I visually followed her until she was out of sight before realizing I was still extending my hand out to her. I felt my cheek getting hotter and I tried to brush it off as if it was nothing before I looked at Eric again. He was smirking at me as if this whole scene was very entertaining. I, on the contrary wasn’t happy. I found him arrogant and Pam; rude. Nonetheless, I smiled quickly before turning my attention to Lexi who I could tell was huffing and puffing but I had no idea why since I had placed my shields back up.
Sometimes I did it without realizing, like a defense mechanism of some sort. It didn’t take much for me to put them back up but keeping them up was a different story which with my years of experience had gotten a lot easier.
Since I needed to concentrate, to learn, I made the conscious decision to keep them up as I did not want any distractions especially now that Eric was standing in the middle of the dance floor watching our every move. I risked an eye in his direction and got goose bumps when our eyes met. A part of me wanted to leave, heck I had not agreed to anything yet but the other part just wanted to get to know Eric. Call it curiosity, I just wanted to be in his presence, to see and experience how it feels not to hear someone’s mind. It was fascinating to me really.
By the time Lexi showed me how the cash register worked; Eric left us for his office. An hour later, we had gone through the entire inventory of booze and Lexi was now indicating the cleaning closet and asked me to start dusting. I nodded and she pointed to a door at the back of the bar.
“That’s the basement. Don’t go there”, she said with a stone cold face that meant to not argue nor to ask why. “Since it is Sunday, we have to clean the entire place before we can go home.” she added as she walked away using the mop to guide the bucket to the dance floor.
I nodded again and grabbed the cleaning product and the rag while she took care of the mop and the bucket. As much as she acted as if she was my superior, she obviously wasn’t and had the same cleaning duty as I did.
As I was dusting the bar, Pam came into the room followed by a tall man with long black hair. He appeared to be of Indian descent but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. I wasn’t the most cultured on ethnicity after all. He was wearing a sleeveless grey shirt and black leather pants. His arms were covered in tattoos which I found intriguing. Not a lot of people in Bon Temps had tattoos that distinctive. When he passed by me, his shoulder touched mine and I shivered at his coldness but what was most shocking to me was his mind. It had a radio silence like Eric’s and Pam’s.
“Sookie, this is Coen Longshadow, he is a bartender as well” she stated.
“Hi!” I replied waving and he nodded. “How many bartender works here?” I asked looking at Pam who was going through a book she had retrieved from under the cash register.
“Three, including you” she said and then looked up at me. “There are also four bouncers and security guards and three waitresses. You will meet them soon enough” she added.
I had only met Lexi, Kim and Longshadow so I was missing a big part of the staff. Salon Rouge was opened from Tuesday to Saturday from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., Sunday and Monday being closed. I wasn’t sure what kind of rotation the staff was on but I was curious to what shift I would be working. I highly doubted three bartenders were needed at any one time.
She turned to Coen and they resumed their discussion while she looked through the book. They were whispering at each other so I figured I should not eavesdrop on the conversation. Plus, Pam did not look too happy so I kept the questions I had about my employment and resumed cleaning. They eventually headed to the basement, the forbidden place. How dramatic can I be? I was curious about it but it was also none of my business and I was a polite girl who mined her own.
I made sure to take my time and to do a good job. Sure cleaning wasn’t my favourite thing in the world but I pride myself in being a good employee and I was going to do my job well no matter what type of job it was.
I looked at my watch and saw 1 a.m. flashing back at me. I yawned as a result of it and shook my head. It would take time for me to get used to working late and getting up late but I was sure it wouldn’t be a problem.
I stood in front of his office unsure whether I should knock to clean it or just walk away. I was sure Eric did not clean his own office and who else would but us, so following that reasoning, instead of using my telepathy, I just knocked and waited for an answer. When none came, I opened the door that was left unlocked and proceeded to clean the office.
As I was dusting his desk, Lexi walked by and chuckled which made me frown. Why was she laughing? I immediately dropped my shields to listen to her thoughts which called me an idiot and compared me to Kim.
She was starting to really get on my nerves; the way she walked around as if she owned the place which I knew wasn’t the case pissed me off and rubbed me the wrong way. And really, what the hell was her problem with Kimberly, she had been nothing but nice to me, so I really didn’t get the fuss between them.
As she chuckled in the distance, I caught the word boss and office which made me paranoid. Maybe I wasn’t allowed in here after all. I finished cleaning his chair and walked to the door looking back at the desk to ensure everything had been placed back in its original condition when I hit something hard and robust in the door frame. Of course I knew exactly what I had hit; a chest, and guessed it belong to Eric which I confirmed when I turned my head to look up straight in his eyes. He had grabbed my arms probably out of instincts.
“I am sorry! I didn’t see you there” I said as my heart rate increased due to the embarrassment I always seemed to cause myself.
“What are you doing in my office?” he enquired his hand holding me in place without squeezing me hard.
“I…” I stuttered before bringing the rag up in front of me. “I was just cleaning” I said defensively.
He stared at me for what seemed an eternity considering he never let go of my arms. I could feel as the seconds passed, his grip was slowly fading but it didn’t stop me from kicking myself mentally for not asking permission before entering. He had thought of me as a spy and sure he had believed me when I said I wasn’t, I mean, he had offered me a job but really, this kind of behavior would make him paranoid and I wouldn’t blame him.
I felt an uncomfortable coldness in my bones while something brushed off on my own thoughts inviting me to share why I was in his office. I thought the feeling was odd as if he didn’t believe me and now, somehow, by the simple fact of staring at me, he could force me to tell him my thoughts. The more he stared at me, the sicker I felt to the point of having to look away as I couldn’t take it anymore. He let go of my arms so I instinctively moved out of the way so he could enter his own office.
I heard a growl and looked in his direction. He must have been really hungry for his stomach to growl in such way. He was frowning and seemed confused, but it only lasted a few seconds on his face before he returned to his cold stone face expression. He pointed to the seat in front of his desk and asked me to sit. This was it, I thought to myself, I was going to be fired because he felt he couldn’t trust me and I started to panicked.
I sat down and waited for him to start speaking.
“My desk has never been so clean before. Thank you.” he said and I almost choked on my own saliva. “Now we must discuss your work hours and your pay Miss Stackhouse.” ,he added and I continued staring at him in disbelief.
I must have had a nervous laugh because Eric chuckled and smirked at me.
“Did you think I was firing you?” he asked and I nodded.
He then started to laugh which made me jump. I don’t know why I was so nervous but his laugh; warm and inviting, eventually made me laugh as well.
“For doing your job?” he asked again this time smiling.
“I don’t know. You didn’t seem too happy with me being in your office without permission. And you mentioned something about a spy or something. I guess it’s making me nervous” I blurted out despite my best efforts to keep my composure. I wish I didn’t talk so much when I was stressed out.
“I doubt you are one Miss Stackhouse. Besides, I don’t leave important information just lying around for everyone to see” he replied.
“Well I am not one and I appreciate you given me a job. With Merlotte’s being rebuilt, I can’t afford to be without work until it is back in business and I go back”
“That is, if you decided to go back” he quickly added and I frowned. He had put so much emphasis on the word “if” as if he thought I would like it so much here I wouldn’t. “Here you will be paid $16 an hour plus your tips. This might increase to $20 after your probation”
If I had been drinking something I would have either spilled it or it would have exited out through my nose. That was a lot of money for someone that was just starting and I was amazed. All I could do wasnod.
“You will work Wednesday to Sunday, 8 to closing.” He stated and I nodded again. “Any questions?” he said.
“No” I replied.
“Pam can discuss logistics with you but we usually try to keep two bartenders at all time and at least one waitress. The bouncers are here to protect the staff and the establishment, it is best if you do not interact with them”
I acknowledged him with a nod. He stared at me for a couple more seconds, not too long before closing his eyes and taking a deep breath.
“If you do not have any more questions, Miss Stackhouse, I will see you on Wednesday.” he stated his eyes still closed. I took it as my cue to leave and headed to the door but before I could exit, I felt him right behind me. How the hell did he moved so quickly? He placed his hand on my right shoulder and I shivered under the touch. A part of me wanted to stay in the office as I enjoyed his silent mind and the serenity of his presence. Anytime he had touched me, for the first time in my life, I was not bombarded with unwelcomed images and thoughts. I could enjoy human touch without a heavy burden I never wanted in the first place. It was strange not knowing what someone thought or felt and I found it fascinating.
“I hope you had a good evening Sookie”, he said quietly and let go of my shoulder.
I instantly missed his touch. Not in a weird, needy way. Okay maybe a little bit but it was more like a drug. I was feeling and experiencing new things and I wanted more. I did not want it to stop which made me sigh heavily.
I turned my body to find him in such close proximity, it took me by surprise.
“Yes, thank you. I think I will really enjoy working here.” I said to him smiling and he offered me a quick smile before I turned around.
“Could you send Lexi on your way out?” he asked and I replied “no problem.”
I walked in the bar’s direction hoping to find her there, but instead she was in the closet putting the bucket and the mop away.
“Eric wants to see you” I told her
Oh, I hope he is in the.., she thought but then her thought died when she saw me staring at her.
“Ok” ,she replied out loud and bid me farewell in a hurry.
I shrugged and grabbed my bag which I had left on the counter. I looked through it and found my cellphone. No one had called me as expected so I turned it off and headed to the door. It was very late and I felt the fatigue taking over my legs. I quickly headed to the exit door, the one at the back of the bar since the front was already all closed up.
As I passed by the multiple doors, I could tell by Lexi’s mind, she was still in his office, so was he. I was then hit with disgusting thoughts she was having about Eric and it made me sick to my stomach.
Please, take me now, I can’t wait anymore I heard in the distance and I walked a bit faster. The thoughts grew stronger as I approach his office and judging by the moan I could here, she was having a good time with Eric. I couldn’t help but huff as I walked by, disgusted by their behaviors. Not only was it classless to have sex in a work office but he was her boss. Bosses were not supposed to take advantage of their positions. I left to go out to the parking lot, my head racing from the constant thoughts I couldn’t block. I was overwhelmed by her desire and shocked by the images that kept on flooding my mind.
Once I reached my car, I was finally able to put my shields back up and I let out a small cry, no longer able to contain my frustrations.
Now I wasn’t so sure I wanted to work there anymore. Lexi had been a bitch to me and knowing she was with Eric just made me feel sick to my stomach. I felt confused and hurt and I didn’t understand why.
Angry, I started my car and exited the parking lot. I honked at a guy who was just standing in the middle of the street in front of Salon Rouge staring at it; probably drunk or high on something, crazy Shreveport people.
As the many trees flew by my car while Shreveport’s lights were getting smaller and smaller in my rear-view mirror, I continued to drive home probably a little, or a lot, above the speed limit as my thoughts whirled through my mind on what to do.