Page 15

It was time to go home . . . After all, that's where my heart was.
Chapter 4
"Why is the cooler open?"
I was more irritated than I needed to be, but that was because Keelyn's plane had landed over two hours ago and I had no idea if she had gotten on the flight out of Denver or not. My typical indifference had fled and I felt like all my nerves were strung too tight, and like angry bees colored with anxiety and anticipation were buzzing underneath my skin.
I went to slam the heavy door to the walk-in cooler but paused when I noticed a bunch of boxes on the floor. Since I'd pushed to get the club open by the end of the week after letting it sit stagnant for half a year, everyone was rushing around to get the gorgeous monster ready. That meant a flood of bartenders, cocktail servers, barbacks, security, dancers, and the men and women that were hired for the real purpose of the club were all running around trying to primp and polish before I threw the doors open. People were just as eager to sell sex and debauchery as they were to buy it, but even in all of the haste I didn't tolerate sloppy work. The boxes on the floor of the cooler held bottles of champagne that, combined, cost more than most midsize cars. There was a small fortune sitting carelessly on the floor of the cooler, and it was enough, in my already tense state, to make me blow a gasket.
The fact that it was on the floor where anyone could trip over it or could set something heavy on it was just unacceptable. So was the fact that the cooler was wide open, letting the temperature drop on the hundreds and thousands of dollars of product stored inside. I muttered a few ugly words in my first language and made my way inside the big metal room to sort the mess out myself. I had run security checks and done intensive digging into the backgrounds of everyone I hired to work at the club. No amount of research on a person could tell me if they had a quality work ethic, though. That was the problem with an operation this big. I had to bring so many strangers on board to help keep the business going, and all I had to keep them in line was my reputation and their knowledge that I didn't tolerate anything but perfection. The champagne on the floor didn't give me high hopes that I was off to a great start with my new lot of employees.
I shivered a little bit as the cold from the cooler snaked down the back of my collar and touched my neck. I hefted the first box up and moved it to its correct place on the wire shelving that stored all the booze and beer that was supposed to be served cold. I was still swearing in Arabic when I turned to get the second box off the floor. I had to rub my hands together for a second because of the chill. When I stopped I heard a noise. Frowning, I put my hands down and looked around the cooler. It was just a big metal square divided into rows by miles of metal and wire shelving stocked full of bottles and cases of liquor. Feeling like an idiot for being jumpy, I picked up the case and was about to muscle it into place when Chuck appeared at the doorway I left open.
"Hey, boss, you have a visitor upstairs."
I lifted an eyebrow at him. "In my office?"
Since we were closed and the employees all had specific tasks they were supposed to be attending to, I knew it could only be one person, and my heart lurched at the thought.
"Yep. I told her you were busy but she said she would wait ." Chuck grinned. He had known Keelyn for as long as I had, and most of the time he treated her like she was his unruly daughter rather than my downfall. He liked to push her buttons and she always pushed back.
"Let me put the rest of this away and I'll head up. I want to know who left it on the floor."
I moved to the shelf to set the case down, and just as I let go of the box I heard another noise. The earsplitting sound of metal scraping across concrete and the sound of expensive glass shattering as it rattled against itself and rolled onto the ground as the entire row started to tip on its side toward me. At first I was dumbfounded, so I stood there numbly until the first beer bottle cracked open and got my very expensive shoes wet right at the same moment Chuck barked my name.
I might've hated my earlier life, but there was no denying that the training I received and the survival instincts that were woven into my every thought and movement still served me well. I took a flying leap toward the door just as the entire section of shelving hit the floor. My feet barely cleared the heavy rack as I landed with a grunt and scrambled upright in order to avoid drowning in the very costly river of booze that was rushing toward me.
"Jesus, boss. That was close."
I dusted off my pants and scowled when I noticed a black smear that ran across the front of my shirt that wouldn't wipe away. My palms were stinging from the impact and appeared to be torn open and raw in spots. I knew I was going to have bruises on my knees.
"This is unacceptable, Chuck. Find out who installed the racks. Find out who left the champagne on the floor and left the door open. I want to talk to both of them." And by "talk," I meant intimidate and make them understand this kind of shoddy work was unacceptable on my watch. The punishment for such laziness wasn't going to be a simple slap on the wrist.
Chuck rubbed a hand over his bald head and gave me an odd look. "I was here when they installed the rack, Nassir. They did it right. I made sure of it. The bottles shouldn't have fallen over like that. Not unless they were pushed or messed with."
I shook my throbbing hands out. "Well, no one was in the cooler but me, and no one else is in there now." It wasn't like there was anywhere to hide in the square room. "I'm going upstairs. Have the barbacks clean up this mess and make sure they understand what happens when things are not done properly. Someone needs to pay for all this lost product."
Logically, I knew I was the only person that could afford to cover the loss, but it was the principle.
"Glad you're okay."
I grunted a response and made my way to the private elevator I had had installed that led up to my office. I punched in the code and flexed my fingers. I needed to get my adrenaline in check before I came face-to-face with her. It wouldn't do me any good to rush at her, throw her on the ground, and climb all over her like I wanted to do. She was back, but I didn't know for how long, and my goal was to make her stay forever, so I needed to make sure I moved with poise and caution. It was the only outcome I was okay with. She couldn't leave again. I felt like I was missing the very thing I lived for with her halfway across the country. I needed her in my life; otherwise everything I did and everything I was had no meaning.

Back to Table of content

Copyright © novelfull thefreeonlinenovel.com All Rights Reserved.