Cassie had been on cloud nine since Cris made her Assistant Manager. However, she quickly realized she was totally unprepared for owning a bar and reality came crashing down around her. But she was eager to learn, and couldn’t thank him enough for taking her under his wing.
She had barely spent any time in his office before her promotion. Now, it was a second home for her both before, and sometimes after work.
She was there now, going over payroll, which was now her responsibility, when she heard voices and laughter coming from the next room. Curious, she looked up and saw Cris and another man through the one way mirror. They were walking towards his office and looked like they probably knew each other well.
Cris opened the door and they walked in. “Oh, sorry Cass,” he said, “I didn’t know you were in here.”
“I was just getting a head start on payroll,” she replied, and quickly jumped up feeling like she was intruding. “I’ll just get out of your way.”
She tried not to stare at the man with Cris. He was probably a little older, or maybe the same age as him, although she still didn’t know exactly how old Cris was. But he was just as much of a man as Cris and most definitely as hot. It figures, she thought, hot guys have hot friends.
“You must be Cass,” said the man, “I’m Walker Kerns. Nice to finally meet you.”
Cris talked to him about her? “Yes, I am. Hi Walker. Good to meet you too. If you two’ll just excuse me, I have some things to take care of downstairs.”
She made a move to leave, but Walker was blocking the doorway. He didn’t move, just looked amused at her discomfort as he checked her out. Finally, she motioned towards the door.
“Oh, pardon me,” he said innocently, and stepped aside just enough she could escape.
“Cass,” called out Cris, “we won’t be long. Why don’t you join us for a quick drink before the bar opens.”
“Okay,” she called over her shoulder. Holy hotness, she thought as she practically ran downstairs. Now she would be having drinks with two hot guys and she couldn’t have either of them.
The ‘overgrown boys’ were beginning to get boring. She was ready for a man. God, she was such a slut. She needed to put those thoughts out of her head yesterday. Cris wasn’t interested, and no way she was going to try to seduce his friend.
Regardless, she found herself in the restroom freshening up. Of course Cris had friends and a life outside the Blue Velvet. Maybe she should start going to gym and meet someone there. She wasn’t going to spy on Cris. Nope that wasn’t why. Not at all.
When she walked out of the bathroom, they were already at the bar. “Ah there you are,” said Cris, “I thought you ran off. What’ll you have?”
“Just water,” she said and dried her sweaty palms on her pants.
“With lemon? Right?” She just nodded, surprised he noticed how she liked it. She wondered what else he noticed about her, other than the ‘overgrown boys’ she took home.
“Let’s get a table,” said Cris. “It’ll be more comfortable.”
Once they were seated Cris and Walker continued their conversation from earlier. “You are welcome to crash at my apartment while you wait for the phone call,” said Cris.
“Where are you from Walker?” ventured Cassie. Maybe she could find out more about Cris through his friend.
“Cris and I grew up together. I still live back home in Brindleton Bay. I’m looking to relocate here, if this job offer works out. I countered, so we’ll see.”
“You countered?” she asked, curious as to what he meant exactly.
He laughed. “Of course. First rule in salary negation – counter. Never take the first offer.”
She rolled her eyes at Cris. “So … you played me? Maybe I need a raise.” Then she looked at Walker. “Is there a percentage or something that you should go over when doing this countering?”
Cris actually looked embarrassed when his friend burst out laughing.
“No,” barked Cris, “that’s enough. Cass, we can talk about this in private. It’s none of his damn business.”
Walker put his hand over his heart. “I’m wounded.” Apparently, he was enjoying getting under Cris’ skin as much as she was.
Serves Cris right, thought Cassie. He just expected she’d not question anything. Of course she didn’t. She didn’t even ask for a raise and he gave her one. Still. “Just the same,” she said, looking at Walker, “I’d like to know how to negotiate. For example, what if the D.J. wants more money ? What then?”
“You let me deal with it,” growled Cris. She’d definitely hit a nerve.
“Control issues much my friend?” asked Walker, clearly enjoying himself.
“You want a place to crash or not?” spat out Cris.
“Okay,” he said and held up his hands, “truce.”
Cassie needed to change the subject. She felt kinda bad for goading Cris. “Guess who has a date?” she challenged.
“You?” he guessed, and gave her the side eye. “No one night stand? An actual date?”
“Whoa Cris!” said Walker. “That was low.”
Cassie was liking Walker more and more. But he didn’t do things to her insides like Cris did, even though he was very good looking. “Thanks Walker,” she said, then directed her attention to Cris. “And no, ‘mister-flirts-with-every-woman-that walks-in’, not me. My cousin does. And tomorrow night, he’s bringing her here, along with some of his other friends from San Myshuno. So you need to be on your best behavior and don’t flirt with her like you did the last time she was here.”
Cris looked at her for a beat, before responding. “We should reserve the alcove for them so they can hang out together. Make them feel special. And you already know why I flirt. We’ve had that discussion, Miss Assistant Manager. At least I don’t take them all home.”
“No, you just take them upstairs to your office. And don’t pretend like I don’t know that you do.”
Cris’s face got red. “I have needs,” he said quietly, “it means nothing. And anyway, I haven’t done that in awhile.”
Walker cleared his throat extra loud. “Alrighty then. Now that that’s all settled, I think it’s opening time. There are people standing at the door.”
“Damn, I’ll get it,” mumbled Cassie and ran to unlock the door. The after work crowd started pouring in, heading straight to the bar.
Cassie quickly began serving up drinks. She noticed Cris and Walker were still sitting at the table in a heated discussion. She’d die to know what they were talking about.
A few minutes later, Cris stomped off up the stairs, leaving his friend behind. Walker stopped at the bar and whispered to Cassie. “Don’t be too hard on him. He likes you. I promise. He even gave me the key to his house, so we’re both good. I could be persuaded to make you a copy. Just in case … you know … you want to go short sheet his bed or put sugar in the salt shaker.”
Cassie laughed in spite of how bad she felt for Cris. “No, that’s okay, I like my job and would prefer to keep it. But, really, is he alright? I didn’t mean to pick a fight with him.”
“Yeah. He just needs to cool off. He’ll be down in a few. See you tomorrow Cass.” He turned to leave and stopped. “By the way, fifty percent.”
Fifty percent? she wondered and then laughed when in the next instant she realized what he meant. “Thanks,” she called over her shoulder. “You’re coming back tomorrow?”
“I wouldn’t miss it. Besides, it’s Saturday night. The pickings should be good.”
Cassie rolled her eyes and laughed to herself. Yep. She really did like Walker. And he liked to push Cris’ buttons. Maybe that made her like him even more. And she had no doubt they’d probably give him fifty percent more than they offered.
The next evening …..
Tyler arrived early. He wanted to be sure he was there before his friends. He down sat at the bar next to another guy nursing a beer while talking to Cassie. She quickly introduced them.
Tyler was relieved to learn he was Cris’ friend and not her latest conquest. Even so, Walker Kern intimidated him a little. He was obviously older and ‘experienced’. Something Tyler was sorely lacking.
“Cassie, be nice to Veronica tonight,” warned Tyler, “and please don’t hit on her boyfriend again.”
“Wait,” said Walker before Cassie could reply, “You hit on someone’s boyfriend?”
“Yes,” said Tyler, ” Right in front of her.”
“Geez Cass,” said Walker, “that takes balls, even I wouldn’t do that. This I gotta hear.”
“It was payback Walker,” said Cassie, “You wouldn’t understand. Besides, we’ve made up and now, we’re friends.” The last part was directed to Tyler.
“What do you mean you made up?” asked Tyler, confused.
“It started the night your sister was here and you were making out with Keira in the dance floor.”
“I wasn’t making out with her. She kissed me.”
“Same. Anyway, we had a little chat about Andreas. She didn’t … you know … with him. That’s probably why he dumped her. Anyway, I decided she still needed a lesson in what it felt like. I apologized to her when we left the restaurant.”
“Mark’s an ass,” grumbled Tyler.
“Really?” asked Cassie, “Why do you say that?”
“First, he flirted back with you at the restaurant, and secondly, he just seems – controlling.”
“Hmph. Maybe Veronica has a type. We didn’t discuss Mark or that she was even seeing anyone. Maybe I’ll ask her about him tonight.”
Walker leaned back in his seat and grinned. “I’m just going to enjoy the show from here. It sounds like it’ll be good. Cass can give me the play-by-play.”
Tyler groaned internally and took a drink. He felt like such a dweeb in front of Walker. It was embarrassing that Veronica and Mark we’re bringing Keira and they were all meeting here. At least there would be no condom problems since there would be no place to have sex. Just in case, he was ‘prepared’, with a couple of condoms tucked in his wallet.
“Samson is coming too,” Tyler told Cassie. “Just an FYI.” He couldn’t hardly leave him out. He and Blake were his best friends, and he knew they’d talk. Since Samson and Lyric started dating, it had been weird to hang out. He was a third wheel. But now that he was dating Keira, they could do things together. Wait? He was dating Keira? Damn, that’s exactly what he was doing. He didn’t have a date with her, he was dating her.
“Blake and Barb just got here,” said Cassie, shaking him out of his thoughts. He turned to look for them. It was weird seeing Blake outside of his apartment. He simply didn’t go out much. Tyler thought he was probably a lot like Blake, and wondered why any girl would want to be with someone like him. Specifically someone like Keira or Veronica, who seemed to be very social. Not that he was antisocial exactly, he just tended to ramble. But then, Blake had found Barb. And she was super social. So maybe all wasn’t lost for him. Besides, Keira really did seem to like him. That last thought cheered him up. He knew he would feel better once she arrived.
Blake saw him and waved. “Hi kid! Nice place,” he said and walked over to him.
Tyler felt his face turn red, especially with Walker sitting right there. He got up and turned to greet his friend and shook his hand. “Thanks for coming. And when are you gonna stop calling me kid?”
“Don’t know ‘Slayer’, maybe when you get ….”
“Dark!” interrupted Barb, “Stop messing with him. You’re terrible.”
Cassie walked over to them, saving Tyler from further embarrassment. “Welcome,” she said, “It’s good to see you guys again. I hope little Bryce is doing well. Cris reserved a spot for your party. It’s in the alcove just behind you. If you want I can get you a drink now and you can take it over. Or you can get settled and I will send Jenna over. She will be your waitress when everyone gets here.”
A/N: This chapter was originally going to be the whole night. However, it was taking me forever to get it posted due to family visiting last week, all through the weekend. So I split my notoriously long chapters into two. I wanted to get something out AND introduce a new addition to the New Beginnings cast of characters. I promise, things will start heating up with the rest of the night. I don’t think Walker will be disappointed in the show. 😈
Meet Walker Kern 💖 submitted by Pammiechick!