The Developing Story
When I arrive, it is pretty slow and uncrowded. The All-Star game is on television, but nobody really seems to care. Even the jukebox is in a mellow mood, or at least whoever fed it is. Tommy the barback is standing at the end of the bar and having a casual chat with Todd, the manager on duty, which is a pretty good sign of nothing much going on. Jocelyn and Jessica seem pretty relaxed behind the bar, too, though they're doing a decent business.
I ask Tommy and Todd how Jocelyn's shift has gone, and they both agree that she seems just fine. There have been no rough patches. Tommy remarks that she's spent most of her downtime over the course of the evening letting Mario chat her up, and I can hear some annoyance in his voice.
"What's wrong with that?" I ask him. "We know Mario, he's cool. Plus, he helped her out of a jam the other night."
Tommy laughs. "I was there first, or did you forget?"
"No, I didn't, Tommy, you did a great job."
"So why isn't she -- ah, forget it."
I smile. "Tommy, didn't she thank you that night?"
"So, now she's thanking Mario. And only one of you will be tipping her on a regular basis for the foreseeable future. So you can hardly blame her for taking her time."
Todd pats Tommy on the shoulder and laughs. "Debra's right, bro. She's probably just being nice to him." Tommy just shrugs, and goes to collect glasses from the tables. "I think someone's got a crush on Jocelyn," Todd adds after Tommy's out of earshot.
I run through my check-in routine, say hi to Jessica, and then manage to get a couple of minutes with Jocelyn to ask how she's been doing. She says she was pretty rattled that night, but at the end of her shift she ran into Mario on his way out and asked if he would walk her home. She says he was a complete gentleman, and gave her his number in case she needed anything. She leans in a little closer to me, and says, "Every day since, I've almost called him, but I kept chickening out. I'm really glad he was here tonight." I raise my eyebrow.
I start serving drinks as Jocelyn cashes out, and fall into the routine of a basic Tuesday night at the Bar. I spend a few minutes chatting with Jessica, and the next time I look up to see if Mario needs a refill, I see Jocelyn standing next to him with her hand on his shoulder, quietly talking into his ear. He gives a funny little look like he's not sure he's heard what he thinks he's heard, and looks up; she smiles back, and he gets up from his stool.
I admit, at first they look a little bit funny together. Other than her prodigious chest, Jocelyn is tiny - while Mario is solidly built and easily has fourteen or fifteen inches on her in height. But it looks like the most natural thing in the world when she reaches up, grabs his hand in hers, and leads him out of the Bar.