The Slap Bet (Part 2)
Because the community rallied so hard for Smutathon 2018 and breached £750, you have unlocked an achievement: the second installment to this story!
Though it won’t finish here, this story started at #Smutathon2018 a filth-fuelled 12-hour marathon where 8 of us furiously compiled words and photos on sex and smut to raise money for the Abortion Support Network. Consider donating to the cause here.
I stared at the collection of bottles behind the bar while Erin flipped to some other point of conversation, deliberately avoiding the entrance at the far end of the building. Though I had formally accepted the challenge, I was anything but immune to being nervous to the point of mortification while we waited. This was a public drinking establishment. Anyone over the age of 19 could walk
I ordered a shot of rye in anticipation. It was as impatient as I was sitting at the bar for the next patron — or my potential next
We heard the laughter before we saw the faces to go along with them, and I felt a mixture of relief and dread when I realized I recognized the voices.
“Well, well, well.” Erin sounded very smug; every bit the tone of someone who felt the odds weighing heavily in her favour. “Look who we have here?”
Erin and I were fast to become friends. I’d only been working at Duke’s for a couple of weeks when we went out for the first time after a particularly busy Friday night at the restaurant. As per service industry tradition, we bonded over our sore feet and love for the perfect marriage of karaoke and cheap vodka. I crashed at her place that night and we rolled into Duke’s for our brunch shifts the next morning in haggard, hungover solidarity, officially solidifying the bonds of our new work friendship.
But we were still in the throes of getting to know each other that quiet night at our bar. And one of the things she had yet to learn about me was just how competitive I was. Indeed, this whole game was set up in order to let Erin realize her unfulfilled dreams of slapping someone in the fact.
Unfortunately for her, I don’t play to lose.
I turned around then to see my next challenge in the form of two young men ambling up to the bar. They greeted the bartender, Colin, with high fives and handshakes the way old friends do.
Colin poured three shots of amber liquid for him and the two newcomers as they rearranged themselves at the bar to accept them.
“Which one walked in first?” I asked Erin.
“Oh, fuck,” her smug smile flipped under the mild disappointment, “I wasn’t paying attention.”
“I guess it doesn’t matter.”
I tossed back my shot of whiskey, slammed the glass on the bartop three times in quick succession, and rose from my seat.
Noah greeted me first. “Yo, Jayne! How’s it going?”
Noah was by far one of the friendliest, most easy-going guys on staff at Duke’s. He was a little on the lanky side of tall, and though the final vestiges of his youthful roundness had long since melted from his face, his eyes still had a charming, boyish twinkle about them.
He’s also one of the sluttiest members of the Duke’s team.
“Good, good,” I said. “What are you guys doing here on your day off?”
“You know how it is,” said Noah. “Can’t stay away from this guy too long.” He gestured behind the bar at Colin to highlight another tenet of service industry culture: the homoerotic subtext between the ‘staunchly hetero’ men in the room.
“How was it tonight?” Rob asked as he accepted his rye and coke from Colin and squeezed in the lime. “Pretty busy?”
A little shorter than Noah, and a little more solid in his limbs, Rob was handsome in a very everyman kind of way. His dark, day-old stubble gave him more of an air of sophistication than the laziness that his daily hangovers
“Not at all,” I said. “So Erin and I are celebrating.”
“What are you celebrating?” Noah said right before he took a sip from his glass.
Noah choked on his beer, while Rob must have misheard me. “Oh, did we get paid this week?” he asked.
“Sorry,” Noah said, looking
I didn’t correct him.
I still wasn’t feeling exceptionally confident about my chances to make this work, but there is something pathological in my need to win that usually takes over if I let it.
“Hey Noah, was it you who was telling me about that weird private room upstairs?”
Rob interjects, softly. “Uh, that was me, actually.”
Of course, I hadn’t forgotten. “Right.” I took a step in closer to solidify my position as the crucial peak of the triangle. “I’d love to check it out. Who feels like giving the new girl a tour?”
The boys exchanged confused glances as they tried to determine who should play along with me, and adjusted themselves as subtly as they could manage.
Noah was the first to take the bait.
“Wait. You never gave Jayne the tour yet?” he said to Rob, shaking his head. “Dude…” He then leaned down towards me and stage-whispered, “I apologize on behalf of this animal.”
“Maybe he just doesn’t know the script like you do,” I said, nudging Noah with my shoulder.
“Maybe.” He looked a little chuffed by the little ego stroke and took another swig of his beer.
“Maybe you should teach him so he knows better for next time,” I suggested.
I heard Rob struggle to gulp down the lump of saliva in his throat. It sounded like he was starting to put some of the pieces together. Meanwhile, Noah was doing his utmost to keep his cool. “What, do you mean—”
“Come on.” I cut him off by positioning myself between the two guys. I linked my elbows with them, making eye contact with them each in turn. “It sounds like we should all go take a look at this room together.”
Noah looked at me, over my head at Rob, and back to me. In the moment of silence, I think I heard Erin’s jaw hit the floor somewhere behind me.
“Yeah, sure,” Noah said with a cool shrug. “Right this way.”