Chapter 14

“Again, we both really appreciate this,” Vince said, repeating his thanks for what Camille guessed was the fourth time.

“It’s no big deal. This address is only fifteen minutes from campus anyway,” she replied, trying to soothe him. The overflowing gratitude was likely due to jittery nerves. Vince might be able to face down a horde of angry Supers without so much as a twitch; however, social situations he was unfamiliar with still put him a bit on edge. In that regard, Camille could certainly relate.

She saw the street she was looking for and turned the wheel to the side. Kent Mears had gotten all of the Melbrook group interviews on the same day, no doubt assuming they would carpool. What he hadn’t realized was that sending Alice and Roy to one location, while Vince and Mary went to another, left the latter pair without transport. If not for Camille’s sedan, free time, and willingness to help, they would have been in quite a pickle.

“Did he tell you anything about the place?”

“Only that it was a restaurant,” Mary answered from the car’s back seat. “He said it was somewhere that my eyes and Vince’s hair wouldn’t stand out.”

Camille couldn’t picture many businesses where that was true. Though it was fashionable to emulate the strange physical characteristics some Supers, like Vince and Mary, were born with, it was still frowned upon in a professional setting. Much like nose rings or tattoos, there was definitely a crowd that appreciated them, however that crowd was rarely staffing the human resources department at major corporations. Mary would be able to get by if no one looked too closely at her eyes, however if Vince wanted a non-Hero career after college he was going to have to get used to the idea of shaving his head or wearing a lot of hats.

One last turn put them in a half filled parking lot with a sizable building in the center. The color scheme was garish, to say the least, and a large neon sign announced the establishment’s name proudly for all to see. Through the windows they could see a woman in a bright blue and yellow outfit showing a family of four into a booth, then setting down menus in front of them.

“Supper with Supers,” Vince said slowly, reading the words off the glowing sign and taking in the colorful business where he was scheduled to interview.

“Well, you guys definitely won’t stand out,” Camille said, trying to point out a silver lining. It was not terribly effective.

 *              *              *

“That is… not a whole lot of clothing,” Alice said, eyeing the uniform critically.

“No it is not,” Angela agreed. “Which is why it gets us such generous tips.”

Alice had been surprised to find Angela already working at the place where she was set to interview, but it made sense. There could only be so many businesses that had agreed to take in HCP students, so some overlap was unavoidable. Alice had been sitting by herself, since Roy was interviewing first, when the fellow blonde had recognized her and come over to chat. It seemed Angela genuinely enjoyed working here, and was adamant that Alice apply for a position as a fellow shot girl, a prospect she’d initially found appealing until she took in exactly what the uniform consisted of.

“Wouldn’t it be easier to start as a waitress?” Alice asked. “What do they wear?”

“Jeans and a low-cut top, though they can also go with shorts if they want. The plaid half-shirts are all us though. Makes sure the customers know they can buy booze right off us, not ask for more lemons or napkins or any of that bullcrap. Trust me, shot girl is much more fun than waitress. They have closing duties and cleaning and all that. Us? We are agents of alcohol delivery, nothing more. We flirt, we get guys to buy more rounds, and we take a few shots ourselves if the customers feel generous.”

“How often do they feel generous?”

“Often enough that I carry an empty beer bottle for spitting some shots into.”

“I think I saw that in a movie,” Alice recalled.

“It’s a trick that’s been around for ages. Trust me, you’ll want to carry an empty.” Angela paused and looked her fellow Super up and down critically. “Actually, with your chest and waist, you might want to carry two.”

Alice noticed the discussion had somehow maneuvered from whether or not she even wanted the job to what she should know before starting it. Some might have thought Angela was manipulating the conversation to lead her to a conclusion, but the truth was much simpler than that: Angela had already decided what the outcome would be, and the idea that she could be wrong hadn’t honestly occurred to her. Alice decided to steer the topic of conversation back to something that didn’t require her to walk around half naked.

“How can you keep this up senior year? I sort of assumed things would be…busier.” Discussing the HCP in public, even when they seemed alone, was always handled with careful words choices and vagueness.

“Oh it is, but you’ve got to make time for other things or you go nuts,” Angela replied. “Besides, I’m still top of the class, so graduation is looking imminent. My biggest worry is lining up an internship, and even that’s not too stressful thanks to some connections.”

“Internship?”

“Yeah. Blaine should have told you all about it back in freshman year.”

“I think he mentioned something, but never explained it.”

“Oh, well he’ll do that before the end of this year, don’t worry,” Angela assured her. “I can’t go too much into it right now, obviously, but you know how after doctors finish med school they still have to work under the supervision of more experienced doctors before they’re trusted on their own?”

“I actually didn’t know that,” Alice admitted.

“And now you do,” Angela said with a smile. “Anyway, same basic premise.”

There were an abundance of questions Alice wanted to ask, but she didn’t. Partially because this wasn’t a safe place to talk about HCP business more than they had, but more because at that moment the owner and Roy emerged from his office and he motioned for her to come over.

“Remember,” Angela encouraged as Alice walked across the bar, “You want to be a shot girl!”