I'm having the biggest writers' block of my entire life. How I normally work with the Block is, I stop writing whatever the hell I'm writing and continue on another thing, or even start a new small one shot thing, but nope, not this time. When I turned around and went to do another thing, BAM! Another brick wall, and another when I tried to do something else, and again and again. So, I've been in this writers' block/brick wall cage for... two weeks.
There's suppose to be big fluff in this chapter but... you guys know how shit I am at fluff. So, if anyone wants to be my fluff writer, I know that sounds dodgy as fuck, throw a PM my way and we'll see what happens.
Yeah... hopefully this chapter is going to better than the last one.
"It's odd, I guess, but..." I trailed off as Lois came out of the locker rooms in a swimsuit. Skinny like a bamboo, kinda light in the tit department, but I think that's required for swimmers, her hair tied back, and quite nice legs. I cleared my throat and turned back to the swimming pool.
"Is something wrong?" I shook my head. Lois glanced at me before diving into the pool. I don't know why I agreed to come up here. It's like a fat guy pressing himself up against a cake shop window. I took off my shoes and socks and rolled up my jeans to the knees, dipping my feet into the pool. "Why don't you come in?" Lois stopped in the lane next to me.
"I don't have anything to wear and I'm pretty sure these guys won't like it if I swim in my bra and boxers."
"Boxers?" I half shrugged. Lois smiled and then grabbed my ankle and pulled me into the pool. I swallowed a mouthful of water, meaning I swallowed a mouthful of piss, and broke the surface to find Lois laughing her ass off.
"So fucking funny." I threw some water at her which she ducked into the water and popped up in the same lane as me. "You are so goddamn lucky I left my wallet at ho-" I was cut off by Lois pushing me into the ledge and kissing me. I was so shocked I stopped swimming and had to grab onto the edge to stop drowning. "What the hell are you doing?!" I pushed her away and flinched back.
"I thought you liked girls?"
"I do but not you! I mean- I have a girlfriend. I stopped being people's experimental trials a long time ago." I pulled myself out of the pool and picked up my shoes. "I'm going to be late for work." I ignored Lois and headed off to search for my car. "I'm sorry I'm late."
"What happened to your clothes?" Alexander took off his glasses and put down the papers he was reading.
"Nothing of importance. What do you want me to make?"
"Hmm. Don't be late again, Bella." He put his glasses back on and started writing. "Make the cocktails I taught you and I'll see if you've improved. If you have, I'll teach you another drink. If you need help, ask me." I nodded and headed behind the bar.
"Question, do you work? I mean, I haven't seen you up front in the week I've worked here."
"I don't have time to spare to pull pints. When my father died, I became more involved in paperwork and stock than the piano or bartending."
"Sorry 'bout that." I poured Coke in the glass 'til it reached the top. "I know a Long island iced tea isn't exactly the drink to drown your misery in but, here you go." I slid the glass next to the seven other drinks; Cosmo, Manhattan, Margarita, Martini, Tom Collins, Fuzzy Navel, Apple Martini.
"You've become quicker." Alexander walked over to the bar and examined each glass. "Hmm." He took a sip from each one then went back to his paperwork. "Very nice. Well done."
"Wow, was that a compliment, Alexander? You must be in a good mood." I heard him hum. "Oh, there it goes. What do you want me to make?"
"Nothing, but I need you to work, now." He took off his glasses and closed the file, taking it into his office.
"What?" I followed him and watched him pull out an extra waistcoat. "No, no, you can't spring this on me. Why can't you call in Denise?"
"It would not be fair to her, after all she's working tonight."
"What if I'm busying? You're expecting me to drop my plans?"
"Are you busy?"
"No, but that's beside the point-"
"It is the point. You are working Bella, and that's final." He pushed the waistcoat in my hands as he left the room. I gritted my teeth and resisted the urge to strangle him with it. I put the cocktails away in the fridge and wiped down the bar, turned on the coffee machine, and sat down on my ass.
A couple people came in, someone dicked about on the piano, and I once again resisted the urge to kill Alexander. "I'm taking a break," I walked passed Alexander, ignoring his hum, and lit up a cigarette, first one in three days. "Oh, sweet air." I checked my phone and saw I had three missed calls from Jasper and one from Alice.
"Bella," Jasper's voice came through quiet. "I'm in class, what do you want?"
"Why have you called me three times? That's more than Alice and I'm sleeping with her."
"Yes, very funny. I'll call you back in five minutes." Click. Five minutes later, Jasper phoned back. "Where are you? Alice called me and told me you weren't home or picking up your phone. And why weren't you answering me?"
"Jasper, calm the fuck down, you're reacting worse than Alice. I wasn't home because I'm working and I didn't answer either of you 'cause I turned my phone on silent 'cause I'm working. She couldn't've been that worried, she only called once."
"Bella, do you remember what day it is?"
"Uhh... Thursday, 16th, I think. Why, what's so special?"
"What's so... Bella, it's your anniversary – Alice and yours first anniversary."
"No it isn't, it's tomorrow. Jesus, Jasper, calm down, you think I'm doing to fuck up at every corner. I gotta go, homo, before Alexander goes ape shit."
"No, no, Bella, listen to me. It's today, Alice called me to ask if you were with me. You need to go home and hope Alice isn't going to kill you."
"Oh, fucking Christ." I hung up and went back inside. "Alexander, I have to go."
"No, you haven't finished yet."
"Fire me then." I threw my waistcoat at him and rushed to my car and drove home. "Alice!" I burst through the door and promptly leaned against it. "Fuck, we've got to move to a place with an elevator." I checked in the bedroom, living room, and kitchen and she wasn't here. "Oh, for fuck sake." I slumped on the couch and looked at my phone. No new messages.
I changed clothes and laid back on the couch. Alice came in ten minutes later. "Hey, you got champagne." I rolled off the couch and took the bottle from her and poured two glasses.
"No flowers, no candles, you didn't even dress nice. Happy anniversary to me."
"Hey, I bought you a $1000 book for your birthday. I don't have to buy you anything nice for at least two years." I gave her her glass and sat back down on the couch. "First anniversary... I owe Charlotte ten bucks."
"I feel so loved." She sat next to me and threw her legs over my lap. "When did Jasper call you to remind you?"
"What're you talking about? Jasper never called me." I rested my glass on her shin as my other hand stroked just above her knee. "I would never forget our first year together, that would be-"
"At work. Alexander had me doing the early shift but I cut it short when the homo called."
"You left in the middle of work? Won't that make Alexander mad?"
"Probably. Oh well," I leaned over and gave her a quick kiss. "I may have forgotten our anniversary but I wasn't going to miss it."
"That makes no sense."
"I don't act all sweet and romantic by nature, roll with it. What do you want to do today? Anything you want and we'll do it."
"Anything at all? Fly to the Himalayas and reach spiritual enlightenment?"
"Sure, but you'll have to dip into your own pockets, I'm poor as fuck." She only smiled. "What?" She shook her head and took my glass out of my hand and put it along with hers on the table, and then crawled into my lap.
"There's probably a city's worth of people who I should be with," Well, fuck, I was going to get dump on a first anniversary. You know, I thought we had at least two years in us but then again, I've never been good at estimating. God, Jasper's going to tear me a new one when word reaches him. He'll probably tie me to a chair until I tell him every little detail of tonight. I felt someone slap my cheek. I cupped my cheek and glared at Alice. "Bella, are you paying me any attention?"
"Yeah, of course. There's a whole city out there you will date." She slapped my forehead. "Ow! For fuck sake, can you stop that? I'm just repeating what you said."
"If you were listening to me you would've heard me saying, yes, there are people out there who share my interests, aren't as crass or lewd as you, but you..." She smiled and brought her hands under my hair, running her thumbs behind my ear and down some of my neck. "You're flawed and not perfect but that's why I love you."
"So you love me 'cause I'm a project? An old toy that needs sewing up and a new eye."
"No, I love you because you are you. Can you imagine how boring a relationship without you would be? If I was with someone who was calm and collected, logical and... safe, it would be unbelievable dull."
"I'm not calm, not collected and not logical? Mmm, I sound like a catch."
"You know what I mean." I hummed and put my hands on her thighs, going to hip then back down to knee, and up again. Alice raised her eyebrow and I grinned.
"Bella," Lawrence put down the chalk. "You are early." It's true. It was five minutes before class and I normally stumble in about ten minutes passed. "What can I do for you, girl?"
"I need you to sign this, I'm dropping out." I handed him the note I was given.
He looked disappointed as he looked down at the paper. "That is a shame. You made things... interesting." He handed it back to me. "I hope you find your way." I nodded and left the room, dropped off the note, and ran into Lois outside.
"Hi, Bella. Come on, class is starting." She grabbed my hand and started pulling me. I dug my heels into the ground and twisted my hand away.
"Yeah, no. I just left this place for good and am now a full-time barfly."
"You dropped out? Why? If it's because of what happened yesterday, I'm sorry, it was-"
"Whoa, that's a bit self-centred of you. I'm dropping out 'cause I'm working, and I don't want to wake up at stupid o'clock to sit in a room to listen to people argue. I'll see you around." I found my car around the corner and drove to the bar. I knocked on the glass and a minute later Alexander appeared and let me in.
"Yeah, I wanna talk to you about something." I took up one of the round tables facing the stage and patted the chair next to me. Alexander frowned but sat down. "It's about the business and how to get in some more money."
Alexander's face looked like it was carved out of stone. "You're going to sit here and tell me how to run my business, this business that has been running successfully for twenty years? What do you know of this market?"
"I know that in this shit economy people cannot spend as much as they would like. You know the first things that get cut off? Frivolous spending; interior designers, personal shoppers, you know what the next thing is? Restaurants and bars, and not the run of the mill dive bars; lounge bars, wine bars, piano bars, us. So, to pick up the slack, we have to bring in food-"
"No," Alexander slammed his palm on the table. "I am not having greasy food stinking the entire place."
"No, no, of course not. I'm not talking about fry ups and things swimming in their own fat and grease, I'm thinking along the lines of sandwiches, salads, light stuff, things that don't have to be cooked. I've seen when you first open up and I gotta say, I've seen more action at a funeral. Traffic picks at what, one? You need to bring in food to pick up the slack. You have a coffee machine, you have a kitchen even though you did a great job covering it up, you have a great spot with the docks next-door and you're downtown."
Alexander only hummed. He went into his office and came back with two files. "This file contains the takings and this is the budget. Tell me where we have the extra money for this? Do you have the ability to rub your hands together and coins fall?"
I grabbed the black file and resisted the urge to beat him with it. I looked through and... yeah. "Wait, what about this? A paid pianist every week? You're wasting $100 a week, that's $500 a month, a month!"
"If there wasn't a pianist, this wouldn't be called a piano bar. What do you suggest?"
"Make it every two weeks or every month. The rest of the time it can be like an open mic."
"Very well, we'll have idiots mucking about on the piano, creating god awful noises and running off my customers."
"Your clientele isn't like that. You don't get drunken morons that make asses out of themselves. I believe the people who would play on the piano wouldn't do it if they didn't know how to play it or were beginning to learn. I believe you would get experienced players who know all kinds of songs or people who would know a couples of songs. Look, if it doesn't work out, if you get a bunch of dicks fucking about, chuck the whole idea and go back to five hundred a month."
He huffed through his nose like a pissed off bull. "We take away money from the pianist, which makes this bar what it is, and give it to a cook?"
"Yes, but you get in more people with food than you do with music. Get a friend who'll do the job on friends rates, and if the food is a big success then you can bring back your beloved pianist every two weeks." I closed the file and handed it back to him.
"Hmm. Go practice your cocktails."
Hmm... hmm. A heads up, expect great delays, big big big delays, Great wall of China sized delays.
Can you guys review to give me a kick up the arse?