“It looks like everything’s in order,” Andy said, double checking a few references before looking back up at his newest employee. “I just need to forward your paperwork up to Janet, and we’ll be ready for you to start Thursday night.”
“Sounds fantastic. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work for you, Mr. Stone, especially in this particular establishment.”
“Given your references, I’m quite pleased to have you on board; I only wish it were under different circumstances.”
“Did they ever find out what happened to Reed? I heard on the news it was a cougar attack, but some of the guys I talk to said it was… well, something else.”
“Mr. Rolvsson, the only thing I’m certain of is that I lost one of my better managers, and now I’ve hired you to take his place. I’d rather spend my time on things other than idle speculations.”
Andy stood, anxious to be done with the business at hand so he could get on with his requisite show-of-face around the club for twenty minutes or so before he was finally free to go home.
“It’s been a pleasure to meet with you this evening,” Andy said. “If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at my office.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“We’ll see you Thursday at six.”
He shook the man’s hand and waited for him to leave, taking a few minutes to get his seldom-used office in order before heading into the main part of the club. He’d hardly stepped into the bar before he heard a familiar voice just off to his left, and he quickly moved back into the shadows, hoping to be unnoticed.
It didn’t take him long to zero in on Tristan, and he immediately wondered if Emily knew what her beloved knight in shining armor got up to when she wasn’t around. He was fairly sure she wasn’t aware he was hanging out with his old girlfriend again, and almost positive she didn’t know he was openly hitting on other women while doing so.
“Listen, you creep, I told you before I wasn’t interested. My boyfriend will be back in just a few minutes, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll get the hell out of here.”
“You hear that, boys?” Tristan said, his lips twisting into a sneer. “She’s got a boyfriend.”
“Yeah? Well, in that case, I think we’d best bow out.”
“Miss, we’re very sorry if we’ve made you uncomfortable in any way.”
“Our deepest apologies.”
Tristan and the other three broke into what Andy could only describe as ‘punkish’ laughter. There was an edge to it, a sound of derision and contempt. A quick check of other patrons’ faces told him all he needed to know about his course of action; he had to get rid of these idiots, and fast. He caught the eye of one of the bouncers on duty and waved him over.
“George, get those hooligans out of here.”
“My pleasure, sir. Should I put them on the black list?”
“No, not yet.”
Andy continued to watch from the shadows, closely watching the scene before him unfolding. George moved with unexpected grace for a man his size, making his way through the crowd without disturbing any of them. He stepped nimbly between Tristan and the girl, ending their taunting laughter.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you fellas to leave. Now.”
For a split second, Andy thought Tristan was going to put up a fight, but instead, the smug bastard stepped back. He spent a few seconds staring down the bouncer, never breaking eye contact. George held his ground, perfectly still yet obviously ready for anything.
“All right. Let’s go, boys.”
Tristan’s minions fell in line behind him obediently, the four of them filing out of the bar. Just as they reached the door, he turned and locked eyes with Andy, a twisted smile forming on his lips. The bouncer waited until the door shut behind them, then turned to his boss.
“That went better than I expected; I won’t be surprised if they try something after hours. Want me to call in Steve?”
“That’s probably a very good idea. I trust you to take care of things here for me now; I’m going to head off.”
“I’ll escort you to your car, sir; their little ring leader seemed to single you out at the end there.”