Behind the Bar - Niall Horan One Shot
Behind the Bar
He’d be coming in for days now. A week almost. Night in night out. And he’d ask for the same thing.
“A pint please,” he requested throwing his elbows on the bar table, resting his head in his arms.
I felt like refusing even though it was only his first for the night. I’d struggled to think how he wasn’t sick from last nights. Or the night before. Or the night before that. I tried to imagine the killer headache and hangover he’d get. I mean on a bloody Wednesday morning. But I sighed and filled the large glass with starch enzyme alcohol for at least the twentieth time this week.
I slipped the business drink card underneath the full pint before sliding the glass across to him. His blue eyes peered from between his arms as he saw the cup.
“Cheers mate,” he mouthed, nodding his head.
I smiled back with one thought in the back of my mind; your business is your business and his is his.
But the truth was I’d been dying to ask him, since he was here last Thursday. He’d been every night since asking for pint after pint with the same look on his face. His eyes looked like they were rolling in a sea of indecisiveness. The way he slouched like he was fed up of everything. How he’d come alone every night fiddling with his phone between his fingers. He’d unlock it, scroll through his contacts then slam it face down on the bar bench. Time after time. Sometimes it would ring and he’d stare at the flashing screen. He would stare it down almost forgetting the fact it was ringing, until it stopped. And then he’d ask for another one.
“Could I get a second, please?” his voice peaked through the loud chatter of women gossiping and men going ape at provocatively dressed females.
I nodded in obligation and slowly made my way towards the tap. Maybe if I deliberately dawdled on the way, he’d withdraw his request, perhaps realise he’s already had one drink too many. I never really do care as to how many drinks one could have or what their business was. If anything I’d fear my wellbeing and if so I’d only call security. But something about this bloke worried me. He wasn’t enjoying himself. In the past I’d shrug my shoulders and get out as soon as my shift ended. But that was the end of relief, for this time my phone buzzed.
I unprofessionally cussed under my breath before I reluctantly read the message.
‘Can’t make my shift tonite, could ya take it for me. Thanks babe x – Tara’
Judging by the fact she really didn’t use a question mark, this really wasn’t my choice and so I complied with the late shift, again. She’d done it several times, most of the time her excuse really was another blind date her friends had set her on. Tonight I was ready to say no, but my curiosity pulled me in to take the midnight shift.
A new group had arrived, there was one every night. About several girls, just a bit older than me, swung on each side of a middle aged man. As the week progressed, their dresses would become trampier and their heels higher. And the older the man, the more expensive the drink. But this fella, he struggled to even get through the door. His wispy hair was dyed an unnatural pitch black and his skin a sickening ghostly white. As he took a seat and laughed his back pain off, the girls near him sniggered and forcefully smiled. He lifted his arm in request.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Malt Scotch, thanks,” he demanded smiling with his false white teeth, the wrinkles on his face increasing and growing deeper.
“A forty thousand dollar bottle? Yeah, we don’t have those here,” I ungratefully yet sarcastically admitted.
He just stared at me and burst into laughter as if he hadn’t heard me.
“I too would turn down my hearing aid if I were surrounded by bitchy fortune hungry hoes,” I whispered to myself leaning over the bar.
“I see exactly what you mean,” I was quickly interrupted.
I quickly turned my head to meet the blue eyes of the ‘pint’ bloke. He ran his hand through his dirty blonde hair before smiling at me and at his empty cup again.
“Ahah, yeah. Every night, getting piss drunk,” I ironically commented.
“Would hate to end up like him,” he said staring at the old man, his face in semi-disgust.
“I don’t see how that would happen,” I lightly steered the conversation into something that would interest me.
“It’s really hard settling,” he drifted off.
And that was the signal, I carried myself to the tap to brew another pint. The glass chilled in my hand, something I still had not got used to. I passed it over.
“Thanks. I’m Niall,” he said extending his hand.
“Sam,” I replied shaking his hand.
“You’re not usually around this late,” he mentioned.
“Yeah I’m taking someone’s shift.”
“I know how it feels.”
“I mean you’re doing something with pretty equal pros and cons.”
“I guess that’s the big picture,” I agreed almost intimidated by his awkward deep thoughts.
Even though I was so deeply intrigued by what he meant and how he really felt I was made to serve someone again. I felt horrible in leaving Niall but I swallowed my longing for more and made my way to the older man and his mistresses. His smirk was making me uncomfortable as the ends of his pruned lips curved higher. His eyes never met mine but instead my chest. I intended to slap him out but I contained myself running low on patience.
“What can I do for you?” I forcefully smiled.
“A Johnnie Walker Blue, seven serves,” he said wondering his eyes.
“There are only six of you though,” I questioned.
“One for you of course.”
“No thank you, I’m fine. Six Blue Walker’s?”
“Just give the seventh one to the bloke over there,” he said ushering his eyebrows to Niall’s direction.
I looked at him with the most petrified expression almost horrified by his request. Mainly because when a man buys a drink for someone else, it’s usually for a woman. But I laid down six glasses for the sniggering girls and the man and began to fill them. He stared at me again, watching my every move but I let this sleaze pass. I had better business.
Niall began a phase I would never see due to my shift. He was staring at others in the bar like he was chewing a secret. He began to rub the back of his neck and widening his collar. He gazed into the far ends of the pub and would blink ever so scarcely. I tried to put down the glass of Johnnie Walker without disturbing him. But as like everything I do, I failed.
“Who’s that from?” he asked puzzled.
“Uhm…him,” I said swiftly pointing to the older man.
“WH-AT?” he exclaimed putting the glass down.
“I can definitely see why you don’t want to end up like him.”
“Precisely. I just have to sort things out. Even if it’ll take this long.”
I opened my mouth to say something but I quickly shut. I bit my tongue and kept saying to myself; my business is my business and his is his. I swivelled on my heel trying to pull away but I found the charity-giving, caring and considerate side of me take hold.
“You should just call her…” I murmured.
“Sorry?” he asked even though he heard me well.
“I know it’s none of my business but if you called her I’m sure she’ll understand,” I assumed being very vague.
I watched his adam’s apple sink before his blue eyes met mine and he spoke just loud enough for me to hear.
“I’d need your number first.”