Day 4~ 8 A.M.
One Night in Hell, Entertainment District in Ominar
As requested, several of the current employees had arrived even on their day off. Several were willing due to the curiosity over the new boss lady as rumors about Cortes being replaced having circulated through the small group. Collected around the bar, they casually chattered only to pause each time the doors came open and resumed when it showed it was not Mash but another of their co-workers. At a glance it was easy to see which ones got along and which didn’t.
Cortes was sitting alone at the bar end, his hand gripped a shot of whiskey and showed a third of it drained. His eyes drifted occasionally to the door as if expecting to be walking through it soon. Bruce had been assigned to be on shift again as he cleaned a glass, waiting for Cortes’ next order before he shifted to the other four collected at the opposite end.
Craige Murray was a very young and handsome man, his appearance seemed to in his late teens or early twenties. Bright orange hair in a short cut and messily darted all over, his skin a milky white and eyes greener than freshly cut grass. It was obvious he had quite a bit of Irish in him by the looks of him, but if anyone was in doubt then his heavy accent would easily correct them. He leaned and smiled at the elder cook, Irma Quin.
Irma was an immigrant, heritage of German and Irish, with a plump and stout figure that gave her a motherly look compared to the other employees. Being the only cook, she rarely got time off so she rarely was ever seen out of her apron and uniform. Her hair was bunned up at the back of her head and she frowned deeply at something Craige said then brushed it away with a scolding comment.
The last employee was Julius Harrison, a slight salt and pepper haired man who idly watched the exchange. Currently he was dressed in a simple blue work shirt and stained jeans spotted by white paint. His stocky appearance gave him the impression of a construction worker explaining why he was originally hired to bounce less than cooperative patrons out the door. He chuckled to himself as he took another sip of his drink then gestured Bruce down for another round.
Masha finally made her way into the club. And though she was a little late, and mentally cursing herself, she carried herself with a posture that said ‘I own this place and I can show up when I want to.’ She was...not sober. She wasn’t really drunk either, but she was not sober. Her hair was still wet from the quick shower she’d managed before leaving Darius's place. It had woken her up at least, and gave her a few moments to get her brain working again.
It has been mostly successful, but she'd backtracked that forward momentum with her opium addiction, but she had needed it to deal with the itching, crawling need. And the pounding headache as well. She pushed oversized sunglasses up into her damp bangs as she came into the much darker space of the club, looking over the assembled staff. “This...this isn't everyone,” she said, gesturing at them with the hand that wasn't holding the strap of her large bag. Obviously Nikki was still not here, with or without her kid, and she was sure there were a few others who weren’t accounted for at the moment either.
Sighing, she came forward more, her heels clicking some. They were fancier than the dress she had on, they were the ones from the night before when she’d gone over to see Darius again. But she’d been smart enough to bring a change of dress with her, so she was a little more business casual in her dark dress that didn’t shy away from showing things. She dropped her big leather bag down onto a table a few back from where most of the staff was gathered. Standing in front of them, she looked them over.
“I did tell you I had to let several of the staff go due to incidents and lack of income,” Cortes stated clearly from Masha’s right.
He took another sip then added, “It seems Nikki couldn’t be bothered to make it.”
A thin, small smile crossed his features before it quickly faded. His figure straightened upon seeing the new boss lady enter, turning to face her and still enjoying his drink. Silence immediately fell on the others causing their eyes to turn to their new boss. There were various reactions that insured from the staff, ranging in mild surprise to subtle annoyance, as they listened to the exchange.
Bruce’s expression, like the first time she met him, showed great indifference since he felt secure in his job situation. His hand continued to clean another glass while he stood there. Julius was the first to move as he stepped forward, and offered his name, “Julius Harrison. I suppose most of us are wondering what comes next. A few of us are bracing for the worse since usually with new employment comes a complete clean out of the old.”
When Cortes spoke she rolled her eyes some. She did not like the man, as she was sure that he didn't like her very much either. Though his dislike probably stemmed from her being his boss. Hers though, was entirely because he was a terrible person. She looked over her shoulder, just to double check no one else was coming in just then, though she was sure that Afua had been right behind her since they'd come in together. So she missed his little smile about Nikki.
Afua, on the other hand, didn’t as she closed the distance between her assignment. Her expression briefly hardened but she said nothing while the ‘rat’ was within hearing range. Causally the woman came to a halt right behind Masha with her arms crossed in front of her.
When she turned back around, she was greeted with the sight of a man in front of her, closer than before, and thus distracting her from checking her phone from word from Nikki. She smiled at Julius, taking only a moment to think about what she knew of him. “Harrison. Bouncer. Relatively new hire,” she said aloud. Smirking, she looked around him at the others as well. “I'm Masha Vorobyova, you're new boss.”
“I have no plans to get rid of anyone,” she said, sounding almost totally truthful. “But anyone who thinks they can't work for me can leave, paid till the end of the week and I'll even have Cortes write good references for you. Provided you deserve that.”
No one seemed to move, but several heads turned to look at each other. There seem to be some sense of doubt in her words that lingered silently within all of them. However, no one was willing to say it aloud and risk bring a female’s wrath upon their heads. Again, Julius was the one to speak his mind to Masha.
“Well, that’s a relief. Now, my question is what happens next?”
She smiled some, somewhat pleased that no one had jumped up to leave. Perhaps there was hope for this club after all if people didn’t so quickly abandon it. “Well, what happens next is we get to work on getting this place up to the standard it needs to be. There’s gonna be some renovations to both the building and the staff. Buffer you guys up some so no one’s getting over worked. If you can’t rise to the challenge though, you will see the door. But I think that’s only fair. Don’t you?” The last question she asked directly to Julius, turning her gaze back to him, smirking some.
“Yes, but honestly I’m lacking faith this place will work out. Mainly with the gang-” Julius promptly stopped mid sentence when he caught Cortes’ relaxed smile tighten a bit. It was a warning tick that the younger bartender was crossing a boundary he should and unless he wanted someone to pay him a visit, it was best to seal his lips. Inhaling sharply, Julius quickly covered his tracks by coughing a bit to explain his abrupt stall.
After a moment, he fisted his hand then tapped his chest a bit to ‘clear’ whatever clogged his breath, “Pardon ma’am, something got caught in my throat. As I was saying, I don’t have much faith with the lack of customers since it’s a rough neighborhood. Most folks don’t like to risk their lives for a bit of fun or at least the smart and well behaved ones.”
Not wanting to collect Cortes’ attention anymore, he turned to leave and return to the bar. Afua, studying the scene, noted his hands tremble ever slightly at his side. Her suspicions were confirmed as she noted the others tense up at his near mistake. Instinctively, as she did with Darius often, her eyes flickered to Masha to see if she had also noted the nervous behavior.
His slip up made her raise a dark eyebrow up. She looked between him and Cortes, and then at the rest of the assembled staff. “If it's so dangerous,” she started, stepping around him some so that Cortes couldn't see her face. She trailed her hand along his arm, and shoulder, glancing up at him with a knowing look in her eyes. “Then why do you come to work here? Besides, I thought taking risks was part of the fun of coming to place like this.”
The cook snorted quietly at Masha’s question, “Everyone’s gotta to eat and make ends meet, Frau. The job market is very competitive in Ominar and living on the streets are no better. I believe many of us rather not be kicked out on the streets and risk being picked off by unsavory characters.”
Julius paused, his figure still tensed and unsettled, as he quickly tried to sugarcoat Quin’s blunt tone, “I think a better phrasing would be: most the time, reputation overpowers experience in the entertainment district when it comes to being hired by other places. If you mysterious become fired or leave a well known individual’s employment, it’s often considered negative enough to rarely get hired elsewhere.”
Masha stopped her walk around him and spoke to the rest of them. “This isn't my first rodeo. Being in, running, managing night clubs has been my whole life. Dealing with thugs and unwanted gangs. I know what I'm doing, I'm just asking you to do as I say. If you can't handle that, then you know your way out of the door I'm sure.”
There was silence for a moment as they began to think about it. Several exchanged eye glances between each other, unheard words passed between them and decisions being made. However, not a single individual walked to the door yet. The atmosphere indicated that no one expected Masha to last very long, but no one voiced their thoughts outloud. Instead, they aimed to see where her take over of the club would take them.
Cortes, naturally, merely smirked. His hands clapped softly in congratulations, through it could’ve easily been seen as mocking in disguise, before getting to his feet, “Well said. I hope your methods work as well in Ominar as they do in your hometown, Ms. Vorobyova.”
Masha looked at Cortes as his mocking clap. There was no doubt to her that was what it was. She thought didn’t make it too obvious that she knew what he was up to. She tipped an imaginary hat at him, smirking just the slightest bit. “Oh I’m sure that I can handle it. Ominar may not be London, that’s true, but that doesn’t make them totally different either.”
She looked around at the assembled group again, placing her hands on her hips lightly. “Now, unless you’ve got any more questions you feel need to addressed in front of everyone, I say we’re done for now. I’ve got lot of work to get to myself on top of seeing where or absentees are at. But I am available for questions generally whenever.” Preferable not before noon, but that wasn’t something that she could avoid right now. There was too much that needed to be done right then for her to be able to slack on and sleep in late.
They shifted to move as the cook, bartender, and one bouncer pulled back into their original duties. Meanwhile the rest began to depart for the door, their uncertainty still hung on the air in their wake. Cortes was the only other not to depart as he shifted about, finishing his drink and casually glanced about the bar area. It was still pretty dead compared to its best days.
Mash watched them disperse, finally pulling her phone out and taking a look over to see if there was any messages that she needed to pay attention too right then. Nothing pressing it seemed, and nothing from Nikki. Grabbing her bag, she walked past Cortes without even looking at him or saying anything and headed straight for the office in the back which she was going to take as hers, for at least the time being. She wasn’t going to give him the ego boost of looking at him and acknowledging him as anything even remotely equal right now. Not when he’d been so blatantly rude to her. She would be the victor in this pissing contest, she was sure of that.