It was business as usual at Chapel Chase. A constant flow of executives, the high and mighty corporate-type people who made and lost billions of dollars as easily as the rest of the world lost and found coins in the street. They came in for their power-lunch meetings, whispering over their salads and behind wine glasses about whose head would be the next sacrifice on the chopping block.
Asher listened to their gossip, glad he didn’t live in that carnivorous world. These people were more than happy to stab each other in the back to get a leg up on the competition.
The week had been steady, but Friday night was when the big boys and girls came out to play. Asher’s black uniform was cleaned and pressed when he walked into work, ten minutes before the start of his shift. Clean shaven, his hair still damp with every strand neatly in place. If there was one thing that he’d learned while tending bar, the better you look the bigger the tips.
Somehow, Ziggy still pulled in big tips even though the man didn’t own an iron. Even if he did, Asher doubted he would know how to use it. Ziggy’s shirts were always crumpled, but that didn’t stop women from constantly hitting on him. His personality matched his look which was rugged. A shaved head, multiple earrings up both ears, and a tattoo that peeked out from the collar of his shirt, depending on how he moved, had these business women throwing their money and their bodies at Ziggy several nights a week.
They both used their good looks for tips and their fair share of phone numbers written on the backs of business cards slipped in with a generous tip, but at the end of the night, Asher and Ziggy weren’t competing over dates. They didn’t exactly have the same type in mind for a good fuck. There was no need to worry about fighting over who was going to invite them home after work for a night of hot sex.
“Michael Waters came by here asking for you last night,” Ziggy said, smirking when Asher stumble over the threshold that separated the bar area from the customers.
Asher tried to play it smooth and shrug off the stumble, but Ziggy saw him. “So, what did he want?”
“You, apparently,” Ziggy said not even trying to hide his huge grin.
“Yeah right, seriously dude, what did he say?”
Ziggy set down the ice scoop and slammed the lid closed on the freezer. “He just asked if you were working last night and when I told him no, he left.”
Asher had told Ziggy about finding Michael passed out on the sidewalk last week, but the guy was really out of it, so he was sure that Michael wouldn’t remember much of what happened. Actually, Asher was surprised that Michael remembered anything at all.
“Well, I’m here tonight,” Asher said, flashing Ziggy his sexiest smile and giving him a wink that had co-worker laughing.
You didn’t need a watch to know when it was five o’clock. People poured out of the tall shiny skyscrapers like ants, flooding the sidewalks and streets. A few parents would jump into waiting cabs or hoof it to the nearest bus stop or subway station to get home to their families, but a majority of the business district was ambitious young people. They were well educated, hungry, and just starting out in this vicious new world. They worked hard and played even harder. This new crowd was waiting longer to get married and settle down with families and kids, enjoying their careers in their prime.
Dozens of restaurants and bars catering to all them, filling up to capacity within minutes of the five o’clock whistle. As the bar side of Chapel Chase exploded, Asher and Ziggy were ready. They worked well as a team. Ziggy occasionally complained that Jimmy was trying to kill them by not hiring a third bartender for Friday nights, but somehow the two of them always made it work.
The place grew louder, people came and went, faces blurred together, but none of them was Michael Waters. Secretly, Asher wanted to see him again, but he didn’t know why Michael would want to see him. Michael was tall, strong, good looking, and straight. He emitted straight boy vibes that had Asher’s gaydar beeping ‘Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!’
With such a busy night the time flew by and before Asher knew it, Ziggy was shouting last call. The last drinks were poured and then Asher started cleaning up for closing. The quicker it was done the sooner he could go home. The staff worked together. Since Ziggy had already finished his chores, he went to help the girls wrap up theirs so everyone could leave together.
Separating at the front door, everyone headed north except Asher who lived on the south end of the city. His co-workers cheerfully hollered their goodbyes as they ventured further up the street. Asher walked along in silence. It was another beautiful night in the city. The gentle breeze was warmed from the summer heat still radiating off the asphalt street.
“Dude, hurry up before someone sees you.” The harsh whisper wasn’t very quiet if someone was trying to be discreet.
“Oh my god.” The second voice was louder than the first. “This one is definitely going up on Facebook.”
Asher stopped and listened, he wanted to be completely sure of what was happening before he went running headfirst into trouble. The first guy mumbled, but it wasn’t his words that Asher recognized, it was the high pitched laughter that followed. It was very distinctive and he had heard it before.
Walking on the tips of his toes, Asher peered around the wall separating the Dogwood Café from the sidewalk. The outside patio was closed for the night and the staff had moved the tables, chairs, and umbrellas to the side of the building. Passed out on top of two wrought iron tables pushed together was Michael Waters!
Asher shook his head, as the feeling of déjà vu started all over again.
“Leon, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Asher shouted, scaring the guy, causing him to drop Michael’s head back to the table with a bang. Leon and Perry both jumped away from Michael. All three of them worked for Johnson & Ashcroft, but these two were both still bottom feeders. They hadn’t had their big breaks yet, like Michael had.
“We didn’t do anything,” Leon mumbled. He was probably right. They had both left the bar right after last call so they couldn’t have had a hand in the disheveled state Michael was currently in.
As Asher stepped closer, they moved further away. Perry was still holding his phone in his hand with the image of a passed out Michael, on the screen. “Jesus, if this is how you guys treat friends, I’d hate to see what you would do to your enemies. Fucking delete that right now.”
Perry fumbled with the device, doing as Asher said.
The three of them were part of the same crowd of people that came into the bar almost every Friday. Tonight, both Leon and Perry were there, but Michael had been missing from the group. By the looks of the man, Michael had found somewhere else to unwind and knock back a few too many.
“Come on, help me get him up,” Asher said as he rolled Michael onto his back without any assistance from them. There was a small cut over Michael’s right eye and his lower lip was busted. The blood was dark and dried, so it must have happened a while ago, but Leon dropping his head back on the table hadn’t help either.
Asher patted Michael’s pockets. His keys were there, but his wallet and cell phone were both missing. “Which one of you took his fucking wallet?”
“Not me!” They both shouted at the same time. The immediate surprise that flashed over their faces told Asher that they were telling the truth. Whatever had happened to the wallet and phone had occurred before Bevis and Butthead showed up.
“Look, we can’t leave him like this. One of you is going to have to take him home.” Asher said.
“Fuck that!” Leon protested, “Michael ‘The Shark’ Waters is not going home with me--”
Asher rolled his eyes. “To his home, dumbass!” This is why he hated drunk people.
“I know he lives on Barton Street.” Both of them shot Asher a questioning look as soon as he said it. “Really, you’re going to pick right now to be asshats? I card you stupid fuckers at the bar, remember?”
Perry giggled, but Leon continued to stare at Asher for a moment longer, making his stomach do a backflip. Asher was openly gay, but he kept his flirting to a minimum at work. Leon might be one of the few bi-curious guys who Asher caught trying to check him out on the down-low.
“No matter what, Michael can’t stay here. If nobody knows where he lives then someone is going to have to take him to their house.” Asher said with emphasis as he glared at Leon.
Perry slowly backed away as Asher and Leon stood there glaring at each other. Just when his co-worker turned to run away, Leon’s head snapped around as he noticed Perry moving away. “So, that’s how this is going to be? You’re going to bail on me now?”
Asher had enough. “Why not, neither of you has any loyalty to anyone but yourselves. Just go the hell home, both of you, jackasses.” The words had barely slipped past Asher’s lips when both of them took off running.
Michael mumbled something incoherent, but unlike last week, he didn’t open his eyes, and that made it a whole lot harder to move him from the table and out to the metal bench at the bus stop. Asher kept him sitting upright at least to make the man appear to be awake and alert until Asher could spot a cab with its lights on.
“You’re turning out to be an expensive pain in my ass,” Asher chuckled, talking to Michael’s unconscious body. “Stiffed on last week’s tip and now I have to pay for a freaking cab ride, usually when someone costs me this much money, I would get a courtesy fuck or at the very least, a blowjob out of it.”
Asher almost hoped it would be the same driver from the other night; that guy would remember Michael’s address, but as it got closer he noticed that the paint was dark blue and not gray like the other cab. The driver pulled over when Asher waved him down.
“Well, there’s no way out of this now, Mr. Waters.” Asher caught Michael’s arm before he slid over on his side. “Are you ready to go home, dear?”
Like the last driver, he was leery when Asher placed Michael inside the cab, but when he climbed in beside him and told the driver, “3719 Onyx Hill,” the guy hit the meter and pulled back onto the empty road.
Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to check-out my new chapter. Let me know what you think, I love to hear from readers. There is still much much much more to come with these guys and I've barely scratched the surface! (new chapter every Monday afternoon... EST)