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“Damn. You could do hair for a living.”

She grinned, sitting next to me and tugging on a different pair of shoes. “I’ve got six little sisters and a single mom who works three jobs. Hair duty was like an assembly line in the mornings before school.” She finished, standing up and smoothing out her skirt. “Ready to go and make some moolah?”

God, was I.

Going over, Jer pulled up to the stadium, and we were waved in to go toward the back employee parking area. A bunch of buses were back there, too. Hopping out, Jer told us, “Hold up.” He opened the back door. “I need help carrying all this inside.”

It took six different trips, maneuvering through all the people, even going through the back way and I was sweating up a storm. So was Cammie. She flashed me a smile once we were done, wiping some sweat from her forehead. “There’s a bathroom up there we can use to clean up a bit.”

I nodded. Sounded good to me.

“Okay.” Jer was coming back, holding out two thick, black packets. He handed one to each of us. “Cammie will tell you the pricing, but you guys are your own cash registers up there.”

She took hers, frowning. “You’re not the bartender up there?”

He shook his head. “Nah. I’m running the beer down here tonight. Another guy’s up there, but you’ll do fine.”

Cammie’s frown was telling me otherwise.

Jer kept on, “Close out after the game or when the box clears out. Joe said that’s up to you, and come down to the beer. I’ll give you a ride back. We’ll be closed before you guys anyway, so I’ll probably head up to help you guys close out, or I’ll be waiting in the van. Check your phones. I’ll send word after the game. Joe wants you both back at the Quail for the rush tonight. It’ll be nuts.”

Cammie nodded, and I didn’t tell her until we were going up a back stairway, “I didn’t know it was even Homecoming this weekend.” I felt stupid about it. I should’ve known that much.

She laughed, getting to the third floor and opening the door. She held it for me. “I’m not surprised, but that’s what I like about you. Some of the guys call you Blue Daze, did you know that?”

She was walking down the hallway, so I was just going with her. “Blue Daze?”

“Yeah, cause you’re always in a daze. You’re like half here, half not here.”

It’d been a week of working at the Quail. Between classes and work, my days were full this past week. So I got it, but she didn’t know that I preferred it that way. I didn’t want to admit it, but it hurt not seeing Stone, and he’d been my self-medicating way to get through everything else. So yeah, the last week, I’d taken on this zombie-way of lifestyle. I got up. Went to classes. Ate lunch. Studied if I had free time before work, then went to work. I studied any free time I had, but Joe had told me firmly that I needed one full day off from working. That’d be on Sundays, so I already had plans to study the entire day.

Being called Blue Daze, I wasn’t too shocked by it. I think I preferred it. They hadn’t called me Dusty since the first night. It’d been Blue ever since.

“This is us.” She nodded to a door.

A bunch of security people were standing outside. Recognizing our uniforms, the guy opened the door for us, a radio in his other hand.

The entire room was busy, but not with the ticketholders yet. Staff was rushing around, cleaning, carrying food to the back kitchenette area and putting out table coverings. A guy was behind the bar and waved us over. “You girls are the servers?”

Cammie took lead, speaking for me, “We are. How many will be in here?”

“It’ll be fucking packed.” He was eyeing both of us, slightly concerned. “You both done boxes before?”

Cammie frowned back. “We load up the trays and walk ’em around. We’re not in charge of getting the food, right?”

“Yeah. No, you’re not.” He motioned to the kitchenette area. It was being turned into a buffet. “You guys have to watch the food. When a dish gets half empty, let me know. I’ll call down for more to be brought up. Mixed drink orders go through me, too. As for shots or beer,” he motioned to the fridge behind him, under the counter, and the tap. “You guys can pour that stuff yourself. You know pricing?”

“Eight, ten, twelve for the beers.” Cammie was half-telling me at the same time. “Bottles are…”


She whistled. “Homecoming inflation rate?”

He grinned. “Pretty much. Shots are five even.”


He shrugged. “They’re getting the cheap shit here, but they don’t need to know it. Oh, and we’re only offering these types of shots. Nothing else. We’re a box suite, not a fully functioning bar.” He slid over a piece of paper, and taking it, I saw it was a cheat sheet for what we offered and the prices.

I tucked mine into my pocket.

“No.” He reached behind, grabbing some black aprons to tie around our waist. “Use these.”

They were short, but they would blend in with the skirts. I tied mine on, put the cheat sheet in there, the money on the inside pocket, along with a small pad of paper and a couple of pens. My phone went in the other pocket.

“We good to go?”

Cammie glanced to me. I nodded, and she spoke for both of us. “Load up the first trays. We’re doing champagne?”

“Yep.” He reached around, then swung right back. His hand extended. “I’m Ben, by the way.”

Cammie laughed, shaking his hand. “I’m Cammie and this is Blue.” She gestured to me.

He laughed, shaking my hand, too. “That’ll be easy to remember.” He went back to filling the first glasses when he said, “Oh. These are high rollers, so stay extremely professional. No flirting. Nothing like that. The team’s new GM asked for these guys to come as a personal favor to the team.”

Cammie nodded. “Who is it?”

He was back to filling the glasses when he said, almost casually, “The local Kings. Some of their star players and family. And their coach.”

Cammie’s eyes whipped to mine, but I’d heard. Every. Word.

My life flashed in front of my eyes because this news, well, consider it like a bomb dropped and it just exploded at my feet.

Chapter Thirty-Five

“He won’t recognize you.”

Cammie must’ve known more than I realized, because as soon as Ben dropped that revelation, she pulled me into the bathroom. She immediately began changing my hair all over again, and she was giving me her version of a pep talk. “Your hair is totally different.” She reached into her bra and pulled out a contact case. “Here. We’ll change your eyes, too.”

She was twisting it off, and two green contacts were being pulled out. “Ever had contacts before?”

“What?” I grabbed her wrist. “No. Stop.”

“They’re not prescription. You’ll be totally fine, just maybe not look him in the eyes when he’s here. Yeah?” She shoved the case at me, then reached back into her bra and pulled out a makeup case. “I can contour your face so you’re barely recognizable.”

“No. It’s not him.”

She was readying, opening her makeup, tilting my head up.

“No. Stop.” I grabbed her wrist and stepped back. “I didn’t change my hair because of him. I changed my hair because of everyone else. Those people in the box, if they recognize me it’s not the end of the world. It’s the guys in the bar, back at the Quail. They’re the ones who hassle me.”

“Oh.” Pity formed in her eyes, and I turned away.

I didn’t want that. I never wanted that look.

But stepping back to the mirror, I did wash up a little bit. Carrying everything inside had made me sweat, so after, I felt more refreshed. Cammie hadn’t moved, just watched me. I went to the door, saying, “I’ll see you out there.”

She didn’t respond or nod, but I opened the door and stepped out.

Ben was waving me over, his eyes a little frantic. He pointed to his watch. “They’re coming up soon. Any minute.”


I could do this.

Picking up the tray, I went to wait at the door and smoothed a hand down my front, just to help ease my anxiety, but I was good.

This was a normal day at work.

I was still telling myself that as Cammie came out of the bathroom. She picked up her tray, standing beside me. And we heard people coming down the hallway. They were nearing, getting closer. Louder. Louder. Even louder. They were right outside the door.

It was opening.

I could do this.

They walked in.

It was the Kings’ coaching staff first. I recognized them.

A player, Colby. He picked up a champagne glass, said thank you, ran his gaze over Cammie, and moved inside. He hadn’t recognized me.

A few more players, some family members. Or I was guessing. A wife. Girlfriend. Colby didn’t have a date. That was interesting. I couldn’t remember if he was married or not, but then Cortez came in, the Kings’ halfback. Jake was behind him, his arm around a woman. Both picked up champagne glasses, said thank you, and moved on.