Counter Girls    

   a novel by Felicia C. York  

Pilar's Excerpt

               Pilar found herself at her favorite bar in the East Village where the men were hipsters or musicians, the drinks were cheap and she had a long-standing relationship with the bartender. For as long as she’d been going to FireWater, she and David practiced her version of “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.” He didn’t ask how her day was and she didn’t tell him she frequented the bar because she wanted to have his beautiful Aztec babies. She watched David through her blurred vision. Even in her less than stellar state, she saw his tan skin in the dim blue neon lights of the bar. His long dark hair was soft and wavy and hit at his chiseled jaw line. He had thick dark brows and even thicker long lashes with the most beautiful light brown eyes. He stood tall at around 6”2 and had a footballer’s body with strong arms from carrying heavy boxes every day. He wore a tight black shirt that showed off his firm pecs and grazed his washboard abs. His dark blue Levi’s jeans sat comfortably at his waist looking lived-in adding to his cool factor.

               Pilar had no idea what time it was or how long she’d actually been at the bar or if she’d eaten that day. She was vaguely aware of herself enough to be afraid to get up. She was not sure how much her tab would be or if she would have to put yet another bender on her credit card that was almost maxed out like she promised herself she would not. She did know that once a problem popped up in her head, she’d hammer it down with a shot as if she were playing “whack-a-mole” with tequila instead of a big rubber hammer.

               “Dave! Dave!” she shouted unnecessarily. On a Tuesday night, even in the city that never sleeps, people were not packing out the bar.

               “Pilar, what is it? I’m cutting you off?” Concern and annoyance shaded his face.

               “Nooooooooo Davie baby! I’m calling you over to settle up so I can saddle out,” she countered chuckling at herself. Dave handed her the bill which was not as much as she thought.

               “Pilar, I see you here three to four nights a week. Whatever your troubles are: your man cheated on you, you hate your job, your dad didn’t hug you enough – whatever it is, deal with it when you’re sober. I’d hate to see you ruin your life. You’re too beautiful to have your life end up in a bottle,” Dave responded. His tone was serious and he was looking into her eyes.

               She looked deeply into his eyes and smiled. “You think I’m beautiful?” Before he could answer, Pilar burst into tears. After a moment, she regained her composure. “Take me home, David.” She tried to say it in her most seductive voice but came out in a slurred blur.

               “No Pilar. I can’t,” he affirmed calmly shaking his head.

               “What’s wrong, Dave?” she asked as she got up and began to dance a little to the jazz playing. The other patrons looked at her questioningly. Some laughed. She didn’t care.

               “Pilar! Stop!” he said firmly.

               “No. Take me home.” The first article of clothing to go was her shirt over her head. She threw it over her head and threw it at him. He ran from behind the bar and grabbed her by her arms taking her to the stock room in the back. The other patrons cheered and clapped as the show ended.

               He sat her down on boxes of booze thinking twice now that he had her back there if that was the right move. “Call someone or I’ll call someone for you. Get yourself together.” He looked at her disgusted and gave her back her shirt. She shook her head, the tears blustering their way out. She wanted to speak but didn’t know what to say knowing she’d made a fool of herself. He handed her a bottle of water and closed the door. She was ashamed.

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