Night One: A Tequila Shot
The crowd is oozing out of the entrance as Bellamy presses his way through the main door. He gives the doorman a quick nod and slap on the shoulder before squeezing through a group of already far past wasted girls. He probably would have given them a second glance if he hadn’t been ten minutes late for his shift and cursing the idiot who removed the old beer bottle that was normally wedged in the back door for easy, employee-only access.
His foul mood only intensifies as he rounds the bar — giving a couple of his regulars quick greetings — and sees a blonde bouncing from patron to patron. Her grace in the confided quarters is only matched by her efficiency with drinks. She barely takes note of him as she drops down two drafts atop the bar and moves on to her next order.
“Where the fuck is Miller?” Bellamy grounds out, not even glancing at his new partner as he falls into his role and starts mixing the two whiskey sours just ordered from an older gentleman.
“You must be Bellamy.” She responds easily, making quick work of a row of tequila shots. “Miller took the night. Figured with two bartenders, he wouldn’t be needed.”
“That’ll be 8 bucks.” Bellamy nods at his customer as he hands over three bottled beers before glancing over at the blonde who is apparently his second for tonight. “You’re the new bartender? I don’t think so.”
“What? Because I’m a woman I couldn’t possibly handle being a bartender?” Her question is laced with venom and he can feel her eyes on him for the first time since he’s gotten here.
“Keep your bra on, Princess.” Bellamy laughs, shoveling ice into his martini shaker. “I just meant that I work alone. Miller jumps in when needed, but I run this side. I don’t need your help.”
“The name’s Clarke, not ‘Princess’. And as much as I would already love to see you fall on your face with that ‘I work alone’ theory,” She mimics his voice, pausing only for a second to glare at him. “It doesn’t bode well for the sales to drop on my first night so I think you’ll just have to grow up and get over it.”
Bellamy just rolls his eyes and moves over closer to her side of the bar. He is moving like a man who has mapped this course enough times to do it in his sleep until Clarke tries to take a quick turn to the register and collides right into his chest.
Fortunately they had both just put their respective orders down and the mess is minimal, but the force of the hit nearly sends Clarke to the floor. Bellamy instinctively reaches out to grab around her waist and it’s the first time he actually sees the blonde who’s taken over part of his bar.
She’s striking and her blue eyes flash with a passion he’s never seen. Unfortunately that passion seems to be playing itself out as anger in his direction and he’s too annoyed by her mere presence to actually appreciate anything she has to offer.
“Watch where you’re going.” She bites out, pushing past him quickly.
Bellamy recovers seamlessly and nearly growls in her direction before finding the bottle of alcohol he had originally started his journey for.
“You stay on your side, Princess. And I’ll stay on mine.” He throws back in her direction, “And we’ll survive just fine.”
“Fine by me.” Clarke snarls and it’s then that Bellamy realizes he’s dealing with someone who has to have the last word.
Working at a bar in a college town makes the busy times easy to schedule for. A three-day weekend? Better have the bar stocked on Friday because people aren’t going to want to remember their name until about three o’clock on Saturday afternoon. The week before finals? The keg you opened late last week will probably go stale before you reach the bottom. No one has time to eat a good meal let alone buy their buddy a drink. And after any given home game? All bets are off.
And tonight the Razorbacks won a pretty important game so the crowd inside Grounder is buzzing and the growing tabs are proof.
Bellamy would never admit it out loud, but there have been several times that he is thankful he has Clarke covering half the bar. And he knows Miller’s bottom line will be proof of just how well this team works. He’s not sure about how he feels about this turn of events. He knows his pockets will be lined a little thicker with tips because of the easy flow, but he also knows that means this new lineup won’t be a one-time thing.
It also hasn’t gone unnoticed that his new second has a bit of a competitive side to her. And that would normally be something that would draw Bellamy to a woman, but he’s far too busy trying to one up her to even cross the lines into the attracted territory.
The middle of the bar has become their respective endzones. Any poor soul that happens to lean into that populated space is instantly bombarded with over-attentive bartenders.
A group of girls were easy pray for charming-smiled Bellamy. Once he stepped up to the counter they hardly noticed Clarke’s presence. But that shaggy-haired, future Peace Corps fucker? Bellamy was as good as invisible as soon Clarke showed the littlest amount of interest.
One poor man nearly has a beer poured down his lap as Bellamy was handing it to him when Clarke notices another patron nearing the free-game piece of property. She all but climbs over him to get the order. Unfortunately that patron turns out to just be meeting another person next to the bar and the attempt has been for nothing.
“Easy there, shortstop.” Bellamy smirks over his shoulder as he whips down the countertop.
“Fuck off, Blake.” Clarke grumbles, her glare never wavering. “Or I’ll climb up there and kick your ass.”
Bellamy ignores the drop in his stomach at realizing she’s also a bit of sore loser. If he didn’t loathe this girl so much he’d probably be in love.
Clarke is stocking the bar with clean glasses when a brunette steps up to the center of the bar. Bellamy is in the middle of helping out some regulars and the blonde doesn’t hesitate to step up.
“What can I get you?” She asks, her fingers already twitching to make this girl’s order.
“Where’s Bellamy?” She asks, looking past the blonde and eying down the bar to see the target of her attention.
“He’s busy now, but I can get you something started?” Clarke says with a smile, but she’s all but gritting her teeth.
Of course this beautiful girl wants Bellamy. Why wouldn’t she? She’s just his type too — okay, well maybe Clarke doesn’t really know that. But Clarke decides it’s probably better to ignore that familiar burn in the pit of her stomach. Jealous has a terrible aftertaste.
“No it’s cool. I’ll just wait.” She smiles, finally looking at Clarke.
Clarke leans against the bar, jaw set. “Tell me what you want or walk. I’ve got paying customers waiting behind you.”
The girl’s eyes go wide and she gives a bit of a smirk as she crosses her arms over chest, “How ‘bout a whiskey and twenty bucks?”
“O, what are you doing here? I thought you were studying with Harper.” Bellamy steps up next to Clarke and stares hard at the girl across the counter.
“We’re starving, Bell. I need twenty bucks. We want to get a pizza.” She whines, leaning toward him. “And who’s the new girl? She’s got a mean streak. I like it.”
Clarke’s cheeks go warm and she quickly realizes she’s still standing there for no good reason. She slowly pushes herself away from the conversation and turns her attention to a group of guys who just walked up.
“She’s the new bartender Miller hired.” She hears Bellamy tell the mystery girl. And she’s only half ashamed at how focused she remains on their conversation. “Pizza and straight back home. Got it?”
“Thank you!” The girl’s voice comes out in almost a song as she snatches the offered cash. “And did anyone ever tell you that you worry too much, Big Brother?”
“Get out of here.” He responds, but Clarke’s pretty sure it’s the lightest she’s heard his voice all night.
And she’s no where near ready to touch on the feeling of relief she suddenly has at that girl being Bellamy’s sister.
By the time the last few souls empty out of the bar, Bellamy is all but ready to fall on his face. Apparently their competition had gotten most of their attention because neither Clarke nor Bellamy had realized it was nearly four o’clock and no one had yelled for last call.
Bellamy quickly remedied that and soon they were rushed to close out tabs, make last minute shots, and get cabs called for people who’d long ago handed over their keys.
And now the once full house was nearly empty with only Clarke, Bellamy, and Lincoln — the club’s doorman and impromptu bouncer from time to time. Lincoln finishes locking up the front doors while Clarke makes one last sweep for empty bottles and glasses. Bellamy swipes up behind the bar and starting to cash out the register. He only has to force himself to stop listening to Clarke’s quiet humming along to the jukebox twice before focusing back on the task at hand.
He doesn’t even notice Clarke has come back behind the bar until he hears the sound of glass hitting the bar top and a bottle clinking behind him.
When he turns around, Clarke is pouring three shots of tequila and motioning for Lincoln to come join them. Bellamy just watches her and for the first time that night, in the quiet stillness, he sees just how at home she seems behind the bar. How relaxed her features are and how she expertly twists her wrist to stop each pour like she’s been doing it for eons.
He’d give credit to Miller later. If the owner put a gun to his head.
She places the bottle back in its place and pushes one shot toward Lincoln before picking up the other to hand to Bellamy. At first he eyes her, not sure he’s ready for this unspoken truce. But finally he turns away from the register and grabs the offered shot.
“To a good night.” Clarke offers.
“An interesting night.” Lincoln counters, holding up his shot.
“A well-deserved ending.” Bellamy smirks, his eyes firmly on Clarke’s.
They all down their shots, none of them really affected outwardly by the burn down their throats. But he does notice Clarke grab for a nearby lime and bite down easily. He turns back to the register and starts back with the task at hand.
Clarke is by him a moment later, leaning against the backside of the bar.
“So, you think we make an alright team?” She asks, her eyes sparkling with mischief.
Bellamy can’t help but laugh, “I wouldn’t go that far, Princess.”