"Oh, come on!" She sighed, finally figuring an angle where she could push against the wall for leverage. The corner dug into her back for a second, and then hit against the base of her skull. "Ow!" She rolled for a moment before getting up to kick it. At least the stupid thing moved... an inch. It moved an inch.
She sat on it, taking a small break as her chest heaved. She pushed a bit of hair behind her ear. She really should cut it. Long as it was. The tug at the base of her skull told her she was sitting on the brown locks, but she hadn't the strength to move just now.
Stupid trunk. Stupid hallway. Stupid idiot who got herself into this mess! Stupid jerk-ass who started all nice and caring and turned into... Stupid! Stupid stupid stupid! She mentally cursed as she heard the elevator moving.
It was a loud machine noise, like everything needed a fresh coat of oil. One more thing to add to what this place needed.
She was thankful for the place, really she was. Even more thankful for the connections to get her a spot in one of the open apartments. But she'd never lived in an abandoned factory turned apartment rental before. Everything looked old and crumbly. Still felt a bit abandoned. Neglected. She sighed.
Enough of the pity party, she decided, getting up. She started to push the trunk again. She supposed she could've had it worse. This was New York. She cursed as the elevator stopped. She really needed to get this thing into the apartment. Another few feet. Almost there! She started pushing again.
"Need some help, Lass?"
She yelped, falling to the ground as the trunk slid a few more inches in her surprise. A hand in her face had her flinching, chest heaving.
"It's just a hand." Two men. There were two of them.
She looked up, accepting it after a moment. Though panic struggled to flood her veins with ice. Panic would do her no good. No, she had to remain calm. Calm... Right.
"Thanks." She mumbled. "I'm... I'm sorry. I'm moving as fast as I can."
"No trouble." The men looked a lot alike, same eyes, same height, same large winter coat. Same nice smiles. One was blond haired while the other had a darker hue. They were definitely from around these parts if the Irish brogue was anything to go by. They went to either side of the trunk and picked it up like it only had air in it, not a bunch of books and clothes and dishes. "Where too?" They looked back at her expectantly. It was the blonde one speaking the most.
She felt like she'd seen them somewhere before, but didn't quite trust herself at the moment. "Um... Right... Right there." She pointed to her door, wooden, chipped white paint, a bit of a dent in the bottom left side. She walked around them and unlocked it and they easily brought it inside.
"Oh hey, you got the old offices!" One of them said, maybe the brunette. They set it down on the floor of what was to be her living room. She was allotted two offices. A living room and a bedroom. They'd shoved a bathroom into her bedroom. She'd had to find a partition in China town for some enclosure.
"Thank you." Her voice was small, timid. She wrang her hands a bit like one might a wash rag to get excess water out of it. She kept her gaze to the floor, to their chests, to the room. Anywhere but at their faces.
"Our pleasure. Always like to help a pretty lass." The blond one laughed. "Say, you're that waitress from McGinty's, yeah?" She nodded. "Thought I recognized yeh!" He smiled. "I'm Conner, this dope is me brudder Murphy." He nudged his elbow.
"J-Jenna." She stuttered. She hadn't thought about running into customers here. They all seemed a lively bunch. Nice good hearted guys. But... "Thanks... for the help."
"Anytime." Conner was still smiling. Making her blush.
"If you need anyt'ing else, jus' give us a call. We're right next door." Murphy added, wrapping an arm around his brother.
She nodded. "Thanks." She said again. They walked past her, shutting the door behind themselves, leaving her to unpack.
She could hear them muttering through the walls. She hadn't thought about that either. Thin walls. Oh dear lord, what had she gotten herself into? She should have just stayed at Uncle Mick's. Her heart thudded in her chest for a moment. No, she couldn't do that to him. He had his own worries. His own life. He didn't need to be looking after a grown woman. He'd already given her a job to help her get back on her feet. She couldn't bear to ask for much more than that. He'd even pulled some strings and helped her get this place. It was only a few blocks away from the bar.
She started unpacking as she thought about her situation. It wasn't bad. Not really. Her own place. Finally on her own two feet. She had a job. She wasn't useless or stupid or... A tear fell down her cheek and splattered on the newspaper she'd wrapped her meager belongings in. Oh for Heaven's sake! She swiped furiously at her eyes and set to work.
It does no good to spill tears over anything! All it does is make everything worse. Made her eyes hurt on top of everything else. Made her feel like a child, a useless child. Made the pity come out in everyone's eyes. She shook her head, no. No more tears. She sucked it up. She'd stand on her own two feet. And it would be like this never happened.
Her phone went off and she jumped with a squeak at the suddenness of it. "H-hello?" She answered.
"Lass, I-it's m-m-me-e-e-e." Her uncle stuttered before he took the phone away and shouted. "Fuck! Ass!"
"You need me on shift tonight?" She prodded when he came back to the phone.
"If- if you don't mind."
She smiled. "I don't mind. I'll be there in a few." She hung up and searched the mess for her shoes and a coat. She never really thought it would be so cold in New York, then again, she never thought she'd be in New York either. She scrambled everything together, snatching her purse last minute. She locked the door, jiggling the handle to make sure, and gave a soft jog to the elevator. She started to close the door. Slightly surprised to be able to use it with ease. Despite the state of everything else, the doors seemed well oiled and easy to use.
"Wait!" She saw the two boys running up to her as she opened the lift door back up. "Thanks lass!" They looked a little worse for wear.
"Are you two..."
"Oh we're fine." Conner panted, waving her concerns away. "Boys be boys, eh Murph?"
"Yeah yeah." Murphy leaned against the side of the lift and patted his pockets, cigarette hanging from his mouth. "You got a lighter. I've left mine."
She immediately produced one from her pocket. "Keep it."
"Thanks, lass. You're a life saver." She blushed a bit, staying huddled in her corner until the lift came to a stop. She all but lurched out of the moving death trap. She hated elevators.
They stayed right behind her, the whole way to the bar. She didn't dare ask them where they were going, and they let her have her space. She assumed they wanted a drink if they were headed the same direction she was. She'd worked a few nights at McGinty's and saw them there two of the three days. That was why they looked so familiar. They were regulars, among those who sat at the bar and gave her uncle a hard time.
"So, yeh headed into work, Love?" One of them finally asked. Conner, she thought.
She nodded. "Yeah." She felt them step into stride on either side of her as they passed some people on the street. "Headed that way yourselves, right?"
"Yeah, thought we'd get a drink or two." Murphy added.
"Timing's impeccable." She mumbled, going to the door. Conner grabbed it before she could do much more than reach her hand up.
"After you, m'lady."
She blushed, mumbled a thanks and all but ran inside. She quickly set to work, taking a few deep breaths to turn on the charm she'd need to get through the shift.
It was already busy and Uncle's patrons wouldn't do well to have to put up with a timid little girl. Bad enough she was almost too short to reach the patron side of the bar. Being five foot nothin' was a chore. But when she managed to get out from behind the bar, she was an expert dodger. She usually did it with a book in hand, to have a tray was nothing.
"Hey! FuckAss! Get me a beer!" Was a usual call from a particularly boisterous customer, but he was good natured. Most of the patrons were. Doc, as they called him here, shook his finger at the boy like his was angry, but the smile gave it away.
She soon found herself back at the bar, putting up a large tub of dirty glasses. "Who's the kid?" She heard from behind her.
"That's Doc's niece, you damn wop!" She nearly giggled at Murphy.
She heard a slap of skin against skin and turned to find the shaggy newcomer glaring at Conner. "What can I getcha?" She smiled brightly, stepping on her tiptoes to seem a little taller without even noticing. She'd been doing this for a long time.
"Beer, not the Guinness." He insisted. She nodded and grabbed a tall glass.
"You gonna be tall enough, sweetheart?" He teased.
She ignored him, having no problem just grabbing the midpoint of the lever and tipping the glass to get the right angle. She handed it over, still on her tiptoes. "There you go." She danced away, spinning around Doc who appeared behind her with another large tub of glasses.
"Fuck, is she a ballerina?" The door to the back swung shut behind her.
"How's she doin' boys?" Doc asked after a moment, a lull in the bar as everyone settled down.
"Oh, she's fine." Conner waved off. "All moved in and ever'thing." He took a last drink and it was immediately replaced with another.
"Nobody's shown up?"
"...No? Why? She in some sort o' trouble?"
He went to open his mouth, but she came back out with a fresh batch of glasses. Murphy and Conner shared a look as Doc went to help another customer. They weren't stupid. Doc wanted her watched after for a reason. And no one moved into the old factory unless they had to.
Then again, she was a pretty lass, small, easily threatened, alone. Why wouldn't he want her looked after?
They stopped at the sound of a small clearing of a throat. "Would... Would you two ...Would you mind walking me back home?" She asked timidly. "I... I get off shift about... About two? If- If it's too late-"
"No, no, We'll be there." Conner assured with a smile.
"Thank you." She hurried off, a blush staining her cheeks.
"Mighty brave of her." Murphy noted, watching her scamper off, persona back in place.
"Yeah." Conner took a drag off a cigarette and stamped it out.
Rocco came back from talking to Brady. "Hey, another beer?" He called out. She flashed him a smile and gave him a fresh glass. "She's all right." He smirked.
"Keep yer eyes in yer skull, you know what's good fer yeh." Murphy warned.
"Aye, Doc sees yeh eyeballin' her like that, he'll make yeh pay yer tab early." Conner teased, giving him a tap on the chest.