Rebecca had always felt drawn in by a hard lifestyle, rough around the edges, tears in the pages. Living in a college town and working in a college town and not going to college in a college town has never been looked on fondly by anyone. But acting out was her first thought, always. That's how she ended up in dark blue juvie uniform for the first time. Rebecca had the opportunity to break the law, and she jumped to do it. Animal instinct. The elastic of the uniform hugged her waist nicely, and several guards made a point to tell her that. Rebecca had been told so many times before that she had a lovely waist, by older boys, older girls, older people, and she never liked it. She made herself strong, made herself hard and tough, breaking jaws and teeth without the sugar sweet flavor of the kind of jawbreaker you'd get from the sweet shop down the street from the corner that she first started selling on.
Three weeks prior to her nineteenth birthday, Rebecca landed a job at Bart's after seven minutes of busting the owner's balls and making a promise to the man that she wasn't looking to sell drugs there. She detested all other forms of dishonesty, but breaking promises was just second nature to her.
That lie lasted two months before Aaron caught her slipping a plastic baggie of cocaine to yet another law student wigged out over exams. He adopted an exhausted and disappointed look, and didn't speak to her for three days, finally ending his silence when half of the other bartenders got the flu. He called her, spoke three words, and she went back to work.
I get it.
Two years passed, and Aaron only ever got mad at her again when she threw one too many drinks in one too many losers' faces, and some guy vowed never to come back. Rebecca backed herself each and every time with the fact that those guys were gross, that they were pigs, and she was glad they were never coming back. He'd always reply with an I get it. She didn't think he got it, but he tried to.
It was April when Lila first sauntered into Bart's, and she looked horrifyingly out of place between the seedy 11-AM-on-a-Tuesday patrons. Her long red hair was pulled over one shoulder, and she was grinning way too much when she lightly hinted to Rebecca that she wanted to talk to her about drugs.
"You're Rebecca," Lila said, and it wasn't a question. Rebecca knew this.
"Is that some sort of question?"
Lila kept on grinning. "I'm Lila. My sister told me that I could get something that I wanted from you."
Rebecca snorted. "Your sister? What sort of siblings tell each other where to buy drugs?" She immediately realized her mistake when Lila's grin still didn't falter.
"My sorority sister."
Rebecca felt her brain make an ick sound, completely on its own. "So, you want drugs?" Sorority girls always want coke. "Coke, probably. You're looking for coke, right?" She wished that this girl would stop grinning.
"I'm looking to sell." Lila watched Rebecca's eyebrows shoot up and then added, "Not to you. For you." Her grin faltered a bit when Rebecca's eyebrows were still stuck up higher than normal.
"I'm not looking for help right now. Go back to your sorority house and do sorority things and don't mess around with drugs." Rebecca stopped to consider that for a second, and started again. "Do them at parties, I guess, but don't start selling them."
Lila's grin shrank even more, but it did not disappear. "I'll be back, Rebecca." She left in a whirl, smelling of lavender, and Rebecca prayed that she wouldn’t be.
She came swaying into Bart's again the very next night, her grin absent, hair hanging over the opposite shoulder.
Rebecca noticed that it looked soft, and realized just how greasy her own hair was. She tucked the loose parts back behind her ear. "What do you want, Lila?"
"I'm asking you to reconsider." Lila said gently, and the grin was back.
Rebecca wanted to turn her down again, she wanted to send Lila sailing right back out of Bart's with a string of words behind her that would make her never want to return, but her quick mind stopped, paused for just long enough to really think about it. She could let Lila do this for her, work the urge for a thrill out of her system, it could work. She carded her fingers through her hair, let out a deep breath, and began to speak.
"Alright. You sell for me for two weeks, and two weeks only. When that's over, you're going to direct your customers straight to me. Got it?”
Lila squealed, and there wasn’t a single thing that could have made Rebecca hate her more right then. “Thank you, thank you, thank you! You won’t regret this!” She stumbled over her rushed words, the sound grating in Rebecca's ears.
Rebecca had to restrain herself from taking the offer back, and as Lila scribbled out her phone number on to a bar napkin, she noted that her handwriting was very wobbly, different from the indistinctly neat and girlish handwriting she expected. That was when Rebecca realized the flush in Lila's cheeks, the dilation of her pupils, the slow and controlled way that she was speaking, and the stench; she couldn't help but laugh.
"What?" Lila looked confused.
"You're, aha, you're fucking drunk," Rebecca wheezed. "Go the fuck home."
The pout the Lila sported next only made Rebecca laugh even harder. "Don't forget, you agreed to let me sell!" she whined.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll call you." Rebecca was almost ready to start regretting that. "Now leave."
And leave she did, leaving behind the scent of liquor already so familiar in the little dive. Rebecca savored the moment. It wasn't every day she got to employ dumb sorority girls to sell drugs for her, and it would be over soon enough. Two weeks.
Rebecca finished savoring the moment and went back to wiping down the bar, lifting up the glasses of the Wednesday night drinkers when she passed them.
"She's a hot one," said one as the front door shut behind Lila.
"Looks brainless," said his friend.
"Yeah, well, it takes one to know one," said Rebecca. She smiled to herself against the slurred protests of the drunk loser and moved further down the counter.