Reason #7: The Coworker-zone

The sound of sirens blaring through some nearby neighborhood woke me from my deep sleep. Honestly, what were people thinking, getting in accidents and waking me up at two in the afternoon?

Not to mention my upstairs neighbor was stomping around and my next door neighbor was vacuuming- my pet peeve, by the way. Really, there should be rules against that.

At least I didn't have to go work. Or, that's what I thought until I rolled over and saw a multitude of texts and missed calls on my phone- every single one from Kurt.

where are you? Your shift started ten minutes ago

thirty min late now

open in five min get over here!

dont expect to get away with this

your lucky max took your shift on his day off

Did Max really do that for me?

oops didnt realize you were sick

Who told him that?

sorry just make sure you let me know next time feel better!

Thank god Kurt was so gullible- any other boss would have fired me right then and there. I was also thankful that Max covered for me- but why did he? He easily could have had his day off and left me to fend for myself, but... he didn't.

But why I am reading into this so much? Kurt probably just called Max in desperation, and Max agreed to do it for the extra cash. Not because he felt like it.

Either way, I should thank him. But I wasn't going to show up at the hotel today when I was supposedly sick, and I didn't have his number.

I'll just worry about that tomorrow. I'm going back to sleep.

I stood at the bar, doing a weird balancing act against the counter to try to take as much pressure off of my feet as I could. I'd gotten some pretty nasty blisters from my heels that I had worn the other night, and two hours into my shift, they were stinging with every step I took.

I was pretty much hanging from the counter when I saw Max making his way from the restaurant.

"Max!" I called out as he entered the pool deck. I waved him over and released myself from my awkward position.

"Hey, thanks for covering for me yesterday," I said as he took a seat at the bar.

"No problem," he said with a smile.

"Did Kurt call you in or what?"

"No, I was coming here to pick up my check, and I saw Kurt freaking out and then I noticed you weren't there, even though I knew you were supposed to be working, so I just figured you forgot or something. I had nothing to do that day, so I told him you were sick and I was taking your shift."

"Well, I definitely owe you one."

"Nah, don't worry about it."

"Let me make it up to you somehow."

"Really, it's nothing. No need to repay me."

"If you say so."

"Oh, I almost forgot. Kurt sent me to get more straws."

I handed him a box and he got up from the bar.

"Thanks, Sophie," he said.

"Want a drink or something before you go?"

"I should get back to work. See you later!"

Kurt really did have Max whipped. But in a way, it was kind of cute. And it certainly would be fun trying to corrupt him...

"Bye, Max," I shouted as he walked away.

Tonight's crowd had been pretty large for a Tuesday. Then again, this is a poolside bar at a hotel for rich vacationers. These people don't have to go to work tomorrow, and so they lounge at the pool, drinking and socializing until the late hours of the night- okay, I don't normally count ten o'clock as late, but it is when you're on the fourth hour of your shift and you have to be back to work the next morning at six.

A particularly drunk group of adults had started to play a very rowdy game of charades, and one man was in the middle of the circle, jumping and flapping his arms wildly.

"I think he's supposed to be a kangaroo," Max observed as he sat down at the bar.

"I was going to say a chicken," I said.

"Maybe you should cut him off?" he suggested.

"But he's tipping well."

"Alright," he laughed.

"Is your shift over already?"

"I just ditched clean up."

"Ooh, you're bad," I teased. Waiters left clean up all the time, leaving the mess to busboys and dishwashers.

I set two glasses on the counter.

"What'll it be?" I asked.

"We aren't supposed to-"

"I don't give a fuck about Kurt. What he doesn't know won't kill him."

He looked taken aback for a second, but then he smiled.

"Surprise me," he said. Good. I was getting tired of his rule following and his general do-gooder attitude.

I mixed my favorite drink and handed one to him.

"You're really good at this," he said as he watched me cleaning up the bar.

"It's not that hard."

"It doesn't seem like that."

"You get used to it when you do it for so long."

"Are you having trouble finding a better job?"

"I've made no attempt to find another job."

"Why not? I've been trying to find any kind of chef position since I graduated. And that was two years ago."

"I just never really wanted to. I'm happy with this job."

"Did you live in L.A. before or did you move here?"

"I went to college in California, and I just stayed out here. I didn't really feel like going back to Illinois. How about you?"

"Same. Except I'm from Oregon."

"Two boring states." Groups of people were starting to leave the pool, but the charades group stuck around. There was still half an hour until the pool oficially closed, but I was sick of their shouting. I marched over to them and put on my best fake smile.

"I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but the pool area is closing in a few minutes. I'm going to have to ask you to leave," I said sweetly.

"No problem! Those drinks were great!" one man said as he stood up to move a pool chair back into place.

"Thank you, sir. And don't worry about those chairs, I'll take care of them."

I returned to the bar as the remaining people exited.

"Closing up early?" Max asked as I sat down next to him.

"They weren't buying anything anymore, and they were annoying me," I said as I kicked off my shoes.

"Is that what you told them?"

"No, I actually happen to be great with customer service."

"Whatever you say."

We sat in silence for a minute while I pondered if it was possible to clean the bar from my seat.

"Want me to clean up for you?" Max asked.

I thought about protesting, but I really didn't want to clean.

"If you want," I said.

At first, he tried to handle it on his own. After a few minutes, I had to instruct him. After thirty minutes, I had ended up behind the bar with him, drinking while we cleaned.

"Okay, I really should get going," Max said after we had polished off several beers.

"Really?" I said.

"Yeah, see you tomorrow."

"Hey, me and my friends are having a party on the beach this Friday. Just a little thing, not many people."

He gave me a skeptical look.

"Some people from work are going- Kenya and Sean. You know them, right?" I added on.

"Yeah, I do. Well, I guess I'll be there."

"Great! See you tomorrow."

"Bye, Sophie." He walked away, and left me with a bar that was messier than it started and the feeling that I was slowly being pushed into something worse than the friendzone- the coworker-zone.

I am so sorry for not updating for so long! School started about a month ago, and I've been very busy with the play I'm in, so I haven't had much free time, but I do have some chapters already written, which I will be posting more frequently. Sorry for the long break, but I'm back! Thank you all for reading! This story is turning out a lot better than I thought it would!