Home > Falling Fast(5)

Falling Fast(5)
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds

Scanning the bar again, I look for any sign of life then check my phone to see what time it is. Nina told me I needed to be here by ten to meet with a friend of hers named Rose. I’m a few minutes early, but not much. Walking a little deeper into the room, I take in the huge space. It’s bigger than it looks like it would be from the outside. In the back, a long bar takes up one entire section of the room. In the middle are high, round tables scattering the floor, then to the left are pool tables. Four of them are all lined up with more than enough room for people to move around if they’re playing a game.

“Hello?” I call out when I reach the bar, putting my hands to the top and leaning over slightly to look toward a room at the end, where a door is open an inch with bright light shining through.

“Just a sec,” is rumbled back to me, and that deep timbre causes my stomach to dip uncomfortably.

“Okay!” I yell back, spinning one of the barstools around to climb up onto it. Once I’m settled, I smooth out my top while crossing one leg over the other, looking around and wondering if I’m way too overdressed for this place and if I shouldn’t have gone home to change. My black slacks, silk cami, and sweater, both lavender that match the floral design sewn into the leather of my booties, don’t really say “biker bar,” they scream “teacher.”

“Gia.”

Looking to my left when my name’s called, my lungs freeze as my eyes connect with the man coming toward me. He looks a little familiar, but probably because I’ve seen men who look like him in magazine ads for outdoor wear and spicy colognes that smell like musk or the sea. Swallowing, I take in the long-sleeved dusty blue Henley accentuating the muscles of his chest and arms, his long legs covered in jeans, and boot-covered feet. My heart pounds as I realize he’s the guy I saw standing with the group of bikers outside of Daisies.

“Gia?” he repeats as his deep brown eyes surrounded by thick long lashes scan me.

“Um…” I breathe, and his lips twitch, drawing my attention to them and his strong jaw covered in a thick layer of stubble. “That’s I… I mean, that’s me. Gia is me,” I stutter out, trying to ignore the way his grin is making me feel. “I’m Gia,” I reiterate, thankful when the words come out clear. Hopping down off the barstool, my feet wobble under me when they hit the floor, and then I hiss out a breath when his hand wraps around my bicep to steady me.

“You okay?” he asks gently, dropping his eyes to my arm, and I tilt my head back to look up at him and nod, feeling his fingers imprinting into my skin where they are touching me.

“I’m okay.” I try to take a step back, but he doesn’t let me go. “Promise. I’m just a little clumsy sometimes.” I smile, not wanting him to think I’m a weirdo, which apparently I am.

“You sure?”

“Positive.” I look up, noticing how tall he is. Even with the added height from my heels, he still has to dip his head to look me in the eye.

“I’m Colton.” He takes a step back, finally releasing his hold on me, and I instantly miss his touch.

Pulling in a much needed breath to fight that ridiculous feeling off, I smile—or try to, but I’m sure it comes off wonky.

“Nice to meet you,” I say, wondering why he’s smiling at me like he is. “I’m supposed to meet Rose for an interview at ten.”

Watching his eyes crinkle in the corners and his smile turn into a grin, I know I’m screwed even before he opens his mouth. “Rose is my mom. She had to run out and asked if I’d interview you this morning.”

“Oh.” I look toward the door, wondering if I should just save myself and make a run for it. Who needs money anyway, right?

“If you’ll follow me, we can go back to the office and get started.” He turns and I give myself a mental pep talk as I follow him down behind the bar, watching his ass, which is probably something I shouldn’t be doing, seeing how he’s the son of the woman who was supposed to interview me. And her name is Rose, leading me to believe she is most likely the owner of this place.

“Have a seat.” He nods toward a chair sitting just inside the door of the small office he leads me into. “Would you like something to drink?”

It’s on the tip of my tongue to ask for a shot of Jack, but instead I mutter, “No, thank you.”

“You sure?”

“Yep.” I take a seat and cross my legs once more, watching him grab a file folder off of a shelf, and then I watch as he folds his tall, lean body into a chair directly across from mine.

“Are you new in town?” he asks, pushing the sleeves of his shirt up his forearms, and I swallow hard as the space between my legs tingles. His arms are strong and tan, his hands massive, and his fingers long. I can actually picture him sliding those big hands over my body, which is absolutely insane, because I haven’t really wanted a man to touch me in ages. “Gia?” I hear a smile in his voice then see it on his face when I look up at him. I know he expects me to answer his last question, only I’ve already forgotten what it was.

“Sorry, I didn’t get that.”

“It’s all right.” He leans back in his chair, causing it to squeak under his weight. “I was just wondering if you’re new in town?”

“Oh.” I take my bag out of my lap and drop it to the ground near my feet. “Yeah, I just got here a couple of weeks ago.”

“Where are you from?”

“Chicago,” I say, and he tips his head to the side.

“The city? Did you grow up there?”

“Yep, my whole life.” I shrug, and he whistles through his teeth.

“Chicago to Tennessee. That’s a big change. What brings you here?”

“My grandmother lives here and… she wanted me to move closer,” I lie, since my grandma doesn’t even really know who I am. Everyday when she wakes up, I have to explain to her that I’m her granddaughter and not my mom or some stranger living in her house.

“Where did you work in Chicago?” he asks, placing his elbows to his knees and getting closer.

“I worked at a daycare.”

“How long were you there for?”

“Since graduating from college,” I say, and he frowns.

“And now you want to work here?” he questions, sounding genuinely confused. “You do know this is a bar, right?”

“I need a job.” I shrug. One thing my dad always said is that money is money. When you’re paying your rent or buying groceries, it doesn’t matter what you did to earn that money; it just matters that you worked for it.

“This place is a little rough around the edges. Do you think you can handle working here?” His eyes drop to my sweater then boots, making me shift uncomfortably in my chair.

I really should have gone home to change.

“I’m from Chicago,” I use as my answer, since Chicago is one of the most crime-ridden cities in the United States.

“How are you at math?” he asks, looking at the phone on the desk when it starts to ring. Obviously not wanting to talk to whoever is calling, his eyes come back to me.

“All right, I guess.”

“And what about people?”

“What do you mean?” I frown, and his eyes drop to my mouth for a moment before he meets my gaze once again.

“How are you with people? Do you get along with people?”

“Sure,” I lie again, knowing I’m not very good at making friends. But really, how friendly do you need to be to work at a biker bar? Sure, you need to be able to take drink orders and whatnot, but I can’t imagine bikers being big on small talk, so I shouldn’t have a problem.

“When can you start?”

So caught off by his question, I stutter out, “I… uh…. Tomorrow?”

“Pay on days is shit, but mom says those are the hours you’re looking for. Can I ask you why?”

“I don’t like my grandma being home alone at night,” I answer.

Twice since I’ve been here, she’s fallen in the middle of the night, which worries me. Plus, when I mentioned getting someone to help out during the day if I got a job, Nina assured me that she’s okay with keeping an eye on her like she has been. I don’t want to keep her from her husband or life any more than she already has been, and if I worked nights, it would definitely do that to her.

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