when we met. q/quit.
I hate my job.
After spending hours in class and even more time studying after class, the last thing I wanted was to go to work at the bar and be groped and harassed. But that’s what usually happened. I didn’t have a choice. After I lost my parents, it was up to me to take care of my little brother Jake. For that, I needed to finish school. And I needed to save enough for him to go to college, too. I needed the money.
I’d only been at work for about an hour when it happened.
“What can I get you?”
“I’ll have a beer,” the guy said, with a look that made me uncomfortable, “and a night with you.”
“I’ll get your beer,” I said, ignoring the rest of his request. I turned to walk away, but after only one step, he slapped my ass. I whipped around and glared at him. “Do not fucking touch me!” I was livid. It wasn’t the first time something like this happened, but I snapped.
“Look at the way you’re dressed,” he said. “You want it.”
I stormed away from the table. Of course, that was the moment my sleazebag boss walked out from the back office.
Fuck. I followed him to the bar.
“You cannot talk to the customers like that. Go apologize to him.”
I could only see red. “I will not fucking apologize to that pig.”
“No. I’m done.” I ripped my apron off and threw it at him. “I quit.”
I swiped a beer off the bar, not knowing whose beer it was, and walked over to the creep who slapped me.
“Here’s your beer.” I poured it over his head and slammed the glass down in front of him. Then I left.
The moment I stepped outside, it hit me. I had no job. No income. No way to support Jake and myself. I barely made it a block before I burst into tears. How could I be so irresponsible? I needed that job!
I sat on the curb wiping away my tears. I couldn’t afford to fall apart. I also couldn’t afford to be unemployed. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, but my tears returned. As I wiped them away again, a man approached. I was wary, but he had a sincere look of concern on his handsome face.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I’m fine.” I lied, turning my eyes to my lap.
He didn’t speak for a moment, but he didn’t walk away either. I looked back up at him.
“I’m Oliver,” he said, offering his hand.
I took it and tried to smile. “Kate.”
“Kate. You’re not fine.”
“You’re right. I’m not.”
He cautiously sat beside me. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Okay. I’ll just sit with you, if that’s alright.”
I nodded. We sat in silence for a few minutes. Maybe it should have been an uncomfortable silence, yet it wasn’t. We watched cars go by and pedestrians across the street. But finally, I couldn’t hold in my thoughts any longer.
“I couldn’t do it anymore,” I blurted out. “Just because I’m wearing a short skirt doesn’t mean anyone has the right to touch me. I couldn’t stand another minute in that place being groped. But I needed that job. I don’t know what I’m going to do now.” Again, tears fell from my eyes.
“No one should have to put up with that. You’ll find another job. It’ll be okay.”
“But my brother. I have to take care of him. I can’t fail him.”
“Hey.” He paused until I looked at him. “What can I do to help?”
“Why do you want to help me? I’m a stranger.”
“No, you’re not. You’re Kate.”
I smiled. He actually made me smile.
And for some reason I didn’t quite understand, I actually believed that it would be okay.
p.s. — This is not one of my favorites, but I still think it has a lot of potential.
Hot guy: unknown model (who I’d like to find out on the street… or anywhere)