Taken by the Italian MafiaBy: Sadie Black
A Dark City Romance
"A Bailey's Comet, and make it hot.”
Above the blasting beats in the club, Whitney only caught a few syllables of the man's order. A few syllables were all she needed. Years of working at The Avenue made her a skilled lip reader. Even the drunkest clients slurring over their words posed zero problems. Whitney was good at what she did, and she knew it.
"The hottest for you," she said with a wink. The man standing across the bar from her wasn't particularly attractive, but she knew how to work the floor. Tips paid her rent, and she wasn't against a little harmless flirting if it meant a few extra bills slid her way.
With a flourish, she poured the Irish cream and Goldschlager into a cocktail shaker and shook it in time to the bass vibrating through the floor. Friday nights at The Avenue were always crazy, but they were always a good time. Fresh faces and hot young bodies kept the place alive and bouncing. Even though she worked through the non-stop party, she felt like part of the crowd. The Avenue was the best club she'd worked at yet, and Whitney dreaded the day she'd have to let it go.
"Hey!" Cassandra shouted near her ear. Whitney poured the mixed drink into a cocktail glass, a splash of 151 proof rum over top finished the drink. Whitney searched for the cinnamon shaker beneath the counter with one hand and fished a lighter from her pocket with the other.
"What?" The flame from her lighter ate its way across the surface of the drink, the ground cinnamon she shook into it popped. The man slid a twenty-dollar bill across the counter, a three-dollar tip on a single drink was nothing to scoff at. She lost track of how many she poured by the hour.
"Have you seen Liam?"
Liam owned the club, and Whitney thought he must live there, too. Liam was always there, no matter what time she showed up or day of the week it was. For the most part, Liam trusted his bartenders and let them do what they needed to do. Unlike some of the seedier bars she'd worked at, he didn't dip his fingers into the tips or demand his girls service him. In the two years she'd worked for him, she had little to complain about.
"I saw him with some girl," Cassandra shouted. Despite the elevated volume of her voice, Whitney could barely hear her over the music. At her side, Cassandra was pouring a row of shots. Whitney had moved on to take another order. The bar was hopping.
"And?" It wasn't like Liam was celibate. Single, in his forties but looking like he was in his early thirties, the man had no trouble with the ladies.
"I think he was interviewing her."
"For what?" Fifteen dollars this time. Whitney tucked the money away, keeping mental tabs so she could ring up the orders when there was a second to breathe between orders.
"For the bar. He kept pointing at us. She looked like she'd just turned twenty-one."
A sour taste spread across Whitney's tongue, and she paused from what she was doing to look over at Cassandra. With sandy blonde hair, big blue eyes, and pale skin, Cassandra was just about her opposite. Liam liked to schedule them together because of how well they complimented one another.
Her light cocoa skin against Cassandra's creamy white. Her warm brown eyes against Cassandra's blues. And her tightly screwed black curls opposite Cassandra's straight blonde locks was what Liam liked to describe as 'a delicious combination'. As a pair, Whitney and Cassandra made more money than any other duo on staff. If there was one thing Liam liked more than The Avenue, it was the money the club made him. Liam couldn't be thinking about doing away with her, could he?
"What did she look like?" Whitney asked.
"Dark skin. Wavy hair. Big boobs. Really skinny, and like model pretty."
The sour taste spread. Whitney pushed a new glass across the table and pulled back another bill. It was no secret that she was getting too old to be working in a club. Most girls peaked around twenty-seven and saw their last days through at about twenty-eight. Whitney had dazzled Liam enough during her interview that he hadn't asked about her age until she was already on staff. He'd hired her at twenty-seven, and now her thirtieth birthday was quickly approaching. Since she'd started, she'd done her best to make herself a valuable member of the team. But if Liam could make more money off of a younger face, she knew that he wouldn't hesitate to let her go.