Zach hated tourists. Their permanent stench of sunscreen and the awful oversized floral garments they wore and their mindset that pretty much whatever they want to happen can happen as long as they threw enough money into it.
Zach hated them.
So why had Zach accepted a job where all he would do is cater towards them?
When your life is falling apart, running away to a tropical island for a summer can't be that bad of an idea. And, as much as he hated to admit to it, he loved the island itself. The sand was white and the water was clear and the fish was fresh and so was the fruit and if he could just bulldoze over the resort and build himself a hut he would never want to leave.
But, unfortunately, most of the island was marred with the sky scrapping hotels and the dock for cruises and the tiki themed restaurants that just made him want to vomit.
There was also the obnoxiously large golf course, which he would love to hate but he couldn’t. It was the most beautiful course he had ever seen, of course, and it was also the reason he had a job.
Zach Rance: Certified Children’s Golfing Instructor. He reckoned everyone at the Golf Club had it the worst, only the people with the most money in their hands spent their days up here. His job was basically to play babysitter to these children while their parents went around the course, on the utterly ridiculous shining white golf carts they paid $80 an hour to rent. Zach, himself, also had a golf cart assigned to him by the resort but it was old and rickety and had to be recharged hourly to make it run anywhere. So it got him in between the course, and the employee residence, small dorm roomed typed rooms with twin beds and no air-conditioning (and a roommate he wasn't sure existed because he had never seen him) that everyone called Res, and restaurants to pick up food after work.
He didn’t have any friends yet, persay, but that’s because they all seemed too fucking happy. Everytime he check out a drink in his embroidered golf club polo, sighing about his long day, he was waiting for a chink in the armor, a wink to say “I feel ya’, bud” but it never fucking came. Their smile was embossed on their face and it was somewhat creepy and he wondered briefly if he was working with robots and if one day, he too, would turn into a robot. Zach tried to convince himself that a summer working here was good for him, even though he was making next to nothing once you pulled living expenses and food out of it. Working here was good for him, and he was not just running away from the fact he hasn’t got the foggiest clue where he wanted to go to school, or what he wanted to do when he got there.
All he could really pray was that none of his classmates from his graduating class were vacationing here this summer. What he ended up with was worse, so much worse than classmates.
He didn’t know how he didn’t see this coming, as parents who shell out the cash for their children to attend the private school would be a lot more likely to pay for a vacation on this overpriced sandy hell.
Zach saw the girl first, her jacket embroidered with Pinecrest on the back, as she stepped out of a Porsche. Her hair was pulled into a tight ponytail, thick brown hair, probably weave Zach added mentally, falling down from it. Her wedges towered high, concealing her height, and her sunglasses were round and said Wildfox on them and Zach rolled his eyes, leaning against the hotel agitatedly.
The boy came next. He was wearing wedged sneakers, and Zach could gag. He wore a tight buttoned up, short sleeve shirt with sharks on it and a pair of dark jeans. His blonde hair was quaffed high, but he didn’t have any sunglasses on so he was squinting around at the people taking their luggage. He handed a staff member his Pinecrest Duffle, linking arms with what Zach could only assume was his sister as they sauntered into Quaila, the most expensive piece of property on the island.
He had met Pinecrest kids before, at championship games for their schools and a few stray parties he'd wandered into by accident. They treated kids from his area like scum.
Zach locked eyes with the person hauling the guy’s five pieces of luggage on to a cart, and they smiled at him.
God, he fucking hated everyone here.
Zach only managed to relax when he found out that, no not everyone was a robot, but yes, everyone got their asses kicked if they got caught without the actual sun pouring out of their face.
“Dude,” Cody, a surfing instructor was telling him over lunch at the back table at the cheap sandwich shop,
“We’ve seen people get, like, fired over that shit. You gotta smile 24/7. No question.”
“God,” Zach leaned his head on his palm. “I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this, bro. How long can I last?”
“You’ll be fine,” Cody told him as he took a swig from his water bottle. “You just gotta know when to cut loose, and where.” He winked. Zach squinted at him. “Meet me outside of Res, at 8 or so, I’ll show ya’.” Cody pushed up from his seat, looking at his watch.
“Damn, gotta go, gotta a lesson in 15. Res. 8 pm, be there.” He grabbed the rest of his club, waving to the rest of the staff.
“We’re taking your cart.” He says in a low voice, before turning around and jogging out of the shop.
Cody was right, Zach did have fun. Cody directed him down these dirt paths until they came to a clearing, where all these people were laughing and piling together wood and supplies and Zach recognized most of them but not really because they were out of uniform. Cody hopped off the cart before he even stopped moving, bro-hugging and hand clapping with everyone, helping people move around booze and pans of food brought from the kitchens.
Zach parked and awkwardly leaned on his cart, wishing he had changed out of his work polo, until some kid named Hayden handed him a red cup.
"Zach right?” He asked, handing him the cup.
“You got it.” Zach said, taking a thankful sip. He was expecting a garbage mixer, or cheap beer, but what ever it was was pleasantly fruity. Not that he'd admit he liked that shit.
“Hayden, nice to meet you bro. You teach golf right?”
“To kids, yes.” Zach laughed.
“Cool.” Hayden, handed him an axe. “Show me your swing.”
That translated into, help me cut wood for the fire, which Zach was happy to do. Zach was happy to do anything that involved people his age and people who were as broke as he was. He wasn’t sure who’s booze he was drinking, he was afraid to ask, but he made a mental note to bring something next time.
The night by the cackling fire went all too quickly for Zach’s tastes.
Zach was watching a pink faced Christine talk about her day as a receptionist in one of the lower class hotels. He held up a hand to his own face, wondering if they could get sun burnt at night. They all shared stories of their worst customers of the week, ranging from Pao’s requests at the bar she DJs at for nothing but country, to Hayden’s stories of people trying to fuck on the shuttle bus he drives.
“Okay, but I swear to God, I almost had to say something to her parents,” Cody was saying and everyone groaned. Zach looked around, amused yet confused.
“Cody constantly,” Amber explained,
“Always,” Pao added quietly, “talks about how we almost,”
“Key word, almost” Hayden added.
“Had to say something to someone.” Amber finished with a grin, lifting her cider to her lips.
“Seriously, though,” Cody lamented, red faced, “I was this close.” Everyone laughed shaking their heads, Zach joined them almost on principal. “Like, I understand how many Sarah Dessen novels you’ve read about this kind of crap.” Cody took a sip of his beer. “But literally, I’m just trying to teach you how to surf. Not be your teenage dream.” He shuddered “I don’t even know if they were teenagers man, I’m talking middle school here.”
Everyone else shuddered too, at that.
Zach came to really not mind living on the island. Sure, the pay wasn’t great and the kids were obnoxious, but on lunch breaks he grabbed a sandwich with Cody or shared a pizza with Hayden and stopped by after his work to visit Pao at the bar until she finished at 9, and he enjoyed himself. He ended up training for several jobs, filling in here or there, sometimes waiting, sometimes house keeping. The wifi on the island was utter shit so almost none of the staff used social media and he found he didn’t miss it at all, never worrying about if he tagged everyone in the tweet or if he posted two instagrams too close together.
So when his cellphone rang that day, he was a little surprised.
“Yello?” He answered, as he walked from Res to his golf cart, swinging his bottle of water in his hand.
“Rance?” It was Derrick, general manager of activities at the golf club. “Hey, listen buddy, I need ya’ to fill in a little today.”
“Yeah?” He frowned, starting his cart. “I, uh, I got kids coming at 8, I’m just leaving Res now.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Derrick told him, “I’ll get someone to fill for ya’, how do you feel about caddying?”
When Zach got to the club, he was forced into the island’s best. Out of his green golf shorts, and into white dress pants, and white golf shoes and a pretty stupid looking cap. He handed his set of beginner clubs off to the guy who was taking his class for him, and when Derrick held out his hand for the keys to his cart, he faltered.
“I’m still gonna need to get back,” he mentioned quietly, handing Derrick the keys like it pained him.
“Calm down, Zach,” Derrick rolled his eyes. “We can’t have you meeting these folks in that piece of shit. Take this one.” He pointed out the window. The cart was so beautiful he thought he might cry. Dark green with the white insignia of the golf club on the roof, dark wood panelling and a black steering wheel. “You’re caddying for the Grandes,” Derrick was telling him as they strutted out the door and towards the cart.
“Ma’am Grande, Master Grande and Miss Grande, no buts. You’ll drive out to the front of the club, they’re pulling up from Qualia.”
“Qualia?” Zach blanched. All of these things, the pants, the cart, and the name dropped hotel were cues to Zach that they were rich. Fully loaded.
“They have the pent house.” Derrick told him solemnly.
Zach was sweating.
“Good luck, my man” Derrick handed him the key to the cart, clapped him on the back and turned back towards the club.
“Wait!” Zach called. “How will I know which group is them?” Derrick laughed.
“Trust me,” he shook his head “you’ll know them when you see them.”
When a porsche was pulling towards him, he could only make the assumption that they were who he was waiting for. He hopped off the cart, waiting patiently as the car pulled up. The driver got out first, waved to Zach, who rolled his eyes, because of course they have a driver, before opening the doors so the Grandes could step out. Zach recognized them from the other day, he watched them strut in Pinecrest gear into Qualia.
The girl had the same sunglasses on, but now he noticed she had big full lips quirked up into a smile as she muttered something to her mother. The boy, who wasn’t dressed appropriately for the course, Zach noted, was leaning back against the Porsche smirking. Seemingly at Zach.
Zach stared back, until he realized that the driver was struggling with golf bags, as he unloaded them from the back, which was actually Zach’s job, so he snapped out of his daze caused by ‘Master Grande’ to help him out.
After successfully loading three bags onto the cart, Zach bowed his head at the Grandes.
“Miss Grande, Master Grande, Ma’am Grande,” He said politely “My name is Zach, I’ll be your caddy for the day.”
“Master Grande,” the boy muttered to his sister, who giggled into her hand and then smacked him on the shoulder. Zach’s face grew hot. What, he wondered, he was just doing as he was told. “Can I help you, Master Grande?” Zach asked. The guy raised his eyebrows.
“Passerotto” Ma’am Grande was saying to the driver, grabbing his face. “Thank you, we’ll see you soon.”
“Anything for you, Dolcezza” The driver replied in a thick Italian accent. “Shall I return in two hours?”
Ma’am Grande looked in between her son and the caddy.
“Better make it three.” She told him with a smile. He bowed his head, before getting in the Porsche and driving off. Zach took that as his cue to take over.
“Well,” Zach said, offering a hand to Miss Grande to help her into the golf cart.
“Shall we get you to your first hole?”
“No.” Master Grande told him, crossing his arms.
“Pardon?” Zach asked, he looked up to meet his eyes in the rear view mirror.
“I’m hardly dressed for golfing.” He said, rubbing his thumb along his nails.
“Oh?” Zach wasn’t sure how to respond, because, no he wasn’t, but that wasn’t his job to point out. Master Grande rolled his eyes, as if Zach was an idiot.
“Take me to the Gentleman’s locker, up by three.” He said tiredly.
“Oh.” Zach said, fiddling with the key, “Of course.”
Ma’am Grande turned around to share a look with Miss Grande and Zach hoped he didn’t sweat through his shirt.
“Here we are,” Zach pulled up front, pulling the key out of the ignition. Master Grande hopped off the cart. Zach sat there.
“Well?” Master Grande demanded shortly. Zach stared at him.
“Aren’t you going to escort me?”
“Oh, I didn’t kno-“ Zach shut his mouth, scrambling off the cart. Miss Grande was giggling again.
“Yes, right away, Master Gran-“ Zach slipped, slamming down on the pavement onto his hands. Master Grande rolled his eyes, sauntering in the club without Zach. Zach sighed, looking down to the ground for a moment. Just three hours, he told himself. Just three. He stood up, collected his pride, and began to follow him into the club.
“Zach?” He heard Ma’am Grande call him from behind, he turned around quickly. She was smiling at him, pity in her eyes.
“Try calling him Frankie,” she suggested softly.
Zach had no idea caddying entailed this. Granted, he and his dad only played at small time clubs in his home town, and never even had caddies. But still, he had no idea. Frankie was changing in front of him and Zach was trying really, really hard to keep his eyes forward, and take the garments at the appropriate time, smooth them, and hang them back in the locker. But god, did Frankie live in a gym? His body was tanned and impeccable and Zach knew as well as anyone that you can’t buy that sort of thing. Except maybe his nose, which seemed too gracefully sloped to be anything but bought…
When Frankie sat down and placed his golf shoes next to him, and then continued to fiddle with his hair, Zach realized it wasn’t he who would be changing out his shoes. He swallowed, and felt his pride drop into his stomach with it, and knelt down to unlace Frankie’s Louboutin oxford style shoes. Which were worth more than Zach’s rent for the month. Which he hadn’t realized had come out of his mouth until Frankie looked at him sharply and said
“What?” Zach looked up from his spot on the ground in front of him. He had never felt so small.
Zach stammered “They’re, uh, nice.”
“Yes.” Frankie said, “I know.”
Zach took a deep breath.
Zach never thought, ever, that he could consider a day on the golf course hell on earth. Yet here he was. After driving half way to the first course, Frankie had insisted he turn around and drive to 3 as 3 was his sister's, whom he soon learned was named Ariana, favorite.
It hadn't gone up much from there. It was a day full of lugging around golf bags for them to not use them, Frankie making snide comments and the girls just giggling quietly behind their hands. It didn't help that all three of them were fucking awful at golf. Zach had never seen more inept people with more expensive equipment and it made him want to cry. Beautiful putters wasted on talentless people. Peyton would probably cry if he got to look at one of these things, let alone play with them.
Frankie was arguably the worst of the lot. Zach just wanted to hold him still and line the shot up for him. Not that he would. It was hardly his job. He taught golf to children.
Which, as far he considered, Frankie wasn't far off from.
Frankie was lining up a shot, frowning. Zach was waiting by the bags incase he requested a different tool. Frankie frowned, spun around in place so he faced the other way, and realligned the shot.
"Whoa, whoa whoa," Zach called, pulling a Left Hand club out of the sack to offer to Frankie. The Grandes stared at him. "You, uh," Zach stuttered. "You can't make that shot."
"Why not?" Frankie demanded, leaning on his club tiredly.
"It's not designed for that." Zach insisted. "There not a flip around, do what you want, kind of thing. They only go one way." He held up the other option. "Use this one if you want to go left. But, Jesus, Frankie, don't damage these, they're beautiful." Frankie was squinting at him. He turned around. Ariana's eyes brows were raised, and Joan was...smirking for some reason.
It hit Zach like a truck that he had overstepped his boundaries.
"Frankie, huh?" Frankie said, clicking his tongue.
"I- I'm sorry, Master Grande," He cursed Joan for setting him up for this, "I, uh, I didn't mean to, I mean- I didn't want to-"
Frankie held up a hand. "Here," He held out his club. "You know so much- make the shot."
"I," Zach stared at it. "I couldn't really, that's not my job, and I-"
"Oh, so it's not your job?" Frankie hummed, "interesting."
Frankie shoved the club into him.
"Do it anyway."
Zach turned around to look at the girls for help. Ariana had her lips pressed together, staring at the ground. Joan, however, surprised him. She wasn't looking at him, but at Frankie, with an obvious-mother-warning look.
"Alright," Zach said suddenly, "fine." He snatched the club from Frankie.
His shot wasn't perfect, but it was the best thing they had seen all day. He held the club back to Frankie.
"Not bad," Frankie sneered, "Caddy."
Zach got the distinct impression Frankie could make anything sound like a curse word.
r u gonna be out for lunch?
fuck i wish man but ive got like an hour left
are you filling in 4 amber?
no man im caddying today. the money is sweet but i could punch these people in the face
seriously this guy is the worst. the worst case of a rich bitch ive met yet
-now uve got ur story for campfire, at least
Frankie coughed behind him. Zach jumped, dropping his phone.
Frankie stared at it.
He ignored it.
"We're ready to move on, Zach." He told him quietly.
Zach was fucked.
Zach thought he might have actually made it home free when he helped the Grande siblings back into the Porsche, setting the clubs in the back. Derrick was out from, waving at them cheerfully. As the car started to pull away, Derrick clapped him on the shoulder.
"How'd it go?" Derrick asked. Zach opened his mouth to lie, when Derrick pulled away. Zach turned around to notice Joan tapping on Derrick's shoulder.
"Derrick?" She asked sweetly. "A word?"
"Of course," Derrick told her kindly, grabbing her arms.
He waited until a few steps away to send lazer eyes at Zach.
Zach paced around the club nervously for a half hour. Joan left after a good 20 minute chat. Derrick stepped out of the tea room moments after.
"I'm going to my office." He told an assistant who ran up to him about something. She nodded, stepping away silently.
He made eye contact with Zach.
"You're a fucking idiot."
He walked passed him. Zach followed him down the hall, apologizing with every breath. Derrick didn't awknowledge him. He shut the giant oak double doors to his office. Zach sat outside of it, in a big plush overstuffed chair, and put his head in his hands.
Derrick was right.
He was a fucking idiot.
"Derrick, baby!" Zach heard that dumb voice cry, and he pulled his head out of his hands. He could see through the crack of the door, Frankie had entered Derrick's office through the backroom. He sounded delighted to see Derrick, no doubt to nail in Zach's coffin.
"Frankie," Derrick sounded exactly as Zach expected him too, "I am so, so sorry."
"About what?" Frankie questioned. "Oh- him? Don't worry about it Derrick, seriously."
"I can't not worry about it, Frank!" Derrick sighed."He's a good kid," Frankie must have looked doubtful because Derrick laughed. "Seriously, he is."
"Somehow, I have my doubts." Frankie teased. He was laughing again. It was a nice laugh, Zach noted. And then quickly unnoted, because what. "I'm just kidding," Frankie added "I'm pretty sure he is."
"I just didn't want to fire someone so close into the summer, you know?"
"Fire him?" Frankie sounded surprised. "Oh God, Derrick, don't do that for me."
"Frankie I can't let him jus-"
"Find another way then, take away the golf cart or something. But, God, it wasn't that bad." Frankie insisted.
"He called you a rich bitch. In a text. On duty."
"Okay," Frankie paused. "It's bad. But trust me, I know boys like him. They're a dime a dozen." Frankie was laughing again. "All mean, nasty- look at me. Fuck 'em once and I swear to God- they're straight up puppy dog stalkers."
Zach turned red hot. He wasn't sure what Frankie was insinuating, but it definitely pissed him off.
"Oh-" Derrick paused "oh." It sounded as if realization dawned on him. Zach didn't know what realization, because there was nothing to realize.
"You think his issues with you were, like, that kind of problem?"
Frankie scoffed. "Definitely."
Zach bubbled. No, asshole, no it wasn't.
Derrick sounded conflicted. "I can't have someone like that working here either," He paused.
"Then wait till the next slip up," Frankie begged, "But I literally don't want someone's job on my hands like that."
Derrick sighed. "You're too nice for your own good, kid."
Zach wanted to know what kind of world Derrick lived in because it sounded nice, like bricks were made of candy and the sun sang nice songs.
Zach knew it was against his better judgement to go looking for Frankie.
So the next thing Zach did was go looking for Frankie. Just to set the record straight, of course. He found him leaving through the employee lot, heading for a golf cart not unlike the one Zach used that day.
"Hey," Zach ran after Frankie, who turned around tiredly. He looked, at first, very surprised and confused to see him. He then secondly looked not at all surprised to see him.
"Hey." Frankie said, sounding exhausted.
When Zach caught up to him, he coughed.
"I'm," he coughed again "I'm not gay."
Frankie looked around exaggeratedly. "Okay."
"I, just uh," Zach felt stupid "I wanted to let you know."
They stared at each other.
"Did I say you were?" Frankie asked.
"I mean, yeah- you did" Zach scratched the back of his neck. "In there, with Derrick."
"I didn't say you were gay," Frankie squinted at him. "I said you want to have sex with me." He corrected.
Zach opened his mouth and then closed it because, wasn't that the same thing?
Frankie rolled his eyes.
"Goodnight, Zach." He walked away.
Zach wasn't the one who was supposed to feel stupid right now, and yet he did.
He watched Frankie's stupid head walk away.
He didn't even realize until he was halfway asleep that night that that stupid head had saved his stupid job.