Home>>read Too Broken free online

Too Broken(8)

By:JR Hunter




I'm seven minutes early. Dammit, I hate being too early. Three minutes  is acceptable, but seven, no can do. I take a lap around the block, and  get back with one minute to spare.

Pulling open the door, I'm greeted with the scent of Pine Sol and beer.  It's an odd smell, but one I'm sure I will get used to, and probably  grow to love.

No one is in sight, so I head back to the kitchen. I swing open the door  and am met with blaring music. I don't know the band, but they are  rocking, and if I had to guess, I'd say they were Irish because my ear  picks up a fiddle somewhere in the cacophony. With his back to me, Ian  is stirring a large pot as he screeches along with the lead singer,  shaking his lovely ass and head banging all the while. He pauses in his  stirring to play the air guitar on his spoon, and I totally crack up.

Startled, he turns around and sees me. He puts the spoon down, and walks  quickly over to the table where his phone is docked into some speakers  and turns off the music. How he heard me over that racket, I have no  idea. I'm sorry he did though, I would have enjoyed watching his ass a  bit longer.

"Hey," Ian says, looking a little embarrassed. It is the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

"Hi," I say. There's a bit of a pause where we both look down at our  feet. I know why I'm quiet - I'm with the most beautiful man on the  planet. I have no idea why he seems nervous. His singing wasn't that  bad. "So, uh," I start, "I never actually asked what I'd be doing for  you."

Ian laughs and nods his head. "Yes, I did realize that. I've been  considering all the things I could make you do, since in essence, you  are my indentured servant … "

"Now hold on a second," I say throwing up my hands. "I haven't signed  anything, so I'm no one's servant yet, thank you very much."

"Right," Ian says. "First things first then. Follow me." He leads me  into the office off the kitchen, and sits behind one of the two desks.  Seated behind the other, is Pappy.

"Kelli darlin'," Pappy says as he jumps up to give me a hug. "Good to  see ye, lass. I can't tell ye how pleased I am to have ye here."

"Thanks Pappy. I'm really excited to be here. I think," I add  hesitantly. "Ian hasn't yet told me what my actual job functions will  be, so I'm not completely sure if I should be excited or not."

"Gah, don't ye worry. He's got a mean bark, me Ian, but he's a puppy dog  ‘neath all that gruff exterior," Pappy says. I look over at Ian,  organizing my hiring documents, his eyebrows furrowed and his lips drawn  into a thin line. I'm not so sure Pappy's right. I'm not seeing puppy  anywhere. Full grown Rottweiler is more what I'm seeing.

"Kelli," Ian motions for me to come sit across from his desk. "I'm going  to take you up on your offer to do a two-week trial period. For those  two weeks, you'll do whatever I ask. It could be mopping the floor or  taking out the trash. I may need help in the kitchen, or Pappy might  need assistance with the books. I'll likely have you work on marketing  since you've said you have experience with that, and our mid-week sales  suck. Also, if you like, you can get behind the bar when it is slow and  get a feel for it." He sits back in his chair, looking calm and  confident, all traces of the nervousness from before having vanished.

"I'll pay you $18 an hour, which I know is crap, but better than what  you'd be making at Starbucks. You'll get a cut of the tips on the nights  you work. After two weeks, we'll see where your strengths and  weaknesses are, and then we can talk about what a more permanent job  would look like, and what salary would make sense for it," Ian finishes.

I'm still thrilled with this whole situation, so I grin at him and say,  "A-okay, boss!" At $18 an hour, I'll need to find a permanent job pretty  quickly, but for the moment, I'm living my college dream - supporting  myself by spending my evenings peddling ale and hopefully flirting my  way through a bunch of cute guys.

Cute guys - oh shit, I hope Jake isn't a regular here. That'd be  awkward. Or maybe I'd enjoy the opportunity to spit in his drink.  Selfish bastard.

Ian hands me a stack of papers. "Fill these out, and when you're done,  you can help me in the kitchen. We only serve stew, and rolls, but it's a  family recipe and pretty popular. I'll teach you how to make it."

"I brought that recipe over from Ireland with me," Pappy explains. "It's  been in me family for generations. Before Ian shows it to ye, ye have  to swear ye'll keep it secret."                       


"No worries, Pappy," Ian says. "One of those papers she's filling out  requires a blood oath on the stew, so you're covered." He winks at the  old man. Looking at me, "You can save that one for last. Come into the  kitchen and I'll give you a knife." This time, I'm the one who receives  the wink before he disappears back into the kitchen.

It takes about 20 minutes, but I finish my paperwork and head out to  help Ian. He shows me the lay of the land in both the kitchen and the  bar. He explains things quickly, and thoroughly, and I get the feeling  he's been in charge of leading people before.

"Have you always worked here?" I ask.

"Why?" he responds.

"It seems like maybe you were a teacher, or something other than a pub owner," I explain.

He looks at me, evaluating me with oddly calculating eyes.


He shakes his head. "No, I've never been a teacher." With that, he launches into the stew's secret recipe.

We've been cutting vegetables in silence for about ten minutes when in  walks the blonde bartender. He stops when he sees me and gives Ian a  questioning look.

"Sean, this is Kelli. Kelli  –  Sean, the other bartender," he explains.  Looking at Sean, "I've hired Kelli to help out around here. She'll do a  little bit of everything - marketing, cleaning, tending. I trust you'll  show her the ropes."

With a shrug Sean says, "Sure." He stashes his jacket in some cubbies  just outside of the office, and then heads back out to the bar.

"Why don't you follow him and watch how he sets up the bar for opening," Ian says. "I've got this in hand."

Sad to leave him, but eager to learn about bartending, I quickly head into the bar area to shadow Sean.

As I approach, Sean says, "I've got a routine, okay? I don't need help  with it, and don't really feel like having to teach you every little  detail. You can watch, but don't ask a million questions, okay?"

Alrighty then, Sean's an ass, good to know. "Sure, no problem," is all I  reply. It's fun watching Sean and I'm looking forward to trying it  myself.

After about an hour, Ian comes out.

"Kelli, I've made you a training schedule for this first week," he says,  handing me a piece of paper. "Tonight and tomorrow you'll work with me  and Sean, learning the bar. You started at noon, so you'll work until  around 8:00pm. Thursday I'll have you come in at 4pm and work through  midnight. You can get a feel for what a more crowded night is like, and  also shadow Tracey in the kitchen."

I give him a quizzical look.

"Tracey works Thursday through Sunday and takes care of the food and  service. She often has auditions or jobs that pull her away - she's an  actress - so you'll be backing up for her frequently." I nod, right,  Tracey, Pappy mentioned her. I'm happy to know there is at least one  other woman working here. I hope she's nice.

"Friday I'll have you come in at noon again, and I'll show you our  website and then Pappy can give you a rundown of the business, in case  you have any expertise we might be able to use."

I'm so excited that I'll be doing all these different things. I'm going to get to learn all about running a pub. I'm pumped!


My shifts on Tuesday and Wednesday were fun and I'm looking forward to  meeting Tracey today. Sean has remained aloof and clearly isn't someone  with whom I'm going to be chummy. Hal seems really nice, and while I do  like me some quirky, he doesn't talk all that much, except to himself. I  have no idea what Ian was thinking when he hired him as the bouncer.  Presumably they don't have many fights at the pub because I really can't  imagine Hal getting into a brawl with anyone.

And then there's Ian. Besides being easy on the eyes (crazy  understatement), he's great behind the bar. I've seen him avert  potential fistfights between sports team rivals, skillfully sooth  bruised egos after failed pick-up attempts, and elicit laughter from  those clearly at the pub to drink their troubles away. Ian has a  wonderful way of making people feel heard, and valued.

But there's no mistaking the fact that Ian owns the place. For all his  charm and good humor, there's an air of authority about him that is  always there. It is incredibly sexy. It also makes me think that we  won't be hanging out anytime in the near future.