Serving the Billionaire

By: Bec Linder
Chapter 1


$73.81.

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