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Abrupt Changes Bonus Scene


Ten years ago I told Ben, my boss, I needed two pints of dark beer. Friday nights were busy at the Tilted Amber Pub, but since the live music hadn’t started yet, I could afford to wait while Ben pulled the drafts. I ran the credit cards for my two newest customers to start their tabs, before I placed the two stout beers on my tray.

Both men were college students. I had checked their licenses and saw they were just over twenty-one by six months. One of them was large, burly, and had a thick mane of red hair, but a sparse beard on his long face. The other man was lean but muscled. His blond hair extremely short on his perfectly round head. His eyes might have been blue or green, it was hard to tell in the dimness.

They sat at one of the few low-top tables, so I had to stoop over to place their beers on coasters. Just as I moved to straighten, the burly redhead grabbed my ass.

“Hands off, thanks,” I snapped.

He looked to his friend. “Jesus. It’s like they only hire bitches at this place.”

The blonde man grinned. “I know, right.” He looked up at me. “Is it on the application? Are you a bitch, check yes or no?”

I felt heat in my cheeks and wished I didn’t have such fair skin because even in the dim light I knew he could see he got to me.

“No more than the bouncer asks if you’re an asshole when you walked in, jackass,” said the smoothest voice I’d ever heard.

Handsy guy looked up at the man. “How about you stay the fuck out of it, spic?”

I inhaled sharply. Then I snapped, “Get out. Both of you.”

The men glared at me. “Not your bar, chick, so that isn’t your call to make.”

I dipped my chin. “I’m your server, and I have the right to refuse you service.”

The blond sat back and crossed his arms on his chest. “Guess it’s your night to get fired.”

“Getting me fired won’t increase the size of your miniscule dick.”

The man leaned toward me, and I smelled his intriguing cologne. “You might want to lay off a bit, Sparky.”

I turned to him with narrowed eyes, but seeing him took my breath away. He was tall, probably six-feet, and he was built, but not overly so. His hair was dark and his brown eyes, while serious, were the kind any woman would enjoy staring into for a good, long time.

Before I could retort, Ben sidled up. “There a problem here, Rae?”

I refocused on the red-haired man when he spoke. “We need a new waitress. She’s refusing us service, and she’s bitchy.”

I smiled at him before I turned serious eyes to Ben. “If you want entitled white guys who use racial slurs as customers, be my guest, Ben, but—”

“Slurs,” Ben interrupted.
I nodded.

He looked at the two men. “You’re out. Watched you come in, you been here twenty minutes, you get back your cover and be glad for it.”

I had other tables, so I didn’t stick around for the drama. Ben believed me, and I knew he would take care of it. That alone made him a fabulous boss. While grabbing empties and refilling
drink orders, I lost track of the man with the awesome voice, gorgeous eyes, and fantastic cologne. Had he grabbed my ass, I couldn’t say I’d have reacted as strongly. Then again, just
looking at him, I knew he wouldn’t do that sort of assholish thing. 

By the time I took my break, standing outside next to the cigarette urn, I shoved all thoughts about the scene out of my head. My time was limited, and I needed to devour the sandwich in my hands.

“Didn’t take you for a smoker,” a familiar voice said.

I turned to see the man sauntering up to me. When I swallowed, the food went down like a golf ball. “Are you?”

“A smoker?”

I nodded.

He grinned, and his teeth gleamed in the weak outdoor lighting. “Nope.”

While I ate another bite of my sandwich, I felt his eyes on me.

“So, Spar— erm, sweetheart, you always that feisty with assholes? No offense, but it’s liable to get you in serious trouble.”

I had speared him with my eyes when he nearly called me sparky again. To answer his question, I shrugged.

He chuckled.

“What’s funny?”

“I just hope Ben knew what he was doing when he hired you.”

“Course, I do, Clint,” Ben said as he edged out of the backdoor carrying a large rustling bag of garbage. Over his shoulder he added, “Raegan’s hell on wheels at serving drinks, as long as
nobody gets handsy… or apparently racist.”

While Ben delivered this information, I scarfed down the rest of my food.

After Ben went back inside, Clint came closer. “Raegan your first name or last name?”

His eyes were intent on me.

I swallowed. “First. Is Clint your first name?”

He nodded, grinning. “You on until closing?”

Warmth slid through me, but I didn’t want to jump the gun. “Why? Are you scared I’ll find ‘serious trouble’ or something?”

He shook his head. His eyes danced as he smiled. “No. Want to take you out for a drink, if you’re free.”

“I’m off at ten. Another girl wanted my shift during the band tonight.”

His brows drew together. “That’s where the money’s at, isn’t it?”

I bobbed my head. “Yeah, but she’s in a bind. I can let her have this shift since she normally gives me her shift when I have to pay tuition.”

An hour later, Clint escorted me to my car. It wasn’t a very good car, but it was what I could afford. Even in the dark, I could tell he was glaring at it.

“What? I can follow you. Or you can tell me where we’re—”

He grabbed my hand. “Nope.”

Then he pulled on my hand enough that I followed him to an older model Toyota pickup truck. My body stiffened. He turned to look at me.

“What was wrong with my car? Your truck doesn’t seem that much newer.”

He exhaled sharply through his nose. Then, he came closer and guided me so my back was to the door of the truck. He kept moving so he stood in my space. No one had ever done that to me, and it surprised me to find I liked it.

“Nothing’s wrong with your car, except, I don’t like the idea of you following me. You need me to, I’ll bring you back for your car, but for now, I want you with me. That cool with you?”

My lips twisted to the side. “I should call—”

“Ben knows I’m takin’ you out.”

I shook my head in short shakes. “He does?”

“Yeah. He asked why I was nosin’ around the back chatting with you. He’s a good boss that way. Always lookin’ out for his staff. Your car ain’t gone by noon, he’ll be banging down my door.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “That sounds a little too pat.”

He chuckled. “He’s my next-door neighbor, Raegan. Believe me, he’s banged on my door before, he’ll damn sure do it again if the need arises. And since I’ve never heard him say an employee is ‘hell-on-wheels,’ I suspect he’s fond of you.”

I couldn’t help but smirk because that made me feel good. Ben was such a good, upstanding guy.

“Now. You gonna let me take you out for drinks?”

I nodded, but he didn’t back away.

His lips twisted back and forth. “I wasn’t raised to do this, but I can’t help myself. Mind if I kiss you before our date officially begins?”

Those words lit a line of flame through my torso. I liked that he wasn’t raised to kiss someone before the date, but he couldn’t help himself. Not to mention, I’d wondered what it would be like to kiss him from the moment he sauntered up during my break.

“Yes,” I whispered.

I hadn’t realized he’d been biting his lower lip until I saw it pop forward when his teeth released it. His hand slid into the hair at the side of my head just before our lips met. He took my lower lip between his and I reveled in the feel of his upper lip between mine. His head tilted while his tongue touched my lip, making my mouth open. Our tongues touched for a moment, but his tongue pushed farther into my mouth. I tasted the faintest trace of beer and then his tongue withdrew.

I opened my eyes when the kiss was over. Surprised to see a look on his face that likely mirrored my own. Hooded eyes, but a fire behind them telling me he wanted more. Our gazes held for a very long moment.

I broke the spell to ask, “Are we going to get drinks?”

He cleared his throat. “Yeah. If I didn’t suspect you’re a good girl, I’d say those drinks are happening at my place. But I’ve pushed my limits too far already.”

My lips pressed together hard because otherwise, I’d have told him I wanted nothing more than to go back to his place right then and there.

As it happened, I didn’t make it back to Clint’s place until date three. From then on, we considered ourselves inseparable.

The End