The Dragon was nothing like I had imagined. It was anything but a bar. Standing out almost in the centre of the town, it proudly owned all the attention thrown its way. It was a low rise, wide construction; its exterior coated in an ashy gray shade.
Numerous bikes were stationed at the front, few still pulling up. In spite of the shedload of people, I didn’t over hear anything loud whilst standing not very far from the entree.
I gazed down at my watch- 07:45 PM, which means The Dragon was not yet at its full swing.
The weather was close to cold. Albeit, the wind was hitting my clothing irenically, I could still feel a wave of chill grazing my skin.
I felt my back pocket of the jeans and took out a loosey from the pack.
The darkness was settling in. I lighted up the cigarette and gazed curiously at the blue-white car with a conspicuous ‘POLIZIA’ written on it pulling up at a five meter distance. My attention was pinned to the cop quiet fascinatedly as he advanced to a junkie leaning on the façade.
Tearing my eyes away, I exhaled the smoke, my interest vanishing as they exchanged packs and money.
Suddenly, I hear a bike engine revving up on my face.
A middle aged man was leering at me, the motor buzzing against my ears.
“Want a ride lady?” He slurred.
I swear that was annoying as f**k.
I gave a very quick glance to my intruder, spectating him from head to toe before putting the cigarette to my lips very casually.
I did no hurry, leisurely dragging a deep puff.
“f**k off, Grandpa.” I said without batting an eye.
“b*t*h.” He muttered, after showcasing me his yellow teeths.
“So I’ve been called.” I said unconcernedly, exhaling and tossing the remnant on the ground.
I had noticed his scarcely open eyes, losing consciousness, before he hit the road. He was undoubtedly going to make the headlines tomorrow.
Must I say he took the ‘go big or go home’ quite literally.
I could see two men in uniform guarding the entrance. They were almost equally tall as if to accentuate the symmetry of the vertical jambs.
One of them glanced at me and I promptly advanced my feet before squashing the butt with the tip of my boot.
“The new barmaid.” I said flatly, sticking out my ID.
He checked it not to mention quite carefully and nodded giving me the permit to pass.
I ventured inside speculating the renowned supremacy. The first thing I noticed was how large the space was. The frontbar was at the left side, a seating lounge was fitted at the far right corner. The tables were haphazardly positioned around, few people were dancing on Britney’s I love Rock ‘N’ Roll, yet a capacious space was appreciable.
The air was fairly kind to not overwhelm me with any stench of liquor.
The stairs across the counter hung a board that read ‘Private’. I couldn’t see anyone past it nor crossing the demarcation. However, I was sure the floor could be viewed entirely from above.
The stairs continued till the wrought iron balustrade, creating a small L-shaped gallery for the private area.
I walked towards the counter and felt eyes on me from across. While mine was inconspicuous, theirs was unshamedly staring like a hawk.
Two men were behind the counter seemingly busy in tidying up the cabinets. They were smiling and talking in an undertone as I stood in the front.
“Hi.” I said begetting their attention.
“I am Myra, the new barmaid. Is Ms. Palmas around?” I asked, trying to sound genial.
“The oldie?” The one with the dimple, Yakub Mohammad flashed me a smile.
His name was typed in a bold black on the silvery badge pinned to his white shirt. His eyes were a light shade of brown and I liked how they didn’t gawk at me like others do every once in a while.
He smiled at me once more before leaving the counter to call Ms. Palmas.
“What’s your name again?” The one who was busy boring a hole on my head seconds ago queried. I attempted to quickly glance at his badge but he crossed his arms, looking down at me.
“Myra.” I replied calmly.
The urge in me to slam his face on the counter he was cleaning minutes ago was so intense that for a nanosecond, I was the one gawking, astounded by his nerve.
“Myra Rob.” I managed, refraining myself from snapping back.
He parted his mouth almost instantly and my mental being was losing the composure I built.
Ask me one more question and I will dead ass stick my printed name up your ass.
“There you are lass.” A disembodied voice grabs my attention and I turn to see an elderly woman in her sixties standing on the other side of the jetton. She was wearing a wide legged trousers paired with a bohemian shirt which made her look small. Her hair was almost gray and her face was showing some fine lines.
“You are back to talking aye lad? What did I tell you earlier?” She yelled at him, her chest heaving up and down while he stood motionless facing the ground.
Cat got your tongue?
His name was Dante as I came to know later.
I was albeit gleeing wih triump internally cheering for myself, my face did not let the emotion to be surfaced.
Ms. Palmas was an unmarried, independent woman who took care of the Dragon under the Romanos.
She later explained me the rules and duties.
She was as I observed, a strict old lady with nothing in her heart.
“You better be professional lass. No talking, no stealing and no sleeping with customers. I better not repeat it.” She warned me sternly in her adenoidal tone.
Apparently, there was no compulsory uniform as such but it was suggested to wear a white above. So no ties, no bows, no aprons or teeny-tiny skirts. I just needed to wear a badge with my name on it which I will get by tomorrow. However, she suggested me to opt a non-revealing dress.
Even in her supersaturated concern laced tone, I did not like it.
“These men are animals. They will eat you then toss you. You are no special.” She said flatly, her attitude plummeting.
“Except those eyes. That may get you in trouble.” She continued.
She was inspecting my entire 5’6 corporeal features unabashed. I was wearing a button front, brown ribbed cardigan with the black jeans and boots which when her eyes completed speculating met mine and she made a tsking noise.
“Your duties are bound to the ground floor and you don’t go to the private area. Understood?” She announced.
She didn’t realise she had just stopped me from focussing on my intent.
“Now move away from my sight and start working.” She said roughly, getting back to her old self with the sky-rocketing attitude.
I liked her earlier when she was scolding Dante but I cannot disagree the fact that this woman acted like a teenager high on hormones.
In an hour Dragon was completely packed, the loud music blaring through the speakers hit all the directions. The atmosphere started emitting the smell of smoke and alcohol, sweat kept aside. Few lap-dancers were entertaining the guests on the lounge.
Yet that was all happening in the floor and none had climbed the stairs.
“Newbie, bourbon, neat.” A man in his mid- twenties took the vacant seat across. I immediately identified the man. Pietro Berruti. The youngest of the Berruti brothers, the kin of Romanos.
I stole a quick glance to the gate only to find one of the guards looking right back at me. Words traveled around faster than my liking.
Tearing my gaze away, I poured the whisky.
Pietro was wearing a full sleeved black shirt with fitted gray trousers. His hair was tousled in an uncaring way yet it was accentuating his broad face and prominent chin. His eyes were skittish, playfully dancing around.
“There you go sir.” I said, placing the snifter.
He nodded without giving me a glance while running his finger through the brim of the glass.
He closed his eyes and inhaled it.
“Aye.” He affirmed, his voice pleased while looking at me.
Leaving me a generous tip, he walked away and slouched on the couch at the far side.
By now, Dante had completely dismissed my presence. We three were busy taking and serving orders.
My shift was from eight of tonight to six in the morning. Frankly, I was expecting Stefano Romano anytime in the bar but hours were passing by and there was no sign of him or his close men. I looked at the gallery every once in a while to see if someone has entered.
It was one of the common public place where they used to meet. After seeing Peitro, I had thought he would be around anytime soon.
It was around 01 AM when a certain commotion was apprehensible that dropped all at once. The glees and laughter halted and few men straightened themselves.
My feets were as if functionless, my breath hitched and my eyes traveled to spot the familiar face I had always seen in pictures. Pictures of him smoking and drinking. Pictures of him clicked while he was in deep conversations. Pictures of him with skinny women on his arms. Countless pictures that were pinned on my wall and my mind.
Yet when he was actually standing under the same roof as mine, I couldn’t help but feel the authority and power he emanated.
He was tall, standing out among the crowd and the men who followed suit. His hair was slicked back. His stubble emphasised the chiseled jawline. The expensive tailored- fit suit glorified his 6’2 built.
His presence commanded attention.
I couldn’t move, my body felt numb.
Right in front of me was standing Stefano Romano.
A/N: Hello beautiful people!
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