It was a drizzly Saturday and Dylan was tending the crowded bar of Mercury with Tim, Karim and Chan. It was the third Saturday day in a row the place had been overly crowded from the get-go. Dylan figured he should really go about and ask about expanding opening hours. Tim had taken control of the stereo and put on something fitting the uplifting spirit of the place. Letting the guy select the music had been one of Dylan’s more brilliant moves in his first weeks. Not only had the guests liked the music, Tim had actually turned into a rather nice colleague.
As per usual, Chan was collecting glasses and washing them, chatting in Cantonese with the Chinese regulars he had brought in with him. One of them, his boyfriend Sin-Wa was following him every move, which he did about every night Chan worked.
Danny had told Dylan about them before. Apparently, Sin-Wa was a very wealthy businessman and he took complete care of his lover. Chan however, wanted to be something more than just some rich dude’s housewife and had picked up the bartender gig for two days a week. But his possessive man just came in with all his friends, some of them not even gay, every night Chan worked, just to keep an eye on him.
Dylan felt a little sorry for Chan. The guy idolised his lover and wouldn’t cheat on him ever, yet he was constantly under scrutiny. Chan didn’t seem to mind however, and Dylan had to admit that having a large group of Chinese rich guys in two nights a week was very good for business indeed.
Saturday was also Karim’s night. He worked the weekends to pay for his room in a student home, since he was studying law at the local university. Karim was from Syria originally, and had spent his entire youth getting asylum in the Netherlands. He didn’t talk about his family, nor the time he had spent in his motherland, ever. But besides that, he was very friendly and opened up about everything else.
He was especially cheerful this evening. He had had a date the night before with a guy from his class he’d been pining after for quite some time. Like a proper love story, they had shared a kiss as Karim had dropped him off at his student home and that had been it. But the way Karim was gushing about it, the dude might as well have proposed. Dylan couldn’t help smiling. At least there was still some true romance left in the world.
A slim, brown-haired guy, probably in his late twenties came up to the bar with a bright smile on his face and, out of the blue, ordered a round for everyone. His green eyes were beaming, and his smile was climbing up to his ears, crinkling his freckled nose as he stood tiptoe on the beam on the underside of the bar. He bobbed up and down to the music.
“There are probably about 120 people inside, are you sure you want to get all of them a drink?” Dylan said to the guy, with a knowing smile on his face.
“I’m good for it, you know! And besides, I’m celebrating!” the guy answered. “I’m Jeffrey. What’s your name?”
As Dylan opened his mouth to answer, Tim pulled the guy into a hug over the bar. “Jeffrey, man, good to see you! How was Australia?”
“Heya Tim, good to see you too! Yeah well Australia didn’t happen, but hey, who is this new guy, he’s hot!”
“Thank you.” Said Dylan with a smile. “I’m Dylan.”
“Yeah, he’s the new boss man. But hey, what happened to Australia?” Tim asked.
“Oh, I went somewhere else. But now I really have something good. I’m going to be a millionaire soon. They’re gonna sign the deal on Monday, so I’m celebrating. Drinks on me for everyone!” And with that the bouncy dude called Jeffrey slapped 5 bills of a hundred euros on the bar. “There. That’ll cover it.”
It wouldn’t. But Dylan wasn’t going to get everyone another drink on this guy’s tab. He put the cash besides the register and started lining up trays with shot glasses.
“Jäger cool with you?” he asked Jeffrey after grabbing three bottles of Jägermeister out of the fridge behind him.
Jeffrey propped himself up so he could reach over the bar. Then he moved his face close to Dylan’s his breath tickling on his ear as he whispered. “Whatever works for you, sexy.”
As much as Dylan prided himself on being able to not let anything get to him, the remark and the way it was delivered did just that and brought on an undeniable reaction from Dylan’s cock. A little taken aback by how his body was betraying his professionalism, Dylan took a step back and tried his work smile again, aware that his cheeks were betraying him, and hoping no one could tell with the dim lighting. He proceeded pouring the shot glasses full, put one tray on the bar, handing it to Mr. Celebration, then called out to his colleagues.
“Chan, Kerim, could you both do a quick round to give everyone who wants it a shot. Make sure they know it’s from this guy, alright?”
After getting some shots back (clearly not every customer felt the need to accept shots from a stranger) Dylan took measure of how much Jägermeister had been spent. Then he performed a quick calculation of retail prices in his head, doubling it once for good measure. He put down a bill for 84 euro’s in the registry. However rich this guy was getting on Monday, it didn’t feel right to have the man pay catering prices for buying the entire bar a shot.
“Can I also get a vodka and coke?” Jeffrey said as he came back to the bar handing the last empty tray back to Dylan. He could swear his green eyes were literally sparkling. This guy was cute.
Dylan proceeded to fix him his drink and slid it over. “I’ll put it on your tab… which you’ve already overpaid, just so you know.”
“Thanks man!” Jeffrey used the beam to hop up again, propping his slender body over the bar as he pressed a surprise kiss to Dylan’s nose. Before Dylan could react, Jeffrey had run off into the crowd again, shaking his ass to the music. It was a very nice ass.
“You said you were looking for a cheerful carefree guy to get some fun, nothing serious, right?” he heard Tim’s voice behind him.
“I’m not actually looking…” Dylan said.
“Yeah you won’t need to. He found you alright.” Tim answered. “I haven’t seen Jeffrey in about a year, but he used to come in all the time, spend shitloads of money, take some guys home. Life of the party, that one.”
“So, he isn’t a cokehead or something? No one is THAT cheerful without any chemical enhancement.” Dylan said, pointing to Jeffrey, who was jumping up and down, riling up a group of guys to dance on the platform in the back.
“Well, I’ve never seen him doing any drugs and he did say he’s got something to celebrate.”
Dylan spent the busy night sneaking glances at the cheerful stranger. He did come over to talk to him and Tim at the bar every time he ordered new drinks, mostly for himself and the people he’d been dancing with right before his drink was finished. There was another round of shots for everyone too. But besides that, he haphazardly threw comments around about the deal that was going down on Monday. He had written a script of sorts and sold it to some big shot producer, apparently that was why Jeffrey was celebrating. With every comment he added that it was still a secret, which was ironic, but started getting funnier throughout the evening.
When it was finally closing time, (still 2 AM, in the three weeks Dylan had been working at Mercury he hadn’t been able to change any permits yet) he handed the regulars their bills and, when paid, Tim escorted everyone out. While his colleagues cleaned up the bar, Dylan made sure every tab was paid and the registry was correct. They had gotten a lot of tips this evening, but the one from Jeffrey stood out. Not just because it was almost 70 euro’s, which was ridiculous, but more so because on one of the bills was an address written in girly handwriting. An arrow was pointing toward it with the text: Dylan’s private afterparty – today only.
Dylan smiled to himself as he took out his wallet and put a twenty in the tip-jar, along with the rest of the tips, but keeping the bill with the writing on it for himself.
Was he really going to do this? Any single man in a thirteen month dry-spell probably would, especially with a guy as sexy as Jeffrey was. But something in Dylan’s heart still felt off. Something deep within told him not to. He figured it was the grief, or guilt about moving on too soon, or maybe his conscience telling him that he wasn’t ready for something else. Well he clearly wasn’t, but he could at least get laid after all this time, couldn’t he?
Dylan’s mind was in such a jumble, he had to re-count the register twice, just to be sure everything was there. After he put the money away in the safe, he excused himself from the usual after-work drinks and asked Tim to close up behind them.
Outside, Dylan immediately lit a cigarette. He was a mess. There were way too many feelings involved in this one, and none had anything to do with the cute freckleface that was waiting for him only a ten-minute walk away.
Dylan paused at the intersection where he had to choose his destination. Left for home, right for Jeffrey’s. He threw the stump of his cigarette away and lit a second one.
Just how long had he been aching for a good fuck now? Even when Sean was still alive the sex had been scarce and admittedly, not really mutually satisfying. Not that he could blame Sean, given the state he was in, obviously. As much as he had loved him, there had been something missing in that department for years. They had talked about it from time to time, but nothing had changed. Nevertheless, Dylan had never cheated on his husband. He had loved him too much to even consider it. But now he was gone. All the love had disappeared from the world and Dylan knew he could never have it again.
With a heavy heart, he decided that he shouldn’t feel guilty about finally getting the one thing he could have now Sean was gone. He took a deep breath and turned right.