Hyacinth Charm: Traitors & Friends (Book one)

May 25, 2017
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                                Chapter One
                          Alliea (Allie, Als)

         I dropped my head into my hands, bored and tired. I mean, you would be, too, if you worked at the Drunk & Wine bar I work at. I also work part time at the Pizza Palace on the other side of town. Most of my money comes from my job. And how much do I get paid? Fifteen dollars an hour. So I try to work as long as I can, without my eyes closing on me. And trust me, they do. It’s my job to entertain myself, but if you worked in a bar and had to constantly take people’s orders, it’s hard. The only thing to drink is whatever is behind me on the shelves, and I can never take a pee-break because I have to watch the bar or it’ll get crazy. Another thing to complain about is my outfit: fishnet tights; black over the knee high heels; a black crop top with lace design sleeves; black mini shorts; and my long, silver-grey waves in a ponytail. Everytime someone comes up to me for a drink, I can’t help but stoop so they can’t see me. Luckily, with the pulsing lights and single bulb behind the counter, no one can see me. But I duck down anyways. People tend to catch me by surprise, too. I brought my Beats by Drey headphones and my phone (I might sound paranoid, but I brought it incase I need to call 911). I listen to Pitbull and crank up the music, and sometimes I mouth the words and dance. (I must look like an idiot.) While I’m making a fool of myself, people are recording me behind my back. They catch me screaming when I turn around and see them there.
            Today is a good example of one of those kind of days.
            I was leaning on the marble counter, my headphones on and music blaring (and I wonder why I have so many headaches). I hadn’t noticed a teenage boy had strolled up to the bar and sat at least two seats away from me. I was busy listening to “Mr. WorldWide” for the fifth time (I counted) so I didn’t know the boy was there. I was watching everyone else on the dance floor as they danced sloppily, splashing their drinks around. Some people even toppled, and that was a show to see. I was moving my hips side to side a little, but not a lot to draw attention to myself. As I was humming to the music, I turned my head to the right and caught sight of the boy. I jumped back, and tripped over a box with bottles of wine. I screeched as I went crashing down, the bottles in the crate clinking together.
        “Ouch,” I mumbled, inspecting my arms. Only a few nicks and I might have a 98.9% chance of five-hundred bruises on my arms tomorrow morning. Great. I’m going to be super sore tomorrow, and it is not going to be fun. I stood and tugged at my shorts. This might sound awkward, but almost anything can happen to me. And this is just one of the awkward things you’ve heard me say. My shorts might’ve slid up, so I pulled at them just in case. If I’m unlucky, they might’ve slid down. Luckily they didn’t. I glanced at the boy, who was twiddling with a glass cup in his hands.
I blushed furiously and quickly looked down. I hope he didn’t hear me--oh, really? Are you kidding? He can’t read my mind! Ugh, I feel so stupid. Who else feels stupid? I bet you’re smacking yourself in the forehead right now over my stupidity. Sorry. I rubbed my arm and looked at the stranger. In his cup, it was half full. It looked like he only took a few drinks, but I wasn’t for sure if that was his first glass or his sixth. He’d be passed out if he was over five, so...probably his fourth. Wait, then why did he looks so calm? He seemed sober and not at all drunk. Was he here for a refill or something? Still mulling over the thought, I scooped up my headphones. They had fallen off when I fell. Just another one of my most embarrassing reactions.
       Another embarrassing thing was Pitbull was rapping loudly. I squealed as the drunk chuckled softly. I quickly paused the song. I wish I was you, dear reader. I’m dead. I’m dead. No, I’m actually not. But I suddenly wish I was. I chewed the inside of my cheek as my cheeks colored a bright red. I took a breath and faced the boy, but kept my eyes down. I don’t feel like looking at him is the best idea right now, don’t you agree? At least he’s a drunkie, then he won’t remember a thing except for the monster headache he’ll get later.
     “Uhm, sorry,” I apologized quickly, stowing my headphones and phone under the counter. “I didn’t know you were there.” The boy shook his head.
        “Nah, it’s okay. I’m sorry I startled you.” He smiled crookedly while I did nothing but gawk. I’m sorry, but hello? Not only did the guy look sober, but he sounded sober. His words weren’t slurred or mashed together, and his voice never wavered. He shouted, but, I mean, the music playing in the bar is just as loud as Pitbull and we all kinda had to, too. Ha. I said “tutu”. Sorry. That was childish. I hadn’t noticed that I was staring for a long time. I quickly blinked and smiled. Omidios. Was my mouth hanging open?! I swiped at my mouth, hoping there wasn’t any drool.
       “Well, uhm, what would you like?” Humiliating. Humiliating. Embarrassing!!! The boy shrugged and raised his glass in a gesture.
        “Nothing,” The boy tilted his head slightly. “I just thought you needed some company.” Okay, huh. Totally nice and not very expected. I shook my head politely.
      “No thanks.”
     The boy nodded, fidgeting with his hands. With the silence stretching thin and awkward, I took the time to actually look at the boy. His eyes were a smoldering forest green, and his thin lips displayed perfect, gleaming teeth. His hair looked to be a dark brown combover from what I could make out from under his hat. He had high, detailed cheekbones, and bronze skin. Holy guacamole he was cute.  Er...not cute cute. . I’m not talking about the one cute where you think I'm gonna date him and seriously don’t care if he’s dating someone because he’s mine cute. No, no. I’m talking about he-looks-like-a-puppy-with-floppy-ears-cute. Ugh. That sounded ten times worse. I mean, he’s a omigosh-I-love-your-looks-and-who-ever-is-dating-you-chose-the-right-guy-cute. Omidios!! That was even worse! I mean--ugh--he’s--shut up! Leave me alone. You know what I mean (hopefully).
           The boy shrugged, then straightened. “Okay. I just assumed you would want some company.” He looked at me with his eyebrows raised. “But I guess if you don’t…..” When I didn’t take back my answer, he shrugged again. “If you say so.” Aww….I let him go!! I wanted his company, because I’m bored sitting behind this counter with nothing to do but dance like a fool, and whatnot. I should’ve kept him. I should just stretch my arms out and--Alliea!! I jumped at my own self screaming at..my..self? Holy crow I sound stupider than stupid. Okay, girl, chill. Stop doing that, it’s weird and yet another embarrassing thing about yourself. Go crawl under a rock and don’t come out until seventy decades later. I slumped forwards and rested my head against my folded arms on the counter. I have problems. Mega problems.
      “Trevor!”
      I gasped and snapped my head up. Wow. That scared me. A girl with honey blonde waves and icy grey eyes threw her arms around the bronzed skin boy’s neck. Hold up, his name was Trevor? Wait, why hadn’t I asked for his name? We just launched right into talking and didn’t even bother to introduce each other. I furrowed my brows. How rude of me? He doesn’t know my name and he was just about to leave! Ugh, I’m the worst human being in the world. I dramatically slid down to my knees, wrists resting on the counter’s surface. As I banged my head against the side of the counter (ow, ow, ow, ow!!!), I muttered curse words at myself.
       “Okay, then..” I heard the girl begin. “Trevor, I was wondering where you went! You disappeared on me.” Ugh. I could hear the whine in her voice. It’s as annoying as a puppy (I’m sorry, Tickles--he’s my puppy). “Hey, you thirsty? Let’s go get a drink.” I immediately popped up from behind the bar. Uhm, hello? Did this girl not see the ginormous bar sitting right in front of her face?!
       “What’ll it be?” I grinned enthusiastically. I was really bored and needed to distract myself from boredom. The girl gave me a stiff smile.
     “And who are you?” Her lips never moved. “Not to come off rude it’s just that I don’t know you.” Right. Smiling like she just had plastic surgery in her face isn’t rude at all. Let alone avoiding my question and getting straight to my name.
      I glanced at the boy, who looked as curious about my name as his girlfriend (dang it). “I wouldn’t think so. I mean, I’m just the bartender that sists here 24/7.  No one asks for my name much, so you’re not the first.” The smile grew stiffer.
“Well, then. I guess I’m the first.”
Seriously? Did this girl think I was actually going to give her my name?  I can tell she’s not drunk--I realized Trevor wasn’t, either--but that doesn’t mean I was going to give her my name.       This girl doesn’t even like me. And we’ve just met! Well, not really “met”. It’s more like a I’m-only-here-because-my-boyfriend-is-here situations. I kind of want to know her name, but then I kind of don’t. She’s nothing but a dumb brat and we all know it. I decided to ignore her instistant voice.
I gestured behind me. “Drink, you say? I’m loaded, and bored. Take your ti--”
        “Sorry, but I don’t drink.” The girl interrupted, giving me a sneer. Thankfully, the plastic from her face melted away from the heated glare I was giving her. She faced Trevor, tugging on his arm. “Let’s go, Trev. Someplace without this crap.” She gave me one last look before leading Trevor away by the hand. Ouch. That hurt just as bad as me tripping over a crate and breaking every bone in my body.
I don’t get it. What on dios’s green Earth was this girl doing here? She’s obviously not a drinker, so what’s her point? I’ve never once seen this girl come up to my counter and ask for something to drink. Well, at least she’s gone now. I don’t have to deal with her. No offense to whoever cares (probably the girl and Trevor. It’d make sense). I sighed and sunk behind the counter, elbows resting on the marble. Why wasn’t there any seats behind the counter, but there were some in front of the counter? I really wanna know. Like, right now.
A teenage boy with slicked, black  hair plopped down on the chair in front of me. He gave me a bright smile, his nutmeg skin looking darker in the half-lit lights. Ugh, what now?
       “Before you ask, no. I’m not lonely,” I mumbled into my hands. Why did that Trevor boy think that anyway? And now this boy thinks I’m okay, too?
     The boy widened his blue eyes and put his hands up in front of him. “Hey, you’re the bar lady. I came to you for a drink. I don’t care if you’re lonely or not.”
        I sighed. Of course. But it’s kinda hard to care about his stupid drink if I was asked before for company. It doesn’t matter, though, because I don’t want any company. I have feeling that Trevor might feel a little dumb, but he is drunk so….he shouldn’t care. One look at this tipsy boy told me he just wanted to pass out. Why? I dunno. Most drunkies are like that. Sometimes they don’t even know where they are!
I pulled away from the counter, tapping my fingers on the cold surface. I’m purposefully stalling. Should I give him a drink? Or should I not? I don’t think I should. Instead, I’m going to trick him. No need for an idiotic boy like him to be puking his guts out in the morning. I wonder how much he drank? He came up to me only three times, but in those three trips he got either one or two glasses. If I switched out his alcohol with water, he might not notice the difference. I know what you’re thinking, Alliea, what about his tastebuds? He can taste the difference, you know. Yes, I’m well aware of that, but with his slurring words and unfocused gaze, his tastebuds probably slackened somewhere in those few drinks.       
        Lala, lalaaa. Act casual, guys. No need to let the unsuspecting guy on to us. I grabbed a red glass cup and filled it up with cold water.
      “Do you want ice with that?” Hehe. He’ll never know. The boy nodded and I stocked it up with ice. It’ll numb him some more. I noticed the boy eying me, but when I faced him, he was actually squinting at the poster on the wall. A band called Dreams, with six girls beaming, were in town this year.         Everyone’s excited to see them; people of all ages. Including the elder people. Which is weird because they live here and don’t really go on tours. Mainly because they’re local singers, not someone famous like Beyonce. I know a lot about Dreams. Including the people in them: Dawn Marie, the caramel skinned lead singer with the mezzo-soprano voice; Ella, the light-lyric soprano pink haired girl; Riscilla, the only girl with the alto voice; Macy, the dark-skinned mezzo-soprano singer with talent; me, Alliea Rivers, a light-lyric soprano; and Satalia the light-lyric soprano.
         The boy finally glanced back at me. “Wait, aren’t you--” I slapped the glass onto the counter in front of him. I don’t feel like having uninvited (technically) fans swarming around me. No thank you. I know I might sound annoyed and completely unfair, but--while it is true--I just don’t feel like having to sign autographs and taking loads of pictures. I’m not exactly famous, but everyone in Montana (well, Missoula, Montana at least) thinks I’m a big deal. Sure, I’m a famous Pic.Vid star (like Instagram and Youtube combined), and a well-known singer but I’m not all into that. My friends and I don’t let it get to our heads. Why start now? Or ever?
      “Enjoy your drink, sir.” I forced a stiffening smile. Eeesh. I’m turning into that dumb girl, Marietta. But it’s better than be her than be me trapped in a suffocating mob. With nothing but pen and paper. Whoa. A shiver just ran down my spine thinking about it. I guess it must’ve showed visibly, too, because the nutmeg boy looked like he was impersonating Elvis. I squinted at him, trying to see his face better. He shifted away and slid off the seat, sauntering back into the shadows.
       Huh. Weird. What, did I offend him? Is he uncomfortable with someone looking at him? I’ll remember that next time even though there’s only one solution: I don’t see him next time. That sounded like a good idea, I decided as I placed my headphones on. Pitbull screeching was better than this place. Trust me, being a bartender was hard work. Especially if I couldn't leave the dumb bar. Even if it's only for a few minutes.         These are the times when I wish I could tuck myself away in a stall and eat french fries. I know you're wondering why I'm taking this job if I don't even like it. The reason is because next to my other job, this one is the best paying job. Sure, there are other jobs--like McDonald’s but who'd want to work there?--but they don't pay as well as the two jobs I have now. Well, sure Pizza Palace doesn't pay much either, but unlike Drunk & Wine, I enjoy it. There's kids there, who wouldn't like the job? Baby haters, probably.
     Now that I think about it, why did I even take this job? Wal-Mart pays just as much as this dump. I should remember that..Wait, no. I can't do that. My Pizza Palace shift takes up the morning and most of the afternoon. I have a night shift for Drunk & Wine. I wouldn’t be able to schedule a shift for Wal-Mart, even if I get rid of Drunk & Wine hours. I'm going to have to get used to this job now or I'm going to have troubles with it in my near future.
     “Alliea, darling!”
      Omidios. Seriously? I didn’t even finish Mr. WorldWide--and that’s a short song! What on Earth could I possibly be needed for now? And how could I hear whoever was talking to me through rapping Pitbull? I had the volume past fourteen!     Imagine my surprise when I turned around, face-to-face with my boss, Mr. Trayors. I swiped my headphones off and tossed them under the counter with my phone. I’m not supposed to be slacking. I’m dead meat.
       “H-hi, sir,” I stammered. Oh crap. I couldn’t even speak to him without tripping over my tongue! Mr. Trayors rubbed his black goatee, his short wavy, black hair slicked to perfection. Well, for a fifty year old at least. Mr. Trayors wasn’t exactly the nicest looking middle-aged guy I’ve ever seen. My boss at Pizza Palace is better looking than this man. And he was nearing sixty.
      Mr. Trayors looked at me sternly. As usual since he didn’t seem to know how to show any other expression. “Yes, I need to talk to you.”
     Crap. “Uhm, yes..s-sir.” Crap. “What is it?” Crap. Mr. Trayors leaned in, and beckoned me to do the same. Wait, is this a trap? Is he messing around with me before he fires me? I hope not. I need this job. How else am I supposed to pay my car bill? And phone bill? I propped my elbows on the counter, and stretched forwards on my toes. I’m so dead. I don’t even know what it is I did, but I know it’s nothing near good.
      “Are you being rude to the customers?” Mr. Trayors lowered his voice. I ran the words around in my mouth. Being rude to the customers? Why would I do that? I love my job. I would never do something like that. Why, it never even came to my mind. Until now..
      “No, why?” I replied slowly. My voice was just as low as my boss’s. I seriously don’t know what I did. I hope no one posted the videos of me being stupid on Snapchat, Pic.Vid or some other page, because I don’t feel like getting hate comments or anything like that.
       Mr. Trayors mm-hmmed quietly in my ear. “And what about my teenage daughter?” Teenage daughter? What teenage daughter? I heard myself snapping, “You have a family?” Ugh. If I wasn’t going to get fired before, I definitely am now. Mr. Trayors clasped my chin in his thick fingers. He forced me to look at him while I forced a cry down. Now, I never said my boss was a nice guy. No, no, no, no. And never once had I mentioned his personality. Or our “relationship”. Mr. Trayors and I absolutely hate each other. Well, he hates me. From the start, he hated me. He always glared at me, never spoke to me. Acted sweet to me when other people were around, but in this bar, he doesn’t care. He could do anything to me and no one would help. Absolutely no one.
      Mr. Trayors’s face was inches away from mine. My breath came out in quick gasps, sea blue eyes wide, and hands clutching the wrist that kept my face hostage. This is the end of me. Just like every other day. But this one might be permanent.
     “Now,” Mr. Trayors began, hissing. “I don’t think you answered my question.” I gulped. “Have you been nice to my daughter?”
     I didn’t know you had a daughter! I spat inside my head. You never said anything, and how am I supposed to know? This is a freakin’ bar and I’ve never met any of your so-called relatives. How on Earth should I know about my boss’s life? ‘Cuz I don’t and, honestly, I’m glad I don’t because they might’ve been jerks just like him. Might be some dumb gene, you never know!
       I winced as Mr. Trayors squeezed my chin. My grip on his wrist tightened. Why couldn’t this guy just leave me alone? Like everyone else in this stupid world? I’ve been bullied enough. I don’t feel like going through it all again.
      “My question?” Mr. Trayors pressed. Fine. I’ll answer his question.
      “I..I didn’t know you had a daughter,” I gritted my teeth together as more pain was inflicted. “What I’m trying to say is, you never said you had a daughter--”
     “You never asked--”
     “--so how am I supposed to know who she is? Or what she looks like?”
     Mr. Trayors went silent and dropped my face. I sunk down as I held back tears. What’s this guy’s problem? Seriously, how am I supposed to know if he has a daughter if he doesn’t even say anything? You never asked, really? Does he want me to go around asking him and other random people “Hey, do you have a daughter?” or “What about a son?” or “A life outside of your job?” Yeah, that’d get me somewhere farther than where I am now. I’d probably be that dumb laughing stock of Montana.
      “Hello, sirs,” I heard Mr. Trayors say. I frowned. Who? I picked my head up and saw Trevor with four teenage boys--around his age--and two men surrounding Mr. Trayors. Hm. I didn’t know they were there. Did you? Probably not. Just the words and what I’m seeing.
       Trevor leaned down to me, putting his bronzed hand over my ivory one. “Hey, are you okay?” He asked, concerned. Am I okay? Yeah, sure, just being harrassed by an old man. Instead of saying that--imagine my boss’s reaction--I nodded and stood to my full height. I pulled my hand away, and looked down.
      “Yeah, just having a--talk,” I shuddered. Trevor looked at me with worried eyes, but said nothing. I guess I felt a little warmed by his concern, but his girlfriend appeared at his side and the feeling dropped away. I shifted to my other foot, feeling the girl's hot glare on my face. Mr. Trayors moved a bit and I met his hard grey eyes. He placed his hand on the teenage girl's shoulder.
       “This,” he started. The girl continued glowering at me (why, I’m not sure). “is my daughter, Marietta.” I couldn’t help it: my mouth popped open. She’s his daughter? I mean, I could see it clearly enough.    

         The crushing glares, and the sassy attitude. Oh, the grey eyes, too. But I’m talking about the personality. I bet Mr. Trayors’s wife left him, that’s why he doesn’t talk about a family. And of course I had to open my mouth. Of course something dumb and irrational had to tumble out. Of course I got a slap in the face. And you better not think I’m joking about that, because I ensure you I’m not.
          “Are you divorced?” It sprang out of nowhere. Whatever comes to mind, I have to say it. Well, not really. That’s just an excuse (and a really good one if it works half the time).                    Marietta gasped, a frown in place. Her dad’s hands clenched into fists and his glare sliced through me.
         Why couldn’t I just shut up? Why did I have to say something? Especially if I’m hated enough? I should just quit now, give up, but apparently,some  people just didn’t want that to happen.
      Slap!
      I shrieked as Marietta’s hand made contact with my cheek. My hand instantly flew up and clutched the throbbing, red splotch. I gaped at her while she leered at me. Mr. Trayors had the same expression as his daughter, but his mouth was drawn in a line while Marietta’s was turned down.






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