's head.
"Just turn the dramatics down a notch ok?" Aubrey huffed in reply, brushing her fringe out of her eyes and scrolling down the page in a manner Chloe thought to be rather fierce. "You know I can't concentrate when you're dancing around like that. Besides, I'm confident that we'll find a set of super tough and manly bouncers, a couple of super sexy waitresses with bikini-ready bodies and an undiscovered DJ with the skills to be performing worldwide."
"That's exactly the thinking that got us into this hot mess." Chloe started to grumble but quickly tried to get her tone back under control and flopped into the chair next to her best friend. "Everyone that fits those descriptions is going to cost thousands of dollars, we'll be broke before opening night. Why don't we just-" she hesitated slightly, knowing the danger of expressing her opinion, especially when it opposed Aubrey's. "Get people willing to work?"
"Chloe I don't want a bunch of misfits working for me, my father-"
"Oh look!" Chloe exclaimed, reaching over Aubrey and clicking an ad she'd spotted. "Fat Amy, straight of college and looking for work as a bouncer. I bet she wouldn't cost much!"
"I imagined more of a...man." Aubrey sniffed. "A strong man with large muscles and-"
"Oh Bree you just need to be more open minded, at least she's not as scary looking as the other ones we've seen."
"They're meant to be scary." Aubrey whined. "And look, she's listed her skills as 'bikini car washes, pizza eating and mermaid dancing.'"
"Great, she'll keep the peace and entertain everyone!" Chloe replied cheerily. "Plus she says she's the best bouncer in Tasmania, um, with teeth."
"Fine, I give in." Aubrey relented with an extra drawn out sigh and was rewarded with a bright smile from Chloe that she returned with significantly less enthusiasm. The red headed girl noted Fat Amy's contact details on the pad of paper next to her and Aubrey clicked to return to the previous page, still in the hunt for more bouncers.
2 hours and a lot of tantrums later, Aubrey and Chloe had chosen two other bouncers to send interview offers to. Aubrey was about as impressed with their second two choices as she was with Fat Amy. First of all, she didn't approve of Lily's criminal record ("She'll probably kill us all!" "I'm sure she's learnt from her mistakes Aubrey, don't stress.") and her opinion of Cynthia Rose had quickly soured once she read her name and discovered she wasn't the male she had first thought. ("She's deceiving us already, who knows what else she'll get up to, she looks like bad news." "Just give her a chance Aubrey I'm sure she doesn't want people to think she's a dude.")
Chloe stood up from her seat next to Aubrey and stretched happily. "One job down!"
"And only about 300 more to go." Aubrey groaned. "Have you got the applications for the waitresses?"
"Oh yeah I put them over here." Chloe scrambled over to the table against the wall behind them and gathered a stack of papers, placing 4 of them down next to Aubrey.
"I thought these four looked the best." She smiled.
"What would I do without you?" Aubrey smiled in appreciation as she flicked through the papers while Chloe smiled quietly. "They all look fine, Jessica, Denise, Ashley and - oh."
"What's wrong?" Chloe's eyebrows furrowed at the look of disapproval on her friend's face.
"This girl Stacie has written 'enthusiasm and sex' under 'skills'.
Chloe tried to stifle a giggle at the way Aubrey's eyebrow twitched as she read the word 'sex'.
"Maybe she's just really enthusiastic at sex."
"I can't see that being of need to us in any way." Aubrey sniffed.
"Well I'm not so sure..." Chloe trailed off with a mischievous grin.
"Filthy." Aubrey frowned and shook her head. "Not all of us are as open as you."
"Whatever it is you call yourself."
"Yes, well, either way." Aubrey got up and strode towards the kitchen. "I'm under enough pressure already without hiring a girl with morals like that. You know my father always says if at first you don't-"
"I know Aubrey, I'm sure we'll be fine. We still need to find a DJ though remember? There was that site I thought we could find one on."
"I-yes I remember - just," The blonde hesitated, looking back and forth between the computer and the kitchen. "Ok fine but I'm just going to make a sandwich. It's 12.30 and we've been working since 8."
Chloe nodded and smiled kindly and Aubrey gave a little nod back, as though reassuring herself it was alright to take a small break.
It was hard for Chloe to watch sometimes, Aubrey could become another person when she was under stress and it was at times difficult to remember her best friend was still there under the frazzled exterior. It had all started when Aubrey's father had started laying the pressure on Aubrey to find a high paying job - which was basically the day they finished college. Chloe remembered the day they'd graduated only a few weeks ago and Aubrey, all giggly with excitement, had dragged her over to speak to her parents.
"Miss Beale." The tall balding man nodded gruffly, offering a large hand for her to shake.
"Good evening Mr Posen." Chloe smiled as brightly as she could back despite having always found the man quite intimidating. A quick handshake and several almost broken fingers later and Chloe moved onto the small women standing next to Aubrey's father.
"Hi Sandra." She smiled, a real smile this time.
"Oh congratulations you girls." Mrs Posen gushed, grasping both girls by their forearms and giving them an affectionate pat each. "You've finally done it!"
"Oh but now's not the time to relax Sandra, quite the opposite actually." Aubrey's father Roy interjected "Now's when the hard work really begins! These girl's have had their heads in the clouds, they won't know what's hit them once they're out in the real world. Now Chloe, I understand you've completed an arts degree? Where exactly are you planning to head with that? It doesn't quite lead you straight into anything does it?"
"Oh um," Chloe stuttered, "I was thinking of just weighing up my options for a while, you know, seeing what's out there."
"I see." Mr Posen replied, in a tone that conveyed he clearly neither saw nor agreed with the bubbly girl's optimistic ideas. "That is once approach I suppose. Though Aubrey I expect you've got everything planned out?"
"Honey be reasonable." Sandra tried to steer the conversation away from the dangerous territory she could see it heading towards. "They've only just finished, they at least need a little time."
"Nonsense Sandra." The man easily dismissed his wife. "Aubrey knows the traditions of our family, all highly paid business owners bringing honour and positive attention to the Posen family name. And since Aubrey has no brothers-" He paused for a regretful sigh -"I'm only thankful she isn't in any kind of relationship so that the Posen name will be able to start another million dollar company. What my colleges would think if she was getting married at this age I don't want to even begin to imagine."
"Roy." Sandra tried once more to interrupt as Chloe scrunched her nose in confusion, wondering how Mr Posen was somehow condemning Aubrey for getting married at a young age, despite stating 10 seconds earlier she wasn't seeing anyone.
"Enough of this," Mr Posen continued, "I don't have time to discuss you girl's poor decisions."
"Don't worry Daddy, I've got a great idea already." Aubrey spoke up for the first time.
"And it better be a jolly good one! Like my own father always said, 'if at first you don't succeed, pack you bags.'" He paused for effect and then spotted someone he knew over near another group of people. "Oh Aubrey isn't that you maths professor Mr Bailey? I must congratulate him on the new textbook he's written. I haven't read one of such good quality since I re-read one of my own." And with that he had walked off, leaving all three women looking quite pleased he had.
"I've got no ideas!" Aubrey had wailed later that night from where she was sitting with papers skewed all around her, as Chloe moved around her, throwing the other girl's clothes into boxes that would be moving to the new apartment the two of them were renting.
"I'm sure you'll be fine Bree, you'll think of something soon. You always do!" She paused her packing to wrap her arms around the taller girls neck and Aubrey relaxed into her, leaning her head back against Chloe's shoulder. "I think I'll make you a coffee, do you want a coffee? I'll make you a coffee."
A week later Chloe had been heading out the door of their new apartment on the way to her new job as a waitress when she heard a shriek and she looked back worriedly, expecting to find Aubrey injured on the floor.
"I've got it!" The blonde was shouting, grinning and looking slightly mad with a dishevelled appearance and waving her 'notebook of Aubrey's great ideas' in the air.
"You've got it?" Chloe asked apprehensively, hoping this wasn't like her last few ideas (A company selling hand-knitted beanies, a professional a cappella singing group and a book on how to become a master of you inner stress monster.)
"A club!" Aubrey burst out breathlessly, plonking herself down in a chair in front of the kitchen bench with her usual toast cut into triangles in front of her. She took a sip of the tea Chloe had prepared for her earlier and leant back against her chair.
"A club?" Chloe let go of the door handle and stared back at her best friend.
"A club." Aubrey repeated, her eyes starting forward and far away into a future of fortune and riches. "We'll start it from scratch. We'll get a kickass DJ. Everyone will come to see him. All the waitresses will be beautiful and the rooms will be huge and oh my God we'll call it 'Bellas' 'cause that means beautiful and it will all be just perfect." She stopped for breath and patted down a few of her hairs that were attempting to escape her ponytail in her excitement.
"Wow ok, just , Aubrey did you say 'we'?"
"Of course." The blonde looked up in surprise. "I'll need someone to be the manager."
"I guess so." Chloe agreed, but Aubrey didn't seem satisfied.
"You don't think it's too farfetched do you? I know it will be a lot of work and no one can just go around starting up clubs all over the place but I just thought..."
"No of course not Bree." Chloe replied, shaking her head to pull herself together. "If it's what you want then we'll do it."
Aubrey's lips curled into a relieved smile and Chloe crossed the room to give her best friend a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'll talk to you about it after work ok?"
"Oh you won't need your job anymore." Aubrey still smiled brightly, "We're going be rich."
"This is madness." Aubrey collapsed into the chair Chloe had previously occupied, since Chloe was now in front of the computer and scrolling through the list of prospective DJs. She took a bite from her salad sandwich and watched over Chloe's shoulder for a few minutes as they rejected person after person.
"They've all got so many tattoos." She complained, shuddering as Chloe quickly moved past a man with piercings in almost everyhole in his face and earlobes stretched to their point of no return.
"This one doesn't." Chloe suggested, stopping at a picture of a pale weedy looking boy with thin blonde hair and glasses. A giggle burst past her lips as she read out his chosen stage-name of "pokemon master."
"Just keep searching." Aubrey muttered through gritted teeth, evidently not seeing the funny side.
Chloe paused the mouse over a moderately good looking boy with brown hair sprawled over his forehead.
"He'll be too expensive." Aubrey shook her head. "Look, he's already released an album."
"We're almost at the bottom." Chloe warned.
"Maybe try refreshing."
"No I don't think there's going to be anyone new in that ti- Oh what about her?" Chloe stopped abruptly and leant closer to the screen to get a better look at the small picture of a brunette girl with headphones around her neck. The bold writing to the right of the picture showed her stage name to be 'Pocket Rocket.'
"I may be small but I've still got swag." Chloe giggled as she read out the girl's summary.
"Oh hmm I don't think so." Aubrey frowned in disapproval, "She looks too alternative."
"Because she's wearing eyeliner?" Chloe rolled her eyes and clicked on the ad. A bigger version of the picture popped up and Chloe couldn't stop herself from smiling at the girl who looked horribly uncomfortable to be having her picture taken. The forced smile on her face was crooked, and somehow ended up looking more like a scowl. Chloe could imagine the girl huffing after the picture was taken and demanding to see the result. The girl looked so much like an introvert that Chloe wondered why she'd uploaded a profile for herself.
"To experience my swag first hand just contact me or my super awesome manager Jesse. Who is even cooler than me." Aubrey read out loud and scoffed.
Chloe's eyes slid back up to the picture and to the girl's arm tugging awkwardly at her collar that was obviously bothering her. On her forearm Chloe spotted a grasshopper tattoo and gasped.
"Absolutely no way." Aubrey spoke at the same time and immediately frowned at Chloe, "Wait what? Chloe I am not hiring anyone with an ear spike like that."
"I think it's cool! And I just know she'll be great." Chloe replied without taking her eyes off the screen.
"Um, hello?" Aubrey waved her hand in front of the redhead's face. "Chloe you're making gooey eyes at her."
"I'm not." Chloe replied automatically without listening. "I don't think she really wrote this summary, it seems too outgoing." She paused and looked over at Aubrey, "What do you think?"
"I - how am I supposed to know?" Aubrey snapped, looking flustered "I've never met the girl and I don't plan on it."
A tiny frown formed on Chloe's forehead for the first time since she'd laid eyes on the girl. "We have to email her!"
"We most certainly do not." Aubrey replied flatly, standing up. "Email her yourself if it means that much to you. I'm going to bed and I'll find a real DJ for us at a more respectable time of day. Good night."
"Good night." Chloe giggled at the rather formal parting comment from Aubrey and the blonde's frown deepened before Chloe jumped up and wrapped her in a hug. "And thank you."
Aubrey simply shook her head as she returned the hug and left for the bigger of the two bedrooms in their apartment.
Chloe excitedly slid back into the seat in front of the computer and quickly copied the girl's email into a new message.
"You have a funny name." Chloe started to type and smiled. The girl was going to love her.