It was his third night in a row visiting the restaurant and requesting her section. She was beginning to get a bad feeling about him. Well, no, scratch that. She had a bad feeling about him. It had been a steady progression from bad feeling to dislike to anxiety and she remembered it all.
The first night he’d seemed just like a business man in another town for meetings or some stupid thing. Lonely and alone. That had been the night he’d been in another girl’s section. The next night he’d come back, requesting her. She’d been polite, charismatic, charming. Everything you needed to be when you were a waitress trying to make ends meet. Especially with the cost of books for college rising every week. He’d left a generous tip.
The next night he’d come back again, requesting her again. But there had been a comment here, a glint in his eye there, a careful, assessing up-and-down that she couldn’t miss. Safe to say, her chat had been a little more strained but effective nevertheless. She knew she had to flirt and charm to make tips but he’d begun to give her the creeps. Especially noticing his eyes on her when she moved around the restaurant. Following her, as if she were prey.
Now it was the third night. He’d requested her again. And she stood before his table, feeling the red hot burn of his eyes on her as if he was violating her. Even though he’d done nothing. This feeling did not bode well. She did not like this feeling.
“So what’s a pretty girl like you doing working late shifts like this?” he’d asked, eyes intense and dark. She’d wanted to punch him but smiled instead.
“Gotta do what you gotta do, right? Classes are in the morning so the only time left to work is night.”
“You’ve been working for the past four nights though. Seems a bit much for someone trying to make it through a heavy load of classes. I’m sure you’ve got a heavy load.” It was almost as if there was an insinuation in his words, in his voice. The balding patch in the middle of his head glowed at her, as if evil thoughts were collecting there.
“Yeah, they pretty much keep me locked up in the basement.” The words had escaped her mouth without thought, a joke she repeated to regulars who’d made similar comments. A sly smile lifted the edges of the guy’s mouth and his eyes took on that sharp glint that sent a spike of fear racing through her core.
“Do they now?” he’d murmured, as if it was an intriguing idea. As if he might like to do the same. “That can’t be much fun without any company.”
“Hmm,” she’d simpered sarcastically, biting on her tongue to keep from telling him to get the flying fuck out of her fucking section. She turned and walked away, images of her smacking him racing in her mind. If only her sister had heard, that man would be nursing a broken nose at the very least. As it was she needed the money, and last night had brought a tip of $20.00 from him alone. But the guy made her feel sick for no apparent reason.
“Good chat?” Jo asked when she reached the bar, an eyebrow raised. Everyone had noticed his repeat business repeatedly following her.
“He’s a fucking creep,” she muttered, leaning on the bar with her elbow as if exhausted. Jo leaned closer.
“He’s been watching every move you’ve made.”
And didn’t she know it? She’d felt his eyes on her when she’d been talking to the chefs at the open kitchen, when she’d been making drinks at the bar, when she’d been collecting and carrying food, when she’d been talking to other customers and staff, everything. Weirdo. Freak. All the names she wanted to call him when all she could do was smile and laugh at his pitiful jokes.
Even now, glancing up confirmed he was still watching, swirling his wine like a snob though his discount suit revealed a life of working for a merely decent salary. Loser. At least his meal was almost over. Maybe she’d even ask one of the other girls to take him his check while she hid out in the staff room, texting her boyfriend that the freak businessman was back. But that was cowardly. And God knew she had faced up to far worse things than some weirdo with a crush. Even one that was potentially insane.