Wee warning for swearing in this chapter. Kane likes a good f-bomb and has a dirty mouth. Also, there’s hinted nudity? Idk how to explain it. Nothing is shown, she’s just in bed, but thought I’d warn just in case.
“Keeping the bar clean is important. That means mopping up spills as soon as you can, keeping the equipment spotless and the mess as organised as possible. There’ll be some nights that are pure chaos and if you’re in the habit of doing these things it makes it much easier, trust me.”
Faye fidgeted in her chair. She was still being caught up to speed and her shifts were entirely used for training purposes – not that there were many customers during the revamp of the place. It often shut its doors during the day to let workmen in, and even in the two days Faye had been here the wallpaper had changed colour to fit more in with the hive theme.
“I’ll only answer questions about the training.” Kane’s reply was short and sharp. He didn’t quite have the same accent that she remembered – a strange mix of highland and Aberdeenshire, but still well spoken enough that it didn’t matter either way. Now he was falling into the more Glaswegian sound, but still didn’t use the typical slang. Since Faye had grown up with her English parents, neither did she, and as a result she didn’t understand the thick Scottish accents very well.
“Why?” Faye asked, dismayed. How could she show Kane she wanted to be his friend again if he wasn’t going to give her the chance? And of course she wanted to know how he’d been. If he could survive here, then surely so could she.
“Because I’d prefer not to talk to you?” Kane offered, picking up tongs and pointing to a row of boxes which held various additions to drinks like lime and orange slices. “You’ll get familiar with the cocktails soon enough, but these boxes are important to kept topped up and clean. There’s more in the fridges at the back if you need them.”
“We’re stuck here together,” Faye pressed, trying to give him a winning smile. “Might as well, right?”
“Don’t remind me,” Kane snapped. He pointed to a drinks mat hidden behind the raised section of the bar. “This gets gross after a night. It’s best to wash it out properly and let it drain, or they start to stink out the place.”
“And under here,” Kane continued, voice muffled as he crouched, “is a useful supply of stuff for when the students come in on a night out. Typical spirits with their measures already in place – and make sure you give them exactly 25ml – surplus of glasses and energy drinks, that sort of stuff. You have to remember to ID people before eleven. After that Blue, the bouncer, does it at the door.”
“Blue?” Faye repeated with a blink.
“Not his real name. Short for blue balls,” Kane snorted. “Feel free to ask him for the story, he’ll learn to laugh at it eventually.”
There was a definite warming of his tone, but before Faye could follow it up and keep the conversation rolling, Kane’s face closed off again. It was like he was stubbornly reminding himself not to be welcoming to her. Faye rolled her eyes.
“Look,” Kane said, the pH of his voice steadily dropping into dangerously acidic territory, “We have to work together, but that’s it. I’m not interested in talking to you anymore than necessary, you get me? There’s no love lost here.”
Faye drew back and played with her fairy earring, making sure it was facing the right way for lack of better things to do with her hands. “So you’re going to make my job hell until I go someplace else?” she asked, voice small.
“Right. Fine.” Faye blinked rapidly, thinking of how quickly her hopes had been dashed – unnecessarily cruelly – and wondering how quickly she’d come to dread her shifts here.
Despite her worries, Faye tried to keep her spirits up. Though Kane was decidedly icy towards her, he wasn’t rude and he wasn’t going out his way to make her time awful. After a couple of weeks of this, monotony proved to be too boring to Faye and with a giggle she flicked water from the sink onto Kane, who spluttered in surprise.
“What the fuck?” he blurted, giving her the finger and wiping at his face.
“It’s just a bit of water. You looked so serious,” Faye teased, brushing her fingers on her top to dry the last of the water off.
“I do!” Faye protested. She’d tried to pick up the tricks of the trade and was pleasantly surprised by how quickly things had fallen into place. She still had to look at the menu to make cocktails, and had yet to survive a chaotic night, but it was nice to see such obvious progress. “But you can have a laugh too, you know.”
“Aw, come on,” Faye groaned. “Don’t be like this. I don’t want us to be enemies.”
Kane snatched his hand away. “Yeah, well, I don’t want us to be friends.”
“We were friends before,” Faye protested, her hands coming up to fiddle with the black choker she liked to wear for work. Kane’s eyes dropped down to watch the movement and she could see the growing red flush to his cheeks as he seethed silently.
“Before you abandoned me, you mean?” As soon as he said it, Kane’s eyes widened a fraction before he recovered from the brief flash of vulnerability.
Of course, the easiest way to detract from the sudden fragility of what had been said was to go on the attack. The old adage of offence being the best defence applied to more than just war.
“You – you just come waltzing in here expecting things to be good between us, like you don’t even realise what you did, or how it felt to be tossed aside because you needed to be popular more than you needed to be liked. I saw the way your sisters drew away from you. Did you ever put two and two together and realise it was because you’re such a fucking bitch?”
“And then you try to distract me during work. Fuck’s sake, do you even realise how important this job is to me? I don’t have a family to go back to; I don’t have anyone to bail me out. Can you wrap your tiny privileged brain around that, huh?”
“I’ve been trying to make amends!” Faye bit out, though her voice was less aggressive than it was wobbly. She drew her arms away from her chest and crunched her fingers into fists, trying to believe the shaking was from anger and not hurt.
Kane barked humourless laughter. With a twist to his lips he put his hand in front of her face to stop whatever she was about to say next, which was probably a good thing because Faye had no idea herself.
“You can’t make amends until you really understand what you’ve done wrong. And until you do that, I will continue to find you so fucking infuriating that I can’t stand you. So don’t try to tease me, don’t try to talk to me, and more importantly, don’t get in my fucking way while I’m working a job that is the only thing keeping a roof over my head, get me?”
“Fine. I get you.” Asshole.
Jessica was in town for a biochemistry conference and had coaxed Faye into a quick coffee before she had to leave again. At first Faye had been determined not to give in, the anger at being tossed aside by her parents still fresh. However, she needed someone to rant to that wasn’t Alicia, because the poor girl had heard enough (and would wisely say something about star signs and horoscopes, which Faye had definitely heard enough of). She didn’t say that part out loud, because Alicia worked here – no surprise, given it was like every hipster trend had exploded inside the cafe-come-record-shop.
“Faye,” Jessica sighed, rubbing at her eyes. She picked up her reusable coffee cup with one hand, a valuable thing she had learned to take everywhere with her for the discounted coffee, and wondered how happy James would be to hear that Kane was on his own two feet and doing alright. “You weren’t kind to the boy.”
“B-but –“ Faye began. “That’s not fair! People grow apart. People change, you know? It’s not fair to have to force myself to be his friend forever.”
“And people can make the decision that they don’t want to be friends now, and you can’t force him to change his mind,” Jessica explained patiently. “Honey, you know how he felt about his family, and presumably how they felt about him. Having his best friend decide she was too embarrassed to continue being his best friend is going to make a lot of issues more… complicated.”
Faye screwed up her face in confusion. “Like what?”
“Well, probably feelings of worthlessness, or abandonment, lonelieness, that sort of thing. Kane told you about his family, didn’t he?”
“That was the… rumour, yes.”
Faye recalled what Kane had said to her in the heat of the moment. He had no one to call on for help. His family were still alive and well, she knew that, so what did that mean?
From the depths of her memory, Faye vaguely remembered Kane worrying that his dad wanted him out of the house. Had they made that decision now that he was an adult? It would explain why Kane left school at sixteen, especially if he’d had no other choice.
Jessica placed her empty cup down and eyed her daughter’s pensive expression. “You don’t know what someone else has gone through until you walk a mile in their shoes. Everyone is fighting their own war, Faye. Your actions have consequences, just like with Uma and Summer.”
It was the first time the stark reality of these words hit Faye, and she suddenly felt very small.
“How… how are Summer and Uma?” Neither of them had remained friends with her on simbook. Faye had desperately tried not to let it bother her.
“Well, they recently stayed at Felix’s campsite with Skye. Loxley and Bethany were supposed to go too, but it really isn’t Lox’s thing. Liam’s, uh… I’m not sure what the collective term is… boyfriend and girlfriend came up, anyway. So that was nice, meeting them all. Skye and Felix are starting to organise their trip around Europe and she’s got a motorbike that she’s learning to use, while Lox and Sum are getting ready for college.”
“Are they moving out?” Faye asked.
“Lox, Uma and Bethany are getting a flat together. Summer opted to stay at home, which is lovely for us. She thought it was wise not to rush into living together, after a lot of talks with me and your father.”
“Going back for his final year at Granddad’s. He still doesn’t know what he wants to do, but it worries him a lot less now. We’re hoping he’ll settle on a university course before Christmas.”
And everyone was moving forward, while Faye felt like she was stuck in limbo. What was she doing here? What would she accomplish from working in a bar?
But then she still had no greater aspirations than that, so what did it really matter?
Faye had known that Alicia was having a small party, and after she had returned from a welcome coffee with her mother the music had quickly started. The buzzer went four times in the space of an hour, and Faye could hear Alicia’s voice getting progressively slurrier, and her accent becoming syrup thick.
She eventually decided to join in the fun and slunk out of her room, spotting the keg of beer that Alicia had supplied and a familiar face using it. It stopped her in her tracks. Her brain couldn’t quite register that it was Kane in her flat, because the idea was so absurd. Her hand fumbled behind her for her doorknob, hoping to escape back into her room before Kane noticed her. She didn’t want another argument and, after what her mum said, she didn’t want to make Kane’s night turn rapidly worse.
“How do you know her?” Faye asked, curiosity overwhelming her before she could shut her mouth. She’d never seen Kane outside his work uniform, and it suited him far more than the garish hive colours did.
Kane paused, gaze sliding over to where she was currently giving one of her drunker friends a piggyback, their giggling almost as loud as the house music. “Uh, we worked together for a bit. We still keep in touch.” He glanced down at his beer and with a shrug offered it over to her. “Drink?”
Faye felt relief spin through her. “Oh, God yes.”
“And then I – then I said it, about Uma being gay, and I didn’t think, you know, I didn’t think anyone would care, because who does? What doessit matter, really? I mean, who cares?” Faye slurred, resting her head on Kane’s shoulder, happy to feel sorry for herself in her drunken state. She felt him shrug.
“I dunno,” he muttered, “My family’s pretty hardcore catholic, and I guess I can – I dunno. Whatever.” He patted her head clumsily.
“Hardcore catholic?” Faye repeated, snuggling further into the crook of his arm. Despite the small fact that he hated her, it was incredibly comfortable and incredibly comforting. And whatever cologne he used smelled so good. Faye hoped it wasn’t too obvious that she kept sniffing his neck. Was that weird? God, that was so weird.
“You should see how much Celtic FC crap they have. My room’s probably a shrine to them by now.”
“I’m sorry,” Faye blinked, feeling her eyes well up.
“About your family. Did they aban – hic – abandoned you?”
She pulled away so that she could look at his face, alcohol-flushed, but quickly paling. “Sorry I abandoned you too,” she said, blinking up at him.
Kane drew in a deep breath through his nose, chest under his well fitting blue hoodie rising. “Whatever.”
“No I’m serious!” she protested, trying to grab his hand but pouting when he jerked it away from her. “I’m serious Kane. I get it now, okay? I get why you were mad at me and now I can make amends, right?”
For a second she thought she had been successful, because Kane said nothing. Then she realised that she had stepped on a mine, because when Kane said nothing it usually meant he was trying to hold back his anger.
She shuffled forward on the sofa. “I’m trying to make amends,” she insisted, looking down at the scuffs on her pink shoes instead of at him. She could feel his eyes on her anyway, and his gaze was uncomfortably heavy.
“My life was shit,” Kane said bluntly, “you were just a tiny part of that turd, yeah?”
Despite the situation, Faye laughed at the analogy. She knocked her knees together and tried to focus on the conversation. “So why won’t you forgive me?”
Kane shook his head in exasperation, rolling his eyes over to where Alicia was laughing with her friends. He wasn’t quite drunk enough to roll around with them, or whatever it was they were doing. “Because right now that would only make you feel better, not me.”
“But I’m sorry!” Faye protested, feeling her eyes well up. She brushed away the tears before they could fall and stood up, swaying out the door with the intention of locking herself in her room and ending the night in bed.
“What?” Faye blinked stupidly. She wiped her nose on her sleeve and hoped she would forget how pathetic it was in the morning.
“You came back here all the same, except, shit, all grown up and fit as hell in that uniform, and now you’re actually trying to get it and I want to be so fucking mad at you, so why can’t you play along and let me?”
“Ask Alicia the Psychologist. I can’t be pissed off at my fuck of a father, or my equally shit mother, but I can sure as hell make up for it for hating you.” Kane stopped, eyes narrowing. “Most of the time that’s easy, but tonight you’re making that really difficult.”
“But that’s – I want to make you feel better. I want to make up for it.” Faye stopped, looking into Kane’s eyes, the expression one she hadn’t seen before. Considering. Weighing his options. Trying to think through the fog of booze.
Whether he came to the correct answer, she didn’t know, because the only thing she knew was that suddenly he was kissing her.
Faye’s gasp was muffled by Kane’s lips, but she found no intention to complain again as his hands came to her waist, warm and comforting, the smell of his cologne enveloping both of them. Faye decided – as well as she could in her sozzled brain – that she quite liked this, and wanted to continue kissing him. She’d pulled at parties before, of course, from all the seven minutes in heaven crap to the more serious aspect of getting her rocks off, but something about this was different, probably because she actually had some sort of a relationship with him, even if most of it was negative.
Kane’s fingers stroked the skin peeking out from under her top, the feather touch sending shivers through her, shivers that only made her cravings rocket. She pulled him tight against her, revelling in the feeling of his hard body against every inch of hers (the word choice becoming more appropriate as their kissing became more frantic), groaning as his teeth nipped at sensitive skin under her ear.
Feeling bold, she began to pull him towards her door, one hand groping for the handle while the other found its way beneath his hoodie to test if his abs and torso were really as well defined as the clothes suggested.
Faye may not have been a responsible person by any sense of the word, but even in her addled state she knew not to worry. The daily pill was the one thing she never forgot, and it even sat on her bedside table to remind her that she was right on track and good to go. With a quick glance confirming this, Faye let herself enjoy the moment, the feeling of his warm body over hers, the attraction between them entirely physical and entirely alcoholic, but no less pleasurable for it.
And to think she had only been complaining about him to her mother that morning. Strange how things worked out.
Faye had woken up a couple of times early in the morning, but upon realising how much her head hurt, resigned to sleep once more. Kane wasn’t quite so bad, and when he finally opened his eyes at ten he looked at the girl in front of him, her brown hair piled up on top of her head in a messy bun, freckles dotted along her smooth shoulder.
Huh. Well, that wasn’t the way he had expected the night to go.
He groaned and rubbed at his eyes, trying to move without jostling Faye too much. With his and Alicia’s previous relationship (in the loosest sense of the word) he had got used to the times spent in bed meaning nothing. He just hoped Faye knew that too.
She mumbled as he slid his arm out from underneath her head, pushing her face into the pillow and wiping off more make up onto the white sheet. He had meant a lot of what he said last night; there was something very attractive about her, more than just a pretty girl giving him the time of day. The pull, he supposed, was that she represented something about home. The good as well as the bad.
Kane shrugged to himself and gathered up his clothes, finding the overnight bag he’d left so that he could clean up after a shower and dash out before he had to face Faye and have the awkward morning-after chat. He just needed to get on with his day and forget about it, because no doubt she would be driving him up the wall by the time their shift started.
A/N: For those who aren’t familiar with the delights of Scottish football and its intertwined existence with religion, Celtics are supported by Catholics and Rangers by Protestants, They’re Old Firm and show a lot of the issues of sectarianism within Scotland, but particularly Glasgow. You might not want to wear the team colours in some parts of the city on match day.
Also, there’s the saying that you can add ‘ed’ onto almost any British noun and it can be used to say you’re drunk. Sozzled and Addled are words that actually exist though, even if my spellcheck didn’t want to accept it 😛
Finally, the pub was made by Someliersims on tumblr and Kane by Simphonious.