"Hey! Wake up! You've gotta be at work in 20!" Her shouts annoy me as they do every morning.
"I'm awake!" I shout back, already dressed for work and sitting in my bed, staring at the small crack on the wall.
After a minute I finally force myself to my feet and walk downstairs. I quickly try to pass the kitchen and out the side door, but Grams sees me and gives me a look.
"Love you." I walk over and hug her as she chops her herbs.
"Love you too. Have a good day at work."
I walk out and immediately hop onto my bike. As I do the same ride I've been doing every day for the past two weeks, I continue watching the people of this town.
There are those people who are running around like mad dogs, just trying to stay afloat. Then the people walking around like they know something no one else does.
Then my favorite people of the OBX, those who own it and know it. They intrigue me more than the rest.
They put their noses up at the rest of us, yet if you look close enough you realize that their lives are just as fucked up as ours.
"Hey. New kid!" The shout distracts me as I bike up to the country club and I fall off my bike. "Damn!"
"Fuck!" I shove the bike off my legs, noticing the scraps and blood beginning to drip.
"Dude, you okay?" The same girl that shouted my name before runs up to me, offering a hand.
"I'm fine." I get up and notice her, she's my age, shorter than me, and wearing an apron.
"You sure? You're bleeding."
"Yeah. I've had worse." I pick my bike up and start walking it to the bike rack with her.
"Sure. Okay. I'm Taylor. I work with the pastry chef."
"Parker. Busboy." I lock my bike in. "Why were you yelling for me?"
"Oh. Yeah. You're needed to help at the bar today."
"It's a busy weekend. You'll probably be there till Monday."
"Okay." We walk in together.
"Is that the only word you know?" She steps in front of me, smiling a weird amount.
"Okay." I laugh at that and she smiles.
"Sorry. I'm just not a morning person. Or a person person."
"Well, that's fine. I'm sure I'll be your type of person soon enough."
"Really? You think so?"
"I know so." She smiles and turns down another hall. "See you later Busboy."
"How was work?" Grams is hovering by the backdoor when I arrive. "Make any friends today?"
"Nope." I go over to the fridge and grab a water bottle before I notice she's dressed up. "What's going on?"
"My friend's throwing a little game night. I'll be gone pretty late. There's money in that jar for pizza or whatever." The Winnie the Pooh cookie jar just stares at me.
"Sure. Have fun."
"You too." She says as I walk upstairs.
I didn't sleep a minute last night. Well, I actually did, but maybe forty minutes tops. I had fallen asleep until I had the worst dream.
I dream that brought me back to one of the worst moments in my life. It just kept repeating. The scream. The grab. The Fire. The beeping. Over and over. Over and over. Over and over.
Then I snapped out of it. Sat straight up in my bed, sweating. The sad thing is... I wish I could say it was the first time or even the tenth.
And as I did the other times, I sat and played sudoku on my phone. I played it over and over until the sun rose. Once the sun was up I took a quick shower and left the house on my bike.
I've been biking for nearly two hours and am pretty sure I'm lost. I'm somewhere next to the water. There are a few boats tied up, but not much else around. It's quite beautiful though.
I've never taken a real moment to notice how nice the water looks. And how perfect the sun shines on it. And for just a second my mind goes blank. The sound of the wave goes through my head.
"Hey. What the fuck are you doing on this dock?" I nearly fall on my ass when I hear the voice and turn to see someone on a nearby boat.
"What?" I just starting to snap out of my daze.
"Private. Property." I can't really see the guy with the light in my eye, but I take the note and start walking back.
I got to the club early for my shift so they let me get some extra hours. The bar has been crowded all afternoon.
I've realized the bar area is filled with four different types of people since I first started. The first are the men who sit at the counter and drink for hours.
They're harmless, but really like to talk. The second type are the group of men that come after they've played golf and now want to discuss business.
They're usually quite rude, but they tip a darn good amount. The third type are the men that bring women far younger than them who are clearly not their wives.
They are the type that prefers very little attention to them, but really want to impress the women they're with.
The fourth and final type of people that come to this bar is the group of teenage boys who think they are entitled to drinks because their daddy's pay far too much to get them in.
They are the type that truly drives me insane. They try over and over to get what they want, then threaten to get my boss or their parents.
Speaking of which... just about five minutes ago this group of four teenage boys walked in and took a table. They've been chatting, laughing, and looking over at the bar.
And now one of the boys, one with slicked-back brown hair and wearing a bright-colored shit with cache shorts. He's smirking and looking way too confident.
"Hey." He takes a seat on a stool.
"Hey. What would you like?"
"Just four rum and cokes."
"Umm... no. Rum and cokes."
"Well I left it in my office, but ask anyone, I'm a regular here."
"Well... " He smiles, thinking he's about to get what he wants. "No I.D., no drinks." I walk over to another person and top off their drink.
I start cleaning up and the boy is still sitting there, watching me. He seems intent on me. Watching. Smiling. Then looking back at his friends and laughing every once and a while.
He waits a few minutes before he speaks again.
"It's you!" He snaps like he knows something.
"You're the kid that was on our docks this morning." Wait... that was him? "You were standing there like some kind of idiot."
"Anything else you need sir?" I can feel my blood starting to heat up.
"I should've realized you we're some poor Pogue. You probably live in some shithole with your alcoholic mother and father who beats you around for the fun of it."
It hits me. Hits me hard. I can feel my blood going from zero to a hundred. My fists tighten, nails digging into my palms. I being picturing the things I could do to him.
I could grab a glass and shove it in his face. I could grab him by his hair and shove his head into the counter.
But my favorite thought right now is grabbing him by his hair and dragging him across the bar and throwing him into the hundreds of bottles before stomping my foot into his ribs and shattering
a large bottle of tequila in his face.
But I don't do any of that. I stare him straight in the eyes. I put all my anger into my eyes and let him feel it. At first, he stares back, but after thirty incredibly long seconds, he blinks.
He puts on this fake laughter and steps off his stool.
"Come on guys, let's go. It's boring here." They all walk out together.
I quickly walk to the main bartender.
"I'm taking my break. Be back." I speed out of the bar.
I make my way down the halls of the club. Through the back exit and where most of the workers hang. I step through the few workers hanging out and around the corner.
I immediately face the wall and punch it. I regret it the second I swing my arm, but at that point, there's no going back. I immediately want to scream, but hold it in.
"Parker?" I jump out of my skin as Taylor turns the corner. "Oh shit!" She runs up to me as she sees the blood dripping down my fist.
"I...I..." I begin finding it hard to breathe. "It's... it's... al..."
"It's okay. Shhhh." She takes the apron off and wraps it around my hand.
"But... I can't... I can't breathe!" My chest is tightening and everything begins to get a bit hazy.
"Parker," Taylor grabs my face and looks me in the eyes. "Focus on my eyes."
"Focus on them," She's stern. "What color are they?"
"What's my name?"
"Taylor." Things begin to loosen.
"Where are we?"
"Hell." That makes Taylor laugh, then I do as well.
"Not technically wrong."
"Thanks." I start to feel normal, if I was ever normal to begin with.
"No problem." She helps me to my feet.
"It's just not my day. This kid came in..."
"You don't need to tell me. I understand." I take a look at my hand. "I'll go and get some bandages." She turns to walk away.
"Taylor. Thank you. Really."
"What else are friends that you've known for 24 hours for?"
"I don't know, depends if they happen to bring me back a cookie."
"Oh, really?" We both laugh as she walks away.
I turn around and lean against the wall. I take a deep breath in and run my hands through my hair. Then I look forward and that kid from the bar is standing in the parking lot.
He notices me and smiles. Then he waves before hopping onto his motorbike. He looks to me once more, that grin digging into my skull. I flip him off and that only seems to make him smile more.
He rides off and before I know it I find myself getting hard as I watch him ride off.