Jack, in all his years of bartending across various establishments, both within and outside the country, thought he had seen everything. And he really, really had. He had seen drunkards beating each other near death, only because one of them told the other his breath smelled. He had seen a hammered gymnast doing backflips and falling flat on her face – this one still amused him greatly to this day. He had seen a dog, high on God knows what, licking someone's eyeball. Jack still had nightmares about that one, to be honest.
Nothing he had ever experienced before, however, would prepare him for the clusterfuck of a train wreck waiting to happen this very night.
The evening started innocently enough, with some of the regular patrons in their seats, chatting with him and the rest of the staff.
„Okay, Jackson, I am off for today. You think you can handle it here until closing time?" asked North, the owner. The very Russian owner. Jack still found his accent hilarious, mostly because he was very well aware of the fact that North also found his accent funny.
„Please, how long've I been working for ya?" asked Jack.
„Far too long," North muttered under his breath, taking his leave.
„No, you did not!"
Some of the regulars grinned, already used to the banter between the two of them. Jack smiled, a sense of peace enveloping here. He found himself a home in this bar, after years of searching for something unknown.
„Got some new group here," muttered Aster, walking past him and disappearing in the back, leaving it up to Jack to be the waiter for the night. Jack rolled his eyes. Looking at the group, he counted five of them – two guys, three girls. Interestingly enough, most of them already seemed a bit tipsy, safe for a giant blond dude and a blonde girl twice his size. Jack quickly realized that while the man might be big, it was the girl who was more intimidating. Jack snorted, not surprised in the least.
A rather short strawberry blonde stood up from the table, came over to the counter, and slammed a credit card on it, making Jack nearly jump out of his skin. „O-Open the tab, kind sir!"
„We don't use the 24-hour format here, brother!"
Jack snorted. „Are you older than 21, Miss?"
„I'll let you know I'm 23!" the girl pouted. Jack smiled. His grin only widened when he saw the big blond come over as well, wrapping an arm around her waist.
„How about you leave that to me, Anna?" he smiled gently, and Jack would be lying if he said that the heart eyes they gave each other were anything but disgusting and utterly adorable at the same time.
The girl, Anna, sighed. „Sure, sure. I'll—I'll go keep Elsa some company! Astrid will bully her otherwise!" her words slurred the tiniest bit. She hiccuped.
„Nah, her boytoy'll keep her in line," the man, presumably her boyfriend, said. He also seemed very amused, judging by the shit-eating grin he sported. Anna only shrugged and strutted back to the table, sitting next to a rather pretty platinum blonde. Jack averted his gaze from the table and focused on the giant blond.
„Either you've got the tolerance of a bear or you haven't drunk anything yet," Jack stated.
The giant let out a surprised laugh. „Neither, actually. It's just my girlfriend and her sister, who can't hold their booze... and their best friend, actually. I'm Kristoff, nice to meet you."
„Jack," he said, offering his hand, „I don't usually introduce myself to patrons."
„I don't usually introduce myself to bartenders. You seem cool, though."
„Thanks, brother. What will it be?" Shooting a look at the credit card still lying on the counter, he asked, „That is, if you still want the open tab?"
Kristoff grinned. „Oh, yes."
After giving Jack their orders, none of them alcohol-free, Kristoff added, „I also feel like I should apologize in advance."
Kristoff was right. Neither of the sisters could hold their liquor for shit, and that especially applied to the pretty blonde. Jack had been observing them most of the evening, as was his tradition with each new, larger group of people. During the two hours they had been there so far, Jack had noticed a couple of things.
One, Kristoff had the tolerance of a fucking moose, and the laugh of one, too.
Two, the intimidating girl gave heart eyes to the second guy in the group, while he blushed every time she kissed him on the cheek.
Three, the guy could not hold his booze nearly as well as the pretty blonde, who was already atrocious enough. Seriously, Jack was pretty sure Merida could handle her juice better when she was three years old.
Four, the pretty blonde was really, really pretty.
The last one was Jack's personal observation, something he'd rather keep to himself. Apparently, some stupid-ass deity decided to become his guardian angel, for just then, the pretty blonde came over to the counter. Or rather, the pretty blonde staggered over, nearly falling down twice, much to Jack's amusement and concern.
„Are you okay?" he asked.
The girl's head whipped up, her eyes connecting with his. They were a rather pretty shade of blue, though right now, they were a bit unfocused. Jack broke the eye contact.
„You. Handsome," the girl slurred.
Aster grinned, „Ya?"
She shot him a look. „Not you." She then pointed at Jack. „You!"
„Do you have darts? I would," hiccup, „like to play darts!"
The fact that she could still speak like royalty despite being shitfaced was something Jack could respect. Shrugging, he signaled for her to give him a second and went to the back, finding the darts and giving them to her not even a minute later.
The pretty blonde beamed at him. Jack's eyes widened.
„Uh, yeah. You're welcome."
Jack flipped Aster off after he raised his eyebrows twice in a row.
„Elsa, my dearest sister," Anna slurred.
„I-I'm sorry," she hiccuped. Haha. Hiccuped. „But you're shit."
„Am not, Anna!" Elsa then turned to look at Kristoff and Hiccup, both of them looking like deer in headlights. „Am I shit at darts?"
The boys looked at the dartboard, where after more than ten of Elsa's throws, only one actually struck. The rest of the darts were either on the ground or embedded in the wall, which made Hiccup wince slightly.
„Uh.. do you want.. the honest answer.. or, uh.. the sug-suggarycoat—the..Kristoff, help me, fuck!" Hiccup groaned.
„Elsa, do you want the honest answer or the sugarcoated one?" Kristoff asked.
Elsa looked at them both, pondering. „The honest one!"
Anna grinned triumphantly. Astrid was still avoiding looking at the dartboard, afraid she might break it. Or cry.
Elsa's eyes started shining, and all of them knew they fucked up.
„No, Els, don't cry, please," Anna sobered up immediately.
„Yeah, Elsa. Come on, it's just a stupid game," Kristoff joined in. Hiccup just shrugged, joining Astrid at the table and putting a nacho in his mouth.
Elsa looked at them, then turned around, grabbed a dart, and muttered, „Oh, I'll show you who is shit at darts. I'll fucking show you!"
Kristoff was wheezing, desperately trying to hold the laugh in, not wanting to provoke her any further. He failed and sank down on the floor with tears in his eyes, choking on laughter.
„Elsa, no," Anna said.
„Elsa, yes!" And with that, Elsa turned in the wrong direction and threw the dart with all her might. She jumped when she heard someone yell out in pain.
„WHAT THE FUCK?!"
The entire bar fell silent. Elsa froze, as did Anna and the rest of the group, presumably. Turning her head to the source of the yell, she saw the handsome bartender clutching something over his blood-stained shoulder and yanking it out. He stormed over to them.
„Did you just stab me? WITH A DART?"
To her surprise, he didn't look angry. Not much, anyway.
Elsa shrugged. „Maybe."
„You.. you're..," he sighed, „you're really, really bad at darts."
„You call it bad at darts," Elsa slurred, „I call it freestyle acupuncture!"
The entire bar lost it. Elsa, however, did not laugh at all. Instead, she looked at the bartender's bloody shoulder. She reached for it, only for him to flinch away from her. His lips quirked up.
„Sorry, not sorry, but I'd rather not risk it," he said.
„H-how would you.. like it?"
The hot bartender looked at her in confusion. „How would I like what?"
Hiccup was recording.
Elsa grinned and leaned against the wall, nearly falling down in the process. She righted herself immediately. „For me to give you.. a personal acupuncture?"
„At my place, maybe?" Elsa winked. With both eyes. She could practically hear Anna facepalming behind her. Or maybe it was just Astrid banging her head on the wall, who knew?
The hot bartender blushed. Before he had the chance to say anything, however, the other bartender on shift stormed in, stopping to a halt next to his colleague.
„You. All of you. Out. Now!"
Before Elsa could say anything to the silver haired hottie, she was dragged away by her sister and the rest of her friends. Before they left, though, she still managed to shout, "Mel is the best!"
Who was Mel, no one knew.
„Y'okay, mate?" asked Aster, his voice surprisingly gentle. Jack looked down at his shoulder and realized it was still bleeding.
„Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks. Jeez, the chick's strong as all fucks," he muttered.
Aster shrugged. „Ya, the chick's stronger than a croc on heat."
„That makes literally zero sense."
„It does! Go home, drongo."
Suffice to say, Jack took the next day off.
Jack was three hours into his shift when the door opened and the acupuncture blonde stepped inside. Jack grinned when her saw her searching for someone, presumably him. His grin quickly disappeared when he saw the guilty expression on her face.
Approaching the counter, the girl immediately started, „Hello. I, uh.. I wanted to apologize for the other day. I was drunk and admittedly, I am really, really bad at darts. I swear I did not mean to stab you with the dart. Or to, uh.. hit on you? I am so, so sorry! I actually came here yesterday to apologize properly, but you weren't in?"
Jack's eyes softened more and more with each word, especially when she started playing with the hem of her shirt. „It's okay, Miss. Nothing I haven't seen before."
She looked at him with wide eyes. „I.. how can you forgive me this easily?"
„You drunk-stabbed me with a dart. You didn't kill my cat. I wouldn't forgive you for that," Jack grinned. „It's okay."
Seeing the unsure look in her eyes, he leaned in a little. „I promise, Miss. It's alright."
She blushed. „My name is Elsa."
Jack smiled, finding her blush rather endearing. „I'm Jack. Nice to meet you."
„I stabbed you with a dart."
He grinned. „You also hit on me."
She groaned and buried her face in her hands. „Oh my God."
„Didn't mind it, not really. Next time, though.. please, do it sober?"
She peeked from under her hands. „Next time?"
This time, it was Jack's turn to blush. She smiled. „Very well, then. How about a drink, on me?"
„As much as I'd love to, Mi—Elsa, I'm still on the clock."
„I'll keep you company until your shift ends, then?"
„I'd like that," he grinned. „Just.. uh.. this time, no darts, please?"
Elsa laughed, and Jack felt butterflies in his stomach. „I promise, Jack. No darts this time."
„Remember the time you stabbed me with a dart?"
„Tell me why I decided to marry you, again?"
„Because you stabbed me with a dart and felt like shit because of it."
„Oh my God."