Word Count: 1,833
He hated his job. He hated that he couldn't find anything worthwhile to do other than what he'd always been used for by his father. The muscle. He supposed there was some consolation in that he wasn't working the door, but was instead the one on the inside that oversaw everything.
It hadn't bothered him so much, working as head bouncer of a club, until he'd gone to LA this last time to see Matty. His friend was doing it. He'd gotten out. He left New York, gone to LA, gotten his dream job as a sports agent, and was married to someone who seemed decent despite Taylor's initial misgivings about her. Matty had gotten the life away from Benny Chains and his childhood he'd wanted for years.
Taylor wanted that, too. Seeing Matty able to not only pull it off but get a girl on top of it made him want it more. Not that Taylor had any desire to settle down just yet, being afraid of having too much of his old man in him wasn't even the reason. This was New York, there were far too many women he'd yet to lay eyes on. Seeing that it was possible, though, was inspiring.
They'd talked heavily about Taylor boxing on this last trip, something Taylor had given thought to before. He certainly had the experience even if his fights weren't in a ring. Matty would represent his life-long friend if it ever got to that point. So far, all Taylor had gotten was into the ring for sparring. It paid diddly squat, but he was getting some attention. It would take time, but he hoped that someone would see him and think he was worth the effort.
Until then, he continued working at the stupid nightclub. Fortunately, he didn't have to count pennies or worry about starving. Benny DeMaret made sure that he was taken care of, taking it somewhat personally that Taylor's father and Benny's trusted man, Teddy Deserve, had not been the man he thought. Most of the money had gone to Taylor's mom, but he kept some of it for himself. And Teddy's house. He had to keep a roof over his head, food on his table, and keep up on his workouts if he was actually going to make a go at boxing.
Taylor imagined it was a payoff, too, for the fact that Matty was the one who took his father out. No charges had ever been filed or anything, but there wasn't anyone connected to Benny Chains who didn't know that his son had finally shown he had the cajones to maybe be a boss.
Taylor had been there when it went down, knew Matty had no choice. Only one of them was going to walk away alive that night. While Teddy had been his father, theirs had not been a loving relationship. So, if Taylor had to choose between his long-time friend he knew he could count on no matter what or the father who paid attention to him only when a job required him to. Well, Taylor would choose Matty every time. No doubts, no second thoughts, no thinking back wishing things had turned out differently.
Teddy had underestimated Matty. He always had. And it was that underestimation that had cost him his life. Matty had more of his father in him than most people realized. He just knew how to control it. And wanted to control it. Taylor was the only one who knew that it was not difficult for Matty to walk away from his father's offer. Oh, he didn't doubt that it wasn't tempting for a minute there. Finally, Matty had not just his father's attention. He had earned his father's respect. Everyone's respect.
It had taken Matty a while to get his act together after Montana. Their friend Chris getting back in probably didn't help matters. He'd floundered in New York for longer than he probably should have, finally getting the idea to head west to sunnier pastures. One where the strong arm of his father's name, and the business associated with that name, weren't so commonly known.
"Oops, sorry," said one of the women in a group near the entrance. She bumped into him deliberately as far as he could tell. That happened to him a fair amount. Sometimes it was on the hope he would be distracted enough by some T&A not to card them. Not the case here as she and her group were clearly over the club's eighteen age limit for tonight. Other times, like this one, it was an invitation. Tonight, though, he wasn't really in the mood to take her up on her unspoken offer.
"No problem," he said with a nod, not hiding the fact that checking her out was the furthest thing from his mind. He pointed at the doorman who would check their IDs and let them get on with their night.
"He's so big," she said to the friend next to her. Apparently, she didn't realize he was right in front of her, and therefore heard her. She and her friend broke into a giggling frenzy and he merely rolled his eyes, stepping out of their way.
Judging by the looks of her party, it was a bachelorette party. Good for them. He knew there were a few guys in the club who would ensure they didn't spend a dime on drinks that evening.
Back inside the club now that it was closing in on capacity, he crossed his arms in front of his chest, watching as the crowd pulsed in and out of the club. It was early in the evening, so not much call for him to run interference yet. As the night wore on and the customers who could got drunker and stupider, that was when what the club paid him for would come into play. It was rare one of the underage customers got drunk, but it happened. A legal friend sharing their drinks when they knew better.
It was the only thing he hated about a club that allowed people in who were younger than the drinking age. Thankfully, it wasn't every night they were allowed in, just certain nights with live music by bands the club's owners knew would draw the college aged crowd.
He felt his phone vibrate, indicating a call. He slid it out of his pocket just enough to see who was calling.
'Speak of the devil,' he said with as close to a smile as Taylor ever got.
"I'm going to go do a quick check outside," he said to the doorman who gave a quick nod of his head in response. These all ages nights weren't a pain in the ass to just him. If someone underage got in and got a hold of alcohol the club could be shut down. So everyone had to be extra careful to do their job.
He didn't always do this, as the management wasn't as concerned with what happened outside the club. However, there was an alley that ran alongside it that attracted all sorts of people that had no business being back there. Drug dealers looking to unload some product. Whores looking to score with someone who hadn't gotten lucky inside. And morons who thought it was a good idea to take the chick they'd picked up in the club out to the alley and have a go against a brick wall where a homeless person had pissed not ten minutes previous.
Taylor had seen it all, and more. He'd done some of it himself. He didn't always say no or feign cluelessness as to their intent to girls that came onto him.
"Hey," he said into the phone once he knew he could hear.
"If you want to call it that. Yes. Nothing going on, but the night's still young so who knows what it might bring. There's a bachelorette party, so I'm sure someone will see just how far the bride-to-be is willing to go."
'See, that's why eloping is the way to go, you don't have to worry about things like that.'
"Yeah, well, I'm not sure too many people would agree that the way you went is the right one."
'It's worked out.'
'Yes, well, no one else matters as far as I'm concerned.'
"So, what's up?"
'Do me a favor, will you?'
"I can try," he said, not knowing what kind of favor Matty would need him to do this time of night. And with the distance between them.
'I was talking to Pop earlier.'
"You need me to go check on him?" Taylor frowned. The old man wasn't that old.
'No, just give Pop a call tomorrow.'
"Matty. Why would I do that?"
'Listen, man, I think you want to hear him out on this. I'm calling you about it, aren't I?'
"I'm not going there, Matty."
Taylor kept waiting for Benny Demaret to ask him to do the things he'd done for his father. So far, he hadn't, but Taylor didn't have faith the man would leave him alone forever. Especially if he knew that Taylor was stuck working dead-end jobs as he was now.
'I'm asking you. As your friend. Call him and just hear him out. All right? I wouldn't call, wouldn't ask if I didn't think it was worth your while.'
"All right, but I make no promises I'm going to do what he asks."
'I know. And he knows. Just call him. What do you have to lose? You know?'
"Yeah, I hear ya."
'Okay, good. Call me after.'
"Later," Taylor said, ending the call and ducking back into the club, hoping he wasn't missed.
He was curious enough to contemplate calling Benny tonight, but it was too late. Waking the old man would piss him off, and that was the last thing Taylor needed. Matty had piqued his curiosity, though. Matty was right. He wouldn't approach him about calling his dad unless it was something he thought Taylor would do.
Did Benny have something legitimate for Taylor to do?
Nah. He would have offered it to him before now if that were the case.
At least Taylor thought he would have. Who knew how Matty's dad thought. There were times Taylor thought he wasn't altogether there in the head. Matty had said so himself in not so many words. That had been his first thought when Matty told him to call his father, that he'd done something or was behaving somehow oddly even for him.
He pushed Benny out of his head for the rest of the night. There was nothing he could do about it now, and being distracted could get him in trouble. Or hurt. The club was more upscale than most, but that didn't mean that the customers were all upscale.
And with a bachelorette party thrown into the mix, things could get out of hand pretty quickly.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com