Note: I started this story from a Storytime Sunday writing prompt about bottled emotions:
It took weeks for me to write this story and edit it. (You can see all the frustration on my Twitter thread here.) Within the story is two POVs: Luna and Theo. Luna’s POVs will differentiate themselves from Theo’s POVs by being italicized. I will be posting the story in eight parts every Friday and on Wattpad. I hope you enjoy it!
I flip bottles high into the air creating applause as I successfully catch the bottles of alcohol behind my back, shaking the flavors together in the silver container in front of me. I stand behind the bar, a place Father reminds me every day I don’t have to work. I feel comfortable behind the bar, however, like a second home. A quick glance in front of myself left my mind with an image many guys pay lots of money for, girls dancing on stages in next to nothing clothes. Except for a few “elite” girls, as Father called them, every female in the building danced each night on the two stages on either side of the double-door entryway. Above the door blazed the most uncreative name ever created for the building, The Mansion, in bright red letters. The Mansion, also called my home and work.
“Boss kid,” a fellow co-worker, Jason, called down the bar counter.
“Hey now,” I say lowering my voice to a threatening tone, “You know how I feel about that.” The customers in front of the bar begin whispering to one another before I flash the dazzlingly white smile many girls swoon over. Not the girls in The Mansion, though. Never the girls from The Mansion. My father, Marcus, made sure his girls never feel anything emotional.
I look towards the front of the old warehouse my father made his business years ago to the girls dancing on the wooden stages. Hanging from the ceiling white, twinkling lights create the illusion of a night sky filled with stars. Varying skin and hair colors danced together, against each other, creating waves among the gentlemen sitting at white-clothed tables around the stage. With each move a girl made, a new gentlemen stood up and put money in jars lining the edge of the stage. The girls danced with an elegance I never saw anywhere else. Not that I leave The Mansion often.
Turning away at the sound of a fist pounding on the bar’s other countertop, I see a familiar face with his eyebrows raised. “Theo, what did I tell you about working the bar,” Marcus Crawford, my father, nearly shouts. But Marcus Crawford never shouts. Marcus Crawford is always correct.
“Keep your eyes off the girls and on the drinks.”
“Good, now pour me my drink,” Marcus says, sliding his hands outwards across the glossed countertop. “You’ll get your tip later.” His eyebrows flick upwards, hinting at what he considered “tips” instead of actual money before he turns away back towards the glass cages and the VIP section. Only a few other men in suits join my father in the section behind the bar. The VIP section holds Marcus’ Elite girls, the ones he fancies to keep for himself at the end of the night. Laughter rings from their tables as the male servant on the side injects the girl with the chosen emotion of the night: joy. The yellow label lights up as the spotlight moves up the Elite girl’s tan legs to the smile on her face. Her blue hair falls down her back as she removes the hair tie holding it in a messy bun. I turn away before Father notices my looks and continues serving drinks throughout the night.
My shift ends at 3 am when the bar officially closes. The music and lights from the stages lower until I barely hear the crackly love song and the rejected men sitting at the bar. I place the dirty rags in the cleaning bucket and lock the register before heading into the VIP section. On the left side of the room, I see the attachment to the Staircase Room, the only way into the Star Room. My father and the gentlemen are nowhere to be found in the VIP section, but history makes me believe they are comfy in the bedrooms upstairs. Briefly glancing at the glass cages, I push open the Staircase Room’s door and step inside. The room is barely two people wide, but girls and their men stand at various steps leading to the second floor bedrooms. The girls show no expression on their faces, no emotions. Before a girl can place their hands on me to get me as their customer, I push through the second, covered door into the Star Room, my second bedroom. I walk through the garden area full of green, lush plants and waterfalls. Statues of lovers hide themselves in the vegetation as I make my way to the back corner by the staircase to the roof. As I walk closer to the staircase, and my bed, I notice the door at the top of the spiral is propped open by a shoe… a girl’s shoe. I place my hands on the cold, wrought-iron metal railings and gently move upwards to the roof of The Mansion. When I reach the top and push open the door, I notice the girl from the VIP section before. This time, however, she has no smile on her lips.
“Did you know Hercules, over there,” the blue-haired girl says, pointing her hands to the left, “killed Leo the Lion, over here?” Her pale skin luminesces against the night sky. When I don’t reply to her question, she turns her head towards me. “Hey.” Despite the dark of the night, I see the corners of her mouth smirk upwards towards dimples as if sharing a secret.
“I see the emotion hasn’t worn off yet,” I reply.
“Sure,” the girl says, sitting up yet leaning back on her hands. “I guess you could say that.” She glances back towards the night sky, sighs, and suddenly jumps up to her feet.
“Where are you going?” My mind instinctively places a smile on my face.
“Put that smile away, Boss Boy.” The girl smiles as she stretches her arms towards the star speckled night sky. “I need to get my beauty sleep. We both know what happens when the other girls wake, and someone is missing off the second floor.”
“Of course you live on the second floor,” I mumble, leaning myself against the doorjamb. One of the Elites.
“What was that, Blonde-y,” she asks, tipping her head towards her shoulder. Blue color flows over her ivory face as she looks at me.
“You have blue in your hair.” I cringe at the horrible cover-up.
“I put it there. Actually, your father, Marcus, did. Now, if you’ll excuse me,” she says, motioning me away from the door with her hands. I move the slightest away from the door when she turns to fit through past me.
“Wait,” I say, gently grabbing her upper arm. “What’s your name?”
A smile breaks on her face once again. “Luna.” The blue-haired girl gracefully walks down the steps, past the gardens, and into the Staircase Room.
That night I dream of a girl by the ocean with hair that matched its color.
I awake the next few days with a bursting headache and a sore body. Distractions flow through the door of my actual bedroom, in and out, in and out. But nothing works. Each night I dream of a girl with blue hair flowing down her back standing in the sand before an ocean. She reaches towards the sky filled with stars and talks of constellations. Every night I stand before her, skimming her bare shoulders lit up by the stars. As soon as I say her name, she fades away until only an imprint of her stays on my mind.
After the boss’ kid, Theo, caught me on the roof of the Star Room, I make sure to only stay out there for a few minutes each night. Theo works most nights as a bartender, and the customers come after the dancing ends to get a few “courage drinks”, as us girls call them, before heading to the bedrooms. Whenever I look over at Theo while dancing I catch him staring before he glances away. He never said anything to Marcus about the roof or requests me after bar close, but I can feel his questions from across the room in my head. Why were you up on the roof? How did you get here? Well, guess what, boss kid. I imagine myself replying. Life can be pretty hellish once in awhile. Your father’s minions just happened to find me on one of those days. Then, he took away all the pain. But in reality, I don’t say any of those things. Instead, I find myself dreaming about him. His blonde hair always perfectly parted to one side, swooping like ocean waves. His green eyes drawing me in on a jungle adventure free of worries. What is it about you? I want to ask him one simple question: What is it about you, Theo Crawford, that makes you irresistible?
What do you think? Did you enjoy Luna’s POV? What do you think will happen in the next installment? Let me know your comments below!
Much love, XOXO,
~A Writer Named Charley~