It was tough getting up so early, but the bar had changed hands again and the new owner wanted to meet everyone this morning. Reets hadn’t seen a 9AM in a month of Sundays, but she dragged herself up anyway. Caryn, her lover, said, “Come on, break that law of physics!”
The not-nearly-awake Reets could only reply, “Huh?”
“You know, physics — “A body at rest tends to stay at rest!” — getting up breaks the Law of Inertia!”
Reets look at Caryn with a thoroughly disgusted look and decided not to answer.
“Hey, it’s the best I can do this early.” Caryn said and leaned away while crossing her fingers against the glare Reets threw at her. She smiled at her lover’s back as Reets slowly stalked, still half-asleep, to the bathroom. Caryn couldn’t help but think about how they met!
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Caryn woke up and for a second forgot where she was. The hotel room was packed with bodies on every surface, but that’s what Spring Break was like. This was her second trip down and she was having a hell of a lot more fun this time around! Facing her was this cute girl who she sorta recognized from last night. She was . . .dammit, it was just on the end of her tongue when the girl’s hand moved and went to Caryn’s waist. Even asleep she was a knockout.
Caryn slid closer until they were face to face and breathed in the girl’s scent. She smelled of cigarettes, beer, and something else really sweet. That’s when it hit her. The girl’s name was Rita and was serving Caryn and her friends all night, she was so nice that the group invited her back to the hotel for a little after hours partying. It was almost dawn when Caryn and Rita crashed on the floor, but Caryn kept her hands off her because there was no telling how straight she might be and the guys were eyeing her ass all night. No one seemed to be able to complete a pass, so Caryn was more than a little hopeful, but the last thing she needed was to freak her out.
There was a guy on one side of her, but Caryn knew nothing had happened, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The guy, Woody, made his play, but he waited until the doll was practically out on her feet. She slept hard, but Woody wasn’t the kind to try and take advantage of her, plus he saw Caryn was still awake watching.
“I guess if she put her arms around me, I can snuggle with her without raising any homophobe shit!” She thought as the girl let her slip her thigh between her legs.
Caryn pressed firmly against her and loved the feeling of their breasts touching. After a moment Caryn noticed that Rita’s hips were moving. Rita had pressed her pussy down on Caryn’s thigh and was slowly humping her.
Caryn widened her eyes in both in surprise and more than a little lust. She saw Woody watching and stuck her tongue out at him. He made a motion to spoon up against Rita, but she waved him off. He made his play, now it was her turn! He knew Caryn well enough not to interfere.
Caryn put one hand on her hip and started moving with her. Rita’s mouth opened in a nice sexy sigh and then her eyes opened. She looked as surprised as Caryn had felt when she first woke up, but then she looked at Caryn and smiled and delightfully sexy smile. Caryn took this as a definite yes and pulled her tight against her and started rubbing her ass inside her denim shorts. Woody was rubbing his cock when another girl slithered though the laying bodies and took his mind off Rita and Caryn.
Caryn saw her and knew Woody would have a good time; meanwhile her hands were full of a very sexy Rita. She pushed Caryn on her back and laid on top of her, her pussy never leaving Caryn’s thigh, but this let her push down on Caryn’s cunt, pushing her cut-off shorts into her warmly and with more tension and in a few she was near to an orgasm. Her low moans woke a few people up and soon there was several watching. Both guys and girls surrounded them. She saw two more couples start getting into it, two semi-regular pairings, but when she saw two girls starting to go at it she was happy. One guy next to them did spoon up and soon they were in a threesome that took some of the attention off or Caryn and Rita. That was her last coherent thought at Rita kissed her.
The kiss wasn’t forceful, it wasn’t light, and it wasn’t something you could describe to anyone. The kiss was very sensual and gentle while at the same time conveying how close she was getting to an orgasm. Caryn pushed deep into the backside of her shorts and rubbed a finger between her cheeks, finding her bumhole. That’s when Rita seemed to freeze and stiffen up, and then she cried out in the kiss through cumming.
“Girl, I think I would love to wake up with you every single day!”
Later she learned that Rita preferred being called ‘Reets’, wasn’t a local, but a friend of the bar owner who brought her down from to work Spring Break to earn a bunch of extra cash. She also learned that Reets was two years older, a single mom, and was also practically a neighbor, living in a nearby town not too far from the city where she went to school.
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In the shower Reets nearly gave it up and went back to bed, especially a bed with Caryn in it. But while her job wasn’t the best, but it was a job! Caryn was doing well, but she only graduated college two years ago and still gaining experience. Her salary was going up regularly and soon would eclipse Reets’, but not right now, especially with the economy in the shape it was in.
In the bright daylight ‘Battles’ didn’t look so good. The sunlight showed where the front of the bar had worn and needed paint. At night with the neon on, you couldn’t tell, but it was looking pretty rundown.
Just before going through the door she straightened her spine and resolved to deal with this owner like she did the last 3! She took this job when she moved into town and never thought it would last this long. She’s been through 3 owners, two name changes, and — if she was honest with herself — a general decline since Mark, the present owner/manager, took it over. When it changed hands the first time, she was optimistic. Now on the 4th new owner in 5 years she considered it a positive that she wasn’t as pessimistic as the rest of the crew. She might not be pessimistic, but she was worried, Battles hadn’t been doing real well lately!
Inside it was less crowded than she expected. A number of faces were missing, which was strange because the message was “Be there or be gone!” in no uncertain terms. While she waited she did a quick rundown of the MIA’s.
Sharon and her fucked up sister were missing, to Reets’ relief! She knew sooner or later they would get busted selling that shit in the bathroom or for hooking. She was only afraid they would take some of the other girls down with them. She didn’t see Daryl either, another hopeful sign. He thought it was a compliment to be referred to as “Big D”, but no one was commenting on his equipment, just his attitude. He could be relied on to hassle the servers, not only sexually but trying to rip them off on tips as well!
Shirley was also missing, which caused Reets to raise an eyebrow in surprise. Shirl was one of the better servers and real popular with the patrons. She did have a problem with the last owner and his ‘hand-sie’ assistant manager, but then who the hell didn’t?
There were a few others missing, but before Reets could finish her mental role call the clock hit 10:00 on the dot and a tall guy in a suit stepped on the small stage. “A suit for god’s sake.” she thought and then she did a double take, “Shit, that’s . . .!”
“Hi everybody! Yes, it’s me, Chris, and I am, or rather was, a spy. I was bar-backing to get a look at the place and helping the new owner to decide whether or not to buy it. They did and yea, I think they probably paid too much money for it.” There was some nervous laughter at that. “Without further ado, let me introduce you to the new owner, Minuet Bordeaux.”
Reets was taken aback, “Minuet?” she thought, “A woman bought this dump?” She caught movement out of the corner of her eye, turned her head and her mouth went immediately dry! She averted her eyes to give her heart a chance to slow down.
Minuet Bordeaux walked in from the left side wearing what had to be a Chanel jacket and skirt. It was expensive and tailored to perfection. It was even more out-of-place than the suit.
Ms Bordeaux was in her mid-to-late 30’s but could easily pass for younger. Her face wasn’t classic, but had a firm yet friendly look. She shook Chris’ hand and faced the group. Reets nearly went weak in the knees! She was a striking woman and resembled Reets’ own Caryn so much! Reets closed her eyes for a second and thought “Caryn, Caryn!” But when she opened them the vision of Caryn in a few years was still standing there. Reets took a deep breath as the new owner started to talk. Thankfully her voice was different, a nice warm contralto, but very different from Caryn’s.
“Look around and you’ll see some faces missing. I have no use for anyone doing drugs, or worse selling them, in this establishment. I kicked out a few folks already. The people you see here are the ones I think actually make this place work. I have plans and you’re either gonna support what I want to do or find yourself a new job. I plan some changes and want to talk to each of you one-on-one, there’s a list posted over by the manager’s door. Before you head out today check it and come in at that time. Most are just before your next shift, but a few of you are right after this meeting. Please don’t screw that up; I really want to talk to each of you over the next two days! Chris is the day-to-day manager, but I am a hands-on boss as well, so get used to seeing me around.”
Surprisingly there were no cat calls from some of the guys who worked here!
She continued. “Some of the changes — we’ll be hiring some new staff in 6 months because we are going to be opening at 11 AM. We’re adding a small kitchen and will be serving lunch. Yea, I know you all don’t know much about serving food, but no worries. We have 6 months to get everyone carded by the state. That’s the big change; the kitchen will be going in behind the bar.”
“What about Sweeney’s?” someone called out.
Sweeney’s was the restaurant that fronted the building Battles were in. ‘Battles’ was in the back with an opening on a side street. Sweeney’s was on the other side of the wall behind the bar and opened on Main Street.
“We own Sweeney’s as well. I’m going to add to their kitchen and open it up between us. Sweeney’s will continue like it is, we’re just adding food to our menu. Some light dinner stuff as well, but I figure most people looking for real food will head for Sweeney’s. We get to add food and Sweeney’s gets a full bar service.”
“Another change, as of right now you are all full time employees! This means medical, dental, retirement — the works and the taxes that go along with them. I saw in the books that most of you were being carried as part-timers and yet you were still working 40+ hours. That’s criminal and it stops now. If any of you want to go to part-time let me know when we have our one-on-one. We’ll be working new schedules starting Monday. Through this weekend work the hours you are scheduled.”
“Does that mean overtime?” another voice called out.
“Yea, of course it does — at time and a half during the week and double time on Friday and Saturday nights, but I get to decide on who gets to work overtime! Well I and my managers.”
“Managers?” a third voice called out.
“Yea, managers, like I said Chris is the overall manager. I hired Derrick away from Jacoby’s, he’s going to manage the bar side. I plan a new hire to manage the food in a few months, and I want Rita to manage the floor.”
Reets swallowed at that statement when she realized Ms. Bordeaux was looking right at her. It dawned on a few others who she was talking about and they cheered. Two of the other servers didn’t!
“That is, if she accepts. Rita, think about it and we’ll talk later.” She looked away and ignored the deer-in-the-headlights stare she was getting from Reets.
“That’s all for now unless you have any questions.”
“How about those benefits?”
“We’re doing the paperwork now. Chris will have it all on Monday. You’ll also meet my accountant and HR person, Pat, at that time.”
“Who the fuck are you anyway?”
Laughing, “I’m a girl who likes this town and wants to build some businesses here. I have other businesses but like to branch out. I’ve invested in a few other local businesses as well, like the ‘Park-n-Go’ over by the airport and the gym, I mean ‘fitness center’ “, she said with a smile, “on 9th for example. I have a partial interest in several others as well. I bought this bar and Sweeney’s as a start for downtown. We’ll see where it goes. Oh yea, I almost forgot to mention, as of right now you all own a piece of it. I own 60%, Chris and Pat split 15%, and the other 25% is yours based on seniority. So that means Rita, since you’ve been here the longest, you own 4% of this bar. Down to Shirley, as the newest, owns 0.5%. It may not sound like much but wait till you get your first dividend check. Like Chris said I probably paid too much, but now you own a piece of it. Pat is also my business manager and can explain in better detail what all that means. But from now on Battles is part yours and if Battles succeeds, you will succeed. I’m having a similar chat with the Sweeney’s employees in a little while.”
“New hires are employees. They can get an ownership share based on rules we have to lay out. No matter what, I will retain 51% so what that does is gives me 9% I can use to entice other people away from their current jobs. I’m serious people! You are now part owners. If you don’t want to be, let me know when we talk and I’ll re-allocate your shares to the members of the group who do want it.”
“More freaking taxes?”
“Yea, and Pat will help you deal with those as well.” She said with a booming laugh
“Anything else?” Minuet looked around the room smiling a little at the shock she still saw on most of the faces.
“OK, then check the meeting list before you head out and I’ll see some of you tonight when we open.”
She and Chris left the room leaving behind a group of shell shocked employee-owners.
The babble started quickly.
“We own this dump!” echoing Reets’ thought when she saw that a woman now owned Battles.
“Who the hell does she think she is anyway?”
“Reets, what the fuck just happened?”
Rita stood there as some of the folks started gathering around her. “People, I don’t know, I’m as much in the dark as you are.”
“Hey Reets, you are the first in line for a meeting, in just a few. Find out what you can and let the rest of us know.”
“I will, you know that. But . . . Goddamn!!!!!”
They all laughed a good tension breaker.
. . .
At the appointed time Reets knocked at the office door.
“Hi Rita. I guess I surprised you a bit out there.”
“I think you shocked a lot of people out there.”
“Good, I was hoping I did!”
Reets sat down when Minuet pointed to the other chair. “You know meeting with the old boss always started with . . .”
“I know and that changes too. I’m not running a whorehouse for mine or anyone else’s enjoyment. I sure as hell don’t peddle the ass of my employees or fuck them myself.”
Reets sat back and relaxed. “So that’s why the sisters are gone?”
“Yea, they were crummy servers and Mark only kept them around because he was hustling them to people.”
“She wasn’t out there?”
“Damn! She’s still an employee as of today. Can you call her the fill her in. She wasn’t scheduled to work today so she might have missed the messages when they went out.”
“No, she got the message.” She indicated the desk phone and Myn nodded. She quickly dialed a number. “No answer, that’s not like her.” She thought for a moment and called another number. “It’s Reets, is Shirl around?”
“OK, thanks Des.”
Reets looked over at her new boss. “Shirl’s in the hospital; her neighbor said her boyfriend lost his temper last night.”
“Shit! Which hosp . . . oh never mind there is only the one. She grabbed up her phone. “Chris, one of our new employee-owners is over at the hospital. Call them, give them the insurance info.”
“OK, fine, give them your insurance info and we’ll straighten it out later. She’s one of ours. Shirley, you should have her file. OK, let me know if I need to do anything here. Bye.”
“OK, Ms. Bordeaux, you surprised me out there but you really freaked me out in here. You don’t do things by half!”
“It’s Myn and I never have and I never will. What I want for you is to manage the floor action. The servers, their schedules, work with Derrick on the bar stock and Chris for anything else. I also want you to get state certified to handle food right away so you can help get the rest of the group through it. Some of them might need a little tutoring.”
“You mean some of them can’t read too well.”
“Of course, you’re no longer working for tips.”
“I’ve been doing pretty well with tips.”
She jotted down a number and handed it to her. “That a month to start.” She looked at it and had trouble with the amount for a moment. It was well over the best month she ever had serving, way over!
“You are either insane or a fantasy! You can’t afford to pay me this much”
“Insane, certifiably insane, and you are wrong. I kidded about paying too much, but the reality is I got it just right. Mark was a dick and a crappy businessman. This place can do damn well with a little work, but it takes good folks and good folks cost real money which explains that salary.
“I’ve also found that people with skin in the game work harder and more creatively, which is why I basically just gave away 25% of the bar. I’m not altruistic, I could sell this bar today for enough so my percentage would still net me an overall profit, using that exess to motivate the team is a good investment to me. Did I mention that Mark was a crappy businessman?”
We both laughed at that.
So you’ll do it?”
“I’ve never managed anyone before.”
“Bullshit,” she said in a firm tone! “Chris told me who was really running the floor while Mark was in here drinking or trying to fuck the sisters. Just do what you have been doing and Chris and I will help you with everything else. You have hire and fire rights as well, but until you are comfortable with them I would like you to discuss any fires with Chris or me. Pat can help you with the manager’s part of the paperwork and in 6 months you’ll feel like you’ve been doing it your whole life.”
Myn unrolled a set of plans on her desk. “Here is what I have planned. I’m after more than just Sweeney’s. If we succeed, I want to own most of this side of the whole Main Street. The buildings are beautiful and most would qualify as historical places if the Town Council would get their heads out of their collective asses. I think I can turn a handsome profit by investing in businesses and keeping the home town style. This town is going to grow up and join the 21st century, at the same time try and keep the charm of a small town, and people are going to want to live here. Many of them might work in the city or at the military base, but they’ll be relaxing and having a good time closer to home!
Reets tried to study the paper in front of her, but Myn had moved around the desk and was standing next to her. Her presence caught Reets off-guard.
“Are you with me?” She stood there holding out her hand to her. This was certainly different from the last time Reets was in the office . . .
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“What I am trying to tell you, bitch, is that you either start treating my special friends’ right or you can find yourself another fucking job in this town.”
“I’m not a whore, Mark!”
“You’re a fucking waitress! Get it through your thick head that you could make a ton more money if you just give out a little for pay what you been giving out for free all these years.”
“Fuck off Mark!”
She stormed out before he could get his drunken ass up and tried to hit her the way her ex did — once. She went home in tears and was determined to quit. A week of searching the papers for something a non-high school graduate who’s only been a waitress, or server in the new more politically correct view. “I’m not a hooker — no matter what Mark thinks! Just ’cause I’m a single parent he thinks I am some sort of slut!”
She took Myn’s hand and stood up at the same time. “I am, boss-lady, I am!”
“Great! You on tonight, right?” Reets nodded. “Well too late to change things now. But look at the coverage and how we can improve on it. The phone rang.
“Hi . . . good . . . any issues . . . great! My name on the bills! Thanks!”
“Shirl is going to be OK, but she might not be working for a couple of weeks. Work that into your new schedule.”
“Is her not working going to be a problem?”
“Not to me. She gets paid a flat rate on sick leave. It might not be as much as she makes with tips, but it’s not bad. I want to know about her boyfriend.”
“Myn, that’s none of your business. She has to deal with it.”
“He hurt one of my employees, it’s my business.”
For a moment she looked very dangerous then the room seemed to lighten up as she grinned. “OK, just tell her if she needs any help dealing with the asshole legally — I know some good lawyers. Try and get her to press charges, OK?”
“I figured you would be going over to see her before your shift, am I wrong?”
“No, you’re right.”
She escorted Reets to the door and there someone else waiting with some papers. “Call me later about Shirley, OK?” She reaches into her pocket. “In fact . . .” She hands her a cell. “Call back here on this. You’re a manager now; a phone is one of the bennies.”
Reets walked out even more shell shocked than when she went in. There was still a small group who were obviously waiting on her. Before the questions started she held up her hands.
“Easy now, first of all the lady is serious. She’s changing everything and I think I am happy about it.”
Two other servers looked less happy and she had a pretty good idea why. They were going to have to work for the first time in their lives. Looking pretty wasn’t going to keep their jobs!
“Second of all, Shirley is over at the hospital, her asshole boyfriend. Myn had Chris go over there and handle the medical paperwork right away. If she ain’t serious she’s doing a damn good imitation. I think she’s for real.”
“So we work for you?” called out one of the two servers not overly pleased at Reets’ new elevation.
“Yes! If you have a problem with that then either wait ’til I fuck up and get fired or quit yourself. As the lady said I am a part owner of this place and I aim to see it succeed! Once we gets in full swing I’ll want to see the whole floor staff to get better organized. But I will tell you no drug dealing or using and no more fucking hooking! The least she will do is fire your ass, I’ll kick it! ‘Battles’ is a new place as of right fucking now!”
There was a mix of positive and negative in the murmuring.
“OK, I am going to check up on Shirl. I’ll let anyone who’s interested know how she’s doing later. OK, good luck when you talk to Myn, she’s moving at light-fucking-speed.”
Reets left and once the sunlight hit her she paused to let her eyes adjust, even more to let her mind adjust.
Her visit to Shirl was brief. She was pretty out of it. The nurse, a good friend and former lover, told her that Shirl had a concussion from hitting the floor after ‘someone’ punched her right in the cheek. She held her hand up to her own cheek remembering the one time her ex hit her. “Why does the cheekbone hurt so much when you get hit there?” She also knew Shirl might not be working for more like a month to let the bruising fade. She was going to have a magnificent shiner, and knowing her, she was going to be hugely self-conscious about it.
She passed the word to Chris who didn’t blink an eye at the idea of someone missing a whole month. Then Reets went home to crash for a few hours before starting her last night as a tip earning waitress. There was too much in her head for her to enjoy it right now. As she dozed off she remembered that surprisingly large number Myn flashed on that paper to her. Just as she fell asleep she knew she would reach one goal of buying her daughter a house!
Caryn had come in to wake her up and saw her sleeping so peacefully that she couldn’t resist stripping down and joining her. Knowing how deeply Reets could sleep she climbed on the bed and slid her legs up Reets, pushing their pussies together, tribbing her.
Reets woke up to the most delightful feeling. Caryn had scissored her legs between Reets legs and was slowly rubbing their pussies together. It was the best way to wake up!
“Ummmm, yea, lover!”
“I thought that might wake you up.”
Caryn pushed up Reets’ leg up and knelt straddling her other leg, she pushed firmly against her and started rocking her hips, rubbing her in small motions.
Caryn smiled at her lover. Reets was a creature of habit, and that was one of the things she loved about her. Getting up at 7 to get her daughter to school wasn’t a problem, Reets loved doing it. But the instant Rei got on the bus, Reets was back in bed. Getting her out of bed for a morning meeting was hard, but getting her blood going at 3PM was much easier! She loved to wake up nearing an orgasm and Caryn was just the girl to do that
They had been a couple since Caryn graduated, much to the displeasure of Caryn’s folks. They weren’t homophobes, not with a daughter like Caryn, but they thought Reets was beneath her. They didn’t understand that despite a lack of education, Reets was one of the most intelligent women Caryn had ever met. Smart, sexy, and a loving mother and she loved Caryn with all her heart.
After showering, Reets gave Caryn the scoop, minus the new salary. She wanted to surprise Caryn and her daughter with that!
“You’re shitting me?”
“You know for a college educated girl, I expect something better than ‘You’re shitting me’. ”
“It must be all the low life, red neck, biker bitches I hang around with, present company included.”
“The red neck, low life, I can understand, but these tits are too firm for a biker chick.”
Caryn laughed and Reets smiled at her. Reets kissed her and then saw her daughter getting off the school bus through the dining nook window; and decided all was right with the world. She got to spend a couple of good hours with Rei until it was work time. As she walked out she paused to watch her baby doing her homework while Caryn cleaned up from dinner. All she could do was smile, a smile that lasted all the way to work for a change.
That shift was interesting. They had the same old clientele and many of them were looking for the sisters. Reets never realized how much ‘trade’ they must have been doing. Chris hadn’t mentioned Curtis, the new bouncer, but after the first guy got a bit violent when he learned that the sisters weren’t working there any longer, Reets was very glad Curtis was there.
She worked the shift and had a normal night’s tips. Not too many bruises from guys thinking all waitresses want their ass pinched. She only dumped a beer in one lap, usually for a full shift she needed to dump two or three. She could tell the others were all thinking about the changes like she was. Several already asked for special times off for this and that. Reets found herself in the office working on a new schedule already. Chris checked over her work.
“You’ve got some 10 hour shifts for a couple of folks here, you sure?”
“With the ones Myn let go, we need it. I think we need to hire on one or two new servers if I can’t keep the roster full up for Saturday.”
Friday and Saturday were without a doubt the busiest nights at Battles. The rest of the week could be busy if a special party was going on, or a big sporting event, but usually three servers could handle things. Monday Night Football required a full group and Fri and Saturday nights almost always needed a floater on call.
Reets sat there for a second as Chris entered the schedule in his computer. “Soon we’ll get your a computer and you can do this yourself. Would you rather a laptop or desktop?”
Reets couldn’t answer him right away.
“Laptop so you can take it home or a desktop?”
“That’s not it, did you just compliment me?”
“I think so. You did a good job on your schedule, got coverage where and when you need it, took into account some server requests. When I asked about the overtime, you defended your decision. You did good and I like to tell people when they did good.”
“I’m just not used to it, not here.”
“Well trust me, when you screw up I’ll tell you that too. The first time I come in and it’s crowded and one poor server is running her ass off, I will hold your feet to the fire while Myn stokes it!”
Reets smiled at that picture and nodded slowly. “A laptop I think. My daughter will love it! She might be teaching me how to use it.”
“How old is she?”
“Just turned 8, in the 3rd grade over at Green Primary.”
“She live with you?”
“Yea, do you have kids?”
“Two boys, a little older than your girl. They live with their Mom.”
“Yea, but I am living with someone.”
Chris laughed. “I was just making conversation, Rita. Myn would hand me my walking papers if I made a pass at you. Right now, you work for me and if it’s one thing Myn is dead on is even the perception of harassment!”
Reets went back on the floor and made sure things were moving well. The college basketball game was going to end soon and the crowd would start to break up. All in all, a good night!
It was the start of a terrific month as well. Reets fell into handling the servers easily. What had never occurred to her was that she really had been doing that stuff all along. Mark and the previous managers would toss some piece of shit schedule together and she would make penciled changes each week to make sure things were covered. Now she was doing it ahead of time on her very own laptop computer! There was a little shake up in the folks. a few of the less willing to work hard left and a few new hires replaced them and fit right in. Her first check hit the bank and nearly caused her heart to stop! She hadn’t told Caryn or Rei yet, but she’d engaged a realtor to find them a house in town, somewhere near Rei’s school! Oh to give her daughter a backyard instead a long walk to the park made her tear up!
Myn was as good as her word and Chris was a godsend. The only small sticking point was Myn herself. Oh she was nice and really professional, but there was an attraction there that bugged Reets. What she didn’t know was that it was bothering Myn as well!
“OK love, what’s up?” Sally said to Myn one quiet afternoon. They had just finished a bit of cleaning in their upstairs apartment and were just sitting together on the sofa in one of their favorite positions. From the beginning they two of them fit well together, It was also one of their most relaxing poses, but Sally felt a tenseness in Myn that normally disappeared once they were curled up together.
“I think you know me all too well.”
“It took long enough, didn’t it?” They shared a quiet laugh over their shared memory of the past few years. Sally had seen Myn enter a bar one evening and her life hasn’t been the same since. Before meeting Myn she always thought of herself as straight, one look at Myn and she just couldn’t look away. Myn was a little slower to open up all the way, but Sally’s endearing nature came to the forefront and the two of them never looked back. They shared an apartment on the top floor of a three-story brownstone Myn owned. They also had a smaller apartment they used more like an office on the second floor and Sally kept her old garden apartment on the other side of town. They rarely stayed there, but used it for friends and guests when they wanted to entertain. The apartment they were in saw very few visitors, it was their place!
“Now, lover, since you attempted a very lame subject change, what’s up?”
“Remember how we met?”
“Of course I do! You walked in and I fell for you!”
“It wasn’t quite that simple.”
“From my part it was. Oh it took you a little longer because you were nervous about getting involved with a straight girl, but you wised up soon enough.”
Myn smiled and snuggled closer to Sally. “One reason, love, is that I had trouble swallowing the whole love-at-first-sight thing. I mean you were straight as an arrow, not even curious about making love with a woman and you were just staring at me. I wasn’t sure to talk to you or get all freaked out.”
“I remember, baby, I remember. I think you made the right choice. So what’s the deal?”
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think I know now exactly how you felt.”
Sally stiffened a tiny bit. Oh she was secure in their relationship, but something like this coming out of the blue sounding worrisome.
“OK, I take it someone struck you the way you struck me. Let me guess, someone at the bar or the restaurant?”
“How did you know?”
“Because, love, ever since you bought them, you’ve been more than a little distracted. I figured it would even out eventually. When it didn’t — I guessed an employee. Is she pretty?”
Myn hung her head a little. “Very! And smart as hell too. I bumped her up to managing the floor service in the bar and she’s been great! But she’s such a damn distraction.”
Sally actually laughed. “You like her!”
“I do! More than I thought when I first met her. The weird part is I think you would like her too.”
“So what’s the big deal, invite her over. We’ve had friends here before. Remember Ashley?”
“Ashley was different. She needed us in the worst way, even if she didn’t know it at the time.”
“You know that didn’t matter.”
“And neither does this.”
“She’s got a lover.”
“And that didn’t stop us with Beth and Tracey?”
Sal hugged Myn closer and smiled in her hair. Myn was such a good person that she just didn’t know how to handle such feelings.
“Myn, love, it’s OK. Believe me; I know what you are feeling. I had to face such feelings years ago and again every time I look at you.”
“But she’s an employee!”
That made more sense as to why it was bugging her. Sally knew if it was simply an attraction, Myn would have invited her over and let things happen how they might. Sally loved the open part of Myn for that. It did lead to some interesting times, especially with Ashley — some really spooky times with Ashley as well. But Myn had some very specific rules about employer-employee relationships and being attracted to this woman was less of a problem than her being an employee. There was something in Myn’s history that she hadn’t even shared with Sally. It didn’t bother Sally, after all there were still things in her past she hadn’t shared with Myn, sort of a Chely Wright Back-of-the-Bottom-Drawer thing.
“We’ll figure it out Baby. You could always fire her?”
Myn held Sally close. “I thought of that already — but you know I can’t do it. She’s great at her job, one day I expect her to be running the place when I pull Chris out to manage a trouble spot — not just yet mind you, she needs more experience, but she’s got the talent for it.”
“I still don’t really see the problem. Invite them over. We’ll see what develops.”
“She’s a single parent, apparently a doll of a daughter in 3rd grade.” Myn said it very quietly.
Sally froze for just a second, which told Myn more than enough. Earlier this year the two of them thought about raising kids and had a few medical tests. Myn wasn’t interested in being pregnant, but Sally learned she might never conceive. It had hit her pretty hard and it was something they hadn’t worked all the way through, it was still a sensitive point.
“So invite the three of them over.”
Myn hugged her Sally tightly knowing how hard it was for her to say that. “No need, we’re having a picnic/business gathering and you’ll get to meet them — at least I hope Rita will bring her lover and daughter.”
“Rita — pretty name.”
“Like I said, I am sure you will like her.”
One change Reets did make, she continued to work the floor frequently. Not enough to cut anyone else’s hours, but she became the lead floater and would work whenever it was needed. Most of the other servers appreciated it because having to be ‘on call’ was a pain on a Friday or Saturday night. It didn’t completely alleviate the need, but it cut down on it for other folks and made the schedule more predictable. As it was everyone worked full shifts and the quieter shifts were doled out as fairly as she could.
She also started a tip pool which at first annoyed some people, but when they realized she was putting her tips in, the grumbling died down. What they didn’t know was what was happening to her tips, since she wasn’t taken her share of the pool, but then she didn’t know that Chris realized what she was doing and had her share set aside. As it was most of the folks still ended up with more than they anticipated and it made it easier to include the bar, bar-backs, and busboys in the mix. One of the things she always hated was the inevitable argument between servers and the others if someone thought they got slighted. Bartenders were pretty bad, but some busboys would try and rip the tips off if they thought they weren’t getting a fair cut. What also annoyed Reets was how often the servers would have to bus tables and the busboys still whined about their tip cut. The pool made it simple, one collection, shared by a known quantity by each person based on position and hours worked. Plus there were enough eyes to keep everyone honest!
So far so good! Reets was surprised when Myn suggested it, but the mechanics were working out well. What also helped was more and more folks were paying with charge cards. Battles used to be like 90% cash, but today it was 50-50 and looking like it was heading toward more plastic than paper. Tax time was going to suck, but Pat had already started talking to folks about it.
The only sticking point for Reets was Myn herself and it drove her nuts. Her body would betray her anytime Myn came close. It was like she was reacting as if Myn was Caryn. Her scent, the way she moved, her eyes and certainly her smile. There were days Reets could barely look at her. She got into the habit of looking away and focusing on Myn’s voice which was different enough from Caryn’s to make it a little easier. The problem was that her throaty contralto was also a damn sexy voice. It was slowly driving Reets insane!
The opening to the kitchen went in and it proved to be a smart idea. Business jumped in the early evenings because people were willing to come in for some light food as well as beer. Many stayed for the later entertainment, even though the kitchen closed at 11. Reets, and all the owner-employees, could see the revenue going up because Myn made sure they saw it. Reets thought it was funny, the employees dress improved a little and the clientele became less rowdy and more interested in a good time. The bouncers were pretty bored until later in the evening if someone had too much. Some of the bar-backs and busboys actually started volunteering to drive anyone who overindulged home, a service which started earning them a surprisingly loyal following.
The two other casual bars in the small town were feeling the pinch as she found out from talking to friends. The entertainment got better as more bands wanted to play at “Battles”. Word had gotten out about the changes and they were seeing folks come across the state line! Sweeney’s business also improved and while Reets didn’t own a piece of that, she had access to the business reports which Derrick helped her learn how to read.
Things were going pretty well and Myn called a stockholders/employee meeting on Sunday afternoon and all but closed both places down for the afternoon, once the new after-church crowd came through for lunch at both places. ‘Battles’ wasn’t overly busy from the church crowd, but Sweeney’s was. The picnic was scheduled to follow the Church crowd and before the late afternoon baseball games came on. A small volunteer staff was working both places to keep the beer flowing, they would get a rundown and overtime for the day.
The park was packed; it was the first time so many had ever gotten together, ever! Families were invited and from the looks of things most of them came, Caryn and Rei included. Reets was a little nervous. It wasn’t that she was in the closet, but with the succession of crap managers and owners, it wasn’t something she ever advertised. Incredibly no one seemed to bat an eye. The folks glared more at Shirl’s boyfriend than her girlfriend. Caryn teased her after a while, “I guess you being a closet carpet-muncher wasn’t as big a deal as you thought?”
It was a relaxing time until Reets felt Caryn tense next to her. “Who is that?”
Reets looked up, “That’s her, Myn.”
“She’s freaking gorgeous! No wonder . . .”
Whatever Caryn was going to say was lost as Myn came close to them. The professional Myn was a killer and the relaxed Myn was even more of a knockout. Her hair was down both literally and figuratively. She wore a form fitting white top under an open long sleeved white men’s shirt, very tight jeans, and boat shoes with no socks. Next to her was another woman, a tall slim raven-haired beauty.
Reets was tongue-tied! “Hi, I’m Myn.” She shook hands with Caryn. “And this is my spouse, Sally.”
The tall woman grinned and shook hands with Reets and Caryn. “No, not legally in this state, but we have hope.”
“Nice to meet you both, I’m Caryn seeing as how Reets seems to have lost the power of speech and this is Reina. Reets has said so much about you, but didn’t tell me how beautiful you are. You both are a striking couple.”
“Well with you at home, why would she notice me? And the two of you look amazing together!”
Reets still couldn’t say anything. The sight of Caryn and Myn touching was too much. Maybe no one else saw any resemblance, but she would have sworn the two were related. Cousins, for sure, maybe even sisters!
“You’re just being nice!”
Myn just smiled and said hi to Rei while Reets sat there not sure of anything. Rei was pretty shy, but warmed quickly to Sally.
Caryn smiled at them and shared an interesting look with Sally that neither Reets nor Myn noticed. She finished her comment from earlier as they wandered away. “No wonder you have been working so hard. She’s dynamite!’
“She looks like you, Car.”
“You think so?”
“Oh yea, like what you will look like in about 10 years.”
“Only 10?” Caryn pouted.
Before the food was served and before anyone hit the beer to hard, Myn got up on a little platform and waved everyone in.
“OK folks, to be able to take this off the taxes; it’s a business meeting, not a picnic. Remember that!”
Everyone laughed and she went on with a progress report. Reets sorta of tuned it out since she helped draft the report, she knew the particulars including the last surprise. Instead she concentrated on others and was impressed with what she saw. People were paying close attention, more than she would have expected. Being part-owners really made them invest in the company. That’s when it dawned on her, it wasn’t a just a bar anymore to anyone, it was a business and one in which each and every one of them had a personal stake. She tuned Myn back in because she was about to drop her surprise.
“And as a result, I wish to announce our first expansion. We are buying the three-story building across the street. When we get done with it, it’s going to be renovated into two floors. The bottom floor will be a set of shops. The upper two floors will be converted to one floor with a high ceiling and we’re going to use it as a conference center and banquet hall. I have a couple of friends looking to open a flower shop and a wedding planner looking for a new space so we already have commitments for two businesses for the downstairs and room for 4 more.
“Since this is a new business, both groups, Battles and Sweeney’s will have an ownership stake based on your current percentages. With one caveat, I can’t afford to front the renovation myself so I’ll be turning over ownership after I re-coup the renovation costs, which will take over a year, possibly as many as three. I am bringing in one other investor to help, her name is Amy Stone. Her interest is strictly financial and recouping a percentage over what she fronts with me for the renovation. Her interest ends there. Of course the more business we get in, the faster recouping the costs will happen. Also both groups will be supporting the catering efforts in the banquet hall, so it means more hours for those who want it and possibly hiring more staff. Oh, I also have a commitment from both the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce to host at least one event there each year for the next three years. I also plan on marketing it at the military base; they are always looking for places to host parties, especially for the holidays. Renovation starts in 10 days.”
The group had been applauding her after each announcement. They went wild over the new opportunity.
“One last thing, and then we can eat. I need a manager for the banquet hall and also to manage the business rental space. I am looking to hire from within and will only hire someone new if I can’t find a good candidate from this team. The job is open to any current employees, full-timers, part-timers, and even employee owners. Any and all applicants will be considered. It’s a full-time job with appropriate salary. If things go real well we’ll also be putting a receptionist position. That one will be a new hire and perfect for someone right out of high school or in college looking for a flexible position. So think about that one for someone else.
“OK, enough business, let’s eat!”
The gathering was a complete success. Off to one side Sally and Caryn ran into each other, seemingly by accident.
“I think we have a problem, Sally. Does Myn talk about Reets as much as Reets talks about Myn?”
“Not exactly talks, but I know there was someone there. The problem is Myn won’t do anything with an employee, ever.”
“Doesn’t it bother you?”
“No, I know Myn. There is something in Rita that touches a special chord. I think you know it. You don’t sound upset.”
“Like you know Myn, I know Reets. You’re right there is something there and it’s really getting under Reets skin. But I know she loves me, she won’t act on it no matter what she’s feeling. She has this unreal integrity streak.”
“So what do we do?”
“That, Sally, is the question.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Later that evening at Myn and Sally’s apartment they were relaxing on the small balcony outside the bedroom, enjoying their favorite beverages.
“She’s nice!” Sally said with a small smile.
“I . . . who?”
Sally laughed. “You know damned well who I meant”
Myn hung her head a bit. “Can’t fool you a bit, can I?”
“I hope not. She is nice, and I liked her girlfriend and her daughter.”
Myn looked up at Sally knowing how hard it was to admit that. “And now you know the crux of the problem, she’s great and she works for me.”
“Invite them over.”
“Sally, that’s like playing with fire.”
“Like you don’t like playing with fire, do I need to mention Ashley again?”
“Ash was different; she also didn’t work for either of us!”
“Myn, love, you funded my gym and that means I sorta work for you.”
“We went all over that. I have a financial interest, not a managerial one!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sally did a little detective work of her own and made a couple of decisions. One she lnew would annoy Myn and one that might piss her off.