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“Mickeeeeey.” Ambrose calls from the kitchen. Mickey rolls his eyes and ignores him. “Mick-eeeey!”

“Fuck, what?”

“You said you would help me out today!”

Mickey huffs and walks towards the counter. “Can you please stop shouting? It's too early for this shit.”

“Come on boo boo, my sister is coming to visit and you promised.” Ambrose continues.

“Fine, you can fuck off. just please don’t say my name like that again.”

Ambrose comes out of the kitchen and hugs Mickey then kisses his cheek. “You're the best.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Mickey dismisses his coworker and heads to the kitchen. Guess he is on dish duty today on top of bartending. But it was on a Tuesday and they didn’t get many customers at the bar on Tuesdays.

Mickey has been working at the Spice Restaurant and Lounge for two and a half years now. When he first got here he was the hard ass that everyone knows and fears or hates back home. But after a month of working here he helped his boss out with her husband’s ex who was making her life a living hell, then a few days later he had somehow been stuck babysitting Nancy’s nephew who had loved and gushed about him, not even a day later he had stopped the restaurant from getting robbed. Those three incidences had taken place so close together he had not only seemed like a good guy, but also like the best guy.

The fear he had instilled in his coworkers from his appearance and demeanor instantly disappeared and now everyone loved him. try as he might he can never make them see him as the hard ass he really is. Well, on the outside anyway.

In the past the soft side of him, it was only his family that got to experience it but everyone here was so demn good hearted Mickey had ended up letting them in too. And now here he was covering a shift for Ambrose while Sally tried to find out if he was ticklish.

“Bitch get the fuck away from me, I'm warning you.”

Sally just laughed and went for his stomach again. “Nancy!” she called for the other waitress who came and tried to hold Mickey's hands as Sally continues to tickle.

He finally manages to get away from them and threatens them with a spatula. “This is bullshit. Get out of my kitchen.”

They both laugh and then leave. He sighs and walks back to the dirty dishes. Mickey rarely smiles. What on earth gives this people a reason to joke around with him like this?

~0~0~0~0~

 

His boss Allegra walks in when he's just about done so he can go back to tending bar where he belongs. “Hey Mick.”

“Hey boss.”

“It's so cold out there.” She says as she shrugs off her jacket. “I didn’t want to leave my matrimonial bed this morning. You still single?”

“For the billionth fucking time, that’s none of your business.”

As usual she ignores him. “You know, my cousin on my dad’s side just got divorced. And he's only fourty two. I can promise you he has maintained his good looks.”

Mickey looks at her with a grimace. “No thank you.”

Allegra walks towards him. “I worry about you. You're like a son to me.” Mickey rolls his eyes. “I'm serious.” she holds both his cheeks and squishes them together. “You are so cute you deserve a man who will love the shit out of you.” Mickey tries to wiggle out of her hold but she's strong. “What do you say?” she asks in her baby voice.

Mickey finally pulls away scowling. “I'm twenty six years old! What the fuck I'm I going to do with a fourty something year old?”

She shrugs. “It's snowing out there. So I'm thinking snuggling up to him for some warmth?”

Mickey scoffs and gets out of the kitchen. “Thank you but no!”

He has just settled in behind the bar when Sally sends a client his way. “Mickey mouse over there will take good care of you.”

“That is not my…” he starts to yell but Sally ignores him and starts tending to a customer. When the lady Sally sent his way approaches the bar and takes a seat he makes sure to correct her. “That is not my name. I'm just Mickey.”

“Okay just Mickey, I just got a divorce, make my day.” She says pointing towards the drinks.

He sighs and gets to work. He will choke every single person he works with one day. Including the one responsible for his paycheck. He scoffs. Calling him boo boo, and Mickey mouse, and squashing his cheeks. “Tsk.” He starts to prepare a mojito.

~0~0~0~0~

 

A week later it's on a Friday and Mickey is by the bar as usual. The place is quite full considering what day it is so he's a little busy. Some guy walks in and takes the stool at the end of the counter. The only reason Mickey notices him –apart from his red hair- is because he looks exhausted.

“What can I get you?”

The man sighs and looks at him. he hesitates before letting out, “A... a cold beer please.”

Mickey nods and pops his gum then fetches a cold beer from the fridge. He places it in front of the stranger then goes to serve another customer.

 

~

 

Ian watches as the bartender walks away. It's official, he's in love. From the moment the guy had asked him what he wanted to drink Ian had been taken with him. God, the man was beautiful. He was gorgeous. Those blue beautiful eyes, those dimples he didn’t even have to smile for Ian to see, and his body. He had such a nice body almost like he works out on a daily basis. Everything about him was so hot. From the way he has cut his hair, to the tight jeans that accentuate his ass.

Ian could watch him all fucking day.

This is exactly what he needed. He had just come from a meeting with Lip. The brothers owned a Limited Liability Company and even though it was doing great sometimes it took a lot out of Ian and he was left wanting to let loose and relax. He has never been in this side of town before but when he saw ‘restaurant and lounge’ he didn’t care. He needed a drink. And some food.

But boy was he glad he was here. He was getting an eyeful of the man he now knew he would stop at nothing to make his. straight or gay, Ian wanted him. he wanted him so bad. It has been a year since Ian was in a relationship and he missed it dearly. The feeling of knowing that after a hard day at work there was someone you will be going home to. Or the feeling of knowing you were in love and that someone loves you back.

Now here he seats. Watching this bartender pour drinks. God, even that was sexy holy fuck. Ian didn’t catch his name. he needs him to come closer. So he drains his drink and raises the bottle to signal the hot bartender. When the guy places the second beer in front of him Ian finally gets to read the tag. Mickey. Ian loves it. But then again Ian would’ve loved it if it was Bartholomew. They guy can be called whatever Ian doesn’t think he can find any flaws with the guy.

“Thanks Mickey.”

Mickey gives him a small surprised smile. “You're welcome.” Then he's off again.

Demnit, why did Ian have to come on a Friday? He needs to come on a day that’s less busy. If he were to ask Mickey over again what would be his reason and yet he just got a beer? He tries to think but comes up with nothing. So he downs his drink again then waves for Mickey.

“Dude, slow down, are you okay?” Mickey asks with a light sexy chuckle and Ian is so gone. “Enjoy.” He says when he places a new one on the counter.

“Are you guys always this busy?”

Mickey looks around. “Just on Wednesdays through Saturday. The rest of the days not so much.”

Ian nods and Mickey walks away again when three people call for him. Ian watches on as Mickey barely gets a break. It's so impressive how he's handling everything and anyone all on his own. Ian continues to be impressed. It's however clear that today is not the day to try and chat up the brunette. He is way too busy.

So he finishes his last beer slowly then signals for Mickey. he gives him his card and Ian says goodbye then leaves. He is so coming back here.

~0~0~0~0~

 

When Ian comes back again it's on a Monday afternoon. He cranes his neck and sees there is no one behind the counter. He takes a table on the restaurant side and keeps looking around.

“Hello, welcome to Spice, my name is Sally. What can I get ya?”

“Is umm… Mickey around?” he asks nervously and hopes it doesn’t show.

“No, not today.”

Even though he's disappointed Ian orders food and then leaves. He comes back the next three days and Mickey is still not around. He doesn’t come back on Friday because he already knows Mickey will be too busy to chat.

The following week he comes back to a Monday again and takes a seat at what he now considers his usual table. the same waiter Sally who approaches him does the same today. this time she speaks before he does.

“Yes, he's around.” Ian tries not to show his relief. “He's however in the kitchen at the moment. You want to order some food as you wait?”

So today he's around. That’s good to know. Ian nods and asks for the menu. He eats and drinks two glasses of pineapple juice to pass time. Three hours later he sees Mickey leave the kitchen and head towards the bar. He texts Lip and tells him he's gone for the rest of the day and walks towards the bar area. He takes the same seat as the first time he was here and situates himself by the counter.

“Hey.” He greets Mickey who has shortened his hair even more at the back and looks sexy as fuck.

“My first customer!” Mickey jokes. “What can I get ya?”

“I'm Ian. I was here the Friday before last, do you remember me?”

Mickey chews on his bottom lip clearly trying to recall. He shakes his head ‘no.’ “Nah man, can't. too many people on Fridays.”

Ian nods and tries not to feel too disappointed. “Cold beer please.”

“Coming right up.”

Mickey takes his time in wiping the beer after removing it from the fridge and wipes off the glass too before placing them in front of Ian. “Enjoy.”

“Thanks.” Ian doesn’t use the glass but instead drinks straight from the bottle. “So umm,” he starts. “have you worked here for long?”

“Guess you could say that.” Mickey replies.

Ian is about to ask something along the lines of; if the other man is single when they're interrupted. “Mickey mouse. We need you in the kitchen.” One of the waiters tells him and Ian is left by himself chugging his cold beer. Fuck, Ian needs Mickey to see him. He can't remember ever working this hard to get a guy before.

 

~

 

When Mickey gets to the kitchen he finds Ambrose, Sally, Nancy and Allegra are all waiting for him. he looks at them worriedly. “The fuck’s going on?”

“Do you know him?” Nancy asks.

“Who?”

“The customer at the bar.”

Mickey goes to the counter and peaks at his customer. “No, why?”

“Because he's been asking for you.” Sally offers.

Mickey exhales with exhaustion and looks at all of them. “He says I served him once upon a Friday. Is this why I'm here?” he glares at them and doesn’t wait for an answer before walking out.

"Mickey!" Sally calls in his wake but he ignores her.

“I'm sorry about that. Another?” Ian nods and Mickey gets to.

“Thanks.”

“It's my job.”

“Still.” Ian replies and Mickey smiles.

“So this place is not as packed on Mondays, huh?”

“No. not really. You should come by on weekends.”

Ian just nods and he tries to figure out a way of finding out Mickey's sexuality. “Your girlfriend doesn’t mind you being a bartender?” Mickey raises an impressive questioning eyebrow. “I hear people are threatened by bartending jobs.”

“Well that’s fucking stupid. If a person want to cheat they will cheat regardless of where their fucking job is.”

“Good point.” Ian replies and sighs inaudibly. He didn’t get his answer. “Do you get hit on a lot?”

“Mmm… I suppose.”

Man, Mickey is the type to answer exactly what he's been asked without offering more. Ian has his work cut out for him. he runs out of ways to find out what he wants for the time being and simply goes back to his beer. He decides to just enjoy the smiles he receives every time Mickey brings over a beer. Ian could sit here and drink all day as long as Mickey continues to give him that beautiful dimpled smile.

This man is going to be hell on Ian's liver.

~0~0~0~0~

 

Ian continues to come back to Spice and each time he tries to hold a conversation with Mickey as much as he can. He may not have scored a date yet but being a regular customer where the hot bartender talks with him, and laughs with him, is enough to make Ian come by every day from Sunday through Tuesday. One particular Monday it's a strange experience. His food gets delayed, Sally keeps telling him to wait but she never actually services him. next thing he knows the restaurant door is being closed and he's surrounded by one man and four women.

“Hello Ian.”

“Sally.” He acknowledges suspiciously.

“This is Nancy, this is Ambrose and this is our boss Allegra.”

“O…kay.”

“We would like to thank you for becoming a regular customer. Today’s meal is free.” Allegra says.

“Thank you?”

“So you like Mickey, huh?” Ambrose speaks up.

“This is really weird. Just putting it out there.” Ian voices glancing at each of them.

“We want to help you Ian.” Sally says. “So admit it so we can tell you how.”

Ian ducks his head in embarrassment at being so fucking obvious. But honestly he wouldn’t mind their help. Ian is not even subtle anymore and yet Mickey still won't pick up on the flirting.

“I just need him to see me.” Ian admits.

“What does that mean?” Nancy frowns.

“He talks to me because I'm the only customer most of the times, I have reminded him my name at least four times now, I just… I really like him and I need him to see me.”

“Ian the only thing we can tell about you is that you are mighty good-looking and obviously rich.” Allegra says. “but our Mickey, we can't let him date just anyone. He is a great man and we have to look out for him.”

Ian nods. “You are great friends.”

“So… what do you want from Mickey, a good fuck?” Sally asks.

Ian shakes his head ‘no’ vehemently. “No. not at all. I want to date him. I want to take care of him. I want to show him love like he's never been shown before. Please help me do that.” Ian begs. He's not above that now. It's been three weeks of being unsuccessful.

“Mickey as much as we love him he is clueless. You have to be a little more obvious than sitting at the counter most afternoons and chatting him up like some talkative drunk.” Sally continues and the rest nod.

“You're really willing to help me?”

“Yes. You may need Mickey but he needs you too. So we should work out how we will help get you guys together without him finding out.” Ambrose says.

“Yeah.” Sally agrees. “If he knows we’re helping you he won't give you the time of day.”

Ian exhales and sits back. “Okay, alright. Thank you. So where do we start?”

~0~0~0~0~

 

On Tuesday morning it's raining cats and dogs. Mickey gets off the bus to work and he just knows he's going to be soaked for sure. He stands by the bus stop for a few minutes wondering is he should accept he's going to be late. He runs a hand across his hair and sighs tiredly. Just then a Black Ford Fiesta pulls up at the bus stop and the window of the front passenger seat starts to roll down. Mickey plans on giving the driver the finger when he recognizes who it is.

“Need a ride?” Ian asks him loudly so he can be heard over the rain.

Mickey looks around then walks into the car. “Thanks.” He says and he gets a grin in return.

Ian drives him to work and drops him outside the door. Mickey insists the redhead come in for coffee because it's thanks to him that’s he's still dry.

~

Mickey and his friends from work go to catch a movie one Sunday afternoon and they bump into Ian in the movie theatre. The redhead calls them to where he's seated and Mickey can't explain how he's the one who ends up seating next to their customer who is slowly becoming their friend.

~

Allegra insists that Mickey needs to get laid so they force him to go to boys town and the morons join him. the five of them have just settled down when none other than Ian walks by their table and soon he's being asked to join them.
Again, they end up sitting next to each other. at this point though Mickey really doesn't mind Ian's company. He is funny and interesting and they just never lack stuff to talk about. So all this coincidental meetings Mickey honestly doesn't mind.

~

Running into Ian when he is with his friends happens a lot. He even starts to wonder if one of them is telling him in advance.
The day it all starts to seem suspicious is when after closing they sit at one of the tables like they usually do to eat and knock back a few beers. It's on a Tuesday night and they usually close early; around 10:00PM. They all sit around a table and there is an empty chair next to Mickey for some reason. it's not suspicious at first, but that’s until Ian walks in and greets them jovially before taking the empty seat.

Now, none of that would’ve seemed suspicious if Ian had been drinking here today like he usually does. But that’s not the case. Ian came from wherever he was to come and join them after closing? Nah-ah, something is definitely up.

Mickey doesn’t mind Ian, in fact he likes him very much. But all this bumping into each other all the time shit and Ian suddenly being everywhere, no. Something is up.

“So Gallagher, has work been less busy these days?” Mickey's asks suddenly.

“What?”

“I mean, when you described to me what you do it sounded very time consuming but no offence I see you every fucking where.”

Ian's face turns red and he takes a bite of his food to try and hide it. Disappearing from work at all this odd hours meant that work was pilling up and Ian needed Mickey to realize that he liked him before it all became too much.

“I have a couple of days off.” Ian lies.

“Oh. Cool.” Mickey replies. However, he doesn’t know what but something is still nagging at him. he doesn’t have to wonder what for long because soon every one disperses and leaves him alone with Ian.

“Guess it's just us.”

“Thank you captain obvious.” Mickey replies and gulps his beer.

Ian clears his throat and Mickey looks at him. “Do you want to go for a beer?”

Mickey frowns. “If it's beer you want we got it here Gallagher.” He points at the bar behind them.

Ian rubs a hand across his hair sighing loudly. “Fuck Mickey, for a gay man you sure are shit at knowing when a person is hitting on you.”

The moment everyone left Mickey understood why but the statement still takes him by surprise. “You're hitting on me now?”

“Been hitting on you since day fucking one but you never seem to catch on. I had to enlist the help of your coworkers but still nothing. Jesus.

Mickey frowns at Ian. “Why didn’t you just come right out and say it?”

“WHAT?!” Ian shouts.

“Yeah, should’ve just asked me. You’re cute. I would’ve said yes.”

“I… fuck. I…” Ian stands up and paces. “I have been working to get you for weeks and you're telling me that all I had to do was ask?”

“Yes, Ian.” Mickey stands up too.

“Fuck.” Ian stares at his feet and adds softly. “Been waiting for you to see me for so long Mickey.”

Mickey feels bad that Ian had to work for that long to get him. he decides a kiss is in order because Ian does have really nice lips. “It too late?” Mickey's asks just as softly. Ian shakes his head ‘no.’ “Good. Come ‘ere.”