Author Note: Holy crud, it's been forever since I posted. I am so sorry! Well, this chapter introduces a twist in Ari's life, but not a huge one. Just thought I would put it in there, you know? Anyway, big thanks to Only4Miken and ScarlettNight96 for my encouraging reviews!! Sorry this chapter is so short.
I walked into Spades Saturday morning, preparing for my fourteen hour shift. Nicolai and Lake were spending some quality time with Vamp, as Tishy called it. That generally meant that Tishy would spend most of her last pay check on them, getting Christmas presents for them, and then taking them to see whatever movie they wanted to see. I felt bad when I had to rely on her to take care of them, especially if she was spending her own money, but she loved the two.
I looked up from the familiar red carpet, but that was all that was really familiar. I had taken Friday off for skitching, but how could this place change so much in two days? The booths, originally a classic design with wood tables and benches, now all had red and white marbled table with black spades in the middle of them. The black blinds were replaced with red suede drapes that were pulled to the side. There was now a counter, too, and behind that was the door that lead to the back of the restaurant, where the kitchen, bathrooms, and locker room were located.
I got into the back locker room and Naydeen was standing there, her shirt half off as she was changing. When she saw me she made this really sad face. "What's wrong? And what happened to the store?" I asked.
"Spades changed hands. The new owner is kind of making things hard on us." She explained, holding her shirt still and sighing. "I'm just afriad that you might not want to work here anymore."
"What? Why, did they lower the pay? Are my hours changed?" I asked, horrified. If my hours changed, it could be trouble for the boys, and my pay barely covered what I needed now after I put away the small ammount that I was saving for moving.
Naydeen shook her head and I untensed a bit. "Well, no, but they have this whole new system. And there are new uniforms. The only real upside is that those who weren't fired got a ten percent pay increase."
All that mattered to me was the pay and the hours. Considering the pay was better, and my hours didn't change, there was no way that I was getting a new job. "Where's my uniform? It can't be the bad."
Naydeen opened my locker and just kind of gestured. I moved forward and looked inside. There was a skirt, the top half form fitting, but the bottom half flipping out with puffs of silk and lace. Little black spades were sewn into the puffs of red fabric, the top half black. That part wasn't so bad, but I moved on to the shirt hesitantly.
The front was a giant black spade. The side were open and it would show a hell of a lot of shoulder. It would hide my bruise, I figured, but that gash in my side would be seen. And the whole top was held on simply by two red ribbons, tied like a bikini. Letting out a worried breath, I figured I could live with it as long as I was careful about my home life.
As I started to change I was happily surprised to find that there was also a jacket. It was solid red velvet, two buttons under the bust. I put it on. It was tight arounf the middle, where it buttoned, and the front fell open to show a bit of my stomach, but the sides and back were a little longer, thankfully hiding my scratch.
"So you must be our underaged waitress." A deep voice said behind me. I was just finished putting in my frist order of the day and turned quickly, shocked.
The guy was tall, wide frame in a suit. He wore glasses over green eyes and his blond hair was slicked back. "Um, yes. My name's Ari." I nervously grinned.
He smiled and put out hisa hand. "I'm Lee Hampton, new owner. Your co-workers have nothing but good words to say about you." He said as I shook his hand. "Would you object if I asked you to switch to being a hostess?"
"Um, yes." I answered after a second. "I can't really change my hours, and doesn't that pay less?"
Mr. Hampton made a clicking sound with his tongue. "I could keep your hours, and I'd pay you a waitresses salary."
"Well," I hesitated, "why do I need to change my job? What happened to Tyler?"
Tyler was the host previously, always working my shifts. "Tyler turned in a two week notice to Mr. Duncan, the previous owner, and yesterday was his last day. Right now everyone's just seating themselves."
I thought for a minute. No change except the ammount of work I did. And there was less of a chance of me getting in trouble for serving alcohol like I sometimes did accidentally. Sighing, I looked past Mr. Hampton at Naydeen.
She was twenty-five, had worked here since this place opened, and she had guided me through everything. It would be odd not talking with her while we both waited for orders, but some days I really did need to stop running around this place, depending on what my father had done to me.
Running a hand through my hair I half shrugged. "When would I start?"
"Right now. A new waitress is going to be taking your place." He smiled, probably glad I was accepting the position. "Just a slight change in uniform."
He gestured and this waitress popped up next to me, my replacement, I assumed. Mr. Hampton didn't introduce us as he led me towards to host desk. From one shelf under it he pulled out a vest, the same red velvet of the jacket. He gave it to me. I changed quickly, feeling my side. The vest also covered my scratch, though it showed a little more stomach and shoulder.
"And next time you come in I will have nylons and shoes for you to wear." The boss said and left, done. I looked down at the desk, trying to figure out how I was supposed to know where to seat everyone.
Not seeing anything I grabbed a pen and some scatch paper I found in a desk drawer. In ten minutes I had a chart and a system to work by.