C4 The Smiling Bartender.
Iris watched David drink such hard alcohol with a worried expression. She kept glancing in his direction even when she was serving other customers.
She had received so many tips for her shift because she was not as expressionless as she normally was, and she would even grace some of her regulars with a smile occasionally.
They just thought she was in a good mood, and after witnessing such a charming smile from her, they couldn’t hold back the urge to tip her.
Iris noticed the moment he finished the bottle he was drinking, so after serving a drink to another customer, she went to put away the empty bottle.
“Should I get you another one?” she asked after controlling her overexcited expression. David looked at her for a few seconds before shaking his head to say no. She noticed that he was still fiddling with the cigarette between his fingers as he stared at the slowly melting ice.
“Do you need to call anyone?” Iris asked worriedly. She normally didn’t care about such things, but everything about him looked suppressed. If someone finished such an enormous bottle of such strong liquor, they would be slumped on the counter drunk by now. But he looked exactly like he did when he came in an hour ago.
David looked at her worried expression and didn’t answer, but took a sip from the glass he had just filled.
Iris didn’t feel much about his reaction because she knew what he was going through. Besides, she was just a bartender at the moment.
What reason did she have to get offended by his lack of response? She had seen all kinds of people come to the bar, so when she didn’t receive an answer, she just continued with her job.
David had noticed how she looked in his direction from time to time, it was as if she was checking on him. There was genuine concern in her eyes, which was something he had not seen in decades already.
His gloomy mood was certainly a contrast to how welcoming and charming she appeared to be. She seemed to be smiling every time he saw her, even before today. David thought she was always smiling because she was always smiling at him. He would know this wasn’t so if he cared enough to ask the other people who visited the bar.
He fished out his phone from his pocket and turned it on and saw that he had thirty missed calls from his secretary. He almost snorted out loud when he saw the number which was followed by the ten missed calls from his mother and one missed call from his father.
He placed his phone on the bar counter and continued to drink, deciding to talk to the person that would call him. As expected, his phone rang not even a minute later. He checked the caller ID and saw that it was Felix. With a sigh, he picked up the phone.
“Hello?” he said, his voice sounding a bit hoarse and lazy since he had been drinking.
“Boss where are you?!” Felix asked, his panicked voice almost shouting but the little sense he still possessed forced him to hold back.
“I’m at the club,” David answered and rested his chin on his hand as rested his elbow on the countertop in front of him.
“Boss, you still need to attend the funeral, the burial is also today, you can’t miss it,” Felix reminded. He could only remind him because as intimidated as he was by his boss’ mother, his boss was much worse.
If he acted presumptuously and asked for his location, then daringly going there to pick him up without being asked to, then he would be in trouble. Compared to that, he could tolerate Mrs. Lyons’s nagging.
“I’m at Mist, come pick me up,” David ordered as he took another sip of his drink.
“Yes, I’ll be there in fifteen minutes,” Felix answered
“Don’t bring a car, I drove here,” David added after some thought.
“Alright, I’ll be there in twenty minutes,” Felix adjusted his time as he left the compound that was currently packed with guests. He was at the funeral, but besides the black clothing everyone was wearing and the gloomy background music, people wouldn’t even think it was a funeral.
“Mmmh,” David responded and cut the call, placing his phone back on the countertop and lifting the slightly wet glass to his lips, taking another sip of his drink.
When he looked up, he caught the girl staring at him again with an unfamiliar look in her eyes, which vanished once they made eye contact. Her cheeks flushed from what seemed like embarrassment before she turned to resume with her work.
She looked like she was busying herself, even when there was barely anyone around the bar at the moment.
Fifteen minutes later, Felix walked into the bar and spotted David almost immediately. He took long steps to the bar and almost bumped into a few people in his rush.
“Sir, I’ve arrived,” Felix said as he stopped next to David. David looked at the anxious expression on his face and felt a small tinge of sympathy.
“Sit,” David said, and drew Iris’ attention. Iris dropped whatever she was doing and went in front of him.
“Can you get him a glass of water, and bring me the bill,” David said, and Iris nodded in understanding before going to get Felix a glass of water. When she came back, she placed the water on a coaster and then handed David the bill and walked away. She had left so quickly because she had done something very impulsive.
When David checked the bill, he saw the cost of the drink he ordered and a phone number at written in neat handwriting at the bottom of the bill. He raised an eyebrow in surprise and looked to Iris’ direction. Iris had turned her back to him completely from the cocktail of emotions she was experiencing.
After a few minutes, Iris finally mustered her courage to look at David and saw him lift a black card in her direction, to show he was ready to pay. She went to make the transaction and gave him the receipt and the card back before he stood up to leave.
Iris was by no means short, but David was already quite tall while sitting on the barstool. She could bet that his legs didn’t hang off of it like it was for most people. So, when he stood up, she had to tilt back her head to look at him.
She saw the corner of his lips faintly lift as she looked at him and felt her heart race. It was not a full-blown smile, but just that slight movement made her dazed for a few seconds.
David turned to leave, and Felix followed after him. Once he walked out the door, she came back to her senses and curiously opened the little folder she had placed the bill in and found a very generous tip with the missing bill.
A giddy feeling spread through her body from her pounding heart. She couldn’t believe that he actually took the bill with her number. Her good mood became even more amplified and her productivity soared. It was too bad they did not have a lot of customers that day.