Taken by the Italian Mafia(7)

By: Sadie Black

It was a job interview. Whitney stopped just short of the door, fingers tightening against the plastic handles of the crate she carried. If they were talking about bartending certifications, it didn't take a genius to figure out where Liam wanted this new girl to work.

"Let's go over some of the finer details, then, to make sure you're still interested. When you sign on, your job security depends on performance. Sell lots of drinks, don't over pour, and make sure your cash balances, and you've got a long career on your hands. If your performance drops off, so will your hours. To start, I'm going to have you working Thursday night alongside one of my best girls, Cassandra."

It was a blow Whitney knew was coming, but despite it, felt unprepared for. Her lips parted in shock. For the last year she'd been working Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. There was no way Liam was going to pay an extra girl to come in and work when she and Cassandra had the place on lockdown.

"Sounds good. What about dress code?"

"I don't tell my girls what to wear," Liam said, "but here's a tip — show skin. It sells drinks better. A young body can push drinks like you won't believe."

Whitney glanced down at herself. Even at a few months short of thirty, she didn't look old. The black vest with grey pinstripes she wore plunged into a sharp V at the bust and propped her breasts up without use of a bra. The vest revealed her tight tummy and cute navel and the curve of her hips. A pair of skinny jeans took over to cling to her fantastic thighs and killer butt. The girl on the other side of the door had to be stunning if Liam thought she was over the hill. Whitney needed to see her.

Very carefully, she moved towards the door to peak into Liam's office. The tiny gap between the door and the door frame only permitted Whitney to see a narrow sliver of the scene — but it was enough. The girl in question sat with her back to the floor, long black hair falling in waves down her back. Whitney didn't get a look at her face, but if it matched her body, the girl was a solid ten. Model skinny, but with hips, hair that Whitney would kill for, and from the little she could see, a killer sense of fashion made her the full package. Her skin was a shade lighter than Whitney's, and Whitney couldn't help but keep coming back to that fact. Liam didn't have many black girls on staff. Was she too dark for him? The thought stung.

Unable to take any more, Whitney moved away from the door and rushed for the kitchen. She always knew she had a shelf life as a bartender in one of New York's hottest clubs, but now that her expiry date was fast approaching, she wasn't ready. This wasn't how her career was supposed to end. What was she going to do now?

The swinging doors that led into the kitchen admitted her without a fight. Darren, the dish washer, sat on the counter, scrolling through a feed on his phone. When the doors opened he looked up and was about to jump down when he saw that it was Whitney and not the boss.

"Whit. Sup? You're not looking too hot right now."

The shock of confirmation was beginning to wear off, leaving her feeling sick. It would start with Thursday nights being stripped away, and then Friday, until the pittance she was making wasn't enough. Whitney didn't live in a high rise condo — she had a room mate — but she would always need to eat. Three or four hours on a Saturday wouldn't pay rent and afford what she needed to survive, even if she raked in the tips.

"I don't feel well," she mumbled. "I... Darren, fuck, I think Liam's trying to replace me. He's in his office right now talking with a girl he wants to hire on for bar and pair with Cassandra on Thursday night. I need this money. What else am I supposed to do? All I've ever done my whole life is work jobs like this."

"Hey now," Darren said. Concern tensed his facial features, and he stood from where he'd been sitting. The phone disappeared into his back pocket. "You don't know he wants to replace you. Maybe Thursday night is just the best time to train her, y'know, to get a feel for how busy we get. Doesn't mean he's gonna strong arm you out."

A sharp clatter of glass punctuated the end of Darren's speech. Whitney dropped the crate onto the counter and covered her eyes with her hands. Tears hadn't started to fall yet, but she could feel them burning in her ducts, longing to break free.

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