Read Online Serving the Billionaire by Bec Linder Free
That was the number staring back at me from the screen. Less than seventy-five bucks to my name, no job, and rent was due next week.
Shit. I decided to log out of my bank account and log back in, just to make sure there wasn’t some hiccup in the system.
No dice. $73.81.
I had a job, up until two weeks earlier. A pretty good one. Then my boss copped a feel in the break room, I told him off, and he fired me on the spot. I spent the next two weeks applying to every job opening I could find, but nobody called me back. Not even one interview. Even the coffee shop around the corner wouldn’t hire me; I was “overqualified.”
New York is glamorous and exciting until you’re unemployed, broke, and desperate. Then it seems like the worst city in the world.
This wasn’t how I imagined my life turning out.
I closed my laptop and considered my options. My credit cards were maxed out, and all of my friends were just as broke as I was. I hadn’t spoken to my mother in six years, since I graduated from high school and left the West Coast for good. I hadn’t spoken to my father in longer than that. There were no eccentric great-aunts who would die and leave me an unexpected fortune. I was basically at the end of the line.
Either you’re born lucky or you aren’t. I wasn’t, and my life had been a long series of sad mistakes and unfortunate coincidences, culminating in that moment at my laptop, when I realized I was a week away from losing everything I’d worked so hard to earn.
Well. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I needed some greasy bodega food. So what if I couldn’t afford it? I couldn’t afford anything, and I still had to eat. One could only survive on ramen for so long.
I put on my coat and walked to the bodega on the corner. November had arrived crisp and cold, and my ears felt numb by the time I arrived. The bell to the door jingled as I went inside.
The guy at the sandwich counter spotted me and waved. “Miss Regan! The usual?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Thanks.” Maybe I should have been embarrassed that the bodega guy knew my order by heart, but I wasn’t. There can be no shame when it comes to sandwiches.
While he made my sandwich, I looked at the fliers posted along the side of the counter. One of them caught my eye: “Cocktail Waitress Wanted, Experience Necessary.” There was no address, just a phone number. I ripped off one of the hanging tabs. I didn’t know anything about either cocktails or waitressing, but I would lie if I had to. Honesty was a lot less important to me than being able to pay my rent.
I paid for my sandwich and went back to my apartment. It was a crummy one-room sixth-floor walk-up in a terrible part of Brooklyn, but it was mine. I didn’t have to share it with anyone. If I had to move, or get a roommate, that would mean admitting defeat. I hadn’t let life defeat me yet, and I refused to roll over belly-up without a good fight.
It was 3:00—not too late to call about the waitressing job. I dialed the number.
Someone picked up on the first ring. “Silver Cross Men’s Club,” said a pleasant female voice.
Men’s club? Wasn’t that a euphemism for a strip club? Not that I was really in a position to be picky. “I’m calling about the cocktail waitress job opening,” I said.
“We’re holding auditions on Tuesday morning,” the woman said. “Come at 11. I’ll give you the address.”
I wrote it down. It sounded like the place was in the Meatpacking District, which seemed a little strange for a strip club. “Do I need to bring anything? A resume, or—”
“No, just come dressed appropriately,” she said. “Silver Cross is an upscale establishment. I’m sure I don’t need to explain.”
“No,” I agreed, even though I didn’t have a clue what she meant. What was appropriate attire for a cocktail waitress? I had some vague idea that it involved black miniskirts and high heels.
“Excellent,” she said. “We’ll see you in two days.” She hung up the phone.
I went to my computer and looked up the address she’d given me. It definitely was in the Meatpacking District, close to the waterfront. Then I ran a search for “cocktail waitress outfit.”
There were pages and pages of images of girls all dolled up and looking like a million bucks, wearing short skirts, low-cut blouses, and sky-high platform heels. I didn’t have any of that stuff. I barely even knew how to apply eyeliner.
Panic gripped me. I needed this job. I texted my best friend, Sadie: can u loan me cocktail waitress clothes?
She texted back a few minutes later. girl u need help, b over in 30 min
Thank God. I scrambled to clean up a little: toss my vibrator in the nightstand, wash a few dishes, scrape the moldy Chinese food into the garbage. Not that Sadie would judge me, but I didn’t want her to see the squalor I’d been living in recently. She would worry.
By the time the door buzzed, I had managed to get things more or less in order. My building wasn’t classy enough to have an actual intercom, so I ran down the six flights of stairs to let Sadie in.
She was standing in the vestibule, holding a huge duffel bag full of who knew what. I opened the door and she came inside along with a blast of cold air. “God, it’s freezing out there,” she said.
“It’s the worst,” I said. “Thanks for coming. I’m freaking out.”
I told her about the job interview as we climbed the stairs to my apartment. “So I guess I have to dress up, but I don’t really know what to wear,” I said. “But I have to get this job, Sadie.”
“I know, baby girl,” she said, pushing open the door to my apartment. She dropped her bag on the bed and turned to look at me, hands on her hips. “Cocktail waitressing, huh? Let’s do some research. If this place is in the Meatpacking District, I’m not sure the hoochie look is going to fly.”
I sat on the sofa and gratefully let Sadie take over. She always knew exactly what to do in any situation, whereas I usually felt helpless and confused. It was probably why we were such good friends: she was the leader, and I happily followed along behind.
She hunched over my laptop and clicked around for a few minutes. “Okay,” she said. “This is a classy joint. You really didn’t even look it up? This is, like, where the Wall Street guys go to cut loose. You need to look sophisticated as fuck.”
“How do I do that?” I asked. I usually wore jeans and a t-shirt when I wasn’t at work, and when I was at work I could get away with black pants and a cardigan. “Sophisticated” was as far out of my reach as Mars.