Dylan - Karla Sorensen Page 0,1

scored, and we waited for it to quiet down again. He stretched a hand out, and I clasped it. “What’s your name, son?”

“Dylan Steadman, sir. I’m the manager here.”

“How long have you been doing that?”

“About six years now. Started as a bartender, worked my way up.”

The way he eyed me reminded me of my father and that tough steel behind his eyes made me stand up a little straighter. Instead of returning the greeting, he smiled and winked at his wife and then stood up from his chair, pulled his wallet out, and handed me a business card. The thick pewter gray paper said William Harrison, Owner & Operator. The other side held a flat, embossed logo of a mountain range over the words The Continental Divide Bar & Grille.

“My wife and I are in Michigan visiting her sister,” he said by way of explanation. “But we live in Colorado, and I own a few bars myself.”

“Oh, uh, that’s great Mr. Harrison. Then your compliment means even more.”

He rocked back on his heels, completely unconcerned with the chaos of the full bar around us, just stared at me with a weird little smile on his face. “Ever thought about moving to the Rocky Mountain state, Dylan?”

“Uhhhhhh, wha-?” Not my most shining moment, I admit. But what? What the what? My jaw was down somewhere around my Adam’s apple. “Sir?”

“Call me Bill, please. Sir makes me feel old and crotchety.” I couldn’t even laugh at his joke; my brain had stalled somewhere around ‘moving’.

“Which he can be,” his wife interjected with a soft smile at her husband. It was the same type of smile that my mom gave my dad when she teased him. “Honey, sit down and let the poor man do his job.”

“No, it’s fine, Bill,” I said slowly. “And I’m flattered you’d ask. Though you’re probably just being nice, right?”

He finally sat back down in his seat and took a slow sip of the water in front of him. “I never extend pity job offers.”

“But you don’t even know me.”

Bill raised his eyebrows in concession. “Fair enough. But we’ve been sitting here for two hours. Your staff is always smiling when they talk to you, your kitchen is quick getting food out, and it’s tasty. All of the servers are kind and capable; that’s a credit to good management. And you came right over here when you knew we’d heard something we shouldn’t have. Didn’t gloss over it or try to twist into something it’s not. That’s the kind of man I want working for me.” I was stunned. He could sense it too, because he just smiled and pointed at the card. “I’m going to be opening a new location in the next couple months. If you’re up for a change, let me know.”

“Ah, I will. Thank you, sir, Bill. It was a pleasure to meet you both.”

The rest of my shift passed in a blur, partially because it was so damn busy, but also because I just couldn’t get over it. That stuff didn’t happen to me. I knew I did a good job; I didn’t need some ass-hat like Jim to pat me on the back to tell me so. I worked hard, the people who worked for me respected me, because hey, if I wasn’t nice to them, then how did eighty-nine percent of the single women fall in love with me?

But I wasn’t the guy who got job offers that included me moving halfway across the country because an employer was so blown away by me. Out of all my siblings, me being the second youngest of five, I wasn’t the one who stood out. I didn’t own a company like my twin brothers did, I wasn’t a lawyer like Tate, and Casey, well, she was just good at everything she did.

By the time I made it home, I didn’t turn on the TV or call anyone. I just sank into the couch with my bowl of cereal and stared at the dark room. Like a loser, which was fine. I worked way too many damn hours to care about whether people thought it was lame for me to sit at home on a Saturday night.

I set the empty bowl next to me on the couch and pulled my phone out of my back pocket. The screen was bright in the dark room, so I had to squint a little while I flipped through Facebook.

For the most part I hated social media, but