Somewhere I belong
As she drove down the busy streets in her old, beat up car among all the shiny, new ones, she couldn't help but think that maybe she didn't fit in. But she promised herself she would. She was going to do whatever it took to get herself to the top.
With the little money she had left from her trip up, she checked herself into a hotel for the next couple nights so she could find a job.
Finding a job was harder than she thought it would be. She was constantly flipping through newspapers for job openings and asking around the hotel. She applied for seven jobs and not one of them would take her. They all said she didn't fit "the part" but she really knew it was because they were being judgmental of her plugs.
She applied for a bunch of performance and dancing jobs but they all rejected her because she didn't have a degree in theater or she hadn't danced at a real studio; just for a couple years in her school's drama club.
She even tried to become a stripper. That would have gotten her a decent amount of money. But of course, they refused to hire her unless she got rid of her gauges.
She was just about to lose all hope. She could see it now: her dreams of becoming someone new being crushed to bits, living on the street in a cardboard box with a bunch of druggies.
As she walked along the sidewalk to get back to her hotel, she spotted a small restaurant on the other side of the street.
The bell on the door jingled as she opened it. For a Saturday afternoon, they seemed to be having slow business.
"Table for one?" The woman behind the podium asked, holding up a menu.
"Oh, no." Lily shook her head. "I was actually wondering if you were hiring?"
The woman's eyes sparkled as her lips turned up at the corners in a toothy smile. "Ay, Rob!" She called back without taking her eyes off Lily.
A medium tall man with very short brown hair and hipster glasses framing his eyes walked out from the back. "What's up?" He asked, standing by the woman and catching a glimpse of Lily.
"Doll face here is lookin' for a job." Wow, did this woman have a thick New Jersey accent.
Rob looked back at Lily. "How soon can you start?" He gave her a charming smile.
Lily was at a loss for words. She couldn't believe he was actually hiring her. "Oh, well I can start tonight." Lily responded.
"Perfect!" Rob exclaimed. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't catch your name."
"Lily." She told him.
"Hm, that's very pretty." He complimented. "I like your gauges."
"Really?" Lily was surprised. He was the first employer that actually liked her plugs. "They've gotten me turned away from a lot of jobs."
Rob shook his head. "Not here." He pulled his sleeves up to his elbows to reveal both forearms, front and back, covered in tattoos. "We're a little different here."
Lily smiled. She was finally starting to find people she fit in with.
"Ronda, here, can help you with basic training right now and a few of the other girls will be here later for the dinner shift. I think you'll like them. I can tell you'll get along with them well." Rob said before turning to go to his office in the back.
Lily was overjoyed. It wasn't exactly what she had in mind when she first arrived but now it was perfect. A job, friends, people who were seeing her as the person she wanted them to see her as. It was everything she wanted.
After a few hours of training, the other two girls, McKenna and Carolina, showed up for work. Rob was right. McKenna and Carolina were almost just like Lily. They both had gauges and each girl had a few tattoos, unlike Lily. Although, Lily had always wanted a tattoo.
McKenna and Carolina took the first few customers who came in and let Lily follow them around to get an idea of how to deal with customers and put all her training to good use.
The bell on the door jingled and she knew this was it. Her first customers.
"You'll do fine, girl." McKenna encouraged.
"If they give you a hard time, don't be afraid to come get one of us, or Ronda, or even Rob. We're all here for you." Carolina assured.
Lily nodded and took a deep breath. She walked over to the table nervously, looking down at her notepad the entire time.
"Hi, I'm Lily. I'll be your server for this evening." She said.
When she looked up, her eyes locked with a very familiar pair of ice blue ones, framed by loose strands of that unmistakable raven black hair.