BRIDGEPORT! The big city! My first apartment! My first job! My first mugging too, not that I ever told Dad. It happened the day after Sam and I arrived and I guess we stuck out like a sore thumb cause some dude came up, flashed the gun stuck in his waistband, and told us to hand over all our money. We didn’t have much but he was satisfied with what we gave him and he walked off. Sam and I went to the police about it but they took one look at Sam’s ears and said they would ‘do their best’ and then shooed us out of the station. We didn’t hear back from them.
Still. We had so much fun and explored as much as the city as we could. We even went out to a club on Saturday night and awkwardly sipped at some mixed drinks and sat at a table watching everyone else had fun. Some girl crooked her finger at me and eventually I went over (Sam made me) and we danced. I had another drink, a third, and then began really enjoying myself. She invited me back to her place I wasn’t ready for that, especially not as drunk (a couple more drinks!) as I felt. Sam was a bit more sober than I and somehow got me back to our apartment without any incidents.
“You get really annoying as a drunk,” Sam said in the morning while I groaned about my hangover. “You told me I was your ‘besht’ friend and then giggled for like, twenty minutes as you tried to say ‘best’ while patting my face.”
“Stop screaming, please.”
He threw a wet cloth over then brought over a cup of coffee. “Look on the bright side, you’re not an asshole when you’re drunk.”
On Monday we took the subway to Lucy’s Wedding Dreams to start our new job. Piotr waited for us at the front desk, smiling as we walked in. He took us to get our IDs then gave us a quick tour. Most the rooms were soft and feminine, full of lace and flowers. His office even had touches of the female (as well as a photo of our father displayed quite prominently) and his mother’s office was straight out of a wedding spread.
“Watcher, you remind me of your father,” Ms. Rutkowski said as we stood in her office. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Piotr looked a bit pissed off.
“Thank you, ma’am.” I tried not to fidget too much. “I think my dad had some awesome genes, each of us kids are echoes of him in our own way.”
Ms. Rutkowski’s eyes flickered for a second then she smiled. “Of course. I see him whenever I look into Piotr’s face too.” She looked over at her son and beamed. “Especially that handsome nose!” I nearly choked and honestly had no idea how I managed not to fall over laughing. “Anyway, you two need to get started on your jobs. However expect to go out for lunch! My treat, the four of us.”
“Thank you, ma’am!” we chorused before Piotr took us down to the small room where Sam and I would be working. Two desks, two chairs, two computers, and lots of filing cabinets. We’d be doing a lot of transcribing from paper to computer, running files, etc, etc. Piotr spent the morning showing us how to use the programs on the computer, giving us the passwords, all that fun stuff. We finished up at 11:20 but Piotr decided we should go to an early lunch. We went downstairs and waited in the front room for his mother. He spent the time greeting women who came in and schmoozing. Sam and I sat quietly feeling a bit awkward with all the fanciness.
Ms. Rutkowski appeared and after schmoozing a bit herself, she guided us out of the building and to the awaiting limo. Holy crap! I thought as I slid into the limo. Sam looked as excited as I felt. Ms. Rutkowski got on her phone immediately while Piotr talked to us about some of the things his job entailed. Mostly… well, schmoozing.
“And flirting,” Ms. Rutkowski said after covering the phone with her hand.
Piotr rolled his eyes. “It helps, Mother.”
Ms. Rutkowski took us to one of the nicest restaurants in town. “One day I’ll have to treat you to the Crystal Shrimp.” She was referring to not only the best restaurant in the town but pretty much one of the highest rated restaurants in the country. Rumor had it the cheapest item on the menu still cost a hundred simoleons, and the waiting list went on till the next year.
After lunch (Sam and I ordered one of the most inexpensive items off that menu) we returned to LWD and Sam and I got to work. Piotr gave us some files and we spent quite some time making up new files on the computer and typing in the info. At about 2:30 the phone rang and Sam needed to take a folder up to Ms. Rutkowski. We had decided that Sam would be the runner in case I fell down in the hallway in front of a bride-to-be and screamed about rape. That wouldn’t be good for business.
Before he got back the phone rang again. Piotr needed a file. I sent Sam when he returned and the rest of the afternoon went mostly like that, Sam rushing around the building while I typed furiously. Finally our day ended and Piotr took us home.
“How did you enjoy the day?” he asked, coming up into the apartment with us for some drinks. Non-alcoholic.
“I really liked it!” Sam said immediately. “It’s going to be difficult being stuck inside a building all day, but everyone seemed really nice towards me.” As in, no one gave him crap for being an elf.
Piotr’s eyes crinkled. “Good! I am so pleased to hear that! How about you?”
“Oh, good. A lot of typing,” I laughed. “But it’s not too bad especially for the wages we’re getting.” I hoped that wasn’t the wrong thing to say. We were getting 27 simoleons an hour which seemed a bit high.
Piotr raised his eyebrows. “You’re getting the regular wage anyone else at your level gets. Bridgeport pays a bit more than Storybrook would, if that is what you’re comparing it to.”
Ohhhh. “That makes sense!” I also felt a bit better. I had felt a bit weird at the idea of Piotr paying us more because I was his brother.
“Tomorrow is going to be a lot busier, we’ve got a lot of clients coming in.”
Piotr wasn’t lying. Tuesday was insane! Sam was out of the office most the time while I was constantly on the phone adding things to files, relaying information via phone, and making sure Sam had the right folders when he ran back in.
“Apollo, put in an order to Blander Muffin company for new samples,” someone said over the phone to me.
HOW DO I DO THAT?! WHY ME?! I spent about fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to do that when I gave up and called Piotr. He guided me through the process over the phone (sounding a bit annoyed the entire time) and of course during that time I kept taking other calls and putting folders out for Sam.
“Someone needs to go get the fabric swatches from Lady In White. Now!”
“I’ll send Sam as soon as he–“
I did a quick search in the database to find that Lady In White was a bridal store on the other side of town. This isn’t part of the job Piotr explained to me, I thought miserably as I ran out of the office to hunt Sam down. We nearly ran into each other on the stairs and I just turned him around and pushed him back down. “Lady In White! Swatches! Now!” I shouted before dashing back to the office. I texted him the directions as I slid back in the chair. The phone rang so I had to text while crooking my neck, reassuring one of my many bosses that the swatches were on their way. I then texted Sam where the swatches needed to go, answering the phone again while I did so.
No Sam meant I had to do the running. How did Sam do it? I was out of breath after two trips, the second of which involved going down the street. I hadn’t expected all this. Lucy’s Wedding Dreams had a lot more too it than I ever expected. Including a magazine which I had to print off copies of the next issue’s sample and deliver it to Ms. Rutkowski.
“You all right?” she asked, noticing how heavily I breathed when I put the paper down,
“F–fine, ma’am,” I assured her and quickly left to return to my office to find three messages on the machine, two of which were about the swatches.
on my way back, Sam texted as I phoned Mrs. Connerly.
“Yes ma’am, he’s on his way back now, he’ll be here soon.”
The end of the day couldn’t come quicker and Sam and I sank into our subway seats, exhausted. We ordered a pizza for dinner and chilled out in front of the TV. The excitement from the night before had definitely faded.
Wednesday went a bit slower. Still hectic but not quite as bad. Thursday was bad, and Friday was even worse. We were both practically ready to quit–me especially after Mrs. Connerly screamed at me for ten minutes straight for a paper delivery that included a bunch of typos. I kept promising her the fixed version would be there asap, trying not to cry as I retyped the paper up and shoving it into Sam’s hands before he even got completely through the door.
“No wonder there were job openings,” I grumbled when we got home that night. Sam just groaned in agreement as he collapsed onto the couch.
We didn’t go out that weekend at all we just stayed in our apartment most the time, except for a short excursion to one of the parks for some fresh air. Our second week went pretty much like the first and our third week was somehow worse. Then again it didn’t help I got a vision on one of the busiest afternoons and by the time I came to in the empty office there were about eleven messages and the phone was ringing and Mrs. Connerly screamed obscenities at me for ‘slacking’. We both considered seriously quitting but then the next day we got a new member of the team, a young girl who joined us in our little filing office and eased the workload a lot. She helped with the running and after just the first day with her Sam and I knew we’d be able to do it.
“I am so sorry about that,” Piotr said when I confessed to him. “We normally do have three employees there but we had some difficulty finding someone to–er, work there.”
“Because of me and Sam?” I asked bluntly.
Piotr flushed slightly. “To be perfectly honest, yes. We let potential candidates know they’d be working with an elf and a psychic who occasionally blurted out visions, and it took us quite some time to find someone who would be willing.”
“What happened to all the workers there before?” Sam inquired.
Piotr flushed even more. “One got married over the spring, one was arrested for trying to poach clients for another business, and the third quit when she was informed the two new employees would be supernaturals.”
“I–I didn’t realize our joining would cause so much trouble.”
“Hey, it is fine. Mother prefers open-minded employees,” Piotr reassured me with a smile.
Sam scratched his head. “So, what did you do between that one quitting and us joining?”
Piotr shook his head. “You saw the mess in the filing room. We barely got along for the two weeks between the last one quitting and you two joining. We did have a couple temporary workers but they did not stay because of the stress.”
With Marie-Anne around and the work not as insane Sam and I were able to actually do things on the weekend now. Our paychecks mostly went towards rent and food but we occasionally went to the fusion lounge for dancing and drinks. We went to the parks more often. Sam didn’t mind Bridgeport, really, but I knew he wanted to go somewhere more open. I didn’t blame him. I wanted to go back to Storybrook as soon as I could. We probably could just move back and try to find jobs there, but we both agreed that staying in Bridgeport for the time being would be best–it was an adventure for us.
“Though even I’m feeling the running around,” Sam groaned one day in late August as he massaged his legs. “I’m thinking about saving up for a motorcycle, to get around the city easier when they send me out. Plus then we can go to work that way and not on a bus.”
“So if we’re both on it, you’ll let me help pay for it?” I asked and Sam scowled. “Hey, it only sounds fair!”
“You can help pay for gas if you really want.”
For the next couple weeks Sam put a little bit of money aside for the motorcycle he wanted, one he and Reeny conversed about to decide which would be best. It cost quite a bit but Sam didn’t like any of the cheaper options. So it would take him a while to afford it. I put some money aside too, and occasionally slipped a few simoleons into his jar when he wasn’t looking.
“I never would have pegged you as someone who likes motorcycles!” Marie-Anne said one day while we were talking about vehicles during a lull. “You like’em too?”
“Eh, not really. I’m not too big on driving, cause of my visions.”
Her hand flew to her mouth. “I never would have thought about that!”
She had already experienced one of my visions. Sam was out of the office while Marie-Anne and I were typing things up when I found myself in the forest, in the rain. My future-self yelled at the black-haired man, while the scar-faced woman watched from a distant. I began running forward, trying to see if I could figure out who the black-haired man was. But fighting through the rain and mud was too much effort, and my future-self climbed the fence. Lighting struck and I jerked awake in the office, Marie-Anne staring at me in horror.
“I used to think I’d be really limited but having this job has helped me realize I’m not as limited as I thought I’d be,” I said, something I had told my dad not too long ago.
That evening I waited down in the lounge area, since Sam was still out on a run for something. I relaxed on one of the sofas and rifled through the latest issue of Wedding Dreams Monthly, Ms. Rutkowski’s magazine. Some ladies came out of the elevator, all dressed very nicely. Most of them walked out of the building but one of them hesitated, watching me. Obviously watching me.
“Hello,” she said as she came over, perching on the couch next to me. “Didn’t I see you at the White Rabbit last night?”
I tried not to snort. “No, I usually don’t go out when I have to work the next day. And I’ve never been to the White Rabbit. It must have been someone else.”
“Oh… do you work here?”
Her eyes lit up. “It must be so amazing! My name is Felicia.” She offered her hand and I carefully shook it. After I introduced myself she said, “So, do you work tomorrow?”
“Uh, no. I have Saturdays off.”
I already knew what she’d say next and sure enough, “What are you doing tonight?”
She leaned forward, a seductive smile reminiscent Kiley playing across her lips. “I’m in town for the weekend, to prepare for my friend’s wedding. I’ve got nothing to do this evening and was hoping to have some fun. Would you like to join me?”
“I, er, uh, thanks but I can’t really afford to go out on the town.”
She just smiled even more. “That’s all right. I’m asking, so I’ll pay.”
I nearly dropped the magazine at that. “Uh. I don’t–we don’t even know each other.”
“I know that you’re hot.”
Kiley’s words floated into my head. Sexy and single. “I don’t know…”
“I know the owners of the Crystal Shrimp. You know, one of the most famous restaurants in the country? I can get us in.”
Now I laughed. “In such short notice?”
“The waiting list is only for regular people. I know the owners.” She reached over and rested a hand on my leg. “Crystal Shrimp. I’m paying. Come on, you’ve got to say yes. It has an exclusive club, too. You’ll love it.” When I didn’t say anything she sighed. “Look, I know it sounds desperate it’s just… I got divorced recently and I just… haven’t had any fun for a while and I decided I’d have a great time tonight. I saw you, you’re hot, and figured I might as well ask. It’s fine.”
“Uh– Felicia?” I asked as she stood up. “You know, why not? Let me know when and where to meet up.” Okay, so the thought of actually seeing the inside of the Crystal Shrimp tempted me more than anything else.
Our date went really well. I borrowed one of Piotr’s suits to dress to the nines. He was my height and we has similar builds so his suit fit me fine. Felicia and I met outside one of the parks near the Crystal Shrimp and we walked there, her expensive-looking high heels clacking against the pavement. She gave her name at the door and we were let inside. It was incredible in there. The artwork alone probably cost millions of simoleons. And the menu was written in what Felicia assured me was real gold ink. The cheapest thing on the menu, besides the drinks, was a small salad appetizer for fifty simoleons. Felicia begged me to order anything and when I still wasn’t sure she ordered for me. I had a freaking five hundred simoleon steak dinner. If I didn’t have any rent or bills or groceries it would still take me over two days just to pay for the steak dinner, which didn’t include the appetizer, wine (holy shit that was expensive), and dessert. All in all our dinners and wine bottle combined totaled over two thousand.
Afterwards we went up to the club and danced and drank for hours. When it got too late I got her into a cab to get her to her hotel and kissed her goodnight. She tugged me into the cab, begging me to come back with her.
I slid into the cab next to her and we sucked face the entire way to her hotel. The door to her room barely shut before we were pulling each other’s clothes off. I knew what she wanted and I wanted it too. With one thing, first.
We fell naked into her bed and I made sure she definitely had a good time. I wound up staying the night with her and the next day when we got up she asked me to go on another date with her that night. A date that I had no idea would change my life.