Episode 34 Road to Success
The club was a buzz as staff cleaned, stocked the fridges, the DJ tested out the sound equipment. Caitlin was sitting at her desk, knots of anxiety twisting her stomach as she wrong her hands. This was totally in the hands of fate now. In less than two hours the doors would open and they would know if their publicity campaign had been a success or not. JC was off dealing with some street business and that always made her anxious but she would never dream of asking him not to go when he got those phone calls. Callie stood and stretched, padding over to her mistress for a pet.
“It’s going to be OK, right, Callie-Cals?” Caitlin snuggled her blonde friend to her side as someone knocked on the door. “Yeah,” She straightened and tried to look professional despite the jitters she was feeling. “Miss Dawson,” Richard, the guy who was manning security until Rico and Big Will, their security returned with JC was standing in the door. “Everything OK?” She asked nervously. Richard was going to be one of their bouncers but Rico was technically head of security and Big Will was the heavy man. “There’s a young lady here to see you, ma’am,” He informed her. Caitlin furrowed her brow but she nodded and a few seconds later a voice she knew, loved and had missed spoke her name.
“Emily! The blonde headed girl leapt out of her chair and ran toward her. Emily’s vision clouded with tears as she hugged her best friend. Relief and affection springing throughout her body. She’d missed Caitlin and when JC had called to let her know the launch was going ahead, she’d insisted she come. He’d said she could stay with them but Emily had said she’d stay with her family but would love to come to the opening night events. JC had said Caitlin had missed her and Emily knew that she’d needed to see Caitlin as much as the girl hugging her tightly now needed to see Emily. Even Callie was jumping around. “Come and sit down,” Caitlin smiled appreciatively at Richard and he nodded dumbly at the girl he’d always thought was pure professional and this display of emotion had thrown his opinion of her. “Bring us some champaign, please, Richard,” She smiled as Emily took a seat across from her best friend. When Richard had left, Emily felt comfortable taking a look around the plush office. “You’ve done good for yourself, girl,” she mused as she saw the pictures, the nice furniture, the fridge in the corner and the huge leather couch standing by the wall. A small water feature was by the door and Emily felt as though she was in an executive hotelier’s office not in the middle of Compton. “JC has put a lot of money into this place. Wait until you see the club,” Caitlin grinned from ear to ear. Then her brightness in her face dulled slightly as she reached for her best friend’s arm. “How are you, Em?” “I’m doing OK,” Emily sighed heavily as she shrugged. This conversation was not welcome but she knew she couldn’t hide her feelings from Caitlin. “Never mind me, how’s my Callie-Cals?” She bent to pat the blonde dog lovingly. “You went through the mill huh, girl?” Caitlin nodded gently. “She sure did. Have you heard from Lexie?” The concern in the other girl’s voice was heart felt and Emily knew she couldn’t feel that way about Alexia anymore. Not after everything, She Emily had been through recently. She was seeing a councillor to come to terms with her grief and Mrs Obliant had said she had to be honest with herself and take care of her own feelings first and foremost. So no more worrying about Alexia’s crazy mind games. Not for her. “She’s probably off sulking somewhere and hasn’t even realised what’s happened,” Emily told Caitlin gently. “I know you’re worried, Caitlin but seriously, she doesn’t deserve it.” “emily,” Caitlin sighed. “How did we get to this?” The girl’s eyes were almost navy blue with despair and the frown upon her pretty face made her look childlike. “I don’t know,” emily almost whispered. “But Caitlin, we can’t carry our friends forever. Not when they’re not willing to take responsibility for themselves.” “I just keep thinking, who could have done it,” Caitlin smiled as Richard returned and poured both girls a glass of their best champaign. He left without speaking and caitlin nodded as though to remind herself where they were at in the conversation. “And why?” “Ever think it was Alexia?” Emily asked the question and as soon as she saw the hurt and anger on Caitlin’s face, she regretted asking the question. “But why would she?” Caitlin’s voice was wrought with pain as she spoke and her hand went protectively to her four-legged friend’s soft head. “Because she’s Alexia,” Emily answered quite simply and even for her bluntly. “Caitlin, I don’t know what happened. but someone did it. She’s MIA, why wouldn’t you think it was her?” “I guess I just didn’t want to believe she’d be capable of such a horrible thing,” Caitlin bowed her head and quickly snapped it up as the door opened again and she caught a whiff of her man’s best cologne.
“My God, you’re a sight for sore eyes,” Jc greeted Emily with a hug. “You doing OK?” “Yeah, I’m getting there,” She nodded dismissively and he walked confidently around the table to kiss and hold Caitlin to him. “This, mamita, is for you,” He handed her a tiny velvet box and Emily instantly felt awkward. Was he truly going to ask her to marry him? Caitlin smiled uncertainly as she took it and Emily knew she had been thinking the same thought. But as she opened the box, a beautiful white gold, pink diamond encrusted bracelet lay on a cushion of velvet. “Oh, My Gosh!” Emily breathed in awe of the beautiful piece of expensive jewellery. She’d long since learnt that you didn’t ask JC where he had bought anything or how he could afford something. regardless of it being rude, you just felt your life was worth far more than to know the truth. “JC, this is beautiful!” She held out her wrist and he fastened it in place. “Congratulations, tonight will be a success and all because of you!” He kissed her tenderly and the warmth between them radiated and made Emily feel privileged to see the love they shared.
“Not just me,” She corrected, standing to pull him to her. “We did this together. Now, the crystale is on ice, we’re about to open so I guess we should make our presence known?” He kissed her and Emily stood grinning. For the first time in weeks, she felt happy and almost alive. “Cory not with you?” JC asked as they walked into the VIP section of the club which was still quiet as the DJ continued to sound test. The club would hopefully be buzzing in the next hour so it was nice to have a catch up and enjoy the club’s amazing interior. The carpets were black, the walls purple with light purple curtains draped everywhere. There was a sparkling dance floor below them, seen via the elaborate, ornate balcony of VIP. The tables were all black and silver and the chairs covered with the same purple of the wall and window curtains. The stairs were carpeted in a purple carpet and the lights flashed from all around. A revolving globe light that could have different shapes inserted to cast different lights across the club hung in the centre of the roof space. It was magical now it was lit with the strobe lighting and the music was beginning to play. Emily gasped with admiration as she turned back to JC and smiled. “He hasn’t come this weekend, no,” but she didn’t seem sad when she spoke about him like she had previously. A smile glimmered on her porcelain face. “He’s working this weekend but will be returning to LA at universal at the end of the month.” “You’re coming home?” Caitlin’s body jumped with excitement and Emily grinned uncontrollably at her best friend. “I sure am,” She hugged the blonde headed girl and they both shared a sad moment. The conversation that had transgressed between the pair in the office earlier lingered in the air like a bad smell on a hot day. JC noticed it as his instincts had always taught him to be observant. He let it go and allowed the girls their privacy as he stood and went to get them all drinks.
“Mr Carter, can I get you something?” A red headed girl asked. She was of mixed race and not very attractive although the way she carried herself, you’d think she was a movie star. “Bottle of Crystal,” He informed her, crossing his arms and leaning on the bar obstructively. She, like every one of his employees knew he was dating Caitlin and if this bitch came on to him again, he would ensure she’d be collecting unemployment. “Three glasses,” He frowned at her. “What’s your name?” “Riselle,” She fluttered her eyelashes, clearly expecting praise or a come on. “You been trained behind this bar by Mikey?” He asked ferociously. She stood still and stared, shocked that she was actually being reprimanded by a guy. “Yes,” She replied. He turned briskly and walked to the other end of the bar where a tall chubby black dude was stacking bottles in a refrigerator. “Riselle hasn’t quite got the hang of knowing what the customer wants or even asking about it,” JC rumbled. Mikey turned and stared down the path of the long bar and glowered at the girl. “No tips for you tonight,” he growled and JC nodded approvingly. Mikey shot him a “i-can’t-believe-these-bitches” look and turned back to his job. JC collected the champaign and glasses and returned to the table where the girls were in happy conversation again. He’d known what that moment had been about and he had an idea of where their missing friend was but he could not be sure. It was none of his business now. The here and now was what mattered and he was more than OK with that.
slowly the club filled up. The regular punters entered the lower floor while the special guests were guided up the carpeted stairway to meet and greet JC and Caitlin. She felt like royalty or a celebrity of some sorts. People smiled at her, congratulated her on the amazing job and promised to have a wonderful time. JC was constantly strong by her side and this felt amazing. No longer was she an under appreciated dogs body but now she was running a club that had potential to pull in gangsta rappers and their friends. She knew it wasn’t Hollywood or the major club scene in that end of town but something inside of her at that moment knew that anything with JC was possible.
Once the meets and greets were over, she danced with Emily and JC. Finally being able to appreciate the fruits of her labour. There was no trouble, the cash registers were continually pinging, JC was happy with how it was going and so was she. This was it for her. This was her knew life. How things can change in a Crystal, she thought as she touched up her hair in the ladies’ room. Emily was slightly tipsy and babbling about how much fun she was having and Caitlin couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt this happy either. But slowly, she knew that despite the darker side of JC’s life, she could get used to this. Turning to her best friend, she hugged her and knew that their friendship could withstand anything.