"Yes, I fucking know my age, Hanji.”
Round and around in circles she went with the eclectic ponytail woman. It was the same routine every single time: show up, be denied, and go home. Hanji could see Callie Anne coming from a mile away now that she was a regular, if a ‘regular’ was a person here pretty much weekly making futile attempts to get inside a swanky nightclub.
"Ooh, someone’s got a mouth on her!" Hanji let out a hearty laugh, the kind where she threw her head back. The corner of Callie Anne’s mouth twitched with a bit of amusement and annoyance. "I can see why he’s got an interest in you: you’ve got a spark!"
"Hanj, I don’t want to get in so I can down a bunch of booze, you know why I’m always here, right?”
The woman in glasses waved her hand dismissively in the air. “Of course. You two just can’t stay away from each other, can you?” She giggled under her breath, satisfied with her teasing.
Most of what she heard from Hanji was lively rambling, but that last statement got her heart racing a little too quickly. “I’m finally 18 now, my birthday was a few days ago, and I can prove it if you need my I.D. Can I please just go in for five minutes?”
Hanji flashed that Chesire grin teeming with unexplained excitement. She tapped the blonde on the tip of her nose, causing a wrinkled reaction. “Aren’t you just the most precious thing? Terribly sorry, my dearest. 21 is the magic number!”
"What? Hanji, you told me 18 like a couple weeks ago."
"Did I say that?" A quirked finger found its way onto her chin as her eyes scanned upwards in an attempt to formulate some kind of memory of the accusation. "Nnnnope, can’t remember ever telling you that. Unless your birthday let you skip from 17 to 21, you are a no go, missy!" The thick black rope draping across the entry clinked shut on the metal hoop.
Callie Anne ran her fingers through her short, now bleach blonde hair. “Okay, okay. Just…let him know I’m here. I think his shift is almost up, and we’ve got some plans tonight.”
The brunette winked dramatically, almost with the entire side of her right face. “Can do. I’ll inform the man of the hour!” Turning on her heel, she stepped over the rope, singing some made-up melody that was terribly off key. “Love is in the air tonight!!”
“We’re not dating!” she exclaimed back into the dark hole. The statement would have been intimidating if it weren’t for the streak of pink color creeping across her face and the frustrated smile.
But it was true. They weren’t dating. Intimate contact hadn’t even happened (mostly because he didn’t seem like the touchy-feely flirty type and she was downright terrified to pull any moves). Just a few so-called dates here and there and that was it. She wasn’t even sure how they felt for each other, and there was almost nothing between her and Levi.
”That’s about as dry as a martini can get, sweetheart,” Levi muttered, exasperated as he handed a tall glass to a redhead across the bar from him. She frowned and slapped a few dollars on the table.
”You can never make ‘em right, Levi.” She said, though the manner in which she gulped down the drink made Levi think otherwise. He’d put three green olives in the glass, and they disappeared down her throat right along with the clear liquid. The raven-haired man shook his head.
"Can’t make them right my ass," he said, taking a freshly-washed glass from the sink and beginning to polish it with the cloth he held in his hands. "I’m the bartender for one of the most famous clubs in New York and you’re accusing me of being unable to make a vodka martini. I’m disappointed, Isabelle."
She slammed the glass down against the bar so hard that even Levi was surprised that it didn’t shatter right there. Isabelle tried to act angry, but her grin gave her away, and she pushed the empty glass over to him. “Yeah, alright! Whatever, Levi. I don’t drink that sissy shit anyway; gimme some tequila!”
Levi took the glass from her and dropped it into the sink beneath the bar. "I think you’re drunk enough for the night. If you can still walk in a straight line in an hour, come back."
"Ugh, fine,” Isabelle slumped dejectedly in the barstool, watching sadly as Levi took the crumpled tip from the top of the bar and folded them neatly, stuffing them into his pocket.
He had just barely managed to work his hand out of his pocket when Hanji grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around, seeming to be disappointed that she hadn’t surprised him. "You’ve got a visiter, inmate," she grinned at him, and Levi sighed again.
"Fine," he murmured, slipping the apron from around his waist and handing it to her in a crumpled heap. "Take my place for the night, then."
”For the night? Oho! What are you planning on doing that’s gonna last all night?” Her eyes gleamed with mischief, and Levi pinched the bridge of his nose.
”Levi and Callie, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I—” She couldn’t get halfway through the rhyme before Levi had stuffed the polishing rag into her mouth. She sputtered, and he managed to make it out the back door before she could tug out the rag.
He sighed, leaning against the door as it slammed shut, and enjoyed the relative silence for a moment. The music from the club still beat steadily beyond the door, muffled by several inches of concrete, but he didn’t seem to mind. Instead, he lit a cigarette and made his way to the front, greeting the girl there with a small wave.
"Callie-Anne." He stated, cigarette dangling between his lips. "What brings you here on this fine evening?"
The fast lane was the only lane at this point. The amount of barely-known boys that she spent her night out with didn’t end. She liked music that was a little too loud, motorcycles a little too fast, and leather a little too tight. Ever since father dearest drank his liver to oblivion and made it to the grave, something snapped within the teen. There was a whole other person standing in her place, figuratively and literally. A bleach blonde pixie cut and a change of name surely felt suiting for deserting her past. Innocence and ignorance was gone.
However, this time was different. She expected to get one blurred night in with the man, but a feeling deep down told her this wasn’t what she wanted with him.
It was a feeling just a little too big.
Callie Anne adjusted the black leather of her skirt, making sure the blouse that was tucked in hugged her figure nicely. She cracked a side smile upon seeing him step out of his humble workplace. One combat boot was crossed over the other, and her arms wear folded over her chest, acting offended as could be. “I’d like to file a complaint to the owner of this establishment, ” she announced. “I think the bouncer is a fucking psycho and The Caged Monarch should get a new one.”